Maserati is recalling 7,438 model-year 2005-2008 Quattroporte and 2008 Granturismo vehicles due to faulty tie rod assemblies, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The handful of model-year 2008 Alfa Romeo 8Cs sold in the U.S. are also affected.
The affected vehicles have rear tie rod assemblies that lack a sufficient amount of anti-corrosion material, allowing them to weaken. This could lead to a loss of vehicle control. Maserati "has not received any reports nor is it aware of any accidents or personal injuries related to this issue," the automaker said in a statement.
Maserati will start notifying owners in June, and dealers will inspect and replace the affected parts for free. Owners can call Maserati at 877-696-2737 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.
A host of 2014 vehicles have earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star rating in crash tests, perhaps most notably the redesigned-for-2014 Cadillac CTS.
Both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the CTS got an overall score of five in NHTSA's safety ratings. Both earned fives in frontal-crash tests and side-crash tests, and fours in rollover tests. Meanwhile, its compact sibling, the 2014 ATS, earned fives across the board for both the rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions. Both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 XTS also earned an overall five-star score, with fives in frontal- and side-crash ratings and fours in rollover tests.
Other 2014 models joining NHTSA's five-star club earned fives in frontal- and side-crash ratings and fours in rollover tests. They included:
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's newest test — frontal small overlap — is pretty tough to ace. The agency recently performed the test, meant to simulate a crash of a vehicle's front corner into another vehicle, a tree or a pole, on 13 compact SUVs; 11 scored Marginal or Poor.
The new-for-2014 Subaru Forester came out ahead of the pack, earning a Good score and the agency's highest overall safety rating, Top Safety Pick+. Behind it is the slow-selling 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; it pulled an Acceptable score. The test group included 2014, 2013 and 2012 models.
The affected vehicles were manufactured from Feb. 15 through June 15, 2012; check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb. In these cars, the inner and outer shafts of the steering column assembly could become disengaged, leading to a possible loss of vehicle control. Subaru received customer complaints about a loss of steering ability, which led to the recall investigation, the automaker said in a statement.
Subaru will start notifying affected owners today, and dealers will replace the affected parts for free. Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.
Automakers are asking U.S. safety regulators to lighten up on headlight restrictions. They want to implement new headlight technologies that allow motorists to use their high beams without blinding other drivers. European and Japanese automakers, in recent weeks, have ramped up the dialogue on the issue with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in hopes of bringing to U.S. consumers headlight advancements already used on thousands of vehicles sold overseas.
Volvo in March announced that S60 sedans, V60 wagons and XC60 crossovers on sale this spring in Europe will have "Active High-Beam Control," which uses a camera and an automatic shading mechanism to avoid blinding oncoming drivers, USA Today reported. The system would need government approval before the automaker could sell vehicles equipped with it in the U.S. Audi and BMW also have similar technologies ready to deploy, but are still working with NHTSA for approval, while Mercedes-Benz's enhanced headlight-dimming technology isn't yet ready for the U.S. market, the newspaper reported.
In all 50 states, driving with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher, which reflects the percentage of alcohol, by volume, in the blood, means you're legally drunk — but the National Transportation Safety Board is fighting to lower that number.
What's the agency's magic number? It voted to lower the legal BAC level to .05. According to the investigative safety agency, nearly 10,000 people die in alcohol-related car accidents each year, and 170,000 more are injured. The NTSB estimates that approximately 1,000 lives could be saved each year by lowering the number.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators last week introduced a bill that would prohibit rental-car companies from renting or selling vehicles with an open manufacturer's recall. The legislation, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013, is named for a pair of California girls killed when an unrepaired rental car under recall caught fire due to the defect and caused a head-on collision with a semitrailer.
Existing law prohibits car dealerships from selling recalled vehicles to consumers, but no law bans rental companies from renting them. The bill, first announced in September 2012, is co-sponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). McCaskill, chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee's Consumer Protection subcommittee, said she will hold a hearing on the bill later this month.
Chrysler has issued three separate recalls for 301,283 Jeep and Ram brand vehicles to address electrical, airbag and coolant issues, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The first affects 295,345 model-year 2005-10 Jeep Grand Cherokee (models manufactured from Feb. 11, 2004, through March 9, 2010) and 2006-10 Jeep Commander vehicles (models manufactured Jan. 31, 2005, through March 10, 2010). A transfer case electrical failure could make it possible to unintentionally shift the vehicle into Neutral, and the car could roll away. The automaker initiated an investigation after a customer reported that a 2007 Grand Cherokee rolled away after it was remotely started, Chrysler said in a statement. The automaker will notify affected owners starting in June and dealers will install a software update for free.
Last winter, I drove a 2013 Kia Sorento on vacation; we packed the three-row crossover full of gear and passengers, including two toddlers and their child-safety seats. The plan was to put the kids in the third row, freeing up the roomier second row for the adults. It fell apart, however, once I discovered that the third row lacked tether anchors — installing forward-facing convertible car seats there is a safety no-no.
Using a top tether anchor with a forward-facing convertible reduces head and neck movement in a crash, decreasing the risk of injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, however, more than half of parents who participated in their joint 2012 car seat study failed to connect the seat’s top tether.
By law, automakers have to put two sets of lower Latch anchors and three top tether anchors in the second row, but no such rules apply to the third row. The lack of a third-row tether anchor makes a vehicle much less versatile, and it's not just a Kia problem. Many automakers skimp on this simple safety feature, but some all-stars offer more than one in the third row.
Check out our lists of the three-row SUVs, crossovers and minivans that have one or more tether anchors in the third row. This list doesn't include vehicles with optional third rows.
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