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07 Aug 2014

GM SUV window switch recall urges owners to park vehicles outside

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2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer

It’s not unusual for there to be a lag between an automaker announcing a recall and the official documentation showing up on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. So it’s no surprise that a recent GM campaign took about a month to appear in its official capacity. However, there appears to be some big differences between the two reports with potential safety implications.

In late June, GM announced that it needed to recall 181,984 examples of the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Buick Rainier, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7x from the 2005-2007 model years, plus the 2006 Chevy Trailblazer EXT and 2006 GMC Envoy XL. The new documents paint a slightly different picture with 184,611 needing repaired and different model years listed.

The reason for the fix is still the same, though. It’s possible for fluid to contact the master power window switch module in the driver’s door, which can corrode the part. Eventually this could cause a short circuit, leaving the buttons inoperable and potentially leading to a fire. But the new NHTSA documents add an important note: “A fire could occur even while the vehicle is not in use. As a precaution, owners are advised to park outside until the remedy has been made.”

This is GM’s third campaign related to this issue in some of these vehicles. It started as an investigation into fires, then a recall covering about 250,000 examples in certain cold-weather states and another nationwide for about 193,000 units in 2013. According to the latest NHTSA document for this one, “vehicles whose modules were modified but not replaced as part of the previous recall remedy must have their vehicles remedied again under this campaign.”

GM spokesperson Alan Adler spoke about the situation to Autoblog. The previous recall included a cover over the part to protect it, but the automaker found that it wasn’t working. Its decision this time was to “just replace the door modules.” According to him, the recommendation not to park in the garage “was always in place,” from the earlier campaigns. He didn’t know why it wasn’t included in the press release.

The company will send notification to owners in late August and will notify them again when the parts are ready to install. Scroll down to read the full announcement.

Continue reading GM SUV window switch recall urges owners to park vehicles outside

GM SUV window switch recall urges owners to park vehicles outside originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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06 Aug 2014

What you missed on 8.5.2014

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Daily U-Turn

Autoblog readers share unpopular opinions

Last week Autoblog editors went on record with some of our most unpopular opinions about cars and driving. In response our never-shy readership presented an awful lot of interesting and controversial opinions of their own. Here, we choose some of the reader responses we found most compelling (some downright strange) to feature and respond to. Click through to see what’s it’s like when the inmates run the asylum.

First Drive: 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe

Cadillac’s sport-sedan ATS was hailed as a legitimate contender for the BMW 3 Series throne, so removing two doors and sharpening the styling should only help it’s case, right? You’ve heard the one about the book and it’s cover… We get behind the wheel of the new Caddy two-door; finding a lot to love and a little bit to gripe about in the process.

Life sentences for execs that delay recalls?

Senator Claire McCaskill has introduced legislation that would drastically increase NHTSA’s budget, remove a maximum limit on fines for automakers and punish executives at car companies if they knowingly delayed recalling cars. When we say punish, we mean punish; McCaskill’s proposed law would see penalties as high as life imprisonment for execs, where recall violations resulted in death.

Top Stories

What you missed on 8.5.2014 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Aug 2014 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Aug 2014

NHTSA says GM recall website isn’t completely accurate

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General Motors-Recall

As of this writing, General Motors has issued 60 recalls in 2014 covering about 25.5-million vehicles in the Unites States. That’s a lot of drivers left wondering if their model in need of repair. GM is actually already complying with the request by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make these campaigns searchable by a model’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) online. However, the feds reportedly don’t like the way that the company has set up its website. NHTSA is requesting changes to The General’s page because some cars could fall through the cracks without owners even knowing it.

While GM’s site allows owners to search for recalls based on VINs, it only displayed a campaign for a vehicle if the parts were actually available to perform the repair, according to The Detroit News. If the components aren’t ready yet, then the model isn’t listed. That could obviously have given drivers a false sense of security about their car. NHTSA has asked the automaker to update the website to make it more accurate and to display the info whether or not the fix had been done.

GM spokesperson Alan Adler tells Autoblog that the company first learned about the problem on Friday, August 1. “Basically, the VIN lookup wasn’t giving up accurate information,” he said. The automaker worked over the weekend to fix things, and Adler says that the majority of the updates are now complete, but GM still has a few more to do. He expects the changes to be finished soon.

NHTSA says GM recall website isn’t completely accurate originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Aug 2014 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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03 Aug 2014

Harley-Davidson joins GM, FCA in ignition-switch recall

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2014 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Lowrider

We’ve seen a rash of ignition switch recalls this year, especially from General Motors, but also from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Harley-Davidson is joining their ranks with a new repair campaign on some of its bikes, but for a somewhat different reason: some examples of one model might be vibrating too much.

