Cars and trucks are a big part of people’s lives. They help us go
places, do things, and we depend on them like few other things in
our lives. People also tend to love their cars and spend lots of
money on them. So when defects – real or perceived – are brought
to light, they make news. In the 1960s, Ralph Nader made
controversial assertions about the Corvair® that,
true or not, helped to bring about its demise. The name
become synonymous with design and engineering failures. Everyone
of a certain age remembers the Pinto® for its
exploding gas tank.
Today’s recall news stories include:
Ignition switches that shut off and disable all the power
systems and air bags.
Air bags that deploy with such force as to send metal shards
into the passenger compartments.
What is going on with all of these recalls? Has quality really
declined that much? Are the problems a result of design…
engineering… production? Are vehicles just so complicated that
failures are inevitable? Has quality control so improved that
more defects are being caught? Is the profit motive driving
manufacturers to churn out vehicles at a faster rate?
The answer to all those questions is a resounding yes, no and
maybe. While it is essential for manufacturers to understand how
each defect occurs, the root cause is less important to collision
shop owners, shop managers, estimators, production managers,
parts managers or technicians. What is important is how a recall
event will affect your shop’s bottom line.
If you repair a vehicle and it is involved in subsequent
collision, your shop could be blamed when, in fact, the cause was
a known problem under recall. Even if there is no recall, there
may be a technical service bulletin out there describing the
condition. In a less severe scenario, a customer might come back
to the shop, saying you missed something in your repair. Again,
the problem may be a prior defect.
Glancing at a list of recalls, you will find a notice for just
about every component and system except license plate lamps and
floor mats. Oh wait! There actually ARE current recalls issued
for license plate lamps that may cause fires and floor mats that
may interfere with the accelerator pedal.
This partial sampling of recalls is from several manufacturers:
Water leaks shorting out electrical components
Virtually every electronic system, sensor and module
High voltage disabling in hybrids
Windows and window controls
Headlamps and other exterior lighting
Hood latches and hinges
Seat backrest frames
Mechanical components from axles to windshield wipers
And, of course, air bags, air bags and more air bags!
Not every recall commands news coverage. Here are three excerpts
from recall notices that are NOT being widely reported in
newspapers or on the nightly news:
Chrysler – Tire Pressure Monitor Control Module
2014 Chrysler® Town
& Country® and
NOTE: This recall applies only to the above
vehicles with tire pressure monitoring built from March 20,
2014 through April 22, 2014.
Subject: The Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM)
control module on about 10,200 of the above vehicles may have a
Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM) control module that was incorrectly
set during the manufacturing process. This may result in a
false illumination of the TPM warning lamp and/or a false “Low
Tire Pressure” warning message to display on the Electronic
Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) screen. The TPM system is not
performing in the manner designed to meet Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standard (FMVSS) 138 – Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Incorrect tire pressure monitoring could cause the vehicle
operator to drive the vehicle without knowledge of a low tire
pressure condition. Driving a vehicle with a low tire pressure
condition could cause tire failure and/or crash without
Chrysler – Rear Suspension Shock Absorbers
2014 RAM® Pick
Up Truck (1500 series)
2014 Jeep Cherokee®
2015 Chrysler 200®
NOTE: This recall applies only to the above
vehicles built with Hitachi® rear
shock absorbers from May 21, 2014 through June 05, 2014.
Subject: The rear suspension shock absorbers
on about 20,300 of the above vehicles may break the upper or
lower attachment ring. A partially detached rear suspension
shock absorber(s) could cause damage to other rear
chassis/suspension components, rear brake tube damage and/or
damage to the rear tire(s). This could cause a crash without
Hyundai – Sonata Joint Connector Repair
Description: This bulletin provides a service
procedure to repair a connector socket for the vehicle’s “CAN
bus” (Controller Area Network) circuit in the joint connector
located behind the glove box on certain 2015 Sonata (LF)
vehicles. If this circuit becomes intermittent or open,
symptoms could include illumination of the instrument cluster
lamps, inability to remove the vehicle’s shifter from Park
position, or a reduction of steering assist from the vehicle’s
Motor Driven Power Steering System.
Knowledge is Power
Having the information to counter any claims against your shop is
just smart business. With so many active recalls at any given
time, it can be challenging to keep up. OEM information is the
gold standard for repairs and for protecting your shop’s
profitability. Stay up to date and help keep your customers safe.
NOTE: This repair/service information is
excerpted from information published by the vehicle manufacturer,
and intended for the purpose of promoting OE collision repair
information to trained, professional technicians with the
knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely.
Before attempting any repairs described, refer to the complete
article in ALLDATA Collision S3500. It is recommended that these
procedures not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.”
Written by members of the ALLDATA Collision Team of Experts.