Car recalls are not an uncommon thing. We often hear warnings on the news or read stories online about toy, food, drug, and product recalls that can affect the health and wellness of thousands. One of the more common industries to issue large amounts of recalls is the automobile industry.
U.S. car manufacturers saw a record breaking year in 2014 when 63.95 million vehicles were recalled. This figure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration smashes the previous record set in 2004, when 30.8 million cars were recalled. While a final tally has yet to be calculated for car recalls in 2015, we can already tell that the numbers aren’t going to be small.
There is certainly a lot that can go wrong with anything involving moving parts and computers working together, but when you purchase a car, you expect that it will keep you and your passengers safe. Unfortunately, as in years past, millions of drivers are learning the hard way that some manufacturers aren’t as trustworthy as they’d hoped. Though there were hundreds of individual recalls this year, we’re just going to take a look at the most talked-about car recalls of 2015.
Car Recalls of 2015:
Fiat Chrysler – 10.2 million
It’s been a rough year for Fiat Chrysler. The 10.2 million cars recalled in 2015 broke their previous record of 8.8 million recalls in 2014. In total, they issued 24 recall campaigns, the biggest of which were those dealing with the vehicle’s suspensions and hacking vulnerability. The suspension recall only affected about 7,700 Dodge Durango’s and Jeep Grand Cherokees. Luckily, the problem was caught within days of production of the affected vehicles, many of which had not even made it to dealers’ lots.
The hacking recall was much more serious, affecting about 1.4 million vehicle model years 2013-2015. A video, and its accompanying article, released in July 2015 by Wired.com, demonstrates the ease with which two hackers remotely access a Jeep Grand Cherokee’s computers. With the knowledge of how to perform this vehicular hijacking, just about anyone can wreak havoc on nearly every component of the vehicle, from blasting the air conditioning and radio on high to cutting the ignition at any time.
Honda – 8 million
The popular Japanese car manufacturer called for 8 recalls in 2015. While that’s not an excessively high number in and of itself, it does bring their average for that year to 1 million cars per recall. Their biggest of the year, however, stems from a much larger recall by Takata, a major car parts supplier.
The defect occurs in the company’s airbags, causing some airbags to deploy explosively, spraying hot metal shrapnel throughout the passenger cabin. As of June 2015, eight people had been killed by Takata’s airbags. While Honda has been the most severely impacted, being forced to recall 6.28 million its cars, the defective airbags have been used in 9 other major manufacturer’s vehicles, including: BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.
Volkswagen – 500,000
In September, U.S. regulators revealed that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed a number of its vehicles to sense when they were undergoing emissions testing and emit lower levels of emissions during these tests. In reality, while in normal operation, these vehicles emit up to nine times the legal limit of vehicle produced pollutants.
Most of the 500,000 cars recalled in the United States have been VW’s 2.0L, 4-cylinder TDI vehicles, and that’s just in the U.S. Worldwide, 11 million of the company’s diesel vehicles have been affected. Because Volkswagen was not only aware of the emission problem, but actively working to cover it up, they could face fines up to $18 billion dollars and, again, that’s only in the United States. Can the maker of the famed Beetle survive? It seems only time will tell.
Hyundai – 305,000
A relatively minor recall, Hyundai still made waves last year when they recalled 305,000 Sonatas due to an issue with the brake light switch plunger. Only Sonatas manufactured between Dec. 11th 2009 and June 30th, 2011 were affected, according to the NHTSA.
The brake light switch plunger is responsible for triggering the lighting up and turning off of the brake light as the driver presses the brake pedal. In some cases, the brake lights in these particular Sonatas stayed on, even though the brake pedal was not being pressed. Constant illumination of the brake light is a potential crash hazard and can confuse surrounding drivers. Though revealed in 2015, Hyundai’s recall officially began on Jan. 11th, 2016.
Kia – 256,459
Named one of Edmunds.com’s Most Popular Cars of 2015, the Kia Soul is a subcompact crossover that has been brilliantly marketing to the public via it’s famous dancing hamster commercials. But all the popularity in the world can’t make it immune to problems, as evidenced by the 256,459 Soul’s recalled by Kia at the tail end of 2015.
Owners were officially notified starting on Dec.22nd that Souls and Soul EVs built between Jan 18th, 2014 and Sep. 30th, 2015 could encounter steering loss. The defect is actually caused by an insufficiently strong adhesive that can cause the steering pinion gear to break free of the steering gear assembly. This separation, which would render the driver unable to steer at all, could potentially occur at any speed. No injuries have occurred as of yet, and Kia is replacing all the affected parts free of charge in an effort to keep it that way.
Has Your Car Been Recalled?
Remember, these are by no means all of the car recalls issued in 2015. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a wonderful tool that allows you to enter your vehicle’s VIN and search for any recalls your particular make and model may have been been affected by in the last 15 years. Try it at Safercar.gov.
If you find out that your vehicle has been recalled via mail or online, your first step should be to contact the manufacturer or your local dealer immediately to find out how to remedy the problem. In many cases, vehicles can be taken to a dealer and any small recalls can be fixed in their facilities.
Unfortunately, some people remain unaware of important recalls for their cars until it’s too late. If you or a loved one has suffered an accident, catastrophic injuries, or death as the result of a fault or defect covered in a recall by your vehicle’s manufacturer, your first step should be to call DeMayo Law Offices at 1-(877) 333-1000. Car companies need to be held liable for their products and the harm they have caused. Find out if we might be able to help you fight for financial compensation; contact us to set up your free consultation toda