Major and Historic Recalls

Ford Explorer-Firestone Tire

                                              Ford Explorer-Firestone Wilderness/ATX Tire Failure and Rollover

Ford Ignition Switch Fires

On April 25, 1996, Ford Motor Company announced it would conduct one of the largest recalls for a safety-related defect in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The recall covered approximately 7,900,000 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles in the U.S. from model year 1988 through 1993 for a defect in the ignition switch causing the cars to catch ablaze spontaneously (NHTSA recall number 96V-071).

Takata Seat Belt Buckle

            On May 23, 1995, during “Buckle Up America Week”, DOT Secretary Federico Pena and NHTSA Administrator Dr. Ricardo Martinez announced the second largest recall in the 30 year history of the Department of Transportation (DOT), affecting 8,428,402 predominantly Japanese vehicles made between 1986-91 with seat belts manufactured by the Takata Corporation of Japan.  (NHTSA Recall No.

GM Side Saddle Gas Tank Fires

The side saddle fuel tank design installed in over 10 million trucks – all 1973-87 General Motors full-size pickups and cab-chassis trucks (pickups without beds) and some 1988-91 dual cab or RV chassis – is the worst auto crash fire defect in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (formerly known as the Fatal Accident Reporting System), over 2,000 people were killed in fire crashes involving these trucks from 1973 through 2009.

Largest Vehicle Recalls

Largest US Vehicle Recalls

1. 21,000,000 Ford NHTSA ID 81V-008: 1970-80 Ford cars & trucks with automatic transmissions that fail to hold or engage in Park. Rather than repair vehicles, Ford send owners a warning label to be placed on dash. 1-9-81

General Motors X-Car Brake Lock-up

    On March 30, 1983, General Motors announced a recall of 240,000 1980 X-cars due to rear brake lock-up, a problem that causes spin-outs in sudden stops or on wet roads. Intended to end a four-year controversy over the front-wheel-drive cars’ brakes, the recall instead merely signaled the end of General Motors’ X-car cover-up. Four months later a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit charged all one million 1980 X-cars with having defective brakes, and GM with having lied repeatedly to government investigators.


Center for Auto Safety
4400 Jenifer St, NW
Suite 331
Washington, DC 20015-2113

Join our Email List