Tesla recalls 2016 Model X over reports of roof pieces flying off

Pleasanton, CA – December, 8 2020 – Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has recalled 9,136 2016 Tesla Model X SUVs whose roof panels may detach from the car while it is driving, leaving obstacles in the road and possibly endangering other drivers. This recall was announced alongside a Tesla steering bolt recall of 2020 Model Y.

Recall summary  

The  recall concerns two panels, or “appliques,” on the roof of the Model X—one behind the windshield and the other between the falcon doors—that may fall off while the car is in motion. The panels are attached to the SUV using urethane adhesive. With many strong glues, it is important to use a primer to make sure the glue sticks to the surfaces it’s joining. Tesla believes its applique supplier was inconsistent in how it primed the panels, and that this is why some of them are falling off. 

Tesla said it first became aware of the issue on September 21, 2020, but owners have been posting images of their detached Model X roof panels on Tesla forums since at least June 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received four driver complaints, starting in August 2017, of roof panels detaching from the 2016 Model X.

Risks

In its filing with NHTSA, Tesla admits that “if the applique separates from the vehicle while in drive, it could create a road hazard for following motorists and increase their risk of injury or a crash.” Tesla has received no reports of injuries or accidents caused by fly-away appliques, but the danger was obvious to one driver of a 2016 Model X who reported seeing a “top glass piece” (actually shiny plastic) that flew off the car “at freeway speeds. Not good.” The report, filed with the NHTSA, added that the piece  “could easily have killed someone in another car.” 

The dangers of road debris

Road debris is one of the top causes of injuries and deaths. For our previous reporting on the topic, please check out this page.

The repair

Owners may be able to see these panels separating from the roof, or they may hear a noise as wind causes the panel to vibrate against the car. Even if there are no signs of detachment, owners should take recalled vehicles to a dealer, who will test whether the panels in question are firmly attached. If they fail the test, the dealer will apply primer and attach the panels to the car properly, free of charge. 

Tesla has not yet reported to NHTSA when they expect this recall to begin.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

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

Rebecca RandTesla recalls 2016 Model X over reports of roof pieces flying off

Mercedes GLE-class SUVs recalled for faulty seat belt design

Pleasanton, CA – December 4, 2020 – Mercedes-Benz (NASDAQ:DDAIF) has recalled 55,326 Mercedes vehicles, due to an issue with the middle seat belt buckle. The seat belt buckle may be pushed down below the seat cushion if the buckle is fastened using only one hand. A passenger who cannot access a seatbelt and rides unrestrained is at a greater risk of injury. This Mercedes-Benz recall includes:

  • 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 SUVs
  • 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 SUVs
  • 2020 Mercedes- Benz GLE580 SUVs
  • 2020 – 2021  Mercedes-Benz GLE350 SUVs
  • 2020 – 2021  Mercedes-Benz GLE450 SUVs

Recall summary  

The middle seat in the second row is designed with a double-buckle configuration. The design of the seat belt buckle and the seat cushion may cause the buckle to be pushed down into a gap below the seat cushion. This issue may occur when the seat belt is buckled with one hand or is otherwise pushed firmly down. The driver will not be notified the seat belt is unavailable to  the middle-seat occupant.

In 2019, nine owners brought vehicles to Mercedes dealers to remove the seat belt buckle from underneath the seat cushion. In that same year, the manufacturer conducted a recall for 20 different 2018-2019 models. In that case, the cars’ software failed to recognize that the seat belts were latched, leading to a potential malfunction of other systems.

Risks 

If an occupant is not properly restrained, the individual has a much higher risk of injury if a crash occurs. Seat belts are a major factor in passenger safety. It is estimated that seat belt use saved nearly 15,000 lives in 2017.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the middle seat belt and “additionally secure” it in place, so that it can no longer be pushed below the seat cushion. The repair is free of charge.  Mercedes expects the recall to begin December 29.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 55,000 vehicles are included in this Mercedes recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydMercedes GLE-class SUVs recalled for faulty seat belt design

Hyundai issues second recall of Veracruz SUVs for oil leak

Pleasanton, CA – December 5, 2020 – Hyundai (OTCMKTS: HYMTF) is recalling 60,097 2007-2012 Veracruz SUVs to repair an oil leak that could cause the car to stall.  This is the second time these cars have been recalled for this issue.