According to Harley’s recall filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the problem affects 3,361 units of the 2014.5 FXDL Dyna Low Rider built from January 6, 2014, through June 19, 2014. The report states that “certain optional performance electronic control module calibrations” may cause enough engine vibrations to move the ignition switch from the “IGN” on position to the “ACC” position where only the accessories work. This movement would shut off the engine.

The full defect notice goes into more detail explaining that the engine mount bracket on these models has a resonant frequency that happens around 5,800 rpm. At this point, it begins vibrating the ignition switch and can cause it to change position. The stock bikes only allow engine speeds up to 5,600 rpm, according to the report, but the company offers an option to increase the limit further.

To fix the problem, Harley is replacing the “engine mount bracket assembly and ignition switch knob,” on all models, even those that still have the 5,600-rpm limiter in place, according to the notice. Scroll down to read the recall announcement or check out the full defect notice in PDF format, here.

Continue reading Harley-Davidson joins GM, FCA in ignition-switch recall

Harley-Davidson joins GM, FCA in ignition-switch recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 03 Aug 2014 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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01 Aug 2014

Hyundai recalls over 419k vehicles in three campaigns

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Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai VeracruzGeneral Motors is the undisputed king of recalls for 2014. No one is going to contest this point. The American company is far from the only one with vehicles that need fixing, though, as Hyundai has announced another recall totaling 419,000 vehicles in three separate campaigns.

The majority of the vehicles affected come from the Santa Fe family, where 225,000 of the model year 2001 to 2006 CUVs will need their front springs replaced. It seems that the early Santa Fe’s coils can rust and crack when subjected to frosty temperatures and the road salt that so often accompanies them. Should they fracture, it’s possible that a crash would be the end result.

As this is an issue linked to road salt, only Santa Fes sold in 20 states – from Maine to Iowa and Wisconsin to West Virginia – are affected. Vehicles sold in Washington, D.C. are also covered in the recall.

Meanwhile, the Sonata sedan is getting dinged with another recall, the nameplate’s third in less than three weeks. This time, the 2011 model is at fault, with 133,075 vehicles that could be leaking brake fluid, thanks to a bad seal between brake hose and the brake-line fitting.

Finally, the Veracruz is facing a recall, with 61,122 of the SUVs suffering from potential alternator failure. This issue is caused by a bad valve cover gasket in the front cylinder bank, which could cause oil to leak on the alternator causing the vehicle to stall or refuse to start.

None of these issues have lead to any crashes or injuries, although the Santa Fe’s spring issue has resulted in 1,200 warranty claims and 90 cases of the spring contacting the tire, according to the Associated Press. As is usually the case, repairs on each vehicle will be conducted free of charge, while Hyundai plans to have notified owners of all affected cars and SUVs by the end of September.

Scroll down for the trio of bulletins from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Continue reading Hyundai recalls over 419k vehicles in three campaigns

Hyundai recalls over 419k vehicles in three campaigns originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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31 Jul 2014

Suzuki calls in 26,000 Daewoo-built Veronas for overheating lights

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Suzuki Recall

Suzuki is recalling yet another Daewoo-built model due to possible problems with the daytime running light module in the instrument panel. This time it covers about 25,899 units of the Suzuki Verona from the 2004 through 2006 model years that need fixing. Like the repair campaign of the Forenza and Reno in May, it’s possible for the part to overheat, melt and potentially cause a fire.

According to the Chronology of Principal Events section in the defect notice submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this recall was actually a direct result of the Forenza/Reno campaign. After finding the problem in those vehicles, General Motors Korea started investigating for more affected models and discovered that the Verona was also at risk. However, the report says that no cases of melting or fires have been found in the Verona.

Obviously, Suzuki will be notifying affected owners and will replace the DRL module free of charge. Scroll down to read the recall request or check out the full defect notice in PDF format, here.

Continue reading Suzuki calls in 26,000 Daewoo-built Veronas for overheating lights

Suzuki calls in 26,000 Daewoo-built Veronas for overheating lights originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

GM won’t pay ignition-switch claims out of insurance funds

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Earns GM

“It will be done through cash on hand, no insurance.” – David Roman, GM’s director of financial communications.

General Motors has committed to paying all of its ignition-switch claims out of its own pocket. David Roman, the company’s director of financial communications, told Business Insurance, “It will be done through cash on hand, no insurance.”

It’s not entirely clear how much damage the out-of-pocket compensations will do to GM’s wallet, although families of those killed are eligible for $1 million, at minimum. The final number, Roman said, is up to Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of formulating the unlimited claim structure. “There’s no cap on it,” Roman said. “Mr. Feinberg will have the final determination on numbers.”

