A new California lemon law bill, signed into law September 28, will give used car buyers more protection than ever before. The law, effective starting July 2012, will require all used and new car dealers to check the vehicle identification number (VIM) against a federal database. This database will have a more comprehensive list than existing commercial services because than law will require all states, insurance companies, salvage yards and junkyards to provide information on vehicles written off in a flood, fire or accident. The system is used by state motor vehicle departments and police, and is open to the public for a small fee.
Archive for September, 2011
After almost forty complaints of unexpected airbag deployment, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching an investigation into Chyrsler’s 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty SUV. Drivers complaints include the drivers side or both front air bags deploying during normal driving conditions. If the investigation leads to a recall, almost 400,000 Jeep Liberty SUV’s could be involved.
Chrysler has experienced air bag problem in several of their vehicles over the past year. The vehicles involved include: 2008 Chrysler and Dodge minivans, 2007-2008 Jeep Wrangler, and 2009 Dodge Journey.
The automobile communication service provider OnStar will be changing its privacy policies after complaints of privacy issues from consumers. Last week, OnStar announced changes in their policy that would allow them to collect and sell non-personalized information about location, speed, odometer reading, and seat belt usage even if the customers service has been canceled.
According to Linda Marshall, OnStar’s President, OnStar will no longer keep former customers connected and they’ll no longer have to take action to “opt out” of the data collection system once their service has been discontinue. Marshall added that the service regrets concerns generated by its recent policy change and therefore has decided to reverse it.
BMW has announced a recall for certain 2011 328I XDrive and 2011 335I XDrive vehicles built between February 8, 2011 to July 29, 2011. During manufacturing, the front drive shaft attachment bolts may have not been torqued to the proper specification, and could loosen during driving. The loosened bolts will result in loss of power to the front wheels. BMW will begin notifying owners of the recall starting in October, where dealers will replace the front drive shaft attachment bolts. Owners wanting more information can contact BMW customer relations and services at 1-800-525-7417.
Subaru has announced a recall for certain 2011 Outback and 2011 Legacy vehicles for problems with the moonroof assembly. According to Subaru, the amount and position of the adhesive between the glass and retainer was inadequately applied and could lead to the glass to become loose or detached. Subaru dealers will inspect the moonroof and apply additional adhesive if necessary. Owners wanting more information can contact Subaru at 1-800-782-2783.
It seems inevitable that the electric car will be a part of our future. With fuel efficiency standards becoming tighter, automobile manufacturers will include electric vehicles (EV) in their line ups in order to meet them. Even though this technology has come a long way in the last decade, auto manufacturers are still looking for additional ways to help the consumer get the most out of their EV’s.
One of the biggest drawbacks of an electric vehicle is the need to charge the battery. Having a charging station at home and at work makes electric car commutes trouble free, but long trips can make drivers uneasy. A new smart phone app hopes to relieve this anxiety by allowing hybrid and electric car drivers to find charging stations wherever they go. The app will let drivers know where the stations are, if they are available and whether the station offers free or paid charging. Some of the apps will even allow you to reserve the charging station, leave comments about the stations, as well as give you a street views through Google Street View. Some of the newest applications being launched include ChargePoint, ECOtality, Recargo, and PlugShare.
Hyundai is recalling some 2007-2008 Veracruz and 2007-2008 Santa Fe vehicles for a problem with the drivers side air bag. In the report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Hyundai said that over time, the clock spring contact assembly in the system could develop a high resistance. The high resistance could result in the air bag not deploying properly or not deploying at all. Owners wanting more information can contact Hyundai customer connect center at 1-800-633-5151.
Kia has also reported problems with air bags in some 2007-2008 Sorento cars. The problem is being blamed on the programming of the occupant classification system (OCS). The system is set up to turn the air bags off when there is a child stitting in the seat. The OCS could misclassify the size of the occupant in the passenger seat, leaving them without air bag protection. Owners wanting more information can contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542.
A recently settled lemon law case in California is making it easier for small business owners to exercise their lemon law rights when it comes to vehicles used primarily for the business. Currently the law states that cars and small trucks purchased for personal use are covered under the law, but vehicles used primarily for business, weighing 10,000 pounds or more are not included. In the aforementioned case, the business owners trucks weight was under 7,000 pounds, but because the fully loaded weight was 10,000 pounds it did not qualify under the California lemon law. After a four year battle, courts finally sided with the business owner, saying that the vehicles actual weight and not the fully loaded weight, is what counts. This case will set the precedent for auto makers and future lemon law cases in California involving small business owners and their trucks used primarily for their business.
Volkswagen will be recalling certain 2011-2012 Jetta Sedans for a potential burn hazard. The problem is being blamed on a stainless steel exhaust tip installed on the tail pipe. The pipe extends beyond the length of the factory exhaust pipes which could lead to inadvertent contact when accessing the trunk. Dealers will inspect and replace, if necessary, any tail pipes that could be a hazard. Owners wanting more information about the recall can contact Volkswagen at 1-800-822-8987.