Hyundai Tucson recall expanded due to risk of engine fire

Fountain Valley, CA – January 26, 2021 – Hyundai Motor Company (NASDAQ:HYMTF) expanded its September 4, 2020 recall of certain Tucson vehicles, due to an issue with the anti-lock brake system. The recall, which totals 652,024 vehicles, now includes 2016-2018 Tucson SUVs. The original recall involved Hyundai Tucson 2019 and Hyundai Tucson 2020, as well as the 2021 model year for the same car.

Recall summary  

The issue does not directly affect the brakes in the Tucson Instead, it concerns a hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU), which is a component of the anti-lock brake system. A defective circuit board inside the unit may corrode and cause an electrical short. This may result in an engine compartment fire.

For warning signs related to this issue, please see the article describing the original recall.

Engine fire lawsuit and previous recalls

The 2019 Hyundai Tucson equipped with Theta II gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines was among 2.3 million vehicles that were subject to a 2018 class action lawsuit that claimed that these vehicles were at a higher risk of engine fire and stalling, among other issues. The lawsuit was settled in 2019 with Hyundai and Kia – which used the engines supplied by Hyundai- agreeing to a host of remedies, including cash compensation, free inspection and reimbursement, according to a press release.

Both manufacturers subsequently announced several recalls of other cars – some equipped with Theta II engines – also due to the increased risk of fire. Both the recent Kia Optima and Sorento, as well as Hyundai Santa Fe Sport recalls were linked to brake fluid leaking into the HECU causing an electrical short and potentially, a fire. The third recall – conducted by Kia – did not have definitive reasons behind it.

Risks 

For risks related to this recall, see our previous coverage about this Hyundai Tucson recall here.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will add a fuse kit to the ABS module. Model year 2019-2021 Tucsons will also require an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) software update.

The latest leg of this recall starts on February 19 and the owners will be notified when the repair is available. Until repairs have been completed,  owners are urged to  park vehicles outside and away from structures. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 652,000 vehicles are included in this Hyundai recall. To see if your vehicle is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHyundai Tucson recall expanded due to risk of engine fire

Volvo recalls SUVs and wagons for defective airbag system

Ridgeville, SC – January 25, 2021 – Volvo  (OTCMKTS: VLVLY) has recalled 2,883 vehicles  whose supplemental restraint system (SRS) control unit – an important safety component – may become detached during a crash, affecting the performance of safety systems such as airbags. The recall includes:

  • 2021 Volvo V60 and V60CC wagons
  • 2021 Volvo V90 and V90CC wagons
  • 2021 Volvo XC60 compact SUVs
  • 2021 Volvo XC90 SUVs

Recall summary  

Volvo’s recall addresses a manufacturing error that may cause the SRS control unit to detach during a crash, affecting multiple crash safety systems. If it is disconnected, the SRS control unit may not properly activate airbags, tighten seat belts or disconnect the car’s high voltage battery, putting vehicle occupants at higher risk of injury. 

The defect can be traced to a 12-day period when the Swedish manufacturer failed to properly measure how tightly they screwed in the SRS control units. 

Risks

In a crash, airbags can reduce vehicle occupants’ risk of fatal injury by 11%, but only if they are functioning properly. Airbags that deploy improperly or do not deploy at all, can’t protect drivers and passengers from impact and could lead to injury or death.

The drivers may be alerted to the potential issue if the SRS warning light comes on and “a text message “Service Urgent” is displayed,” according to NHTSA.

