NHTSA Releases Counterfeit Airbag Test Video

Nhtsa video
Counterfeit airbags are dangerous, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants consumers to see the risks for themselves.

Last week, NHSTA issued a report about a rise in the number of counterfeit airbags infiltrating vehicle repair shops, and the dangerous consequences to drivers. The group's tests have found that many of these bags consistently malfunction; issues reported range from non-deployment to shrapnel being projected during deployment.

Check out NHTSA's video demonstration below.

By David Thomas | October 17, 2012 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta

2011-ford-fiesta
Ford is recalling 154,604 model-year 2011-13 versions of the Fiesta subcompact car due to problems with the passenger side curtain airbag, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Nov. 3, 2009, through Sept. 21, 2012 (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb) and have side curtain airbags that may not deploy during a crash if the seat is empty. Although the system was designed to suppress the airbag if no one is in that position, it's not mentioned in the owner's manual as required by law. Also, the airbag could fail to protect the second-row side occupant in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.  

Ford will notify owners shortly, and dealers will reprogram the system's software for free. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By David Thomas | October 16, 2012 | Comments (0)

2013 Ford Focus ST: Car Seat Check

2013-ford-focus-st
The Focus ST is Ford's take on the sporty hatchback. Its vibrant yellow exterior paint and matching interior trim make it stand out from the compact hatchback pack, as does its tricked-out engine: a 252-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Many families use the regular Focus to haul kids around; how does the ST's backseat handle two child-safety seats?

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

By David Thomas | October 16, 2012 | Comments (0)

3 In-Car Systems That Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Teen driving
If the thought of your teen getting behind the wheel scares you, one look at the statistics will make that feeling really hit home: In 2010, more than 4,500 young drivers were involved in fatal car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It's an ongoing problem. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Research Institute reports that one in five ninth- through 11th-graders has been involved in at least one crash as a passenger in the past year. Research from AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety is just as alarming. It found that drivers aged 16 to 17 are involved in seven times as many crashes per mile driven than drivers in their 40s, 50s or 60s.

In 2007, Congress enacted National Teen Driver Safety Week to raise awareness about the issue. During the third week of every October (the 14-20 this year), several safety organizations launch programs to encourage safe driving for teen drivers and passengers.

One week isn't enough, however, leading several automakers to offer in-car monitoring and safety systems that can help your teen stay safe behind the wheel.

By David Thomas | October 15, 2012 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2011 Lotus Evora

Lotus-evora
Lotus is recalling 80 model-year 2011 versions of the Evora coupe due to problems with the engine oil feed pipe, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from February through September 2011 (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb) and use an engine oil feed pipe that could rupture. This could lead to a fire.

Lotus has not yet provided NHTSA with an owner notification schedule, but dealers will replace the oil feed pipe for free. Owners can call Lotus at 800-245-6887 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By David Thomas | October 15, 2012 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2010-2012 Aston Martin V12 Vantage

Aston-martin-v12-vantage
Aston Martin is recalling 169 model-year 2010-12 versions of the V12 Vantage coupe due to problems with the tire pressure monitoring system, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the affected vehicles, the low tire pressure warning light won't illuminate until the pressure is more than 25% below the recommended level. Underinflated tires could lead to tire failure and a possible crash.

Aston Martin has not yet provided an owner notification schedule, but dealers will reprogram the software for free. Owners can call Aston Martin at 888-923-9988 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By David Thomas | October 15, 2012 | Comments (0)

Consumer Reports Finds Faulty Release Inside Trunks of Lexus ES, GS

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If you own a car from the last 10 years, you've probably noticed a glow-in-the-dark trunk release on the inside of the trunk. That's to help anyone who happens to find themselves inside the trunk escape from it. It's been a federal requirement for all cars in the U.S. since Sept. 1, 2001, following a 1998 summer where 11 children died from inadvertent trunk entrapment. Since its implementation, no children have died in the trunk of a car that has the release.

Consumer Reports noted the release inside their 2013 Lexus ES and GS sedans could snap off, however. One editor's 4-year-old son wanted to test (under supervision) the emergency release, which snapped off. The publication found that in the ES 350, ES 300h and GS 350 sedans, the release lever could break if you pulled it toward the driver's side of the car. Lexus parent, Toyota, told Consumer Reports that the Lexus IS has a similar release design. Consumer Reports spot-tested other test cars in its fleet and found no such issues.

By David Thomas | October 12, 2012 | Comments (4)

Recall Alert: 2012 Land Rover Range Rover

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Land Rover is recalling 36 model-year 2012 versions of the Range Rover SUV due to problems with the windshield, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the affected vehicles, the windshield wasn't installed correctly, and it could come loose in a crash.

Land Rover will notify owners starting Nov. 5, and dealers will replace the affected parts for free. Owners can call Land Rover at 800-637-6837 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

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By David Thomas | October 12, 2012 | Comments (0)

NHTSA Warns of Counterfeit Airbags

Airbag
Motorists who get replacement airbags after being involved in a crash should be careful, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Today the organization issued a consumer safety warning about counterfeit airbags.

NHTSA has been investigating the sale of counterfeit airbags used as replacement parts for vehicles involved in a crash. The group's tests have found that many of these bags consistently malfunction; issues reported range from non-deployment to shrapnel being projected during deployment. "NHTSA is not aware of any deaths or injuries connected to counterfeit air bags," the agency said in a statement.

NHTSA is partnering with several government agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Justice, to track where they're coming from.

By David Thomas | October 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: Evenflo Big Kid Booster Seats

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Car-seat manufacturer Evenflo is recalling 151 Big Kid Factory Select boosters because the seats were for display only and are missing the instruction manual and required registration card, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected model numbers are 30911173AD, 3091967AD, 30911118AD and 30911120D, and the seats were shipped between Aug. 6 and Sept. 18, 2012.

By David Thomas | October 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

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