Car recalls have drivers worried about fires

Recalls are frustrating, especially when they relate to car safety. No vehicle owner wants to find out that their car is a death trap. However, some of the industry’s latest problems stem from fire concerns, and automakers have gone so far as to tell owners to park their Chrysler Pacificas and other cars away from buildings. Here’s what we know about fire-related recalls and “outside parking” orders.

Why are vehicles recalled for fires?

Unfortunately for owners of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs), several alternative energy vehicles are being recalled for fire hazard. The recalls include a “park outside” order, which means vehicles not patched with the recalls should stay outside garages, parking structures, and away from buildings whenever possible. . Ordering is directly related to a higher than acceptable risk of battery ignition, even when PHEVs and EVs are shut down and not operating.

A car fire | Josh Edelson, AFP via Getty Images

The risk of car fires is great enough that automakers suggest owners of unrepaired vehicles refrain from overloading. Additionally, some automakers have recommended that consumers run their PHEVs on gasoline only in the interim, foregoing the battery altogether.

Which cars have recalls?

Many PHEVs like the 2017 and 2018 Chrysler Pacifica PHEVs are included in some of the latest “outside parking” recalls. In addition to the Chrysler PHEV minivan, several other hybrid electric vehicles have similar safety recalls. According to the Wall Street Journal, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites at least 31 similar recall orders involving more than three million hybrid and electric vehicles.

A Chrysler Pacifica PHEV is one of the hybrids included in the car linked to the fire
Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle | Frederic J. Brown, AFP via Getty Images

The Chevrolet Bolt and Ford Expedition are other vehicle models with “outdoor parking” order reminders. Additionally, General Motors recalled the Chevrolet Bolt in 2020 after reports of battery car fires. Additionally, Ford Motor Company included the Lincoln Navigator SUV in recalls after several instances of combustion while the vehicle was parked and turned off.

What do you do if your car has recalls?

As with any vehicle recall, the manufacturer must notify you if they are recalling your vehicle. If you receive a recall notice in the mail or by any other means, you should take your car to an authorized service center for your brand. Unfortunately for many EV owners included in these latest “outdoor parking” orders, several automakers were unable to immediately remedy the situation. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, Chevrolet was able to begin replacing the Bolts’ failing batteries.

How can I check if my car has any recalls?

The NHTSA website can search for vehicle recalls with a simple VIN search. If you are concerned about your vehicle’s recall status, simply visit the NHTSA recall tool and check your car’s recall status. Although it may seem tedious, making sure your car is clear is, in many cases, a matter of safety.

A car fire is a dangerous activity, and electric vehicle fires can leave the potential for thermal runaway.
A firefighter uses a thermal camera to examine an electric vehicle after a fire | Christoph Soeder, photo alliance via Getty Images

Are PHEVs and EVs dangerous?

Before you completely phase out PHEVs and EVs, consider the rarity of car recalls like these. Automakers manufacture massive amounts of alternative energy vehicles every year, and they are becoming increasingly popular. Very few vehicles actually experience safety issues like spontaneous combustion or thermal runaway. Additionally, electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 have some of the highest crashworthiness scores on the market.

Scroll to the next article to learn more about vehicle safety!

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