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 biggest recalls we covered from April, in terms of volume of vehicles affected. 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.
After a few months of serious recall counts in February and March, April’s steady clip brought a drop-off in major safety alerts, with the list topped for the second time in three months by Honda’s luxury division, Acura. This one was for the MDX and MDX Sport Hybrid SUVs, and it involves moisture entering the tailgate lid lights, possibly causing a loss of the tailgate lid lights and taillights. No one wants to get rear-ended on account of broken taillights of any kind, but the repairs dealers will have to make are more complicated than simply swapping out the lights: They’ll modify the tailgate lid lights, and install updated gaskets and a wiring sub-harness, or they will replace both tailgate lid lights. Either way, you get your work done for free.
The last model years of the defunct Dodge Dart compact sedan were hit in this mid-month recall that involves the shifter cable bushing. Its potential failure could allow the shift cable to detach from the transmission, preventing the driver from shifting correctly. Additionally, the car may roll away even if the driver selects Park. To prevent any unwelcome movement, dealers will replace the transmission side shifter cable bushing, and Dodge parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will begin sending owners formal notice at the end of May.
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Another recall from around the middle of the month came for a curiously specific bunch of cars — it’s not every day you find a manufacturer sending out a recall for only one model year more than a dozen years back, but BMW did just that with its model-year 2006 3 Series sedans and wagons, 5 Series sedans and wagons, and Z4 sports cars. The heater for the positive crankcase ventilation valve may short-circuit, which can cause parts within the PCV valve to melt. An increased risk of fire can easily be remedied by a trip to the dealer and a replaced PCV valve heater on the house.
Let’s cut right to the explanation with this one: A joint in one or both of the front lower-control arms may have been improperly welded. An improperly welded joint may break, resulting in the partial separation of the lower-control arm and causing the attached front wheel to toe outward. That’s bad for handling and overall vehicle control in the short term, but the longer you let it go on, the more serious the damage could be. Keep those joints looking good and working correctly by having any potentially offending parts inspected and repaired ASAP.
Taking a comfortable early lead as the most afflicted vehicle of the year, the Acura MDX makes its third appearance in our monthly recall recaps for 2019 amid this batch of 94,000 SUVs, sedans, minivans and pickup trucks from Acura and parent company Honda. Here, timing belt teeth may separate from the belt, which could result in an engine stall, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect and replace any affected timing belt, of course, and vehicles receiving a replacement timing belt will also have the engine inspected and any damaged components replaced. Though Honda will begin notifying owners June 1, if you’re a model-year 2014-19 MDX owner in particular, you can knock out three recalls in one visit — a great opportunity to be lazy in the safest imaginable way.
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