A small number of 2023 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have encountered a significant safety issue, prompting concerns and a recall. A flaw in the battery system could potentially lead to vehicle fires, a risk that poses a serious threat to both vehicle occupants and property.

At the core of the problem is an off-location 12V isolator post in some of these vehicles. This defect may cause a short circuit in the 12V battery positive (“B+”) circuit, leading to a vehicle fire, regardless of whether the ignition is on or off. The gravity of this issue is evident, as vehicle fires can significantly increase the risk of injury to both the occupants and bystanders, as well as cause extensive property damage.

In response to this discovery, FCA US (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles United States) has initiated a voluntary safety recall for all affected Chrysler Pacifica PHEV models. This recall, identified as B0A by FCA US and 23V-753 in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) campaign, aims to address this critical issue.

It’s important to note that the recall stems not from a defective part, but rather from an assembly issue. Specifically, the vehicles in question may have been built with a 12V anti-rotation stud that is incorrectly positioned. The solution involves modifying the isolator to correctly fit this anti-rotation stud, thereby mitigating the risk of a short circuit and subsequent fire.

In the meantime, owners of the affected vehicles are strongly advised to take precautionary measures. FCA US recommends that these vehicles should not be parked inside buildings, structures, or near other vehicles. The reason for this guidance is clear: to minimize the risk of fire spreading and causing further damage and potential injuries. Owners are encouraged to park their vehicles outdoors and away from structures until the necessary repairs are completed.

This recall and the associated risks highlight the complexities and potential dangers inherent in modern automotive technologies, particularly in hybrid and electric vehicles. While these technologies offer numerous benefits, including environmental advantages, they also introduce new challenges in terms of vehicle safety and reliability.

The Chrysler Pacifica PHEV’s recall serves as a reminder of the importance of stringent quality control and thorough testing in vehicle manufacturing. It also underscores the need for quick and decisive action by manufacturers and regulatory bodies when potential safety issues are identified, ensuring the safety and well-being of vehicle users and the general public.

Door handle water intrusion Recent developments in automotive safety have brought to light a significant issue with the 2021-2023 Volkswagen ID.4 models. These vehicles have been identified as having door handles that fall short of the required standards for water ingress protection. This defect poses a serious safety risk, as it can lead to malfunctions in the door lock system, causing doors to open unexpectedly.

The Central Safety Concern

The main safety hazard is the risk of doors opening spontaneously under high lateral forces, particularly at speeds below 9 mph (15 km/h). This can be dangerous for both the vehicle’s occupants and those outside, including pedestrians and nearby objects. The problem stems from water entering the printed circuit board within the door handle, leading to miscommunications with the door control unit.

Signs of the Malfunction

Drivers and passengers in the affected Volkswagen ID.4 models may notice an unusual clicking sound, similar to that of doors locking or unlocking, which can indicate the onset of this issue.

Timeline of the Volkswagen ID.4 Door Handle Issue

  • June 2021: The first signs of this issue in the Volkswagen ID.4 were reported in the U.S., with two cases of door openings. Investigations pointed to wiring harness damage as a cause of water ingress.
  • April 2022: Additional reports confirmed the presence of water in the circuit board.
  • April-November 2022: Volkswagen conducted in-depth analyses using malfunctioning parts, signal debugging, and accelerated aging tests.
  • November 2022: Tests on field vehicles identified the issue at speeds below 15 km/h.
  • January-February 2023: In collaboration with suppliers, Volkswagen analyzed and tested deconstructed field parts.
  • February 2023: Environmental tests commenced on serial parts to better understand the ingress of water.
  • February 28, 2023: The NHTSA called for a meeting with VWGoA to discuss the ID.4 door handle issue.
  • March 2023: Continued investigations by VWGoA and NHTSA, with no definitive root cause identified initially.
  • March 28, 2023: Completion of climate chamber tests led to the identification of the root cause.
  • April 2023: Volkswagen’s Product Safety Committee started identifying affected ID.4 vehicles.

Recall Decision and Implications

By April 26, 2023, Volkswagen’s Product Safety Committee had decided to recall the affected 2021-2023 ID.4 models, following 28 reported instances of door openings. This recall is a vital step in rectifying a crucial safety defect, highlighting the need for stringent quality control and proactive measures in the automotive industry.

Tesla has identified a significant safety issue affecting certain 2021-2023 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles. The problem lies in the installation of incorrect steering wheel airbags during vehicle servicing. This issue predominantly arose during the retrofitting of vehicles with alternate steering wheels based on customer requests.

Discovery of the Issue

The problem came to Tesla’s attention in October 2023, when Tesla Service in Europe encountered 12 instances where vehicles with round steering wheels were retrofitted with yoke steering wheels. However, there was no confirmation of the appropriate driver airbag variant installation for the yoke steering wheels. This prompted Tesla to initiate an engineering study in the U.S., encompassing 10 vehicles. Of the three vehicles inspected, one was found to have the wrong driver airbag variant, meant for the round steering wheel.

