Honda to Retrofit Early 2015 Fit Hatchbacks to Match IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating

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Thanks to structural modifications to improve crashworthiness, the 2015 Honda Fit earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Honda will reach out to those who already bought a 2015 Fit and modify the bumper structure for free.

Related: Honda Boosts 2015 Fit's Gas Mileage

The redesigned Fit scored good in IIHS' side, rear-impact, roof-strength and moderate-overlap frontal tests, and it earned an acceptable score in IIHS' small-overlap frontal test after Honda modified the front bumper structure. The old structure earned the 2015 Fit a marginal in IIHS' small-overlap test. (IIHS scores are good, acceptable, marginal and poor.) All Fits built after June 9 have the revised structure, but some 12,000 cars were already built or sold before the changes occurred.

By Kelsey Mays | August 21, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2014 Jeep Cherokee and Ram 1500, 2015 Chrysler 200

2014JeepCherokeeRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 16,000 model-year 2014 Jeep Cherokee crossovers and Ram 1500s, and 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans

The Problem: Due to an insufficient weld, the rear shocks may detach from the vehicle at one end and possibly damage other chassis components or the tire, or result in reduced braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will inspect the rear shocks and replace any affected ones 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.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Thieves Still Favor the Honda Accord

2013HondaAccord

As is often the case in these "most-stolen" lists, the vehicles that are most popular with those who buy cars are commensurately popular with those who steal them. Of the top 10 popularly pilfered vehicles on the Des Plaines, Ill.,-based National Insurance Crime Bureau's annual "Hot Wheels" list, seven are also mainstays among the nation's top 10 best-selling cars each month.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Car for 2014

Topping the list is the consistently beloved Honda Accord, with nearly 54,000 thefts in the 2013 counting period, followed by the Honda Civic (45,000) and full-size Chevrolet pickup trucks (28,000). Moreover, while No. 8 combines the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee into one listing, it should be noted that these are two entirely separate vehicles, one a crossover and the other a full-size SUV.

By Matt Schmitz | August 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013-2015 Jaguar XK

2015JaguarXKRecall

Vehicles Affected: About 150 model-year 2013-15 Jaguar XK luxury sports cars, including XKR and XKR-S variants, manufactured between Aug. 24, 2012, and June 10, 2014, and equipped with a 5.0-liter engine

The Problem: The tire placard has incorrect info for the spare tire stating "none" for the inflation pressure of the spare wheel. If the recommended pressure is not provided, the tire may not be properly inflated, which may result in its failure, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Jaguar will begin notifying owners on Aug. 30, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and, if necessary, attach a corrected tire placard label stating the tire size and pressure, for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Jaguar at 800-452-4827, 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 | August 20, 2014 | Comments (1)

NHTSA Launches VIN-Searchable Recall Finder

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Used-car shoppers: Want to know if your prospective car has any recalls that haven't been done? After all, about 1 in 4 recalled cars never get their recall work done, which could stick future owners with potential safety hazards.

More Recall Coverage

Now there's a place you can find this information. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just launched a tool on its website where you can look up a car by its vehicle identification number to view its recalls. It's at www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. You can find the VIN at the base of the driver's side of the windshield, just beneath the glass.

It isn't just a tool to see what recalls have been announced on a prospective vehicle; it also shows you if those recalls have been completed or not on that specific car.

By Kelsey Mays | August 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

How to Keep Your Family Safe When Car Trouble Strikes

CarTrouble

Plenty of us have been there, whether as an adult or a child: You're halfway through your family road trip when the car breaks down. I vividly remember several occasions as a child when our family car died, leaving us stranded for what felt like an eternity waiting for a tow-truck driver. When one finally arrived, my family had to cram into its cab, shoulder to shoulder with the driver (a stranger, no less), without enough seat belts for everyone and me perched precariously on my mom's lap.

Read More #FamilyCarAdvice

So what should you do when your car breaks down and your kids are in the backseat? Erin Stepp, AAA spokeswoman, has tips to keep you and your family safe and sane when the inevitable happens.

