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30 Jul 2014

NHTSA continues to investigate Evenflo and Graco car seat buckles

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FANCY BOOSTERSInvestigators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continue to take a heightened interest in car-seat buckles that are potentially defective.

Earlier this week, the Office of Defects Investigation upgraded its probe of buckles installed on Evenflo car seats, opening an engineering analysis of a problem in which parents and others say the buckles are difficult or impossible to open.

They’re the same buckles at the center of an earlier Evenflo recall of 1,368,649 million car seats in April, and they’re the same buckles at the heart of a rolling recall from fellow car-seat manufacturer Graco, which has reluctantly recalled 6.1 million seats related to the problem. Graco’s recall is the largest in history related to car seats.

Evenflo specifically excluded its Embrace Rear Facing Infant car seats with the buckles from its earlier recall, according to NHTSA documents. The number of seats potentially affected is “confidential.”

NHTSA says it has received 18 complaints related to the stubborn buckles. They echo the same complaint: It’s nearly impossible to unlatch the buckle for unknown reasons.

In one of the complaints, filed in October 2012, a parent wrote that the five-point harness sticks, “and became nearly impossible to disengage. There is no food or liquid that is on the harness buckle that would cause this. … We have decided to purchase a new car seat instead over safety concerns.” In another, the complaint stated the person had to use pliers to unlatch the buckle.

An Evenflo spokesperson has not yet returned a request for comment.

Similar concerns were echoed in more than 6,100 complaints regarding the Graco car seats. Some parents and caregivers said they had to call emergency responders and/or cut the harness straps in order to remove children from the car seats.

Although Graco says it knows of no injuries or deaths attributed to the problem, one court case filed in California alleges a two-year-old girl died in a car fire because parents and other witnesses could not remove her from the car seat.

NHTSA continues to investigate Evenflo and Graco car seat buckles originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Dodge and Jeep recalling 895k SUVs for possibility of headliner fires

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Dodge and Jeep are announcing recalls of a total of 895,000 Durango and Grand Cherokee models worldwide from the 2011 through 2014 model years. There’s a possibility that the wiring in the sun visor can short circuit and cause a fire. It specifically affects vehicles built between January 5, 2010, and December 11, 2013, and there are approximately 651,000 of them in the US, 45,700 in Canada, 23,000 in Mexico and 175,000 outside of North America.

Screws that fasten the sunvisor to the headliner may pierce wires in the visor, if the part has been removed or serviced, potentially causing a fire risk. If the wires short circuit, they could overheat and potentially combust. The automakers report three injuries caused by this defect, and according to the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “there may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents.”

To fix the problem, Dodge and Jeep will inspect the vehicles for suspect wiring, and all of the models, whether damaged or not, will get a new sun visor spacer with a wire guide to stop the possibility of short circuits. According to the automakers’ announcement, “this condition is not present in vehicles which have not had the headliner or vanity mirror serviced.” They will notify affected owners, and repairs will begin in August.

NHTSA began its investigation into the potential problems last year. It initially started with only the Grand Cherokee, but the Dodge Durango was added later as well because it uses the same headliner assembly. Scroll down to read the automakers’ announcement, the NHTSA recall report and a summary of the regulator’s investigation. The full defect notice can be downloaded as a PDF, here.

Continue reading Dodge and Jeep recalling 895k SUVs for possibility of headliner fires

Dodge and Jeep recalling 895k SUVs for possibility of headliner fires originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

2015 Hyundai Sonata already recalled for bad wiring harnesses

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2015 Hyundai Sonata

It’s barely arrived in dealerships, and already, Hyundai is recalling its 2015 Sonata. A total of 2,138 vehicles are facing issues with a wiring harness that could limit the amount of power steering help and in some cases, making it difficult to shift out of Park. Most of the cars are not yet in customer hands.

This is a followup action to a very quiet stop-sale that was issued to dealers in early June, which originally included a recall of 1,790 vehicles across the continental US and 58 vehicles in Puerto Rico. That figure eventually grew to a total of 2,080 vehicles in the US and 58 in the Caribbean territory.

Only the 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated model is affected, and of the 2,100-plus sedans, only 12 of them are in the hands of customers, according Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor. Each customer has been notified and asked to report in for free repairs. As of this writing, there are no reports of injuries or crashes due to the issue.

“Hyundai informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on June 12, 2014 and is voluntarily initiating this action to ensure the safety and quality of vehicles and the continued satisfaction of its customers,” Trainor said in an emailed statement to Autoblog.

Scroll down for the official bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Sonata already recalled for bad wiring harnesses

2015 Hyundai Sonata already recalled for bad wiring harnesses originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

2014 Mercedes SL and SLK add small expansion to Takata airbag recall

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Mercedes-Benz SL500

Mercedes-Benz SLK350Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to be affected by Takata’s massive airbag recall. The company has announced a voluntary recall campaign on a small number of model-year 2014 SLK- and SL-Class roadsters.

