Recently in Automobile Recalls Category

October 29, 2014

Chemical Propellant Linked to Exploding Airbags Used by Takata

Airbags in motor vehicles use a propellant to inflate the airbags in the event of a motor vehicle crash, but Takata airbags has been using a chemical propellant, to inflate their airbags, that has been the cause for a recall of nearly 8 million vehicles. The problem with the Takata airbags is that to make their airbags inflate, they are using a dangerous chemical, aluminum nitrate, which can cause injury and death. When the airbags inflate and explode, they, cause shrapnel and other debris to enter the vehicle and can cause injury and death to the driver and passengers. To date, the use of Aluminum nitrate in the Takata airbags has been linked to at least four deaths and a number of injuries.

Takata airbags are mostly used by the automobile manufacturer Honda, and so far all the deaths associated with these airbags have been linked to Honda vehicles. Other vehicle manufacturers have had to make recalls, as well, but Honda has had the majority of the recalls associated with the use of Takata airbags.

To date, Takata is the only company that uses Aluminum nitrate as an airbag propellant. This chemical, though efficient at inflating the airbags in the speed needed to respond to a vehicle collision or impact, reacts negatively to moisture. This negative reaction to moisture, in turn, increases the power of the chemical reaction, and therefore; causes the airbags to explode. The explosion causes debris and other particles to enter the vehicle cabin and can hurt the driver and passengers in the vehicle. As stated, previously; four people have died as a result of using Takata airbags, to date.

The chairman of Takata Corporation, which was founded in 1930, is Mr. Shigehisa Takada. Earlier this week, Mr. Takada publicly apologized for the defective airbags. He said the company has put aside about $28 million dollars to pay for the recalls, in addition to the almost $70 million already spent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the risk of the Takata airbags, specifically in areas with warmer climates, such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Gulf of Mexico. The NHTSA has urged owners of vehicles with Takata airbags to seek immediate repairs. Therefore; all vehicle owners with Takata airbags need to have their vehicles repaired, especially those in warmer climates, as they are more seriously affected, due to higher moisture levels and the reaction that causes with the chemical Aluminum nitrate used by Takata airbags.

September 4, 2014

Check Your Vehicle for Recalls Through a New Government Website

A new government website will help consumers, who are looking to buy a used vehicle, make a better decision about the vehicle they are interested in purchasing, by publishing open recalls on used vehicles. The government website, can use a vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to list any open recalls on the vehicle. Currently, there is no law against preventing used car dealerships from selling recalled vehicles that haven't been fixed. Therefore; it is up to the consumer to be educated and well versed on the used vehicle they intend to buy, and that is where this new website comes into play.

Consumers, are therefore, advised to visit the website where these recalled vehicles will be listed by going to www.Safercar.gov. Once you are on the site, you can subscribe and opt to receive an email for all vehicle recall notifications. Every consumer that subscribes can sign up for up to five vehicle notifications. If not, you can just put the make and model year of the vehicle and/or the vehicles VIN and any and all recalls for that vehicle will show up.

June 16, 2014

Automobile Recalls at an All Time High in 2014

Since February of this year, Toyota Motor Corporation and General Motors Corporation have both announced vehicle recalls and have admitted to a blatant neglect towards consumer welfare and safety concerns. 2014 will most likely result in a rash of recalls and set tally records on safety related recalls in a single year.

The criteria for recalls has shifted, it use to be a compliance with laws or whether there were technical problems with a vehicle, but it has now shifted to whether the products can assure customers safety and peace of mind.

Toyota Motor Corp. has been one of the companies with the greatest recall in the recent years. In early June of 2014, Toyota Motor Corp agreed to pay a record $1.2 billion fine to U.S. Regulators to settle a criminal investigation into their unintended acceleration tied to defective floor mats and "sticky pedals" on some of their models. The "sticky pedals" problem was linked to 37 deaths worldwide.

In regards to, General Motors Corp., they too had issues with recalls. In their case it was disclosed that between 2003 and 2011 there were 2.6 million cars that had faulty ignition switches that ultimately led to 13 deaths. It became apparent that the ignitions would unexpectedly switch to accessory mode and shut off the engines, which then disabled the airbags and the power steering, on some of their vehicles. GM has since issued 29 other recalls of 15.8 million cars and trucks.

However; advances in automobile technology have made vehicles today safer than they were 15, 10, even five years ago, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

Regardless, if your vehicle has a recall, it is at no expense to you. The cost to fix your vehicles' problem is on the manufacturer. So, if your vehicle has a recall, simply take your vehicle to your dealership and they will be responsible for the recall and the costs towards fixing whatever needs to be fixed.

Also, not all recalls are safety related and not all recalls affect every vehicle that fits the criteria for the recall. Some problems are environmental. For example, tires can fail for a number of reasons that could include salt on the road, which is normal during Midwestern winters but not likely in the South.

In order to see if your vehicle has been recalled for any reason you can go to the manufacturer's website or to Edmunds.com and search under car recalls. You can and may also want to contact your dealer or check at NHTSA.gov under recalls and defects.

