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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Safety

Toyota May Not Be Entirely At Fault in Unintended Acceleration

On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 9:50AM | By: Chris Weiss

2011 Toyota Avalon  test 2

The United States Department of Transportation has been rigorously analyzing paperwork and equipment relating to Toyota's unintended accleration problems, issues that have caused the recall of more than eight million vehicles, beginning last year. While the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) has already slapped Toyota with a $16.4 million fine, and may still add more fines to that total, a recent report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that the agency is finding that Toyota is not the only party to blame in the acceleration woes. In at least a portion of the complaints, driver error has been found to be the cause of the issue.

In an intensive analysis of dozens of vehicle data recorders taken from Toyota models involved in sudden acceleration incidents, the NHTSA has found that many of them recorded the throttle being fully open and the brakes being disengaged at the time of crashing. This shows that the drivers involved were punching the accelerator, but not stepping on the brakes at all.

The problem of sudden acceleration, which has been linked to both floor mats and defective, sticking accelerator pedals in individual recalls, has been that cars reportedly accelerated even when the brakes were pressed. However, in these newly uncovered incidents, it would appear that the drivers mistakenly hit the accelerator rather than the brakes.

Driver error has also been cited as the cause of some high profile acceleration incidents, including one in New York and one in the San Diego area.

Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Cars

On: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:31AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Dangers of Leaving Children Unattended in Cars test 1-1

It’s that time of year again when the tragic statistics start to appear nationwide regarding unfortunate children who die of heat stroke from either being left in cars or accidently getting trapped in automobiles in the heat. Every year the numbers seem to be very predictable, but this year some research indicates that that number is on the rise.

Eight kids across the nation in the toddler/infant age group have reportedly died since June 13th this year, the largest number in over 10 years.

Susan West, a registered nurse in Oklahoma who was interviewed by News Ok.com, reports that children have many special physical challenges when their bodies cope with rising temperatures.  Kids have less overall body fluid so they dehydrate much more rapidly than adults. Overall children’s bodies heat up five times faster than a person who is full gown, and on top of that, an infant does not develop mature sweat glands to help cool the body until around 6 months of age. "They're just defenseless, they can't help themselves," said Susan West, Safe Kids Tulsa. "They're just victims." West also said;"They're heating up faster, they're dehydrating faster,"


Toyota Forced To Recall Lexus HS Hybrid For Fuel System Issues

On: Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 1:59PM | By: John Welch

Toyota Forced To Recall Lexus HS Hybrid For Fuel System Issues test 1-1

It is a pointless car, the HS. A more expensive, tarted-up Prius that is slower than a Prius, and just as miniscule? Not an easy sell I would think. At least the interior is fancy. My opinions aside, the HS really hasn't been all that difficult to sell, and Lexus has done a good job of it in the few months it has been on the market. Whether you appreciate this tiny luxury yacht for what it is—a smaller ES that is as well furnished as a car this size could possibly be—or not, you can't ignore one design detail that matters to everyone, the integrity of the fuel lines. The HS has an issue that involves fuel lines leaking after hard collisions. This fuel could make its way to hot exhaust or engine parts, causing a fire. Not good.

The HS may be a fine auto, may serve its purpose well for its owners, but it just can't have leaking fuel lines. The entire NHTSA post inside . . . this . . . post . . ..

Gulf Oil Disaster; Deja Vu All Over Again

On: Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 3:39PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Gulf Oil Clean-up test 2

It amazes me that in today’s day and age, with all the technology that we possess, we can’t cap the well to stem the onslaught of crude from poisoning the gulf waters. It all sounds pretty easy to us armchair well drillers—just screw the cap on and call it a day. But, in reality, it is not that easy; in fact, the company responsible for this disaster should be well aware of just how hard the task is because they had to deal with the same scenario in 1979. Only back then the company was called Sedco, before it became Transocean, the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor.

The Ixtoc drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on June 13th, 1979 spewing 30,000 barrels of oil into the water every day because of a malfunctioning blow-out preventer. Sedco used planes to drop chemical dispersants and utilized “containment teams” to deploy long booms and “oil skimming vessels” to help control the spill, all with little success. Concerns about underwater plumes of oil and the spill reaching Florida’s beaches were growing every day. Does any of this sound familiar?


Five Ford Vehicles Named IIHS Top Safety Picks

On: Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 2:32PM | By: John Welch

Five Ford Vehicles Named IIHS Top Safety Picks test 1-1

Ford just keeps on keepin' on, spewing good news from every pore. Today it was announced that five Ford models have earned a five-star rating for 2011 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Ford now has eleven Top Safety Picks for 2011 models, more than any other manufacturer. The 2010 Ford Flex and Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and MKT, and Mercury Milan are the latest Ford models to be scrutinized. Due to extensive use of high-strength steel, all five models passed the IIHS tests with flying colors.

“Leading the industry in both Top Safety Pick ratings and government five-star crash test ratings is very significant because customers increasingly consider IIHS and NHTSA ratings when choosing a new vehicle,” said Sue Cischke, Ford’s Group Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “These latest test results further demonstrate Ford’s commitment to continuous improvement on the safety front.”

Buying a Used car Online; Don't Get Munsoned

On: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 4:35PM | By: Clay Ritchings

Roy Munson test 2

If you are in the market for a car or truck, there are sites, like AutoShopper.com, where you can put in your zip code and start looking through local seller offerings. The internet has given us all the ability to become more educated on pricing, quality, and reliability before we ever set foot on any car lot. All this convenience comes with a price: safety!

