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April 9, 2014

Brakes, steering and...spiders? What's behind the latest auto recalls

Inside the engine of your car, spiders weave a web causing a rise in pressure, fuel leaks and eventually fire.

It sounds like a premise of a bad horror movie, but it's a real problem prompting Mazda to recall 42,000 vehicles, and it's not even the first time it has happened, according Slate.

Risk from spiders aside, 2014 has already been a hard year for automakers, with more than 11 million vehicles being recalled so far, compared to the 22 million in all of 2013.

Check out the full list of 2014 recalls. Here's a rundown of the most significant ones:

  • Toyota announced today that the company would recall 6.39 million vehicles worldwide, about 2 million in the U.S., for a variety of problems.
  • Since the beginning of 2014, General Motors has announced the recall of 2.6 million vehicles for ignition problems that led to 13 deaths. Then, days before General Motors CEO Mary Barra was to testify for a House subcommittee on the ignition switch recall, GM announced another recall of more than 1 million vehicles, including the Chevrolet Malibu, saying the cars may lose power steering at low speeds. Inquiry into the ignition switch problem, an issue going back to the 1990s, is ongoing.
  • A recall was issued on April 1 for almost 650,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos with brake problems.
  • March saw a fair share of recalls as well, including nearly 1 million Nissans being recalled for electrical issues that may cause airbags not to deploy in the event of an accident.

However, drivers need not be alarmed at the high number of recalls according to piece by the L.A. Times, where Karl Brauer said this is the "new normal," noting that automakers are more willing to recall vehicles for potential problems after recall delays caused issues in the past.

The cost of a recall, be it for spider invasions or power steering failure, is far less than the fines for delaying.

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