Mercedes-Benz Recalls Thousands of Cars For Seat Belt Issues

Laguna Hills, CA – Dec. 3, 2019 – Eighteen models manufactured by Mercedes-Benz USA are due for recall after the automaker discovered some of the seat belt assemblies do not work. Buckling up is required by law in most states and not wearing one dramatically increases the risk of serious injury in the event of a crash. All told, nearly 26,700 models are included in the Mercedes-Benz seat belt recall.

MBUSA says it aims to begin notifying operators of the affected automobiles by mail starting on New Year’s Eve. Those receiving the warnings are asked to have their vehicles checked out by an authorized MBUSA dealer so the problem can be fixed.

The Defect

In paperwork available through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mercedes-Benz is set to recall 29,679 automobiles – whose model years run between 2018 and 2019 – because the seat belts in the front seats fail to work. In some cases, the belts may buckle in fine, but the internal detection system may not recognize that this is the case. This may result in future issues, such as if the pretensioner – which is manipulated by the vehicles’ PRE-SAFE® controls – is rendered inoperable.

Although the size of the Mercedes-Benz seat belt recall is fairly small, it involves multiple model types:

  • 2019 AMG GT 63
  • 2019 AMG GT 63 S
  • 2019 CLS450
  • 2019 CLS53
  • 2018-2019 E300
  • 2018 E400
  • 2018 E43 AMG
  • 2019 E450
  • 2019 E53
  • 2018-2019 E63 S AMG
  • 2019 G550
  • 2019 G63
  • 2019 GLC300
  • 2019 GLC350E
  • 2019 GLC 43 AMG
  • 2019 GLC63
  • 2019 GLC53 AMG
  • 2018-2019 GLC63S AMG

Of the 50 states, 49 require all drivers to buckle up. Most motorists do so, based upon NHTSA’s most recently available usage statistics. In 2016, the latest year for verifiable data, 10,428 people died in car crashes where seat belts were left unused. Had they been wearing them, 2,456 of those individuals would likely have survived their injuries.

Timeline of Events

This problem traces back to October 2018. At that time, safety officials at Mercedes-Benz learned of a few incidents in which operators had their seat belts fastened, but the restraint system didn’t recognize that was the case.

Because an initial review couldn’t determine the cause of the glitch, a task force was assigned to investigate. Reviewers determined the most likely origin of the problem had to do with the “geometrical dimensions” of the belt buckle itself. The task force also noted that the seat belt buckle housing could also be compromised.

In the process of working out a solution, Mercedes-Benz was alerted to two other incidents in August 2019 related to seat belt detection by the occupant restraint system, which furthered the potential for a safety recall.

Mercedes-Benz has announced multiple safety recalls in 2019. In February, it recalled 300,000 vehicles because of defects with air bag deployment. Another air bag-related recall took place in August, only that one involved just 457 models.

The Solution

Mercedes-Benz has since developed a resolution that can fix the flaw. Motorists who drive one of the aforementioned automobiles are advised to check their mail for a notification, which the automaker will start distributing in December. Operators should bring their vehicle to a dealership so the issue can be fixed by replacing the malfunctioning units. There will be no charge for this repair.

For more information on the Mercedes-Benz seat belt recall and whether you’re affected, please visit MotorSafety.org. Be sure to have your VIN to check your status.

Sean ReyesMercedes-Benz Recalls Thousands of Cars For Seat Belt Issues

Ford recalls some Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 27, 2019 – The Ford Motor Company recently issued a recall for a small number of its Expedition and Lincoln Navigator light SUVs due to concerns over the integrity of rear toe link fasteners.

Specifically, the issue affects just 18 vehicles, of which half were expected to carry the defect. 

The Defect

In the case of both the Expeditions and Navigators – all from the 2019 model year – Ford’s manufacturing team believes the vehicles may have been produced with improperly torqued rear toe link fasteners, meaning they were not properly tightened during assembly. This increases the risk that the rear toe link itself would disconnect while driving, likely resulting in a significant loss of steering control, and thus raising risk of crash or injury.

The problem arose as a result of an automated tool the company uses in its manufacturing process experiencing wear and tear on the gears, which reduced its ability to properly tighten the fasteners.

Drivers will be able to detect whether this problem arises in their vehicle by possibly hearing a noise, a change in the steering wheel’s height, unexpected wear on the tires or changes to how the SUV handles.

