In September 2019, the NHTSA was asked to initiate an investigation into certain Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles that received a revised battery management software update in one or more over-the-air updates from Tesla, beginning in May 2019. The petitioner based his request on vehicle fires that took place worldwide and over the air software updates Tesla made to the Battery Management System (BMS) of certain Tesla vehicles that resulted in loss of available vehicle mileage range and increased charging duration’s.

The five non-crash fires referenced in the petition include two fires that occurred in China in early 2019 involving vehicles that:

  • Had recently completed Supercharging sessions.
  • Were at a high state-of-charge (SOC) of the HV battery.
  • Were parked with the battery cooling system shutoff.
  • Had histories of high-stress usage for the HV batteries.

The three fires that occurred outside China did not involve the same patterns regarding vehicle state and charging history. The two fires that occurred in the United States include one involving a vehicle with no Supercharging history that was driving when the fire occurred and another in which the origin of the fire was external to the HV battery. The fifth fire, which also originated external to the HV battery, involved a vehicle in Germany that had been parked at a low SOC for an extended period. To date, incidents of fires involving parked vehicles with recent Supercharging and histories of high-stress use have only been observed in China, where high-stress use factors appear to be more common.

Given the absence of any incidents in the United States related to fast charging, and the absence of any such incidents globally since May 2019, the petition has been denied. The denial of this petition does not stop the Agency from taking further action if future findings find that a safety defect exists based on additional information received. NHTSA could initiate a recall if they find a defect in the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.

The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation have opened an investigation to whether a safety defect related to propellant degradation exists in non-recalled desiccated PSAN frontal air bag inflators manufactured by Takata. This investigation will include information on the Takata production processes, a study of inflators in the field, lists of recall actions that may have used desiccated PSAN inflators as remedy parts, as well as the makes and models originally manufactured with them.

From 2000 through 2017, Takata produced air bag inflators using two types of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) propellant – propellant 2004 and propellant 2004L. After prolonged exposure to high temperature cycles and humidity, inflators using propellant 2004 can degrade, causing the propellant to burn too quickly when ignited. The rapid burning can cause the inflator to rupture during deployment, potentially causing serious or even fatal injury to vehicle occupants.

“Takata have been studying the long-term behavior of Takata desiccated PSAN inflators using propellant 2004L (as well as 2004) in the presence of moisture and temperature cycling. The research efforts are ongoing and to date, none have identified field evidence showing that propellant 2004L is undergoing a degradation process that leads to aggressive deployment and potential rupture. However, the time in service of such inflators remains short compared to that of the inflators using propellant 2004. Further study is needed to assess the long-term safety of desiccated inflators using propellant 2004L. “

NHTSA Action Number: EA21002

Click Here to see the complete list of vehicles involved in this investigation.

In December 2020, Fox Factory received its first reports that certain GM vehicles fitted with Tuscany lift kits could experienced partial or complete wheel separation while in operation. Fox began reviewing field data and started a safety investigation to assess the failure mode, the failure rate and potential causes of the problem. By September 2021 Fox identified 28 warranty claims and field or service reports potentially relating to this issue and decided to initiate a voluntary safety recall.

According to the defect report, “Accelerated wear on the vehicle OEM installed ball joint in the front upper control arm can result in premature ball joint failure and a front wheel separation while the vehicle is in motion .”

Failure of a ball joint in a front upper control arm may be preceded by noise and / or a feeling of clicking in the steering, abnormal front tire wear and abnormal steering.

The Vehicles Affected Include:
2019-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2019-2021 GMC Sierra 1500

New Tuscany front upper control arms will be installed in place of the GM front upper control arms. The fix will include upgraded front upper control arms with stronger and less corrosion sceptible ball joints. NHTSA Campaign Number: 21V718.

Toyota will be asking owners of certain 2018-2021 Tundra trucks, to return to their dealership for a problem affecting the electrical circuits controlling the headlights in their vehicle.

The problem began in early April 2020 when Toyota received a field report alleging the headlamp connector on a subject vehicle overheated and caught fire. Since then, there have been 18 Toyota Field Technical Reports (12 alleging an inoperative headlamp and/or damage to the headlamp connector (e.g., connectors melting), but no apparent flame, and 6 alleging a flame at the headlamp assembly). There has also been 47 warranty claims (44 alleging an inoperative headlamp and/or damage to the headlamp connector (e.g., connectors melting), but no apparent flame, and 3 alleging a flame at the headlamp assembly).

According to the defect report, the subject vehicles are equipped with halogen headlamp electrical circuits that were designed incorrectly to allow the circuits for both the high and low beam bulb filaments to be energized simultaneously when the high beams are switched on. If the high beams are subjected to repeated extended use (e.g., continuously switched “on” in a commercial setting when the vehicle is idling or driving at low speed for extended periods of time and not allowing air flow to cool the headlamp connector), excess heat could lead to degradation of the bulb insulation and eventually the bulb connector. This can cause an open headlamp circuit, leading to an inoperative headlamp that can be noticed by the driver and repaired. However, if an open circuit does not occur, there is a possibility that the connector could continue to overheat, resulting in an increased risk of a fire.

Owners receiving notices will be asked to return to their dealers to have the engine wire harness assembly and headlight assembly inspected and replaced as necessary. Toyota’s numbers for this recall are 21TB06 and 21TA06 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-688.

