Tag Archive | "recalls"

Feds Upgrade Probe into 600,000 Chrysler Minivans

WASHINGTON — Federal safety regulators said Saturday they have upgraded an investigation into 600,000 Chrysler minivans after reviewing more than 1,500 complaints that the headlights went out without warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a notice posted Saturday on its website that it upgraded an investigation to an engineering analysis into 622,817 2005 model Chrysler minivans — including the Town and Country, Voyager, Dodge Caravan and Dodge Grand Caravan, according to The Detroit News.

NHTSA said the complaints report the headlights go out without warning — in most cases while the vehicle is in motion — and that “in cases where repairs have been attempted which consisted mainly of headlight switch and body control module replacements, mixed success is reported.”

Owners have said they have been able to use high beams when the headlights went out. NHTSA says no crashes or injuries have been confirmed to be connected to loss of headlights. NHTSA first opened a preliminary analysis into the issue in July 2010.

Chrysler Group LLC said it has one report of an owner saying he lost lights and struck a deer, and a second in which a driver said he lost control and drove into a ditch. Both occurred several years ago and NHTSA hasn’t confirmed either one.

Chrysler’s senior manager of product investigations and campaigns, David D. Dillon, told NHTSA the company’s analysis of complaints “indicates a declining trend.”

“There is no evidence to suggest this trend will reverse,” he told NHTSA in a letter. “The lack of harmful events being reported supports the conclusion that there is no demonstrative risk to motor vehicle safety.”

Chrysler also told NHTSA it has received 14,208 warranty claims that may be related to the condition. In total, NHTSA has reviewed 1,541 complaints of problems with headlights.

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Honda, Subaru Recalling 800,000 Vehicles

WASHINGTON – Honda Motor Co. and Subaru of America announced major recalls Saturday, collectively calling back more than 800,000 vehicles.

Honda said it is recalling 310,773 2009-2011 Pilot SUVs over some faulty driver and passenger seat belts. Honda said the seat belt anchor webbing may not have been properly completed during sewing and the seat belt anchor could detach, reported The Detroit News.

Honda said the first claim occurred in May 2010 of a seat belt anchor detaching and a second claim was made in July, prompting an investigation and recall. Honda will notify owners starting next month and dealers will replace the seat belts if necessary.

Subaru said it was issuing two recalls covering about 400,000 recalls. One covers 300,000 vehicles sold or registered in 20 states — including Michigan, Ohio, New York — and Washington, D.C., to replace potentially rusty brackets on the underside of the vehicles.

The recall covers the 2002-2007 Impreza, 2003-2008 Forester and 2005-2006 Saab 9-2x. Subaru said it had reviewed complaints of front lower control arms broken at hanger brackets due to corrosion caused by road salt.

Dealers will inspect the front lower control arms and will rust-proof them or replace them with new ones. Owners will be notified by early November.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had opened an investigation into the issue in April after receiving seven complaints, including two failures on the highway at high speeds.

The second recall covers 195,000 2010-2011 Legacy and Outback to replace the windshield wiper bottom cover, which could catch fire or stop working.

Subaru said it received a complaint of smoke from a wiper motor in January and began an investigation. Owners will be notified by November.

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Feds Close Two Ford Safety Investigations

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators closed two investigations into safety issues in Ford Motor Co. vehicles — deciding that a recall of 1.1 million F-150s and other trucks was sufficient to address concerns, the government said Thursday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was closing its investigation into more than 1 million F-150 trucks after it was satisfied with Ford’s recall, reported The Detroit News.

In August, Ford said it was calling back 1997-2004 F-150s in “salt-belt” states after reviewing 700 complaints of corrosion of steel straps holding up fuel tanks.

Most of reports involved one or both straps failing — and about half involved the tank dropping and or dragging on the ground. There were 180 reports of leaking fuel.

Ford said 97 percent of complaints came from states that use large amounts of road salt.

Ford received two reports of a vehicle fire destroying a vehicle and a third in which a fire destroyed the vehicle and injured a driver.

“Ford’s recall action appears to adequately address the problem at this time,” NHTSA said in a report closing its investigation.

