General Motors believes that they have the final resolution for the Chevy Bolt saga by replacing the entire battery system on the Bolts. While the new batteries are starting to make their way into the Chevy dealerships, and into the vehicles, the waitlist is long, and the dealerships are getting limited inventory. One dealership we recently spoke with informed us that due to the physical complications in replacing the batteries, the process is slow, yielding perhaps only one or two vehicles per day. At this pace, the replacement of batteries into all Bolts will take several months.

In the meantime, GM has offered repurchases to many owners of the Bolts, but they’re not following up with consumers with time frames or logistics. While promises are being made, actions are not. And while a case is pending with GM, consumers are still struggling with how to protect themselves from dangerous fires, or something even as simple as where to safely park their Bolt.

We now have a client whose Bolt actually did catch fire in the middle of the night causing the destruction of the vehicle and other property. So, we know first-hand just how dangerous these vehicles are, and the destruction they’re capable of. Please heed all of the warnings GM has given and especially do not park a Chevy Bolt in an enclosed area.

We are still successfully pursuing Bolt cases against GM on a daily basis. For a free consultation, please email attorney Barry Edzant directly at BarryE@valencialaw.com and I will personally discuss your case with you. Be safe!

Ford Motor Company (Ford) will be contacting the owners of certain 2018 F-150 vehicles with manual and power release tailgates because the tailgate latches on their trucks could unlatch unexpectedly while driving.

In September 2021, a problem affecting tailgate latches on certain 2018 Model Year F-150 trucks, was brought to the attention of Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group. The affected vehicles were built with a tailgate latch that could unlatch under certain loading conditions and cause unintended opening of the tailgate while the vehicle is in motion.

According to the defect report, the suspect tailgate latch design incorporates a latch pawl that is perpendicular to the catch mechanism. This latch design is susceptible to pawl walkout (unlatching) under certain dynamic loading conditions in this tailgate application. Unintended tailgate opening without vehicle operator knowledge may result in loss of unrestrained cargo increasing the risk of a crash. An unintended tailgate opening will only be apparent to an operator if they notice it prior to entering the vehicle.

Owners will be notified by mail and instructed to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to have both the left-hand and right-hand tailgate latches replaced. The recalled tailgate latches (JL3A-9943150-AC and JL3A-9943150-BC) will be replaced with tailgate latches that incorporate a different latch pawl design (5L3Z-9943150-A).

In April 2018, Dearborn Truck Plant reverted to the initial latch design. Vehicles not included in this recall were built with latches that incorporate a different latch pawl design. Ford’s number for this recall is 21S53 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-983.

 Automotive Defect Investigation

In 2017, the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened two Recall Queries (RQ) affecting certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with “Theta II” engines. The investigation looked at both the timeliness and scope of the recalls as well as the compliance of each company to meet their reporting requirements under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Numerous violations of the requirements were found for both companies, and in November 2020, both companies entered into Consent Orders with NHTSA to resolve NHTSA’s assertions of violations of law.

In 2018, the Center for Automotive Safety (CAS) petitioned the Agency to investigate non-crash fires on various Hyundai and Kia models, alleging vehicle fires at varying points of origin and occurring under various non-crash related circumstances (including key-off fires). The ODI found that many of the fire incidents appeared to start in the engine compartment area and made reference to the two open RQ investigations as likely pertinent. After reviewing responses two Preliminary Evaluations were started to investigate incidents of non-crash fires (regardless of origin or operational status of the vehicle) on various model-year Hyundai (Sonata and Santa Fe) and Kia (Optima, Sorento, and Soul) models.

To date, Hyundai and Kia have issued several recalls addressing vehicle fires, including those due to engine failure involving various engine types (Theta II GDI, Theta II MPI, Theta II MPI HEV, Nu GDI, and Gamma GDI). The repair for the engine failure recalls typically involves engine inspection (to detect existing damage), and if necessary, engine replacement. Additionally, both manufacturers are installing an engine control software modification known as Knock Sensor Detection Software (KSDS) which is intended to detect impending engine failure, alert the driver, and limit engine power (to lessen the likelihood of engine failure). KSDS is being installed under recalls and non-safety field actions, and both companies have extended limited engine warranties. They have even replaced engines if the KSDS software detects an impending engine failure.

