CARS.COM — Automotive recalls have made big headlines in recent years — and with good reason. Since 2014, the massive ongoing Takata airbag crisis — involving faulty airbag inflators that under certain conditions can explode upon deployment — has resulted in the recall of more than 37 million vehicles, with millions more to come before all's said and done.
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While the breadth and severity of the Takata issue has kept it at the forefront, it accounted for just some of the hundreds of other recalls last year, involving millions of cars. Last year, federal authorities recalled around 30 million vehicles — and that followed a record year in 2016 of more than 50 million.
Excluding recalls stemming from previously planned expansions of the Takata action, here are the five biggest recalls we at Cars.com reported in 2017 — was your car one of them?
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Approximately 980,000 model-year 2011-14 Hyundai Sonata sedans and model-year 2011-15 Sonata Hybrids, for a problem with seat belt linkages in the front seats increasing the risk of an injury in a crash.
About 1 million Ram pickup trucks, including model-year 2013-16 Ram 1500s and 2500s, and model-year 2014-16 3500s, for a sensor defect that could disable certain airbags and seat-belt functionality.
Approximately 1.1 million Ford pickup trucks, including model-year 2015-17 Ford F-150s and model-year 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks, for a problem involving a frozen door latch or kinked actuation cable from water seeping in that could prevent the door from fully opening or closing.
About 1.15 million model-year 2013-16 Honda Accords for a problem with the battery sensor that could allow water to seep in, causing an electrical short and increasing the risk of a fire.
And the biggest recall of 2017 came right at the end of December: 1.5 Million Ram pickup trucks, including model-year 2009-17 Ram 1500 trucks, model-year 2010-17 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks, model-year 2011-17 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, and model-year 2016-17 Ram 3500 chassis cabs with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 pounds.
The problem? The column-mounted gear shifter has a brake transmission shift interlock mechanism that may not work properly if exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods; this could disable the mechanism, allowing the shifter to move out of Park without the brake pedal being depressed or key in the ignition — which could allow the vehicle to roll away on its own.
These may be the biggest recalls of last year, but the one that matters most to each motorist is the one that affects their own car. But how do you know?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sends vehicle owners a notice in the mail when their car is recalled, but you can double-check by going to NHTSA's website and use its VIN lookup tool to determine if your car is under recall. Just locate the 17-character vehicle identification number found on the lower left of your car's windshield or your vehicle's registration card, enter it in the search field and voila: peace of mind — or the information you need to help keep you, your passengers and your fellow motorists safe on the road.
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