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Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

Let’s End the Epidemic of Valet Joyrides

December 18th, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

I feel bad for valet drivers who have to sit behind the wheel of my car. Sure, it’s a nice Audi Q7, but a guest driver will find him or herself surrounded by scattered piles of unread mail, empty coconut-water cartons and various bits of food left over by two ravenous little girls who become a spinning mass of Tasmanian devils once strapped into their car seats.

My car isn’t a place where someone would want to spend a lot of time, and I assume valet drivers try to find the closest parking spot and exit as quickly as possible, hoping the next customer will own something a little more fun.

This week there’s a great example of a valet enjoying a new car in a completely inappropriate way.

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Winter Car Hacks? Try Good Common Sense Instead

December 1st, 2014

Porsche-911-winter-driving

Winter has set in across the United States, which is something of which the people of upstate New York need no reminder.

When winter snow and ice make their annual return, websites like to give advice on how to deal with the effects on cars. Advice on everything from driving through blizzards to de-icing your car with onions can be found with a simple Google search.

Some of the advice, though, is just dumb and you’d be better off using some common sense instead of random produce.

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10 Best Cars to Tackle Winter: 2014 Edition

November 21st, 2014

2014 Jeep Wrangler

The words of House Stark will tell you that preparing for winter is imperative. And assuming you’ve seen a few winters in your time, you’ll know that one of the biggest adjustments you’ll need to make is winter driving. You’ll need to add some time to your commute allowance, check your antifreeze, grab some flares and road salt, and throw on some snow tires. But if you’re looking for a new vehicle to bring to battle with winter, we have some suggestions. Cars for skiing are great, but these vehicles will do you good in the everyday winter struggle.

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These Three Unsafe Minivans Will Surprise You

November 21st, 2014

2014 Nissan Quest crash test

You assume you’re safe. You’re surrounded by acres of sheet metal and protected by a sturdy steel frame. You’re riding higher than most other vehicles and under the impression that you’re nearly invincible.

Your most valuable possessions, including your new 60-inch television, your sporting equipment, yesterday’s leftovers and probably even your children, are along for the ride. You might smile to yourself, because you think you’re riding in one of the safest vehicles on the road.

But if you’re driving one of three popular minivans, you’re not.

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Get Your Car Fixed, Get a Free Starbucks!

November 6th, 2014
Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

General Motors’ ignition-switch recall debacle just won’t go away.

With over a million recalled but unfixed vehicles still on the road and pressure on GM to fix the cars as quickly as possible, the company has come up with an interesting proposition.

Since the risk of death hasn’t convinced those million-plus car owners to visit their dealership, GM hopes $25 worth of coffee will.

The recall, which was announced in February, included 2.6 million cars and involves a faulty ignition switch that could shift into the accessory position while driving, shutting down important functions like brakes, steering and airbags while the car is running.

At least 30 people have been killed because of this defect, but that risk apparently isn’t enough for owners to take action and have the free repair made.

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Buying Used Luxury? Think Twice

November 5th, 2014
How much are those rings worth to you?

How much are those rings worth to you?

Driving a luxury car for the price of a Honda is an appealing proposition.

I’ve advocated for it on these very pages. Why would someone spend $25,000 on a new Accord or CR-V when they could have a used Audi A6 or Q7?

The benefits make it seem like a no-brainer. For the same money you get more luxury, more brand panache, better performance, and an all-around cooler vehicle. Everything’s great, up until your new luxury car needs some basic maintenance and repairs.

I’d like to share my personal story, so you might avoid the fate that has fallen upon me.

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Exploding Airbags: Who Has the Right Fix?

November 3rd, 2014

airbag-explosion

Ten automakers have recalled a total of 8 million cars because the airbags in them can explode.

While it’s true that airbags are, by design, supposed to explode out of the car in case of an accident, these airbags explode with so much force that they actually send shrapnel into the air. An airbag with shrapnel is worse than no airbag at all. Right?

All the defective airbags were manufactured by a company called Takata, which doesn’t have enough product on hand to repair all 8 million vehicles. Automakers are taking very different routes to address this issue, with at least one recommending that the affected airbag be turned off completely.

Toyota has recalled almost 900,000 cars, but doesn’t have enough airbags to fix all of them. While it waits for Takata to deliver more, the company said that it plans to disable defective airbags once it runs out of replacements.

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Latest GM Recalls Prove Importance of Quality

October 6th, 2014

2015 GMC Canyon

The first headline on the Detroit News Autos Insider newsletter was, “GM Issues Three New Recalls Saturday.”

The headlines for those recall stories were:

  1. Latest GM Recalls Bring Total to nearly 30M Vehicles
  2. GM Halts Sales on Midsize Trucks Due to Airbag Problem
  3. GM Recalls 117,000 Vehicles for Stalling

None of that sounds particularly good at first glance, does it?

In fact, some people might take those three headlines, along the recent news of GM stopping sales of the new Corvette, as signs that General Motors is having some major quality problems.

Maybe, though, these recalls are signs that everything is OK with General Motors. Or at least, everything will be OK soon.

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Corvette Stop-Sale Raises New Questions

September 22nd, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

When you build cars, it’s kind of important to attach all the pieces.

Major automakers have figured out how to do this with impressive precision, while smaller companies can be forgiven for overlooking a small part.

But when the world’s largest automaker misses parts on its most important car, you just have to wonder what’s going on internally. Especially right on the heels of the company’s biggest recall ever.

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Cars on Autopilot: Self-Driving or Drive Yourself?

September 18th, 2014

volvo_autopilot

The first autopilot system in an airplane was developed in 1912, just as car technology was in its infancy. In the 102 years since, airplane technology has evolved so aircraft can virtually fly from point A to point B by themselves.

The human pilots are there to monitor progress, handle takeoffs and landings, and be prepared for emergencies.

We all accept the fact that planes fly themselves, but transfer the technology to cars and widespread panic sets in.

The terms “self-driving” and “autonomous” are thrown around by automakers, and perhaps most famously by Google, to describe their efforts to create a car that drives with limited human interaction. Some automakers are embracing the technology, but now at least one has put the focus back where it belongs: on the driver.

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