Recall summary

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Hyundai in September after receiving multiple complaints about an issue that should have been resolved by a 2014 recall. Engine oil may be leaking through a faulty rubber gasket on the engine cylinder, where it could drip on the car’s alternator, disabling it. Without the alternator, the car cannot charge itself while running, which will eventually result in a stall.

NHTSA determined that 1% of the vehicles repaired during the first recall went on to have oil leaks due to mistakes made by the dealers  during the previous round of repairs.

Safety tips

Even though Hyundai says it knows of no crashes or injuries caused by these failing alternators, stalling does raise the risk of accidents, injuries, and worse. Veracruz drivers should keep an eye on the airbag, battery, and check engine warning lights, which may illuminate if the alternator is in trouble. Even if the vehicle does not stall, drivers may notice their cars surging or hesitating as the charging system dies.  Here are some tips on what to do if your car stalls.

Repair

Hyundai will send updated repair instructions to dealers, who will fix the leaky gasket for free. Hyundai will also reimburse owners of recalled cars who have already paid to have the  gasket fixed. The recall should begin in early January 2021. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 60,000 cars are included in this Hyundai 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 RandHyundai issues second recall of Veracruz SUVs for oil leak

General Motors ordered to recall 5.9 million cars equipped with Takata airbags

Pleasanton, CA – December, 3 2020 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered General Motors (NYSE:GM) to recall 5,888,421 pickup trucks and SUVs built with potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators, which could explode and fling deadly shrapnel into vehicle occupants. The infamous airbag inflators have already killed 27 people and injured at least 250 more, and are part of the largest auto recall in history. The latest installment of the recall – which already encompasses 19 car manufacturers and “tens of millions” of cars – includes the following GM models on the GMT900 platform: 

  • 2007-2014 Cadillac Escalade ESV and EXT SUVs
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Avalanche pickups
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and 2500/3500 pickups
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Suburban SUVs
  • 2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2007-2014 GMC Sierra 1500 and 2500/3500 pickups
  • 2007-2014 GMC Yukon XL SUVs

Recall summary

The recall concerns the vehicles’ passenger-side airbag inflators. The inflators use ammonium nitrate to generate a small explosion to inflate the airbags. If this volatile chemical is exposed to heat and humidity, it becomes porous. The extra surface area in this microscopic swiss-cheese allows the ammonium nitrate to burn faster, thus causing a much stronger explosion than intended. This explosion can blow up the inflator and send bits of shrapnel flying into vehicle occupants at high speeds, potentially maiming or killing them.

NHTSA first ordered GM to recall the affected cars in 2016. The company had recalled 330,198 vehicles on the GMT900 platform in May 2015, but argued that the rest of vehicles that are now being recalled should be excluded because the airbag defect was “inconsequential.” This argument was rejected by NHTSA on November 23. Despite disagreeing with the decision,  GM said it would not appeal.

‘Almost no data’ to back up claims

NHTSA consulted air-bag chemical expert Harold Blomquist regarding these findings, who rebutted GM’s many claims that unique design features could prevent their inflators from exploding. “GM expended little effort over the last two years to methodically study the claimed features in order to substantiate their effectiveness,” he said in his 75-page review of GM’s petition. As a result, Blomquist said, GM had “almost no data” to back up their claims that their Takata airbags were somehow less dangerous.

Previous Takata airbag recalls

Automakers have been issuing ever-expanding recalls of Takata airbags for seven years, with 100 million inflators recalled worldwide. Volkswagen, BMW and Honda all recalled cars this and past year because of the airbag issue.

Repair

GM will replace the Takata airbags with a different model, free of charge. More information about the recall schedule should be released by December 24. 