The repair

Volvo dealers will inspect the screws holding the SRS control unit to the car and will tighten them if necessary, at no charge to owners. Owners will be notified with more information about the recall starting February 19. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 3,000 vehicles are included in this Volvo recall. To see if your car is one of them – and if Volvo V60 Cross Country is included – use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandVolvo recalls SUVs and wagons for defective airbag system

Daimler recalls Sprinter vans due to parking brake issue

Sandy Springs, GA – January 21, 2021– Daimler AG (NASDAQ:DMLRY) – known as Mercedes-Benz – has recalled 9,094 vans, due to an issue with leaking brake fluid in these vehicles that are all equipped with electrical parking brake (EPB) systems. The malfunction may change how the brake pedal operates, increasing the risk of a crash. The recall includes:

  • 2019-2020 Freightliner Sprinter 1500
  • 2019-2020 Freightliner Sprinter 2500
  • 2019-2020 Freightliner Sprinter 3500
  • 2019-2020 Freightliner Sprinter 4500
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1500
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4500

Recall summary  

The problem in this Mercedes-Benz recall involves the rear brake calipers in vehicles that have an EPB, which allows for the activation of parking brakes with a push of a button.

Brake calipers clamp the wheels to slow the vehicle down when brakes are applied. When the EPB is used often, the rear brake calipers may leak brake fluid into the EPB. Then, to replace the lost brake fluid, air may enter the hydraulic brake system, which is used to stop the car. 

Because of the leak and introduction of air, the driver may have to press the brake pedal much farther towards the floor to get the car to slow down or stop. The driver may be alerted to the presence of the leak if the brake pedal is gradually becoming “softer.”

Risks 

If the leaking-fluid problem is not fixed, the vehicle may not respond quickly enough when the driver presses the brake pedal. This may increase the risk of a crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists 22 recalls for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1500. The 2020 Mercedes Benz Sprinter passenger vans and Freightliner Sprinter vehicles were  recalled  in August of 2020 because they did not meet standards for  Electronic Stability Control Systems.

The repair

Daimler Vans is in the process of devising a remedy for the brake problem. When the manufacturer is ready to perform repairs, customers will receive a final owner notification letter. Daimler Vans expects the recall to begin January 25, 2021, but no date has been set to begin repairs.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 9,000 vehicles are included in this Mercedes-Benz recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydDaimler recalls Sprinter vans due to parking brake issue

Ford recalls Econoline vans for burning hot engine covers

Dearborn, MI – January 20, 2021– Ford (NYSE:F) has recalled 29,344 full-size Econoline trucks and vans whose engine covers may get too hot and burn people sitting in the front seat. This Ford truck and van recall includes the 2021 Ford E-350 and E-450 models and concerns the Engine Cover (Dog House), part number F8UZ-1510312-BAA.

Recall summary  

Engine covers of the recalled vehicles sit between the front two seats and act as a center console. Due to design error, the vehicles were manufactured with ill-fitting insulation on the cover which does not extend all the way to the edges, allowing them to get very hot.  

Other Ford recalls

This is the third recall to affect these 2021 Ford trucks and vans. Read about prior Ford recalls, in February 2020 for inadequate amounts of axle lubricant and in March 2020 for wire harnesses that become damaged from chafing against the vehicle’s frame.

Risks

Drivers and front-seat passengers of these vans could burn themselves on the wall against the hot engine cover. Before that happens, they could notice the temperature of the edges of the engine cover – located near their feet – “gradually increase,” according to the recall notice.

Ford says it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by this issue to date.

The repair

Ford will notify owners about the recall between February 8 and 12, 2021. Dealers will inspect the engine cover for gaps between the rubber seal of the engine cover and the insulation, and will provide patches as needed. In some cases, they will also provide a powertrain calibration update to make sure the engine does not get too hot.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 30,000 vehicles are included in this E-350 Ford recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Econoline vans for burning hot engine covers

Tesla asked to recall Model X and S vehicles over potential loss of essential functions

Palo Alto, CA – January 19, 2021 – A U.S. government agency has asked Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to recall 158,716 Model S and Model X cars over its faulty main display screens, also known as the media control units (MCU). Software issues may cause the screens to turn off, resulting in the driver losing access to essential safety-related  information.

The ask is not an order and gives Tesla the opportunity to conduct a voluntary recall before the agency pursues further action.

