The Scariest Vehicle Recalls In Automotive History

Automobile recalls are a scary thing to think about. One tiny offset in your car’s structure and the thing could go up in flames while you are driving it. That scary part is that you won’t even know it. It can happen out of nowhere, leaving you paralyzed with fear. The list you are about to read showcases the wildest automobile recalls throughout the years


Some of them have led to tragic consequences and cost companies billions of dollars. Has anyone you’ve known been a victim of these recall situations? Let’s hope not, and hope you don’t get yourself in any of these predicaments.

1970-80 Ford Cars

To start the list off, we’ll begin with one that was not technically a recall but the government eventually had to get involved with. Between 1970 and 1980, Ford vehicles had the defect called “park-to-reverse.” What would happen is your car would appear to be in park and then out of nowhere a ghost would switch it into reverse!

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Okay, a ghost would not do that but that might have been some people’s guess as to what was causing the problem. Because of a deal between the Department of Transportation and Ford, a recall could not be issued on the car. It wasn’t until 1980 that the government started to make threats because of the thousands of injuries caused by the problem.

2010 Toyota Corolla

When you think of these cars you generally think of reliability. It seems like you always see a couple of them as you’re driving. In 2010, the Corollas went sour. There was a problem with the gas pedal and that can only spell trouble. The pedal would get stuck down while in full acceleration position.

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Just imagine driving and you cannot slow down! You just keep going faster and faster until you reach top speed or if you are lucky, you drive off into a sea of pillows. This problem led to 31 deaths and 9 million recalls. It took several years for Toyota to fix the issue.

1960s GM Vehicles

There is a silver lining to take away from these mishaps, but we’ll reveal that later. An essential part of a car is the engine mount. They are made of either metal or rubber. Too bad for some drivers back in the ’60s who had the unfortunate event of their rubber mount separating due to erosion.

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What the car did after the separation is quite a scare. Driving a car in this condition leads to the car accelerating to dangerously fast speeds. 63 accidents occurred and 18 injuries as well. Oh yeah, the silver lining was that it only cost 30 dollars to fix.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

Sonic the Hedgehog never needed a recall but this Chevrolet Sonic sure did, and for weird reasons. These cars were delivered without brake pads. The weird thing is, that it was not reported initially but only discovered when a rental was taken in for warranty service. The pads had fallen off before the cars were put together and no one noticed them in the bottom of containers when they were shipped to the factory.


4,296 cars were recalled for inspection and all dealers were forced to inspect the front brakes to see if either the outer pads or inner pads were missing.

1991-2001 Ford Explorer

This was one of the best-selling SUVs in the states back in the ’90s. It had a major issue, though. Firestone tires had partnered with Ford, but these tires had a high rate of blowouts and neither party took the blame for not investigating the issue. Damage was done with these cars.

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Around 200 deaths were caused by these tires and the company had to recall 6.5 million tires. Low tire pressure and heat were the main reasons of the blame. Ford made the smart choice and recalled the tires as well which was about an added 13 million tires.

Chevy Cobalt 2007

You may or may not remember this compact car, but some people may remember it as one of the most reckless cars to ever be sold. A total of 98,000 cars at first were recalled, then another problem was found which made for an additional 1.3 million to be recalled.

2007 Chevrolet Cobalt LT

The first recall was because the car was not successful in meeting federal safety standards. Next, and this was the big issue, was because of the faulty ignition switch. This problem made the cars deactivate safety systems and shut off at a certain speed, and many fatal accidents were caused due to this.

Ford Fire Hazard

This was Ford’s largest recall ever. It was a total of 14 million vehicles due to the cruise control switch causing fires under the hood as well as other problems. There were signs that your car may have been involved, such as your brakes not working right and untimely activation of brake lights.

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The issue is with several Ford vehicles and has caused two deaths and a couple of house fires as of 2009. Ford found a work-around to add a fused wiring harness that will banish the possibility of fire, but they will not switch out the cruise control button.

Audi 5000 Just Doesn’t Stop

Today if you own an Audi, you have yourself a luxury vehicle that crawls around the road like a king. In the late ’80s, however, you had yourself a deathtrap. The sales of the car plummeted from 75,000 to 12,000 in a matter of a few years and it was because of an acceleration problem.

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The Audis had a problem that would unexpectedly force them to accelerate. Audi tried to passively place the blame on the drivers by insisting that drivers would confuse the gas pedal with the brake pedal because they were almost the same size. Audi was correct, but that didn’t stop their image from being hurt.

’70s Ford Pinto And Mercury Bobcat

It had taken several years after the cars have already traversed the highways and streets before they had to be recalled. If you were an owner of one of these cars, then being rear-ended was not the best situation for you to be in. When rear-ended, the gas tanks would rupture and go into flames.

