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May’s Auto Recall Roundup: Acura, Lexus, Ford, Bmw, Dodge, And Dorel All Initiate Recalls

May 18, 2012

May’s Auto Recall Roundup: Acura, Lexus, Ford, BMW, Dodge, and Dorel all Initiate Recalls

Acura Power Steering Hose Leak

An Acura press release recently reported that the company is recalling 56,881 model years 2007 and 2008 TL sedans due to a power steering hose which can potentially leak over time, posing a fire risk.  4,266 of these vehicles are located in Canada, while the remaining vehicles are in the U.S.

According to Acura, hose deterioration can lead to an eventual leak.  This leak can then lead to a loss of power steering assistance or may cause smoke or fire to break out.

No injuries, fires, or crashes related to this issue have been reported, Acura says.  Nevertheless, the company will begin to notify owners of the vehicle recall by mail next month.

Lexus Recalls Vehicles for Steering Calibration Defect

This week Lexus announced a voluntary recall of 650 2013 GS 350 F-Sport Rear Wheel Drive vehicles in order to update their “Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) electronic control unit (ECU) calibration.”  The recall notice explains that on some early 2013 models, this system can cause the steering wheel in these vehicles to go off-center when restarted after being parked with the steering wheel turned.

This steering component defect can lead to the increased risk of an accident.  During this recall, dealers will update the VGRS ECU calibration in order to repair this defect.  Vehicle owners are expected to be notified of this recall in early June and all repairs will be made free of charge.

Dodge Charger Brake System Recall

Chrysler Group LLC announced the voluntary safety recall of an estimated 119,072 2011 and 2012 Dodge Chargers and 300s last week for an electrical system defect that may cause an overheated power distribution center.  This overheated component may then result in a loss of antilock brake system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) in these vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recall acknowledgement letter, this defect could lead to a loss of vehicle control, which increases the risk of a crash.  Chrysler said they are unaware of any injuries, crashes, or fires related to this defect at the moment.  The auto maker will begin notifying owners sometime this month and dealers will relocate the ABS/ESC system fuse free of charge.

Three Separate Ford Windstar Recalls Include 59,400 Vehicles

Ford released a voluntary recall notice on April 30 explaining that 27,000 of its Windstar vans were included in a recall due to the potential cracking or complete fracture of its rear axle.

According to that recall notice, “A completely fractured rear axle may lead to a loss of vehicle control.”  Furthermore, there may not be any warning to drivers before a cracked rear axle fractures completely.

NHTSA explains that corrosion can gradually weaken the rear axle on these vehicles, increasing their susceptibility to “torsional stress.”  That stress and corrosion can eventually lead to the formation of cracks, which can develop into full fractures if left undetected.  A fractured rear axle can disrupt vehicle handling, increasing the risk of a crash.

This recall affects model year 1998 through 2003 Windstars manufactured from September 1, 1997 through July 3, 2003.  Impacted models are currently registered or were originally sold in Virginia, NHTSA explains.

A separate recall of 9,400 vehicles was also announced by Ford for the same model year Windstars registered in Puerto Rico due to “increased stresses caused by high cycles of torsional loading, specific to this market.”  This defect can cause the rear axle on these vehicles to crack as well.  Like those Virginia models, this issue can also cause a loss of vehicle control and crash if the axle fractures.

Finally, Ford also recalled 23,000 model years 1999 to 2003 Windstar vehicles for potential “corrosion-related fractures of the front lower control arm rear attaching brackets and body mount attachments.”  These fractures can cause the lower control arm to separate, which could then lead to a separation in the steering intermediate shaft.

This steering intermediate shaft separation can lead to a loss of steering control, greatly increasing the risk of crash and injury.  These Windstars were originally sold in Virginia or are currently registered in that state.

All three Windstar recalls are expected to start this month or next and Ford will notify owners when they begin.  Dealers will make the proper inspections, repairs, or replacements free of charge when the recall campaigns begin.

Dodge Ram Recall

NHTSA has announced the recall of an estimated 129 Dodge Ram 1500 trucks for a spare tire which fails to match the specifications printed on the tire placard.  If this spare tire is installed, its incorrect size may activate the electronic stability control (ESC) system in the vehicle.

This activation of the ESC could change “the intended vehicle direction, increasing the risk of a crash,” NHTSA explains.  As a result of this labeling defect, these vehicles do not comply with motor vehicle safety standard no. 110, “Tire Selection and Rims.”

Chrysler will begin notifying Ram owners of this recall sometime this month and dealers will inspect and repair the vehicles as needed.  Affected models were manufactured on January 5 and 6 of this year.

BMW Head Restraints Defect

On April 27, BMW submitted an amended report announcing that approximately 7,600 model year 2012 3-Series Sedans have front seat head restraints that exceed the “downward movement limit of 25mm allowed” by NHTSA standards.

In the event of a crash, NHTSA explains that the head restraint could unexpectedly move down if it was in the fully extended position, thus increasing the risk of injury.

In response, dealers will repair this defect with a clamp which will be attached to the front seat head restraint posts.  BMW will notify owners of this recall sometime this month.

Ford Transmission Defects

NHTSA explains that Ford is recalling about 10,500 2011 and 2012 F-150s, 2012 Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, and 2012 to 2013 Mustangs for transmission issues.  When shifted, these vehicles may not actually enter reverse as the driver intends.

If the vehicle transmission does go into reverse, the “R” may not light up on the dashboard of all models except the Mustang.  Furthermore, the backup lamp may also fail to illuminate on all vehicles included in the recall, posing a risk to pedestrians.

These defects increase the risk of a crash and pedestrian injury.  Ford dealers will inspect and replace faulty transmission range sensors (TRS) on these vehicles free of charge as needed.  The recall is expected to begin around June 25.

Ford Airbag Defects

In addition to the potential F-150 transmission defects, Ford also announced that certain model year 2012 F-150s may have faulty frontal sensors/control modules, leading to deployment issues with the passenger side airbag in about 100 vehicles.

According to NHTSA’s report, under some driving conditions this component defect may cause the airbag to fail to deploy when it should, fail to deploy as intended, or deploy when it should not.  This airbag defect leads to an increased injury risk for the passenger side seat occupant.

The recall for this airbag component is expected to begin later this month.  Dealers will replace the affected modules free of charge at that time.

Dorel Child Seat Recall

Earlier this month Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG) announced the recall of 1,737 infant child restraint seats that were sold without the base containing the latch attachment assembly.  Without this base latch assembly, the seats may be more difficult to secure properly and may not adequately protect children in the event of a crash.

The car seat models and number of units included in this recall are the following:

  • IC123FSM Comfy Carry–1,734 Units
  • IC124FSM OnBoard 35–3 Units

These child safety seats were produced from May 2011 until the defect was discovered in April 2012. NHTSA explains in their recall notice that these seats fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, “Child Restraint Systems.”

NHTSA explains that the manufacturer will begin notifying customers and distributors and provide bases with the latch systems at no cost to consumers who purchased the defective units.  However, the company’s recall notice explains that these models were not “sold in the normal retailer venue but rather these units were made available to ‘institutional’ customers,” which includes hospitals, Safe Kids programs, and organizations that assist low income families.

DJG explains in their notice that they distributed these units without a base in order to try to “keep the cost down at the request of the institutional customers, so that more affordable child restraints could be made available to a greater number of children with the need for reliable child restraint systems.”

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