Recalls on the Rise

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is cracking down on defected vehicles

This year has been a big year for automakers, dealers and repair shops, as millions of vehicles were recalled worldwide. In the U.S. alone, Toyota will be servicing 1.3 million vehicles due to airbag defects and an additional 472,500 vehicles to fix seating defects.

Although the company said there are no reports of accidents or injuries in result of the safety issues, Toyota will be contacting owners to resolve and repair the hazards at no cost. Typically, recalls are concentrated to certain models that were made at specific plants.

About 450,000 Sienna minivans released from 2004 to 2011 are being recalled. Toyota is concerned that road salt will corrode the spare tire carrier under the minivan, causing the tire to fall off. This vehicle is particularly targeted in areas with cold weather, where road salt is most likely to be used.

Although a splash protector and anti-rust protection was applied to the 2004 to 2010 models of the Sienna, the company is still concerned the splash protector will severely rust and fall off.

About 16,000 Lexus GS 250 and 350 sedans of the 2013 model year were also recalled due to a manufacturing defect that causes brakes to activate without prior warning and without turning brake lights on.

About 10,500 of the sedans were sold in the U.S., but the recall also called for left-hand-drive sedans sold in Canada, Europe and China.

The Toyota Highlander and Highlander hybrid SUVs modeled in 2014 were also recalled. About 50,000 of these vehicles will need to have software repaired. The glitch impairs the vehicle by miscalculating the size of the front passenger when determining whether to release its air bags.

Vehicles affected by this glitch assume that the front passenger is smaller, causing the vehicle to refrain from firing air bags or to release them at a lower speed than necessary. Most of the impaired vehicles were sold in the U.S. (45,287), but there were also 3,400 sold in Canada and others sold in Mexico and Europe.

Previously this year, Toyota agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty ever by an automaker for hiding safety defects from the public. The Justice Department imposed a $1.2 billion penalty. Last year, the company recalled 5.3 million vehicles, which was the most of any automaker.

General Motors is also facing a criminal investigation, while the company is being tied to 13 deaths as a result of vehicle defects. Since February 10 of this year, over 15 million vehicles have been recalled by General Motors.

Recalled vehicles include the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze, the Buick Enclave manufactured from April 14, 2008 through May 14, 2014, the Chevrolet Traverse manufactured from June 6, 2008 through May 14, 2014, the GMC Acadia manufactured from April 9, 2008 through May 14, 2014, and the Saturn Outlook manufactured from April 14, 2008 through March 18, 2010, among others.

These recalled vehicles face issues with the steel cable that connects the seatbelt to the front outboard seating, causing separation and fatigue. This may cause the seatbelt to not properly restrain drivers or passengers in the case of a crash.

General Motors also wants 41,933 vehicles repaired in Australia and 3,744 in New Zealand over seatbelt issues. Although there are no confirmed reports of a defect, a wiring harness may make contact with a bolt at the base of the seat buckle assembly. This could cause the seatbelt’s pretensioner to fail in the case of an accident.

This year alone, General Motors has made 30 separate recalls, covering 13.8 million vehicles. Officials said they expect additional recalls throughout the summer. Last year, the company recalled a total of 758,000 vehicles, placing it ninth among automakers.

Toyota and General Motors have made it clear that cars are not perfect. Many of the problems can be seasonal in nature and repairs become crucial when it affects performance and safety. Simple mistakes made on the production line could put you and your family in serious danger.

Whether a buyer is looking to purchase a damaged salvage 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier for sale, or a 2014 Toyota Prius hybrid, every car should be inspected by a professional mechanic to ensure ultimate safety before driving.

According to the NHTSA, the most common defects in vehicles involve wiring or leaks that cause fire, accelerators that suddenly break or freeze, steering that causes a loss of control and airbags that release late or for no reason at all.

If you own any of the mentioned vehicles, contact your car’s manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with questions or concerns. Automotive companies are required to notify customers in the case of a recall.

Most commonly, automakers inform their customers by mail. Some customers may have an online account with a dealer, which will also alert owners of recalled vehicles. Most makers will advise that the defect should be taken care of immediately. Manufacturers are given only 60 days to attend to their customers vehicles.

Although it is not a standard procedure, some owners who have faced recalls have received courtesy cars while their vehicles are being fixed. This year’s recalls will most likely leave many without courtesy cars, because there is such a large quantity of vehicles being repaired.

If you are placed in a position in which repairs cannot be made on your vehicle or a shop is forcing you to pay for repaired defects, contact the dealer’s service manager. Supply the manager with the Official Safety Recall Notice to show proof of a serious defect.

The Office of Defects Investigation is associated with the NHTSA, which is the U.S.’s only agency that is authorized to investigate defects and administer safety recalls. Their databases provide records of safety issues, including child restraints, tires and equipment.

To search for safety issues related to your vehicle, go to: