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As 2011 drew to a close there was something of a rush of automotive recalls announced by Japanese and domestic brands. The single largest recall was also the most innocuous from a safety standpoint, with Toyota forced to call back 210,000 examples of the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan for having a typo on the vehicle weight capacity label. The Sienna's sticker states that it can haul more total mass in the form of cargo and weight than is actually possible for the vehicle to handle safely, which has prompted Toyota to ask dealers to affix the proper sticker to the van. Toyota has also been forced to call back a much smaller number of 2010 and 2011 Toyota Corolla sedans in order to correct the improper installation of accessory navigation and entertainment systems by a dealership conglomerate in the American southeast composed of 178 franchises. 518 automobiles in total must have their A-pillar trim inspected in order to ensure that it was put back into place without posing a danger of falling onto the driver.
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Nissan and its Infiniti luxury division were responsible for four separate safety campaigns for the month of December. The most serious involves a problem with engine oil cooler and oil filter bolts that might not be strong enough to resist being torn off of the motor over the long term. 14,718 vehicles in total are affected by the problem, which could lead to an oil leak and eventual engine failure. Nissan is specifically recalling the 2011 and 2012 Nissan Xterra, the 2011 and 2012 Nissan Pathfinder, the 2011 and 2012 Nissan Frontier and the 2012 Nissan NV full-size van. Infiniti will be in touch with owners of the 2011 Infiniti FX and 2012 Infiniti M to let them know that they too need to return to the dealership. The 2011 - 2012 Suzuki Equator pickup, which shares its platform with the Nissan Frontier, is also implicated in an identical recall managed by Suzuki.
Nissan's next-most extensive recall affects the Nissan Juke, with 118,000 editions of the compact crossover around the world affected by freezing front door locks as well as faulty turbo pressure sensors that could work themselves loose and cause problems under the hood of the vehicle. 41,497 2012 Nissan Jukes in the United States are part of the repair effort for both problems. Following the Juke is the 2010 - 2011 Nissan Sentra sedan, which is affected by a battery terminal that was given a thicker-than-spec zinc coating at the factory. Although no incidents have yet to be reported, Nissan is concerned that a voltage drop associated with the coating could lead to stalling or no-start conditions on as many as 33,803 Sentras. The final, and smallest of the four Nissan safety efforts is tied to the 2011 Nissan Rogue. 7,365 Rogues left the factory with a power steering circuit board that was not installed properly, and the failure of this component could potentially lead to a loss of steering control.
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Ford has recalled 16,091 versions of its popular 2011 and 2012 full-size pickup trucks (including F-150 models and a limited number of F-250 through F-450 models) due to a transmission issue that could see the six-speed automatic units shifted from park into gear without the brake being depressed. The brake interlock switch on these vehicles will be replaced free of charge. The 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion (and its twin, the Mercury Milan) is also facing a safety campaign which touches on 128,616 automobiles that were sold with 17-inch steel wheels. The wheel studs associated with these wheels are at risk of cracking while the vehicle is underway, with at least six cases of "wheel separation" having occurred since the automobiles went on sale.
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Wrapping up our December list is Cadillac, which is facing a 8,789 unit recall of the 2010 and 2011 Cadillac SRX due to a transmission cable issue that has been shown to lock the crossover in gear or inaccurately indicate to the driver that the vehicle is in park. The cable will be replaced with a new part that will not run the risk of coming loose.
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