The Ford Expeditions in the recall were produced Sept. 5 and 6, 2019, while the Lincoln Navigators were only produced Sept. 6.

To date, the company is not aware of any accidents or injuries stemming from the problem.

Timeline of Events

On Sept. 12, less than a week after the vehicles in question were produced, the automaker’s Critical Concern Review Group learned of concerns about the under-torqued fasteners, after a torque inspector at the company’s assembly plant reported a potential issue with low torque conditions on both the left- and right-side rear toe link frame attachments. This issue was discovered through a routine examination, and the company promptly reviewed production records to identify affected vehicles.

Those still remaining at the plant were inspected, and the suspected torque problem was present in all of them. However, records indicated that some of the affected vehicles had already been shipped out.

Ford’s Field Review Committee approved the recall on Oct. 18.

The Solution

Ford notified the owners of affected vehicles by mail and asked them to return to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to check not only the fasteners, but also rear toe alignment and rear tires, fixing or replacing all as necessary. The company will not need to reimburse drivers because everything is covered by warranty.

Dealers were first notified of the recall Oct. 28, and owners received their notifications between Nov. 11 and 18.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact Ford by phone at 1-866-436-7332, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord recalls some Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs

Potential for airbag damage in Hyundai 2020 Palisades prompts recall

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 25, 2019 – Hyundai Motor America plans to issue a voluntary safety recall next year for over 11,000 2020 Palisade model vehicles because the mounting bolts used to secure their side curtain air bags could damage the latter upon deployment. Air bags that are damaged as a result of the defect may not properly inflate, thereby increasing the risk of injury to occupants, according to official company filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Specifically, 11,217 vehicles are estimated to be affected by the defect and Hyundai has announced that owners can have a protective cover installed over the mounting bolts free of charge when the recall officially begins at the beginning of 2020. Hyundai has not reported any customer crashes, injuries or other related incidents as a result of the defect.

The Defect

According to the official HMA recall report, the Palisade vehicles with defects were produced by Hyundai Motor Company in the Republic of Korea between the dates of November 21, 2018 and August 12, 2019. The Side Curtain Airbags fitted in these vehicles were done so using bolts that were “produced with sharp corners” on their hexagonal heads, which could perforate or otherwise damage the SCAPs.

Timeline of Events

The 2020 Palisade recall came about after HMC discovered a torn SCAP while a New Car Assessment Program crash test was conducted in Korea on July 15, 2019, which prompted the company to reach out to the supplier and conduct a joint investigation into the potential cause of the damage. Internal crash testing was unsuccessful in replicating the tear, although the two organizations concluded based on further review of test results that the SCAB could become damaged “due to interference with the mounting bolts.”

After the testing, HMC then notified all regional distributors of Palisades equipped with the bolts and conducted its own search of related field information. HMA’s Technical Committee convened November 1, 2019, where it made the decision to conduct a voluntary recall as a means of addressing the situation. The recall report was submitted to the NHTSA November 7, 2019.

The Solution

While bolts produced with rounded (rather than hexagonal) corners were first used in vehicle production on July 2, 2019, HMA intends to begin a recall for the affected vehicles on January 3, 2020 and will notify dealers and owners and ask them to bring their vehicles to a nearby dealer to each have protective covers installed onto the SCAP bolts. The official Hyundai recall number for this incident is 186, while it is filed at the NHTSA under the recall number 19V-802.

To find out more about product recalls, visit motorsafety.org.

Sean ReyesPotential for airbag damage in Hyundai 2020 Palisades prompts recall

Nissan Expands Recall Involving Brake Fluid Leaks

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 21, 2019 – A massive automotive recall is underway for Nissan North America, as more than 394,000 models – including Pathfinder, Infiniti, QX60, Murano and Maxima – contain flaws that put motorists’ safety at risk. The problem concerns brake fluid and what that liquid might touch in such an event. Specifically, if it drips onto certain circuitry, an electrical shortage may occur that increases the chances of an engine fire.

Nissan intends to inform registered users of the affected models starting in November. Recipients should take their car off the road if they think they may be impacted. An area dealer will fix the problem if one exists, free of charge.