What to do if you own a recalled vehicle

NHTSA has issued a few broad recommendations for drivers in the Takata recall population:

  1. Don’t have your dealer disable your airbags. “It is much more likely that your airbag will perform properly and protect you in a crash than cause harm,” NHTSA says.
  2. “If you feel uncomfortable continuing to drive your vehicle before it is repaired, you should contact your dealer to see if they will provide a loaner until the repair is completed,” NHTSA says. Dealers and manufacturers aren’t required to provide loaners, but it can’t hurt to ask. 
  3. If you’re offered an interim repair, take it. Some automakers will offer to replace the old Takatas with newer ones, which are safer. “It is an inconvenience to have your vehicle serviced twice and to wait for a final repair,” NHTSA says, “But rejecting an interim replacement air bag is not worth the continued higher risk of injury or even death to you, your family, and your friends while waiting for the final repair.”

Some automakers have advised riders not to sit in the front passenger seat. 

Here is the list of vehicles that NHTSA says should NOT be driven.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Nearly 6 million vehicles are included in this GM Takata Airbag recall. Use MotorSafety’s free lookup tool to see if your vehicle is affected. 

Rebecca RandGeneral Motors ordered to recall 5.9 million cars equipped with Takata airbags

Ford recalls Explorers and Aviators over fractured driveshafts

Pleasanton, CA – December 1, 2020 – Ford (NYSE: F) is recalling 10,905 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs whose driveshafts – one of the most important components of a car – may fracture, presenting several risks including vehicle rollaway, fuel leaks and fire. All of the recalled vehicles have 10-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and 2.0L or 3.3L engines. 

Recall summary

In approximately 18 of the 10,905 recalled vehicles, the rear driveshaft may not have been welded properly and could snap. The driveshaft transfers power to the rear wheels. Its breakage could cause the vehicle to lose power while in motion or roll away when parked. The snapped shaft could also pierce the fuel tank and cause a leak and/or fire.

Ford knows the serial numbers of the faulty driveshafts, but they must inspect over 10,000 vehicles to find them. 

Other recalls

The 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator have had close to a dozen of  combined recalls since August 2019, including one for malfunctioning rearview camera and another one for defective fuel lines

Safety risks

The broken driveshaft can cause a whole host of problems. A snapped driveshaft will cut off drive power to the rear wheels, increasing the risk of a crash because of unexpected movement. The vehicle could also roll away if parked on a hill. This is what killed actor Anton Yelchin, whose Jeep Cherokee (also recalled) rolled down his driveway and crushed him against a pillar.  Furthermore, if the driveshaft snaps, it could hit the fuel tank and spring a leak, which in turn could lead to a fire. It’s a frightening list of potential scenarios that should encourage owners to get their vehicles looked at.

Repair

Dealers will inspect the driveshaft and check its serial number. If it matches one on Ford’s list of affected serial numbers, they will replace the driveshaft. Ford plans to notify owners by mail during the week of November 30 as to when the repair will be available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 10,000 cars are included in this Ford 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 RandFord recalls Explorers and Aviators over fractured driveshafts

Volvo recalls luxury sedans for Takata-like airbag problems

Pleasanton, CA – November 29, 2020 – Volvo Car USA (OTC:GELYF)  has recalled 54,124 executive cars with airbags whose inflators may burst and injure or kill the driver and passengers with “metal fragments” when deployed. The recall concerns the FG2 Twin Driver Airbag Inflator Module containing 5AT 148 and includes:

  • 2001-2003 Volvo S60
  • 2001-2003 Volvo S80

Recall summary

Airbag inflators perform exactly what you’d expect them to do – inflate a car’s airbag when needed in the event of a crash. In a scenario that’s eerily similar to the infamous Takata airbag recall, metal fragments that form part of the inflator may shatter during the airbag deployment and strike the occupants of the vehicle.

The defect is a result of the propellant in the airbag being exposed to hot temperatures and “elevated moisture levels” present in the areas with such climate. As such, the recall encompasses 22 Southern U.S. states, as well as five U.S. territories,  such as Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. 

History of airbag troubles

Since 2018, ZF TRW – a U.S. subsidiary of German auto parts maker ZF Group that appears to be behind the recall – has been subject to 68 lawsuits, according to the court records. At least one of the ongoing lawsuits allege that ZF-manufactured airbags fail to deploy during a crash because of a “design defect,” according to a transcript from a hearing.

