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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Safety

Cadillac Seats To Vibrate As Crash Warning

On: Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 4:29PM | By: Chris Weiss

Cadillac Seats To Vibrate As Crash Warning test 2

GM plans to launch a vibrating driver's seat in the upcoming 2013 Cadillac XTS. The seat isn't designed to relax or massage the driver, but rather to warn him of impending dangers.

The new system, which GM calls the Cadillac Safety Alert Seat, uses directional tactile sensation - a fancy way of saying a vibrating seat bottom. The seat vibrates on the left side or right side, depending upon which side the danger is on. When the danger is coming from the rear or front, the seat vibrates on both sides. For instance, if you begin to veer over into the right line, the right side of your seat will start to vibrate as a cue to straighten out.

A123 Systems To Replace Defective Fisker Karma Batteries

On: Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 11:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

A123 Systems To Replace Defective Fisker Karma Batteries test 2

 Well it looks like non-recall performance upgrades -or whatever the manufacturer in question chooses to call them to avoid the hot-button term "recall" - will be a thing for the plug-in hybrid. GM is in the midst of performing what it calls a 'Customer Satisfaction Program,' relating to the Volt's battery, and now A123 Systems, the battery supplier for the Fisker Karma, is starting a 'field campaign' to replace battery packs.

Earlier this month, Consumer Reports detailed an issue that it had with a Fisker Karma during testing. The Karma broke down with less than 200 miles on its odometer. While CR was doing speedometer calibration, an error message flashed and the transmission subsequently locked up, requiring Fisker to come and tow the car away for repair.

Chevy To Replace Charging Cords On 2011 Volts

On: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 4:53PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy To Replace Charging Cords On 2011 Volts test 2

Ordinarily when things go wrong with a car, an automaker needs to issue a recall, bringing owners in to repair the model. But when that problem only pertains to an ancillary component - say a charging cable - then the automaker can take care of business without inconveniencing owners as much. That's what Chevy is doing for Volt owners in order to improve their charging experience.

Chevy told media this week that it plans to replace the 120V charging cords on all 2011 Volts and some 2012 models. The new cords are designed to offer an improved, more reliable charging experience and sound to be more durable. A company spokesperson was careful to distinguish it as a proactive action and not a recall, when speaking with Inside Line.

Volvo Recalls 2,700 New Cars

On: Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 9:51AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Volvo Recalls 2,700 New Cars test 2

If you happen to have just purchased a brand new 2012 Volvo S60 or XC60, you may just be one of 2,742 new owners that will have to turn that Volvo right back around and head back to the dealership. It seems that while on the assembly line, the factory may have over sprayed the coating they use on the underbody of these cars. An over application of this coating can (like any liquid) cause it to drip down, and in this case, cause it to form icicle-like structures. 

The coating-icicles are not necessarily the problem -- it's the fact that these icicles can actually puncture fuel lines, causing fuel to leak and potentially a fire. Owners will be contacted beginning in mid-April, but early appointments are okay too.

Read on for the full report from Safercar.gov ...


Subaru's EyeSight System Offers Suite Of Safety Technologies

On: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 3:46PM | By: Chris Weiss

Subaru's EyeSight System Offers Suite Of Safety Technologies test 2

Like other automakers around the world, Subaru is working to make roads safer by the application of new technologies. Its Eyesight system is a camera-based safety feature that provides collision prevention, intuitive cruise control and other driver assistance functions.

Subaru will launch its new EyeSight system at the New York Auto Show next month. The automaker describes the system as a suite of safety and driver assist technologies. Those technologies include adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and vehicle lane departure warning.

The Eyesight system is based around two charge-coupled device cameras mounted on the upper inside edge of the windshield. Subaru says the location was chosen in part to prevent damage that could easily occur to bumper-mounted hardware.

Volvo's Pedestrian Airbag System (Video)

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 5:26PM | By: Chris Weiss

Volvo's Pedestrian Airbag System test 2

The Volvo V40 may have leaked prior to the Geneva Motor Show, but Volvo managed to save the biggest story for the show. Because, though Volvo has managed to make its cars more visually appealing over the years, the story about any given Volvo tends to be safety, not visuals.

The V40 features a world-first pedestrian airbag system, putting the airbags on the outside of the car, as well as the inside. The system provides cushioning should the driver run into a pedestrian.

