Tag: Quality

By on May 18, 2019

Sudden stalls. Tailgates that open on their own. These issues formed the basis of two Fiat Chrysler recalls in 2018, and, one year later, history is repeating itself.

On Friday, the automaker called back roughly 600,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Ram pickups for the same ghost-in-the-machine phenomena that led to the earlier recalls. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2019

2019 Ford Ranger rear quarter

Recalls to prevent cars from rolling away from their owners have become commonplace, and Ford is no stranger to the phenomenon. Last year, the automaker recalled 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to replace vulnerable automatic transmission shift cables that could leave the car in the wrong gear, regardless of where the driver positions the shift lever.

On Wednesday, Ford announced a recall for the exact same problem, plus a second one for a similar issue. While the Fusion makes up the bulk of the affected vehicles, the brand new Ranger pickup also finds itself on the receiving end of some unwanted PR. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2018

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel, Image: Ford

A collective groan must have echoed through the automotive industry a couple of years back, after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began testing headlight performance. Early results showed that most headlights, even those on expensive vehicles, fell well short of optimal performance. Most fell short of acceptable performance.

Since then, improvements have begun — slowly, but surely. It’s in an automaker’s best interest to slap a couple of bright peepers on the front of their vehicles from a PR and marketing perspective, but there’s cost issues to be considered. Still, no vehicle can take home that coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating without good headlights.

In its 2018 testing, some 32 models offered standard or available headlights worthy of a “good” rating. That’s out of 165 models. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

A hearing that was expected to bring together representatives of Hyundai and Kia and the Senate Commerce Committee, scheduled for November 14th, has been called off.

The committee hoped to gleam information and answers on reports of engine fires in certain Hyundai/Kia products — a long-burning issue, pardon the pun, that’s increasing ever greater attention, especially from public safety groups. Recent media reports made it look like representatives didn’t plan to attend. (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2018

ford explorer police interceptor utility

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe into reports of exhaust gasses leaking into the cabin of certain Ford Explorers continues, the company doesn’t have to worry about the brakes on its law enforcement variants anymore.

After launching an investigation into front brake hose failures — at the request of the Sacramento Police Department — in 2015, the NHTSA returned the verdict this week. Nothing inherently wrong with those front stoppers, it said. It seems the Sacramento PD really, really pushes its vehicles in pursuit training. (Read More…)

By on November 1, 2018

Image: Subaru

The defunct Scion brand isn’t done making headlines, it seems. The rear-drive FR-S 2+2 sport coupe is among a number of vehicles — mainly Subarus — recalled over valve springs that could break, leading to serious engine damage.

In total, some 400,000 vehicles built between 2012 and 2013 are included in the recall; among them, Subaru BRZs, Foresters, and Imprezas. The Japanese-market Toyota 86 and North American-market Scion FR-S, twins of the BRZ, feature the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder. (Read More…)

By on September 29, 2018

Tariffs and other pressures are weighing on the once blistering hot Chinese new car market, and a suspension issue has now added new storm clouds to General Motors’ formerly sunny skies. The automaker’s Chinese arm, GM Shanghai, has announced the recall of 3.3 million Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac models.

Bad news for a foreign company in a suddenly dodgy market. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2018

There’s a good reason why insurance premiums are rising like your author’s blood pressure while scanning his Twitter feed, and it’s not just because providers really, really like making money. (They do, of course.) Average repair bills in the U.S. rose by about a third in the past three years, mainly due to the proliferation of safety technology, and insurance premiums followed. Country-wide, premiums rose 7.9 percent in 2017.

Cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar sensors tend to be located in areas of the vehicle most prone to damage, even in even low-speed collisions, and sturdy, exposed 5 mph bumpers are unfortunately a thing of the past. Many would prefer to see all automakers design their cars with repairs in mind, thus lowering future costs and premiums.

As an example of the headache of repairing technology-festooned vehicles, behold the average front-corner collision repair cost of one rare Korean sedan. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2018

2019 Subaru Ascent

A recall serious enough to necessitate the replacement of a car is rare, but Subaru should be glad it caught the problem before more faulty vehicles left the factory.

Over the course of eight days in July, 293 Ascents from the 2019 model year made it off the assembly line while potentially missing a full complement of welds — hardly something the automaker can just go back and touch up. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2018

Tuesday was — accidentally, it turns out — all about the Ford Ranger, at least for those with no interest in Tesla and its business machinations. As we await the return of the midsize pickup’s online build and price tool, Ford is taking an unusual step to get old versions of the truck into the repair shop.

The automaker is offering dealers cash for every 2006 Ranger they can track down and pull off the road. (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2018

Automatic transmissions that shift into park but don’t actually end up in park are one of the greatest automotive sourges of our time. Of all automakers, Fiat Chrysler and Ford seem to have the worst luck with this.

On Wednesday, Ford Motor Company announced a recall of roughly 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to prevent the vehicles from getting loose, though some wonder why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t step in earlier to force the recall. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2018

2017 Genesis G90 - Image: Genesis Motors

This wouldn’t have happened in the late ’80s, that’s for sure. J.D. Power’s 2018 Initial Quality rankings, amassed from problems reported by owners over the first 90 days of vehicle ownership, shows the area south of the 38th parallel as the Land of Least Annoyance.

The fresh-faced, fledgling Genesis brand took the top spot in this year’s rankings with 68 problems reported per 100 vehicles, followed by Kia in second place (72 problems) and Hyundai in third (74 problems). You might say Hyundai (Motor Group) excelled. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2018

Image: IIHS/YouTube

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety never rests, always thinking up new ways to expose flaws in contemporary passenger vehicles. Lately, the IIHS has begun applying the dreaded small overlap front crash test to the passenger side of new models. There’s a seat on that side for a reason, and it’s not inconceivable that a roadside utility pole or obstruction could take out that corner of the vehicle.

The latest IIHS test put popular midsize crossovers through their paces, exposing serious safety concerns in two models. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a man with a knack for envisioning new and elaborate ways of accomplishing simple tasks, but his factory in Fremont, California — home to three revolutionary electric car models — could use a dose of the Old World. By that, we mean lessons learned by legacy automakers over many decades of mass production.

That’s the takeaway from a scathing exposé published in The Daily Beast, penned by former TTAC managing editor Edward Niedermeyer. Coming on the heels of a CNBC report on fires at the automaker’s paint shop, The Daily Beast‘s piece brings together testimony from current and former employees to paint a picture of what can happen when Silicon Valley startup culture meets the realities of mass auto production.

Bring your safety goggles. (Read More…)

By on May 25, 2018

2017 Ram 1500 Rebel Blue Streak, Image: FCA

In terms of size, this recall is one of the largest from a single manufacturer in recent memory. And the problem it’s designed to fix once served as the plot of a 1990s TV movie I can’t recall the name of.

While there’s only one known incident on its radar, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to go ahead with a recall of over 4.8 million Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles to prevent them from getting stuck in cruise control. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

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