Harley-Davidson Forced to Recall Thousands of Motorcycles for Serious Ignition Defects

August 24, 2016 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Harley-Davidson Forced to Recall Thousands of Motorcycles for Serious Ignition Defects

This has been a difficult time for Harley-Davidson. After recalling over 27,000 motorcycles due to a defective clutch issue in July, the company has been forced into recalling over 4000 motorcycles due to an ignition problem that can cause the motorcycles to stall and possibly crash. This was in a statement issued by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued on Friday, August 12.

According to Harley-Davidson, the company is recalling over 4,500 of its 2014 FXDL Dyna Low Rider motorcycles worldwide. The ignition switch can switch from the “run” position to “accessory' due to engine vibrations, which stall the motor. With a standard bike, it should not be a critical problem, however, with a motorcycle that is modified to rev higher than 5,600 RPMs, it creates a risk due to excessive engine mount bracket vibrations.

Summer is historically the peak sales season for Harley-Davidson, but due to two, large, back to back recalls and weak U.S. sales, the company has lowered its annual forecast figures. Hopefully, the recently released electric bike will help Harley-Davidson get newer bikes into the showrooms of reluctant dealerships.

So far there have been no crashes related to the defective ignition switches but Harley-Davidson recognizes the potential for injuries and death which initiated the voluntary recall. There is no relationship to the recall and the NHTSA's investigation into ignition-switch problems in the auto industry. The independent recall will hopefully work to avoid lawsuits like those filed against General Motors and Chrysler.

Harley-Davidson Recalls on the Rise

In an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) written in late 2015 titled “feeling the recall sting,” it was stated that Harley-Davidson had announced 24 separate recalls during the past three years. From 2003-2013 the average number of recalls was 94,000 motorcycle per year. In 2015 the number of recalls numbered almost 312,000. That figure includes a recall of 185,000 bikes due to a potentially dangerous risk of saddle bags coming loose due to defective clamps.

Aside from the ignition and clutch recalls of this summer, there have been other recent recalls for front brake lines and defective fuel pump seals. In addition, the National Highway Transportation Safety Commission is investigating complaints about brake failures in 430,000 motorcycles produced between 2008 and 2011. The NHTSA said it is possible in some cases that owners may not have replaced brake fluid every two years as recommended, which may have contributed to the problem of absorbed moisture from the surrounding environment, but still found the failures a cause for concern. If the NHTSA investigation becomes a recall, 2016 will be the worst year yet for costly recalls for Harley-Davidson. A senior vice president of manufacturing and supply for Harley-Davidson, Michelle Kumbier, told the WSJ that the recalls were “disappointing” and “unacceptable.”

Some dealers seem to be blaming the frequent recall problems on the infusion of new models and features in recent years while others are saying the U.S. regulators have become more aggressive after Congressional criticism accused them of failure to identify safety problems.

The decline in sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles can in part be blamed on recalls diminishing the public's perception of the motorcycles quality, however, it is more likely to be the aging boomers who comprise the diehard Harley only group. Younger riders are being attracted by competitive makes and styles like Polaris, Honda, and others. Those company's sales have grown despite having to deal with several recalls.

Information pertaining to motorcycle recalls is available at the website safercar.gov Owners can search for recall information by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

If Legal Help is Needed

Anyone who is injured in a crash due to a defective part on a motorcycle or anyone who lost a loved who for the same reason, should seek the help of an experienced product liability and personal injury attorney to recover compensation. It may be possible to collect for medical bills, lost income, pain, and suffering as well as damage to the motorcycle. In the case of the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death award is possible.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has attorneys who have a great deal of experience in defective products cases as well as motorcycle crashes. If you were injured or lost a loved one, call Dolman Law for a free consultation. There is no obligation and your meeting will be strictly confidential. Call today at 727-451-6900 and speak with a highly qualified attorney.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900 Sources:




Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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