Hyundai recalls over 200,000 cars for interior fire hazard

Pleasanton, CA – July 3, 2020 – Hyundai (OTCMKTS:HYMTF) is recalling 272,126 light vehicles for a fire hazard related to the  12-volt accessory outlet. The recall includes:

  • 2012 Hyundai Accent
  • 2011-2012 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2011-2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • 2012 Hyundai Veloster

Recall summary

In June, Hyundai determined that 12v “cigarette lighter” outlets inside the cars had been installed too tightly during assembly, disabling the component designed to prevent overheating.

This can lead to the recalled cars smoking or catching fire when fixing a flat tire using the outlet. The tires are inflated using a tire mobility kit which gets plugged into the outlet and come standard on these models.

Hyundai first received a report related to this defect in October 2011.  In November 2018,  a  car caught fire inside someone’s garage  while the tire inflator was in use. Despite that, the car manufacturer was unable to replicate the smoke and burning in tests until this summer.

Safety risks

In the tests Hyundai conducted while investigating this issue, the outlets generated smoke and melted parts of the dashboard. Inhaling smoke from a burning vehicle may pose a health hazard to drivers and passengers, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Modern cars, the administration warns, are made with many synthetic materials, like plastic, that emit dangerous gases when they burn.

If you smell burning plastic or smoke while driving, stop the car someplace safe. Once stopped, turn off the engine and exit the vehicle. If you suspect a fire, stay 100 feet away from the car and call for help.

Repair

The recall will officially begin on August 28, when the company will notify dealers and owners of the issue. However, the repair is not yet available. In the meantime, owners should not use the tire inflator until their 12V outlets have been repaired.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 200,000 cars are included in this Hyundai recall. Check and see if your car is one of them using Motorsafety.org’s free recall lookup tool.


Rebecca RandHyundai recalls over 200,000 cars for interior fire hazard

Mercedes-Benz recalls high-performance cars with faulty stability control software

Pleasanton, CA – July 7, 2020 – Mercedes-Benz (OTCMKTS: DMLRY) is recalling 5,039  high-performance AMG vehicles for a problem with the software that reduces the risk of skidding. The recall includes:

  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 S 
  • 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC63 
  • 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC63 S 
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT63 
  • 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT63 S 

Recall summary

The recall concerns vehicles’ Electronic Stability Control (ESP) software. The ESP ensures that the car goes in the direction the driver wants it to go. If it determines that the driver may have lost the control of the car, it applies brakes or reduces the engine power to help the driver regain control. The software has been installed on all new cars sold in the U.S. since 2012.

Due to an error on the part of the supplier – Bosch Engineering – the ESP on the affected cars was not primed to interact with certain brakes and sensors being installed on the Mercedes Benz vehicles in question The issue first came to light in mid-2018.

Safety risks

Because the ESP aids in steering and braking, it can seriously impact the speed and direction of the car. If the ESP responds incorrectly, it could veer the car in the wrong direction and increase the risk of a crash. 

Repair

The repair is a software update. Mercedes has not indicated when it will become available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

More than 5,000 cars are included in this Mercedes recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Rebecca RandMercedes-Benz recalls high-performance cars with faulty stability control software

Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks recalled for faulty ABS indicator light

Pleasanton, CA – July 17 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 12,200 Chevy Silverado trucks that may fail to indicate to the driver that there is a problem with the car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS), increasing the risk of  a crash. The recall includes:

  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet 4500HD Silverado Medium Duty trucks
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet 5500HD Silverado Medium Duty trucks
  • 2019-2020 Chevrolet 6500HD Silverado Medium Duty trucks

Recall summary  

On May 29, General Motors decided that certain  2019-2020  Chevrolet   Medium   Duty 4500HD/5500HD/6500HD trucks do not comply with a federal regulation requiring the ABS light to illuminate during certain kinds of malfunctions.

Vehicles use several control modules to operate many aspects of the car. GM houses many of these modules together in a grouping called the Body Control Module (BCM), which coordinates many functions in the vehicle, including as the speedometer, the instrumentation panel and the chime warnings. Another module, called the Electronic Brake Control Module (EBCM), reads sensors in the braking system, and uses that information to activate the ABS as needed for sudden braking, stability or traction control. These two systems need to communicate for the safety of the driver.

