Posted on by Thomas Nelson 2

Porsche can’t seem to shake the lemons off it’s model tree. Once again the Stuttgart manufacturer has been forced to issue a recall, this time centering on 235 2011-2012 models which may have had defective seat belts installed. According to Inside Line, the models that are affected include the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS , 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS , 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster , 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4 , 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4S , 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo , 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S , 2012 Porsche Boxster S , 2012 Porsche Cayman , 2012 Porsche Cayman R , and 2012Porsche Cayman S . The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration points out that these defective seat belts are centered on the mounting holes in the seat belt anchor plates fitted to the vehicle being too small. If the hole diameter is too small, the anchor plate may not be able to rotate about the fastening bolt as designed. Should this occur, the seat belt may not be routed optimally around the occupant, or may potentially loosen at some point in the future increasing the risk of injury during a crash. Although this problem is serious, it is noted by the NHTSA that no deaths or injuries have resulted from these defective seat belts. Porsche also says this defect stems from a "manufacturing issue" at their seat belt supplier.

We don’t think this will affect Porsche at all. We still look at Porsche cars as the one of the finest sports car manufacturers in the world.

Source: NHTSA

"Errare humanum est!"

To err is human and since cars are built by humans, it’s quite normal to experience mistakes now and then. Even great cars like the Audi R8 Spyder fall privy to recalls and that’s exactly what’s happening now. As of August 22, 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is recalling the 920 R8 Spyder models due to a fuel leak that may lead to a vehicle fire.

"The fuel supply line may contact and rub against the heat shield in the engine compartment," said NHTSA. "This could lead to a small fuel leak. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could lead to a vehicle fire."

The first complaint came to Volkswagen on June 6, 2011, when a customer announced that he felt a fuel smell after refilling the Audi R8 Spyder.

If you own a 2011-12 Audi R8 Spyder, call Audi at 1-800-822-2834 to have the fuel line inspected and replaced, if necessary.

Source: Inside Line
Posted on by Thomas Nelson 2
BMW 7-Series

Usually unflappable German engineering has taken a hit today. BMW has announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has initiated an investigation that centers on 120,000 2002-2008 7-Series models, ranging from the 730d to the 760li. This investigation began after a 2006 7-Series experienced an incident in which, after being placed in park, did not fully engage the park gear and proceeded to roll a short distance. This gearbox is designed to automatically shift into park, for example, when the vehicle is turned off.

If this pending investigation makes you nervous, keep in mind that the NHTSA has said that a) "thus far, no cause has been identified for any of the rollaway incidents" and b) it is not a full scale recall, just a preliminary investigation.

You may ask us, would we still buy one? Well, we have nothing but praise for the 7 series. We find it to be truly staggering, leaving us to shake our head in disbelief that a car the size of the state of Kansas can be made this fun to drive. This potential gearbox glitch does not affect our view of the Roundel and we continue to look reverently upon each model. This full size luxury sedan did not disappoint us and it won’t let you down either.

Source: NHTSA
Posted on by Kurt 8

Last Monday, we brought you news that the first U.S. bound Pagani Huayra had been delivered to a customer in the United States. Now it seems like Pagani may have jumped the gun in selling cars on U.S. soil, thanks to a requirement that automakers implement advanced airbags beginning with the 2000 model year. In the past, low volume manufacturers such as Lamborghini and Tesla had been granted an exception to the regulation, which lead Pagani to believe they’d be granted the very same exemption. It was a logical assumption, since Pagani’s production is far less than Lamborghini’s, and Pagani lacks the technical support of Lamborghini’s parent, Volkswagen/Audi.

Pagani learned the hard way what happens when you assume. Ignoring Pagani’s low-volume manufacturer status and limited technical resources, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has denied the automaker’s request, which gives Pagani only two choices: either develop the required airbag system for the Huayra before deliveries can begin, or forgo the U.S. market entirely as they did with their Zonda supercar. Pagani estimates that designing an airbag system to meet NHTSA requirements will cost them some about $5.7 million, which surely means that the price of U.S. spec Huayras will be raised to cover development. That doesn’t bode well for buyers who’ve already put money down on Pagani’s latest, since the best they can hope for is a higher purchase price. The alternative, sadly, is that the U.S. again loses out on the opportunity to experience one of the world’s premier supercars.

Source: Bloomberg
Posted on by Kurt 6

Here’s some bad news for those of us who spend a lot of time behind the wheel: not only are drivers in the U.S. getting worse , but it appears that their cars are too. A recent study by the Automobile Association of America showed that the poor economy is forcing drivers to delay or avoid needed maintenance or car repair. One in four drivers, or 25 percent, could not afford “major” car repairs (over $2,000), and one in eight drivers, or 12.5 percent, couldn’t even afford a $1,000 repair.

If you’ve priced parts or repairs lately, you’ll realize that reaching these numbers isn’t difficult. A set of four tires for today’s larger wheels can easily exceed $1,000, and a complete brake job with new pads, rotors, and labor can even creep up on the $1,000 mark. If you need major engine or transmission work, it’s almost certain you’ll cross the $2,000 threshold, depending upon the vehicle you drive and the amount of labor involved in the repair. In some cases, extended warranties can help, but these often require you to prove that you’ve followed the vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

We’re spending less money on repairs and upkeep of our cars as well. In 2005, the average driver spent $181 annually on repairs and maintenance; in 2011, that number has fallen to $169, despite the fact that labor, parts, and material prices have gone up over the past six years.

