7 Auto Recalls That Rocked Consumers

Automobiles have come a long way since the Model T, but they are still far from perfect. The increasing demand for cheap, yet reliable vehicles has caused a slew of problems in the way cars are built and tested. Even though the motor vehicle safety standards and regulations have become stricter year after year, defective parts always manage to make it through the cracks. When this happens, chaos ensues, vehicles get recalled, and automakers scramble to fix their mistakes. Check out these seven auto recalls that rocked consumers.

  1. Honda, 1995:

    Approximately 3.7 million Honda models were affected by the faulty seatbelt buckle that caused a massive auto recall in 1995. Dealers were the first ones to notice that the release button on the seatbelt was not working properly and bits of broken plastic were falling into the seatbelt buckle, which prevented it from securing all the way. This defect may have caused seatbelts to not secure properly and come undone during accidents.

  2. Volkswagen, 1972:

    It might not seem like that big of a deal today, but Volkswagen's 1972 auto recall for defective windshield wipers was in fact huge. VW's faulty windshield wipers had a tendency to come loose and fall off, which made for many angry and endangered drivers. Volkswagen finally listened to customers' complaints and decided to replace the wipers on nearly 3.7 million VW Beetle models from 1949-1969. They also invested in a new and improved windshield wiper design that kept them from coming loose.

  3. Ford, 1972:

    In the same year, Ford also ran into a car part problem, but it was far scarier than loose windshield wipers. Approximately 4.07 million Ford vehicles were recalled due to defective seatbelts. It was reported that the shoulder harnesses were fraying and detaching under pressure, possibly caused by a molding defect. Ford promptly recalled all Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles released in 1970 and 1971 and fixed the seatbelt issue.

  4. Ford, 2009:

    In 2009, Ford underwent another massive auto recall that affected an astounding 14 million (or more) vehicles. Defective cruise-control switches were the cause of what is considered the largest recall in automotive history. The switches were considered a possible fire hazard and were subject to overheating and burning even while the car was parked. Later, the anti-lock braking system was added to the list of parts in question.

  5. GM, 1973:

    GM has also had their fair share of auto recalls. One of their biggest issues came in 1973, when manufacturers discovered that the stone-guard assembly was defected. The faulty part was causing large stones to get caught between the steering coupling and the frame of the vehicle, which prevented the driver from being able to turn left. The issue affected approximately 3.71 million GM vehicles, including the 1971-1972 Buick Centurion, Electra, LeSabre, as well as the Chevrolet Bel Air, Impala, and Caprice.

  6. Toyota, 2010:

    The most recent auto recall to date was caused by Toyota's unintended acceleration issue. The beloved automaker caught a lot of flak from customers and transportation authorities for its lack of urgency in recalling the sticking accelerator pedals and incorrect floor mats that were blamed for acceleration issues. The defects affected nearly 6.67 million vehicles. Toyota representatives have since apologized for the recall and any accidents that were caused by the faulty parts.

  7. Ford, 1996:

    Ford made it back on the list for the third time for its 1996 recall that was caused by a faulty ignition switch. Nearly 8 million vehicles were affected by the defective ignition switches that reportedly caused electrical shorts and steering-column meltdowns. Various 1988-1993 models were recalled, including Ford Aerostar, Bronco, Escort, Mustang, and Thunderbird.

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