The most serious automobile recalls seem to happen in waves, like the rash of defective airbag recalls that plagued the industry a few years ago, or other recalls involving tires or electric-car batteries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announces hundreds of recalls affecting millions of vehicles a year, but these trends deserve special scrutiny because of the risk of injury involved.
Among the most alarming types of recalls to be trending lately are those that can lead to a car fire. In many instances, the risk of fire is so great — even when the car is turned off — that the manufacturer is asking drivers to park the vehicles outside, away from any structures, until the defective parts can be replaced.
A few weeks ago the NHTSA issued such an advisory for the owners of more than 280,00 Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride SUVs built in 2020-2022. According to the agency, the tow hitch system in these models does not prevent moisture from seeping into the harness module, which can cause a short circuit and possibly a fire. Palisade dealers can remove a fuse as an interim fix, but impacted car owners will have to wait for notification by mail to bring their vehicles to a dealer to address the underlying problem. In the meantime, drivers are urged to park their cars outside.
Two years ago Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of the Kia and Hyundai brands, reached a $760 million settlement with customers over an engine defect linked to fires. But HMG is hardly alone on the fire-risk list. Several other major auto makers have recently issued similar alerts:
- In May, Ford recalled more than 39,000 Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators over a risk of fire in the engine compartment; the number of vehicles affected was later increased to 66,221. Ford urged owners to park the SUVs outside until they could be repaired. A few weeks later, Ford announced another recall of Ford Escapes, Maverick pickups, and Lincoln Corsairs — in all, more than 100,000 hybrid vehicles — over other engine-fire concerns. This is entirely separate from the recent recall of 2.9 million Ford vehicles over a transmission problem that can cause roll-away crashes.
- In March, BMW recalled more than a million vehicles over engine-compartment fire issues. The recall affects various models built in the years 2006-2013. For some vehicles, this was the third recall intended to fix the problem.
- In January, 800,000 Mercedes-Benz owners received a letter from the auto maker warning that a leaky coolant pump could lead to fires and urged that driving the affected models be kept to “a bare minimum” until replacement parts could be obtained. A few weeks ago the luxury auto maker recalled another 27,000 vehicles over faulty wiring that could cause a fire.
Because of the possible risk of injury or property damage, all these recalls should be treated as high priority. Check with your local dealer for more details.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOUR VEHICLE IS RECALLED
Checking for recall alerts on your own vehicle takes only a few seconds and should be an essential part of your vehicle safety and maintenance routine. Simply locate your vehicle identification number, or VIN, a 17-digit figure that can be found on your insurance card, your vehicle registration, your door jamb, or in the lower corner of your windshield on the driver’s side. Then enter it in the search box on the NHTSA recall search page. If there’s no issue, you can breathe easy. If it turns out there is a recall for your vehicle, schedule an appointment with your dealer so you can get back on the road with confidence.
THE CAR CRASH ATTORNEYS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, Thornton, Grand Junction, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032, or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.