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The company had known about the problems but cared too much about money to do something about it. Maybe they figured that paying settlements for death and injuries caused by the fires would be cheaper than redesigning the fuel tanks. More than one million of the Pintos and identical Bobcats were recalled.

1981 GM Chevys

This recall was more than just some glitch or bad wiring. In 1981, a few of General Motors’ vehicles came across a terrifying problem. Loose suspension bolts were disabling the car’s steering column! Now ordinarily, if you have ever lost control of your car it was most likely for a brief moment with the intent to gain back control of the car. With this issue, that was not the case.

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This problem caused drivers to lose control of their cars completely, hence the word disabled. 5.8 million cars were recalled and the Chevy Malibu was the one that was most inflicted by this.

2013 Ford Escape Fires

11,500 Ford Escapes have been recalled. What for, you ask? Well even though we are not in the past, it seems manufacturers still can make mistakes. Fuel lines in the car were cracking which caused gas to spill onto the engines. If you have ever checked under your hood after a day of driving then you know how hot your engine can get.

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When the gas would touch that hot engine, an engine fire would start. The great news about this is that no one was injured and the recall system is smoother now than it was back in the days.

Don’t Get Hit From Behind In A Jeep

It took a whole 20 years for this recall to happen! 20 years later someone decided that this car needed to be fixed because it caused potential dangers to drivers on the road and the person driving. Maybe they thought people would not want their precious car to be taken from them to be repaired.

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The problem with these cars is that if they get rear-ended, they have a chance of catching on fire. Maybe the recall took so long because after further research, the Grand Cherokees and Libertys were no more dangerous than any of their competition on the road.

Not a Forest Fire But A Ford Fire

Ordinarily, you do not have any worries once you are sound asleep in your home. That is not the case if you had a Ford back in 1996. Once you left this car in park, that is when the trouble started. The car had a glitch that would allow the cars to start on their own and short circuit the electrical system while melting the steering column. That was only the best case scenario for you.


Owners had their homes burned down, but no one died from this and we guess that’s the silver lining here even though someone just lost their house.

Takata Airbags

This is one of the deadliest recalls to date. Ten of the largest car makers were involved and at least 17 million vehicles around the planet. The Japanese supplier, Takata, built airbags that were affected by moisture and other things. With the right amount of force, the airbags would deploy. That was only the beginning.


The airbags would rupture the metal housing and in turn, spray the inside of the car with chemicals and shrapnel, which led to fatal injuries. Honda was fined $70 million because they apparently knew about the problem back in 2004 but the airbags were being built between 2000 and 2008.

Honda Seat Belts

Well, this is awkward. You would think you would want your seat belt to work properly. However, in this case, these Honda seat belts worked a little too well. Back in the early ’90s, Honda owners were not able to take off their seat belts. What happened was the release buttons would crack and you would not be able to use them.

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This sounds like a situation out of the movie Final Destination. If you are in an accident and your seat belt traps you in your car, that is not a fun thing. It is especially not fun if your car is about to blow up.

Stones Stuck in a GM

In the early ’70s stones were your worst enemy if you had one of these cars. Stones had the ability to get jammed between the steering assembly and the frame. When this happened, the car was unable to turn left.What are supposed to do when this happens? Not vote for a republican, most likely.

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The fix was cheap and easy for GM, but the actual experience of not being able to turn left was probably mortifying for drivers. 3.7 million cars were recalled and it’s a great thing no NASCAR vehicles were affected because all they do is turn left.

Fueling Global Warming

Volkswagen was one of the world’s largest automakers. That was until Sept. 18 when the EPA served them with a violation of the Clean Air Act. They manufactured cars powered by diesel that was said to be cleaner and efficient than others. The vehicles had software that would slip past emissions testing then shut down for normal driving.


This problem is an issue that affects the whole world and adds to the problem of global warming. The cars really polluted way more than its competition’s models. This debacle will cost Volkswagen around $14.7 billion in America alone. See what happens when you try and cheat?

Push To Start Or Turn Off

The Lincoln MKC is one is just bad design. Nothing wrong with tires or steering, or even engines for that matter. This is just awkward placement, causing people to turn off their cars at the wrong time. There are buttons in the car that allow you to select the type of transmission you want to be in, but at the bottom of the panel of buttons is an identically shaped start and stop button.

2015 Lincoln MKC

As you can see in the image above, if you are driving and focused on the road then you might have a chance of turning off your car when all you want to do was travel in sports mode! 13,574 MKCs were recalled.

Last Call

And there you have it. This is list of the scariest and ridiculous vehicle recalls you will find. Deaths occurred, people were hurt and houses were burned down in the process. You would think vehicle manufacturers would take all the time they need to ensure that cars that can travel at high speeds and are capable of blowing up are safe all the way around.

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The only type of problems your car should come with are relationship problems. Not the type of problems that put your life at risk. A message to all: do your research before you purchase a car.