Several large automakers have announced automotive recalls over the past few weeks, with hundreds of thousands of vehicles affected by the resulting various safety campaigns. Perhaps the largest issue is the windshield wiper problem that has prompted Mazda to write letters to the owners of just under half a million owners of the popular Mazda Mazda3 sedan and hatchback. Versions of the compact Mazda MAZDA3 produced between 2008 and 2010 have demonstrated a problem with an electronic component which controls their wiper systems, which in the worst case scenario can cause the windshield wipers to stop working completely. If this were to occur while driving in rainy or snowing conditions, the results could range from inconvenient to disastrous, particularly if traveling at highway speeds.
Another Japanese car company – Toyota – has also been forced to send out recall notices for a variety of different automobiles. Of these, the Toyota Prius owners has been the most affected, with 2001 through 2003 models of the automobile requiring the repair of their electric power steering pinion shaft attachment nuts. Although this is a “voluntary” recall, Toyota has received enough reports of loose steering shaft nuts as the result of lock-to-lock turning of the steering wheel that corrective action was deemed necessary for 52,000 Prius vehicles in the United States. Toyota has also called back 1,629 2007-2011 Toyota Tundra pickups which suffer from improperly calibrated tire pressure monitoring systems. This recall, which is essentially an extension of a previous campaign targeting other Toyota trucks and SUVs, is limited to a specific range of trucks which had optional rims and tires installed in the southeast region of the U.S.
Volvo and Porsche Recalls
Moving on to European car companies, both Volvo and Porsche have also recently initiated recalls. The Swedish brand has had to address a problem found on a small number of 2010 and 2011 Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles involving the power steering system. Approximately 350 examples of this model were built with a leaky power steering connection that could result in a total loss of power steering while the vehicle is under way. The 2012 Volvo S60 is also facing a recall due to problems with its fuel pump software that has caused some drivers to experience stalling under acceleration. An update to the software improves the compatibility of the vehicle’s programming with the newer-style fuel pumps installed in late-model S60’s that have been causing this particular issue.
Porsche’s recall centers on worn out hub and wheel assemblies found with the 2010 and 2011 Porsche 911 coupe. The problem, which affects all models positioned above (and including) the Porsche 911 Turbo S, has to do with the center locking hub found on each of these vehicles, which loosens over time. 1,702 automobiles are implicated in the campaign.
2012 Honda Civic Recalls
Several other new and nearly new automobiles have become part of early recall efforts. Of these, the most recent is the 2012 Honda Civic. 1,156 Honda Civics are being called back to dealerships to replace an O-ring in the fuel system which has the potential to leak gasoline and cause a fire. In a somewhat more unusual safety action, 50,500 examples of the 2011 Cadillac SRX mid-size crossover will have to have their safety systems reprogrammed due to a printing error in the vehicle’s manual that states the passenger side roof rail airbag will deploy regardless of whether the front right seat is occupied or not. In actual fact, from the factory the system automatically detects whether a passenger is riding along and activates or deactivates accordingly.
Because federal law requires that the contents of a vehicle’s safety section in the manual match its actual specifications, Cadillac is taking the step of reprogramming the airbag detection system so that it will actually go off in all crash scenarios. This reprogramming will also offer rear passengers slightly more protection in the event of an accident.
Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep Recalls
The final recall in this week’s roundup affects 11,351 vehicles built by Chrysler which are either missing an important steering system rivet, or which have that rivet installed in an unsafe manner. Although only a small number of automobiles in total are identified as having rolled down the line at a time when this faulty steering component – which could cause steering failure and a loss of control – was installed, the damage is spread out over the majority of Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler models. Chrysler is moving forward with the recall later in June, but owners can contact the company to inquire if their specific vehicle requires repairs.