March 21, 2010

Honda to recall 410,000 vehicles for brake problem

This week, Honda Motor Co. announced a recall affecting about 410,000 Odyssey minivans and Element small trucks because of problems with the brake pedals. (Detroit AP, T. Krishner, 3/16). The recall includes 344,000 Odysseys and 68,000 Elements from the 2007 and 2008 model years. As a products liability and car accident attorney in Chicago, I encourage consumers to be aware of the problem and take action to repair the breaks as soon as possible.

Honda says “the brake pedals can feel soft to drivers and must be depressed closer to the floor than usual before the vehicles will fully stop.” Although the breaking condition worsens over time, it only affects some of the vehicles.

The source of the problem is a part in the stability control system that can let air into the breaking system. Honda says owners should take their vehicles to a dealer as soon as they get notification from Honda. Letters will go out at the end of April. Until then, if you drive a vehicle be aware of breaking function and begin slowing the vehicle in advance of the desired stopping point.

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March 21, 2010

Toyota, US inspectors examine wrecked NY Prius

Toyota’s woes continue as “investigators from Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inspected a wrecked 2005 Prius in a suburb of New York City on Wednesday to see if its event data recorder or the car would point to a problem with braking or acceleration.” (Harrison, NY AP, J. Fitzgerald and D. Stumpf, 3/17).

The Prius driver “told police that it sped up on its own as she eased forward down her employer's driveway on March 9 and hit a wall across the street. She was not hurt and authorities have said there is no indication of driver error.”

Although Toyota has recalled more than 8 million cars because their gas pedals could become stuck or be held down by floor mats, the Prius is not on Toyota's recall list for sticky accelerators, but was repaired because of floor mat problems This accident seems to suggest further recalls may be necessary.

In response, both the government and Toyota are evaluating more than 60 complaints from Toyota drivers who say they had their recalled cars fixed and still had problems.

As a car and truck accident attorney in Chicago, I am weary of the Toyota recalls and think they may be more information that will soon become known. Seemingly, there are problems with some Toyota models that are not yet corrected.

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March 7, 2010

GM to recall 1.3M compacts for steering problem

General Motors Co. announced this week that it “is recalling 1.3 million Chevrolet and Pontiac compact cars sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to fix power steering motors that can fail.” The recall affects 2005 to 2010 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2007 to 2010 Pontiac G5s, 2005 and 2006 Pontiac Pursuits sold in Canada and 2005 and 2006 Pontiac G4s sold in Mexico” (Detroit AP, 5/2).

Although the automaker stated that vehicles are still safe to drive and do not lose their steering, they warn it may be harder to steer when driving at speeds under 15 mph. GM spokesman Alan Adler said “the failures are rare and the cars can still be driven until motors can be replaced by dealers. Drivers will see a warning light and hear a chime if the power steering fails, but they could be surprised when the steering becomes more difficult.”

GM promptly told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the recall on Monday. The automaker plans to fix older models first because the condition usually does not develop until after 20,000 to 30,000 miles of driving.

As a chicago attorney with experience with recalled vehicle injuries, I am pleased that GM acted promptly to take care of what appears to be a minor problem with just 14 accidents and 1 injury reported. As always the NHTSA website is a reliable source for updated information.

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