Recalls & Tech Tips

The vehicles in this section appear alphabetically by manufacturer, model and by year for each entry. When several models share the same fault or recall the information appears once with a reference to the other vehicles involved.

Here's a description of the types of programs and issues in the list that follows:


Safety recall: Section 10 of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires manufacturers to notify users when a potential safety defect has been identified. Free repairs are not mandatory under Canada's federal vehicle safety legislation; only the notice is required by law in Canada. However the recall correction is almost always offered at no charge, because of U.S. legislation that requires it. A full listing of recalls is available on the Transport Canada website (link here).

Recalls listed by the APA in this section involve repairs that a shop could bill you for (like replacing a defective alternator), without realizing a free recall repair is available at a dealership.

Non safety recall: no-charge repair available to correct a defect  with no direct safety impact. A recall notice is mailed asking consumers to return their vehicles to a dealer to have a fault fixed before a failure occurs.

Warranty extension: a warranty can be extended to cover a problem which occurs frequently on a vehicle. The manufacturer will send a notice to vehicle owners in their records informing them of the warranty extension. A visit to the dealer is requested only if a failure occurs.

Internal policy, also called "goodwill adjustment", or "adjustment policy": the manufacturer extends the warranty on a specific part and notifies dealers to extend coverage if a customer complains. Consumers are not notified.

Secret warranty: an unwritten extension of the warranty from the automaker left to the discretion of the dealer. Customers who complain the loudest, or have insider knowledge (from the list below, for example) will obtain coverage. The rest will likely have to pay to correct the factory's mistake.

Technical, or "service" bulletins are intended for dealers. They explain how to diagnose a problem, modify a vehicle, or implement a new repair process. Generally a service bulletin doesn’t alter the terms of the warranty, but can modify a repair procedure or describe an improved part to address a recurring problem.

Vehicle defects are recurring problems reported to the APA by consumers who contacted us or experts in the field of auto repair. The issues listed are result of defects in the design or manufacturing of vehicles components. In some cases the APA has provided the details for  a cheaper or more effective repair. And sometimes we ask you to fill out a complaint form so we can track the problem with the possible objective of interveing with automaker. With some defects, regional differences like road salting or prolonged cold or hot weather operation can increase the frequency of failures. 

Funding to cover the costs of researching and preparing this compilation were provided by the Auto Lights Class Action Settlement [PDF]. Watch this section for coming updates.

 

AUDI

A4

 

 

 

Warranty Extension: A4 1997-2004 models equipped with the 1.8L turbo engine
The warranty on A4s equipped with the 1.8L four was extended to eight years from the date the car went into service, with no kilometer limit, for engine failures caused by engine sludge. Proof of oil changes performed every 8000 kilometers or six months, must be provided. There are numerous exclusions if the A4 has not been serviced according to the instructions noted in the owner's manual. Stretching the Audi-recommended service intervals beyond 20 percent will put owners outside of the warranty extension. The APA recommends oil changes every four months or 8000 kilometers as well as the use of synthetic oil. PDF

Mechanical Defect on all VW Group TFSI engines including the direct-injected 2L turbo four in the A4 as well as the 3.2L V6 used in several Audi models.
Fuel in these engines bypass the intake manifold and valves and is injected directly into the cylinders. The detergents contained in gasolines do not pass by the valves, allowing carbon deposits to form on the valves. Carbon build up makes itself known by engine hesitation during acceleration and an unstable idle.
The preventive fix appears to be to drive your car harder and do more highway driving. Cars that do a lot of highway work run hotter for longer and prevent the deposits from accumulating, or at least slow down their accumulation. The fix is to remove the intake manifold and manually clean the valves with a brush and a solution, and then perform an engine flush. This problem can crop up as early as 30,000km, but generally will show up in the 60,000 to 70,000km range. All TFSI engines (not just the 2L) are subject to this problem. North American driving conditions (slow driving, lots of 2000rpm operation), transmission programming and dirty fuel are all contributors to the issue. He notes that this problem has not surfaced in Europe.

Safety Recalls
2003 models: premature fuel pump wear can lead to pump failure and engine stalling due to a lack of fuel. Dealers will replace the fuel pump.