Risks

In the event of a crash, the airbag deploys at a very high speed, in less than a second.  During the deployment, the metal fragments in the inflator can shoot out and injure the driver or the passengers or cause their death.

As of the date of the recall, one fatality was reported.

Repair

Volvo will be replacing the driver side airbag free of charge. The vehicle owners will be notified of the recall on January 4.  It is not clear, however, when the remedy will be available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

More than 54,000 vehicles are a part of this Volvo Car recall. To check whether your car is one of them, you can use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Aleks SnesarevaVolvo recalls luxury sedans for Takata-like airbag problems

Audi recalls Q7 SUVs over higher risk of head injury in event of crash

Pleasanton, CA – November 27, 2020 – Volkswagen AG (NASDAQ:VWAGY) has recalled nearly 10% of its 2018-2020 Audi Q7 luxury SUVs due to inadequate padding on one of the pillars – a structure that supports the roof of the car. This issue may translate into a higher risk of a head injury in the event of a crash. Around 94,000 vehicles are affected by this recall.

Part number for the deformation element is 4M0 880 619.

Recall summary

C-pillar is one of the four or five pillars that support the roof of the car and is located towards the back of the car. Recalled vehicles do not have enough padding on this pillar, due to a production error made by a sub-supplier based in Austria.

Risks

Inadequate padding may result in a head injury if a passenger who is not wearing a seatbelt hits his or her head during an accident. Until your car is repaired, pay special attention to your surroundings to protect your loved ones.

The repair

Dealers will replace the non-conforming element of C-pillar free of charge. It is not clear from the recall documents if that element is padding.

The recall started on November 17 but it is uncertain when the remedy will be available.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 94,000 vehicles are included in this recall. To see if your Q7 is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Aleks SnesarevaAudi recalls Q7 SUVs over higher risk of head injury in event of crash

General Motors issues another round of recalls for brake assist system

Pleasanton, CA – November 25, 2020 – General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled 14,620 vehicles that operate with either 5.3L or 6.2L V8 engines. In each case, the  power of the mechanical vacuum pump  – which helps the engine with several key functions, including braking – may decrease. This may negatively affect the brake assist system. The recall includes:

  • 2018  Cadillac Escalade sedans
  • 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks
  • 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs
  • 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 trucks
  • 2018 GMC Yukon SUVs

Recall summary  

Among other functions, the mechanical vacuum pump provides power to the brake assist system. Due to a design error that was not addressed during a previous recall for the same issue last year, “the output” of the pump can drop over time, making the power brake assist system less effective.

There are several factors that alert the driver to the brake assist issue:

  • The brake pedal may vibrate when the driver applies the brakes
  • Braking requires more effort
  • A ticking sound is emitted from the engine compartment when the brakes are applied
  • The driver may see a “Service Brake” message pop up on the dash

Risks 

If the brake assist is not operating correctly, the driver must press on the brake pedal with more effort and depress it further to be able to stop the vehicle.

This change in braking ability increases the risk of a crash. Drivers may not be able to brake quickly enough to slow or stop the vehicle. GM notes that the problem is more apparent at low speeds when a driver applies soft pressure to the brakes.

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the Electronic Brake Control Module and reprogram the system. The recall free of charge and began on November 16.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 14,000 vehicles are included in this General Motors recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydGeneral Motors issues another round of recalls for brake assist system

Ford recalls Explorers for third time due to faulty suspension

Pleasanton, CA – November 24, 2020 – Ford (NYSE:F) has recalled 318,381 SUVs because a part of the suspension  – which connects the vehicle to the wheels – may fracture, seriously impairing a driver’s ability to steer. The recall includes 2013-2017 Ford Explorer SUVs and concerns the rear suspension toe links (#DB5Z-5B758-B and #DB5Z-5B759-B).

Recall summary  

The rear toe links hold the car’s back wheels at the correct angle so that the vehicle actually goes in the direction that the driver is steering. 

For a reason that is not entirely clear, the toe links have been snapping, causing the driver to lose control of the cars’ back wheels and get injured. Ford’s investigation up to date has pointed to salt – that is predominantly used in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest – as the culprit of the problem. Salt can corrode vehicles’ underbellies, where the toe links are located.