In the recalled vehicles, the ABS  light fails to illuminate when the BCM can’t communicate with the EBCM.  This means that the driver will not be notified when there is a problem with the ABS.

Risks 

It is important for drivers to know if there is a problem with the anti-lock brakes. Driving without the ABS, particularly in bad weather, can be dangerous because the vehicle may not handle braking on slippery surfaces the way it is supposed to. When a vehicle skids, the tires lose traction with the ground and the driver can no longer steer, increasing the risk of a crash.

The repair

The affected trucks need a software update for the BCM. The update itself should take approximately 35 minutes, but GM advises owners in its owner notification letter that it may take longer “because of service scheduling requirements.”

The repair is available now and is free of charge.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 12,000 cars are included in this Chevy recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Nate GouldsbroughChevrolet Silverado pickup trucks recalled for faulty ABS indicator light

Volkswagen recalls nearly 13,000 Audi luxury sedans for engine fire risk

Pleasanton, CA – July 16th, 2020 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS: VWAGY) is recalling  all 2013-2018 Audi S8 and A8 vehicles that were manufactured between June 2012 and July 2017. The company warns that a faulty part of the engine compartment may increase the risk of a fire.

Recall summary

The recall stems from an issue with the engine compartment seal, a flexible strip that seals the engine compartment against the hood and helps keep the engine cool.

In “rare cases,” after being exposed to large temperature fluctuations near the hot engine, metal inside the rubber seal can warp and deform the seal. As a result, the seal—and possibly components surrounding it—can scorch and cause a fire.

Smells like trouble

The first sign of a problem for one Audi owner in McKinney, Texas, was a “rubber/plastic smell coming from under the hood,” the driver said in a post to an Audi World forum.

“I opened things up and the rubber seal (that seals the engine compartment against the hood when it is closed) had fallen off right above one of the turbo assemblies.”

The poster drives a 2016 Audi S8 and claimed to have looked into the issue back in March, four months before Volkswagen issued their recall.

Volkswagen became aware of incidents of burning and warping  seals in September 2019, but received no reports from North America.

Safety tips

If you smell something burning while driving, stop the car someplace safe. Check the tires first. Wait for the engine to cool down before popping the hood to take  a look– you  do not want to burn your fingers on a hot component. 

If you suspect there is an actual fire under the hood, do not open it. Oxygen will rush in and feed the flames. Instead, get yourself and others away from the vehicle, at least 100 feet. Call the fire department at 911 when you are in a secure location. Do not return to the vehicle for any reason.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), car fires kill over 300 people a year on average. But, the number may be higher because it is often hard to tell whether the person died from the crash or from the fire. Between 2008 and 2017, vehicle fires caused, on average, over a thousand injuries per year. 

The repair

Volkswagen dealers will install a retaining plate that will hold the engine seal in place and keep it from loosening. As of [date of publication] the repair is not yet available. Repairs may be forthcoming by September, when the recall officially begins.

In the meantime, customers can check the condition of their engine compartment seal by looking under the hood to see if the seal is in the correct position. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 13,000 cars are included in this Volkswagen recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Nate GouldsbroughVolkswagen recalls nearly 13,000 Audi luxury sedans for engine fire risk

Fiat Chrysler’s loose brand emblem may impale drivers, passengers in a collision

Pleasanton, CA – July 7, 2020 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (NYSE:FCAU) is recalling 925,239 vehicles because of a loose or a missing brand emblem that may be flung at the drivers and passengers during a crash, potentially causing serious injury. The recall includes:

  • 2008-2010 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 2008-2010 Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 2007-2011 Dodge Nitro

Recall summary

The plastic brand emblem on the steering wheel, as well as the nuts securing it, form part of the airbag cover. As a result of a design flaw, these components may detach and injure the driver and passengers, especially if the driver airbag deploys  during a crash.

Safety risks

There are 14 known injuries caused by this defect. One report filed in 2013 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes how one man received a “huge laceration” from a Dodge emblem that was flung into his forearm during a crash. “It could have knocked out his eye, entered his heart or even slashed his throat,” his spouse said in the report. Another near miss was reported in 2011, when an Oregon driver noticed, after a crash, that the emblem on her 2007 Dodge Nitro had shot off the steering wheel when the airbags went off and ended up in the passenger-side door. The driver was concerned with how forcefully the emblem had flown off the wheel.