The move to avoid liability insurance should do some good for the company’s tattered reputation, following the recall of 29 million vehicles and the deaths of at least 13 people. “They’ve arguably made one of the best strategic moves for reputation restoration. It will be expensive, but it beats the alternative,” Nir Kossovsky told Automotive News. Kossovsky is the CEO of Steel City Re, a company that that specializes in corporate reputation management.

Another consultant group, Hawthorn Group LC, echoed that opinion. “A company almost has no choice but to go this route. I think it’s the right thing to do even from a cost/benefit standpoint. Years of litigation could be more harmful to the company and even more expensive,” Larry Walsh, a vice chairman at Hawthorn, told AN. “It seems to me a smart way to go. It is trying to reach out to people directly, deal with them honestly.”

This may be a good PR move, but with the sheer number of potential claimants, not to mention outside lawsuits from those who don’t choose to settle, it will be interesting to see the long-term effects that this strategy has on GM’s bottom line.

GM won’t pay ignition-switch claims out of insurance funds originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

VW issues NA Golf and GTI stop-sale over steering issue

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2015 Volkswagen GTI

Volkswagen is issuing a stop-sale and recall for the 2015 GTI and Golf because of a problem with the front stabilizer link fasteners. The stop-sale covers 705 vehicles at US dealers, and, according to Automotive News an additional 108 cars in Canada. Company spokesperson Jeannine Ginivan also told Autoblog that it’s recalling 2,001 examples in the US and 446 in Canada that customers already own to repair the issue.

According to Automotive News, the fasteners were installed with too little torque during assembly and could work themselves loose. However, Volkswagen of America reports that there have been no fires, accidents or injuries caused by the problem. The fix involves dealers replacing the front stabilizer links on the affected vehicles, and obviously customers aren’t being charged. Until repaired, the ones still on dealer lots can’t be sold, though. Ginivan also confirms that most of the cars are GTIs because the Golf doesn’t officially launch until August in the US.

Volkswagen will officially notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue the recall soon. Scroll down to read the automaker’s brief statement on the stop sale.

Continue reading VW issues NA Golf and GTI stop-sale over steering issue

VW issues NA Golf and GTI stop-sale over steering issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Acura recalls 2013-2014 ILX, ILX Hybrid over fire-prone headlamps

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2013 Acura ILX Hybrid

The Acura ILX just can’t seem to catch a break. The Japanese automaker recently decided that the ILX Hybrid would no longer be offered in the US for the 2015 model year. Now, a possibility for fires has also cropped up in the compact luxury sedan. Acura has announced a recall of 14,078 examples from the 2013 and 2014 model years because the headlights could overheat and ignite the car. The company also issued a stop-sale for examples still at dealers until they can be repaired.

The campaign covers ILX and ILX Hybrid models with halogen projector headlights from specific build dates. The problem is that the headlights aren’t cooled sufficiently when the cars aren’t moving. After several hours of sitting with them on, it’s possible for the lights to build up so much heat that they melt and potentially cause a fire.

To Acura’s knowledge, there was only one case of an ILX actually catching fire due to this problem, though. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defect notice, a car was idling at a dealer for about two hours when the model went up in flames. The automaker brought the vehicle in for a detailed investigation to find what caused the blaze.

To fix them, Acura will replace both headlights on all of the affected models, and owners will be notified in late July. Scroll down to read Acura’s statement and the NHTSA recall request with the specific build dates of the vehicles. The full defect notice can be downloaded as a PDF, here.

Continue reading Acura recalls 2013-2014 ILX, ILX Hybrid over fire-prone headlamps

Acura recalls 2013-2014 ILX, ILX Hybrid over fire-prone headlamps originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Harley-Davidson calls in 66k Touring bikes for brake line problems

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Harley-Davidson Touring

Most of the recalls we cover involve four-wheeled automobiles – and most of those these days have come from General Motors, at that – but every once in a while a motorcycle recall comes across our desks that’s just too substantial to ignore. This is one of those recalls.

Harley-Davidson has announced a recall of 66,421 of its motorcycles. The units in question are from the Touring and CVO Touring series, specifically those equipped with ABS brakes and manufactured between July 1, 2013, and May 7, 2014. The problem apparently revolves around an improperly installed front brake line that’s prone to be pinched between the tank and the frame, increasing fluid pressure in the brake line and potentially causing the front wheel to lock up. Which sounds like it would be bad enough in a car, but that much worse on a motorbike.

As a result, the Motor Company is notifying owners to have their local dealer inspect their iron horses for potential damage and, in addition to replacing any damaged brake line, fit an extra cable strap or two to prevent it from sliding between the frame and the fuel tank. Delve into the recall notice below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a full list of specific models affected.

Continue reading Harley-Davidson calls in 66k Touring bikes for brake line problems

Harley-Davidson calls in 66k Touring bikes for brake line problems originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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