CHRYSLER

Chrysler300
Dodge Charger/Magnum

 

 

 

Mechanical Defects
Premature upper balljoint wear on 2005 to 2009 models of all three nameplates. If the front suspension clunks the defective upper balljoint can be replaced by an improved part for around $275. The balljoint is part of the suspension arm assembly and must be replaced together. Chrysler has changed the suspension geometry of the improved part and the suspension arm/balljoint assembly must be changed on both sides even if one side is sound. You can avoid replacing both sides at the same time by using a part manufactured by MOOG that has the same geometry as the original assembly. It is important to have the front suspension examined for wear prior to the expiration of the three-year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty.
Safety Recalls
2005 models: the fasteners that secure the battery positive cable to the bulkhead pass-through stud may be missing or not tightened to the appropriate specifications, resulting iin an instrument panel fire. Dealers will visually inspect and re-torque the fastener on both sides of the bulkhead pass-through stud. Any fasteners found to be missing or damaged will be replaced.
2005 models: the bolt that secures the front shoulder belt Adjustable Turning Loop (ATL) D-ring to the ATL bracket may not be tightened to the appropriate torque level, improperly restrain front seat occupants in a crash. Dealers will inspect the ATL bolt, and tighten as necessary to the specified torque level.
2005 models: the cup plug which retains the park pawl anchor shaft in the 42RLE automatic transmission could be missing or improperly fitted, preventing the transmission from being placed in the PARK position or moving out of the park position. Dealers will install a bracket to ensure that the park pawl anchor shaft is retained in the proper position.
2007 models: the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) control module software may lead to rear brake lock-up, leading to a loss of vehicle control and cause a crash. Dealers will reprogram the ABS electronic control unit.

FORD

Ford Fusion
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Mechanical Defects-Alerts
2.3L four-cylinder engine: while this engine has not generated any complaints on the Fusion, vaious issues have cropped up on this Mazda-designed engine also used in Mazda's own 3 and 6 models. Increased oil consumption can begin from around 80,000 km and can lead to catalytic converter blockage. In addition, the APA has also received complaints regarding failed connecting rods on the number one cylinder of the 2.3L four. The APA recommends checking your oil between changes and keeping oil change receipts to prevent the manufacturer from denying any warranty claims. Please complete the complaint form on APA.ca (link here) if you have had a problem with this engine.

GENERAL MOTORS

Chevrolet Cobalt
Pontiac G5/Pursuit

 

 Defect
Weak suspension on 2005-2011 models. Poor quality suspension bushings could lead to clunks from the front suspension starting from about 20,000 kilometers. Have the suspension thoroughly examined for wear prior to the expiration of the three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty. Replacements for the over-compressed front suspension bushings are, at about $12, very cheap, but require about an hour of labour to install. Other suspension weaknesses could cause clunks, including the upper suspension mounts for all four shock absorber mounting points and the front anti-sway bar mounts.

Safety Recall
2005-2010 models: the steering could lose its power assist suddenly while driving Steering control can be maintained but without assistance the steering will be much heavier. Dealers will replace the electric power steering motor. A clunk may signal a steering rack or steering column defect that is often difficult to diagnose. Please follow the link to complete a complaint form if you have had a steering problem on your Cobalt or Pursuit/G5.

HONDA

CR-V

 

 

Mechanical Defect
2004-2011 models. Starting from about 100,000 km, vibrations under the floor between 80 and 100 km/h could stem from the rear driveshaft. Expect a new driveshaft to cost around $800, or $450 for a used parts because the worn joint is not sold separately. To locate a rebuilt part for less than a new part, contact Grarantie Nationale (a Montreal area shop recommended by the APA), at 450-688-9496 or toll-free 1-800-363-4567.

Safety Recall
2002 models: the driver's airbag inflator could produce excessive internal pressure and may cause the inflator to rupture and pass metal fragments through the airbag cushion material injuring occupants. Dealers will replace the airbag inflator.
2002 models: metal particles in the key cylinder body could interfere with interlock lever operation permitting ignition key removal without the car being in Park, leading to vehicle roll away if the parking brake is not engaged. Dealers will perform the required inspection and necessary repairs.
2002-2003 models: excessive corrosion of the shift cable linkage may prevent the automatic transmission from shifting to Park leading to a vehicle rollaway. Dealers will inspect the shift cable linkage for corrosion. If the corrosion causes binding, replace the shift cable and install a new corrosion-resistant control pin.
2006 models: cleaner residue could infiltrate the master (driver's) power window switch, allowing the switch to overheat and melt, resulting in a vehicle fire. Dealers will replace the master power window switch with an updated version.
 

MAZDA

Mazda 3



Design Defect/Secret Warranty
2004-2006 models: very vulnerable to rust especially at welded joints, rear wheel arches, the bottom of the doors, lower body and roof pillars. In addition, the drain holes in the bottom of the doors freeze up in the winter which causes water to pool inside the doors. Under an internal policy, Mazda dealers are authorized to perform rust repairs for the first owner of a Mazda 3 up to six years from the date the car went into service. APA recommends two aftermarket rustproofing applications that can postpone the onset of corrosion.

Warranty Extension
2004-2007 models with automatic transmisssion: corrosion could cause a leak in the automatic transmission oil return line. Correction: dealers will replace the transmission lines at no charge.