Airbags deploy at speeds between 100 and 200 miles per hour within 30 to 50 milliseconds. Additionally, “objects in the path of a deploying airbag can become injurious, potentially lethal projectiles.” Even without the boost of an airbag, any loose object in a crashing vehicle can impale an occupant at close to the speed the vehicle was going before it crashed. For example, in 2015, surgeons in Rhode Island found a dime lodged in a crash victim’s leg. It had passed through his femur. The dime was bent.

Repair

FCA intends to replace the driver airbag cover on all affected vehicles. Replacements are set to be available by September. In the meantime, FCA has offered to remove emblems from the airbag cover as an “interim repair.” 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 900,000 cars are included in this Fiat Chrysler recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Nate GouldsbroughFiat Chrysler’s loose brand emblem may impale drivers, passengers in a collision

Ford recalls another round of F-150s due to front brake failure

Pleasanton, CA – July 6, 2020 – Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has announced a recall of certain 2014-2017 Ford F-150 pickup trucks  equipped with 3.5-liter Ecoboost engines. 

Recall summary

In May 2016, Ford recalled 225,012 F-150s for leaking brake fluid resulting in front brake failure. On June 8 of this year,  after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation, the company expanded the recall to the 2014-2017 models because of the same issue.  In some cases – depending on the model – drivers would hear “an audible chime” or see the “brake warning indicator” come on.  In others, however, the brakes would fail without any warning. Losing the front braking power can increase the distance it takes to stop a moving vehicle, which increases the risk of a crash. 

A harrowing experience for drivers

There are 286 Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) reports from the NHTSA detailing drivers’ experiences with Ford brake failure. Ford says it knows of seven accidents and two injuries that have resulted from this defect. Dozens more near-misses populate the NHTSA list of complaints linked to F-150s with leaky brake master cylinders.

Many of the incidents began with a driver pressing down on the brake pedal, only to have it go all the way to the floor with no resistance as the car barreled ahead, slowing very little or not at all. “I was convinced someone had tampered with my brakes and they were trying to kill me!” one Ford driver reported.

Another driver’s report states their warning light came on shortly before the brakes failed. The driver told their family to hold on. “As they were screaming in fear I stepped on the emergency [brake] and down-shifted to first,” the driver wrote in their complaint. “We are lucky I knew what to do. Another family may not be so lucky.”

What to do if your brakes fail 

According to Ford, in a situation where a leak disables the front wheel brakes,  the rear brakes would still function. But losing half a car’s braking power can still feel like the vehicle is out of control.

If a vehicle’s brakes partially fail, drivers should:

  • Maintain composure and turn on hazard lights.
  • Attempt to slow down by either shifting to a lower gear (for a manual transmission) or taking the foot off the gas (for an automatic car).
  • Pump the brakes.
  • If pumping the brakes does not work, slowly engage the parking (emergency) brake. 
  • Look for a safe place to pull off. This may be an open area to steer into, or an uphill road to turn onto.
  • As a last resort, if the vehicle will not stop, turn the ignition “OFF”. Do not turn it to “LOCK,” which will lock up the steering wheel. 

The repair

Ford owners can take their recalled F-150s to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to replace the brake master cylinder and the brake booster, if needed. According to the NHTSA, repairs due to a recall will come free of charge, if no more than 10 years passed from the vehicle purchase date.

Owners who paid to repair this defect before the recall may be reimbursed, but the deadline for reimbursement is July 17

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 300,000 cars are included in this Ford F-150 recall. Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Joe GlaserFord recalls another round of F-150s due to front brake failure

Toyota expands Prius recall

Pleasanton, CA – June 25, 2020 – Toyota (NYSE:TM) is recalling more Priuses for an electrical problem that may cause the car to suddenly lose power on the road.

The recall includes:

  • 2013-2015 Toyota Prius
  • 2014-2017 Toyota Prius V

Recall summary

Like with other Prius recalls in 2014 and 2018, the electrical system is at fault. Sometimes, hard acceleration overheats and damages a part called the inverter, which controls power flow in the car.  This usually triggers a fail-safe mode – also known as a  “limp-home” mode –  but this specific defect is causing cars to stall instead.

Sudden loss of power on the road can cause collisions, which may lead to injury and even death of the driver and other motorists.  The recall officially begins on August 10, 2020, but repairs will become available sometime in July.

In the meantime, drivers “should avoid placing a high load on the hybrid system by avoiding [rapidly accelerating from a full stop] when possible.