The letter and the loss of essential features

On January 13, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a letter to Tesla asking it to recall 2012-2018 Tesla Model S sedans and 2016-2018 Tesla Model X SUVs. The move was precipitated by a NHTSA investigation sparked by several thousands of complaints submitted to both the manufacturer and NHTSA directly, alleging issues with the screens.

In conversations with NHTSA the automaker acknowledged that all of the main display screens  were expected to fail eventually because the flash memory devices – that power the screens – wear out after a certain number of on-off cycles.  NHTSA found that their useful life is about five to six years, which is “insufficient” from the safety standpoint.

When the screens crash, they rob the driver of access to vital safety features, like defrosting, defogging and the backup camera. Other essential features, such as “audible chimes” that alert drivers to changes in the vehicle, may also disappear.

‘Huge negligence on the part of Tesla’

A lawsuit alleging that the screens fail  “after only a few years of normal use” was filed in May of last year and included 2014-2016 Model S and 2015-2016 Model X. In response, In November, Tesla expanded warranties to cover this defect and swerve away from a recall.  

A complaint filed in late December by the owner of a 2012 Tesla Model S alleged that the car’s heater and defroster stopped working right after a Tesla service center supposedly resolved the touchscreen issue, resulting in limited visibility while driving in the rain. The driver called the issue “a huge negligence on the part of Tesla.

Safety concerns

NHTSA’s letter highlighted three main safety concerns that arise when the media control units in these Tesla vehicles crash.

Drivers cannot see the backup camera

New laws require cars built starting in May 2018 (and a certain percentage of cars starting in May 2016) must include a functioning backup camera. NHTSA asserts that if no backup camera feed is visible to the driver, the risk of a crash increases, “potentially causing injury or death.”

Drivers cannot control defogging or defrosting systems

These systems are considered essential to driver visibility. According to  NHTSA’s letter to Tesla, “the lack of a functioning windshield defogging and defrosting system may decrease the driver’s visibility in inclement weather, increasing the risk of crash.”

Drivers cannot hear alert chimes, such as turn signal “blinker sounds”

The car may no longer make clicking sounds that audibly remind the driver that the turn signal is engaged. Inability to receive these alerts compromises the safety of the driver and other motorists on the road.

Recent Tesla recalls

In November, Tesla Model X recall was launched for the 2016 model years because of pieces of the roof potentially flying off and striking other drivers.

Is your Model X or S affected?

It is possible that Tesla will recall these cars to resolve the MCU issue. At the moment, however, the number of potentially affected cars and the timeline of any corrective action are unknown. Bookmark MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check if your car is affected when details surrounding this potential recall become available. 

Rebecca RandTesla asked to recall Model X and S vehicles over potential loss of essential functions

Honda CR-V vehicles recalled for window switch issue

Torrance, CA – January 18, 2021 – Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 268,655 Honda CR-V vehicles, due to a faulty power window switch. If moisture enters the power window master switch, the switch may fail or melt, increasing the risk of a fire. The recall includes 2002-2006 Honda CR-V vehicles.

Recall summary  

Power windows in these cars are operated by a master switch located in the door panel. Heavy rain may cause water to enter the driver’s side window. If the water reaches these Honda CR-Vs’ power window master switch, it may damage the switch’s circuit board, causing the switch to fail. In some cases, it may also result in a short circuit, which may overheat and melt the switch connectors. This situation can lead to a fire.

Risks 

If the driver’s side power windows do not operate correctly, the issue may distract the driver, increasing the risk of a crash. In addition, the water issue may cause a fire, which can injure the car occupants and greatly up the risk of a crash.

As of November 2020, the manufacturer has been notified of 23 fires related to this recall, as well as 87 “thermal events,” such as melting and smoke.

Second recall

Honda originally recalled the same vehicles for an identical power window switch issue in 2012. However, customers continued to report thermal events. Honda found that the problem actually occurred more often in the vehicles that had had the recall repair. This second recall will replace rather than simply repair the switch.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the power window CR-V master switch. Dealers will also inspect the wiring harness –  which is a set of wires and connectors that power the vehicle – and replace it  if necessary.

