It seems as though a never ending stream of safety recall alerts continues to flow from leading automobile manufacturers, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and finally to automotive writers and consumers. The alleged shortcomings of one giant American automaker and the regrettable fact that numerous unsuspecting automobile consumers were injured (or even worse), drew the ire of a U.S. Senate sub-committee and the after shock is still evident in the auto industry’s willingness to pursue safety defects more diligently than ever before and bring them to the NHTSA in a fervent effort to draw public support and repair the problems in a timely manner.
Here is a list of the latest safety recall alerts, including vehicles from General Motors, Toyota, and Honda. Remember to look inside the driver’s door jamb (on most vehicles) for a sticker with the vehicle build date (month/year).
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V224000
General Motors Recall Campaign Number: 14252
Vehicles Affected: This recall is an addendum to a notification released by GM on April 29, 2014 stating that 2007 and 2008 Saturn Aura vehicles would be recalled due to a shift cable malfunction. This adds an additional 1,074,899 vehicles, including 2004 through 2008 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles manufactured from May 16, 2003 through October 5, 2007, 2004 through 2007 Malibu Maxx vehicles manufactured between June 25, 2003 through April 5, 2007, and 2005 through 2008 Pontiac G6 vehicles made between the dates of May 26, 2004 and September 28, 2007. Approximately 1,131,113 vehicles will be included in this recall campaign.
Cause: Vehicles equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission could experience a fractured shifter cable due to a fault in the shifter cable routing design.
Consequence: If the shifter cable is broken, the shift indicator could misrepresent the actual position of the transmission shift lever. This condition could result in a vehicle that shows the driver that it is in “park”, and therefore safe to exit, but actually remains in gear. If the operator exits the vehicle while it is still in gear, a “runaway” vehicle scenario could take place potentially creating a high degree of risk to vehicle occupants and nearby pedestrians, as well.
Correction: General Motors will notify vehicle owners with specific directions for obtaining an updated shifter cable and shifter cable bracket assembly (including professional installation), free of charge. GM has not released a schedule for recall notification at this time but you may contact them directly at 1-800-553-6000.
NOTE: If you feel that you own a vehicle that is affected by this condition, use care when exiting the vehicle. Always use the parking brake and make sure that the engine is in off before exiting the vehicle.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V265000
General Motors Recall Campaign Number: 14208
Vehicles Affected: Certain 2015 model Chevrolet Silverado HD vehicles manufactured between January 8, 2014 through February 27, 2014, and GMC Sierra HD vehicles built between January 9, 2014 and February 14, 2014, and equipped with a 220 amp alternator (RPO KW5). Approximately 58 vehicles are to be included in this recall campaign.
Cause: Retention clips that secure the underhood fuse block to the body may become loose and allow the fuse block to shift from its intended position.
Consequence: In addition to fuses and relays, the fuse block also has several exposed conductors that could contact metal mounting surfaces or hardware resulting in an electrical short to ground scenario. In an electrical short to ground scenario, the ensuing sparks could become involved with nearby combustible materials and create a vehicle fire.
Correction: GM will notify owners of affected vehicles with instruction for contacting a certified dealership. The dealership personnel will inspect and repair the condition as needed, at no charge to the vehicle owner. The manufacturer has not yet released a notification schedule but you may call GM customer service at 1-800-222-1020 for Chevrolet vehicles or 1-800-462-8782 for GMCs.
NOTE: If you own a vehicle that is affected by this condition, check the fuse block for stability and repair it as necessary. You may also make an appointment to have it inspected by your local dealership, as soon as possible.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V272000
Vehicles Affected: Certain 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vehicles.
Approximately 50,000 Toyota Highlander Hybrids are expected for inclusion in this recall campaign.
Cause: Improper software downloaded into the affected vehicle’s airbag control unit (ACU) could cause a discrepancy with the front passenger seat belt force limiter. This condition could create a scenario in which the ACU senses an occupant in the front seat which is much smaller than actual size. A full size seat occupant could be inadequately restrained as the force limiter is set to accommodate an occupant that weighs only 110-pounds. At any rate, the vehicle fails to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 208 under the sub-heading “Occupant Crash Protection” and must be repaired.
Correction: Affected vehicle owners will be notified by mail with specific instructions for obtaining a software update of the vehicle’s ACR unit, free of charge. The recall campaign is expected to begin around now, the mid-point of June, 2014.
NOTE: If you feel that you own a vehicle affected by this condition, avoid allowing passengers to occupy the front passenger seat while the vehicle is in operation and have the update installed as soon as possible. You may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V312000
Vehicles Affected: Certain 2002 through 2004 Toyota Sequoia and Lexus SC vehicles, 2003 and 2004 Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, and Toyota Tundra, and Pontiac Vibe vehicles.
Approximately 844,277 vehicles will be included in this recall campaign.
Cause: The passenger side frontal impact airbag inflator could provide excessive pressure causing the inflator to rupture upon air bag deployment. This recall campaign will cover original equipment airbags, as well as airbags that may have replaced factory airbags due to a crash or malfunction.
Consequence: In the event of a crash and the resulting passenger side frontal impact airbag deployment, if the inflator ruptures vehicle occupants may be harmed. The inflator is constructed using steel components which could become fragmented projectiles in the event of an airbag deployment. These fragmented projectiles have the potential to harm occupants anywhere in the vehicle.
Correction: Toyota, Lexus, or General Motors will notify vehicle owners, respectively. They will be given further instructions for obtaining a new passenger side frontal impact air bag, free of charge. These manufacturers are yet to release an owner notification schedule but you may contact them at the numbers listed below: Call 1-800-331-4331 for Toyota and Lexus customer service or call 1-800-521-7300 to contact General Motors.
NOTE: This recall supersedes recall 13V-133, regardless of the repairs completed thereunder.
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V258000
Honda Recall Campaign Number JE4
Vehicles Affected: Certain 2013 Honda Fit vehicles manufactured between the dates of May 24, 2013 and July 5, 2013, equipped with a manual transmission. Approximately 1,038 vehicles will be recalled for this condition.
Cause: Failure to properly heat treat the passenger side constant velocity axle during the manufacturing process could result in axle failure.
Consequence: Since the Fit is a front-wheel drive vehicle, a broken axle will result in a loss of vehicle propulsion. In a parked condition, a vehicle with a broken axle could roll away unexpectedly if the parking brake is not engaged. Either condition places the vehicle occupants and nearby pedestrian at a greater risk of harm.
Correction: Honda will notify affected vehicle owners with instructions fot having their vehicle inspected at a Honda dealership, where replacement will take place (if necessary) free of charge. This recall is expected to begin June 15, 2014 and you may contact the Honda Motor Company at 1-800-999-1009 with questions and concerns.
NOTE: If you feel that you own a vehicle affected by this recall, avoid extended journeys until the necessary repairs are completed.