Driving risks

Stalling at a stoplight is arguably not as dangerous as losing power on the freeway. Vehicles may not be able to react in time and could ram a stalled car from behind. 

In April 2019, Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times reported on drivers’ terrifying experiences with Prius inverter failure. “A Marina del Rey woman had to cross three lanes of fast-moving traffic on the 91 Freeway,” he wrote. “In another case, a Florida woman was rear-ended. The crash left her with a cracked vertebra and a punctured lung.”

If your car stalls, you should immediately turn on the emergency hazard lights and call 911 and your roadside assistance provider. Do not leave your vehicle if you are driving down a highway with several lanes of traffic.

Another software update

Toyota’s fix for the recall, like in 2018, is a software update. However, last time, dealers continued to see damaged inverters in cars that had received an update.

One of Toyota’s largest Southern California dealers, Roger Hogan reported the original issue to Toyota in 2017 and sued the company over the defect. Hogan believes the software is not the real problem, and that the only genuine fix would be to replace the inverter with a newer model, costing $2,000 per unit, according to Vartabedian’s article.

Toyota has launched a separate program to “repair or replace” damaged inverters for free before an update is performed. However, in order to qualify, the inverter must already be broken.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 266,000 cars are included in this Toyota recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool to check your car for open recalls.

Joe GlaserToyota expands Prius recall

Mazda recalls 12,000 cars due to risk of crash and fire

Pleasanton, CA – June 13, 2020 – Mazda (OTCMKTS:MZDAY) is recalling 12,097 all-wheel drive (AWD) Mazda CX-30 vehicles because a hose in the tank may be disconnected. This is a fire hazard and poses the risk that drivers could stall on the road and get hit. It also increases pollution produced by the  car.

The recall affects only Mazda CX-30s that were assembled at a specific factory.

Recall summary

While no accidents have occurred as a result of this recall, one Mazda dealer reported that a car’s fuel was leaking out of the emissions system after the tank had been refilled. Another stalled as it was being delivered to a customer. The cause was the same: the fuel evaporative vent hose was not connected.

The vent hose is part of the Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) that is used to stop fuel vapors from being released into the atmosphere.  A malfunction within this system means that the vapors can pollute the environment all the time even if the vehicle is idle.  Additionally, fuel leaks can increase the risk of fire and engine stall, both of which can injure the driver and other motorists.

Car owners should be notified by August 11 to take the vehicles to check if the hose is disconnected. The repairs will be covered under the new vehicle warranty.

Separately, Mazda CX-30 SUVs and Mazda3 compacts are being recalled to check and “tighten the bolts on the front brakes” to reduce the risk of crash. The infamous Takata airbag recall is also still underway for a variety of models, including 2007-2015 CX-9 and Mazda6 models from 2003 to 2013.

How did this happen?

Unlike some recalls, which stem from design flaws, this one can be traced back to a single factory in Mexico where Mazda fuel tanks were assembled. The plant conducted an investigation and found that a worker did not finish connecting the hoses on the vehicles they worked on. It is unclear whether this one worker is responsible for the defect in all 12,097 vehicles. But all workers received additional training as a result of the failure. 

Vehicle fires

The U.S. Fire Administration 2019 Report on Fire in the United States stated that equipment failures accounted for at least 20% of vehicle fires between 2009 and 2017. The number could be higher — in 24% of vehicle fires, the precise cause could not be determined (partly because many fires occur after a collision, and partly because fire has a handy way of destroying the evidence.)

Fuel is extremely flammable, which is why cars are built to keep it contained. Any situation where it is leaking poses a hazard to drivers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, if a vehicle catches fire, the driver should:

Pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so, to a safe location off the road such as the breakdown lane or rest stop.

Once stopped, TURN OFF the engine.

GET everyone out of the car. Never return to a burning car for anything. 

MOVE everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic.

Is your vehicle affected by this recall?

Over 12,000 cars are included with this recall. Own a Mazda? Check for open recalls on your car using MotorSafety’s free lookup tool.

Joe GlaserMazda recalls 12,000 cars due to risk of crash and fire

Chrysler recalls 67,248 Jeep Cherokees over risk of stalling and rollaway

Pleasanton, CA – June 12, 2020 –Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) recalled 67,248 Jeep Cherokees over a defective part that can cause the SUV to stall or lose its park function without a warning. Sudden stalls can lead to a collision, and losing park function means that a car parked on a slope could roll away, posing a risk to surrounding people and vehicles.

