Check Your VIN

10 million vehicles recalled for new, but same, Takata airbag issues

A deployed airbag is seen in a 2001 Honda Accord at the LKQ Pick Your Part salvage yard on May 22, 2015 in Medley, Florida.

Photo by Getty Images

The latest round of Takata airbag recalls adds insult to injury. In a document issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the government acknowledged that the latest round of recalls is for approximately 10 million vehicles that have already been recalled and allegedly repaired.

How does this happen? It has come to light that during the initial rounds of the recall Takata replaced the old, dangerous inflators with new versions of the same thing with the same design and chemistry. Yes, you read that right.

Takata air bag recall Angelina Sujata (2nd L) tells the story of how she was injured three years ago by a defective Takata airbag during a news conference with (L-R) Rep. Diane DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) outside the U.S. Capitol June 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photo by Getty Images

There are 14 U.S. brands impacted by the announcement including Audi, BMW, Honda, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ferrari, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Some automakers got a jump on the report and have been working to re-recall their vehicles for months now.

According to the NHTSA, over 38 million vehicles have been repaired as part of the larger Takata recall event. NHTSA estimates that there are nearly 13 million defective parts still installed in vehicles as of this past November.

To find out if your model is impacted by the recall, visit the NHTSA website and enter your car's vehicle identification number (VIN).

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The Chevrolet Silverado is the second-best-selling truck in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Chevorlet

The global semiconductor chip shortage is affecting General Motors vehicles and that's directly making an impact the wallets of Chevy truck buyers.

Certain 2021 Chevrolet Silverado models will be built without a fuel management module, which will directly impact their fuel economy performance, making the trucks one mile per gallon less efficient. A spokesperson for GM told Reuters that the company does not expect the change to make a major impact on the Detroit-based automaker's U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) numbers.

The active fuel management module issue will occur only on light-duty Silverados equipped with the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine. That engine is available with either a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado For the 2021 model year, the Chevrolet Silverado gained GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate under a new name. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Currently, trucks with that engine get between 16 and 19 mpg combined depending on drivetrain configuration, as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The government agency estimates that some Silverado owners with the engine spend as mochas $4,500 more on fuel over five years than the average new vehicle buyer.

New Silverado 1500s are either equipped with a 28.3- or 24-gallon fuel tank, depending on the buyer's choice of cab. The average price of fuel in the U.S. right now according to AAA is $2.86 per gallon for regular unleaded. Doing some simple math using those numbers, the lack of chip would cost the average Silverado owner around $3.00 more at the pump per fill up.

For the average family, that number may be absorbable. For fleet managers that are already struggling to save every cent in the wake of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, that figure may be a tougher pill to swallow.

By continuing to build trucks, Chevrolet will likely escape some of the plant shut downs and slowdowns other automakers have experienced. Chevrolet's chief rival, Ford, shut down its Louisville plant for two weeks in January and February hindering production of the F-150, the Silverado's biggest competitor and America's best-selling vehicle.

With Ford truck shortages on dealership lots, Chevy may be hoping that this build strategy will keep their dealerships stocked and perhaps sway customers into becoming bowtie owners.

The company has not made it clear if the chips, once available, will be able to be installed into the engines of the vehicles that are missing them. If they are able to be installed, it's also unclear if that the customer or GM would absorb that cost, and whether or not a recall notice would be issued to add the chips.

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The new Tesla steering wheel design has raised eyebrows.

Photo courtesy of Tesla

When Tesla revealed its refreshed Model S sedan and Model X SUV earlier this week, among the highlights were a 17-inch infotainment screen on the center of the dashboard, improved interior appointments, and a fresh take on the typical steering wheel.

Reporting by Roadshow indicates that the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reached out to Tesla regarding the legality of its new yoke-like steering wheel.

Motor vehicles sold in the U.S. must adhere to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The NHTSA issues these standards to apply laws that are passed by Congress with the aim of the regulations being to prevent and reduce vehicle crashes. The government agency frequently updates these standards as new technology and safety innovations are made available to the industry.

Tesla Model S interior refresh 2021 A new steering wheel and infotainment screen dominated conversation surrounding the interior changes of the vehicle. Photo courtesy of Tesla

The new steering wheel features a Formula One-like design. It has no stalks, which typically control lights, wiper movements, and turn signals. There are two rollers on the wheel for scrolling and various indicators that illuminate.

The NHTSA says that the best area for hands on a steering wheel are at the nine and three o'clock positions due in large part to airbag placement. Hand-over-hand steering, a movement that is frequently employed while traversing roundabouts and turning corners, would be particularly difficult with this new wheel.

Where the inquiry goes is anyone's guess. Automotive industry experts have openly expressed doubts that the wheel will make it to market despite the fact that Tesla is already selling the vehicles on its website with deliveries slated to begin in March.

Industry experts are also raising concerns about Tesla's lack of gear shifter in the freshened interior. Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, replied to a tweet describing how the car apparently doesn't need a shifter, raising alarm regarding usability and data mining.

Expect more developments regarding this situation to come to light in the next month as the first delivery date promises near.

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