The repair is free of charge, and Honda expects the recall to begin January 18, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 250,000 vehicles are included in this Honda CR-V 2006 recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda CR-V vehicles recalled for window switch issue

Mitsubishi recalls Outlander vehicles for parking brake issue

Franklin, TN – January 15, 2021 – Mitsubishi Corporation (NASDAQ:MSBHF) has recalled 21,758 vehicles, due to corrosion in the parking brake system. The parking brakes may not operate correctly, increasing the risk of a crash. The recall includes 2016  Mitsubishi Outlander and 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vehicles.

Recall summary  

The parking brake system prevents the car from rolling away when parked on a hill by engaging rear brakes, which lock the rear wheels of a car in place. 

Due to a supplier assembly error, the rear brakes of these cars may lack a rust prevention coating. Without that coating, water may penetrate the brake system and corrode it. As a result, the parking brake may fail and not keep the car from rolling away.

Risks 

If the driver believes that the parking brake is set and the brake malfunctions, the vehicle may roll into traffic, hit another parked vehicle or injure a pedestrian. This is particularly dangerous if the vehicle is parked on an incline.

Other Mitsubishi Outlander recalls

Outlander and Outlander Sport cars are subject to several recent recalls.  Both cars, for example, were among the ones recalled back in the summer for improperly designed seat belts. They are also subject to a May recall due to a part of the suspension detaching due to corrosion.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to replace the rear brake caliper assemblies. The repair is free of charge. Mitsubishi expects the recall to begin January 25, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 21,000 vehicles are included in this Mitsubishi Outlander recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydMitsubishi recalls Outlander vehicles for parking brake issue

Honda CR-V, Accord, Insight recalled for battery charging issue

Torrance, CA – January 14, 2021 – Honda Motor Company (NYSE:HMC) has recalled 27,838 vehicles due to an issue that may prevent the 12-volt battery from recharging properly. If the battery does not recharge, the vehicle may  lose power. The recall includes: 

  • 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid SUVs
  • 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid sedans
  • 2020-2021 Honda Insight hybrid sedans

Recall summary  

The 12-volt battery provides backup power for electrically-powered vehicles. If the vehicle’s hybrid battery is depleted, the 12-volt battery serves as an additional power source.

An excess amount of fuel additives and cold temperatures can cause “overvoltage” of a power converter unit (PCU), which powers these cars’ 12-volt battery. This may prevent that battery from recharging and may drain the car battery. Drivers may be alerted to the possibility of that happening when the 12-volt battery warning light is illuminated, and a warning message is displayed.

If both the hybrid battery and the 12-volt battery are depleted, the vehicle may lose all power, which increases the risk of a crash. 

Risks 

While there have been no reports of crashes or injuries related to the issue, there have been 53 warranty claims and 65 field reports as of December 10, 2020. 

The loss of battery power creates a number of risks:

  • Drivers may not be able to accelerate to enter a traffic lane or to avoid other vehicles and prevent an accident.
  • If the vehicle loses power on a highway or at higher speeds, it is at risk of getting hit.
  • The driver and occupants may be stranded in extreme weather in a vehicle with no power.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to update the software in the PCU. The repair is free of charge. Honda expects the recall to begin on February 25, 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 27,800 vehicles are included in this Honda Accord recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydHonda CR-V, Accord, Insight recalled for battery charging issue

General Motors continues recall of heavy duty pickups with faulty seat belts

Warren, MI – January 5, 2021 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) is continuing  a recall of 38,048 heavy-duty trucks that were built with the driver- and front passenger-side seat belt parts meant for other cars. The recall includes the following pickup trucks:

  • 2017-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and 3500
  • 2017-2018 GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500

The name of the affected component is Retractor ASM-F/Seat Belt with part numbers 84253641, 84253686, 84234013 and 84234008.