The recall includes 2014-2017 Jeep Cherokees with two specific four-wheel-drive systems called Jeep Active Drive II and Active Drive Lock.

Recall summary

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) started looking into the issue back in February based on the reports that Jeep Cherokees were stalling and losing their “park” function. The culprit turned out to be the Power Transfer Unit (PTU), which is a part of a car that transfers power from the engine and transmission to the wheels.  As a result of a design flaw,  a part of the PTU that has “teeth” may wear off, which may result “in a loss of engagement” with another part of the PTU.  Because of that, Drive and Park may no longer function. The former leads to stalls, while the latter means that a parked vehicle will not stay put on a slope (unless its parking brake is engaged) posing a rollaway risk.

Newer Cherokees, which have stronger “teeth” on their PTU gears, are not part of the recall.

The risks

Anton Yelchin attends the 'Cymbeline' Photocall during the 71st Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2014 in Venice, Italy.
Actor Anton Yelchin was killed in “freak accident” on June 18th, 2016 when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled back and pinned him against a brick wall.

So far, there has been only one accident related to this recall.  But, stalling while driving can be dangerous and cause collisions, as faster-moving vehicles may hit the car from behind. And rollaways are extremely hazardous.  In 2016, Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, for example, was killed when his 2015 Grand Cherokee rolled backward down his driveway and crushed him.  

The fix

The repair offered by FCA is a software update that will prevent stalls and rollaways, and it should be available by September, according to an FCA’s recall center customer service representative. The company will reimburse owners who have already paid for a repair.

Is your vehicle affected by this recall?

Over 67,000 cars are part of this Chrysler recall. Check to see if your car is one of them at MotorSafety.org, where you can search for open recalls on your vehicle.

Joe GlaserChrysler recalls 67,248 Jeep Cherokees over risk of stalling and rollaway

Another Honda Fuel Pump Recall Announced For Popular Honda and Acura Models

Laguna Hills – June 6, 2020 – In the latest in a litany of 2020 Honda recalls, the automaker has recalled thousands of vehicles over a potentially-faulty fuel pump that could cause the cars to stall. But unlike the last recall, which only affected models with a certain V6 engine, this recall affects all the following models, regardless of engine:

  • 2018-19 Acura NDX
  • 2019 Acura RDX
  • 2019 Acura RLX
  • 2019 Acura RLX Hybrid
  • 2018-19 Honda Accord
  • 2018-19 Honda Civic
  • 2019 Honda Fit
  • 2018-19 Honda HR-V
  • 2019-20 Honda Insight

Honda says 136,057 vehicles in America are affected; worldwide, over 1.4 million vehicles are hit by this recall. Honda will notify owners of the affected cars of the recall by the end of July, but owners can find out if their car is affected right now.

Fuel pump failure

A manufacturing defect could cause the fuel pump in the affected models to suddenly stop working, depriving the engine of fuel, and causing it to stall. This stall could happen at any speed, and entirely without warning.

Stalling can cause a loss of control

Like other defects that could cause a car to stall at highway speed, a faulty fuel pump poses a grave safety risk: not only is it possible you won’t be able to accelerate, you could also lose power steering, power brakes, and other systems that make your car much easier to drive than it otherwise would be. If your fuel pump fails, you will not be able to restart the car.

The safest thing to do is turn on your flashers and try to get out of the road. If traffic conditions do not permit you to do this, stay in your lane – you don’t want to block two lanes at once. Call 911 and stay in your car until help arrives, because your car isn’t going anywhere without a tow.

While Honda and Acura recall reports show no known accidents because of this defect, the possibility of a crash remains.

Honda recall history

While this is the first 2020 Honda recalls for the affected cars, other recalls have revealed other Honda safety issues. Earlier in 2020, fuel pumps in other cars were recalled, while in 2019, over 100,000 2019 Honda CR-V’s were recalled for potentially-dangerous air bags.

Get it fixed for free

Once parts become available, Honda will repair all the affected vehicles for free at any certified Honda or Acura service center. Owners of these vehicles are encouraged to proactively look up their VIN to find out if their vehicle is part of this recall.

Joe GlaserAnother Honda Fuel Pump Recall Announced For Popular Honda and Acura Models