Recall Alert: Four-Cylinder Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep Vehicles

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 522 versions of the 2013 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sedans, and 2014 versions of the Jeep Compass and Patriot SUVs. Only vehicles equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine are affected. The affected vehicles were manufactured between March 15 and April 12, 2013.

The Problem: Abrasive debris in the balance shaft bearings could cause a loss of engine oil pressure, leading to engine failure. If the engine stalls while driving, a crash could result. One fire has been reported and Chrysler is looking into whether it's related to the issue, the automaker said in a statement to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the engine balance shaft module for free.

What Owners Should Do: Chrysler will notify owners later this month. Owners can call Chrysler at 800-247-9753 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

Camry, Impala Top Most-Stolen List

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Among midsize and large cars, the Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Impala proved most popular among thieves, according to a new report from the crime-stats crunchers at the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, Ill. The report is based on National Crime Information Center vehicle-theft records for a period spanning Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2012, and limited to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 model years. Researchers culled the top 10 list from the 16 makes and 20 models of the midsize class, and the nine makes and 10 models of the large-vehicle class.

During the counting period, a total of 31,586 vehicles were stolen from both car classes combined, with the midsize group comprising the vast majority, with 22,090 thefts, or 70 percent.

The top 10 large/midsize vehicle thefts by make and model are:

By Matt Schmitz | December 5, 2013 | Comments (7)

2014 Dodge Avenger: Car Seat Check

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The Dodge Avenger may be in the midsize sedan class, but compact is how I'd classify its backseat. A lack of room and difficult to access inboard Latch anchors made it tough to install child-safety seats in the Avenger. In one case, we defaulted to the seat belt.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

By Jennifer Geiger | December 5, 2013 | Comments (0)

Honda Accord, Civic Remain Top Targets for Thieves

HondaTopsMostStolenList

If you own a Honda Accord or Civic, or a full-size Ford pickup truck, you might want to take a moment to make sure your auto-insurance payments are up to date. You drive one of the top three most-stolen vehicles in the U.S. That's according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's just-released "Hot Wheels" list, which examines annual vehicle-theft data submitted by law-enforcement agencies across the country to the National Crime Information Center to determine the makes and models most-frequently reported stolen during the previous year.

As in past years, Honda Accords and Civics by far were the most-stolen vehicles in 2012, totaling 58,596 and 47,037, respectively, with full-size Ford pickups coming in a distant third with 26,770 thefts. Older Accords and Civics eclipsed newer Hondas in theft frequency, which NICB attributes to improved anti-theft technology. Most of the makes and models return from the previous list; the only newcomers were the Nissan Altima (No. 9) and Nissan Maxima (No. 10), knocking the Ford Explorer and Nissan Sentra off this year's roster.

By Matt Schmitz | August 20, 2013 | Comments (4)

The Top 10 Biggest Recalls of 2013

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Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls on millions of vehicles. In 2012, NHTSA recalled just shy of 18 million, and 15.5 million in 2011. While some recalls affect just a handful of vehicles, others impact millions.

So far this year, the biggest recall is technically not a recall at all. In June, we reported that NHTSA had requested Chrysler fix 2.7 million Jeep SUVs — 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty models — due to a potential fuel-system problem that could cause fires in a rear-end crash. Jeep initially refused, insisting the vehicles "met and exceeded all applicable requirements" of federal standards pertaining to fuel-system integrity. NHTSA then gave Chrysler a June 18 deadline to either issue a recall themselves, or be ordered to do so.

On the day of its deadline, Chrysler announced it would launch a campaign to inspect and, if necessary, fix the 2.7 million Jeeps — never officially referring to the action as a "recall." Still, that's what it was, and therefore it earns the distinction of being the biggest one this year.

According to research, the biggest recalls affecting the U.S. market in 2013 are:

By Matt Schmitz | July 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 712,000 Chrysler Vehicles

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Chrysler is voluntarily recalling an estimated 712,084 vehicles in four separate actions due to problems with various safety features, the automaker announced this week. It's more bad news for the automaker after its decision last month — following a recall request by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — to inspect and repair 2.7 million Jeep SUVs due to a fuel-system problem that could lead to fires.

The largest of the new recalls affects 442,000 model-year 2011-13 Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sedans, as well as 2011-13 Jeep Liberty SUVs and 2011-12 Dodge Nitro SUVs. The active head restraint function, designed to mitigate neck injuries by automatically moving forward during rear-impact collisions, may contain faulty microcontrollers that could prevent the system from functioning properly. Chrysler said it is unaware of any related injuries or accidents.

By Matt Schmitz | July 5, 2013 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2013 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger

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Chrysler is recalling 1,785 model-year 2013 versions of the 200 and Dodge Avenger midsize cars due to a problem with the gas tank, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, 2012, and may have a gas tank with a broken control valve in the fuel tank assembly (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb). This could lead to fuel leakage and the engine stalling, increasing the risk of a crash.

Chrysler will notify owners starting in March, and dealers will inspect and replace the affected parts for free. Owners can call Chrysler at 800-247-9753 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

Related
Research the 2013 Chrysler 200
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By Jennifer Geiger | February 21, 2013 | Comments (1)

Honda Shines, Toyota Falls in Latest IIHS Crash Tests

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The 2013 Toyota Camry sedan and Prius v hybrid (above, right) failed a new crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that simulates a frontal impact overlapping a small portion of the car — say, piling into a tree from your left headlight. IIHS announced today its test of 18 model-year 2013 family cars. It's the largest yet for the so-called "small overlap" frontal test that many luxury brands failed in August 2012.

At the other end, the Honda Accord sedan and nearly-defunct Suzuki Kizashi (above, left) earned IIHS' top score, Good; 11 other cars — including the Accord coupe — earned Acceptable ratings. The IIHS rates cars Good, Acceptable, Marginal or Poor. Of the 18 cars tested, the Toyotas scored Poor, but the Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu and Volkswagen Jetta sedan scored Marginal.

By Kelsey Mays | December 19, 2012 | Comments (7)

2013 Cadillac ATS Joins NHTSA's Five-Star Club

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Cadillac's new luxury sedan, the ATS, is the latest vehicle to be awarded the top rating of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2013 Cadillac ATS earned a perfect score in NHTSA's crash tests.

The composite score for the ATS comprised across-the-board five-star ratings in the different areas of crash testing. Those test categories include: overall vehicle safety, frontal crashes, side crashes and rollover.

The long-awaited ATS gives GM's luxury brand a competitor to America's best-selling luxury car, the BMW 3 Series. Both the all- and rear-wheel-drive versions of the ATS received five stars in all crash tests.

Also joining NHTSA's five-star-rating club was the 2013 Dodge Challenger, which earned mostly five stars in the different crash-test categories; the Challenger scored a four out of five in its rollover rating.

Related
2013 Cadillac ATS: First Drive
2013 Cadillac ATS: Car Seat Check
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By Matt Schmitz | December 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: September 2012

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September was another strong month of car sales, making the automotive industry one of the sole bright spots of the economic recovery. With most major carmakers reporting, sales are up 13% year-over-year with 1.118 million vehicles sold, according to Automotive News. 

That gain is healthy, especially considering that the average vehicle transaction price has also increased to $32,243 as compared to August’s $32,181, according to CNW Marketing Research. Total incentives and discounts weren’t appreciably higher as compared with last month, either. In fact, the only major seller to see significant incentive increases for the month was the 2012-13 Ford Focus, which has up to $2,000 cash-back offers currently. The Focus was up an astounding 91.4% year-over-year, which made it the 12th best-selling vehicle for the month.

By Colin Bird | October 2, 2012 | Comments (22)

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