Recall Alert: 2011-2014 Chrysler Sedans; Dodge Sedans and SUVs, Jeep SUVs

2014Chrysler300Recall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 435,000 model-year 2011-14 Chrysler 300 sedans, Dodge Charger and Challenger sedans, and Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, all manufactured between June 17, 2010, and Dec. 23, 2013, and equipped with a 3.6-liter engine and a 160-amp alternator

The Problem: The alternator may suddenly fail, causing the vehicle to stall without warning and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners on Nov. 28, and dealers will make the necessary repairs for free. The automaker said the remedy is still being determined.

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.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Poll: What Should the Highest Speed Limit Be?

SpeediestAndSlowest

You might resent speed limits when on a road trip or otherwise with few other travelers around and a desire to be at your destination as soon as possible. Surely driving 5 or 10 mph faster can't hurt. But you might not want to rush to judgment about speed limits. While they might seem arbitrary at times, public officials must consider a number of factors when determining an appropriate speed limit — from traffic volume to the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists to roadway design and conditions to crash frequency and severity, and even political influences.

Related: Speediest and Slowest States: Where Does Yours Rank?

A common thread usually running through any criteria for a speed limit is safety. Centuries before cars even existed, according to the Federal Highway Administration, the first American "speed limits" were set by the cities of Newport, R.I., and Boston for how fast horses and horse-drawn carriages could go in order to protect pedestrians.

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2014 | Comments (15)

Recall Alert: 2014 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

2014DodgeDurangoRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 127,000 model-year 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs

The Problem: The occupant restraint control system may exhibit an internal short circuit; this could cause airbag warning lamps to illuminate, a signal that supplemental restraint systems such as airbags and seat belt pretensioners may be disabled. Chrysler said it is unaware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the issue.

The Fix: Chrysler will notify owners and advise them when they can schedule service. Dealers will replace the occupant restraint control system for free. In the interim, the automaker advises owners to be sure to use their seat belts. Chrysler has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call the automaker 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 | October 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Ford C-Max Energi: Car Seat Check

2014FordCMaxEnergi

The Ford C-Max Energi hatchback is a fun-to-drive hybrid that Cars.com reviewer Aaron D. Bragman said "delivers comfort, style and efficiency," but warned that it "compromises cargo capacity." That's not all that the 2014 C-Max Energi has had to compromise.

Parents who purchased the C-Max Energi hoping for convenient car-seat installation might be disappointed with it. Although the 2014 version earns a couple of A's for the easy install of our booster and infant seats, the rest of its report card looks like the answer sheet of a high school student guessing on every question of a multiple-choice test: C, C, C ... see what we mean below.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Matt Schmitz | October 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2014 Acura RLX, 2014-2015 MDX

2015AcuraMDXRecall

Vehicles Affected: About 43,000 Acura luxury vehicles, including 7,000 model-year 2014 Acura RLX sedans and 36,000 model-year 2014-15 MDX SUVs

The Problem: In temperatures below zero degrees, the seat belts may not release, according to The Detroit News. Acura, which is manufactured by Honda, said it is aware of no injuries related to this issue, the newspaper reported.

The Fix: Acura will begin notifying owners late this month, and dealers will replace both front seat belts for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Acura at 800-862-2872 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 | October 13, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2015 Subaru Outback

2015SubaruOutbackRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 60 model-year 2015 Subaru Outback wagons manufactured between Jan. 22 and Aug. 18, and equipped with a Subaru accessory trailer hitch assembly

The Problem: During installation, the trailer hitch mounting nuts may have been overtightened, potentially resulting in failure of the trailer hitch mounting studs. The mounting nuts may not provide sufficient force to remain attached to the studs, or the studs themselves might break. If this happens while a trailer is being towed, the driver might not be able to operate the vehicle as desired, or the trailer may detach from the vehicle, in either case increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Subaru began notifying owners on Tuesday, and dealers will replace all eight mounting nuts for the trailer hitch assembly, and inspect all eight mounting studs for damage; all work will be done for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783, 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 | October 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2015MercedesBenzC-ClassRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 11,000 model-year 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans

The Problem: A production error involving the "steering couple interlock" causes steering wheels to squeak and resist turning, according to The Detroit News. The problem was first noticed in September in two vehicles in Europe. Models in the U.S. are manufactured in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and a spokeswoman for the automaker said "there’s no reason to think our vehicles have this problem," the newspaper reported.

The Fix: Mercedes-Benz will notify owners, and dealers will make the necessary repairs for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372 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 | October 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2009-2011 Mitsubishi Sedans, Hatchbacks and SUVs

2011MitsubishiLancerRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 166,000 model-year 2008-11 Mitsubishi Lancer and Lancer Evolution performance sedans and Outlander SUVs, model-year 2009-11 Lancer Sportback performance hatchbacks and model-year 2011 Outlander Sport crossovers, all equipped with four-cylinder engines

The Problem: The vehicles have an engine pulley and belt arrangement for turning the alternator, the cooling fan and the power steering pump (if equipped); these pulleys may experience unusual wear and allow for belt detachment. If this occurs, the battery may discharge, resulting in an engine stall and increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Mitsubishi will notify owners, and dealers will replace the drive belt with a rubber belt; drive pulleys that are excessively worn will be replaced. All repairs will be made for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

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.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013 Nissan Altima

2013NissanAltimaRecall

Vehicles Affected: More than 220,000 model-year 2013 Nissan Altima sedans manufactured between March 6, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013

The Problem: Interference between the hood inner panel and the secondary latch lever, in combination with debris and corrosion, may cause the secondary hood latch to bind and remain in the unlatched position when the hood is closed. If the primary latch is inadvertently released and the secondary latch is not engaged, the hood could unexpectedly open while driving, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will be instructed to modify the bend angle on the hood actuation lever to eliminate potential interference with the hood inner panel. In addition, dealers will clean and lubricate the latch joint as needed; if significant corrosion is observed, the latch assembly will be replaced. Repairs will be made for free. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Nissan at 800-647-7261, 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 | October 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Dash Cams Hold Benefits Despite Absence of Insurance Incentives

Dashcam_garmin

By Ali Oswald

Dash cams may not be as popular in the U.S. as in Russia, where footage from them has produced many popular YouTube videos, but they do have a number of practical benefits for drivers.

Related: Most Backup Cameras Don't Like Bad Weather

Dash cams can give drivers additional "peace of mind," said Johan-Till Broer, Garmin public relations manager, if a crash happens. Having a recording of an incident can help protect against insurance fraud. Some dash cams have impact sensors that save footage for 3 to 5 minutes before and after a collision, said Chris Kooistra, Cobra Electronics' director of marketing. Both companies sell mainstream dash cams.

The device can be an education tool for drivers, too. Parents can review footage with their teen drivers to point out bad habits that need to be fixed and reinforce good ones, said Carinsurance.com Managing Editor Michelle Megna.

By Jennifer Newman | October 8, 2014 | Comments (8)

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