Nobody likes when things don’t work the way they’re supposed to, especially when it’s the two-ton hunk of car parts sitting in your driveway. That’s why, when a problem becomes a complaint becomes an investigation becomes a recall, automakers try their hardest to get your attention so you can get it fixed. It’s not just junk mail — it’s a letter that could potentially save your life.
Thing is, recalls happen all the time. Some are relatively minor; some are, well, the Takata airbag inflator crisis. Each one is important no matter the month, but it can be hard to keep up with knowing if your vehicle is involved.
Not feeling up to speed? We got you. Below are the five biggest recalls we covered in June. For more coverage, check out our Recalls page, and for a comprehensive list of recalls that include all things road-going, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s page here.
All told, it wasn’t a great month for our recent Best Of winners (see No. 2), as our Best of 2018-winning Volkswagen Atlas was affected in a recall 55,000 strong regarding the owner’s manual. The problem is that the manual doesn’t clarify child-safety restraint size limitations and restrictions for the second-row center seat, which could be a problem for the seat belt buckles if they’re put under too much duress. While it could necessitate a replacement of some of the second-row buckles, all affected owners will get a supplement to the owner’s manual from VW for future use.
Coming late in the month was a recall from Lexus that covers around 115,000 sedans and convertibles. This one involves diaphragm material in the fuel pulsation dampers for 3.5-liter gas-powered V-6 engines, and the concern is that the diaphragm material will harden and crack over time. With a crack comes a leak, and fuel leaking in an engine is no good — especially in the presence of an ignition source, i.e., a spark. To prevent a potentially engine-damaging fire, turn your Lexus in to have the fuel delivery pipe replaced.
Some 139,000 Audi A6, A7 and performance-oriented S6, S7 and RS7 versions thereof were recalled in mid-June for a passenger occupant detection system. The gist of this is that, if the PODS control module’s body-sensing mat in the front passenger seat is run down enough, it won’t detect that someone’s sitting there; as a result, in a crash the PODS won’t trigger the front passenger’s airbag. Another potentially serious failure, this one sounds like a simple fix — all dealers have to do is install a PODS repair kit.
This one’s a biggie, affecting some 240,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and has to do with the manual Park release plug. Basically, if the plug is removed without a tool, the manual Park release might engage and cause a rollaway. This isn’t the first time a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles product has had a rollaway issue, and it’s also not the first time this year our Best of 2017-winning pick has been included in an FCA recall. If you took our advice then, you’ll want to take our advice now: Get this one fixed.
In sheer numbers, no recall was bigger in June than this one. More than half a million model-year 2010-13 Forte and Forte Koup sedans, 2011-13 Optima sedans, and 2011-12 Optima Hybrid sedans and Sedona minivans are affected, but it’s not just the size that’s alarming — it’s the problem, too: An airbag control unit may short circuit, affecting the frontal airbags and seat belt pretensioners from deploying properly in a crash. That’s potentially very dangerous, and though Kia is working on a fix, owners should expect a firm answer from the automaker by the end of July.
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