Vehicle Recalls

Recently, some major manufacturers have recalled some of their vehicles for some serious defects. First, General Motors has recalled 1.4 million of its vehicles for an oil leak that can result in an engine fire. This particular recall is also part of a series of recalls for this same problem; that were initiated in 2008. At one time, the problem was thought to have been caused by leaky valve cover gaskets. Currently, GM is saying that drops of oil can be deposited on a hot exhaust manifold and ignite. But, GM is not saying what the source of the oil is; only that they are working on a repair. The vehicles that are involved in this recall are:

1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix

2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala

1998-1999 Chevrolet Lumina

1998-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue

1997-2004 Buick Regal

All of the above vehicles are equipped with 3.8 liter, V6 engines. Owners should take their vehicles to their GM dealerships for repair. For additional information, owners can contact GM by calling 1-800-222-1020 for Chevrolet vehicles, 1-800-762-2737 for Pontiac, and 1-800-521-7300 for Buick.

Second, GM isn’t the only car maker with problems. Nissan is recalling 46,846 model year 2013-2016 Altimas and 2016 Maximas. This is in addition to the already recalled 5,500 model year 2016 Maximas. These vehicles are all equipped with 3.5 liter, V6 engines. The problem with these vehicles is that an O-ring installed between the fuel tank and fuel sending unit was improperly installed and can leak in the event of a crash. Fuel in the presence of an ignition source can result in a fire. Nissan has already begun notifying owners. Owners should take their vehicles to a Nissan dealer for a free repair. For additional information, owners can contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.

Third, BMW is recalling approximately 86,000 Mini hatchbacks for a steering problem. The vehicles that are involved are 2002-2005 Mini Cooper, Cooper S, and 2005 Cooper and Cooper S convertibles. These vehicles can lose their electro-hydraulic power steering assist and as a result, drivers can find it more difficult to control the vehicle. It is possible for a crash to occur if the driver cannot apply the extra effort required to steer the vehicle and maintain control. Mini will begin notifying owners on or about December 1, 2015. Mini dealers will also inspect and replace components as necessary free of charge. For additional information, owners can contact MINI customer service by calling 1-866-825-1525.

 

 

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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.

Mini Cooper Water Pump Fire Hazard

Several months ago, BMW recalled thousands of Mini Coopers for a problem with a auxiliary water pump.  The pump is equipped with an electronic circuit board that can short circuit and lead to an engine fire.  Recently, we conducted an investigation into a 2009 Mini Cooper S with just such as problem.  The vehicle was supposed to have been repaired at a BMW dealership for the recall.  However, after the vehicle was returned to the european auto dealership for a coolant leak, the vehicle ignited.  During the initial examination, it was discovered that origin of the fire was in the area of the auxiliary water pump.  The damaged components were later inspected and the source of the fire confirmed.  It should be noted that the repair effected by BMW may not be the correct action if fires are occurring after the vehicle have supposedly been repaired.  Has anyone experienced a reignition?

Since posting the above information, there has been a question as to whether the actual recall work was performed.  However, it appears that the auxiliary water pump was replaced.  Since an ignition occurred AFTER the recall work was performed, the ignition suggests that the replacement of the pump was not the correct remedy for the recall and BMW/Mini still has a problem.  Again, has anyone experienced a reignition after a repair was performed?

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