Kia’s Recall for Roof Issues, Ford’s for Windshield Trim Latest in Rising Wave of Vehicle Defects 

Posted: February 5, 2024

Kia America recalled more than 100,000 vehicles in January 2024 because of a potentially deadly roof defect, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The recall, for 2023 and 2024 Sportage SUVs and 2022-2024 Carnival MPVs, cites roof molding that can loosen or detach on moving vehicles, causing interior noise for drivers or posing a safety hazard for other motorists. 

Kia isn’t the only manufacturer to issue a recall in the first month of 2024. Ford has recalled more than 1.8 million Explorers because of a safety issue with a part connected to the windshield, according to the NHTSA. “A-pillar trim retention clips” on 2011-2019 Explorers can detach, allowing the panels to fly off vehicles moving at highway speeds.  

Sportage and Caravan owners can contact Kia customer service, at 1-800-333-4542, and arrange to have a local dealer inspect and, if necessary, replace or secure their vehicles’ roof molding at no charge, as manufacturers are required by law to address recalls. Explorer owners can find steps to follow and contact information to have their vehicles repaired here. 

Recalls are on the rise 

The Kia and Ford announcements are the latest in a rising wave of vehicle recalls spanning 20 years, according to the NHTSA. Between 2002 and 2022, defect-related vehicle recalls rose from 385 to 764, NHTSA data show. Including those for compliance, there were 932 vehicle safety recalls affecting more than 30.8 million U.S. vehicles in 2022, according to the NHTSA. 

The increase in recalls has been driven partly if not largely by glitches in new technology employed in electric vehicles and in those with automated driver-assist systems. As vehicles’ digital features have become more complex, the auto industry will need to work out the bugs in new software and electronics. 

Many don’t respond to recalls 

Not every recall is universally heeded, however. Every year, millions of recalled vehicles go unrepaired or unaddressed, according to the NHTSA; according to an article published on the AAA website, 20 to 30 percent of recalled vehicles have not been serviced.  To raise awareness among vehicle owners of the importance of responding to recalls and seeking necessary fixes, the NHTSA annually holds Vehicle Safety Recalls Week in early March.  

It’s a good idea to check for open recalls on a regular basis and continue to monitor the nature and scope of an existing recall. For example. In 2022, several Takata air bag recalls were upgraded to “Do Not Drive” warnings. 

3 steps the NHTSA recommends for checking your vehicle for a recall are: 

  1. Find the vehicle identification number, or VIN, which typically is displayed on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb. 
  2. Search, using your VIN, at NHTSA.gov/Recalls to see if there’s an open safety recall on your vehicle. 
  3. Have your vehicle repaired immediately if you find it’s been recalled. 

Handy SaferCar app checks for recalls  

NHTSA’s free SaferCar app recall information sent to your phone. Just download it and establish an account and you’ll receive an alert if a safety recall is issued.  

A local dealership should be able to fix the issue in a timely fashion, free of charge, although sometimes you may receive a recall notice for a problem the manufacturer hasn’t yet solved or for which it doesn’t yet have necessary replacement parts, according to AAA. In such cases, the manufacturer may recommend not driving the vehicle or taking certain precautions if you do.  

Who issues recalls? 

Vehicle recalls have been overseen by the federal government since 1966 and today are supervised by the NHTSA, within the U.S. Department of Transportation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a recall is necessary when a motor vehicle or piece of motor-vehicle equipment does not comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment.  Once a recall is initiated the manufacturer can generally (1) repair the vehicle at no charge; (2) replace the vehicle with an identical or similar vehicle; or (3) refund the purchase price in full, minus a reasonable allowance for depreciation.

Hurt in a car? Call William Mattar. 

If you’ve been hurt by or in a defective car or because of a defective part, call the experienced attorneys at William Mattar, P.C.. We’ll protect your rights and advocate for you to receive maximum compensation. Just call us at 844-444-4444 or fill out our online form requesting a free consultation. 

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