We’d like to believe that when we purchase our cars straight from the lot that the vehicle we bought is safe to drive and there will be no problems with it. What happens when there are pre-existing defects missed by the automakers’ quality control procedures and protocols? Read below to find out about five of the most prominent vehicle safety recalls in history.
1980 – Ford’s Park Failure Recall
Recalled: 1976 – 1980 Ford vehicles
More than 20 million vehicles were called home after 6,000 accidents, nearly 100 deaths, and the discovery that a safety latch defect could cause vehicles to shift gear from Park to Reverse without any effort on the part of the driver. Numerous lawsuits were filed, resulting in a $1.7 billion loss for Ford. Ford went on to “fix” the problem by issuing a warning label to affected consumers.
1995 – Takata Seatbelt Recall
Recalled: 1986 – 1995 Hondas, Mazdas, Suzuki, and Chrysler vehicles with seat belts made by Takata Corporation
More than 900 lawsuits were filed in response to a faulty seat belt latch that made it impossible for passengers and drivers to free themselves from their seats. This led to an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which caused some of the affected car manufacturers to replace the belt latch in at least 8 million vehicles to the tune of $1 billion.
1996 – Ford’s Ignition Switch Recall
Recalled: 1988 – 1993 Ford Broncos, Mustangs, Escorts, F-Series Trucks, Crown Victorias, and Aerostars
Ford makes our list again for its terrifying ignition switch short circuit defect that led to fires in cars. The overheating occurred to parked and moving vehicles alike. Approximately 8 million vehicles were recalled, and the ignition switch was replaced.
2016 – Takata Airbag Recall
Recalled: Honda, Fiat, Mazda, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, and Ferrari vehicles
Takata also makes the list again due to faulty airbag inflators. Last year at least 12 million automobiles were recalled after the defect was discovered. The Japanese corporation used a chemical in their airbag systems that could cause the system to explode and shoot out shrapnel when exposed to elevated temperatures, a problem especially in the Gulf Coast states where heat and humidity are ways of life. Before the recall, the inflators led to at least ten deaths and many more injuries.
2010 – Toyota’s Gas Pedal Recall
Recalled: 2004 – 2010 Toyota Lexus, Prius, Highlander, Tundra, Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Matrix, Tacoma, and RAV4 models
Toyota had had a bad few months.
In November of 2009, it had to recall at least 5.3 million cars that were equipped with floor mats that could block pedals. By January 2010, Toyota was forced to recall another 4.1 million vehicles sold in America and Europe because of faulty pedals that could stick and cause unexpected acceleration, a nightmare-fuel defect. The automaker’s pulling of over 9 million cars from the market did not go unnoticed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who launched an investigation into the recall, especially considering the faulty pedals resulted in at least one death. Toyota lost over $1 billion while paying fines.
We would all like to think we’re safe in the little (or big) steel boxes we use for our commutes, but this is not always the case. Sometimes we must worry about our fellow drivers, but other times we must worry about what malfunctions may have missed the eyes of quality control.