May 13, 2013

The Safe Rental Car Act

A new bill will be presented named "The Safe Rental Car Act" to the U.S. Senate sometime this year, where it states that Rental car companies are to ground any recalled vehicles within 24 hours of receiving a recall notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The time limit is extended to 48 hrs if a rental company has more than 5,000 of the affected vehicles in its fleet. At times, certain recalls provide a list of temporary measures that can be taken until the complete fix is available. If such an option is made available, rental car companies are allowed to continue to rent those recalled vehicles until the replacement parts are available and distributed accordingly.

The bill, if passed, would also give the NHTSA the right to investigate rental car companies' compliance with the law. Passing the Safe Rental Car Act has its ups and downs, according to rental car companies such as Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, etc. Some rental companies say it's too hard a law to abide by because depending on the vehicle that is being recalled, rental companies might be forced to ground thousands of vehicles, which would in turn affect the customer, reduce the inventory available at each rental company and any recalled vehicles already out on loan would have to be replaced immediately.

Secondly, some recalls are less serious than others. For example, if a vehicle is being recalled for brake failure or fluid leaks or engine troubles then that recall is important and should be immediately grounded but if the recall is for a proper tire pressure label then that recall is not as important, serious or dangerous to the renter.

Lastly, rental companies, sometimes, point out that taxis do not have to follow the same legislation as rental companies, and to them, that is not fair. They consider taxis as vehicles that take a non-vehicle owner from one place to another and should therefore follow the same legislation, rules and laws as rental car companies in order to maintain the safety of the driver and passenger in these recalled vehicles.

However; if the new bill is passed, it is only for and in the best interest to the public/consumer. When renting vehicles, the rental companies are ultimately taking risks and taking responsibility for the vehicles that they are renting to the public. It is simply one of the risks that come with the rental car business.

April 3, 2013

Magura Hydraulic Disc Brake Recall Issued by the CPSC

Magura USA Hydraulic disc brakes have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) after it was determined that the brakes can malfunction in low temperatures and can lead to loss of brake pressure. The recall includes Magura MT6 and MT8 hydraulic disc brakes that consist of a brake lever, master cylinder linked to the handle bars, and a hose running from the master cylinder to the caliper that is attached to the rear wheel. These specific hydraulic disc brakes were manufactured from March 2011 to May 2011 with the date codes ranging from 10301 to 20531, which are printed on the bicycle. This means that about 2,800 bicycle hydraulic brakes have been recalled due to the risk that they may fail, posing potential crashes and injuries for riders. All other Magera hydraulic disc brakes are not included in this recall or affected by the faulty part that can cause injury.

The Magura MT6 was sold in black and silver and the MT8 was sold in black and red. Both have the word "Magura" located on the caliper and the "MT" logo on the master cylinder. The MT6 model has the word "six" printed on the brake lever and the MT8 model has the word "eight" written on the brake lever. The Magura MT6 and MT8 were priced at $269 and $379 respectively. Also, included in this recall are all MT6 and MT8 brake systems without date codes.

Magura disc brakes are manufactured in Bad Urach, Germany and imported by Magura USA, of Olney Illinois.

The CPSC recommends that owners and riders of these bicycles stop riding them, contact Magura USA at (800)448-3876 for a free repair, and/or visit them online at www.maguradirect.com and click on "Recall Information".

Also, please be aware that it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

The CPSC responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion a year. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard.

No injuries have been reported to date, but if you or someone you know does become a victim or is injured by the use of either the MT6 or MT8 Magura USA Hydraulic disc brakes, please contact the CPSC and file a report/complaint and contact an attorney to assisting you in your claim.

July 24, 2012

Ford Motor Company Recalls 2013 Ford Escape SUV's

M-2013-Ford-Escape.jpgFord Motor Company has recalled the 2013 Ford Escape that comes equipped with 1.6 liter four cylinder engines.

The recall was issued of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles because the vehicles have a faulty fuel line that can cause an under hood fire. This recall affects about 11,500 Escapes in the US and Canada, mainly vehicles built at the Ford Motor Company Louisville, Kentucky plant. All other Escape models are not affected. The danger of an under hood fire only occur while the vehicle is in motion, therefore; do not drive the vehicle. Call your dealership, immediately. Dealers will pick up your Escape and drop off a rental car that can be used until the repairs are finished at no cost to you, the owner/customer.

Three under hood fires have been reported since June 9, 2012. Two were reported by employees that were test driving the vehicles at the Louisville Kentucky Assembly plant and one by an owner in Canada. No injuries were reported, but this caused the recall of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles.

There was a second recall issued on the 2013 Ford Escape. The second recall issued has to do with the carpet padding that can interfere with braking.

