Total Recall: 5 of the Most Expansive Automotive Recalls of 2016

Mechanic fixing old car engine

The end of Daylight Savings Time is a great time of year to take stock of some of the often-overlooked essentials around the house. Families everywhere will, of course, turn their clocks back, but this adjustment can also be a great way to remember to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s also a great time to check to see if your vehicle has any outstanding recalls. 2015 saw a record number of automotive recalls issued, and it’s hard to see 2016 slowing that trend down.

Aside from the massive ongoing Takata airbag recall (more on that later), there have been a startlingly high number of other issues regarding basic safety systems in vehicles from automakers all over the world. And that’s not too surprising, given the increasing number of sensors and discrete parts involved in a modern automobile. But don’t let this information sway you from purchasing a vehicle. Most cars will undergo a recall of some sort during their lifetime, and the cars involved in these recalls are certainly worth checking out. Although we may think some defects are worse than others, it’s important to take them all seriously and get recalled vehicles repaired. Doing so will cost you only a trip to a dealership, and it may save a life. If you’re curious to see if your vehicle may have an unresolved recall, you can check by entering its VIN in NHTSA’s VIN Recall Look-Up tool.

2015 Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang

5. Ford Door Latch | 2,400,000 Vehicles Affected

In September, Ford expanded its recall on hundreds of thousands of Ford and Lincoln vehicles early in the year to a staggering 2,383,292 vehicles. The problem involves a side door-latching component, which results in the door not closing or latching properly. The door will either not close at all, or the door could close temporarily, only to reopen later while the vehicle is in motion. This, of course, would be a terrifying thing to encounter and severely increases the risk of injury. Needless to say, Ford and Lincoln dealers will replace the side door latches at no cost to the consumer.

Models to Check

2014 Toyota RAV4

2014 Toyota RAV4

4. Toyota Seat Belts | 3,000,000 Vehicles Affected

Since the beginning of the year, Toyota has recalled nearly 3 million RAV4s and RAV4 EVs after evidence emerged that there was an issue with the second-row safety belts. The problem involves how the seat belt interacts with the metal frame of the seat cushion, and, in the event of an accident, the metal frame could cut the seat belt right in two. As a result the seat belt fails at its most fundamental function. In order to alleviate this issue, Toyota simply adds a cover to the metal seat cushion frame that prevents it from cutting through the belt in a collision.

Models to Check

2016 Nissan Maxima

2016 Nissan Maxima

3. Nissan and Infiniti OCS | 3,200,000 Vehicles Affected

Approximately 3.2 million Nissan and Infiniti vehicles are currently being recalled due to a faulty sensor in the front passenger seat used to detect whether that passenger is an adult or a child. The occupancy-classification sensor (OCS) is responsible for determining whether to disable the front passenger airbag (in the case of a child or empty seat). As a result of the flaw, the OCS may not accurately measure the weight of the occupant, resulting in a disabled airbag for an adult passenger. To alleviate this issue, dealers will reprogram the airbag control unit and the OCS.

Models to Check

2016 Chevrolet Silverado

2016 Chevrolet Silverado

2. GM and FCA Front Impact Sensors | 4,300,000 and 1,900,000 Vehicles Affected

This is technically two separate recalls by two separate auto groups, but they both have the same undesirable effects. Both GM and FCA have issued recalls for two distinct problems with the front impact safety system, and though the effects of the defect are identical, they do have different sources. GM is recalling 4,300,000 vehicles for a software issue that may prevent deploying airbags and seat-belt pretensioners during a frontal collision. Likewise, certain FCA vehicles may not have functioning front impact sensor wiring, which, again, prevents deploying airbags and seat-belt pretensioners.

GM Models to Check

FCA Models to Check

Takata Airbags

Takata Airbags

1. Takata Airbags | 70 Million Vehicles Affected and Counting

Unfortunately, GM and FCA aren’t the only automakers that have problematic airbags. The explosive Takata airbags seem to be troublesome for nearly every automaker. As of last year, Takata is responsible for the largest automotive recall in history—surpassing Ford’s 21-million-vehicle recall record from 1980—and it continues to grow. Takata produces an estimated 20 percent of all airbags, so it’s no wonder why the defective units are so common. Latest estimates have over 70 million U.S. models (and over 100 million models worldwide) as part of this recall. The affected vehicles range from 2001-2016 model years and across manufacturers from Acura to Volkswagen. We recommend you check NHTSA’s extensive list of models affected and implore you to participate in the recall if your vehicle is among those listed.

Have you recently purchased a car that could be on a recall list?

–John Harrington

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