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.
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 (ODI) have opened an investigation into certain 2020-2021 Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles because of a problem affecting the airbag system. The ODI have received fifteen complaints from consumers who say that the air bag system in their GM vehicle malfunctioned. Nine complaints allege the illumination of an air bag malfunction indicator (MIL) and six crash incidents had significant frontal collision damage but the driver frontal air bags failed to deploy. All the complaints received involve either GM vehicles covered by GM Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 21-NA-005 or CT4, CT5 and XT4 vehicles.
The TSB, issued in March 2021, addresses air bag MIL illumination accompanied by diagnostic trouble codes B0001-1B or B0012-0D. It also cites rust particles in the connection terminal interface of the driver air bag inflator as the cause of the air bag MIL illumination. Illumination of the air bag MIL under these circumstances may result in a non-deployment of the driver airbag during a frontal collision and increased risk of injury to the driver.
ODI is opening this preliminary investigation to determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and to fully assess the potential safety-related issues.
|Vehicles Affected Include
|2020-2021 Cadillac CT4
|2020-2021 Cadillac CT5
|2020-2021 Cadillac Escalade
|2020-2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV
|2020-2021 Cadillac XT5
|2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
|2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500
|2020-2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500
|2020 Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD
|2020 Chevrolet Silverado 5500HD
|2020 Chevrolet Silverado 6500HD
|2020-2021 Chevrolet Suburban
|2021 Chevrolet Suburban 1500
|2020-2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
|2020-2021 GMC Sierra 1500
|2020-2021 GMC Sierra 2500
|2020-2021 GMC Sierra 3500
|2020 GMC Sierra Denali
|2020-2021 GMC Yukon
|2020-2021 GMC Yukon XL
In December 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA) received a petition that requested an investigation into alleged sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) in certain 2017-2019 Tesla Model 3, 2013-2019 Tesla Model S and 2016-2019 Tesla Model X vehicles. The petition cited 127 consumer complaints including 110 crashes and 52 injuries.
On January 13, 2020, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a Defect Petition (DP20-001) to assess the request. The investigation included reviews of all complaints and supporting information, as well as an additional 14 complaints that were either not included in the petition or were submitted after the petitioner’s submission. The review also included analyses of available crash data (EDR, Tesla log data, and/or video data) the NHTSA acquired from Tesla, as part of the investigation.
After reviewing the data, ODI has not identified evidence that would support a defect investigation into SUA in the subject vehicles. According to the NHTSA, “In every instance in which event data was available for review by ODI, the evidence shows that SUA crashes in the complaints have been caused by pedal misapplication. There is no evidence of any fault in the accelerator pedal assemblies, motor control systems, or brake systems that has contributed to any of the incidents. There is no evidence of a design factor contributing to increased likelihood of pedal misapplication. The theory provided of a potential electronic cause of SUA in the subject vehicles is based upon inaccurate assumptions about system design and log data.”
“NHTSA is authorized to issue an order requiring the remedy of a defect if the Agency’s investigation shows a defect in design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle that presents an unreasonable risk to safety. Since the information is not indicative of a vehicle based defect, it is unlikely that any investigation opened because of granting this petition would result in an order concerning the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect. Therefore, upon full consideration of the information presented in the petition and the potential risks to safety, the petition is denied. The denial of this petition does not foreclose the Agency from taking further action if warranted or the potential for a future finding that a safety-related defect exists based upon additional information the agency may receive.”
Buying a used car has become a complex ordeal. Franchised and independent dealers, rental companies, leasing companies, car superstores, and online sellers compete to bring in customers by promising the best prices, better warranties, and certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles. In most cases, CPO vehicles have been subject to a rigorous, multi-point inspection and can be expected to operate almost as good as new. Certified pre-owned can mean different things to different dealers, but a manufacturer CPO usually has higher standards than most independent used car lots.
New changes in the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) used car rules could mean that a CPO vehicle may not always be safe. Last months changes will make it easier to label vehicles as “Certified Pre-Owned,” even if it is under recall and has not been fixed. These changes came as a result of the Takata airbag defect and its unprecedented 60 million airbags recalled. The lack of replacement parts has dealers first replacing airbags most likely to cause harm, while others may have to wait years before they can get repairs done. Given the situation, the Federal Trade Commission said dealers may advertise used vehicles as certified even if their airbags were under recall, as long as the problem has been disclosed to the buyer. Continue reading
An investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S autopilot system has safety regulators warning drivers to not use semi-autonomous cars as if they were fully self-driving. The investigation began after a driver using autopilot in a 2015 Tesla Model S died when the car failed to spot a tractor trailer crossing its path. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) blamed the driver of the vehicle because he ignored the manufacturer’s warnings to maintain control even while using the driver-assist function. The NHTSA said it found no defects in the vehicle and would not issue a recall.
Just last year, the NHTSA released guidelines to ensure vehicle safety without slowing the development of semi-autonomous and self-driving cars. The agency says self-driving features could dramatically reduce traffic deaths by eliminating human error, which plays a role in 94 percent of fatal crashes. Although Tesla has maintained that autopilot was not responsible for the drivers death, it issued a number of over-the-air updates to the software to increased use of radar sensors and have added a feature that would disable autopilot if drivers took their hands off the wheel too many times.
The Department of Transportation continues to ask for the news media and public’s assistance to find vehicles with unrepaired Takata airbags, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed a crash fatality in Riverside County, California is tied to a rupture of a recalled Takata air bag inflator.
The victim died after suffering injuries in a crash on Friday, Sept. 30. The vehicle involved was a 2001 Honda Civic first recalled in 2008. Records show that the recall repair was never completed. The vehicle is included in a list of Honda and Acura vehicles which have been identified as being a substantially higher risk. These airbag inflators in these vehicles have a manufacturing defect which increases the potential for a dangerous rupture upon deployment. These ruptures are more likely to happen in vehicles that have spent significant periods of time in areas of high humidity such as Florida, Texas, parts of the Gulf Coast and Southern California. These vehicles show rupture rates as high as fifty percent in a laboratory setting.
The higher-risk inflators are in the following 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles:
- 2001-002 Honda Civic
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2002-2003 Acura 3.2TL
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Acura 3.2CL
- 2003 Honda Pilot