Oil Filled Heaters Spray Hot Oil, Recalled Due to Burn Hazard

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has announced that Sunbeam Products has recalled approximately 34,000 Holmes Oil Filed heaters, models HOH 3000 and HOH 3000B.  The heaters can cause heated oil to expand and sprayed on to combustible fabrics and carpet resulting in a scalding and fire hazard.  The heaters involved in this recall are also identified as having the following code range: G192 through G 298.  Consumers should stop using the heaters immediately and contact Sunbeam for instructions on how to obtain a refund.  Sunbeam can be contacted by visiting their website at www.holmesproducts.com and clicking on “Oil Filled Heater Recall”.  Sunbeam can also be contacted by calling 1-800-515-4715.  It should be noted that this is not the first time that Holmes has had this problem.  In 2007, a similar recall was made for approximately 300,000 oil filled heaters that also sprayed hot oil and caused a fire hazard.  Officially, the root cause was found to have been overheating due to a poor electrical connection.

General Electric Pays $3.5 million Civil Penalty

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that it has come to an agreement with General Electric regarding an imposed penalty for not reporting defects in two of its product lines. The products were identified as the “Profile” dual fuel ranges and “Profile and Monogram” dishwashers. According to the CPSC, press release number 15-082 dated February 19, 2015; General Electric had been notified about overheating of a wiring harness connector back in 2004 but did not report the problem until 2009. It was further determined that the overheating of the connector could also pose a fire hazard. In April of 2009, General Electric recalled 28,000 dual fuel ranges because of the hazard. Furthermore, the CPSC has determined that the control board in “Profile” and “Monogram” dishwashers can short circuit as result of the buildup of condensation on the boards. The short circuiting can also pose fire and burn hazards. According to the CPSC, General Electric had known about the problem since 2007 but failed to report the defect to the CPSC until 2010. Instead, the company chose to settle claims and make payments based on reports of defective units. In October of 2010, the company recalled 174,000 units.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to notify the CPSC immediately after learning of a potential defect in a product that could be hazardous to consumers. Consumers can report a dangerous product by going on line to www.saferproducts.gov or calling the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772.

Air Bag Control Module Failure

The following vehicles have been recalled by their respective manufacturers for the failure of the air bag control module and its ability to respond to electronic noise.  The response causes the air bag(s) to suddenly deploy increasing the risk of injury and crash.

2003-2004 Honda Odyssey manufactured between February 13, 2002 to August 13, 2004

2003 Acura MDX manufactured between February 21, 2002 and September 23, 2003

2002-2003 Jeep Liberty manufactured between January 9, 2001 and March 28, 2003

2002-2004 Jeep Cherokee manufactured between February 13, 2001 and May 23, 2003

2003-2004 Dodge Viper manufactured between November 1, 2001 and June 30, 2004

2003-2004 Toyota Corolla manufactured between December 28, 2001 and May 2, 2004

2003-2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix manufactured between January 6, 2002 and April 29, 2004

2003-2004 Avalon manufactured between June 5, 2002 and December 20, 2004

2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe manufactured between January 18, 2002 and April 27, 2004

For additional information, owners can contact manufacturers as follows:

Honda customer Service 1-800-999-1009         Chrysler customer service 1-800853-1403

Toyota customer service 1-800-331-4331          Pontiac customer service 1-800-620-7668

Nissan Rogue Recall

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nissan North America is recalling 2008 – 2013 Nissan Rogue vehicles. These vehicles were manufactured between March 7, 2007 and November 26, 2013. Nissan is also recalling its 2014 Nissan Rogue Select vehicles, manufactured between September 23, 2013 and July 2, 2014. Due to the infiltration of ice, snow and salt through the carpet on the driver’s side of the floor, these vehicles can experience an electrical short circuit in a wiring harness connector located in the kick panel. The short circuit can result in a fire. Nissan dealers will inspect the wiring harness connector and if necessary, replace the harness connector free of charge. For additional information, owners can contact Nissan Customer service by calling 1-800-647-7261.

Low SEER HVAC Units Still Available

As of January 1 of this year, all air conditioning unit manufacturers are required to discontinue manufacturing a/c units with SEER ratings below 14. The minimum SEER rating available is now 14. This means that surplus inventory might be available for installed costs less than what the same size unit with a higher SEER rating would cost. If you are considering the replacement of your HVAC unit, be sure to ask your dealer if units with SEER ratings below 14 might be available. Be sure to also get several bids with different unit brands so that you can get the best price for your job. For those not familiar with SEER ratings, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This number is a measure of the efficiency of a cooling unit during the cooling season; the higher the number, the higher the efficiency. Currently, a/c units are commonly available in SEER ranges from 14 to 16.

Scholarships Available for the 2015-2016 academic year

Although we about through January, it is not too late to apply for one of two scholarships.  Both are $500 awards.  The first scholarship is intended for award to any Tennessee high school student who intends to study engineering at any Tennessee public university.  It is also open to any Tennessee college student majoring in engineering at any Tennessee public university.  The second schloarship is intended for award to high school students from El Paso High School (El Paso Texas) who intend to pursue higher education at the University of Texas at El Paso.  This scholarship is open to any field of study.  The details and instructions are shown below.

Scholarship Instructions for Tennessee Students

Scholarship Instructions for EPHS Students

Which Came First: the Accident or the Transmission Damage?

 

Recently, we were asked to evaluate a vehicle in order to determine if the damage to the transmission occurred before or after the vehicle was involved in an accident. This was a situation where the accident involved two vehicles, a Pontiac Sunfire and a Buick Enclave. The impact occurred such that the Sunfire sustained damage on the right front side while the Enclave’s left front side was damaged. The Enclave was repaired, returned to the owner and approximately 3100 miles put on the vehicle before the transmission failed. Specifically, the transmission began making a whining noise and when put in gear, would not “pull”. One of the ways to assess when damage occurred is to construct a timeline of events that leads to the damage. That is, establish the condition of the transmission before and after the collision. In this case, the service record of the Enclave was obtained from the owner’s service garage. The record showed that the owner had the vehicle in for an oil change approximately one month prior to the accident. The particular servicing agency also provided a 21 point inspection which included checking all fluid levels. It was then established that the transmission was in good condition prior to the accident. From that piece of information, and without being able to prove that something else (like a sudden fluid leak) caused the damage, the benefit of the doubt has to go to the owner. The insurance company for the owner of the Pontiac was therefore responsible for the repair of the transmission in the Enclave. However, it should be noted that if the condition of the transmission could not have been established, the alternative would have been to remove the transmission and make a determination from the damaged parts. This is a process whereby someone is going to incur some charges. It is usually beneficial to all parties if an arrangement is made beforehand. The arrangement is usually one where the insurance company will pay for the disassembly and repair if the damage is found to have been caused by the accident. If not, then the owner has to agree to pay for the disassembly and repairs.

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