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.
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.
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.
Driving a luxury car for the price of a Honda is an appealing proposition.
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.
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.
The first headline on the Detroit News Autos Insider newsletter was, “GM Issues Three New Recalls Saturday.”
The headlines for those recall stories were:
- Latest GM Recalls Bring Total to nearly 30M Vehicles
- GM Halts Sales on Midsize Trucks Due to Airbag Problem
- GM Recalls 117,000 Vehicles for Stalling
None of that sounds particularly good at first glance, does it?
Maybe, though, these recalls are signs that everything is OK with General Motors. Or at least, everything will be OK soon.
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.
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.
How far should an automaker go to make sure the drivers of its cars stay safe by limiting the amount of distractions behind the wheel?
The latest news on battling distracted driving falls under the category of either creepy or cool, depending on your take on in-car technology. After my experience this weekend, though, I wouldn’t just call it cool, I’d call it potentially life-saving.
Lexus was one of the first to use technology to sound an alarm when it sensed a driver was not paying attention.
GM plans to step up the technology in a big way.
Remember the joyride scene in the 1963 Ferrari California Spyder from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”?
In the movie, a valet takes the classic Ferrari for an afternoon spin but has the car back in the garage before anyone notices it’s gone. The scene was a lesson in how to properly take a car that isn’t yours for the ride of your life.
Doing so in real life is wildly irresponsible, dangerous and illegal. But it happens, probably more than we know. Leaving your car and keys with a valet, mechanic or anyone else who doesn’t own it is an open invitation to “borrow” the car until you return.
One of the safest places to leave your car is with the dealer from whom you made the purchase, but a Canadian couple have found out even that can be risky.