In Mercedes’ case, 300 vehicles are affected, 200 of which are in the hands of customers. According to spokesperson Donna Boland, the affected roadsters were built between March and April of this year.

The issue, which is apparently the fault of one of Takata’s subcontractors, rests with some improperly installed fasteners, which could keep the airbag from performing the way it’s supposed to. According to Boland, Mercedes isn’t sure what, if any, injuries the recalled airbags could cause, but simply claims there’s an increased risk in these particular vehicles. There’s been no reported instances of the faulty airbags deploying on a customer and the original issue was found in a production test.

Mercedes has informed both owners of the affected cars and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although at this point, it’s unclear if this will expand beyond a simple voluntary recall.

2014 Mercedes SL and SLK add small expansion to Takata airbag recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Chrysler accelerates Jeep recall repairs from 2018 to March

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

You may remember that Jeep’s unusual fix for this recall involves fitting a trailer hitch.

The recall of about 1.5 million models of the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty and 1993-1998 Grand Cherokee over fuel tanks may finish far sooner than originally estimated. In a new filing from Jeep’s parent, Chrysler Group, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company says that it can complete the repairs for the affected vehicles by March 2015, much sooner than the previous estimate of sometime in 2018. Jeep predicts the total cost of the campaign will be around $151 million.

You may remember that Jeep’s unusual fix for this recall, which centers on the potential vulnerability of these vehicles’ fuel tanks, involves fitting a trailer hitch. According to Chrysler’s letter to the government safety watchdog, the quicker pace is because Chrysler Group was able to take advantage of additional robots from its hitch supplier. The extra production capacity will allow the timeline to speed up considerably. In addition, the automaker believes that there are fewer Jeeps actually needing fixes than the number recalled because some of them aren’t on the road anymore. Repairs are still scheduled to begin in August.

NHTSA previously gave Jeep until July 16 to answer the regulator’s questions. Washington authorities were especially curious as to why it took the automaker until last December to find a parts supplier and until January 2014 to order the hitches. The explanations to these questions were redacted from the new document, though. At the time, NHTSA threatened that it could “take additional appropriate action as warranted.”

The whole hullabaloo between Jeep and NHTSA goes back to June 2013 when the automaker reluctantly decided not to honor a recall request from the regulator. Jeep has maintained that the affected vehicles met all applicable safety regulations at the time. The two sides eventually compromised on a campaign to cover the roughly 1.5 million SUVs. Scroll down to read brief statement from Chrysler Group about the recall, and the company’s answers to NHTSA can be downloaded as a redacted document in PDF format, here.

Continue reading Chrysler accelerates Jeep recall repairs from 2018 to March

Chrysler accelerates Jeep recall repairs from 2018 to March originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

GM lawyer, Delphi exec face Senate scrutiny

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GM CEO Mary Barra Testifies At House Hearing On Ignition Switch Recall

Investigations into the General Motors ignition switch recall continue on Capitol Hill this week, as two of the central figures in the legal nightmare testified before a congressional hearing for the first time.

GM General Counsel Michael Millikin testified Thursday, under oath, to the Senate Commerce subcommittee, about his knowledge of the ignition switch fiasco. Millikin’s testimony focused on how his subordinate lawyers in GM’s legal department knew of the problems facing the Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other vehicles ten months before the first recall, while he was kept in the dark. That last tidbit was discovered by former US Attorney Anton Valukas (pictured above, alongside CEO Mary Barra), the man hired by GM to head-up the internal investigation into the company’s failings.

Millikin offered a prepared statement Wednesday, ahead of questioning, that read in part: “We had lawyers at GM who didn’t do their jobs, didn’t do what was expected of them. Those lawyers are no longer with the company.”

Senator Claire McCaskill, chairperson of the subcommittee, didn’t appear impressed. According to Reuters, she questioned why Milliken has kept his job, saying, “It is very clear that the culture of lawyering up and whack-a-mole to minimize liability in individual lawsuits killed innocent customers of General Motors.”

The other man who testified today is Delphi CEO Rodney O’Neal. Delphi was responsible for manufacturing the faulty ignition switch, and congressional officials seemed keen on assessing the company’s role in the recall, including why the company requested the faulty part be changed. According to the WSJ, a June 2006 email from a Delphi engineer was sent to 30 people at GM and Delphi that described necessary changes to the ignition switch. For his part, Reuters notes that O’Neal “largely denied culpability for his company” in today’s testimony.

Joining Millikin and O’Neal on the stand Thursday were the aforementioned Barra and Valukas, as well as settlement specialist Kenneth Feinberg.

GM lawyer, Delphi exec face Senate scrutiny originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally

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Germany Japan Automotive Supplier

We just can’t seem to get away from recalls involving the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata. There are already millions of vehicles in need of repair as a result of these ever-expanding campaigns, and BMW is adding another 1.6 million worldwide. The Bavarian automaker is issuing a recall for certain 3 Series models, including 574,000 of them in the US, to replace the passenger-side, front airbag inflator.

