We’re barely three months into 2014, but the auto industry has already seen is share of dramatic recalls. The spotlight has been largely taken by the huge effort mounted by General Motors to pull in 1.6 million units for faulty ignition issues, but many other units have been pulled in as well.
Between increasingly complex and computer- and software-reliant systems and more attention to recall and safety oversight, recalls are becoming more common and greater in scope. Oftentimes the initiative is launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but sometimes an automaker will execute a recall on its own in order to save a little bit of face and avoid the wrath of negative public opinion.
Here are 10 notable recalls that have been issued since January 1.
1. Ford: Potential fuel leaks
Ford Edge units equipped with a 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine from the 2012 and 2013 model years are being recalled due to a risk of fire as a result of a defective fuel line pulse damper metal housing that may crack due to an improper manufacturing process, a company statement said. “A cracked fuel line pulse damper housing may result in a combination of fuel odor, seepage, or a continuous leak while the fuel system is pressurized,” according to Ford. The affected vehicles were built between September 2, 2010, and April 25, 2013.
2. General Motors: Airbag deployment malfunctions
This is GM’s big initiative that has turned from a large recall into a multi-agency federal investigation. Initially, it covered 778,000 units of the 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5, but it was last month expanded to include 748,024 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR and Pontiac Solstice vehicles, the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, and 2007 Saturn Sky. If too much weight is present on the keyring, the car can potentially shut down while in motion, disabling the airbags in the process. So far, 13 people are believed to have been killed as a result, though the investigation is ongoing.
3. Toyota: Vehicle stalls and partial power
Toyota’s Prius gained notoriety for its role in the unintended acceleration debacle a few years ago, and Toyota has issued another recall for the car — albeit for a less serious issue, though an issue nonetheless. Prius sedans from the model years 2010 through 2014 reportedly might experience damaged transistors in the Intelligent Power Module (IPM) inside the inverter module (a component of the hybrid system), which could cause the car to stall or run at reduced power due to high operating temperatures. About 700,000 units are affected.
4. Toyota: Vehicle directional malfunctions
Since the unintended acceleration crisis, Toyota has seemingly been quick on the recall switch to prevent any situation from getting seriously out of hand again. This recall covers 261,114 models of the Toyota RAV4, the Toyota Tacoma (pictured), and the Lexus RX350 altogether, and it pertains to an actuator in the braking system that adjusts the fluid pressure to the brake at each wheel. Toyota explains that an electrical component inside the actuator could experience an increased electrical resistance, thus causing various warning lights to light up, including those for the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system, Antilock Brake System (ABS), and Traction Control system. The affected systems may not function as expected and could therefore reduce directional control assistance and increasing the risk of a crash, Consumer Reports said.
5. Nissan: Potential electrical fire
Nissan’s (NSANY.PK) 2012 through 2014 Frontier small pickup has been recalled for a circuit breaker that may not have been correctly installed. It turn, the main wire harness connected to the circuit breaker may face outward and potentially make contact with a metal bolt located on the A-pillar, the recall explained. Over time, the bolt may rub through the harness sheath, resulting in a short circuit that could, in turn, cause a fire. About 13,535 units are affected.
6. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: Brake pedal problems
Chrysler Group (FIATY.PK) is recalling 18,690 of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs equipped with the Ready Alert Braking (RAB) System — the brake pedal may feel harder than normal when the driver applies the brakes. In turn, the driver may not depress the pedal to the extent needed, potentially lengthening the needed stopping distance and increasing the chances for accident. A simple update of the ABS module is all that’s needed to fix the problem.
7. Honda: Potential fuel leaks
Honda has recalled nearly 900,000 Odyssey minivans built between June 23, 2004, and September 4, 2010 (for the 2005-2010 model years), to replace a fuel pump cover that could deteriorate and result in fuel leaks, therefore increasing the risk of a fire. Notably, Honda said that it doesn’t have the parts readily available and won’t until this summer, though it’s offering owners an interim solution until its suppliers can come up with the needed components.
8. General Motors: Faulty brake booster relay
General Motors is reeling in select model year 2013-2014 Cadillac XTS vehicles that were built between February 14, 2012, and March 7, 2014, because a cavity plug on the brake booster pump connector may dislodge, allowing the brake booster pump relay connector to corrode. This could then conceivably result in a resistive short and subsequently melt the connector, which could then increase the risk of a fire.
9. General Motors: Insufficient instrument panel padding
General Motors is recalling 303,013 units of its Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanna commercial vans due to a lack of padding in the dashboard on the passenger side. If an accident were to occur that wouldn’t necessitate the use of the airbag, the unbelted passenger’s head might not be adequately cushioned if it makes contact with the dash. ”As such, these vehicles fail to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 201, ‘Occupant Protection in Interior Impact,’” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
10. General Motors: Side airbags
General Motors is also recalling more than 1.1 million 2008 to 2013 Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia SUVs, 2009 to 2013 Chevrolet Traverse SUVs, and 2008 to 2010 Saturn Outlooks to address a problem with increased resistance in the driver and passenger seat-mounted side impact air bag (SIAB) wiring harnesses that might result in the SIAB and seat belt pre-tensioners not deploying in the event of a crash, the recall notice said.