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.
... Most months, that is. Though automakers are supposed to take the initiative on safety concerns for their cars, it's often the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that we receive recall notices through first. Unfortunately, due to the recent 35-day shutdown of the federal government, little has been happening at NHTSA on that front. In the meantime, vehicle recalls have slowed to a trickle as cars seemingly have very suddenly gotten more reliable.
Expect a flood of recalls for all things road-going once the feds get going over on NHTSA's page here. For more coverage in the meantime, check out our Recalls page as we hunt down what we can deliver to you on that front. Below, check out the two recalls from January we scrounged up (they are technically the biggest of last month, after all).
The month was one of extremes when it came to car counts. On the heavily affected end was the year's first reported for some 100,000 Hyundai Sonata sedans and Santa Fe Sport SUVs. Related to a previous recall for an engine replacement, this issue is down to a high-pressure fuel pipe that could allow a fuel leak and, subsequently, a fire. There's more to this recall than meets the eye, however — we're still waiting for official confirmation from Kia's side given that Hyundai's sister brand also has vehicles affected by the issue.
Though it only just went on sale in the fall, Ford's luxury brand has already had to recall the Nautilus SUV. Granted, combined Nautilus and MKX sales were more than 28,000 in 2018, so 2,000 or so vehicles isn't an enormous affected population, but the issue is still serious enough to merit attention if you own the new mid-size SUV. The thing here is that the car may not adequately detect if drivers have their hands off the steering wheel, which could lead to the hands on/off detection system not alerting drivers to place their hands back on the steering wheel — which, if you're a forgetful (or reckless) driver, could obviously lead to a crash. You should be in the habit of keeping your hands on the steering wheel most of the time regardless of what you're driving anyway, but for those among us more trusting of what they drive, here's a good reminder not to be.
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