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Recalls: Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Tiguan, Jetta Hybrid for electrical failures, fires

Certain 2013-2014 Chevrolet Malibu, 2009-2011 Volkswagen Tiguan and 2013 Jetta Hybrid models are afflicted by various electrical problems.

By Exhaust Notes Nov 25, 2013 10:25AM
General Motors is recalling more than 57,000 Chevrolet Malibu sedans in the U.S. for electrical fires and glitches related to its seats and climate control systems, according to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2013 Malibu, when equipped with power front driver or passenger seats without memory functions, has a wiring harness underneath that can short circuit if it brushes against the seat frame and exposes the insulation. The seat controls could stop working and a fire can result. A total of 14,909 Malibu sedans are affected by this recall.

GM said it received two reports of fires under the seat between February and May and another report of a melted circuit breaker due to an electrical short underneath the seat. Dealers will apply electrical tape and a sleeve to the wiring harness if necessary. GM did not specify a time when owners would be notified.

Another 42,696 Malibu sedans from 2014 are being recalled for climate control systems that can malfunction. When the car is started, all the controls may not work and the system will only activate the settings that were on when the car was shut off. Only when the car is turned off for 10 minutes and then restarted will the climate control work. Dealers will reflash the computer module for the climate control system starting on Dec. 6. Owners can call GM at 1-800-521-7300 for information on both recalls for the 2013 and 2014 Malibu.

The 2013 Malibu, redesigned for that model year, has been recalled three other times. In May, GM recalled 42,904 vehicles, including the Malibu Eco model, to fix circuit boards that could catch fire and cause the cars to stall. In January, GM recalled 8,519 Malibu sedans for rear suspension bolts that may not have been tightened properly. In May 2012, GM recalled 4,304 Malibu sedans from 2013 to fix airbag sensors that could deploy head curtain airbags without cause.

Volkswagen is recalling 65,992 cars in the U.S. to fix electrical problems related to the lighting and transmission.

On 2009-2011 Tiguan SUVs, a fuse for the lighting system can overheat and cause portions of the headlamps and taillamps to fail. A warning message should alert the driver if this occurs. Volkswagen said it was not aware of any fires but that it had received reports citing "increasing failures of fuses" for the Tiguan starting in June. Dealers will replace the fuse with a hard-coated fuse (as opposed to the soft-coated fuse causing problems) starting in December. A total of 62,155 cars are affected.

Another 3,837 Jetta Hybrid sedans from the 2013 and 2014 model years have transmission fuses that can blow and cause the car to lose all acceleration. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic has fluid that can corrode its parts and leave deposits that can short the transmission's electrical wiring. If that happens, the fuse can blow and shut off the hydraulic pump used for the transmission, cutting all power. The engine, steering, brakes and other vehicle functions will remain on, Volkswagen said. The company recalled the model overseas earlier this year after several failures were reported.

These U.S. models are part of 2.6 million cars Volkswagen recalled worldwide last week. Of those, 1.6 million cars with the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic are affected. In the U.S., this transmission is not used on new Volkswagen models save for the Jetta Hybrid. Dealers will replace the transmission fluid with a new "mineral-based oil with non-corrosive additives" starting in December. Owners can call VW at 1-800-822-8987.

[Source: NHTSA]

Nov 25, 2013 11:35AM
Remember the days when all those systems in a car were controlled by a simple fuse . Gone are the days of simple . Just change a fuse or a set of points ( points ???) and be on your way !!! I have owned cars for 55 years and worked on them and I work in the automotive field , but work on a new car , never . Leave it up to someone who knows more about them !!!
Nov 25, 2013 12:35PM

Wow, A VW with electrical problems.


Should I call Ripleys?

Nov 25, 2013 11:20AM
Brings back memories.  Not good.

Bought a new 1980 VW Rabbit.  Thing caught on fire while parked unoccupied at a garage awaiting oil change.  Everything under the hood including engine was a total loss.   

The regional VW folks informed me that since "It was an act of God," the company was not liable in any way. My insurance paid more than $2,500 (maybe $8,500  in today's money) to get the thing back on the road, said the probable cause was a faulty electrical system.  Which was then very common in VWs. 

Seems some things never change.

Have never considered buying another VW.
Nov 25, 2013 1:47PM
This is awful news! My 2010 Volkswagen Beetle has been at a dealership now for 48 days!! They don't know what's wrong with it. I have a loaner car, but it's been gone so long that there are days I forget I even HAVE my Beetle! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER VOLKSWAGEN!! After reading this article, I wonder if my vehicle will be recalled as well!
Nov 25, 2013 11:59AM
I guess if you drive a Malibu you are sitting in the hot seat!
Nov 25, 2013 1:11PM
They all have recalls doesn't matter who makes it & especially with all the tech put into vehicles these days.  
Nov 25, 2013 12:44PM
Hey...let's get the latest tech based new flashy thing!!!!!   Har mabibu is a '73, and it works just fine, thank you.  My ' 95 escort.......the same, and no heavy tech.   Who needs it???
Nov 25, 2013 11:39AM

good thing its not the silverado... whew..


Nov 25, 2013 2:05PM
No one is perfect and anyone can make a mistake on the job. Probably a lot of people think they can't but i had high pressure jobs for 41 years and i still mad mistakes. I tried to never make a mistake but failed.
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