The New York Times is reporting that 20.3 million vehicles were recalled in 2010, making it the fourth worst year for defect-related safety campaigns since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began keeping track in 1966. So far in 2011, a number of new recalls have set the tone for the year ahead, with several voluntary and safety-related vehicle callbacks already in effect.
Toyota has once again made the recall-related headlines, with 1.7 million cars globally affected by its most recent corrective campaign. 245,000 of those vehicles were sold in the U.S. market, and include the Lexus GS 300 and Lexus GS 350 (2006 - 2007), the Lexus IS 250 (2006 - 2009) and the Lexus IS 350 (2006 - 2008). A fuel leak issue associated with improperly installed fuel pressure sensors has affected the engines installed in each of these vehicles. Lexus dealers have been instructed to inspect each sensor for potential fuel spillage and then replace the fuel sensor gasket and tighten the sensor if required.
General Motors has been dealing with dual safety concerns involving its full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. The automaker has been forced to expand a recall related to axle cross pins installed on all of its large 2011 trucks and sport-utility vehicles (including all Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet models) as well as the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon mid-size trucks. The pin in question can snap while under load, which in a worst case scenario will cause the rear end of the vehicle to lock up. General Motors is replacing each of the pins in question on a total of 26,751 trucks - up from only 1,262 examples that were initially affected by the recall at the end of 2010.
The second safety issue affecting GM trucks has to do with brake line rust leading to brake failure. According to the New York Times, the NHTSA has initiated an engineering analysis to investigate the problem, which could eventually implicate as many as 1.8 million vehicles built between 1999 and 2003. The issue, which the Administration has narrowed down to the so-called 'snow belt' states where road salt is a fact of life in the winter months, affects the Chevrolet Silverado, the Chevrolet Suburban, the Chevrolet Tahoe and the Chevrolet Avalanche, as well as the GMC Sierra and the GMC Yukon.
Ford has also been forced to recall a large number of its trucks and crossovers in order to handle a potential electrical problem that could cause a fire. The issue affects 14,737 vehicles, according to a report in Autoweek, and is related to a body control module that is shared between the 2011 Ford F-Series pickup trucks, the 2011 Ford Edge and the 2011 Lincoln MKX. The module will be replaced free of charge by Ford.
Following in Ford's footsteps, Dodge has recalled a large number of trucks and crossovers due to safety issues. 56,611 editions of the 2011 Dodge Ram are being returned to dealerships across the country due to a defect with the rear axle bearing which could potentially cause the assembly to seize. In addition, 65,180 versions of the 2009 Dodge Journey have been called back for repairs to their wiring systems. Specifically, airbag wiring in the vehicle's doors could fray or break completely over time, leading to the failure of the Journey's side-impact airbags to deploy in an accident.
The final major recall for the month of January has to do with a faulty wiring harness installed on 2010 Honda Accord and 2010 Honda CR-V models. USA Today has published an article stating that Honda has called back 2,277 four-cylinder editions of these vehicles in order to replace a wiring system coupler. Honda is concerned that the coupler could have been damaged during the assembly process, which could in turn lead to stalling while the vehicle is underway.