5 Car Recalls that Made Headlines & Why They’re So Common
Think car recalls in Canada, the U.S. and the world in general, are on the increase? You’re not being superstitious – they really are. In fact, recent reports have pointed out to a higher number of recalls in the past few years, and there are predictions that they will continue to increase. Although this sounds like bad news, the good news is that the severity of these recalls are significantly less than what they were before, thanks to improved safety features. You might probably remember a few notable recalls in the past few years, some of which may have hit close to home.
A Look at 5 Recent Recalls
What recalls (excuse the pun) do you remember? There have been some major ones in the last five or six years that may pop up in your mind instantly. Have a look at some below.
Toyota Brake, Transmission & Steering Defects
It just seems like Toyota can’t catch a break (excuse the pun). Remember from 2009 – 2011, how they had a serious issue with brakes not working? Allegedly, the auto giant has been dealing with this issue since 2000, and 37 deaths have been blamed on accidents that stemmed from faulty brakes. Since then, Toyota has announced some more recalls. Last year, the company recalled over 6.4 million vehicles globally due to concerns over defective engine starters which some think are the cause of two fires. This year, the manufacturer announced a variety recall on various vehicles for issues ranging from steering to transmission defects.
Hyundai Power Steering Defects
Hyundai has grown considerably over the years in terms of popularity, and they’re certainly competing with more established brands. But they haven’t been spot free the recall department. Earlier this year, the automaker announced a recall of 263,000 Elantras, including 58,000 in Canada. The problem? Power steering flaws. Vehicles built between June 1st, 2008 – April 30, 2010, along with Elantra Touring vehicles manufactured from November 1st, 2008 to April 30th, 2010 are the affected units. Hyundai noted that the power steering unit may sense a fault in the steering input signals, which would lead to the disabling of the power assist. When that happens, drivers would have difficulty steering their cars at lower speeds, increasing the risk of a crash.
Mitsubishi Electrical Defects
Mitsubishi is the latest car brand to take a hit with defects. It was just a few days ago that the company announced a recall of 130,000 vehicles due to damaged electronics, most notably faulty defrosters. The affected models included the 2009 – 2011 Lancer, 2010 – 2011 Lancer Sportback, the 2010 – 2011 Lancer Evolution and the 2011 Outlander Sport. Faulty defrosters can be a serious problem for motorists driving through heavy fog, because their visibility could be greatly reduced. In addition to faulty defrosters, many of the above-mentioned vehicles also suffer from non-functional headlights, tail lights and windshield wipers due to the unstable electrical unit.
Ford Steering Defects
The Ford brand has managed to escape a once insulting reputation, building a much better image for themselves over the years. Unfortunately, they’ve had a few car recalls. The automaker announced a recall of 591,000 vehicles in North America, citing their concerns over steering defects. Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans manufactured between 2013 and 2015 are at the centre of the recall, although there are Ford vehicles that have problems as well. The source of the steering defect comes from damaged bolts that have been affected by corrosion. So far, the company has said that it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries.
GM Ignition Switch Defects
Last summer, GM launched a massive recall of 8.5 million vehicles, which culminated in a grand total of 29 million cars. The defect in this case was an ignition switch problem. Sadly, GM acknowledges its awareness of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities that have occurred in vehicles with ignition faults. Some of these include models from 1997. With a defect of this sort, airbags can’t deploy in the event of a crash, leaving a driver at risk for more serious injuries. At the height of the summer recall, the cost of the damages had already totalled 2.5 billion.
Why they’re Getting So Common
You might be like many people, wondering why car recalls are so frequent these days. There are many possible reasons for this – finding a singular cause is extremely difficult to do. A lot of it has to do with public perception and brand reputation.
Today’s auto brands must remember that one accident caused by a car defect is enough to tarnish their reputation. In an effort to keep their image and save lives, they’ll take no chances if they discover a potentially dangerous glitch. It would be no surprise, if car brands were more a bit more passive in previous years. But now, thanks to social media and the internet, information travels quickly, and today’s empowered customer expects manufacturers to take responsibility for these issues. For this reason, brands are quicker to launch recalls than they did in the past.
On the technical side of things, the increasingly computerized nature of cars makes some of them more vulnerable to problems. A simple software glitch can lead to major problems. It’s also important to mention that many cars are using new or experimental technologies for which manufacturers aren’t too familiar with yet. As a result, it’s possible that some cars are suffering from malfunctions that manufacturers are still getting used to.
Something to Live With
There’s no telling how many more recalls we will see, but It’s safe to say that there will be more as time goes on. As cars get more automated, it’s possible that new vehicles will have a higher risk of certain defects. With that said, the increase in technology works both ways since new capabilities will mean better resolution of certain issues. The future remains somewhat hazy, but you can still have confidence in your vehicle despite the uncertainties. Maintain your car to the best of your ability, drive safely and follow your manufacturer’s instructions if a recall affects you. These basic steps can relieve much of the stress that car owners now face.