The Nature of the Problem

At the core of this issue is the mismatch between the steering wheel design and the driver airbag variant. The round steering wheel and the yoke steering wheel each require a distinct driver airbag design. During servicing, some vehicles were erroneously equipped with a driver airbag variant mismatched to the steering wheel type. This discrepancy can potentially compromise airbag performance during deployment, elevating the risk of injury in the event of a collision.

Recall and Safety Concerns

As a result of these findings, Tesla decided to recall all vehicles that underwent a steering wheel retrofit – either from a round to a yoke steering wheel or vice versa. This decision underscores the potential safety risks associated with the airbag performance in these retrofitted vehicles.

Official Recall Information

Tesla has issued a recall with the number SB-23-20-005. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has assigned the campaign number 23V-743 to this recall. This recall highlights the critical importance of matching the correct airbag variant to the specific design of a vehicle’s steering wheel.

brake light warningSome Mustang cars made between 2020 and 2023 have a problem with their brake fluid level sensor. This sensor doesn’t activate a warning light when the brake fluid is low. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for light vehicle brake systems.

Ford became aware of the problem in August 2023 when an issue pertaining to 2020-2023 model year Mustang brake fluid level warning systems was brought into Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group (CCRG) for review. They discovered that the problem lies with the Body Control Module (BCM), a part that manages the brake fluid sensor. This BCM should turn on the brake warning light if there’s a problem. In Mustangs made from 2018 to 2023, the brake fluid sensor is directly connected to the BCM. However, in the 2020 Mustang, they switched to a different BCM design, called “Gen1m,” which incorrectly looks for a message from the brake fluid sensor over a network (CAN) instead of the direct connection.

After investigating, Ford confirmed that this problem only affects Mustangs from 2020 to 2023. They also verified that the 2024 Mustang doesn’t have this issue because the brake system and BCM are set up correctly. The Brake Development team tested Mustangs from 2019 to 2024 and found that the 2020 to 2023 models fail to meet the requirements for warning about low brake fluid. However, these vehicles meet all other brake system warning lamp requirements.

Ford initially didn’t run certification tests on the 2020 to 2023 Mustangs because they thought the brake system was the same as in the 2018 model. They didn’t know that the BCM was incorrectly configured to use a network message.

As of September 12, 2023, Ford received 123 warranty claims related to a brake fluid loss on these vehicles, but there were no reports of the brake fluid level sensor not working.

To fix the problem, Ford dealers will update the software in the body control module. They plan to send out initial letters in December 2023 to notify owners about the safety issue and will send second letters when the solution is available. This recall is identified by Ford as number 23C35, and the NHTSA campaign number is 23V-727.

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC (Jaguar) is taking steps to address a potential safety concern involving certain 2019-2023 I-PACE vehicles. These vehicles were previously subject to recall 23V-369, but the earlier repairs may not have been executed correctly. This oversight could still leave the high-voltage battery at risk of overheating, potentially posing significant safety hazards.

Jaguar became aware of this issue in September 2023, triggered by a field report regarding a thermal overload incident in a vehicle that had previously undergone repairs as part of a prior recall (H441). An in-depth investigation into the matter revealed that the recall action for H441 had been mishandled by a retailer. In particular, the retailer had used an unauthorized service diagnostic tool, leading to the incorrect installation of essential software on the vehicle in question. Consequently, the safety defect persisted, even though the retailer had reported that the safety recall had been successfully completed.

This situation creates a lingering safety risk for affected vehicle owners. An improperly repaired vehicle continues to be vulnerable to conditions like thermal overload, which can result in potential fire or smoke issues. Such incidents can not only jeopardize the safety of vehicle occupants but also pose risks to individuals outside the vehicle and may cause property damage. What’s even more concerning is that the owners may remain unaware that the previous repair was not carried out correctly.

Fortunately, Jaguar is taking action to rectify the situation. Dealers will address the issue by updating the battery energy control module software, ensuring that the vehicles are brought up to the necessary safety standards. In the meantime, owners are strongly advised to park their vehicles outdoors and away from structures, as well as to charge them in the open until the recall repair is completed. This precautionary measure should be adhered to for 30 days after the repair has been finalized.

To help facilitate this important safety recall, Jaguar has assigned it the reference number H459, and it has been officially registered with the NHTSA under campaign number 23V-709.

In a concerning development affecting certain 2022-2024 Honda Civic vehicles, an incorrectly assembled steering rack has raised concerns. This assembly issue may lead to potential tire damage, as the tire could come into contact with the lower suspension or tie rod ends. Specifically, the vehicles affected are those 2022-2024 Civic 4-door and Civic 5-door models that had a replacement power steering rack installed as part of a service repair.

Honda became aware of the problem in July 2023, when they were contacted by their steering rack assembly manufacturer about certain assemblies that may have been improperly put together. As a result, Honda swiftly initiated an investigation into this matter, which eventually revealed a defect posing a risk to vehicle safety. In response, Honda made the responsible choice to launch a safety recall.

