The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued recalls for a wide variety of vehicles, ranging from luxury electric cars to compact sedans.
2006-2008 Kia Rio
The Problem: A sensor mat in the front passenger seat could fatigue and crack over time, eventually damaging the occupant classification sensor. If this sensor isn’t working properly, the airbag controller cannot determine whether an adult or a child is sitting in the passenger seat. That means the airbag could deploy at full force if a child is in the front seat, increasing the risk of injury or death to the child.
The Fix: Kia will recall the affected cars and replaced the occupant classification sensor map for free.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 72,568 2006-2008 Kia Rio models.
2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car
The Problem: Versions of the Lincoln MKT Town Car built with the hearse or limousine up-fit preparation may have been assembled incorrectly. One of the rear brake rotor transportation bolts might not be seated correctly, and may protrude against the wheel surface. Over time, this could make the wheel come loose, eventually causing a crash if the wheel separates from the vehicle.
The Fix: All coachbuilders that have received affected Lincoln vehicles have been instructed to remove the problematic transportation bolt from the rear brake rotors. One bolt must be removed from each side of the vehicle.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 128 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car models.
2008 Zap Xebra
The Problem: The little-known Zap Xebra is being recalled because it doesn’t meet federal requirements for motorcycle stopping distances. The three-wheeled electric vehicle is classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. government; the Xebra was built in China and imported to the U.S. The Xebra requires more than 54 feet to stop from 30 mph; excessive braking distances could increase the likelihood of a crash.
The Fix: Zap claims the increased braking distance is because NHTSA forced the company to use a steel body instead of a fiberglass one, increasing the weight of the Xebra. The company will retrofit its electric vehicle with a power brake booster, new brake shoes, and a new proportioning valve, which should improve braking performance.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 691 2008 Zap Xebra models.
2012 Fisker Karma
The Problem: More bad news for Fisker: the automaker is expanding its recall of the Karma sedan because cooling-system hoses within the high-voltage battery assembly could come loose. If so, coolant could leak from the hoses, short-circuit the battery, and potentially cause a fire. Fisker had previously recalled 247 cars for this issue.
Fisker says it hasn’t received any confirmed reports of this issue causing a fire in cars, but is instead undertaking the recall as a precaution. NHTSA, meanwhile, is investigating what caused a Fisker Karma to catch fire in its owner’s Texas garage.
The Fix: Fisker will warn owners not to charge or drive the vehicle until the recall is complete. The Fisker Karma models will be transported to a repair facility and the battery pack will be replaced for free. The battery packs were made by A123 Systems, which recently reported that it expects to suffer financial losses this year due to being forced to recall and replace Fisker Karma batteries.
Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 19 2012 Fisker Karma models, of which ten have been sold to customers.