Mechanical defect/Alerts
2004-2009 with 2.3L engine: Increased oil consumption can begin from around 80,000 km and can lead to catalytic converter blockage, especially on models equipped with manual transmission. The APA recommends checking your oil between changes and keeping oil change receipts. If the oil level drops to a low enough level the piston connecting rod bearing (typically on cylinder number one) could fail. The APA recommends that the engine and catalytic converter be inspected before the vehicle warranty expires. Please complete the complaint form on APA.ca (link here) if you have had a problem with this engine.

Safety Recall
2007-2009 models: corrosion possible at the high-pressure line on the power steering of cars with Electro-Hydraulic Power Assist Steering (EHPAS) during manufacturing. Rust particles may enter the motorized power steering pump, causing damage to the pump bearings, leading it to enter a fail-safe mode in order to prevent overheating, The power steering warning lamp will light, the motorized pump could stop, resulting in higher steering effort. Dealers will flush the power steering system and repair as necessary.
2008-2009 models: the ground terminal of the windshield wiper motor may have been inadvertently bent during vehicle assembly which could lead to an inoperative wiper motor. Dealers will install an additional ground harness to the wiper motor.

MERCEDES-BENZ

B-Class

Assembly Defecty
2006-2007 models: the hatchback, lower body areas, suspension towers and the firewall are all vulnerable to rust. Applying a grease or oil-based antirust compound to this area are highly recommended.

Secret Warranty
The front springs could rust and break. The warranty on the front springs has been extended to six years/150,000 km.

Safety Recall
2006 models: the wiring insulation of the combination switch may wear off causing the rear or front wiper to malfunction reducing driver's visibility. Dealers will replace the combination switch.

TOYOTA

Corolla/Matrix





Mechanical Defect
2003-2005 models: defective differential bearings on manual transmission cars can fail anywhere between 110,000 to 150,000 km. Toyota replacement parts are unimproved and will fail at the same interval. If you hear an unusual noise when the vehicle passes through neutral or is rolling at low speeds, it is vital to inspect the transmission without delay to confine repairs to the bearings themselves. If you act quickly, expect to pay about $1000 for the repair, otherwise you will have to pay an extra $500 to repair the synchromesh. Keep your old parts and notify Toyota of the repairs with a view to getting a settlement before the repairs are done. Negotiations between the APA and Toyota have yielded only mixed results. APA has located a source for a more robust rebuilt differential in Montreal, available for shipping or on-site installation.

Safety Recalls
2005-2008 models: on vehicles equipped with a 1ZZ-FE engine and front-wheel drive. Tthe Engine Control Module (ECM) may have been improperly manufactured resulting in cracks on varisters on curcit boards, leading to an illuminated engine warning lamp and harsh transmission shifts, a no-start condition or engine stoppage while driving. Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the ECM.
2005-2009 models: accelerator pedal movement may become rough, slow to return, or the pedal may stick in a depressed position, resulting in a loss of throttle control. Dealers will install a steel reinforcement bar to the accelerator pedal assembly, eliminating the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick.
2009 models: the accelerator pedal may become stuck in the wide open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat. Dealers will reconfigure the shape of the accelerator pedal. Certain models will also have the shape of the floor underneath the accelerator pedal modified and/or a brake override system installed

VOLKSWAGEN

Jetta
Rabbit GTI




Mechanical Defects
Jetta (2006-2009) and Rabbit GTI (2007-2009) models powered by the 2L TFSI direct injection engine. Fuel in these engines bypasses the intake manifold and valves and is injected directly into the cylinders. The detergents contained in gasolines do not pass by the valves, allowing carbon deposits to form on the valves. Carbon build up makes itself known by engine hesitation during acceleration and an unstable idle.The preventive fix appears to be to drive your car harder and do more highway driving. Cars that do a lot of highway work run hotter for longer and prevent the deposits from accumulating, or at least slow down their accumulation. The fix is to remove the intake manifold and manually clean the valves with a brush and a solution, and then perform an engine flush. This problem can crop up as early as 30,000km, but generally will show up in the 60,000 to 70,000km range. All TFSI engines (not just the 2L) are subject to this problem. North American driving conditions (slow driving, lots of 2000rpm operation), transmission programming and dirty fuel are all contributors to the issue. APA has been told this problem has not surfaced in Europe.
Safety Recalls
2002-2007 models: the brake lamp switch may malfunction causing the brake lamps to cease working or could come on and stay on, even though the vehicle is parked. Dealers will replace the brake lamp switch with a newly revised version. This action includes vehicles previously affected by Transport Canada recalls nos. 03-184 and 04-075. The switch installed during for the earlier recalls may not function properly.
2006-2008 models: vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of CMVSS 108 - Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment. 1). The required cap designed to disable the headlamp horizontal aim may not have been installed during vehicle assembly. 2). A cap may have been inadvertently installed to disable the vertical aiming screw. 3). An adjustment mechanism allows aiming of the low beam relative to the high beam. Dealers will affect repairs.