The Defect

Nissan has announced the automotive recall of 394,025 vehicles, according to documentation released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unlike other automotive recalls, which usually affect one specific model, this one affects several. They include:

  • 2017-2019 Infiniti QX60
  • 2016-2018 Maxima
  • 2015-2018 Murano
  • 2017-2019 Pathfinder

Even though these models are different and several were manufactured in different production periods, they each are equipped with ADVICS ABS actuators. The sealant, however, may be inadequate and run the risk of leaking brake fluid. In high temperature environments, the oil seal may subsequently soften and leach out fluid. This could reduce the braking capability of the ABS actuators and also runs the risk of igniting a fire within the engine compartment. Either of these worst-case scenarios are major safety hazard for drivers as well as anyone else who is in the vicinity of motorists driving a Nissan model with the apparent flaw.

Some of the models subject to this latest recall were originally part of a separate one that involved the same issue that have not been corrected. Others vehicles, however, were examined in the first brake fluid-related recall but were errantly determined not to require any repair work.

Timeline of Events

Usually when recalls are announced, NHTSA puts together a comprehensive Part 573 Safety Recall Report, which details how the problem came up and a brief chronology of what the automaker involved did to seek a solution.The agency says Nissan is expected to provide background regarding these details at a future date.

Nissan did, however, release an estimate as to how many of the 394,000+ recalled vehicles are Maximas, Muranos, Pathfinders and Infiniti QX60s. Pathfinder comprises the most at 126,579, followed by Murano (115,518), Maxima (82,374) and finally Infiniti QX60 (69,554).

Although the expansion of the original recall suggests more may be impacted than previously realized, Nissan suspects only 1% of the models recalled actually contain the defect. 

Registered Nissan Infiniti QX60 operators have another recall out on their model, which was announced in September. That one affected 1.2 million Nissans overall that relate to rear camera display settings that are out of compliance with Federal Motor Safety Standard No. 111.

The Solution

As for the automotive recall involving the potential for leaking brake fluid, Nissan is informing motorists officially by first-class mail. If you’re an owner, expect to receive a notification some time after Dec. 2. Dealers have already been informed. Bring the vehicle to an area Nissan dealer so a repair can be scheduled.

For more information, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesNissan Expands Recall Involving Brake Fluid Leaks

Ford F-150s Pulled Due To Loose Engine Assemblies

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 21, 2019 – Ford Motor Company says it intends to recall over 135,000 F-150 pickup trucks. The flawed vehicles – with 2019 and 2020 model years – may be equipped with power distribution boxes and battering monitoring systems whose fasteners may be improperly installed. Should they loosen, performance of the automobile could be adversely impacted, which could be manifested by the engine stalling or disabling the steering assist feature. Any or all of these outcomes increase the risk of an accident and resultant injury.

Motorists made aware of the 2019-2020 Ford F-150 recall are kindly asked to contact their local dealership so this issue can be addressed. Operators will not be charged for parts or labor.

The Defect

As detailed in paperwork prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling 135,725 F-150 pickup trucks from the road as well as those that have yet to be sold. Within the engines of the automaker’s latest F-150 models – 2019 and 2020 – are power distribution and battery monitoring system boxes, which ensure a smooth delivery of energy to the pickup’s various parts.

At some point during manufacturing, however, the cable wire harnesses and eyelets were not torqued properly. Insufficient tautness may impair other elements of the car’s functions, such as panel displays, braking assist, steering assist or stalling of the engine. The abruptness of these performance issues may lead to a crash, thus increasing the risk of injury.

Timeline of Events

This problem first came to light in late September, according to NHTSA documentation. Corporate offices assigned Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group to investigate. They discovered in a sample case shortly afterward that the wiring sealant adhesive used in the BMS terminal eyelit was preventing the unit from adhering to the F-150’s battery B+ terminals. A follow-up investigation was subsequently ordered to see if this issue was aberrant or institutional. The audit revealed that others models could be affected due to a supplier change that the company made in June of this year. Process changes had also gone into effect around this time.

By Nov. 4, Ford decided to reach out to NHTSA to inform the agency that a recall was necessary, which became official Nov. 12.

It’s little wonder the recall potentially affects so many of the same model because the F-150 is a perennial leader in sales for Ford. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker sold 214,176 Ford F-Series pickups in the third quarter, Motor1.com reported. It was the best-selling model in the three-month period overall, outperforming the Ram Pickup and Chevrolet Silverado.