Americans are keeping their cars longer, too, which isn’t necessarily a good thing if they’re avoiding maintenance or repairs. To avoid costly repairs in the future, the AAA advises drivers to stick to the maintenance schedule recommended by their manufacturer. A transmission fluid and filter change may seem expensive, but it’s quite a bit cheaper than having to replace your transmission due to neglect.

Posted on by Thomas Nelson 5
Lotus Elise S

My father had a habit of pointing out "it’s always the one ya least suspect." If you asked the public what they thought the Lotus Elise’s reliability was, the answer was a resounding "very good." However, now this Rembrandt of the racetrack has a small smudge and is now under investigation for a possible mechanical deficiency concerning the oil cooler.

The 2005-2006 Lotus Elise is at the center of this investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA). This problem centers on the right front oil cooler which can potentially come loose and spray inside the wheel well and the engine bay which can lead to a fire. This problem is described as" .. [Complaints centered on] an oil cooler line [that] had failed causing oil to spray within the engine compartment area, and/or near one of the wheel or brake assemblies." It is important to note that no one was hurt due to this malfunction although one person’s car did catch fire. That being said, the NHTSA has received 17 complaints and have calculated that around 4,400 Elises may be affected due to this malfunction.

An important distinction to note is that although this investigation is ongoing, a recall has not been issued for the Elise.

If you were considering a Lotus and now are suddenly running like Usain Bolt towards another sports car, think again because all of us here at TopSpeed would still love to have this pocket racer in our garage. Its combination of incredibly reliable Toyota innards and speed make the Lotus Elise a must have for any car enthusiast. Take this complaint for what it is; a small bump in the road for a great vehicle.

Source: NHTSA

Anyone who lives and breathes the thrill of driving should find the time to head on over to Italy for a trip through the Stelvio Pass at one point in their lives. At 9,045 feet, it may not be the most dangerous road in the world, but it is the highest paved road in the Eastern Alps and may suit driving aficionados just fine for a holiday destination. Especially since this famed road features 60 hairpins turns, 48 just on the northern pass, and a wonderful view of beautiful landscapes. That information alone makes Stelvio Pass worthy of just about any bucket list.

The Stelvio Pass was originally built between 1820-1825 by the Austrian Empire. It connects the Valtellina with the upper Adige valley and Merano and covers a climb of 1871 meters (about 1.16 miles). Many tourists head over during open season (June-September) to marvel at the twist and turns, including the trio from Top Gear and the great Stirling Moss.

Continued after the jump.

Mercedes USA is out to teach us all a little something through their AMG Driving Academy Performance series, and their second episode highlights the need to learn how to brake, AMG style.

In this episode, AMG Driving Academy instructor, Tommy Kendall, explains the apparent contradiction that to go fast, you must first learn how to go slow. The video will show Tommy as he demonstrates the fundamentals of braking, including threshold braking and trail braking.

Most drivers feel the need to speed at some point or another, so learning how to keep control of your car through braking is an absolute must in order to have your thrills and still be able to walk away from the experience. In our opinion, every automaker that produces high performance vehicle - such as the AMG models by Mercedes - should offer these same type of training course for their customers.

Posted on by Alexander + 9

We’ve all seen them. Hell, we’ve all been them. Distracted drivers are everywhere, whether it’s a woman running late and putting on her makeup in the car or the guy who skipped lunch and is now scarfing down a double cheeseburger, these types of drivers are the ones that cause accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 80% of crashes involved driver distraction. The risk is three times higher when the driver is fiddling with their cell phone and nine times higher when the driver is reaching for something (like that cell phone). Statistics show that 79% of drivers are distracted due to changing their radio stations or CDs and 51% are distracted because of their cell phone.

These examples are some of the more obvious distractions that can cause accidents, but there even some driver habits that will lead to crushed metal. Remember taking an eyeful of that accident to see if anyone was hurt or coming back from a daydream only to brake for no apparent reason? The driving habits some of us pick up can lead to an accident just as easily as if we were on the phone. The best way to overcome these habits is to fine tune our driving techniques. Don’t just keep your eyes on the road, keep your thoughts on the road as well. Then there’s the more obvious suggestions such as catching up with your best friend while sitting on the couch and not while you’re in the car or keeping up with the flow of traffic and not cranking your neck back to see what’s going on in the other car.

Check out the rest of the infographic to get more helpful driving techniques and statistics and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

Source: TheAutoInsurance
Posted on by Thomas Nelson 1

Ford has announced that they will be looking to recall over 26,715 models due to faulty components in the brake and tail lights. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "The multi-function switch was shipped with a sub-component (slider) that may experience deformation. A multi-function switch with a deformed slider may malfunction causing the turn signal, tail lights, hazard warning signal flashers and/or brake lights not to activate."

This is not the first time Ford pickups have undergone a serious recall. In 2010, 23,688 4-cylinder models were recalled due to a potential fire hazard. That recall centered on potential chafing of fuel lines. The Ranger was also subject to a recall in 2010 when over 2,300 manual transmission vehicles were recalled due to a faulty parking brake hydraulic actuator causing "..unintended movement which may cause a crash."

Past history aside, Ford’s newest recall is affecting a variety of vehicle including the 2002-2005 Excursion, the 2002-2007 F-250-F-550 , and the 2011 Ford Ranger .

If you just so happen to own one of the vehicles on the list, head on over to your local Ford dealer where the part will be replaced with a more robust unit. The recall is expected to begin on August 15th, 2011.

Source: NHTSA

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