Flat tire

According to the defect report, the steering racks produced as replacement parts for Honda dealerships had been assembled with an incorrect stroke length setting. When the steering rack’s stroke extends beyond a certain length during driving, it brings the tire into proximity with the lower suspension arm and/or tie rod end. Such contact can lead to tire damage or a potential puncture, thereby heightening the likelihood of an accident or injury.

An early indicator that the issue exists includes an unusual noise emanating from the front tire/suspension area, particularly when making turns.

Honda is taking measures to address this concern. Owners who receive notifications will be urged to return to their Honda dealerships to have the electric power steering rack carefully inspected. If necessary, the steering rack will be replaced to ensure the vehicle’s safety. It’s anticipated that notification letters will be dispatched to owners starting on December 4, 2023. For reference, the recall is identified by Honda as YFW, and the corresponding NHTSA campaign number is 23V-704.

Certain 2021-2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E cars might face a power problem due to an overheated high voltage battery contactor, potentially leading to an increased risk of accidents.

In June 2022, Ford’s Field Review Committee (FRC) gave the green light to a Field Service Action (FSA) named 22S41, specifically designed to tackle concerns regarding the overheating of the high voltage battery main contactor in select 2021-2022 Mustang Mach-E vehicles. To fix this issue, dealers updated the software for the Secondary On-Board Diagnostic Control Module (SOBDMC) and the Battery Energy Control Module (BECM). The enhanced SOBDMC software keeps an eye on the contactor’s temperature and smartly reduces the battery’s power output to prevent further damage. Meanwhile, the upgraded BECM software checks the contactor’s resistance to identify any damage, then it generates a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) and lowers the vehicle’s power to avoid more harm.

At the time of approving this FSA, Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group (CCRG) and Electrical Propulsion Engineering (EPE) teams found the software updates for BECM and SOBDMC to be a suitable way to minimize the safety risks linked to power loss. The software update, by monitoring contactor resistance, warns customers if the resistance exceeds a certain limit. Alongside the warning, the software reduces power to prevent further contactor damage and the associated power loss risk. Even with the reduced power, customers can safely accelerate to highway speeds. This approach was also reviewed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In June 2022, Ford Motor Company decided to issue a safety recall (NHTSA Recall 22V-412) for 48,924 model year 2021-2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles produced between May 27, 2020, and May 24, 2022. This recall was prompted by concerns about high voltage battery contactors overheating, primarily due to direct current (DC) fast-charging and repeated full-throttle pedal events. This overheating could lead to arcing or deformation of the electrical contact surfaces. If this occurs, the contactor could either remain open or get welded shut. An overheated contactor that opens while driving may lead to an immediate loss of power without re-engagement.

Following consumer complaints, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) initiated a Recall Query (RQ) for 2021-2022 Ford Mach-E vehicles included in Recall 22V-412. These vehicles had previously received a remedy involving a Secondary On-Board Diagnostic Control Module (SOBDMC) software update to monitor contactor temperature and reduce battery power to protect the contactor, as well as a Battery Energy Control Module (BECM) software update to monitor contactor resistance and reduce vehicle power in case of an overheated contactor.

To address this issue, dealers will replace the high voltage battery junction box. This recall is identified by Ford as 23S56, and the corresponding NHTSA campaign number is 22V-687. Vehicles included in this recall that were previously repaired under recall 22V-412 will need to have the new remedy completed.

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is reaching out to the owners of certain 2023 Ariya vehicles due to an issue with the inverter software. This problem may trigger the inverter to detect a short circuit, causing a shutdown of the EV system and a loss of drive power.

The Discovery of the Problem:

Nissan first became aware of this issue during a production trial involving an Ariya vehicle in January 2022. In this trial, the electric motor abruptly shut off shortly after the vehicle began moving at low speed. A diagnostic trouble code (DTC) revealed a short circuit inside the motor, although no actual damage to the motor or its components was observed. A deeper investigation into the problem found that in some rare instances, conductive fibers generated during the operation from the slip ring in the motor could lead to a momentary short circuit between the electrodes.

Understanding the Problem:

Nissan Ariya dashAccording to the defect report, the root cause of the issue lies in conductive fibrous shavings from the drive motors’ slip ring assembly. These shavings can occasionally cause a momentary short circuit between the two slip rings. When this occurs, the fibrous shavings are instantaneously burned out, causing no harm to any vehicle components. However, when the inverter detects a momentary over-current due to the short circuit, it reduces motor torque to protect the internal components of the controller. This leads to a loss of drive power, and an “EV System Off” message is displayed on the dashboard to alert the driver.

In the event of this issue occurring, the torque to the driven wheels is cut off. This continues until the fail-safe mode is released, which requires turning the vehicle off and then back on. An unexpected loss of motive power while driving at high speeds could potentially increase the risk of an accident.

Nissan’s Solution:

To address this safety concern, Nissan dealers will reprogram the inverter software to enhance the fail-safe protocols. This proactive measure aims to prevent such short circuits from impacting the driving experience and maintaining safety for the driver.

Recall Details:

Nissan has designated this recall as R23C6 and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has assigned the campaign number 23V-657 to this recall.