Recently in Crash Testing Category

October 17, 2012

Counterfeit Airbags Warning Issued by the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a warning earlier this week about numerous counterfeit airbags that may have been installed within the last three years by repair shops. These counterfeit airbags were sold for use as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in automobile accidents. They look almost identical as real airbags but are extremely dangerous. Some of the dangers include: partially inflating airbags and airbags that deploy but project out fragments inside the vehicle.
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Testing done by the NHTSA, on about 10 different counterfeit airbags, identified certain makes and models of vehicles to whom these counterfeit airbags may have been available to, but they believe that the issue of these counterfeit airbags affect only about 0.1 % of vehicles in the United States. That percentage means that less than 240,000 cars and trucks, on the road today, have been affected in the U.S. The only vehicles at risk are those that had an air bag replaced within the past three years at repair shops that are not part of a new car dealership or if you purchased your replacement airbag online on such sites as Ebay or other uncertified sites.

VEHICLES FOR WHICH COUNTERFEIT AIR BAGS MAY BE AVAILABLE:

As of today, NHTSA is aware of counterfeit air bags available for the following vehicle makes and models:

Make Model Year(s) Model(s)
Acura 2009-2011 TSX
Audi 2006-2009 A3, A4, A6, A8, Q5, Q7
BMW 2007-2011 X5, E70, E60, E61
2008-2010 5-series, 528i, 535i
2004-2007 5-Series, 525i, 530, 535, E60, E61
2007-2011 E90, E91
Not listed E92, E93
2007-2011 X5, E70
2004-2007 525i, 530, 535
2011-2012 X3
Buick 2010-2011 Lacrosse
Chevrolet 2011-2012 Cruze
2006-2010 Aveo
2011-2012 Volt
2012 Camaro
Ford 2012 Focus
2005-2009 Mustang
Honda 2003-2012 Accord
2006-2011 Civic
2002-2011 CRV
2007-2011 Fit
2009-2011 Pilot
2009-2011 Insight
2009-2011 Crosstour
2011 Odyssey
Hyundai 2007-2011 Elantra
Not listed Genesis
Not listed Sonata
Infiniti 2007-2011 G35, EX35
Kia 2010-2011 Soul/Forte
2004-2009 Spectra
Land Rover 2012 Range Rover Evoque
Lexus 2006-2011 IS250, IS350, IS-F
2003-2008 GX470
2007-2009 RX350
Not listed ES350
Mazda 2004 Mazda 3
2010-2012 Mazda 3
Mercedes 2009-2011 C, GLK
2010-2011 E350, E550
2007-2008 S550
2006-2009 ML
2009-2010 GL, ML
Mitsubishi Not listed Outlander
Nissan 1992-2002 Quest
2010-2011 Quest
2009-2011 Cube
2007-2011 Versa
2009-2010 Murano
Not listed Altima
Subaru 2008-2009 Forester
2008-2009 Imprezza
2008-2009 Outback
2010-2011 Legacy
Suzuki 2007-2010 SX4
Toyota 2002-2006 Camry
2012 Camry
2009-2011 Corolla, Matrix
2007-2011 Yaris
2004-2011 Highlander
2004-2011 Sienna
2004-2011 Tacoma
2010-2012 Prius
2003-2006 Tundra
2007-2011 Tundra
2003-2006 Sequoia
2003-2010 Land Cruiser
2004-2007 Highlander
2008-2010 Highlander
2004-2009 4Runner
2007-2009 Solara
2005-2011 RAV4
Volkswagen 2006-2010 Jetta
Volvo Not listed XC60, XC70
Not listed V70, S60, S80

August 30, 2012

Your Vehicle Is In Danger of Being Hacked by Computer Viruses

Computers and electronic communication systems that are installed in today's modern vehicles have the hazard of being hacked. Intel's McAfee, one of the best known software companies that fight PC viruses, is currently working to protect these computer and communication systems so that viruses can not affect your modern vehicle.

Automakers have failed to adequately protect these systems, leaving them vulnerable to hacks by attackers looking to steal cars, eavesdrop on personal conversations and even harm passengers by causing vehicles to crash automatically.

According to the SAE International, no violent attacks using computer viruses have been reported to date.

These viruses, worms and Trojans can be delivered to your automobile through onboard diagnostics systems, wireless connections and even tainted CDs played on radio systems.

The concern for automobile computers and electronic communication systems being hacked came from research conducted by a group of computer scientists from the University of California and the University of Washington, who published two research papers, in May and August of 2011, showing that computer viruses can infect cars and cause them to crash, harming both the driver and passengers. This group of computer scientists figured out how to attack vehicles by putting viruses onto compact discs. When victims try to listen to the CD, the vehicle is infected through the car radio and can make its way across the network and other vehicle systems. One of their examples is an attack called "Self Destruct". This is when a 60 second timer pops up on a car's digital dashboard and starts counting down. When it reaches zero the virus can immediately shut off the vehicle's lights, lock its doors, turn the engine off and release or slam on the brakes.

Therefore; the SAE's Vehicle Electrical System Security Committee, a committee of more than 40 industry experts, is working hard to develop specifications which would reduce the risk of vehicles being infected with viruses.

July 24, 2012

Ford Motor Company Recalls 2013 Ford Escape SUV's

M-2013-Ford-Escape.jpgFord Motor Company has recalled the 2013 Ford Escape that comes equipped with 1.6 liter four cylinder engines.

