Pre-recall: These car owners are reporting problems

Photo (c) Kunakorn Rassadornyindee - Getty Images

Hyundais drew 43 complaints in July

Vehicle owners reporting problems to federal regulators last month singled out airbags, stalling, steering and acceleration problems, according to a ConsumerAffairs analysis of complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The agency studies consumer complaints as part of its process of asking an automaker to issue a recall. It can be a lengthy process. Here are some of the issues consumers reported:

There were reports that airbags deployed without collision. There were also reported problems with faulty airbag sensors. 

Owners of several models across different brands including GMC, Toyota, Infiniti, Volvo, BMW, and Nissan have reported issues related to airbags, suggesting this is a widespread problem across multiple brands and models, posing safety issues.

 Owners of models from Genesis, Jeep, Chrysler, and Acura reported their vehicles lost power sometimes and would stall. These issues often occur while the vehicle is in motion, leading to a sudden loss of power, steering, and braking capabilities, posing a significant safety risk.

Some Ford, Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Honda owners reported issues related to power steering failure, erratic acceleration, and steering wheel sticking. These issues can also lead to loss of vehicle control, posing a significant safety risk.

Specific complaints

Some brands had more complaints than others. The five brands with the most NHTSA complaints are:

  1. Hyundai    43

  2. Chrysler    32

  3. GMC        15

  4. Subaru      11

  5. Ram          11

Among Hyundai complaints, the most common safety defect reported is related to the 2017 Sonata, with owners reporting that the vehicle burns oil at a high rate. This issue has led to instances of the vehicle running out of oil before reaching the recommended oil change mileage, posing a significant safety risk. 

In some cases, owners said the vehicle stalled and abruptly stopped in the middle of traffic, nearly causing accidents. The defect has been reported in at least five complaints, indicating a common issue among this specific make, model, and year. The defect may draw NHTSA attention due to the potential for sudden vehicle failure and accidents.

Cracked windshields

The most common complaint among Chrysler owners was stalling while GMC owners reported various airbag issues. Five Subaru owners reported their windshields cracked for no reason.

The most common safety defect reported by Ram owners is the failure of the ABS module and HCU in the 2018 Ram 2500. This issue results in the loss of stability control, antilock braking, cruise control, and trailer braking, making the vehicle unsafe to drive, owners said.

If you have an issue with one of these vehicles or any other one, NHTSA would like to hear from you. Report the problem here.

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