Report Is In ? U.S. Auto Recalls Hit Record High in 2016
The U.S. Department of Transportation has released their review of 2016 auto recalls. A record high of 53.2 million vehicles were recalled last year, a massive uptick from previous years. The majority of these recalls involved the Takata Corp 7312.T airbag inflators. Tens of millions of these inflators were recalled as they would send shrapnel flying at drivers and passengers. To date 9 Americans have been killed by these airbags along with at least 139 reported injuries.
The problem started with the propellant chemicals used to inflate the airbag. It was found that these were mishandled and improperly stored during assembly. Researchers also found that one of Takata's North American plants allowed a defect rate "six to eight times above" acceptable limits. Nearly all automakers have been impacted by this particular recall which is still continuing into 2017.
Due to aggressive executive enforcement in 2016 a record-setting 927 recall campaigns were released by automakers last year. The previous high was set in 2015, just 7% lower than 2016. To find out if your vehicle is impacted by this recall the NHTSA has an up-to-then-minute list of affected vehicles found on SafeCar.gov. There you can even enter your VIN to know for certain if your car, truck, or SUV contains one of these potentially deadly airbags.
Other 2016 recalls include driveshaft bolts which loosen while driving, failing seat belt anchors, faulty hood latches, parking breaks that disengage on their own, and a whole host of other problems. With mass-production and an urgency to get new vehicles to market as fast as possible, mistakes will be made. Our only hope is that automakers start spending more time testing, inspecting, and performing R&D as the 2018s begin to roll off the assembly lines. In the end, a little more work up front saves time, money, and lives in the long run.