The recall was issued of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles because the vehicles have a faulty fuel line that can cause an under hood fire. This recall affects about 11,500 Escapes in the US and Canada, mainly vehicles built at the Ford Motor Company Louisville, Kentucky plant. All other Escape models are not affected. The danger of an under hood fire only occur while the vehicle is in motion, therefore; do not drive the vehicle. Call your dealership, immediately. Dealers will pick up your Escape and drop off a rental car that can be used until the repairs are finished at no cost to you, the owner/customer.

Three under hood fires have been reported since June 9, 2012. Two were reported by employees that were test driving the vehicles at the Louisville Kentucky Assembly plant and one by an owner in Canada. No injuries were reported, but this caused the recall of the 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 liter four cylinder engine vehicles.

There was a second recall issued on the 2013 Ford Escape. The second recall issued has to do with the carpet padding that can interfere with braking.

June 5, 2012

Dangerous Vehicles on the Road

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The following vehicles have been determined to be the most dangerous vehicles on the road, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):

1) Dodge Ram 1500; score 2/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rollover

2) Colorado Crew Cab; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions, rollover & rear end
collisions

3) Mazda CX-7; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

4) Mazda CX-9; score 4/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

5) Nissan Pathfinder; score 3/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions

6) Jeep Wrangler; score 3/5; bad ratings: side collisions and rear end collisions

7) Suzuki SX4; score 2/5; bad ratings: rollover and rear end collisions


These vehicles were deemed the most dangerous based on 4 rating categories of the IIHS tests. The categories were: (1) a front crash test where a vehicle travels at 40 mph and hits a barrier head on; (2) a side-impact crash test where an SUV type vehicle strikes the driver side of the testing vehicle at a speed of 30 mph; (3) rollover crash testing where the vehicle is hit by metal plates on the corners to determine force capacity before the vehicle rolls over; and (4) a rear-end crash test where seats and seat belts are tested for protection against whiplash and other head and neck injuries.

Consumer Reports and crash safety ratings performed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the JD Power's Initial Quality reports were also used to analyze the vehicles performance.

December 6, 2011

NHTSA Investigates Batteries of Chevrolet Volts

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After crash tests results show that batteries are catching fire on the Chevrolet Volts, the NHTSA will get involved and further investigate this safety problem. The fire risk of the Chevrolet Volts will be investigated by the NHTSA in the coming weeks. In the meantime, General Motors Company, has offered all Chevrolet Volt owners rental vehicles until the NHTSA's investigation is complete. If you own a Chevrolet Volt, you should contact your dealer immediately.

The investigation needs to determine whether the lithium-ion batteries have a higher risk of catching fire in certain types of automobile crashes. A recall could be issued if it is determined that this is so.

So far crash test results show that when the Volts have a side impact, that causes damage to the battery compartment and coolant line, can lead to a fire. The problem is that in some of the cases in the tests conducted showed that the fire might not ignite right away and could take a few days before actually catching on fire.

The crash test in questions was conducted by the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Three separate tests caused the batteries to either heat up or burst into flames. The first test was done in May and it was a side impact test to show how well the vehicle protects passengers. Three weeks after the test was conducted the vehicle's battery caught fire.

In November three more tests were done. One resulted in no fire or increase in battery temperature, but the other two tests resulted in batteries smoking, sparking and catching fire.

General Motors, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the NHTSA are all working together to continue testing the Chevrolet Volt's lithium-ion batteries and to determine what is causing these batteries to ignite.

While these investigations are being conducted Chevrolet Volt owners should be cautious and if you feel unsafe, contact your dealership directly and request a rental vehicle. If you are involved in a collision and the battery catches on fire, make sure and exit the vehicle quickly and safely and make sure and advise the fire department or any rescue crew that responds to the collision about the battery issue and electrical issue of your vehicle, so they can better respond to the situation, if possible disconnect the battery.

November 16, 2011

Women Have Greater Risks for Injury During Car Crashes

The University of Virginia researchers used information gathered by the National Highway Safety Administration on over 45,000 crash victims in a ten year span, to show that women have a higher risk of injury during car crashes in the United States. Their study was published in late October of this year. The study showed that on average, women are up to 5 and a half inches shorter then men, weight about 35 pounds less then men and drive sedans (more then SUV's). With these factors in mind it was determined that 47% of the over 45,000 crash victims were women who suffered severe injuries.

The researchers determined that men have more neck strength and are more muscular over all then women. Also, men sit differently in vehicles and therefore; their heads fit better against the head restraints in vehicle then women. Car safety devices, they determined, are designed largely for men, therefore women are at higher risk for injuries.

In the meantime, researchers at the University of Virginia are instructing women to continue to use seat belts properly and maintain proper seating posture.

October 18, 2011

NHTSA 2012 Crash Test List

In October 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published its 2012 Vehicle Crash Test List. The NHTSA will be crash-testing a total of 74 vehicles for safety ratings. The vehicles that will be tested include 42 passenger cars, 22 crossovers and SUVs, 2 minivans and 8 pick up trucks. The crash-testing of these 74 different makes and models will result in consumer safety data of about 81% of all 2012 passenger vehicles available in the United States.
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Rollover testing will also be conducted. The results will yield a safety rating for about 92% of vehicles available in the United States in 2012.

Some of the vehicles that will be tested are:
2012 Chevy Silverado
2012 Ford F-150 Supercab
2012 Toyota Camry
2012 Ford Explorer

Hybrid and electric vehicles will also be tested. For example: the 2012 Toyota Prius, the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid and the 2012 Honda CR-Z.

Anti-collision technology of the 2012 BMW 328i, the 2012 Volvo S60 and the 2012 Chevy Equinox will also be tested for safety, making it the first time the NHTSA will be evaluating this type of technology.

For a complete list of vehicles that will undergo crash-testing, please visit www.nhtsa.com