2015 Buick LaCrosse: Car Seat Check

BuickLaCrosseMain

The Buick LaCrosse full-size sedan returns for the 2015 model year with some well-executed tweaks worthy of what Cars.com reviewer Mike Hanley referred to as the brand's "product renaissance." A quiet cabin, upscale interior, simple dashboard layout and commensurately simple-to-use multimedia system are noteworthy improvements. But the LaCrosse didn't need much improvement in terms of child-safety-seat installation. We gave the 2014 LaCrosse high marks in nearly all areas, with the only drawbacks being floppy seat-belt buckles and fixed head restraints. Can the 2015 model measure up to that standard? Read the Car Seat Check below and find out.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | September 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

NHTSA: 5 Million Chrysler Vehicles Under Scrutiny for Stalling Problem

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Earlier this month, Cars.com reported that Chrysler was recalling nearly 190,000 model-year 2011 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs due to a problem with the Totally Integrated Power Module that could cause the vehicles to stall suddenly. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will formally review millions more Chrysler SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans starting with the 2007 model year due to complaints of problems associated with the same module. An Aug. 21 letter from advocacy group the Center for Auto Safety initiated the review, informing NHTSA of 63 complaints pertaining to problems allegedly caused by the module.

Recall Alert: 2011 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

"The CAS alleges that TIPM failures have resulted in incidents of engine stall; airbag non-deployment; random horn, headlight, taillight, door lock, instrument panel and windshield wiper activity; failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration; and fires," NHTSA said in a statement, also noting that the CAS petition also references a class-action lawsuit that has been filed regarding the alleged module failure.

By Matt Schmitz | September 29, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford C-Max, Fusion, Escape and Lincoln MKZ

2014FordC-MaxRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 750,000 model-year 2013-14 Ford C-Max hatchbacks built at the Michigan Assembly Plant between Jan. 19, 2012, to Nov. 21, 2013; Fusion sedans built at the Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico between Feb. 3, 2013, and Aug. 24, 2013; Escape crossovers built at the Louisville Assembly Plant between Oct. 5, 2011, and Nov. 1, 2013; and Lincoln MKZ sedans built at the Hermosillo Assembly Plant between April 25, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013

The Problem: The restraints control module may experience a short circuit; if this occurs, the airbag warning indicator will illuminate. Depending on the location of the short circuit, the deployable restraint systems (airbags, side curtain airbags, pretensioners) may not function properly in a crash, increasing the risk of an injury. In addition, the short circuit may affect the function of other systems that use data from the restraints control module, including stability control, in which case the corresponding warning indicator would also illuminate. Ford, which announced the voluntary recall today, said it is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners and dealers will replace the restraints control module for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 800-392-3673 for more info.

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

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By Matt Schmitz | September 26, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 290,000 Chrysler Sedans, Wagons, SUVs

2008DodgeChargerRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 290,000 model-year 2008 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans, Dodge Magnum station wagons, and Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs, all manufactured before May 12, 2008

The Problem: Ignition keys may not fully return to the On position after rotation to the Start position during engine startup, instead remaining between the Start and On positions. If this happens, windshield defroster and wiper function may be lost, though not airbag function. Also possible, though less probable according to Chrysler, the ignition key could move through the On position to the Accessory or Off positions, causing reduced braking power and a loss of engine power, power steering and safety features such as front airbags. The automaker, which announced the voluntary recall today, said it is unaware of any injuries related to the problem.

The Fix: Chrysler said it will notify owners of when they can schedule service, which will be done for free. In the interim, the automaker advises drivers to confirm that their ignition keys are set in the On, or 1 o'clock, position after starting the vehicle to ensure engine power and functionality of all systems, including front airbags. Also, Chrysler says to separate ignition keys from key rings or other keys.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 for more info.

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

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By Matt Schmitz | September 25, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2013 Audi Q7

2013AudiQ7Recall

Vehicles Affected: More than 1,800 model-year 2013 Audi Q7 luxury crossovers manufactured between June 5 and Nov. 29, 2012, and equipped with a 3.0-liter diesel engine

The Problem: A check valve in the engine may become contaminated with plastic debris and allow engine oil to leak into the brake booster. If this happens, the brake booster diaphragm may rupture, causing a loss of power braking assist and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Audi-manufacturer Volkswagen began notifying owners this week, and dealers will replace a vacuum line for free. Dealers will also inspect the brake booster system for oil contamination and, if contamination is found, replace additional components, also for free.