The Office of Defects Investigation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have opened an investigation (PE21-020) into crashes involving first responder scenes and vehicles manufactured by Tesla. The vehicles involved were operating in either Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control prior to the accident.

The Vehicles Affected Include:
2017-2021 Tesla Model 3
2014-2021 Tesla Model S
2015-2021 Tesla Model X
2019-2021 Tesla Model Y

Since January 2018, the NHTSA has identified twelve crashes in which Tesla models of various configurations, encountered first responder scenes and preceded to crash into one or more vehicles involved with those scenes. Most incidents took place after dark and included traffic control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board and road cones. The involved vehicles were all engaged in either Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes.

Autopilot is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) in which the vehicle maintains its speed and lane centring. With the ADAS active, the driver still holds primary responsibility for Object and Event Detection and Response (OEDR), e.g., identification of obstacles in the roadway or adverse maneuvers by other vehicles during the Dynamic Driving Task (DDT).

The NHTSA have opened a Preliminary Evaluation of the SAE Level 2 ADAS system (Autopilot) in the Tesla 3, S, X, and Y models. The investigation will evaluate the methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation. The investigation will also assess the OEDR by vehicles when engaged in Autopilot mode and ODD in which the Autopilot mode is functional. The investigation will also include examination of the contributing circumstances for the confirmed crashes listed below and other similar crashes.

Subaru of America have decided that a defect could exist in the suspension of certain 2021 Subaru Impreza vehicles. Owners are advised to NOT drive their vehicle until the repair can be completed.

In June 2021 Subaru opened an investigation into the 2021 Impreza, after receiving a field report of a partially separated lower control arm. In August a second field report was issued with a similar condition as the previous report. The vehicle production dates were two (2) days apart and the LOT number stamped on the control arm were the same. As a result of the joint investigation with the supplier, 75 left front lower control arms containing a specific LOT number were identified as potentially containing an improper weld. An improper weld in this location could lead to a partial separation of the lower control arm from the cross member. If this partial separation occurs, the tire could contact the wheel well structure and the driver could lose control of the vehicle.

Description of the Cause: Equipment on the control arm assembly line was damaged, resulting in contact between the part ejector rod and the welding torch. This interference caused the welding torch to be unable to trace the proper welding path and resulted in an incomplete weld at the joint.

For all of the potentially affected vehicles, Subaru dealers will inspect the LOT number stamped on the left front lower control arm. If the control arm contains a specific LOT number, the part will be replaced. Until the inspection/remedy is completed, customers will be instructed not to drive their vehicle and to make arrangements with their Subaru dealer to have the vehicle inspected. Subaru’s number for this recall is WRI-21 and the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-675.

In May 2021, Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group (CCRG) was informed of a warranty report affecting the seatbelts in a 2021 Ford F-150 Super Cab truck. According to the report, the front passenger outboard seatbelt webbing was routed through only the rubber trim sleeve, and not properly routed through both the sleeve and anchor eyelet. A misrouted seatbelt may not adequately restrain an occupant during a crash and could increase the risk of injury.

In July, another potentially related warranty report was identified during Ford’s ongoing monitoring process. The dealer forwarded photos of the suspect assembly showing that the seatbelt was routed through the anchor’s rubber sleeve cover but not through the anchor attachment, similar to the prior report. Ford is not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this condition, but have approved a field action for vehicles produced between January 1, 2021 and May 27, 2021.

Owners will be notified by mail with instructions on how to perform a preliminary self-assessment of the vehicle’s seatbelts. Performing this procedure does not replace the need for an inspection by a Ford technician.

If the customer is uncomfortable with the self-assessment procedure or uncertain of the results, they will be instructed to not drive their vehicle and make arrangements with their Ford or Lincoln dealer to have vehicle towed for inspection.

If the customer does not detect a suspect seatbelt, they will still be instructed to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to be inspected.

If the customer detects a suspect front passenger seatbelt, they will be instructed to not use the seating position and to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to be inspected.

If the customer detects a suspect driver seatbelt, they will be instructed to not drive their vehicle and make arrangements with their Ford or Lincoln dealer to have vehicle towed for inspection.

The dealer will inspect the front row outboard seatbelts to verify the belt is routed correctly through the anchor’s metal eyelet and anchored to the pretensioner assembly. Should the inspection fail, the dealer will replace the affected seatbelt retractor and pretensioner assembly. Ford’s number for this recall is 21C20 an d the NHTSA campaign number is 21V-653.

This is an expansion of NHTSA Recall 20V-701 and 21V-560.

General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in 2020-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EVs and 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUVs. The high voltage batteries in these vehicles may pose a fire risk when charged to full, or very close to full, capacity.

Defective battery modules will be replaced, but until then, GM advises owners to Activate either the Hill Top Reserve (2017 and 2018 models) or Target Charge Level (2019 models) feature in their vehicle to limit the charge level to 90%, charge their vehicle more frequently, avoid depleting the battery to 70 miles range remaining, park outside after charging, and do not charge the vehicle indoors overnight.

Interim notification letters notifying owners of the safety risk were mailed on August 13, 2021. Owner notification letters were mailed on August 13, 2021. GM’s number for this recall is N212343880 and the latest NHTSA campaign number is 21V-650.