Stalls, Fires, Deadly Air Bags and Seat-Back Failures Among Auto Safety Issues This Month

Forbes.com

September 19, 2017

In the first two weeks of September auto safety danger includes stalls, fires, deadly air bags and seat-back failures, according to reports filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Car fires, seat backs that may break, air bags that could shoot metal shards into the occupant compartment and seat belts that may fail are among safety actions during the first two weeks of the month, according to the NHTSA.

Smart car fires

Federal safety regulators are upgrading their investigation into fires on almost 43,000 2008—09 Smart cars.

The agency began investigating in December, based on eight complaints from owners.

“I was on my way home from work and looked in the rear-view mirror and saw smoke,” one owner wrote the NHTSA in 2015. “I pulled over to the side of the road only to find my car was beginning to be engulfed in flames. There was no warning.”

The federal regulators are now intensifying its efforts after finding a total of 27 reports of “open flame fires” originating in the engine compartments. There was one allegation of an injury from smoke inhalation.

Ford pickup seat belts

Ford is recalling about 117,000 pickups in the United States because the left rear inflatable seat belt could break away from its mounting point in a crash, according to a report the automaker filed with NHTSA.

The automaker said it was not aware of any injuries and learned of the problem from the supplier. The recalled vehicles have crew cabs and are: 2017 F-250 and F-350 models built between Oct. 20, 2015 and June 16, 2017, and 2015—17 F-150 models built between July 20, 2015 and June 16, 2017.

Audi stalling

Audi is recalling about 8,300 vehicles in the United States that could stall just as the driver is beginning to accelerate from a stop.

Audi told federal regulators the problem is that the “engine air/fuel mixture burning stability strategy” is “not robust enough.”

The covered models are the 2017-18 A3 Cabriolet and sedan.

Ford airbags: “serious injury and death”

Ford is recalling about 650 2017 F-150 pickups and Mustangs in the United States because the airbag on the passenger side could fire metal shards at the occupant if it deployed, “causing serious injury and death.”

The automaker told safety regulators that it learned of the problem from the company that supplies the inflator to Takata and it is not aware of any accidents or injuries “associated with this issue.”

The pickups and Mustangs were built between July 20, 2017 and August 1, 2017.

Ford seat back collapse

The action covers about 700 2017 Focus models because a bad weld means the rear seat on the left side may not be strong enough to meet federal safety standards, according to the automaker’s report.

If a seat fails in a crash the seat belt would not be effective and, in a rear impact, a failure means the occupant could be thrown into the rear of the vehicle.

The automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.

The vehicles were made between June 7 and June 12, 2017.

Honda air bag danger

Honda told federal regulators that it is recalling about 650 vehicles because a dealer did not install new air bags correctly when it replaced dangerous Takata air bags that can rupture and shoot metal shards into the occupant compartment.

Original headline: Fire Investigation, Recalls for Dangerous Air Bags, Fault Seat Belts and Stalls

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