As such, the recall encompasses 22 states and six Canadian provinces where salt is used to de-ice roads in the winter. 

Previous recalls

This is the third time the manufacturer recalls Explorers for the same issue that was previously addressed in two separate recalls in 2016 and 2019.  The smaller 2016 recall was deemed necessary because of the toe links “improper weld,” while the 2019 one – that involved 1.2 million vehicles – was allegedly caused by rough roads.

Toe link problems have also forced Ford to recall nearly 230,000 Flex, Taurus, and Lincoln MKT vehicles this past February. Ford Focus cars have been subject to several complaints – one as recently as February – for its tires wearing out early.

Risks

A broken rear toe link will sever a driver’s control over one of their back wheels, allowing it to point in any direction. Under these conditions, the vehicle may start fishtailing (weaving left and right like a fish), which can send the car careening into a ditch or oncoming traffic. This is extremely dangerous. In fact, problems relating to this recall have caused at least 13 accidents and six injuries.

‘Sliding on ice sideways’

After one Explorer owner’s toe links snapped last February, they described the experience in a complaint to the NHTSA. “It’s like sliding on ice sideways. Very scary. Never want to go through this ever again.”  The driver nearly avoided a head-on collision.

Other drivers were similarly shaken by the sudden loss of control. “My daughter and I should have both been killed” said one NHTSA complaint this past August. “…several weeks since the (near) accident and we are still shaken up by it.” Another driver described how their seven-year-old grandson was now afraid to get in the car alone with them after their Explorer’s toe link broke and the car fishtailed across the median, slamming into a reflector post, just barely missing oncoming traffic. 

The repair

Ford will inspect where the toe link attaches to the wheel, and replace it if necessary, for free. The recall is expected to begin November 30, 2020. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 300,000 vehicles are part of this Ford recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandFord recalls Explorers for third time due to faulty suspension

Ford recalls F-250s and F-350s for front axle issues

Pleasanton, CA – November 23, 2020 – Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has recalled 9,628 Ford 4X4 trucks. The front axles may not be properly welded to the trucks, increasing the risk of a crash. Axles are responsible for transmitting the power from the vehicle to the wheels, which is what propels the car forward. Front axles in particular also help with steering and cushioning the blow from driving on uneven roads. As such, having a malfunctioning axis greatly increases the risk of a crash.

The recall includes 2019 Ford F-250 and F-350 super-duty trucks and concerns F250/350 Front Axle Assembly. Part number is JC34-3002-TB/DB/EB/FB.

Recall summary  

A Ford’s supplier used “non-conforming parts” to assemble the front axle and subsequently welded them incorrectly.

This is at least the second recall that Ford issued because of axle problems for this particular model and year. In October 2019, the manufacturer asked nearly 30,000 drivers of the 2019 F-250s and F-350s to take their cars in for repair because the rear axles were prone to fracture.

These same trucks are also subject to a 2019 California class action lawsuit, alleging that their suspension and steering problem make them prone to a “death wobble,”  or “violent shaking” at higher speeds when traveling on uneven surfaces. The lawsuit was partially dismissed in early November.

Warning signs

Here are some signs that your car’s axle may be broken or is not welded properly:

  • An unusual noise when you turn or put the car into gear
  • Wobbling or vibration especially in the wheel area
  • Brake malfunction
  • Car fails to move

It is unsafe to continue driving the car with a broken or misaligned axle and you should take the car to the shop as soon as possible.

Risks 

If the axle is not properly welded to the vehicle, it may break, causing you to lose control of the car and get into an accident. If the axle breaks, you may feel the truck get pulled to the left or the right or find that steering becomes more difficult. The effects can be more  pronounced if the axle failure occurs when you brake hard.  

The repair

To fix the issue, dealers will need to inspect the front axle of the truck and confirm if the welding was performed correctly. If not, the axle assembly will be replaced. The repair is free of charge and the recall was expected to begin on October 15, 2020.

Ford estimates that the repair will be completed in less than two days. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 9,500 vehicles are included in this Ford truck recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Ken BoydFord recalls F-250s and F-350s for front axle issues