Automobile airbag and restraint company Takata Corp. of Tokyo have announced an airbag recall that will affect approximately 3.4 million Toyota, Lexus, Pontiac , Honda, Nissan, Infiniti and Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs. (more…)
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Honda is recalling certain Honda and Acura vehicles because the vehicle stability assist (VSA) system may not operate as designed. During manufacturing of the VSA electronic control unit (ECU), one of the electrical capacitors on the circuit board may have been damaged. (more…)
Over the years automobile manufacturers have been put to the test to design vehicles that will meet rising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and consumer demand brought on by high fuel prices. In their quest they have turned to develop and test low roll resistance tires. While these tires are used most frequently on hybrid cars, low rolling resistance tires are now starting to show up on more mainstream vehicles as well. (more…)
California residents may be surprised to learn that police and private companies are scanning automobile license plates and building huge databases of information about you, where you are going, and the places you stop.
The Center for Auto Safety is urging Honda to issue a recall on certain 1999-2002 Honda Accords after an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation exposed a potential safety issue. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there have been 11 complaints since 2009 of sub frame rust that have left owners with vehicles that are unsafe to drive. The complaints allege that water from the air conditioning drain hose dips down onto the passenger side sub frame rusting it so badly that the frame can separate from the vehicle. The above video shows that while the passenger side disintegrated from rust, the driver side is often rust free.
A spokesperson for Honda confirmed that the company has also received similar complaints, but said they do not believe the defect warrants a safety bulletin or recall. In 2003 Honda changed the location of the drain hose, but said that the design change is unrelated to the problem. If the investigation should lead to a recall, approximately 1.5 million vehicles could be affected.
Consumers who are thinking of purchasing an electric car are usually deterred by the range of the lithium-ion battery used as the power source. Concerns about range, life expectancy, and the ability to find a charging station usually results in the consumer purchasing the vehicle with the technology they are familiar with, the combustion engine. Researchers are hoping to change consumers attitude toward electric vehicles with a new electrochemical cell called the lithium-air battery.
Lithium-air batteries are attractive to researchers because they rely on air as the cathode and lithium metal as the anode. This allows the battery to be lighter and can offer up to ten times more energy per density mass unit than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The first lithium-air battery was developed in the mid 1990’s but the technology still requires improvements before we can expect to see it used commercially.
- The battery requires a steady flow of oxygen to operate, so an air compressor and blower will need to be added to the system. This not only negates the weight reduced on the battery, but adds extra parts to the system.
- Lithium metal is highly flammable when exposed to water, so water vapor must be removed from the air and a water tight encasing is required.
Despite recent significant improvements in the technology, researchers say we are still 15 to 20 years from seeing it offered to the public. Once the battery has been approved a long term array of testing is required to make sure the battery can be used safely.
Safety advocates encouraging a recall of certain 2002-2004 Ford Escape vehicles are also asking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to include the 2002-2004 Mazda Tribute in their investigation. According to the group, both sport utility vehicles (SUV) are similar vehicles built on the same assembly line. In 2004 Ford and Mazda issued identical recalls for unintended acceleration caused by an accelerator cable that may not return to the idle position. Ford later issued a technical service bulletin that warned dealers that an improper repair could lead to an adjacent cruise control cable being damaged and snagging on the engine cover causing unintended acceleration. The Center for Auto Safety say that because the vehicles are so similar and there is no way of knowing whether the recalls were carried out correctly, Ford and Mazda should issue a recall to ensure the safety of the vehicles.
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is encouraging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to open an investigation into certain 2002-2004 Ford Escape vehicles that could be susceptible to unintended acceleration after being repaired for another recall. According to the consumer safety group, the original recall involved accelerator cables snagging on the accelerator pedals, preventing the engine from returning to idle. The group says that almost a year later, Ford issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) which cautioned dealers to take extra care when correcting the recall because the adjacent cruise control cable could be damaged in the process. The damage could allow the cable to snag on a ridge in the engine cover causing unintended acceleration. There have been over 130 complaints from owners claiming they experienced sudden acceleration before and after the original recall was performed. The recall petition also mentions a case in Payson, Ariz., where a 17 year old died in a crash that was blamed on a snagged cruise control cable. According to Ford, they are currently working with the NHTSA to investigate the problem.
Automobile manufacturers reported strong vehicle sales in June despite analysts predictions that the automobile economy is likely to slow for the summer. The average increase for dealership sales was 22% with Toyota and Honda showing the strongest gains. Consumer interest in larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) is being attributed to a sudden drop in the price of fuel, and low interest rates and the release of new models is bringing in consumers who have been delaying purchasing a new vehicle because of lack of confidence in the economy.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expanding an investigation into defective power window switches in some Toyota and GM vehicles. Both investigation began in February after vehicle owners reported intermittent power windows, the smell of smoke, and in rare occasions fires. If the investigation leads to a recall, approximately 1.4 million Toyota and 342,000 GM vehicles could be involved. The vehicles under investigation includes:
- 2007-2009 Toyota Camry
- 2007-2009 Toyota Yaris
- 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUVs
- 2006-2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUVs
The NHTSA said that it also will evaluate other GM vehicles with the same underpinnings. They include:
- Buick Rainier
- GMC Envoy
- Isuzu Ascender
- Saab 9-7X SUVs