Automotive website Carfax sent out an alert that shows that about 2.5 million vehicles across the United States are subject to urgent recalls that have not yet been fixed.
In the bulletin, released on May 17, Carfax said that those vehicles are currently subject to "do not drive" and "park outside" safety recalls. About 10 states have more than 70,000 vehicles each driving on their roads, with California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania leading the way.
"All recalls need to be taken seriously, but these two types are more time-sensitive than most because they urge owners to either not operate their vehicle, or to park away from any structure to avoid a fire. There have been serious consequences from some of the problems that these vehicles are being recalled for," said Carfax on its website.
Meanwhile, Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief for Carfax, noted that many of the urgent recalls were issued more than a decade ago by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). In elaborating, he told 11ABC last week that a "park outside" notice means that a vehicle has an elevated risk of causing a structure fire.
"The fire risk is so great that not only do they not want you to park it inside the garage, they don't want you to park it next to the garage. If you can park it, park it away from any structure," Olsen said.
And a "do not drive" recall warns drivers not to operate their vehicles due to a major safety problem with the vehicle could lead to physical harm, an accident, or death, according to Carfax's website. A recent "do not drive" recall involves some 90,000 BMW models impacted by potentially exploding airbags.
"One of the best known cases for ‘do not drive’ is the Takata airbag," he told a local Texas media outlet, KVUE, Friday, May 26. "So in these airbags, the chemicals inside can be prone to change over time, given heat and humidity and time. And it makes the airbag explode with much greater force than it was intended to, sending the metal ring around the airbag into the cabin, the shrapnel. More than 20 people have been killed. More than 400 people have been injured by that."
There are some 200 separate models from various automakers that are currently under urgent recalls, according to his website. They include popular models manufactured by big-name brands like Ford, Subaru, Chrysler, Chevy, Kia, Honda, and many more.
"One thing I think a lot of consumers do is they've gotten a recall notice that they got months to go or years ago, and they think, 'well by this point nothing's happened, so I must be in the clear,' and nothing could be farther from the truth," Olsen said.
The Carfax editor noted that urgent recall notices seem to be on the rise. The reason why, he suggested, is because "cars have become more complex with a lot more safety equipment, a lot more computer chips."
"I think it's going to be hard to know for sure until these cars have been out for a long time," Olsen told KVUE. "And now, again, as I say, the average age is 12-and-a-half years. I think we're starting to see what happens when these cars get much older than the original automakers, I think, expected that they would be."
Recent Recalls Notices
The warning comes as the NHSTA issued a recall notice that impacts more than 175,000 Ford Broncos for seat belt problems.
The Ford Motor Company also confirmed it is recalling 175,550 model year 2021–23 Broncos built in the five-door body style. The reason why is the first-row seat belt latch plates might be difficult to access from their stowed position.
According to the NHTSA notice, "Difficulty accessing the seat belt latches may result in occupants not wearing their seat belts, increasing the risk of injury in a crash." This recall does not affect two-door models of the Bronco.
In response, Ford "dealers will add a sliding clip latch stop to the driver and front passenger seat belts, free of charge," the federal regulator said. "Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 30, 2023."
No accidents or injuries connected to the seat belt problem have been reported so far, Ford said.
Federal officials (pdf) also issued a recall notice for 2021–23 Jeep Grand Cherokees due to a possible loss of steering control due to a problem in the steering column. An error on the Jeep assembly line led to the improper installation of a column shaft, which could disconnect from the U-joint.
About 89,000 Grand Cherokees are impacted under the latest recall, according to the NHTSA. Owners will get letters after July 7 if their vehicle is subject to the recall, it was reported.