Ford Adds Auto-Braking, Pedestrian Detection to Collision-Warning System

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Ford plans to add pedestrian detection and auto-braking to its forward-collision warning system with a network of radars and windshield-mounted cameras. Dubbed Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, the technology debuts on the 2015 Ford Mondeo in Europe and will roll out to "other Ford and Lincoln products around the world," the company said Thursday in a press release.

Related: Ford's Driving Skills for Life Makes Big Impression on My Teen

Pre-Collision Assist reads a lot like Subaru's EyeSight system, which uses a pair of windshield-mounted cameras to detect pedestrians, lane markings and other obstructions. EyeSight, which includes auto-braking, scored the highest in a 2013 test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of various collision-warning systems for the 2013 and 2014 model years.

At the time, IIHS also tested the optional forward-collision warning systems in the Ford Edge, Explorer, Flex and Fusion, as well as the Lincoln MKT, MKX and MKZ. Since then, the institute tested systems in the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS, but without auto-braking capabilities, all nine cars earned a basic rating — the lowest of three grades — under IIHS' frontal-crash prevention scores. Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker confirmed to Cars.com that Ford's forward-collision warning system today still lacks auto-braking.

PCA will change that.

By Kelsey Mays | October 24, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 900 model-year 2015 Chevrolet Corvette sports cars in two separate actions, one involving about 800 vehicles manufactured between Aug. 20 and Sept. 4, and the other recalling nearly 100 vehicles manufactured between Aug. 20 and Aug. 27

The Problem: In the larger recall, only one of the rear parking-brake cables may be fully seated and engaged, resulting in the parking brake only operating on one of the rear park brake drums. Without the parking brake functioning on both rear wheels, the vehicle may roll away if parked on steep gradient, increasing the risk of a crash. In the smaller action, the driver-side frontal airbag module back plate may fracture upon deployment, allowing the front-impact airbag to separate from the steering wheel, increasing the risk of an injury or a crash.

The Fix: GM will notify owners affected by both recalls. In the larger action, dealers will inspect and correct the park brake cable installation, and in the smaller action, dealers will replace the driver-side front-impact airbag; repairs in both cases will be made for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule for either recall.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | October 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

Video: Parents: Doing This Is Sabotaging Your Teen

What is "this"? Driving while texting, after drinking alcohol, making or taking phone calls and not wearing a seat belt. In the video above, Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder explains that, when it comes to teen drivers, the "monkey see, monkey do" rule is in effect, so always lead by example behind the wheel. Watch the video for more.

By Matt Schmitz | October 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013-2015 Audi A4, S4

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 102,000 model-year 2013-15 Audi A4 and S4 sedans

The Problem: The front-impact airbags may not deploy as designed in a crash due to improper algorithm/coding within the airbag control module, according to The Detroit News. Front-seat occupants may not have the intended protection from the frontal airbag system in a secondary impact, putting them at risk for an injury, the newspaper reported. The automaker discovered the problem during routine quality-assurance testing, and no accidents or injuries have been reported; the issue is not related to the massive ongoing Takata airbag recall.

The Fix: Audi will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the airbag software for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Audi at 800-253-2834 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | October 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: Evenflo Embrace Child-Safety Seats

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Car Seats Affected: 202,346 Evenflo Embrace rear-facing infant-safety seats equipped with an AmSafe QT1 buckle with the following model numbers: 30711365, 31511040, 31511323, 31511400, 3151198, 3151953, 31521138, 46811205, 46811237, 48111200, 48111215, 48111215A, 48111218, 48111234, 48111235, 48111235A, 48111462, 48411391, 48411391D, 48411392, 48411504, 48411504D, 52911307A, 52921040, 55311138, 55311238, and 55311292. The affected seats were manufactured between December 2011 and May 2013.

The Problem: The seat's harness buckle could become difficult to unlatch due to prolonged exposure to food and drink spills. If the buckle becomes stuck, it could be challenging to quickly remove the child from the seat in the event of a crash or other emergency. "None of the complaints Evenflo has received involved a child injury or an emergency exit from the vehicle," the manufacturer said in a statement.

The Fix: Evenflo will notify registered owners and send a newly designed buckle and instructions for installing the replacement buckle. Click here for a tutorial on how to clean your buckle. If your car seat is not registered, register it here.

What Owners Should Do: Evenflo began notifying owners earlier this week. Owners can contact Evenflo at 800-490-7591, or visit their website.

