Takata Airbag Recall

Earlier this year, several automobile manufacturers announced recalls of different vehicle makes as a result of faulty airbags manufactured by a Japanese company called Takata.  Takata manufactured airbags for both driver and passenger’s sides in the recalled vehicles.  After investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others, it has been determined that the propellant used in the airbags has a tendency to deteriorate in humid areas.  As a result, when the airbag is deployed, the combustion of the propellant which produces the pressure to inflate the bag can do so with greater than necessary force.  The excessive force can cause the inflator to rupture sending pieces of metal to the occupant of either the driver or passenger seat resulting in greater risk of injury to the occupant.  The vehicles that are involved in this recall are Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.  The recall covers models years generally from 2002 through 2008.  In order to determine if the recall applies to a specific vehicle, owners can go to the manufacturer’s website and use its VIN lookup tool or contact a dealer and ask to speak with a service writer then give that person the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Commercial Truck Investigations

R.J. Hill Consulting has recently completed two investigations into the cause of destruction of two large commercial trucks.  One investigation involved a vehicular accident and a possible brake defect while the other investigation involved an engine fire.  In the case of the accident, the brakes were found to have been completely assembled and operational.  In the second case, the fire could have been attributed to at least two different scenarios: a wiring harness that rubbed against an unknown metallic object (such as a wire braided hydraulic hose) that caused a short circuit to occur and the fire ensue.  In the second scenario, a faulty electrical connection at a breaker possibly resulted in overheating of the connection and ignition of combustible material.  Since no definitive cause was identified, the cause of the fire was ruled undetermined.

Kiwanis Presentation

On Wednesday, May 6, R.J. Hill was the guest speaker for the Kiwanis Club of Murfreesboro. Mr. Hill’s presentation was on performing forensic investigations. Specifically, Mr. Hill spoke about why an engineer was needed to investigate insurance claims and what most people don’t know about those investigations.

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.

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