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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Getting Bad Gas?

We’ve been working on an assignment where two vehicles equipped with diesel engines were allegedly damaged by bad diesel fuel. We were asked to determine if the gas station where the fuel was purchased was acutally selling contaminated diesel fuel. Unfortunately, the vehicles were already repaired and any diesel fuel had already been discarded by the time we began our investigation. We have been able to determine that at the time the purchases were made, the water level in the diesel tank was above the state mandated maximum level of 2 inches. As a result, there was a possibility that a combination of diesel and water could have been pumped into each customer’s vehicle when the purchases were made. Once the purchases were completed, the water level could have dropped enough so that the next customers would not have purchased water contaminated fuel. It is also possible that while the diesel tank monitoring instrumentation measure water depth inside the tank, the diesel might be contaminated with something else. Something that would ignite in a diesel engine but at the same time, could cause damage to the engine – like gasoline. Diesel samples were obtained and sent to a lab for analysis. The result of that analysis revealed that the samples did not contain any water but instead contained traces of gasoline. Specifically, levels of toluene and xylene were higher than normal.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, regardless of having purchased diesel or gasoline, it is imperative that you don’t lose your purchase receipt. Your receipt will become invaluable regardless of whether you paid cash or used a credit card. Next, get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible after you suspect engine trouble. Second, advise you mechanic that if the fuel tank or lines have to be drained, not to discard anything that comes out of the lines or tank. Third, collect all contents in a clean, dry, container and label the container with the cutomer’s name and date that the contents were taken. Also save all parts. If possible, photograph the contents and all parts that have to be replaced. If the engine has to be replaced, photograph the engine and record the engine identification number. The mechanic should be able to assist in obtaining the number if necessary. Fourth, if the fuel appears to be contaminated, advise your insurance carrier and then the station owner where the fuel was purchased. Once the initial notifications have begun, each party should begin it’s investigation. The more information is obtained when the discovery is made, the easier it will be to prove the claim or discredit the fraud.

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