Tag: Quality

By on July 7, 2020

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS in Wisconsin wrecking yard, RH rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Better clean up that spilled drink. It’s a safety hazard.

Yes, two low-end, Recession-era Chevrolets have been singled out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for an investigation, this one pertaining not to faulty ignition switches (that’s all in the past), but the pooling of flammable liquid in areas where such things should not pool. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2020

Harbor Freight

The Harbor Freight saga continues, with the company now issuing a recall of the jack stands meant to replace earlier jack stands recalled due to their collapse risk.

After calling back its 3- and 6-ton Pittsburgh brand stands, the tool company learned of a mechanic who did exactly as he was told, trading in his old, defective 3-ton stands for a new set. However, the new stands couldn’t handle the weight of a Volkswagen Golf. So here we are. (Read More…)

By on July 1, 2020

volvo emblem logo grille

To be fair, three-point seat belts didn’t exactly set American consumers on fire back in 1959, but the innovation eventually caught on, becoming the industry’s dominant passive restraint.

Yet even safety features can contain safety defects, which is why Volvo Cars is embarking on its largest recall to date. The (Chinese-owned) Swedish automaker has announced a global callback of 2,183,701 vehicles built over the span of 14 years. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2020

Earlier this year, media outlets, us included, put out a warning about Harbor Freight jack stands that could collapse under the weight of vehicles they’re designed to suspend with ease. The company issued an urgent recall (see above) for two popular models, claiming that owners could exchange the stands at their point of purchase for a new set.

One Harbor Freight customer did just that, only to have a new 3-ton stand meet its match in the form of a Volkswagen Golf. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

Things change. Once upon a time, the greatest concern among Americans was getting home in time to watch that Three’s Company episode where Jack wakes up in bed with Mr. Roper. Now, it’s antibody testing and virus-rocked retirement funds.

Things change in the automotive world, too, and along with it, our perceptions. Preconceptions often become misconceptions as new technology and a focus on quality control (or lack thereof) changes minds en masse via personal experience and word of mouth. Brands and entire countries once known for building the best become the stuff of jokes, and vice versa.

How has your thinking evolved? (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2020

A friend once had a ’94 Olds 88 with delaminating paint, souring the Olds ownership experience and causing him to pine for his recently departed ’86 model. The newer model’s hood and trunk lid looked like hell, but at least he wasn’t alone in his misery (there were a lot of peeling 1990s GM cars on the road at the time).

Toyota owners, on the other hand, are used to bragging about their vehicles’ longevity, dependability, and solid resale value, making issues like peeling paint a black eye in an otherwise wholesome relationship. It’s worth noting that they’re among the most loyal customers on the market.

These owners will be happy to hear the automaker plans to cover the cost of applying a whiter shade of pale to the exterior of their older Toyota models. (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2019

2019 Mazda 3 sedan - Image: Mazda

A system designed to detect obstacles on the road ahead and automatically apply the brakes is acting up in current-generation Mazda 3 vehicles. Seems it’s seeing things that aren’t there.

On Friday, Mazda announced a recall of 35,390 Mazda 3 sedans and hatchbacks in the U.S., spanning the 2019 and 2020 model years. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2019

Yesterday, the awe-inspiringly tall Matthew Guy asked about examples of daily drivers that achieved stratospheric odometer readings, which immediately catapulted this writer back to the middle of the previous decade — a better era for most things, save vehicle design.

Back then, your author’s beloved Camry Coupe was still running like a dream at 261,000 miles. Nary a drop of oil lost between changes. Repairs? Nonexistent. Bliss can truly exist outside of heaven. It was a happy coincidence that Guy’s post occured on the same morning that Murilee showed us an indestructible five-cylinder Benz diesel; truly a paragon of longevity.

Yet for every high-mileage champion, there’s a vehicle that gives up well before its time — wheezing to a stop before the finish line is in sight. Perhaps you’ve owned one? (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

2017 Ford F250 Lariat Crew Cab 4x4 rear quarter

There’s a new Super Duty line coming to the Ford stable for 2020, and a recall coming to owners who bought the earlier version.

On Friday, Ford Motor Company issued a recall of certain 2017-2019 F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups to fix tailgates that might fly open at inopportune moments. The callback has been a long time coming. (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2019

Analysts predicted a less-than-stellar quarter for Ford Motor Company, so it was not a shock to see turbulence in the company’s third-quarter financials. The company’s net income dropped 57 percent in Q3 2019, the result of currency changes and restructuring efforts. Revenue ($37 billion) was down on a global scale, shrinking 2 percent. Earnings per share shrunk from 25 cents to 11 cents.

While the automaker finds itself in the midst of ongoing cost-cutting and a reorganization of its regional businesses, the North American launch of a key product didn’t go as planned, forcing Ford CEO Jim Hackett to claim the company’s efforts fell below expectations. (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2019

Image: Ford

Plagued by reports of manufacturing defects and post-production emergency surgery at Flat Rock Assembly, Ford’s Chicago-built 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator platform mate are a weight placed on the shoulders (and career) of CEO Jim Hackett. It’s also weighing down the company’s stock, analysts claim.

While the automaker said earlier this month that Explorer supply was on the upswing, with new vehicles now shipping directly to dealers, it seems Bill Shatner hasn’t shot all of the gremlins off the wing of this flight. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Traverse - Image: GM

The Chevrolet Traverse represents the pinnacle of the brand’s crossover range, offering buyers voluminous cargo and passenger space, and maybe a hidden gremlin.

After purchasing the three-row crossover new in 2018, one owner has had to return to his dealership 50 times to diagnose and fix a range of unusual problems, and his journey isn’t at an end. He’ll be reassured to know that he’s not alone. (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2019

Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company may have sidelined thousands of 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators due to hazy manufacturing issues, but it seems many vehicles slipped through the quality dragnet and into the hands of consumers.

You saw a eyebrow-raising walkaround of a dealer-fresh Aviator here the other week. Owners, however, get to slip behind the wheel and, in some cases, experience a bewildering array of symptoms. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

Image: Mike Freed

You read all about Ford’s midsize crossover issues last week, perhaps with great dismay. According to an extensive report, serious and sometimes hazy quality defects have kept thousands of 2020 Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators away from dealer lots.

It seems the automaker is hauling vehicles directly from Chicago Assembly to a hastily-arranged fix-it space at Flat Rock Assembly in Michigan — a stopover for quality control and repair on the way to the dealer. Some vehicles reportedly wait up to a month for a fix.

Bad news for Ford, but is it also bad news for those awaiting these two critically important models? Surely having these issues remedied before delivery to dealer lots is better than no fix at all? Certainly, it’s a better outcome for the automaker and buyer than the alternative. And yet, after visiting his local Ford dealer, one reader walked away shaking his head. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2019

Image: FCA

It’s Fix-it Friday, apparently, and the ailing vehicle news hasn’t stopped rolling just yet. You’ll see.

Over at Fiat Chrysler, it seems the only thing capable of stopping the mighty Jeep Gladiator is its manufacturer, which just issued a stop-sale order to prevent new pickups from leaving the lot and potentially dropping their driveshafts. (Read More…)

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