The recall covers some 1997-1999 F-250 and 2002-2003 Lincoln Blackwood trucks. The recall covers vehicles sold or registered in 21 salt-belt states, including Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Indiana, and the District of Columbia.

Separately, NHTSA said it is also closing an investigation into 387,354 2010-2011 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs into complaints that the liftgate glass shattered without warning.

NHTSA said it reviewed nearly 300 complaints into the issue, including 15 minor injuries.

Ford acknowledged a higher than normal level of glass breakage incidents in the 2010 model year and early 2011 vehicles.

Ford investigated the incidents “but failed to identify an anomaly in the glass manufacturing process” to explain the spike in reports, NHTSA said.

In November, Ford issued a Technical Service Bulletin to include broken liftgate glass on all 2010 Escape and Mariners — as well as some 2011 models.

In September 2004, Ford recalled about 955,000 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs from the 2002 and 2003 model years to replace the liftgate glass strut brackets and hinges.

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Toyota, GM Recall 1.3M Vehicles for Stalling

WASHINGTON – Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. today announced recalls of 1.3 million vehicles from the 2005-2008 model years following complaints of engine stalling, Automotive News reported.

Toyota issued a recall of 1.1 million Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles after more than 1,000 complaints.

GM will recall 200,000 Pontiac Vibes, including 162,000 in the United States, after a “handful” of complaints, said GM spokesman Alan Adler.

The Vibe, a sister vehicle for the Matrix, was produced as part of the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. joint venture between the two companies in California that is now defunct.

Toyota said it was addressing some engine control modules — the computer that controls the engine — that may have been improperly made.

Cracks may develop at solder points or on the electronic component used to protect circuits against excessive voltage — in some cases stopping the engine while the vehicle is being driven, the statement said.

The announcement today raises Toyota recalls since November 2009 to about 12.3 million vehicles worldwide and 10.5 million in the United States, most for sudden acceleration, Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said.

The supplier of the modules at issue in today’s recall was Delphi Corp., a Delphi spokesman said.

“The ECM’s supplied to Toyota were designed and validated in accordance with specifications provided to us by Toyota,” said Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams. “We continue to work collaboratively with Toyota and support them in this recall campaign.”

All the affected Toyota vehicles were sold in North America.

“Our goal is to help ensure that Toyota drivers are completely confident in the safety and reliability of their vehicles,” Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America, said in a prepared statement.

Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was upgrading its investigation of the Corollas.

Toyota’s popular Corolla model also faces other regulatory concerns. Since February, NHTSA has been investigating dozens of complaints of steering problems with the Corollas from model years 2009 and 2010.

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Auto Recalls Climbing Under Federal Pressure

WASHINGTON – Automakers this year are on pace to recall the most vehicles since 2004 as they respond to even borderline safety risks and the federal government presses the industry to react faster, The Detroit News reported.

In the first six months of the year, automakers recalled 10.2 million vehicles, about twice the number recalled during the same period in 2009, according to a Detroit News review of federal data. For all of last year, automakers recalled 16.4 million vehicles. More than half were called back in the second half of the year, when Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. recalled a combined 8.8 million cars and trucks.

For all of 2010, the industry is on track to recall more than 20 million vehicles, a volume not seen since 2004, when the tally reached a record 30.8 million cars and trucks.

The spike this year comes in the wake of a highly publicized series of Toyota recalls. Since November, the Japanese automaker has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles, including 6 million in the United States, to deal with a risk of unintended acceleration and other problems.

But Toyota was fined a record $16.4 million by the U.S. government for failing to recall 2.3 million vehicles quickly enough.

“The auto industry watched the hot spotlight that Toyota faced and has determined the more productive course is to recall vehicles early and often,” said Nicole Nason, who was the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2006-08.

NHTSA is taking a harder line with automakers, demanding recalls even if automakers disagree.

Automakers for the most part aren’t fighting the efforts, recalling vehicles for issues as minor as engine knocking noises when the wrong grade of gasoline is used.

“Recall numbers have been remarkably high since the mid-’90s when car technology really began getting complicated, but this year they’ve been far more publicized,” said Ray Zhou, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com.

“Drivers are more alert to any potential safety issues and more likely to report any potential flaws and perhaps even pay closer attention to recall news.”

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