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9 automotive recalls due to electronics blunder

29 Aug 2014  | Alison Dorantes-Garcia

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 Killer air bags

Figure 7: Killer air bags (Image: Wikipedia)

In the event of a car crash, certain Nissan models airbags can do more harm, potentially fatal harm, than good. According to the NHTSA:

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2002-2003 Nissan Maxima, Pathfinder and Infiniti I35 and QX4, as well as 2002-2004 Nissan Sentra and 2003 Infiniti FX vehicles, to address a safety defect in the passenger side frontal air bag which may produce excessive internal pressure causing the inflator to rupture upon deployment of the air bag.

 Steering torque sensor does not properly detect driver steering

Figure 8: Steering torque sensor does not properly detect driver steering (Image: Wikicommons)

Mazda recalled 2008-2011 Tribute vehicles manufactured from Oct. 5, 2006, to September 11, 2010, because of a steering torque sensor that "may not be able to properly detect driver steering input," says the NHTSA in its report. The power assist stops working, so the car is harder to steer. Mazda is fixing it by updating the software in the power steering control module (PSCM) and the instrument cluster module. The NHSTA says Mazda will replace components as needed.

 Software starts fires

Figure 9: Software starts fires (Image: GM)

In January 2014, GM announced it was recalling certain 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks because software could start fires in the exhaust pipe. The software idles with too many cylinders running, IEEE Spectrum explains, which can cause the overheating.

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