Articles Posted in Car Recalls

20141111_airbag.jpgLong before the deaths and injuries, Takata knew its airbags were defective, according to two former employees of the company.

In fact, Takata knew about the defects as far back as 2004, the workers told The New York Times. The Japanese company learned one of its airbags exploded and sent metal debris spewing at a driver in Alabama, then began secret testing at its U.S. headquarters in Michigan. The testing was conducted outside normal work hours and was never disclosed until now. Three months into testing, employees began to theorize the problem was the welding on the airbag’s inflator canister, but the investigation was shut down and employees were instructed to destroy all testing data.

It took Takata four years to report the faulty airbags in a regulatory filing. In November 2008, the first Takata airbags were recalled.

20141027_airbag.jpgLast week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an advisory urging the public to act immediately on recall notices impacting 7.8 million cars with Takata airbags. The airbags are now linked to four deaths and more than 100 injuries.

If you have not already done so, please immediately check if your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled. Visit Safercar.gov. Select your auto manufacturer and enter your vehicle identification number, or VIN.

While car manufacturers are required to notify owners of recalls, do not wait to receive a letter for the company. While many of the airbags were previously recalled, you may have missed an earlier letter or may not have appreciated how serious the recall actually is.

Toyota A month after being assessed a record $17.4 million fine, Toyota Motor Corp. has settled one of the first wrongful death lawsuits involving sudden and unintended acceleration by its vehicles.

The Japanese automaker confirmed last week it had reached an agreement with the family of Paul Van Alfen and his son’s fiancee, Charlene Jones Lloyd, for an undisclosed amount in the November 2010 accident in which they died, USA Today reported. The automaker said it has also settled another case filed under California’s lemon law by a retired Los Angeles police officer.

Van Alfen and Lloyd were killed in 2010 when the Toyota Camry they were traveling in on Interstate 80 in Utah suddenly accelerated. Van Alfen, the driver, attempted to stop the vehicle, but ran through a stop sign and into a wall. His other passengers, his wife and his son, were injured. The Utah Highway Patrol investigated and determined the car accident was the result of a sticking gas pedal.

Other Injury Lawsuits. The settlement comes as a group of lawsuits consolidated in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California moves forward. Prior to the consolidation, Toyota had also reached a $10 million settlement in a case involving an auto accident which killed a California police officer and his family.

The officer and his family were killed near San Diego in 2009 when their Lexus accelerated above 120 mph, struck an SUV, rolled off an embankment and burst into flames. The car accident was blamed on a improperly sized floor mat which was trapped in the accelerator.

More Than $1 Billion Settlement. In December 2012, Toyota agreed to a settlement worth more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits claiming economic losses by car owners affected by its recalls. In recent years, the car manufacturer has recalled more than 14 million vehicles due to acceleration problems and brake defects.

$17.4 Million Fine. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued Toyota a $17.4 million fine for safety defects in December 2012, the largest ever imposed. In 2010, the company paid a total of $48.8 in a series of three fines.

Related:
Toyota settles first wrongful death lawsuit, USA Today.

Toyota tackles acceleration lawsuits; questions remain, USA Today.

Toyota reaches $1 billion settlement in acceleration cases, USA Today.
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highlander_web.jpgA defective crankshaft pulley is driving a new Toyota recall that will affect thousands of car owners. The Nov. 8 recall of 550,000 vehicles includes 420,000 cars in the United States. Toyota has now issued recalls for more than 13 million vehicles nationwide since September 2009. More vehicles have been recalled in other countries.

Toyota recalled the vehicles due to a crankshaft pulley defect that may cause steering problems. The vehicles have V6 engines and the U.S. models include 283,200 Toyota brand cars like Camry and Highlander vehicles and 137,000 Lexus vehicles.

Toyota said no injuries have been reported. The car manufacturer said the crankshaft pulley may have an inadequate amount of adhesive agent between the outer ring and the inner ring. This can cause the crankshaft pulley to become misaligned with the inner ring, possibly causing a noise or warning signal to light. When this happens, the belt for the power steering pump can detach from the pulley, making it hard for drivers to steer.

Toyota recalled 8 million vehicles between Nov. 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, most for defective pedals. In April 2010, the United States government fined the world’s largest automaker a record $16 million for its delayed response in notifying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the defects.

Recalls have continued through 2011, including last February’s recall of 2.17 million vehicles to repair mechanical defects that could cause the cars to accelerate out of control.

The Nov. 8 recall involves these defective motor vehicles: the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara; the 2004 Avalon; and the 2006 Highlander HV. The affected Lexus models are the 2004 and 2005 ES 330 and RX 330 and the 2006 RX 400h.

In January, Toyota will mail car owners a notification to make an appointment to have their vehicle inspected. Toyota will fix any vehicle in need of repair at no cost to consumers.
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truck.jpgTwo major manufacturers have issued car recalls impacting more than three million drivers.

Ford last week announced the recall of more than 1.22 million pickup trucks because of a corrosion problem that can result in a gas tank falling off and catching on fire. The recalled trucks include the popular F-150.

The Ford recall affects older trucks sold between 1997 and 2004 in Canada, Washington D.C. and 21 cold-weather states where salt is used on the roads to prevent icing in the winter. Massachusetts is among those states.

The Michigan car manufacturer plans to notify affected owners in September and will repair the trucks for free. The models include: Ford F-150 (1997-2003), the 2004 F-150 Heritage, the F-250 (1997-1999) and the Lincoln Blackwood (2002-2003).

Ford said it has received eight reports of tanks falling, resulting in three injuries.

This is the second recall action involving Ford trucks in four months. In April, Ford expanded a recall of F-150 pickups to about 1.2 million trucks. In that case, the problem was the front-seat airbags could deploy without a motor vehicle crash.

Also last week, Honda Motor Co. announced the recall of more than 2.49 million cars, SUVs and minivans with defective transmission software. The defect can affect a car’s transmission if the software cannot keep up with movements, such as a vehicle trying to emerge from the snow or a driver moving between gears.

The Honda recall includes 1.5 million vehicles in the U.S., about 760,000 in China and 135,000 in Canada.

Globally, the recall affects four-cylinder Accord sedans (2005 – 2010). In the U.S. and Canada, the car recall also includes the CR-V crossover (2007 to 2010) and the small Element SUV from (2005 to 2008).

The company said no injuries or wrongful deaths have been reported due to the defect.

Honda will begin contacting U.S. consumers at the end of August about updating the software. The update will be free.
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