April 19, 2012

NHTSA Proposal for Override Brake Systems Implementation

brake pedals.jpgOn April 12, 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a 98 page proposal to upgrade the current safety standards of vehicles by implementing brake-override systems in all vehicles. The proposal is aimed at preventing runaway car crashes. Federal safety administrators propose that all new cars and trucks have brake-throttle override systems. This means that a vehicles brake system would work even if the gas pedal is stuck while the driver is trying to brake (ie: sticky pedals or pedal entrapment issues), therefore; minimizing the risk of driers losing control of their vehicles in emergency situations. A perfect example of this problem is the Toyota's unintentional acceleration problems from 2009 and 2010, where Toyota vehicles were accelerating and the drivers could do nothing to stop the vehicle and therefore crashes occurred and people were injured. As a result of the acceleration problem of certain Toyota vehicles, a recall of over 10 million vehicles went into effect. The NHTSA brake-override proposal would stop that from happening ever again.

If passed, the proposed rule would go into effect September 1, 2014, but would exclude vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds. One of the important issues is that if this rule goes into effect, it would cost little to implement, considering that most new vehicles have the software already. Toyota, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Group LLC already have the brake override systems in all their vehicles since 2011.

December 6, 2011

NHTSA Investigates Batteries of Chevrolet Volts

chevy-volt-battery-fires-nhtsa-investigation.jpg
After crash tests results show that batteries are catching fire on the Chevrolet Volts, the NHTSA will get involved and further investigate this safety problem. The fire risk of the Chevrolet Volts will be investigated by the NHTSA in the coming weeks. In the meantime, General Motors Company, has offered all Chevrolet Volt owners rental vehicles until the NHTSA's investigation is complete. If you own a Chevrolet Volt, you should contact your dealer immediately.

The investigation needs to determine whether the lithium-ion batteries have a higher risk of catching fire in certain types of automobile crashes. A recall could be issued if it is determined that this is so.

So far crash test results show that when the Volts have a side impact, that causes damage to the battery compartment and coolant line, can lead to a fire. The problem is that in some of the cases in the tests conducted showed that the fire might not ignite right away and could take a few days before actually catching on fire.

The crash test in questions was conducted by the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Three separate tests caused the batteries to either heat up or burst into flames. The first test was done in May and it was a side impact test to show how well the vehicle protects passengers. Three weeks after the test was conducted the vehicle's battery caught fire.

In November three more tests were done. One resulted in no fire or increase in battery temperature, but the other two tests resulted in batteries smoking, sparking and catching fire.

General Motors, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the NHTSA are all working together to continue testing the Chevrolet Volt's lithium-ion batteries and to determine what is causing these batteries to ignite.

While these investigations are being conducted Chevrolet Volt owners should be cautious and if you feel unsafe, contact your dealership directly and request a rental vehicle. If you are involved in a collision and the battery catches on fire, make sure and exit the vehicle quickly and safely and make sure and advise the fire department or any rescue crew that responds to the collision about the battery issue and electrical issue of your vehicle, so they can better respond to the situation, if possible disconnect the battery.

June 9, 2011

Odometer Fraud

Odometer.jpgThe Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations (OFI) was established in 1984 and consists of four regional offices, staffed with a criminal investigator and an administrative support staff. Their mission is to reduce the cost of vehicle ownership by stopping odometer fraud.

When purchasing a used vehicle one must consider the safety of the vehicle. Things such as safety belts, air bags, brakes and the like, but one must also consider the vehicle's odometer. A vehicle's odometer is used to determine the wear and tear of the vehicle and if this has been altered or tampered with then it can affect your safety. Some sellers tamper with odometers, and therefore you buy a vehicle thinking it is much newer and safer then it really is.

The OFI is responsible for making sure that odometers are not tampered with or rolled back. The organization works hard at tracking down crime rings that continuously purchase high-mileage vehicles, alter their odometers, and resell them.

Therefore, when purchasing a used vehicle make sure and compare the odometer mileage with maintenance and inspection records. You should also consider the wear and tear of the vehicle with the mileage of the vehicle. Most dealerships can also provide you with a CARFAX report when purchasing a vehicle, and you can review the report for the vehicles history and prior ownership.

May 2, 2011

Corrosion Risk Recall for the Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 in D.C. and Maryland

nissan-pathfinder-2002_1611.jpgA vehicles recall is in affect for Infiniti QX4 model vehicles manufactured between 1997 and 2003 and Nissan Pathfinders model vehicles manufactured between 1996 through 2004, sold in various states in the Northeast part of the United States, including the District of Columbia and Maryland. About 196,000 of these vehicles are being recalled due to potential steering problems as a result of corrosion from cold weather and the use of road salt to clear snow and ice from the roads. These are called "salt belt" states, which also include: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.


A mix of water, salt and snow collected in the upper strut housing of these vehicles is causing corrosion and the corrosion is causing the strut housing to crack and separate from the inner hood ledge assembly. This is causing difficult in steering and the steering column could ultimately break, causing an inability to steer or control your vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating this problem since October of 2010 and has determined that 162,658 Nissan Pathfinders and 33,333 Infiniti QX4s are to be recalled.

Nissan Dealerships in the "salt belt" states will inspect and repair vehicles at no cost to the vehicle owner. Notifications will also be mailed to the owners no later than May 16, 2011. Nissan owners can call (800)647-7261 with any further questions or concerns.