Auto Product Liability
Honda has issued an auto recall for over 200,000 recent models with automatic transmission issues. The New York Times reports that the defective Hondas have automatic transmissions that can be shifted out of “park” if the brake pedal is not pressed down. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the affected vehicles include 17,500 Acura RDX models from 2013, 128,000 CR-Vs from 2012-13, and 59,000 Honda Odyssey minivans from 2012-13. No injuries have been reported in connection with these vehicle defects.
Honda has had brake-shift interlock issues in the past, as well. In 2010, Honda recalled about 384,000 2003-04 models because the key could be removed when the vehicle was not in “park.” There were two other recalls because of this same issue in 2003 and 2005. Those three recalls affected 1.4 million vehicles.
Subaru of America is issuing a recall of 47,419 vehicles in North America that have malfunctioning remote engine starters. As reported by The Detroit News, this auto recall affects the 2012-13 Impreza, 2010-13 Legacy, 2010-13 Outback, and the 2013 XV Crosstrek. Investigators say that the defect allows the engine to start and run for 15 minutes and continue to turn on and off until the battery in the key fob dies or the vehicle runs out of gas. This defect is particularly dangerous if the vehicle is parked in an enclosed space where a buildup of carbon monoxide can result in asphyxiation.
This is not the first auto recall in recent months that Subaru has had to issue. At the beginning of 2013, Subaru recalled 633,842 relatively late-model sedans, wagons, and crossovers that had electrical issues. According to an ABC News report, the recall resulted after there were a number of reports involving shorts in the electrical system that posed a fire hazard. Subaru was able to begin the recall for that defect before there were any actual vehicle fires, but there were incidents involving smoke.
Chrysler Group LLC has issued an auto defect recall on a number of their mid-size cars that have damaged fuel tank control valves. As reported by The Detroit News, 1,785 vehicles in the United States are affected by the recall, including Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger mid-size sedans. Officials say the damaged control valves could cause the engine to stall or fuel to leak. The recall is linked to faulty parts shipped by the tank supplier and only involves vehicles that were manufactured during a five-day period last fall. Chrysler is unaware of any accidents that have resulted from this auto defect.
There have been a number of recent recalls involving fuel tanks and fuel-related issues. In a related but separate recall, BMW AG’s Rolls-Royce unit recalled 27 new Phantom vehicles that were shipped without anti-misfueling devices. Only seven of the affected vehicles were sold. Chrysler also had to recall Jeep Compass vehicles from model year 2012 for fuel-related defects. Certain Jeep Patriot and Compass vehicles were built with a fuel tank assembly that had a damaged rollover valve. In the event of a rollover, fuel could leak and cause a fire.
Mitsubishi has issued an auto recall for their electric cars because of defective brakes that can pose serious hazards. According to The Associated Press, Mitsubishi is recalling 1,400 i-MiEV cars made between December 2, 2011 and September 7, 2012. Officials say the vehicles have a defective vacuum pump that can stop working. When this occurs, the braking power will be affected and the stopping distance will be greatly increased.
Mitsubishi says no crashes or injuries have been reported because of this defect and that the issue was only uncovered after a complaint was filed by a customer in Japan. Anyone with one of these potentially dangerous vehicles can have their pump replaced, free of charge.
If you own a Toyota, you may be one of the millions of Americans about to receive a letter stating that your vehicle is at risk of catching fire. According to a Wall Street Journal news report, Toyota Motor Corp. has issued an auto recall of 7.4 million vehicles, including 2.5 million cars in the United States, because of a potential fire hazard.
Officials say that some of these vehicles, which were manufactured between July 2005 and May 2010, have power-window switches that can ignite. The affected models include Corolla and Camry sedans as well as RAV4 SUVs and Yaris, Tundra, Scion, Sequoia, Highlander, and Matrix models. Toyota says that the recall was issued only out of caution and that there have been no reports of accidents as a result of this defective auto part.
Toyota Motor Corp is in trouble again for manufacturing vehicles with pedal-entrapment and sudden acceleration issues. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested a recall of Lexus RX 350 and RX 450 H vehicles from model year 2010. Officials say these vehicles have potentially defective floor mats that can cause the accelerator to stick. In such cases, the defective auto part can cause the vehicle to speed out of control. On June 29, 2012, Toyota announced the auto recall involves 154,000 vehicles.
This is not the first time that Toyota has had issues with faulty floor mats and gas pedals. In late 2009, Toyota recalled 6.9 million vehicles because of floor mats that could cause gas pedals to become stuck. That recall eventually included 14 models of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Of the vehicles recalled for problematic floor mats, 85 percent have been brought back and fixed. That means that hundreds of thousands of cars may still be on the roadway with this defective auto part.
A car’s tires are one of the most important pieces of automotive equipment, as they are the only part of the vehicle that touches the road. Consumers, tire manufacturers and car manufacturers alike have a duty to make sure that a car’s tires do not reach a level of damage that will endanger the lives of the driver or passengers.
Consumers must inspect their car tires regularly and pay attention to tire failure warning signs such as cuts or cracking of the sidewalls, uneven tread wear, excessively worn tread, bulges or blisters, and excessive vibration. These are often caused by improper inflation, misaligned wheels, damaged tires, or suspension problems. Improper inflation, specifically under-inflation, is a common cause of tire blowouts. Additionally, poor manufacturing and/or design also cause tire failure and/or blowouts.
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