Receive Instant Notification of New Cases and Cutting-Edge Techniques



Hyundai opposes recall of 2011-2012 Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai is petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to cancel the agency’s recall of 2011-2012 Sonata Hybrids.  The vehicles were recalled due to a seat belt design flaw; currently, the belts do not conform to federal motor vehicle safety standards.  Nearly 15,000 Sonatas are affected by the recall.

Hyundai has agreed to replace the seat belts in over 1600 cars currently for sale at nationwide dealerships.  However, the manufacturer opposes replacing belts in cars that have already been sold, claiming the issue is “inconsequential.”  As such, Hyundai is petitioning NHTSA to reconsider the recall.  If the petition is unsuccessful, Hyundai will have to begin notifying drivers about the recall and replacement options.

In the meantime, Sonata drivers can sign up to be notified of any updates.  Visit NHTSA’s recall notification website to fill in your vehicle and contact information.

1 comment

Auto manufacturers oppose stricter recall rules

The Senate is considering a bill that would raise fines for automobile manufacturers who delay recalls of defective or dangerous vehicles.  If the bill passes, maximum fines will increase from $17.35 million to $250 million.  Unsurprisingly, national auto groups are opposing the measure.

Democratic Senators Mark Pryor (Arkansas) and Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia) introduced the bill in late July.  According to The Detroit News,  “[p]roponents have been pushing for more than a year to strengthen auto safety measures in the wake of sudden acceleration concerns in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles.”

In a joint letter, automobile corporations called the proposed fines “unfairly punitive.”  They are urging the Senate to decrease the amounts to “a more appropriate level.”  The companies are also opposing a measure that would require a senior official at each auto company to certify the accuracy of its recall reports and require fines of $5,000 a day for submitting false, misleading, or incomplete information.

The proposed Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains a number of other components that would increase driver and passenger safety.  For example, one Democrat-sponsored proposal would bar rental car companies from renting or selling vehicles that are under recall.  Another part of the Act would prevent manufacturers from installing televisions within eyesight of drivers.  The Act would also require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to “set standards for the placement of pedals to ensure that they are located to prevent them from getting stuck.”  Auto groups oppose the the NHTSA requirement.

Automakers do support at least one provision: a proposed mandate requiring that all new vehicles include event data recorders.  They are requesting that manufacturers be given “sufficient lead time to develop and implement this technology in their fleets.”

Add comment

Exploding airbags? Honda issues major recall.

Honda has announced that 876,000 of its cars may contain airbags that could explode if deployed.  In a notice posted on its website, the company stated that “affected drivers’ airbag inflators may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality.” The airbags have caused at least 20 accidents, including two deaths.

The recall includes 273,000 2001-2003 Acura and Honda vehicles.  However, the company admitted that it does not have the information to determine which other vehicles may have received the defective parts.  Thus, “Honda will inspect an additional approximately 603,000 vehicles and replace those parts as necessary.”  Those 603,000 vehicles include certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL models.

The recall expands on earlier efforts to fix a problem that has plagued the company since 2008.  Worldwide, approximately 2 million vehicles have been included in the recalls.

Honda will begin notifying affected customers later this month.  Customers can go also go online to determine if their vehicle is included in the recall.   If you drive a Honda, visit or call (800) 999-1009; if you drive an Acura, visit or call (800) 382-2238. Be sure to have your car’s VIN.


Add comment

Toyota issues major recall due to steering issue

Toyota has recalled 550,000 vehicles due to an engine issue that could interfere with steering.  Affected models include the 2004 Avalon;  2004-2004 Camry, Highlander, Sienna, and Solara; 2006 Highlander HV; 2004-2005 Lexus ES 350 and RX 330; and 2006 RX 400h hybrid.

The issue affects the cars’ V6 engines.  A crankshaft pulley on the engine may cause power steering to become detached.  The company stated that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with the problem.

Toyota will begin notifying owners in January 2012; however, to be safe, drivers of these models should contact their local dealers as soon as possible.  The dealers will replace the pulley for free.

To read frequently asked questions about this recall, visit Toyota’s website.


Add comment