Toyota Recalls Certain Sienna, Camry Models

Two different recall campaigns were announced yesterday by Toyota. One affects the Camry, while the other is for a deficiency with some new Sienna models. Both are related to safety equipment (as most recalls usually are) with the sedan and minivan being recalled for brake and seat belt issues, respectively.

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Braking Bad: Ford Recalls Mustang for Brake Pedal Problems

Hey, it’s Monday – you can’t blame us for picking that low hanging fruit in the headline. Bad puns aside, owners of certain 2020 model-year Mustangs equipped with a slushbox should visit their dealership post-haste to rectify what could be a terrifying problem.

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Ford Recalls 2 Million Vehicles Over Bum Door Latches

On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. announced two safety recalls. One is a brake line issue involving 343,900 F-150 pickups equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. The other relates to door latches — an obnoxiously familiar headache for the company — and encompasses a whopping 2.15 million vehicles from the 2011-15 model years.

Ford says the affected vehicles may not have had all door latches correctly replaced or replaced at all when repaired by dealerships under safety recalls 15S16 or 16S30 — both of which were done fix faulty equipment that was susceptible to failure in direct sunlight.

Apparently, the thermal threshold of the parts wasn’t all that impressive,and a few doors popped open while vehicles were in motion. While the manufacturer said it was unaware of any injuries related to the incidents, having a door randomly pop open on the motorway is universally undesirable.

Ford is going to take another whack at it.

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Piston Slap: Of Antique Trucks and Rebuilt Brakes

TJ writes:

My New Year’s resolution this year was to get my grandfather’s 1979 Chevy C10 running and driving again. It’s been parked in the garage since I drove it in there when my wife and I moved into our house in spring 2012. I stopped driving it because the transmission needed (another) rebuild and I didn’t have the time or money then. I’ve managed to get it running (full carb cleaning and new sending unit in the tank) and it will idle after some urging.

Now the next issue: I decided to check the brakes by jacking up first one end then the other and spinning the tires, then having someone step on the brakes (my 4 year old loved it). 3 out of 4 wheels spin, but the brakes don’t stop more spinning. The front passenger is stuck. I was able to get the rotor to turn some with a breaker bar. I could also hear some dragging in the rear passenger drum, but I was still able to turn it by hand. The pedal has some firmness, but not a lot and it doesn’t get hard after the engine is off (have to check the booster once I get the brakes working).

My first thought is to replace the front calipers and rotors (rotors probably need it anyway) and wheel bearings, since the rotors will be off. I’m not above rebuilding the rear drums also. Before I drop a bunch of money on parts, I thought I’d reach out for advice.

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Let It Bleed: General Motors Recall Targets ZF Brakes

General Motors has recalled over 210,000 late-model sedans and crossovers in the U.S. and over 19,000 north of the border after discovering the potential for a braking issue. The automaker blames the issue on rear brake calipers supplied by ZF, which can also be found on vehicles built by Volkswagen, BMW, and Audi.

It all comes down to trapped hydrogen gas in the body of the brake piston, which, when released into the brake fluid, makes for a mushy left pedal and reduced rear brake performance.

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Them's the Brakes: Musk Promises 'Further Refinement' of Model 3's Binders

If you weren’t on Twitter yesterday, well, you picked a good day to stay away. However, if public battles between an automaker and the media is your thing, coupled with exasperating (and disturbing) displays of tribalism from the manufacturer’s fan base, Monday was a gold mine.

The social media brouhaha was a result of Consumer Reportsless-than-glowing review of the Tesla Model 3, which was found to have the worst braking performance of any contemporary car in the publication’s testing catalog. As Tesla disciples circled the wagon (one created a list of “bad journalists”), Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to CR‘s findings.

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Pump the Brakes: Consumer Reports Dings Model 3 For Lackluster Stops

“Lackluster” may be an understatement. In its test of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range model, Consumer Reports discovered plenty of things to like about the California automaker’s smallest electric vehicle, but two large gripes kept the publication from bestowing a coveted “recommended” tag on the sedan.

We’ve complained before — and online videos have aptly demonstrated — about how the Model 3’s massive center screen diverts too much attention away from the road by consolidating simple tasks (like adjusting the dash vents) into the menus and submenus of the vehicle’s interface, and CR‘s opinion was no different. However, the largest issue seen while driving the Model 3 was its lengthy average stopping distance.

The publication went so far as to borrow a privately owned model just to make sure its observations were legit.

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Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio Recalled for Brake Snafu

Many years of competing in demolition derbies taught me many things, such as the value of not looking over my shoulder while reversing into someone at a high rate of speed and the importance of a good neck brace. I also learned that while one can substitute other liquids for transmission fluid, braking systems don’t play well with any pollutant that’s not designed to be in there.

Alfa Romeo has also discovered this fact, and is now recalling a total of 307 Giulia sedans and Stelvio crossovers from the 2018 model year for potentially contaminated brake fluid.

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Ask Jack: These… Are… the Brakes!

True story: I once dated a woman who liked to kinda-semi-roleplay that I was Hannibal Lecter and she was Clarice Starling. I don’t mean that I served her anybody’s frontal lobe with a nice Chianti and some fava beans, but more that we would try to work phrases from the book into our conversations. Just in case you are wondering, this is a distant second place in the awkward-makeout-talk category of my sordid personal history, well behind the woman who wanted me to call her Bella while she called me Edward.