This system seems a little over-engineered to me. Not that pedestrian safety isn't important, but I'd think that not hitting pedestrians would be more the goal than cushioning their impact. But I'm not the one building the V40; Volvo is. And they're all about the frontal airbag.

To Hell With Safety...Fisker Karma Shoved Onto Market Early, According To Ex Employee

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 12:19PM | By: Chris Weiss

Fisker Karma test 2

Last month, the media reported that Fisker had lost millions of dollars in loan money from the Department of Energy. The plug-in start-up is still reeling from the loss and trying to figure out where to turn now. It has a new leader at the helm who appears confident (or at least good at giving the appearance of confidence to appease investors and the media) and is moving forward with plans to get the money back from the DOE or elsewhere. A new report alleging that Fisker essentially threw caution to the wind to get the Karma to market and secure DOE funding probably won't help its case.

According to a conversation between a former Fisker employee and technology blog GigaOM, Fisker rushed the launch of the Karma so that it could meet the milestones necessary to maintain its funding. That would explain why the Karma has been guilty of everything from battery fires to less-than-advertised fuel economy to fizzling out on delivery (for Consumer Reports, nonetheless).

186,000 Camrys And Venzas Recalled

On: Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 9:58AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

186,000 Camrys And Venzas Recalled test 2

Well, here we go again. It's starting to feel like Toyota might just have to start issuing refunds to anyone that bought a Toyota between 2007 and about three weeks ago. Either that or put some heavy technology in building a time machine (hopefully with better luck than they've had in recent years). Perhaps they could go back and take a Mulligan on a few million cars. It seems that it's just about every week or so that we see the big Japanese carmaker recalling another batch of cars for some new ridiculous reason. This week it's Camry models made from July 1, 2008-February 28, 2009 and Venza models made from October 20, 2008 - January 4, 2011 totaling an asinine 186,798 vehicles.  

Apparently silicone grease "may" have (read:  did) come into contact with the surface of the brake light switch which may cause the electricity to not flow to the switch. If that happens, the car may not allow the driver to shift from park, or even start the car. Another annoying side effect may also be that the brake lights could be rendered useless -- not lighting up at all, which is of course, bad news for all parties involved on the road.

Get those Camrys and Venzas back to the dealer, and read on for the full report ...

Unintended Acceleration Ford Edition: NHTSA Opens Investigation On Taurus

On: Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 11:26AM | By: Chris Weiss

Unintended Acceleration Ford Edition: NHTSA Opens Investigation On Taurus test 2

About two years after Toyota suffered from its infamous unintended acceleration debacle, Ford may be facing one of its own. The purported problem is different, but the result much the same: loss of acceleration control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the matter this week.

The problem relates to 2005 and 2006 model year Taurus sedans. The NHTSA's preliminary investigation relates to about 360,000 such sedans. It opened the preliminary investigation because of 14 complaints that the throttle on Taurus sedans can stick in the open position, causing difficulties stopping.

495,470 Toyota Tacomas Recalled!

On: Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 10:08AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

495,470 Toyota Tacomas Recalled! test 2

Just when you thought it was safe to finally get back into your Toyota, here comes another recall. This week, the Japanese based company has issued a mega-recall of nearly 500,000 of its famous Tacoma pickup trucks spanning from model years 2005-2009, which were built from September 14, 2004 through August 29, 2008.

It seems that over time vibration may damage the air bag control module in the driver's airbag, and as a result, the airbag may not deploy at all. Clearly this is a bit of a problem, and although it is not the worst recall of all time, 495,000 cars to bring back for a fix definitely puts another black eye squarely on a company that was just healing up from the few it earned just a couple years ago.

Read on for the full report ...

Toyota Blasts CNN's Revisiting Of "Unintended Acceleration" Issue As "Irresponsible" And "Grossly Innaccurate"

On: Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 9:53AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Toyota Blasts CNN's Revisiting Of

Here’s how Toyota put it in its March 1 press release:

“In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, CNN has irresponsibly aired a grossly inaccurate segment on Anderson Cooper 360 that attempts to resurrect the discredited, scientifically unproven allegation that there is a hidden defect in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system that can cause unintended acceleration.”

And it gets uglier from there....