The Solution

The automaker has an answer to the 2019-2020 Ford F-150 recall. Registered motorists who receive notifications about this problem are urged to take their automobile to a local authorized Ford dealer. There, the vehicle will be assessed to determine if the problems exists and reassemble the flawed joint or retorque loosened fasteners. These repairs will come at no cost. Operators can expect to receive mailers alerting them to this problem starting Nov. 25.

For more information on this and other Ford recalls, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesFord F-150s Pulled Due To Loose Engine Assemblies

GM Recalls Pickup Trucks Due to Seat Belt Fire Fears

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 21, 2019 – Well over a half-million pickup trucks manufactured by General Motors LLC are poised to be pulled from the marketplace over safety concerns related to the front seat belt pretensioners. When passengers strap themselves in, a hot gas may emit from pretensioner bracket opening. This could cause a fire within the interior of the vehicle. The potentially compromised models in question include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Although GM has yet to announce when motorists will be officially notified of this safety issue by mail, the automaker intends to send mailers alerting registered owners shortly. Recipients are urged to have their cars examined by an area dealership so this problem can be resolved, if one exists. The repair comes at no charge.

The Defect

According to documents submitted to and distributed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GM is recalling approximately 556,399 pickup trucks nationwide whose seat belt pretensioners – both on the driver and passenger side of the car – may be compromised. Upon the belt’s deployment from the assembly, a flammable gas may emanate out of the bracket aperture. Such a scenario may lead to a fire. All the suspect vehicles have carpet floor mats, which are not fire retardant. Those with vinyl floor coverings are not in any danger.

The specific automobiles included in the GM seat belt fire recall are the following:

  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
  • 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
  • 2019-2020 GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2020 GMC Sierra 2500
  • 2020 GMC Sierra 3500  

Chevrolet Silverados represent the lion’s share of the GM seat belt fire recall at 355,878, based upon NHTSA records and estimates.

Timeline of Events

This issue first came to GM’s attention July 25, when corporate headquarters was briefed about a fire occurring within the cab of a GM-manufactured pickup truck. Internal fire investigators participated in the inquiry as well and determined approximately five days later that the problem may be linked to a similar event that involved the same make and model.

GM and the internal fire experts referred the case to GM’s technical center for follow-up analysis and a more in-depth breakdown as to the nature and cause of the conflagration and how best to resolve it. This subsequent investigation took place in September.

In mid-October, those leading the inquiry determined the most likely cause was a hot gas that vented from the pretensioner opening, which subsequently ignited carpet fibers found on the floor. These findings were then submitted to GM open investigation review board Nov. 4. Three days later, the automaker decided a safety recall was appropriate. No known crashes, deaths or injuries have been reported as a result of this seat belt glitch.

The Solution

While General Motors dealers have since been notified about this safety alert, motorists soon will be, according to the automaker’s  records. There’s no official date as of yet, but GM expects mailers being distributed sent out in the first or second week of December. Those informed are asked to bring their automobile to a local dealer. If deemed necessary after inspecting the suspect seat belt unit, the pretensioner aperture will be closed off, thus stopping the gas’s outflow.

For more information on the GM seat belt fire recall or additional recalls recently announced by the Detroit, Michigan-based automaker, please visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls Pickup Trucks Due to Seat Belt Fire Fears

Potential Tread Detachment Spurs Recall on Mazda CX-9s

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 22, 2019 – A select number of CX-9 vehicles, manufactured by Mazda North America, are scheduled for recall because the wrong rubber compound may have been installed during tire assembly. The binding agent used in the compound may be insufficient and cause the tread to separate as a result. Any errors or wear and tear issues associated with the tires can result in a crash and potential for injury by diminishing vehicle stability.

Mazda has settled on a solution and plans to inform operators informed of the flaw how they can get the tire issue corrected. They’re advised to bring their vehicle to a Mazda dealership so their cars can be inspected. If necessary, replacement tires will be installed at no charge.

The Defect

According to official filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 146 Mazda CX-9s – model year 2019 – may be installed with features that make the vehicle unsafe to operate. Specifically, the rubber compound used in Sumitomo Falken ZIEX CT50 A/S tires may be the wrong type for tire sizes P255/50R20 104 V, as an investigation found the compound designed for prototype tires was errantly applied.

It’s possible that the tread containing the compound may degrade prematurely and detach from the tire frame. A loss of control of the vehicle could ultimately lead to a car crash.

The suspect tires in question have a date code stamped 1619, NHTSA documents specify.