While the vast majority of online car deals go through without a problem, a number of scams have specifically targeted internet auto buyers. Many of the scam artists work their deception from Eastern-bloc countries or even African countries, such as Nigeria. These criminals pursue their victims with special dedication, operating with the belief that rich Americans deserve to be Munsoned. In this post I will cover a few common sense guidelines to help protect you.

GM Recalling 1.5 Million Vehicles For Potential Fire Hazard

On: Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 12:46PM | By: Drew Christy

GM Recalling 1.5 Million Vehicles For Potential Fire Hazard test 1-1

General Motors is recalling 1.5 million Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Hummer, Saturn, and GMC vehicles worldwide to fix a heated windshield wiper fluid system module, which could cause a fire. The recall affects several GM car, truck, and SUV models made between 2006 to 2009. This is the second recall for the same heated windshield wiper fluid system. GM originally recalled the system back in August 2008 because a short circuit on the printed circuit board could overheat the control-circuit ground wire and cause a fire. Dealers fixed the vehicles by installing an in-line fuse in the heated washer module wiring, however, GM came across new reports of fires in vehicles that had been fixed.

In a press release, General Motors Executive Director of Safety stated: “While our analysis shows the number of incidents is very small compared with the number of vehicles on the road, we want our customers to have complete peace of mind. We always want to make sure customers can count on the safety and quality of their GM vehicle.” GM has decided to disable the heated portion of the washer fluid system because no solution is available to fix the malfunctioning module. Dealership service personnel will remove the heated washer fluid module and reroute washer fluid hoses. “This was a unique technology available from only one supplier, and that supplier has stopped manufacturing, which left no opportunity to collaborate on an improved design,” Boyer said. Boyer continued, “We want to be clear that the voluntary payment to customers is for the loss of the feature, not the recall.” The report says GM will reimburse owners and lease holders $100 since the feature is being disabled.

GM will start sending recall notices this month, however, customers may also contact their local dealer at any time to make an appointment to have the heated washer system removed. Most of the vehicles, 1,365,070, are in the United States; there are 98,794 affected vehicles in Canada; 26,228 in Mexico, and 38,093 elsewhere. There are no known injuries or crashes reported, however, GM is aware of five fires.

See the list and full report after the jump...

Chrysler Adds Minivans To The List Of Recalled Vehicles

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:07PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Chrysler Adds Minivans To The List Of Recalled Vehicles test 1-1

Chrysler has now hopped on the recall bandwagon as it is recalling close to 600,000 Jeep Wranglers and minivans in the U.S. and another 100,000 vehicles recalled from Canada, Mexico, and other international markets. The reason for the recall, according to Chrysler spokesperson and federal regulators, is a problem with wiring and brakes that could potentially cause a safety issue.

In the most recent Chrysler recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the leak resulting from the front inner fender liner rubbing against the brake fluid tubes which may cause brake fluid to leak, potentially leading to partial brake loss.  The minivans that were recalled have improperly placed wires that could come into contact with hinges on the sliding doors which could cut through the insulation, resulting in a fire hazard. Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa was quoted as saying that only “in rare instances” could the defect lead to a fire inside the van doors.

Chrysler Wrestles With Wrangler Recall Fever

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 10:41AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Wrangler Brake Recall test 2

The Chrysler Group has issued a recall notice for all 2006-2010 Jeep Wranglers due to problems with the braking system. According to the report, there may be contact between the right and left front inner fender linersand the right front and left rear brake tubes. The contact could cause brakes tubes to leak resulting in brake loss and a possible crash. So far there have not been any reports of related or serious accidents.

If you happen to own one of these vehicles you can easily get it repaired at any Chrysler or Jeep full service dealership free of charge. All you have to do is call your local dealership and set up a time to bring your car in, they will repair the parts without any cost to you. While there have not been any incidents related to this recently announced recall, the carmaker is urging any owners of these vehicles to get them serviced as soon as possible. Read the full recall notice after the jump.

Chrysler And BHP Catch The Recall Bug

On: Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 4:26PM | By: John Welch

CanAm Spyder Roadster test 2

Owners of model year 2007 Dodge Calibers and Jeep Compi (the Compass, for those who don't subscribe to "computermouse/Lexus" humor) are being asked to bring their cars back to the dealer for gas-pedal maintenance. To be clear: there are NO reports of crashes or injuries associated with this pedal gremlin, and both Chrysler and the NHTSA have been investigating this issue for the last month. This recall is being ordered by Chrysler and is intended to prevent any possible misshaps.

Can-Am's remarkable Spyder Roadster is also being hit with a recall today, for issues regarding the Roadster's semi-automatic clutch assembly. The full NHTSA report for both manufacturers inside das post . . .

Tips For Teaching Your Teenager To Be A Safe Drive

On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 4:40PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Tips For Teaching Your Teenager To Be A Safe Drive test 1-1

The incidence of fatalities in teenagers involved in motor-vehicle accidents has decrease by as much as 69% in areas where a curfew has been established and enforced. Most parents are interested in how they can help their teen to become a safer driver, but may not know exactly how to go about it.

According to a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for the NHTSI, National Highway Traffic Safety Institute, most teens are able to steer and maneuver the car without problems; the difficult part for them is observing the scene, learning to predict danger, and developing the ability to make correct decisions quickly.

Safety experts across the country are advocating for licensing programs that permit young drivers to gradually gain driving experience in three stages; the first stage would be receiving a permit, supervised driving would be the second stage, followed by a restricted driving stage that would allow young drivers to gain a specific number of hours of experience before getting out on the road to drive alone.

Here are some tip to enable you to successfully teach your teens to drive safely;