Car Safety

More than 158,000 vehicles recalled in Canada in March

Non-latching seats and loose steering wheels among the issues addressed

The Ford Fusion is immensely popular in Canada and a key pillar in Ford’s car line-up. At the end of 2015, it was in second place on the mid-size car sales chart. Five months later it had slipped to fourth on the heels of a 23% drop in sales. Change was in order. Fortunately, the 2017 Fusion gets a mid-cycle makeover. There are only slight styling updates for what is arguably the best-looking affordable sedan on the market.

The month of March saw 15 recalls issued in Canada, involving 24 models from 16 marques, for a total of 158,301 vehicles.

The issues addressed ranged from heat and defrost problems to seats that don’t latch properly in place, to fuel tank straps that could allow the tank to fall and scrape along the ground. And as is becoming customary, there was an add-on to the massive Takata airbag recall, this time involving 9,195 Volkswagen models (CC, Eos, Golf and Passat) from model years 2007 through 2014.

Although that involved a hefty number of vehicles, it wasn’t the largest for the month. That honour belonged to Ford’s Fusion and Lincoln MKZ siblings, which collectively accounted for 62,323 sedans whose steering wheels may come off. The cars’ steering wheel bolt retention feature may not fully engage into the steering shaft, which would make the steering wheel appear loose, and if left unchecked, could allow the wheel to detach from the steering column.

Another large recall for the month involved 26,676 Ram 1500 pickups from model years 2009-12 over a fuel tank strap that may become loose or completely detached due to corrosion of the frame bracket.

That increases the risk that the front of the fuel tank could drop and potentially contact the ground, which might result in a rupture and fuel spill (which the presence of a spark or other ignition source might result in a vehicle fire).

Honda Odyssey minivans from 2014-15 (22,056 vehicles in total) were recalled to address a problem with a middle row driver’s side seat recliner mechanism that could not lock properly when the seat is returned to its upright position, resulting in unexpected movement while the vehicle is in motion.

A second-row problem also involved 14,571 Mercedes-Benz GLC utility vehicles from model years 2016-18, though they were recalled to address an outboard seatbelt latch that could slip into the surrounding trim, making it inaccessible to seat occupants.

Rounding out the top-five largest recalls for March involved the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossover twins from model years 2010-17. On those 15,661 vehicles, water may drain down the windshield, through the cowl and onto the wiper transmission link joints, which over time could corrode or cause the joints to wear prematurely, resulting in separation of the wiper link ball from its socket and leave the wipers inoperative. Undetected, it could result in loss of visibility during driving in conditions that require wiping of the windshield.

Other recalls for the month involved the Alfa-Romeo Stelvio, BMW X3, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata, Jaguar E-Pace, Kia Optima, Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz C- and E-Class, Nissan Juke, Ram ProMaster City and Range Rover Velar.

Car Safety

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