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John Stewart

Fender Benders Cost Small Car Owners

Most small cars aren't economical for crash repairs: Ford Focus performs the best; Rabbit & Prius are the worst in bumper tests

ARLINGTON, VA — Low-speed collisions happen every day in commuter traffic and parking lots. These "fender benders" end up costing car owners a lot of money and aggravation because the bumpers on many cars aren't designed to handle what should be a no-damage event.

In a series of crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently assessed how well the bumpers of 20 small car models would protect the vehicles from damage in low-speed collisions. The worst performers are the Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Prius, and Volkswagen Rabbit, each sustaining about $4,000 damage or more in a single test. The Ford Focus performed the best, with about one-third that amount of damage in its worst test.

"Small cars are supposed to be economical, but there's nothing economical about three or four thousand dollars in repairs after a low-speed collision," says Institute senior vice president Joe Nolan. "Ford did the best job of putting bumpers on a small car that largely do what they're supposed to do. In 3 of the 4 tests, the bumpers on the Focus protected sheet metal and most other expensive parts from damage."

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John Stewart

Menards recalls cordless screwdrivers for fire hazards

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 | 03:28 PM ET

Wisconsin-based Menards is recalling about 42,000 MasterForce 3.6-volt cordless screwdrivers because they may overheat and ignite when charging, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday.

The company has learned of three reports of fires, including injuries involving burns to the hand and temporary hearing loss.

The screwdrivers, which are labelled MASTERFORCE and “241-0717,” were sold in Menards stores in the U.S. from April 2007 through May 2008 for about $30 US.

The tools were made in China.

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John Stewart

Small pickups score badly in recent crash tests

Coloradocrashtestside

With names that conjure up images of the rugged West, you might expect small pickup trucks to be tough contenders in a collision. But in crash tests performed for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, that was not the case and most of the vehicles did not offer strong side-impact protection.

This is the first time the IIHS has tested side-impact protection on small pickup trucks and the results were not favorable. Side-impact tests are important because these type of crashes are the second most common type of fatality. In addition, small pickups have the highest driver death rate of all vehicles with most occurring in single-vehicle crashes and rollovers.

The crash test results show that only the Toyota Tacoma earned the highest rating of good in the side test for occupant protection. The remaining trucks—Dodge Dakota, Mitsubishi Raider, Ford Ranger, Mazda B Series, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon—rated poor or marginal.

To see how the trucks ranked, read the full report on our Cars blog. And to find out how your vehicle fared in an IIHS crash test, check out the 250 crash test videos in the Car section.

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John Stewart

Alaska becomes 5th state to ban text messaging by all drivers

Alaska becomes 5th state to ban text messaging by all drivers

Effective September 1, Alaska joined 4 other US states (Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington) in banning text messaging by all drivers. For details on texting bans in all states, go to http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx


Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

 

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John Stewart

GM IS RECALLING 857,735 FOR A ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS

Make / Models :         Model/Build Years:    
     BUICK / ENCLAVE     2008
     BUICK / LUCERNE     2006-2008
     CADILLAC / DTS     2006-2008
     CADILLAC / ESCALADE     2007-2008
     CADILLAC / ESCALADE ESV     2007-2008
     CADILLAC / ESCALADE EXT     2007-2008
     CHEVROLET / AVALANCHE     2007-2008
     CHEVROLET / SILVERADO     2007-2008
     CHEVROLET / SUBURBAN     2007-2008
     CHEVROLET / TAHOE     2007-2008
     GMC / ACADIA     2007-2008
     GMC / SIERRA     2007-2008
     GMC / YUKON     2007-2008
     GMC / YUKON XL     2007-2008
     HUMMER / H2     2006-2008
     SATURN / OUTLOOK     2007-2008
 
GM IS RECALLING 857,735 MY 2006-2008 BUICK LUCERNE; CADILLAC DTS; HUMMER H2; MY 2007-2008 CADILLAC ESCALADE, ESCALADE ESV, ESCALADE EXT; CHEVROLET AVALANCHE, SILVERADO, SUBURBAN, TAHOE; GMC ACADIA, SIERRA, YUKON, YUKON XL, SATURN OUTLOOK; AND MY 2008 BUICK ENCLAVE VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A HEATED WIPER WASHER FLUID SYSTEM. A SHORT CIRCUIT ON THE PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD FOR THE WASHER FLUID HEATER MAY OVERHEAT THE CONTROL-CIRCUIT GROUND WIRE.
 
THIS MAY CAUSE OTHER ELECTRICAL FEATURES TO MALFUNCTION, CREATE AN ODOR, OR CAUSE SMOKE INCREASING THE RISK OF A FIRE.
 
DEALERS WILL INSTALL A WIRE HARNESS WITH AN IN-LINE FUSE FREE OF CHARGE. THE MANUFACTURER HAS NOT YET PROVIDED AN OWNER NOTIFICATION SCHEDULE. OWNERS MAY CONTACT BUICK AT 1-866-608-8080; CADILLAC AT 1-800-982-2339 OR HTTP://WWW.CADILLAC.COM; CHEVROLET AT 1-800-630-2438; SATURN AT 1-800-972-8876 OR HTTP://WWW.SATURN.COM, GMC AT 1-866-996-9436; OR HUMMER AT 1-800-732-5493; OR AT MYGMLINK, HTTP://WWW.GM.COM/RECALL.
 
GM RECALL NO. 08048. CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION;S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

 

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