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is opening this Engineering Analysis for two primary purposes. First, the investigation will continue to evaluate the scope of recalls initially begun under prior ODI actions, and will also include other recalls for fires due to engine failure. Second, the investigation will monitor and evaluate the efficacy of the recall remedies for engine fire-related recalls, as well as the long-term viability of related programs and non-safety field actions being conducted by Hyundai and Kia.

The Vehicles Affected Include:
2013 Hyundai Elantra
2012 Hyundai Santa FE
2013-2014 Hyundai Santa FE Sport
2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata
2011-2013, 2016-2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2017 Hyundai Tucson
2015-2016 Hyundai Veloster
2012-2015 Kia Forte
2012-2015 Kia Forte Koup
2011-2014 Kia Optima
2011-2013, 2017-2018 Kia Optima Hybrid
2017-2018 Kia Optima PHEV
2012-2015 Kia RIO
2011-2014 Kia Sorento
2012-2016 Kia Soul
2011-2013 Kia Sportage

A small number of 2020-2021 Kia Rio vehicles may have been built with brake master cylinders that are not designed to manufacturer specifications. Kia will be contacting the owners of the affected vehicles starting January 11, 2022. The letter will have information describing the problem and how owners can get repairs done.

Kia first became aware of the defect in October 2021 when the supplier of the brake master cylinder notified them of a brake-related complaint in a Hyundai vehicle. Because this vehicle uses the same brake master cylinder as certain Kia Rio vehicles an investigation into the problem was opened for both Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent vehicles.

Based on a review of supplier quality control records and Kia’s vehicle production records, vehicles produced before 7/2/2021 could be equipped with improperly machined brake master cylinder bodies.

According to the defect report, the master cylinder body may have been machined with a sharp edge that could contact and damage the oil seal in the master cylinder. A damaged oil seal can impair vehicle braking functions, such that the driver may experience a hard or spongy brake feel, longer brake pedal travel, and extended stopping distances.

All owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by first class mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia dealer. Dealers will replace the brake master cylinder with a new one. Kia’s number for this recall SC223 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-936.

This problem also affects certain 2021 Hyundai Accent vehicles. The brake master cylinder may have been manufactured with sharp edges that can damage the inner oil seal and result in reduced braking performance. Hyundai’s recall number is 213 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-937.

Don’t live with a Lemon. If you are having problems with your vehicle and have questions about your rights and the California Lemon Law, please call our office at 888-395-3666.

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) will be asking the owners of certain 2021 Nissan Rogue SUVs to return to their dealerships to fix a problem affecting the fuel system in their vehicles. An assembly defect in the fuel pump could lead to an unexpected vehicle stall.

The problem began in March 2021, when Nissan first received a field report about a 2021 Rogue SUV crossover that allegedly experienced a fuel pump failure. According to the driver of the vehicle, the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) illuminated just before the engine stalled. The driver was not able to restart the vehicle and needed to have it towed. Nissan initiated an investigation into the problem and collected parts from the field to perform duplication testing to identify the scope of the issue. The supplier also conducted a field investigation and process check in an attempt to track down the problem.

Nissan discussed the ongoing investigation with the NHTSA and reviewed their field claims checks for the U.S. Market and identified 87 warranty claims alleging the same problem… engine stalls while driving. Based on manufacturer production records the problem affects certain model year 2021 Nissan Rogue vehicles manufactured between March 2021 and October 2021. No other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles have been affected.

According to the defect report, the problem is the result of an operator assembly error at the supplier. Some fuel pumps may experience excessive friction between the fuel pump brush and commutator. This will cause heat and melting damage that would result in the fuel pump failing. If the fuel pump fails, it will cause the engine to stall and not restart.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealers to have the fuel pump assembly replaced. Nissan’s number for this recall is R21B8 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-957.

Owners of certain 2021 Ford Bronco SUVs and 2021 Ford Ranger trucks will be returning to their Ford dealership to fix a problem affecting the forward collision avoidance system. According to the defect report, a misaligned radar module may prevent the vehicle from maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles when adaptive cruise control is active. In addition, the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system may react slowly, or not react at all, during a pre-collision assist braking event.

Back in July 2021, a problem affecting the alignment of the cruise control radar modules was brought to the attention of Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group (CCRG). An investigation was carried out to understand the potential effect of an incorrect calibration and how it could vary on the vehicle configuration and ride height. They found that radars aligned with the incorrect programming could be up to 2.6 degrees lower than design intent. Numerous reviews were conducted to understand the effect on vehicle Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Pre-Collision Assist (PCA) features as part of the Advanced Automatic Emergency Braking system.