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

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By Matt Schmitz | September 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Toyota Tundra

2014ToyotaTundraRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 130,000 model-year 2014 Toyota Tundra CrewMax and double-cab pickup trucks manufactured between July 29, 2013, and Aug. 22, 2014

The Problem: Due to the possible incorrect installation of the B-pillar interior trim's upper tab, the side curtain airbags may not deploy properly in a crash, increasing the risk of an injury.

The Fix: Toyota will begin notifying owners on Sept. 30, and dealers will inspect the B-pillar interior trim installation and, if necessary, replace it; the repairs will be made for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 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.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 25, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Cadillac ATS: Car Seat Check

2015CadillacATS

When last we tested the Cadillac ATS two years ago, we took note of how its large backseat would help make the compact luxury sedan attractive to family shoppers. But we also noted that they'd have to be willing to face some frustrating car-seat installation. The ATS returns for 2015 in a somewhat better position to carry precious cargo — though, unfortunately, some of that old baggage has returned with it.

In the "new-and-improved" column is the addition of a coupe body style to the model's lineup, as well as revised front-end styling punctuated by the redesigned Cadillac crest. That's in addition to a healthy torque boost of 35 pounds-feet to its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for a total of 295 pounds-feet at nearly double the rpm. For our purposes, removable head restraints and reduced interference by seat bolsters were also pluses. In the other column, however, the return of those Latch anchors buried in a hard-to-reach spot in the leather seats was an unwelcome one.

Check out Car Seat Check below for our full assessment.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

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By Matt Schmitz | September 23, 2014 | Comments (2)

Storm Surge: Beware of Title-Washed Cars

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Shopping for a used car in Mississippi? Beware of title washing. The Magnolia State has the highest density of title-washed cars in the country, with 1 in every 44.6 used cars bearing a washed title, a Cars.com analysis has found. That's well above the national average of 1 in 324.9 used cars. New Jersey, meanwhile, has the second-highest rate: 1 in 87 cars.

Related: How to Know if You're Buying a Flood-Damaged Car

Why? In a word, hurricanes. Nearly a decade ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left 600,000 flood-damaged cars across the Gulf States. And in 2012, Hurricane Sandy reportedly left more than 200,000 storm-damaged cars in New Jersey and New York. Salvage titles, or titles for cars that were retitled after they were written off as total losses by insurance companies, proliferated after all three storms. Title washing also surged, where sellers alter vehicle titles to hide their salvage status and sell the cars as regular used vehicles. To do this, sellers often send those cars through states with looser title laws.

By contrast, used-car shoppers in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania have less to worry about. Just 1 in 2,127 used cars in Ohio has a washed title. Florida (1 in 1,444.9 cars) and Pennsylvania (1 in 1,200.3 cars) round out the podium for low-risk states.

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

Recall Alert: 2010-2014 Ferrari Italia F458, Spider

2014FerrariItalia458Recall

Vehicles Affected: More than 3,000 model-year 2010-14 Ferrari Italia F458 and F458 Spider sports cars manufactured between March 5, 2010, and May 20, 2013

The Problem: The secondary latch for the front trunk storage compartment may not release when the vehicle is stationary. If someone becomes trapped in the trunk, the latch system does not release the trunk lid, increasing the risk of injury or death.

The Fix: Ferrari will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will modify the existing front trunk latch system with a new component for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ferrari at 866-551-2828, 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.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 22, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2015 Honda Fit

2015HondaFitRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 6,000 model-year 2015 Honda Fit hatchbacks manufactured between April 11 and June 9, 2014

The Problem: The vehicles may have been assembled with an A-pillar interior cover designed for vehicles without side curtain airbags. The incorrect A-pillar interior cover may adversely affect the performance of the side curtain airbags in a crash, increasing the risk of an injury.

The Fix: Honda will begin notifying owners on Thursday, and dealers will inspect the A-pillar interior cover and install the correct cover, if necessary, for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Honda at 800-999-1009 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.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

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