Stop Halloween Car Thieves in Their Tricks: Treat Yourself to These Tips

HalloweenCarTheft

Halloween is Friday, and among all those candy-collecting ghosts, goblins and ghouls, there will be much scarier trick-or-treaters on the prowl for a certain type of goodie that won't fit in a pillowcase — your car. According to the Des Plaines, Ill.-based National Insurance Crime Bureau, Halloween is the top holiday in the U.S. for vehicle theft, with 2,328 incidents reported in NICB's most-recent Holiday Theft Report. That's over a quarter more car thefts than the average for all other holidays measured.

Related: Vehicle Thieves Don't Take a Holiday

Vehicle-recovery device manufacturer LoJack offers the following tips to help keep you from becoming the victim of car theft this Halloween:

  • Even if you're just traveling around the neighborhood, never leave valuables in the car.
  • If you leave your car, never leave your keys inside, or the car running.
  • Park in well-lit, populated areas, as thieves are inclined to target cars in dark, unattended areas.
  • Protect your car with an alarm and recovery system.

FelixRenaud/iStock/Thinkstock

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

Takata: Airbag Fix Will Take Months

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Drivers affected by the giant Takata airbag recall could be waiting months for replacement parts. The Detroit News is reporting that in August, the airbag supplier told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it's produced 132,000 replacement air bag inflator kits and hopes to have a total of 830,000 ready by the end of October.

Related: What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

But that's not nearly enough. About 7.8 million cars from 10 automakers have been recalled due to faulty inflators that can send metal and plastic shrapnel into occupants if the front passenger airbag deploys. NHTSA recently issued an urgent warning to drivers of the affected vehicles to get their car repaired as quickly as possible, but Takata told NHTSA that the there is a shortage of wire harnesses for the new inflator kits.

Click here to read the full story from our friends at the Detroit News.

Thinkstock/iStock

By Jennifer Geiger | October 30, 2014 | Comments (1)

Follow These Tips To Avoid Drowsy Driving

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Have you ever driven home late at night, only to realize that you don't actually recall the details of the drive? I have, and as a result vowed years ago to rearrange my travel schedule to avoid driving myself home from the airport in a late-night post-business-travel stupor. The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Projects calls drowsy driving a "pervasive threat to public health and transportation safety."

Related: AAA: Open Your Eyes to the Dangers of Drowsy Driving

A study in the Accident Analysis and Prevention Journal showed that being awake for 21 hours can decrease the "ability to maintain speed and road position as serious as having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent." It's no wonder that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 100,000 crashes every year are caused by drowsy drivers.

The Healthy Sleep Awareness Project has recently launched Awake at the Wheel, an initiative aimed at educating drivers on the dangers of driving drowsy. The experts behind the initiative go a few steps beyond simply preaching; here are some warning signs and tips to help you avoid driving drowsy:

By Kristin Varela | October 30, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2007-2008 Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX

2008FordEdgeRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 205,000 model-year 2007-08 Ford Edge crossovers and Lincoln MKX luxury crossovers manufactured between June 15, 2006, and Sept. 22, 2008, at Ford's Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, and registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

The Problem: Rust under the reinforcement brackets where the fuel tank is mounted could cause a fuel odor, leak or check engine light, and increases the risk of a fire, according to The Detroit News. Ford said it is aware of one fire related to the condition, but no accidents or injuries have been reported.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the fuel tanks and repair or replace them for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 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 29, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2010-2014 Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, 5500

2014Ram2500Recall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 315,000 model-year 2010-14 Ram 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500 pickup trucks manufactured between March 27, 2009, and Sept. 5, 2013

The Problem: The electrical connectors of the diesel fuel heater may overheat, which could cause the fuel heater to leak fuel, increasing the risk of a fire.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners on Dec. 5, and dealers will replace the harness side connector with a silver-plated beryllium copper terminal service kit and inspect the fuel heater for leaks, replacing it as necessary; all work will be done for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403, 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 29, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

2014JeepGrandCherokeeRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 132,000 model-year 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs manufactured between Oct. 3, 2013, and April 11, 2014

The Problem: Due to an issue with the software for the steering column control module, the electronic stability control system may be disabled. If this happens, in certain driving situations the driver may not be able to adequately control the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners Dec. 5, and dealers will update the steering column control module software for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403, 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 29, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Honda Accord: Car Seat Check

2015HondaAccordRFC

Beyond some safety and convenience features being made more widely available in the lineup, the affordable and reliably comfortable Honda Accord has scarcely changed for the 2015 model year. By and large, that's a good thing, at least where it concerns child-safety seats. The five-seat midsize family sedan's scores in our latest Car Seat Check were identical to those of the 2014 version, which got dinged for front-passenger legroom with the infant seat, and floppy seat belt bases.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | October 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2007-2009 Mitsubishi Outlander

2009MitsubishiOutlanderRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 37,000 model-year 2007-09 Mitsubishi Outlander crossovers manufactured between Dec. 15, 2006, and Oct. 31, 2007, and between April 16, 2008, and Aug. 22, 2009

The Problem: The brake light switch may malfunction, causing the brake lights not to illuminate when braking. This means other drivers would not be warned that the vehicle is stopping, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mitsubishi began notifying owners in mid-October, and dealers will replace the brake light switch for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mitsubishi at 888-648-7820, 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 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

Use Our Tricks to Keep Halloween Safe This Year

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Here's a scare for parents and drivers: Kids are more than two times as likely to be killed by a car on Halloween night as any other night, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

If you're driving on Halloween, remember to slow down and be alert for ghosts and goblins popping out from between parked cars. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that drivers enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly on Halloween. Make sure to have your car's headlights on — even if it's still daylight — to help trick-or-treaters see your car. And check those headlights before Halloween night to make sure that the bulbs aren't burned out. Keep in-car distractions to a minimum, especially once you're in a neighborhood.

We've published the following tips before to keep kids safe while trick-or-treating. Share your ideas in the comment section below.

By Jennifer Newman | October 28, 2014 | Comments (0)

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 (6)

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