The ACC and PCA features use information from the vehicle’s forward-looking radar and camera sensors to detect and track objects in the host vehicle path. A misaligned cruise control module radar can cause the vehicle to have a closer-than-expected following distance when using the adaptive cruise control feature, or the automatic emergency braking system may react late resulting in a sudden loss of speed during an automatic Pre-Collision Assist braking event. As a result, the Pre-Collision Assist system’s effectiveness to detect a potential frontal collision may be compromised and could increase the risk of a crash.

Dealers will correct the problem by adjusting the angle of the cruise control radar module. Ford’s number for this recall is 21S52 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-982.

In August 2020, Volkswagen / Audi received an inquiry about a gateway control module failure in an Audi Q5 vehicle in China. An inspection of the situation found that the gateway control module had gone into fail safe mode because of liquid entering the module from a rear bench seat spill.

The gateway control module has been programmed to go into a fail-safe mode when an implausible signal is detected in the control unit. If an implausible signal is detected, the gateway switches off its function in order to avoid unwanted vehicle reactions. The vehicle remains steerable and the brake system will work, but the engine will go into emergency mode and remains in operation with reduced power.

Audi performed a safety assessment to evaluate the potential conditions and consequences that could result from a power shutdown of the gateway control module due to liquid ingress. Audi also conducted a risk assessment which indicated that the risk of a liquid spill leading to a failure of the gateway control module is very low and rare over the lifetime of the vehicle. At the time there were only isolated cases in the North American region and all of them happened after an outside influence, mostly after a beverage spill. Audi continued to monitor the problem.

In March 2021, Audi experienced an increase in customer reports related to gateway control module failures on Q5 vehicles after a liquid spill. Audi conducted additional testing and continued to investigate a potential solution to be implemented in production and in the field. Due to single field cases alleging the failure without a liquid spill, an additional investigation was initiated to rule out other root causes for liquid ingress. In August 2021 Audi identified a potential manufacturing issue in the factory in Mexico. “Due to a programming error of a glue bead robot, an underbody seam may not have been sealed sufficiently and therefore allow water ingress from underneath in very rare cases when driving through heavy rain or deep puddles.” The adjustment to the robot was implemented immediately and analysis continued regarding the impact of this additional potential cause for liquid ingress.

The Audi Safety Committee began to issue a service campaign in order to install a protective cover for the gateway control module and to seal the underbody in the area of the insufficient glue bead, but after a meeting with Transport Canada and the Defective Product Administrative Center in China, the Audi Product Safety Committee re-evaluated their decision and decided to conduct a voluntary recall to fix affected vehicles.

The Vehicles Affected Include:
2018-2022 Audi Q5 Sportback
2018-2022 Audi SQ5 Sportback

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2021-2022 Bronco Sport and 2021-2022 Escape vehicles because they fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 135, “Light Vehicle Brake Systems.”

In October 2021, Ford was contacted by the NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance regarding the results of a compliance audit on the 2021 Bronco Sport vehicle equipped with a brake vacuum booster. According to the defect report, the stopping distance test results for “Brake Power Assist Unit Inoperative” exceeded the federal regulation stopping distance of 168 m. Ford compared data from the NHTSA test vehicle to data from the Ford certification test vehicle and could not identify the difference in performance between the two test vehicles.

In November, Ford conducted further testing which included the “Brake Power Assist Unit Inoperative” portion, on a 2021 Bronco Sport equipped with a brake vacuum booster without a vacuum sensor, to replicate NHTSA’s test vehicle. The test vehicle was fitted with a new current batch of brake linings from the assembly plant and the stopping distance test results exceeded the federal requirements.

Analysis of the brake system identified that the friction coefficient of the rear brake caliper linings was below manufacturer specifications. Vehicles equipped with rear brake linings that have a friction coefficient that is outside of the specified tolerances would experience longer stopping distances if the vacuum sensor is not there to compensate for variations in brake pad friction performance.

The 2021-2022 Ford Escape shares the same brake system as the Bronco Sport and the same certification test applies to both vehicles. Some Bronco Sport and Escape vehicles are equipped with a brake vacuum booster and some are equipped with an Electronic Brake Booster (EBB). Vehicles with an EBB are not affected by this issue because they have higher system pressures if the booster malfunctions.

The remedy is currently under development. Ford’s number for this recall is 21C31 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-922.