Driving can be dangerous enough with a perfectly safe (and perfectly working) vehicle. One thing that usually doesn’t even cross a motorist’s mind is a fear that their vehicle will suddenly malfunction causing a life-threatening traffic accident. Unfortunately, this is something that all people who own, lease, or just drive a vehicle need to think about. Cars are not perfect, and neither are the people – or machines – that build them.
Below, we will cover some of the biggest, scariest recalls that happened so far in 2019. Since many factors go into how deadly and far-reaching a recall can be, the below defects are not ranked, but rather listed in alphabetical order by brand.
#1 – Audi: Leaking Fuel
Number of Recalls: 75,000 Vehicles
Audi began notifying registered owners of the recalls in their 2015-2018 A8s and 2016-2018 A6s, A7 hatchbacks and Q7 SUVs. This defect, involving 75,000 vehicles in the U.S. alone, involved the left and right fuel rails which were found to leak fuel, which is extremely dangerous around any ignition source. The smallest spark, static, or even just a hot surface (like the pavement on a summer day) could cause this vehicle to catch on fire.
#2 – Chevrolet: Steering Problems
Number of Recalls: 113,000 Vehicles
The smallest crossover from Chevy, the Trax, is experiencing a recall. It involves the Trax CUVs that were manufactured from July 1, 2017, to April 4, 2019. The reason for this recall is that the front lower control arms that connect the wheel to the chassis have been found to not be properly welded together. Therefore, these essential control arms can separate, making the driver unable to properly steer the vehicle.
#3 – Chrysler: Power Losses
Number of Recalls: 198,731 Vehicles
The popular family car, the Pacifica minivan, has a recall affecting the models that were manufactured between 2017 and 2019 due to an electrical issue. A portion of the battery assembly has been found to have faulty wiring, which can cause the vehicle to lose power. When this happens, the power steering will stop working and the engine can fully stall out.
#4 – Ford: Rolling Away
Number of Recalls: 822,500 Vehicles
In July of 2018, Ford recalled 550,000 Fusion and Escape vehicles built from 2013 to 2016 due to issues with the shifter cables. It turns out, Ford didn’t recall enough. They are adding 270,000 Fusions built those same years at the Flat Rock and Hermosillo Plants and 2,500 Rangers built in March 2019 at the Michigan Plant. All of these vehicles have the same major problem: a faulty gearshift that can cause the vehicle to spontaneously come out of park and roll away.
#5 – Honda: Deploying Airbags
Number of Recalls: 118,000 Vehicles
The 2019 Honda CR-V has already injured three passengers due to its airbags randomly blowing up in their faces. The manufacturer has explained this unexpected deployment to be caused by metal burrs in the steering wheel that makes the airbags overheat. Faulty Takata airbags inside Honda vehicles killed 13 people in the United States not too long ago, so it’s concerning to hear that the same deadly malfunction is happening again.
#6 – Mazda: Inoperable Wipers
Number of Recalls: 187,798 Vehicles
2016-2018 Mazda 3s are being recalled (106,756 are 2016s) because of windshield wipers that stop working due to loss of electricity to the motor. The worst part: Mazda was notified of this problem back in 2015. It wasn’t until April 2019 that a Quality Audit Committee got to the root of the problem. Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by June 3, 2019—hopefully before one of them gets stuck in a rainstorm with wipers that won’t do their job.
#7 – Ram: Unlatching Tailgates
Number of Recalls: 410,351 Vehicles
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling 1500, 2500, and 3500 Ram pickup trucks with eight-foot cargo beds that were manufactured from 2015 through March 31, 2018. A portion of the power-locking mechanism in the tailgates has been found to break, which will cause the tailgate to unlatch. Whatever is in those huge eight-foot beds – probably the tailgate too – would be sent flying out across the interstate Final Destination Two style.
#8 – Subaru: Faulty Brake Lights
Number of Recalls: 1.3 Million Vehicles
Yep, that’s right; this recall involves over one million vehicles. 2014-2016 Subaru Forester SUVs, 2008-2016 Impreza sedans, 2012-2016 Impreza wagons, 2008-2014 WRX and STI sedans, and 2013-2017 Crosstrek SUVs are all being recalled due to brake light switches malfunctioning. This defect not only prevents the brake lights from illuminating, but it also can prohibit the ignition from starting (in keyless-entry models), and it can prevent vehicles with automatic transmissions from shifting out of park.
#9 – Volkswagen: Fracturing Coils
Number of Recalls: 56,100 Vehicles
Certain Volkswagen vehicles are experiencing fractures in their rear coil springs. When this happens, the coil can puncture the back tires causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and risking a fatal traffic accident. The models affected are 2017-2019 Golf SportWagens, 2019 Jetta sedans, 2015-2019 Golf hatchbacks, and 2018-2019 Tiguan SUVs.
#10 – Volvo: Detaching Lift Arms
Number of Recalls: 46,000 Vehicles
This is another malfunction that is most treacherous for those driving behind the involved vehicles. With the 46,000 2018 and 2019, Volvo XC60 SUVs affected, in certain conditions and cold temperatures, the tailgate lifting arms and springs can detach. Volvo did the right thing and notified registered owners at the end of January 2019, but the problem is that the new parts aren’t available yet. So, Volvos sporting defective liftgates are most likely cruising all over U.S. roads.
Does your vehicle have a recall?
Deadly vehicle defects are much more common than most people realize. Manufacturers are required by law to notify vehicle owners of recalls—no matter how seemingly trivial, but there is always a significant delay between the first report of a problem and when you will get your letter, email, or phone call. It’s essential that you pay attention to recent recalls on the vehicle you and your loved ones drive. Check out the below websites with recall lookup tools and bookmark one of them so you can quickly run a search on your specific vehicle each month.
Sara Routhier is a Research Specialist and Staff Writer for AutoInsurance.org. In addition to obtaining a degree in Elementary Education, being a public school teacher, family nanny, and tutor, she has over four years experience in the auto insurance industry. Having lost a child herself, Sara is dedicated to spreading the word on traffic fatality causes, educating readers on dangers to avoid, and working towards preventing more unnecessary deaths in America.