posted 2 years ago

Half Of UK’s Top Selling Models Faced Safety Recall This Year

Check to see whether your vehicle is likely to lose its lights or steering, or set on fire?

Urgent safety recalls have been issued for five out of 10 of the UK’s top selling vehicle models in the last 12 months, with motorists warned that cars might lose lights and steering or even set on fire.

Exclusive research by demonstrates the extent to which potentially deadly vehicle faults are creating major headaches for many of the world’s biggest manufacturers.

The good news for drivers is that vehicle manufacturers and dealers take safety recalls very seriously and are likely to do everything they can to help people whose cars might be affected.

Using the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency website, we checked to see whether each of the top 10 selling vehicle models this year had been subject to a vehicle safety recall in the 12 months to November 2014.

Urgent safety recalls were flagged for half of those models during that period.

The faults related to vehicles manufactured between 1 June, 2006 and as recently as this year.

According to the Government, “A safety related defect is a failure due to design and/or construction, which is likely to affect the safe operation of the product/aftermarket part without prior warning to the user and may pose a significant risk to the driver, occupants and others.

“This defect will be common to a number of products/aftermarket parts that have been sold for use in the United Kingdom.

“If such a defect occurred it could cause significant risk of serious injury or death and cannot normally be identified by routine maintenance or obvious changes to the normal handling or performance of the vehicle that the driver continues to ignore.

“It is a sudden and catastrophic failure of a component that occurs with little or no warning to the driver to enable preventative action to be taken.”

Below are the results of our checks on the VOSA Vehicle Recalls website, which has details of safety recalls which vehicle owners should already have been told about in most cases.

1. Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiestas with a Stage 5 Diesel engine built between 1 January, 2010, and 31 December, 2011 are subject to a safety issue which could result in the vehicle setting on fire.

On affected vehicles, the diesel engine Glow Plug Control Module can be affected by wet conditions. The GPCM is not waterproof and water ingress into the module may cause overheating with the potential to result in a fire. As the GPCM has a permanent electrical live feed there is also a potential risk of an unattended vehicle fire.

Ford Fiesta

2. Ford Focus

Some Ford Focus and C-Max vehicles built between 1 June, 2006 and 10 April, 2007 are subject to a safety issue which could result in a vehicle fire.

“Engineering investigations have identified that vehicles operated in countries which have high road salt usage during winter months, may experience an increased risk of corrosion build up. In extreme cases the corrosion can propagate into the electronic circuits and result in overheating. In rare cases the overheating may be sufficient to ignite the module and surrounding wiring and components.”

Ford Focus

3. Vauxhall Corsa Diesel and Adam

Loss Of Steering Control

“The manufacturer recommended that affected vehicles are not driven until checked by their official agents. The steering system may not have been produced according to specification. There is a risk that the steering intermediate shaft may break while driving, resulting in the loss of steering control.”

Vauxhall Corsa

4. VW Golf

No Safety Recalls

VW Golf

5. Vauxhall Astra

No Safety Recalls

Vauxhall Astra

6. Nissan Qashqai

No Safety Recalls

Nissan Qashqai

7. Volkswagen Polo

No Safety Recalls

VW Polo

8. Audi A3

No Safety Recalls

Audi A3

9. Fiat 500

Fiat 500L: Fuel may leak leading in extreme cases to fire; 500 Abarth and 500: Interior and exterior vehicle lighting may fail.

In the case of the Fiat 500L, “the fuel pump protection bracket is not to conformity and in the event of an accident the fuel feed pipe could be damaged, leading to an increased risk of fuel leakage and possible fire.”

In the case of the 500 Abarth and 500, “it is possible, under extreme conditions, that the wiring harness under the dashboard could come into contact with the steering column. This, over a period of time, may result in the chaffing of wires in the harness. If this should occur then it is possible both the exterior and instrument lights could fail.”

Fiat 500

10. BMW 3 Series

On cars built between 1 September 2009 and 30 November 2011 there is a risk that engine emergency mode may be activated during driving.

The screws retaining the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) housing may loosen and under certain circumstances the heads may break off.

This can lead to the VANOS leaking oil internally and adversely affect the valve timing adjustment. If found to deviating from targeted data the engine emergency mode will be activated.

This will be indicated by a distinct change in engine running.

The orange engine management warning lamp and a check message; On vehicles with N51/N52 engines this will appear at ignition recycle, on N55 engine it will display immediately.

BMW 3 Series

How to check for yourself

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency operates a Vehicle Safety Branch which investigates faults which might lead to a safety recall.

In the event of a safety recall, a manufacturer and/or distributor will write directly to customers (when dealing with registered product) using either their company data or DVLA data, to request that they return their vehicle to the dealership for a rework free of charge.

*You can check whether your vehicle has been the subject of a safety recall using this website operated by the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency.

People who believe their vehicle is the subject of safety recall should contact a main dealer.