Top 5 Largest Automotive Recalls of All Time!

Car recalls are a fact of life. If you have owned vehicles for a number of years, odds are you have received a notice in the mail at one time or another. Even the biggest manufacturers have to issue recalls to alert consumers of needed repairs.

Owners don’t always get the message, for one reason or another, and it is believed that some 57 million cars on the road have unresolved recall issues that pose a threat to all of us.

This shocking figure comes from a recent Carfax study. So we thought we would take a moment to share the top 5 largest automotive recalls of all time!

1. Toyota Airbag Recall
Number of vehicles: 70 Million

Toyota and its sister company Lexus still haven’t woken up from their airbag recall nightmare when they recently recalled another 1.3 million cars in North America. That takes the total to more than 42 million cars that were manufactured between 2009-2015.

The third-party airbag inflator supplier, Takata, announced they could degrade over time and send lethal shrapnel flying through the car when the airbag deploys. There have been fifteen deaths in the U.S. alone and an additional 8 deaths outside of the US linked to Takata airbag inflators. More than 250 people have been injured on American roads due to the degradation of the airbag inflators.

That makes this the largest car recall in history with 65,000 cars recalled twice for the same issue.

The NHTSA predicts that 70 million vehicles will be recalled by the end of this year and claims that 17 million of the affected vehicles have not been repaired. Is your car one of these? Take the time to find out.

2. Ford Cruise Control Recall
Number of vehicles: 14.9 Million

Nearly 15 million cars due to a fault in the Cruise Control Deactivation Switch that could cause a fire when the car is parked with the engine off have been recalled by Ford. Switches ran continuously which could result in overheating and igniting. The close proximity of the switch to flammable hydraulic fluid turned a minor issue into a major dilemma for vehicles dating back to 1991.

In 1999, Ford started to recall Lincoln Town Cars dating back to 1991 and Ford Crown Victorias built from 1992. Despite 100 separate complaints and an NHTSA investigation, Ford continued to fit the switches, until 2004, on everything.

Back in 2004, the NHTSA concluded that the faulty switch caused 65 engine fires. Two of the cars were parked in a garage at the time and burnt the entire house down. Talk about a bad, and dangerous day!

If you own a pre-2004 Ford, you might want to leave it parked outside until you check the vehicle recalls by VIN details.

3. Toyota Power Window Switch Recall
Number of vehicles: 14 Million

The reliability records for Toyota are typically among the best in the auto industry. As the world’s largest car manufacturer it’s no surprise they would have to issue a recall at one point or another.

In 2015, it was forced to recall 6.5 million cars as the power window switches could potentially cause a fire. Inconsistent lubrication could lead to debris building up, short-circuiting, and in rare cases, a spark could turn into a blaze. The 2015 recall was the last one of four and that took the total number of cars affected up to the 14 million mark.

Models that were affected included; the Corolla, Camry, Yaris, Matrix, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia, and Scion xB models that rolled off the production line between January 2005 and December 2010.

4. Toyota Gas Pedal Recall
Number of vehicles: 9 Million

While you may enjoy a good horror story from time to time, if you were the owner of a Toyota affected by the gas pedal recall, you may change your mind. The gas pedal simply stuck to the floor and the affected cars accelerated until they hit something. A family of four tragically died when their car veered off the road at high speed in an accident that made the national news.

Toyota initially blamed heavy-duty rubber floor mats for trapping the gas pedal. That wasn’t the case though. After Toyota replaced the floor mats, the issue was still present. The problem was traced to the throttle itself and Toyota was forced to redesign the system so that pressing the brakes also cut the power.

These recalls were issued between 2009-2011. Affected vehicles ranged from 2005 – 2010 Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, Prius, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza, Lexus ES 350, Lexus IS 250 and Pontiac Vibe.

5. GM Engine Mount Recall
Number of vehicles: 6.7 Million

Back in 1971, GM shocked the world with one of the largest vehicle recalls during that era. Fragile left engine mounts occasionally broke, lifting the right side of the engine and opening the accelerator linkage. It also pulled the brake boosting hose loose.

The car could accelerate rapidly at the exact time that the brakes stopped working. That’s about as bad as combinations get. Talk about bad timing and bad luck!

172 separate reports, 63 confirmed accidents and 18 injuries were blamed on the engine mounts. GM President Edward Cole tried to deflect criticism by likening the effects to a flat tire. The industry still laughs at the statement to this day.

How to Check if Your Car Has Been Recalled
Not all recalls are this dramatic and you would likely be surprised how common they are. In 2017, 30.7 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. That actually provides a four-year low. So, if you don’t frequent your local dealer you should do your homework to see if your vehicle has made the recall list.

The Recall Lookup Tool is an up to date database of all vehicle recalls. If you find your car, print out the report and take it to your dealer. Vehicle recalls are dealt with free of charge, so having money for the repair is not necessary – this one is on the manufacturer!

For more helpful advice or to receive additional information about our services, contact a Marina Auto Body location near you! To find the location closest to you, visit us online.