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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Safety

Nearly 900,000 GM Vehicles Under Investigation For Faulty Fuel Gauge

On: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:51AM | By: Chris Weiss

GM Vehicles Under Investigation For Faulty Fuel Gauge  test 2

Last week, AAA locations around the country reported that "out of gas" calls have spiked significantly this year, a phenomenon that's undoubtedly tied to the insane prices of gas. Well, now there's another little wrench in the fuel equation, at least for GM owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Friday that it's investigating 865,000 GM vehicles for faulty fuel gauges. The gauges have caused a small percentage of owners to run out of gas.

According to its announcement, there have been 668 complaints about the fuel gauge issue on vehicles from Chevy, GMC, Buick, and former GM brand Saab. Fifty-eight of those complaints come from drivers that actually stalled out because their tank was empty even though the fuel gauge read as though they still had gas left. At least one crash allegedly stems from the issue.

Chevy Volt/Nissan Leaf Win Top Safety Honors From IIHS

On: Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 4:12PM | By: Chris Weiss

hevy Volt/Nissan Leaf Win Top Safety Honors From IIHS  test 2

Proving that the respective awards of World Car of the Year and World Green Car of the Year weren't just feel-good flukes, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt both scored at the top of the class in another important dynamic: safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finished up what it referred to as the first U.S. plug-in electric tests, and awarded both of the alternatively powered superstars top ratings.

Toyota Recalls RAV4s And Highlanders For Bad 'Bag Sensors

On: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 9:24AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photo illustration by author test 2

And the hits just keep on coming for Toyota, this time to the tune of approximately 308,000 North American RAV4 and Highlander vehicles from the 2007 and 2008 model years which have potentially faulty Curtain Shield Airbag Sensor Assemblies.

According to the company, this "voluntary Safety Recall" involves "certain 2007 through 2008 model year RAV4 and certain 2008 Highlander and Highlander HV vehicles sold in the United States." Approximately 214,000 RAV4s and 94,000 Highlanders and Highlander HVs are covered by this recall.

It's Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. that's taking the hit this go-round as only models sold in the North American market are affected as the "roll sensing curtain shield airbag system" in question does not appear in vehicles sold in any other market.

Lucky us then, yeah?

California Lawmakers Aim To Corral Recalled Rentals

On: Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 11:37AM | By: Andrew W Davis

California Lawmakers Aim To Corral Recalled Rentals test 1-1

So, here you are, sitting behind the wheel of a clean, freshly-rented automobile. You checked, initialed, and signed the form in all the right places and the bright and shiny young person handed you the key you’re about to use to bring this car-of-no-repute to life.

It looks new. Well, newer than the heap you usually drive. It seems clean there in the cabin, though it does smell faintly of Lysol and plastic. It started right away, too, and it seems all the lights and gauges and chiming-things are awake and ready to go. [You would be, too, except you can’t find the emergency brake release handle. After a few seconds of frantic pantomime in their direction, that shiny young person comes running back to point out the large and clearly marked handle you should’ve noticed.]


Nissan Leafs Have Problems Starting... And Not Just Because The Electricity's Drained

On: Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 9:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Some Nissan Leafs Have Problems Starting test 2

Well, this isn't good news for Nissan. After getting off to a rather sluggish start in terms of sales, the Leaf, Nissan's much-hyped electric vehicle, has been experiencing problems with starting. Those few customers who have bought the Leaf have reported that it sometimes fails to start. Nissan announced that it is launching an official probe into the matter.

Nissan says that the problem is limited to a select number of Leaf models and that it is caused by a sensor in the air conditioning unit. Models in both the U.S. and Japan have experienced problems.

U.S. Goverment Shutdown Will Delay Emissions Checks

On: Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 9:30AM | By: Tim Healey

U.S. Goverment Shutdown Will Delay Emissions Checks test 1-1

If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Saturday, emissions checks and safety probes will be delayed. The EPA will stop certifying that 2012 vehicles and fuels meet federal emission standards, and the Department of Transportation will stop making rules and performing safety inspections.

If the government shuts down, that means up to 800,000 non-essential workers could be furloughed.

Toyota, Microsoft Working On OnStar Competitor

On: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 10:41AM | By: Tim Healey

Toyota, Microsoft Working On OnStar Competitor  test 2

Toyota and Microsoft are teaming to develop a telematics system that will compete with GM's OnStar. The next-generation software will likely debut in the company's electric and plug-in vehicles next year. Details are a bit sparse at this point, but we know the system will run on the upcoming Windows Azure platform.

What we don't know if this system will be an infotainment system like Ford's Sync or Chrysler's Uconnect, or if it will be more like GM's OnStar system, which is focused on navigation and consumer assistance.

Ford's Extreme Pothole Proving Grounds

On: Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 4:26PM | By: Chris Salamone

Ford's Extreme Pothole Proving Grounds  test 2

After a Viking-worthy winter and large spending cuts in both Europe and the United States, potholes are likely to be unfortunately common this spring and summer. But Ford drivers can relax, knowing their tried and true vehicles are tested for these exact conditions at the Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium and the Michigan Proving Ground in the US. Both test tracks feature real-world simulations and data acquisition supported by the best gearheads in the business.

Ford’s press release from March 30th indicated that several types of road conditions are simulated including moderately rough roads, such as those in Europe and North America, and severely rough roads, like those in emerging markets, taking into account that weather conditions can make these roads even worse. Further, both the Lommel and Michigan Proving Grounds include replicated roads from across the globe. Thus vehicles tested at these facilities might face something like the shambolic Lower Dunton Road in Essex, UK in preparation for real-world obstacles.

Obama Administration Continuing Fuel-Economy Talks

On: Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 2:31PM | By: Tim Healey

Fuel-Economy Talks  test 2

Despite moves by the House to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating tailpipe emissions, the Obama administration is continuing talks regarding fuel-economy and pollution standards for the years 2017-2025.

The talks involve automakers, the state of California, and environmental groups.

To The Bottom Of The Problem: NHTSA To Investigate Seat Warmer Hazards

On: Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 9:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

Seat Warmer Hazards  test 2

Seat heaters are one of those luxurious, little options that you invest in if your average year includes numerous mornings of scraping frost off your windshield and warming your car via remote start. You could live without them, but they're a nice little comfort that takes the chill out of those icy, leather seats.

But, there may be a problem with your backside pampering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA ) is investigating whether seat heaters pose a significant threat of burning your cheeks. If so, expect to see a rash of seat-warmer recalls over the next few years.

Rolling Kias Return to Sender

On: Sat, Mar 12, 2011 at 9:59AM | By: Chris Salamone

2007 Kia Optima test 2

If you own a Kia Optima, use the parking brake and check the mailbox regularly this month. Drivers will be notified via post of a recall relating to the vehicle’s transmission shifter cable which, if left unrepaired, could cause the disobedient cars to roll away while in park. Kia Motors is recalling more than 70,000 automatic transmission Optimas from model years 2006 to 2008 which were actually built from September 29th, 2005 to June 13th, 2007.

In Kia’s documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on March 3rd, the automaker said that in some of the cars a transmission shifter cable was installed incorrectly and could potentially become detached from the shifter. If that happens, and the cable comes off, the car would remain in the last gear it was used in. Thus, drivers who just returned from a jaunt to the Hamptons might park their Kia only to lose control of their vehicle in a HAL - 2001: A Space Odyssey-type of way…watch out for the prerecorded message from Mission Control which reveals the true reasons for Kia’s faulty transmission cable installation.