Timeline of Events

Mazda’s tire supplier, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, reached out to the automaker’s corporate headquarters Sept. 9 in order to inform the company of the safety issue and the potential for harm that existed. The supplier was apprised of the issue after seven warranties were submitted to the company complaining of tire troubles. These issues were evidenced by the way in which the cars performed, causing vehicles to shake or make strange noises. In some cases, the tread physically detached from the automobiles. No injuries or crashes occurred in the aftermath, however.

An internal investigation by SRI determined that the suspect tires were manufactured in April, which enabled the supplier to isolate which cars were potentially vulnerable. On the last day of September, SRI confirmed where the compromised tires were sent.

By Oct. 25, Mazda determined that a small scale recall was appropriate and informed NHTSA of this fact Oct. 28.

Over the course of 2019, Mazda has issued multiple recalls, most of them related to vehicle performance. These included windshield wiper failures, faulty indicator lights and rearview mirrors detaching from their mounts.

Although 146 Mazdas are subject to the recall, the automaker anticipates that approximately half of the CX-9s in question – 44%, or 64 vehicles – contain the flaw.

The Solution

Starting Dec. 18, Mazda will reach out to registered CX-9 users about this safety issue by first-class mail. The serial numbers will be checked and if there’s a match, the tires will be replaced with the proper ones. One or all four may need to be swapped out.

For more information, please visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesPotential Tread Detachment Spurs Recall on Mazda CX-9s

2019 Dodge Challengers and Chargers recalled for brake issues

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 12, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. recently issued a recall for well over 100 of its model year 2019 Dodge Challengers and Chargers, due to concerns over front and rear brake packages.

Specifically, the recall involves 173 vehicles, including:

  • 111 four-door 2019 Dodge Chargers
  • 62 two-door 2019 Dodge Challengers

All are believed to have the defect described below, which can lead to an increased risk of crashing.

The Defect

In both cases, the vehicles in question may have been built with front and rear brake packages that are incompatible with each other, and may not leave enough space between the tires’ inner sidewalls and the suspension steering knuckle. In these cases, there may be contact between the components, which could result in damage to the tires that would lead to a sudden loss of air pressure.

That, in turn, would potentially result in drivers losing control of the vehicle without warning, increasing the risk of an accident.

All Challengers in the recall were produced from May 28 to Sept. 20, 2019, and affected Chargers were made between May 29 and Sept. 25. FCA used vehicle production records to determine which cars were made with these incompatible wheel and brake packages. Other Chargers and Challengers produced in the 2019 model year do not have this issue.

Timeline of Events

On Sept. 13, 2019, FCA’s assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, alerted its parent company of a possible issue related to how close tires in some vehicles might be to the steering knuckles that are part of the brake packages.

Five days later, the company’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization launched an investigation into the issue after completing an engineering evaluation of one potentially affected vehicle. Between Sept. 18 and 27, 2019, all involved – including FCA U.S. Engineering – held meetings to look at the problem, its potential consequences and the scope of the issue.

As of Oct. 14, the company had not received any field reports of accidents related to the defect, nor had any warranty claims been filed. Furthermore, it was not aware of any accidents or injuries that might have been related to this problem.

Nonetheless, the company decided through its VSRC that it would conduct a voluntary recall beginning on Oct. 17, 2019.

The Solution

Drivers will be asked to bring their affected vehicles to an auto technician that can install the proper brake packages, as well as inspect the front tires on that car to determine whether they need to be replaced. They will also replace the rear tires to ensure they match the front replacements. If necessary, these mechanics might also need to adjust the wheel alignment. The company will provide reimbursement for any such repairs already undertaken, as long as owners have the original receipt or other proof of the transaction.

Both dealers and owners will receive notification of the recall on Dec. 13, 2019.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact Fiat Chrysler by phone at 1-800-853-1403, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean Reyes2019 Dodge Challengers and Chargers recalled for brake issues

Nearly 108,000 Dodge pickups recalled due to fire risk

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 11, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. recently issued a recall for more than 107,000 Ram pickup trucks produced between 2013 and 2019 for concerns that their exhaust gas recirculation coolers could pose a fire risk.

Specifically, the 107,979 vehicles in the recall could see their EGR coolers experience thermal fatigue, which would cause that component to crack internally over time.