More Recalls

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

NICB Report Totals Up Luxury-Vehicle Thefts

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Luxury vehicles are probably as enticing to those who steal them as they are to those who buy them, but the overwhelming majority of stolen cars in the U.S. each year continue to be from nonluxury brands. A new report by the Des Plaines, Ill.,-based National Insurance Crime Bureau shows that thefts of newer luxury vehicles stolen between 2010 and 2013 totaled 5,570, a small fraction of the millions of vehicles stolen across that same four-year timeframe. In addition to being a smaller percentage of total cars on the road, NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi said the cars are just getting harder to swipe.

Related: Thieves Still Favor the Honda Accord

"The numbers show that the improved antitheft technology on these luxury vehicles has made them very difficult to steal despite being attractive targets," Scafidi told Cars.com.

By Matt Schmitz | October 24, 2014 | Comments (0)

Ford's Driving Skills for Life Makes Big Impression on My Teen

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While my 14-year-old daughter isn't old enough to drive yet, I jumped at the opportunity to take her to Ford's Driving Skills for Life, an internationally touring program that teaches teen drivers and their parents about road perils that may not be addressed in traditional driver's education programs. I figured there was no better time to start exposing her to some life-saving lessons.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

There was one lesson in particular that my daughter learned at the event, and it wasn't even a lesson the program intended to teach: Among the modules that teens rotate through in this half-day program, drivers get behind the wheel wearing "fatal-vision" goggles. They're designed to simulate the effects of impaired driving, and participants wear them while attempting to navigate at low speeds through a driving course. Since my daughter couldn't drive the course, she got into the backseat while I drove.

By Kristin Varela | October 24, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Chrysler 200 Earns NHTSA Five-Star Rating

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Chrysler's midsize sedan underwent a dramatic update for 2015, and so too did the 200's safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the redesigned car its top honor: a five-star overall safety rating. The front-wheel-drive sedan earned five stars out of five in front- and side-crash tests as well as a four stars in the rollover test. In all-wheel-drive trim, it earned five stars in the side-impact crash test and four stars in rollover testing; it was not front crash tested.

Related: Research the 2015 Chrysler 200

The 2014 model received an overall score of four stars, comprised of four stars in the frontal impact test, three stars in the side-impact test and four stars in the rollover evaluation. Chrysler says the new model's body is stronger than the outgoing car; approximately 65 percent of the sedan consists of high-strength steel, the automaker reported.

NHTSA's award comes on the heels of the 2015 Chrysler 200 earning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top honor, the Top Safety Pick Plus designation.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 23, 2014 | Comments (0)

What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

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This week saw the latest expansion of airbag recalls that began 18 months ago from Japanese supplier Takata Corp. and is now linked to at least four deaths. As of today, the recall affects some 7.8 million vehicles in the U.S. from 10 automakers based in three continents. The bulk of them — 5 million — are from Honda. Takata issued a statement earlier this year that noted the incidents of airbag malfunction — where a faulty inflator can send metal and plastic shrapnel into occupants if the front passenger airbag deploys in a crash — have occurred in warm areas like Florida and Puerto Rico, and it suspects that high humidity plays a role in the problem. Returned airbags from Toyota confirmed as much, USA Today reports.

Related: NHTSA Urges Quick Fix of Defective Airbags

USA Today reports most owners should have already received recall notices by now, and some automakers — namely, Toyota and BMW — have advised keeping the front passenger seat clear of occupants until a dealer inspects the car for a faulty inflator and, if there is one, replaces it.

What cars have been recalled? And what should you do if you get a notice? We've compiled everything we know so far below:

By Kelsey Mays | October 23, 2014 | Comments (5)

Why Do Many Teens Refuse to Buckle Up?

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One of my earliest childhood memories is loading up as a family into my dad's wood-paneled Jeep, and hearing, "The car won't start until everyone has a seat belt on." That, and if we wanted to turn the light on in the back, we had to blow on it really hard to wake up the little light-keeper woman that lived inside (thanks for that one, Dad). Because seat belt usage was so ingrained growing up, I've never gotten into a car without buckling up, which makes it that much more shocking that so many teens drive and ride seat belt-less today.

Related: Parents as Driving Instructors: What Works?

Statistics show that in half of all teen fatalities on the road, the teens were not wearing seat belts. What's scarier is that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a new report funded by the General Motors Foundation, Safe Kids Worldwide surveyed 1,000 teens and asked the question all parents want to know: What the @#$% were you thinking? Although, I assume they phrased it more politely.

The top reasons teens admitted to not buckling up on every ride?

By Kristin Varela | October 22, 2014 | Comments (2)

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