Vehicles get recalled for all kinds of reasons. In fact, if you can think of something that has the capacity to go wrong, it most likely has, and has resulted in engineers going back to the drawing board to develop a fix. Recently, Americans in particular have been getting their fill of recalls in the wake of GM’s continued announcements regarding its vehicles’ defects. Of course, Ford, Honda, and Toyota have also had a difficult 2014 as well.
But most recalls were made for relatively ‘normal’ reasons. Defective ignition switches are certainly a problem, and are absolutely dangerous, but it’s rather mundane considering some of the other issues manufacturers have had to recall products for. That’s right: some of the world’s premiere automakers have had products suffer from flaws that are so downright bizarre that they may be hard to take seriously. From failed escape mechanisms to infestations, the automotive world has seen it all.
Top Gear put together a list compiling ten of the strangest recalls, and many of them are still affecting drivers to this day. The list runs the gamut from ordinary commuter vehicles to exotic luxury cars to everything in between. It goes to show that no manufacturer is really immune from strange defects.
As a disclaimer, given Top Gear’s standing as a British media outlet, the recalls in question may not have affected American models of the car. Read on to see ten of the weirdest car recalls.
1. Holden Commodore Ute: Trunk Latch Failure
The Holden Commodore is what we know as the Chevrolet SS, but abroad, there’s an El Camino-type half-muscle car, half-pickup truck creation that we only wish we could buy here. In 2010, the peculiar Franken-vehicle was subjected to a 34,379 model recall for latches on the trunk that — well, failed to latch. “Said faulty latch meant the boot could swing open whenever it felt the need to break free, relieving owners of their goods onto the road behind,” Top Gear said.
2. Ferrari 458 Italia: Faulty Escape Mechanisms
The Ferrari 458 and the Holden Commodore don’t have a whole lot in common, but in terms of recalls, they actually do. Just recently, Ferrari initiated a recall for 3,000 of its 458 Italia sports cars (which run about $230,000) and 458 Spyder models due to the fact that if someone were stuck inside of the trunk, there’s no way for them to escape. The recall covers cars produced between March 2010 and May 2013, so new Ferrari owners will likely need to get the issue dealt with.
It may not seem like a big deal, but the recall notice really puts things into perspective: “In the event an individual is trapped in the trunk and the latch system does not release the trunk lid, it increases the risk of personal injury or possibly death.”
3. Volkswagen Jetta: Faulty Seat Heaters
Some Volkswagen Jetta owners were on the unfortunate end of a faulty seat heater. If there’s one way to light a fire under your ass to get you to take your car back to the dealership, this is one way to do it. In certain Jetta models built between 2002 and 2004, drivers experienced burns and likely a sense of uneasiness in more than 94,000 units. Basically, the seat heaters have a tendency to short circuit, and then burn up. Though the recall ended in 2007, some drivers are still dealing with the aftermath (the model pictured is a 2014, not a 2004).
4. Toyota Camry: Spiders
It’s hard to imagine anything worse than having your vehicle infested by spiders, but owners of certain Toyota Camry models saw that fear become a reality. The Camry, one of the best-selling vehicles of all time, saw 885,000 units recalled due to spiders. It turns out, the little demon spawn like to hang out and spin their webs in air conditioning components. This presents an issue not only because there are spiders in your car, but it can block up draining tubes, leading the potential for short-circuiting electrical functions. Deploying airbags and a loss of power steering are among the potential outcomes.
As if you needed another reason to hate spiders.
5. Koenigsegg Agera: Tire Pressure Sensors (All One of Them)
When you drop hundreds of thousands of dollars (or in this case, millions) on a supercar, you probably expect it to function properly. In the case of the Koenigsegg Agera, almost everything worked out perfectly fine — almost. Thankfully, this recall was very limited in scale: only one customer ended up experiencing an issue with the car’s tire pressure monitoring system, which required a total software reboot and re-installation. A faulty tire pressure monitor on its own isn’t that strange of a problem, but the fact that it occurred in a supercar built to kick out 960 horsepower is a bit concerning.
6. Honda Odyssey: Badging Faux Pas
The last thing you want to go wrong is for your family vehicle to experience issues — especially with the kids in tow. Luckily for owners of the 2013 Honda Odyssey, the problem was as minor as it gets. The folks at the Honda factory apparently weren’t paying much attention, and inadvertently placed the ‘Odyssey’ nameplate on the wrong side of the van’s rear. Really not a big deal, but still something that warranted calling customers back to the dealership so Honda could get it right the second time around.
7. Chevrolet Cruze: Loss of Steering
We can’t have a thorough recall list without including at least one Chevy model, right? Well, the Cruze is the unfortunate nomination in this case, due to the car’s issue concerning steering loss. As Top Gear noted, “In 2011, GM recalled over 154,000 Cruze models (remember that?) following news that a customer lost steering control in a car park. Woah. Thankfully it didn’t result in accident or injury.” They’re right on in that respect, and you could say that Cruze owners are probably glad they dodged some of the other serious issues that plagued cars like the Cobalt. Still, losing your steering is a pretty big problem to have.
8. Mazda Mazda6: Spiders, The Second Coming
This time, the little nightmares found their way into another Japanese-built sedan, the Mazda6. Its 42,000 units built between 2010 and 2012 were effected in the recall that was announced earlier in 2014, and specifically concerned the Yellow Sac species of spider. As these spiders found themselves attracted to certain hydrocarbons located in the car’s vent lines, they clogged up the whole system with their webs, which led to the possibility of cracking fuel tanks and fires. Spiders are the worst, but spiders that are capable of arson ups the ante considerably.
9. Toyota Corolla: Beverages and Airbags
In a wide-ranging recall of its popular Corolla sedan, Toyota was forced to address a fairly strange problem back in the mid-1990s — due to the possibility of beverages spilling out of the cup holders and inadvertently deploying the airbags. In some cases, the air bag warning light would simply illuminate, but it was still a problem, and an odd one at that. Toyota had to recall almost 628,000 Corollas because of the beverage threat.
10. Chrysler Voyager
Finally, we come to the case of the Chrysler Voyager minivan. For 2004 models of the Voyager, an issue was discovered in which an act as simple as turning up the radio could lead to fire. How? Well, condensation was able to find its way through air conditioning ducts and land on top of the radio system. That could cause a short circuit, causing too much power to be sent to the rear speakers. Ultimately, the speakers could melt or catch fire. There aren’t many other cases in which cranking up the tunes can lead to a fire, but the Voyager’s faulty design pulled it off.