In Silence Of The Lambs, Dr. Lecter tells Clarice, “We begin by coveting what we see every day.” This is one of those statements that is almost too true for us to understand. We learn to want things by looking at them. It’s why very few people have whatever mental quality is required to order, and enjoy, truly bespoke items — cars, clothing, bikes, guns, watches, whatever. We like to see things and choose from them. It’s a combined limitation of the software (ability to imagine) and the hardware (the way we “see” is fairly hard-wired into our actual, physical eyes in all sorts of ways that we are just finding out about now) that comes standard with the human body.

The mere act of seeing something can be persuasive, even if we know in our heart that it’s not right for us — which was certainly the case with the Bella-and-Edward woman, I tell you. And that is how we come to this story of a fellow who wants a very specific kind of brake for his car… even if it’s not nearly enough to do the job.

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Jeep Renegade May Possess Flamboyant Braking Issue

Jeep may have an issue with the Renegade and is either unaware of it or in denial.

A video shot by Spanish reviewer Pablo González shows a Renegade’s rear end catching serious air during a routine braking test. The video, posted on 77km.com and first noticed by Jalopnik, is alarming — the test vehicle’s front end nosedives, while the rear wheels leave the pavement entirely.

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Piston Slap: Why Replace Parts In Pairs?

David writes:

Over the last few years, I’ve had work done on my ’99 Ford F-150 at various places near my work. It seems that when a wear item goes (like ball joints), the mechanic wants to replace absolutely everything in the system — tie rods, pitman arm, trailing arm, etc. Or when the left side brake caliper goes bad, they want to replace the right one, too. Or give me all new hoses when I replace my radiator.

The reason the mechanic gives is always, “Well they are the same age, and if the left one is bad, the right one is not far behind.”

This gets really expensive really quick. Is this worth it? Why do mechanics always want to replace everything in the system, if only one part is bad? Is this strategy only to boost profit? Or is there some truth in their reasoning?

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NHTSA Deepening Probe Into Ford F-150 Brakes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will look further into claims that 2011-2012 F-150 trucks may have a faulty brake vacuum pump on cold starts that caused seven crashes, including one injury, the Detroit News reported.

According to the report, nearly 253,000 trucks are affected by the investigation. Ford has said that it will comply with the investigation and that a recall shouldn’t be necessary for the trucks because the failing vacuum pump will sufficiently notify drivers before braking distance is significantly impacted.

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Piston Slap: Making Masala of a Jetta Parking Brake?

Gaurav writes:

Hello Sanjeev, (oh dear…*facepalm*- SM)

I am writing you from India. I have a Jetta MkV 1.9 TDI with automatic transmission. It has done about 74,000 km. About a month back, I got the the brake fluid replaced as the service adviser suggested it should be replaced once every 60-70k km. After I got the car back, it felt like the brake efficiency had decreased. I was told its normal and after driving for some time it would be okay. Unfortunately, it never improved.

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Piston Slap: Minivan or SUV to Take the "A" Liner?

Clark writes:

Sajeev,

We plan on buying a hard-side folding camper (a.k.a. an Aliner) with a dry weight of about 2,100 lbs. Which minivan or SUV would you recommend?

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Piston Slap: A Fusion of Malcontent?

Casey writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I love your column! Anyway long story short I’m an idiot. When I met my wife she had a 2003 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that was in ROUGH shape inside and out, cosmetically and mechanically. She liked her truck though and it worked for us for a few years. Recently we (I) was tired of it. So I traded it in on a 2006 Ford Fusion SEL V6. It’s a beautiful car, black on black, lots of power and nice ride. I paid $7,200 for it with 108,000 miles.

The problem is, only about 5 months into ownership and 4,000 miles later several issues have revealed themselves.

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  • Matt Posky A lot of dune buggies aren't street legal and plenty that are aren't really fit for any kind of sustained highway driving.Unless you live in a state where it's pretty much wide open for vehicle mods and the cops don't care how wild your ride looks, you're probably towing it to its play space. While the Manx should be street legal and capable of making it to the dunes without outside help -- arguably part of its appeal vs other options -- it's hard to assume a majority of owners won't still opt to drag it behind their pickup or SUV.
  • Pmirp1 That is one more color than they have added to Grand Cherokee or Grand Cherokee L in three years. White, Grey, Silver, Black and a dark boring red. No Blues. No Forest Greens. No Beige. It is as though Jeep forgets they own the green SUV market and yet they refuse to give us any rich colors.
  • Golden2husky Customers should simply not buy this with such stupid markups. But since this is a "limited edition" model there will be those stupid enough to pay it. I walked away from a Supra for my wife because the dealer wanted a $20K markup on a $54K car...this Before the pandemic. Screw that. I worked way too hard for my money to throw it away. If I'm going to give my money away there are plenty of causes I support and dealers ain't one of them...
  • Arthur Dailey In the current market many are willing to pay 'extra' to get a vehicle that may be 'in stock'/on the lot. An acquaintance recently had his nearly new vehicle stolen. His choices were rather limited a) Put a deposit down on a new vehicle and wait 4 to 6 months for it to be delivered. And his insurance company was only willing to pay for a rental for 1 month and at far less than current rental costs. b) Purchase a used vehicle, which currently are selling for inflated prices, meaning that for the same vehicle as the stolen one he would need to pay slightly more than what he paid for his 'new' one. c) Take whatever was available in-stock. And pay MSRP, plus freight, etc and whatever dealer add-ons were required/demanded.
  • SCE to AUX I like it, but I don't know how people actually use dune buggies. Do you tow them to the dunes, then drive around? Or do you live close enough that the law winks as you scoot 10 miles on public roads to the beach?As for fast charging - I doubt that's necessary. I can't imagine bouncing around for hours on end, and then wanting a refill to keep doing that for a few more hours in the same day. Do people really run these all day?A Level 2 charger could probably refill the 40 kWh version in 6 hours if it was 80% empty.