Specifically, the campaign covers 3 Series models from the 2000 through 2006 model years built between May 1999 and August 2006. “It’s only the E46” generation of cars that are affected, which are now two model revisions old, according to BMW of North America spokesperson Matt Russell, speaking to Autoblog.

These models suffer the same problem as the rest of the vehicles with the faulty inflators. It’s possible for the part to rupture during airbag deployment and possibly spray shrapnel at the occupant. However, according to BMW, the automaker isn’t aware of any actual cases of this happening in any of its vehicles.

This is at least the third inflator recall for these 3 Series models. The first was issued in 2013 to cover 42,000 units of the 2002 and 2003 model years. Barely a month ago, the company also issued a campaign for certain 2001 through 2005 vehicles in hot weather states to inspect both the driver- and passenger-side inflators. With the passenger units being replaced, the analysis “will now focus on the driver-side airbag,” said Russell.

BMW will notify owners if they have one of the potentially affected models and repairs will begin “as soon as we have the parts available,” said Russell. Scroll down to read both BMW’s US and global announcements for the recall.

Continue reading BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally

BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Cadillac issues stop-sale on recalled CTS, SRX

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Cadillac CTS

General Motors has issued a stop-sale order on the Cadillac CTS and SRX, both of which were recalled late last month. Why the stop-sale after all this time? Well, um, GM apparently doesn’t know how to fix them.

The stop-sale covers all used Cadillac CTS sedans, coupes and wagons from model years 2003 to 2013, as well as new 2014 coupes and wagons. The SRX crossover stop-sale, meanwhile, only covers used vehicles from model years 2004 to 2006.

Automotive News reached out to GM spokesperson Alan Adler, who told the news pub that the company’s engineers were “looking at one common solution” for the affected vehicles, although “they don’t have it yet.”

GM recalled the Cadillacs as part of an enormous 8.4-million-unit recall on June 30. The CTS and SRX were – like the overwhelming majority of vehicles (some 8.2 million units) – recalled due an issue with the ignition. The key in affected vehicles can rotate out of the run position if jostled, much like an earlier recall for the Chevrolet Camaro.

Cadillac issues stop-sale on recalled CTS, SRX originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Kia recalls over 50k new Soul compacts over steering issue

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2014 Kia Soul

Kia is recalling certain 2014 models of its adorable Soul due to a bad adhesive used in the steering system. According to the bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the “thread-locking adhesive” that attaches the plug between the pinion gear and steering gear assembly could come loose.

Should that happen, the condition could lead to a “loss of steering,” which, of course increases the likelihood of a crash. The 51,641 affected cars were built between July 21, 2013 and January 17, 2014. There have been no reported accidents, let alone injuries or deaths due to this issue.

Kia is in the process of notifying owners of the affected vehicles as well as dealers in possession of the faulty Souls.

Scroll down for the official bulletin from NHTSA.

Continue reading Kia recalls over 50k new Soul compacts over steering issue

Kia recalls over 50k new Soul compacts over steering issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Jul 2014

Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs

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2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The public might associated ignition switch recalls with General Motors – and with good cause – but that’s not the only automaker calling its vehicles back in to fix that sort of issue.

Last month we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating an array of Chrysler Group vehicles for electrical-related safety issues. The administration and Chrysler subsequently issued a recall for 700,000 Dodge Journey crossovers, Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. But while the Jeeps that were also under investigation were not covered in that recall, they are being addressed in a separate one now.

Although Chrysler reports that it is only aware of a single accident stemming from this issue, it is “committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution.” The recall affects the 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, of which it reports there are 792,300 on the road: 649,900 in the United States, 28,800 in Canada, 12,800 in Mexico and a further 100,800 outside of North America.

Chrysler is calling in the affected units for similar reasons it recalled the aforementioned minivans and crossovers, and for which GM has recalled millions of its vehicles: namely, that the ignition could be accidentally turned off due to excess weight (like other keys and fobs) attached to the ignition key, or from contact with the driver’s knee. As a result, the engine could stall, the power brakes and steering could be disabled and the front airbags may deactivate. The automaker says its “engineers are working to develop a remedy” for the issue.

In an entirely separate announcement, Chrysler is also calling in approximately 21,000 late-model vehicles to inspect and potentially replace their shocks and/or struts. The company reports that a supplier found that the suspension components could “break free from their mounts, which could potentially lead to reduced shock damping and possible loss of vehicle control.” The vehicles affected include the 2014 Ram 1500, 2015 Jeep Cherokee and 2015 Chrysler 200 – specifically those built in the 16 days leading up to June 6, 2014. Read the full details of both recalls in the announcements below.

Continue reading Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs

Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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