Recall summary  

The recall concerns the seat belt torsion bars, which help the seat belt hold a passenger during a crash and protect him or her from an upper body injury. The bars a supplier of General Motors (GM) installed in these vehicle models in the seat belt retractors were the wrong size and had not gone through crash testing.  These bars are typically used in “other full-size trucks,” according to GM.

Continuation of the 2017 recall

This is a continuation of a recall that was originally announced in September 2017. A month after starting the original recall GM petitioned the auto industry regulator – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – to be released from going through with the recall, based on the belief that the different seat belt part would be “inconsequential” to safety. 

The regulator disagreed and denied GM’s petition in November 2020. Between fall of 2017 and spring of 2019, the automaker recalled and fixed over 10,000 cars.

Other Chevy Silverado recalls

A different model year of Chevy Silverado 2500 is subject to a recent recall launched on the back of faulty airbag end caps that may fly off and injure or distract the car occupants. 2020-2021 Silverado 2500 and 3500, as well as GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks, are involved in another seat belt recall, also as reported. The seat belts on these cars may similarly fail to protect the driver and passengers due to being loose.

Risks

A seat belt meant for another car may not work as expected. This can lead to an injury or death for the car’s  driver and passengers.

Read more about seat belt safety in this Chrysler seat belt recall article.

The repair

GM will replace the seat belt retractor with one with the correct size torsion bar, free of charge. GM began notifying owners on December 28, but the repair will not be available until after March 17. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 38,000 vehicles are part of this GM recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors continues recall of heavy duty pickups with faulty seat belts

Volkswagen recalls over 100,000 cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators

Auburn Hills, MI – January 4, 2020 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY) has recalled 105,652 Beetles and Beetle convertibles whose driver-side Takata airbag inflators could explode, hitting the occupants of the vehicle with its potentially lethal metal fragments.

This is the latest in the series of widespread Takata airbag recalls. General Motors and Nissan recently announced their own recalls associated with these dangerous airbags.

This round of recalls involves the following model years:

  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle compact cars, as well as the 2013 and 2014 models
  • 2012 Volkswagen Beetle convertibles, as well as the 2013 and 2014 models

Recall summary

Cars involved in this ever-growing Takata airbag recall were made with Takata inflators that may blow up during a crash and hurl metal fragments at the driver and passenger, injuring or killing them. 

The airbags on these Volkswagen Beetle convertible and compact cars are no exception, despite being made with a desiccant, or drying agent, that was designed to prevent moisture – which is one of the factors in the explosion – from getting into the airbags.  However, while the addition of the drying agent does help, it does not fully prevent these inflators from degrading, resulting in a high risk of an explosion. The risk becomes higher as the inflators age, according to a study submitted to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) on behalf of the manufacturers involved in the Takata recall in 2019.

Volkswagen’s internal efforts failed to show that these airbags were dangerous. However, the manufacturer agreed to recall the cars “out of an abundance of caution.”

To read more about the background of the Takata airbag recall, please see the following article about a recent General Motors’ recall due to the same issue.

Risks

Exploding inflators pose a serious threat to the safety of car occupants. More than 25 people have been killed and at least 250 injured so far in the Takata airbag recall, which has turned into the biggest automotive recalls in U.S. history. 

The report provided by NHTSA to the public about the recall does not furnish any information about injuries associated with this particular Volkswagen recall.

Additional recalls

This is only the first round of Volkswagen recalls to replace desiccated Takata airbag inflators. The manufacturer has agreed to issue further recalls as vehicles age. The next recall, which will take place in 2023, will include 2015-2016 Volkswagen Beetles and Beetle convertibles. 2017-2019 Beetles and convertibles will be recalled in 2025, along with 2011-2014 Passats.

Repair

Volkswagen dealers will replace the airbag with one that does not contain ammonium nitrate. The repair is not yet available. Owners will be notified by mail starting February 12, 2021.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 100,000 vehicles are included in this Volkswagen recall. Use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool to see if your vehicle is affected. 

Rebecca RandVolkswagen recalls over 100,000 cars equipped with Takata airbag inflators