Toyota has announced that it will repair almost 380,000 2004-2007 Prius models in the United States for coolant pump problems. There have been no reports of injuries or accidents related to the problem, but complaints of power loss has lead the company to fix the minor repair without issuing a recall. A Toyota spokesperson explained that air bubbles entering the system through the pump reduces the efficiency of the cooling system. When the pump malfunctions, the car’s hybrid system switches off to prevent overheating and the vehicle’s regular gasoline engine takes over. Overheating of the vehicle could activate a warning light on the dashboard, and a significant loss of power will be noticed. Toyota said it would begin notifying owners of the Prius repair campaign in the United States in early December.
Archive for November, 2010
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is warning owners of 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles not to place any unsecured floor mats on top of standard carpeted floor mats as it could lead to unintended acceleration. The NHTSA is opening a formal investigation into the problem after three complaints that when an all weather mat was placed on top of the standard floor mats, the mat could slip forward and trap the accelerator pedal. There have been no crashes or injuries related to the problem, but the NHTSA felt an investigation was necessary. For more information, consumers can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationâ€™s Hotline at 888-327-4236 or their Ford dealer.
The Los Angeles Auto Show is the last major auto show of the year. This year turned out to be one of the biggest and best seen in a while. Over 1,000 cars, trucks and SUVs were displayed, consisting of electric vehicles, hybrids, high performance super cars, and one of a kind concept cars.
The 2010 show was especially successful with a record number of debuts: 20 world and 30 North American debuts. Many of the car manufacturers debuts showed environmentally friendly and fuel efficient electric and hybrid vehicles. The Chevrolet Volt received much attention, winning the 2011 Green Car of the Year award.
Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) is recalling BMW 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, and Rolls Royce models to fix a potential problem with the braking power assist system. A leak in the system can result in a loss of vacuum pressure, reducing the amount of brake assistance given to the driver. BMW said the mechanical brakes will still function and be able to slow and stop the car, but more driver effort is required to press the pedal.
The recall includes cars built between 2002-2010 with 8 and 12 cylinder engines. The vehicles affected by this recall are:
- 2002-08 BMW 745i/Li, 750i/Li, and 760i/Li
- 2007-08 BMW Alpina B7v
- 2004-10 BMW 645i and 650i
- 2004-10 BMW 545i and 550i
- 2003-2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom models
The company says it will notify owners by first-class mail in the next few weeks. Drivers who experience reduced power braking assistance should immediately schedule a service appointment with an authorized BMW service center.
No injuries have been reported, but after concerns were raised by Transport Canada, GM has decided to recall almost 200,000 pickup trucks for an inadequate child restraint system in trucks without rear seats. The vehicles involved in the recall are:
- 2004-2011 Chevrolet Colorado
- 2004-2011 GMC Canyon regular cab
- 2004-2011 GMC Canyon extended cab
- 2007-2008 Isuzu I-290/I-370
- 2006 Isuzu I-280/I-350
According to GM, “The child restraint top tether anchor for the front center seat position is not accessible for installing a child seat”, so the child restraint may not be properly secured.”
Customers will be mailed an owner’s manual supplement that describes how to install a child restraint using a top tether in the center position. Dealers will modify the back panel trim cover to allow access to the top tether anchor, if requested by the customer.
In order to combat the high incidences of motor vehicle accidents the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has put together a “Most Wanted List” of transportation safety improvements and notable “Most Wanted” successes of last year. While most items are related to aviation, operator problems for truckers, and motor coaches, there are several issues that may affect the every day driver. Below is a list of problems the NTSB hopes to improve.
- Child Occupant Protection:
- Review existing laws and bring in legislation that would require children up to 8 years old to wear child restraints and use booster seats.
- Enforcement of Seat Belt Laws:
- Strengthening the law by allowing officers to ticket drivers for not wearing seat belts without having to observe another offense first.
- Implementing fines and driver’s license penalty points.
- Eliminate Distractions for Young Drivers:
- Prohibit the use of interactive wireless communications devices by young novice drivers.
- Restrict the number of teen passengers traveling with young novice drivers.
- Enact graduated driver licensing legislation.
- Reduce Drinking and Driving:
- Frequent, statewide sobriety checkpoints.
- More effective measures for first time arrests with high blood alcohol concentration and repeat offenders.
- Zero blood alcohol requirement for those already convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI).
- Administrative license revocation for refusing to take or failing an evidential test for alcohol.
- Vehicle sanctions for DWI offenders to separate drinking from driving.
- Elimination of plea-bargaining DWI offenses and programs that divert offenders and purge offense records.
- DWI offense records retention for at least 10 years to identify repeat offenders.
- Special sanction court-based programs such as DWI courts for hard core DWI offenders.
- Improve Motorcycle Safety:
- Require that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while driving or as a passenger on any motorcycle.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reviewing a request for an investigation into unintended acceleration in Honda’s 2005 Accord hybrid. This request comes after a July 2005 crash that killed one and permanently injured another. The driver alleges that the vehicles brakes were ineffective and the vehicle accelerated uncontrollably.
Twenty two other similar complaints involving Honda Accord Hybrid and Honda Civic Hybrid vehicles were found in NHTSA’s database. In each incident, there were complaints of inadequate braking performance while driving over bumpy road surfaces.
The auto supplier, Indiana-based CTS Corp., is the supplier of Honda’s pedal assemblies and is the same company that supplies Toyota’s assemblies. Other customers include Ford and Nissan. CTS has pointed out that their units, while used by many different auto manufacturers, all have different designs and specifications.
Chrysler is recalling almost 17,000 2008 Jeep Liberty Suv’s for a faulty windshield wiper motors. The motors have been improperly manufactured allowing moisture to enter and short it out. If this happens, the driver could experience reduced visibility which could lead to an accident. Owners can contact Chrysler at (800) 853-1403.
A recent car accident in western Utah is making government official and safety advocate groups question the repairs done to Toyota vehicles recalled because of unintended acceleration. Two people were killed and two injured when a 2008 Toyota Camry sped out of control and crashed into a rock wall. The vehicle was believed to have experienced unintended acceleration even though the owner of the Camry was said to have had the vehicle repaired by Toyota for unintended acceleration.
Based on statements from witnesses and those that survived the crash inside the car, investigators are led to believe that the pedal was stuck, according to Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Johnson. Tire skid marks showed that the Camry’s driver tried to stop the vehicle as it exited Interstate 80. The car ended up going through a stop sign at the bottom of the ramp and through an intersection before hitting the wall.
The sales of electric cars may not be doing as well as first hoped, but the displays at this years Los Angeles Auto Show hopes to change that. GM’s Chevrolet Volt, the 2011 Green Car of the Year, is one of several displays that hope to spark interest in the sales of green cars. The Volts rival, the Nissan leaf, along with Tesla’s Toyota RAV4 EV, the Fisker Karma, the Mitsubishi I-MiEV, and every other car maker’s electric or hybrid car will be there vying for the green consumers interest.
This yearâ€™s show will feature a record of debuts with fifty new vehicles unveiled on press day. This year’s show features more elaborate and interactive exhibits and more manufacturers, making it one of the most dynamic LA Auto Shows in years. The annual event, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will be open to the public November 19-28.