By Kristin Varela | August 20, 2014 | Comments (1)

2015 Subaru Legacy, Outback Earn IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Status

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For the third consecutive year since the Top Safety Pick Plus designation was introduced in 2013, the Subaru Legacy sedan and its station-wagon sibling, the Outback, have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top prize. The 2015 Legacy and Outback both improved their ratings to good from their predecessors' acceptable score in the institute's stringent small overlap front crash test, which approximates what happens when a vehicle strikes a tree or utility pole. In addition, the cars earned superior ratings for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional EyeSight forward collision warning system with autobrake, which stopped the vehicle completely at both 12 and 25 mph during testing.

Related: IIHS: These Used Cars Are Safer For Teen Drivers

The IIHS said structural performance improved to a score of good for the 2015 Legacy compared with a marginal rating in 2014. "The driver space was maintained well, with the safety cage preventing excessive intrusion into the occupant compartment," IIHS said in a statement. "The dummy's movement was well-controlled, and the frontal and side curtain airbags worked together to protect the head from contact with interior structures."

The IIHS noted that Subaru has the most 2014 Top Safety Pick awards of any brand; other Subaru recipients include the BRZ, Impreza, Forester, WRX and XV Crosstrek. To earn a Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must earn a good or acceptable rating for small overlap protection, as well as good ratings in the institute's moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

IIHS photo

By Matt Schmitz | August 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 39,000 Recaro ProSport Car Seats

RecaroRecall

Car Seats Affected: More than 39,000 Recaro ProSport model 385 car seats manufactured between June 16, 2010, and Jan. 31, 2013

The Problem: When the seat is installed with the lower Latch anchors only, without the top tether, the child’s head can move excessively, increasing the risk of an injury. In a crash, the seat could fail to protect the child from contacting interior surfaces of the vehicle, increasing the risk of an injury.

The Fix: Recaro will begin notifying registered owners this month and will provide a label to affix over the existing info label, along with a complete set of new instructions informing owners to discontinue use of the Latch system when the weight of the child reaches 40 pounds. The new label will be provided for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Recaro at 888-973-2276, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

More Car Seat Safety Info: Check out Cars.com's Car Seat Checks.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 19, 2014 | Comments (0)

Feds: Car-to-Car Tech Can Save Lives

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A new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives a sneak peek at the future of accident avoidance. The agency says two technologies, left-turn assist and intersection-movement assist, could prevent as many as 592,000 accidents and 1,083 traffic fatalities a year. They're part of a burgeoning future of V2V, or vehicle-to-vehicle, technology.

Related: U.S. Government Considers Mandatory Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

The 305-page report, which includes analyses of privacy and security implications, accompanies NHTSA's proposal to issue rules around vehicle-to-vehicle safety technology. The highlighted technologies, LTA and IMA respectively, have yet to be sold on mass-market vehicles. But the study suggests they could help prevent a lot of collisions.

By Kelsey Mays | August 19, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2015 Ford Transit, Transit Cargo Van

2015FordTransitRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 2,000 model-year 2015 Ford Transit and Transit cargo vans in two separate actions.

The Problem: According to The Detroit News, the Transit recall includes about 1,300 vans and is due to a potential brake fluid leak at the joint between the rear brake hose and brake caliper. If there's a leak, drivers will eventually see the red brake warning lamp and a "Brake Fluid Level Low — Service Now" message in the instrument cluster. Drivers may also notice a longer pedal travel and extended stopping distances. Ford is recalling an additional 600 Transit cargo vans due to a potential issue with windowless sliding doors. The doors were assembled without epoxy reinforcement, making them more likely to come unlatched during side-impact crashes, The Detroit News also reported. Ford said it is aware of no injuries as a result of either problem.

The Fix: Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace sealing washers in Transits and install a reinforcement plate into the door in Transit cargo vans. The automaker has not yet announced a notification schedule for either action.

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.

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By Matt Schmitz | August 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

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