The vehicles are in the 2014 through 2019 model years, and many are either Ram 1500 or 1500 Classic pickups with 3.0-liter Eco Diesel engines. Some of these trucks do not have the Eco Diesel engines but were built in the same production periods for these vehicles – ranging from June 12, 2013, to Oct. 23, 2019.

The Defect

If the EGR coolers in these trucks experience long-term thermal fatigue, they can crack internally, which would potentially introduced heated, vaporized coolant into its system while the engine is running. That mixture could interact with other hydrocarbons and air in the coolers and combust in the intake manifold, which in turn could result in an engine fire that could injure people in or near the vehicle, and otherwise damage the vehicle and property around it.

Drivers in affected vehicles may be able to identify such a defect if they find they are unexpectedly running low on coolant, their in-vehicle heater isn’t working or if a warning light on the dashboard becomes illuminated.

Timeline of Events

Fiat Chrysler first opened an investigation into this issue on May 22, 2019, after receiving multiple reports of fires in affected vehicles. In all cases, it was found that these originated in the general vicinity of the engine. Throughout July, the company met with engineers to understand what could possibly be happening under the hood of these vehicles to start the fires, and in the following two months held weekly meetings to review more information, including failed parts collected from the field.

Throughout the remainder of September, multiple vehicles were inspected, along with warranty reports. Then on Oct. 11, the company found that more than 8,900 EGR cooler replacements had been ordered, with dozens more field reports related to failure of that component. While no accidents had happened, these fires resulted in four minor injuries.

The company decided to initiate the recall Oct. 17.

The Solution

While the company does not yet have an official remedy for this issue, FCA plans to reimburse owners for the cost of repairing or replacing the components in such cases. Affected owners who already paid for repairs will be asked to keep the original receipt for these repairs or otherwise provide proof of payment so they can be properly reimbursed.

Affected owners and dealers will be receive full notification of the recall on or around Dec. 13.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact FCA U.S. by phone at 1-800-853-1403, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesNearly 108,000 Dodge pickups recalled due to fire risk

BMW recalls SUVs for faulty steering pinion

Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 8, 2019 – BMW of North America recently determined that it will need to recall 20 of its 2020 light SUV models due to concerns over a defect in the production process for a steering pinion gear, which could lead to increased crash risk.

Of the vehicles in the recall, all but one are 2020 BMW X3 M40i crossover SUVs, and the other is a 2020 BMW X3 M40i. All those light SUVs are expected to have this issue.

The Defect

The affected X3 and X4 SUVs likely contain a steering pinion gear that is suspected to have been produced outside specification, and were made within a two-day span – Sept. 27 and 28, 2019. During the manufacturing process for these components, a supplier likely did not produce the gears with a proper mixing ratio in the quenching bath. As a consequence, the teeth of the pinion gears would not be hard enough to withstand certain driving conditions, and have the potential to break under pressure. That would likely lead to a loss of steering and, consequently, control of the vehicle.

These conditions, in turn, greatly increase the risk of a crash. The recall population was determined based on supplier production data that was then checked against vehicle assembly information on BMW’s end.

Timeline of Events

On Oct. 1, just a few days after these vehicles were produced, BMW of North America received word from the components’ supplier – based in Greenville, South Carolina – that a specific production lot may have contained the steering pinion gears that were not hard enough to meet specification. The auto maker then issued a hold on vehicles that may have been affected, and conducted a review to see if these gears may have been delivered and used in the assembly of any vehicles.

Within a few days, the company found that some vehicles likely had been affected, and identified which ones fell into this population. A little more than a week after receiving the report from the supplier, BMW issued the voluntary recall on Oct. 9, but had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem in question.

The company notified dealers of the recall Oct. 16, and notified one likely affected owner Oct. 9.

The Solution

To date, only one of the vehicles in the recall had an owner. That person was reached by phone and told not to drive the vehicle until it could be repaired by having the steering pinion gear replaced. The vehicle was transported to a nearby dealership for the remedy shortly thereafter.

Because this was essentially a single-vehicle recall at that point, BMW did not anticipate having to notify any other drivers via first class mail as it normally would in a recall situation. However, if any more of these issues come to light, the repairs would fall under the BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty, as the affected light SUVs are all from the 2020 model year. Reimbursement would, therefore, not be necessary.

For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact BMW of North America by phone at 1-800-525-7417, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

Sean ReyesBMW recalls SUVs for faulty steering pinion