Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has recalled more than a million cars, SUVs and pickups after a U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that a confusing shifter design has led to 41 injuries after drivers left their cars in gear when parking.
So far, the recall only applies to U.S. market models, but we expect Transport Canada to issue one soon for Canadian vehicles. At issue is a shift lever that, rather than moving through a traditional park-reverse-neutral-drive shift gate, the driver pushes or pulls on the shifter to engage the desired gear, after which the shifter returns to a central rest position. This is the part that is leading to confusion; the NHTSA says it has found no evidence of mechanical problems or malfunctions in any of the vehicles.
In other news, the list of vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recall continues to grow.
Mercedes-Benz is now on the list of brands whose vehicles known to have faulty airbag modules that could fire shrapnel at the driver in a crash sever enough to warrant airbag deployment. One recall covers a wide range of 73,000 car and crossover/SUV models, while another looks after more than 13,000 late model Sprinter vans. Older Sprinters are covered here, and the Chrysler Crossfire is affected too, owing to its basis on an older Benz SLK design.
BMW's list of affected models has inflated, too, with this recall. And in an unrelated recall, the new 7 Series is under recall for airbag modules that could contain metallic particles that may short out the airbag, rendering it inoperative.
On to the rest of this round of recalls: General Motors is recalling more than 100,000 of its full-size Silverado and Sierra pickups to fix seatbelts that could separate from the truck's frame.
Hyundai will reprogram airbag modules in more than 32,000 Elantra models from 2008 through 2010 to correct the potential for the airbags to deploy when the vehicle is stopped or moving at low speeds.
Hyundai's other recall applies to the 2011 Sonata. In more than 13,000 examples of that family sedan, a circuit board in the electric power steering system could become damaged and fail. Dealers are replacing steering control units in the affected cars.
In more than 11,000 VW Touareg SUVs sold between 2011 and 2016, to fix brake pedal brackets that could break "through continued use." Porsche is recalling its structurally-similar Cayenne for the same reason.
Volkswagen is also recalling its Passat sedan for an electrical connector that could get wet and short out.
From the irony file comes a Ford recall to address engine block heaters in 2.3L turbocharged engines that could get too hot -- when they're not even plugged in -- and cause an engine coolant leak. This affects nearly 4,000 Ford Explorers and Lincoln MKC models from 2015 and 2016.
More than 3,000 ram Promaster vans have an electrical connector under the driver's seat that could get wet and corrode, leading to a short and causing the transmission to shift into neutral and/or prevent the engine from starting. Dealers are being instructed to move the connector to a safer spot up under the dash.
Toyota is recalling about 1,200 2016 Camry and Avalon sedans for improperly calibrated front passenger airbag sensors that could prevent the airbags from deploying in a crash.
Another Toyota recall affects the RAV4 and LExus ES and RX models, in which a damaged o-ring in the brake system could prevent the anti-lock braking and stability control systems from working properly.
Someone at Ford obviously doesn't fold their own laundry: more than 800 Transit vans are under recall for side curtain airbags that weren't folded properly before they were packed into the car and may not deploy properly as a result.
In more than 700 Nissan Maxima and Murano models, a faulty anti-lock braking actuator could cause a loss of vehicle stability when the brakes are used.
Some Dodge Durango and Grand Caravan models have left-front brake calipers that could crack under hard braking.
A couple hundred Mazdas from model years 2014 through 2016 may have an improperly-tightened nut holding the front suspension struts to the steering knuckle. Dealers will replace loose nuts as necessary.
A bunch of Nissan Frontier pickups may have improperly-installed starter wiring that could contact a hot engine component, melting the insulation and causing a short.
A small bunch of Ram 1500 pickups may have faulty electric power steering circuit boards that could fail, causing the car to lose steering assist. The truck would remain drivable, but the sudden loss of assist could cause a crash. Dealers are replacing the steering rack and pinion assembly in the affected trucks.
Some Mercedes-Benz B-Class models may be missing some of the bolts that secure the rear seats to the frame. Dealers will inspect and repair the seats as necessary.
Finally, there are two recalls from the needle-in-a-haystack file: two 2010 Jaguar XF sedans may have a cracked fuel tank outlet flange that could cause a fuel leak; and a pair of 2016 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class models may have an electrical fault that would prevent the transmission from shifting into park.