DO NOT drive these Honda cars. Get them fixed. NOW.

A 50-year-old Riverside, California woman was recently killed by a faulty, recalled airbag in her 2001 Honda Civic. Cutting corners on safety, airbag supplier Takata produced the airbag with cheap but volatile sodium nitrate.

In even a low-speed collision, the chemical explodes with excessive force, sending shards of metal into the passenger compartment. It’s been described as having a hand grenade go off in the car.

The woman, Delia Robles, was driving to get her flu shot when her Civic collided with a pickup truck. Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been warning owners of the cars not to drive them, and to get them repaired immediately.  NHTSA found that in a collision where the airbags inflate, the odds of being killed are 50-50.  In other words, those cars are ticking time bombs.

Here are the cars that NHTSA has identified as posing the highest risk:

2001-2002 Honda Civic, 2001-2002 Honda Accord, 2002-2003 Acura TL, 2002 Honda CR-V, 2002 Honda Odyssey, 2003 Acura CL, 2003 Honda Pilot.

Honda is offering to tow these cars to dealerships for repairs. They should also offer to send roving mechanics to the owner’s home or workplace, since a leading barrier to getting repairs is the fact most people have only one car, and they depend on it to keep their job and get their kids to school. For many owners of recalled cars, the closest dealership may be a long distance away, and they may not be able to drop off their car on a weekday, and then get back home and back to work.

Owners of recalled cars may also have difficulty getting time off from work to drive a long distance for repairs. Many at-risk owners may not be proficient in English or Spanish, and may not understand the risks they face.

Some owners have also had bad experiences at car dealerships, and may be fearful of going to a dealership again. Unfortunately, some dealers may take advantage of the safety recalls to pressure them to buy another car, while holding their recalled car for repairs.

Where to check the safety recall status of your car, at a government website:

https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/

If you own one of these recalled cars, here’s what CARS recommends:

Contact Honda directly.  Here is Honda’s toll-free number:  1-888-234-2138

Take Honda’s offer to provide you with a loaner or rental car,  and also have them tow your car to the dealership for the FREE repairs.

Read more:

CNN report: Stop driving these cars NOW.

Daily News report: Many Southern California cars have dangerous airbags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying a used car? YIPES!!

Comedian and commentator John Oliver lambastes crooked car dealers and greedy auto lenders. These are the unscrupulous characters we’re battling with, to protect consumers.

How can you avoid becoming a victim of greedy dealers and Wall Street bankers? It’s easier than you think. Here’s how you can get a good deal on a nice, safe, reliable used car — without having to deal with professional crooks.

How to get a good deal on a nice, safe, reliable used car

 

 

 

 

CarMax sells unsafe, recalled cars

CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, claims all its vehicles must pass a rigorous “125 point inspection.” It also advertises that all its cars are so-called “CarMax Quality Certified.”

But instead of living up to its hype, CarMax is selling LOTS of recalled cars with lethal safety defects. CarMax has a gambling addiction. It continues to play “recalled car roulette” with its customers’ lives.

Among the defects on cars waiting for sale on CarMax’s lots:

  • sticking accelerator pedals
  • catching on fire
  • hoods that fly up in traffic
  • faulty brakes
  • steering loss
  • stalling in traffic
  •  seat belts that fall apart in a crash
  • air bags that explode with excessive force and cause blindness or death

An ABC 20/20 undercover investigation found unrepaired recalled vehicles for sale on CarMax’s lot in Hartford, Connecticut. CarMax’s excuse? It can’t be bothered waiting for the FREE repairs.

Are car dealers providing unsafe loaner cars to owners of recalled cars?

U.S. Senators, like Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, have been urging Honda and Toyota and their dealers to provide loaner cars to customers with faulty Takata air bags, while they wait for repair parts to become available. Sounds like a good idea, right?

But — new car dealers have been vehemently opposing attempts to stop them from loaning out cars that have the exact same safety defects, or different defects, that have triggered a federal safety recall.

So — if you turn in your recalled Honda or Toyota at a Honda or Toyota dealership, and they hand you the keys to a loaner car, is it guaranteed to be any safer? NO!!!!

Here’s video of lobbyists for the new car dealers and CarMax opposing legislation in California that would have prohibited them from renting, selling or loaning unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers:

Car dealer lobbyists oppose safety bill in California

 

 

One more reason NOT to buy a car from a car dealer

Even the auto dealers themselves have to admit:  many car buyers dread buying cars from auto dealers. Young people are especially wary.  And for good reason.

Car dealers keep selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers, putting them, their friends and family, and other motorists at risk of death or serious, debilitating injuries.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, they also insist that you surrender your Constitutional rights as part of the price of buying a car from them.

Good luck trying to buy a car from a dealer without a “gotcha” clause hidden in the contract that says you give up your Constitutional right to take them to court, and benefit from  our nation’s hard-won consumer protection laws. Like laws against rolling back odometers, selling “junk” cars that are advertised as being “in mint condition,” or engaging in other forms of cheating, lying, fraud, and thievery.

And get this:  the dealers got a special exemption from Congress — just for car dealers —  that allows them to keep THEIR Constitutional rights. So they can take anyone they want to court, and use the laws that benefit THEM. But they killed a bill that would have protected YOU from losing your rights when you sign on the dotted line to buy a car from them.

If you’re fed up with car dealers and their scams, check this out:

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Arbitration: What you don’t know about fine print can hurt you

And let your local car dealers know you’re not buying from them until they clean up their act, and you don’t have to surrender your rights to buy a car from them.

ABC 30 investigation finds dangerous recalled cars for sale on dealer lots

“A record number of vehicles are getting recalled this year. Car makers have pulled about one of every five vehicles on the road, 58 million of them. But many of the potentially dangerous cars are hiding in plain sight on used car lots here in the [Central] Valley.

The truth is: they’re all over the place, and you may never know it until it’s too late.”

ABC 30 investigation finds dangerous recalled cars for sale on dealer lots

 

FTC takes action against 9 car dealers over “deceptive” ads

In a rare move, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently zeroed in on how auto dealers sell, finance, and lease both new and used motor vehicles. The agency called their nationwide sweep “Operation Steer Clear.”

As a result of the FTC’s taking action, nine auto dealers agreed to settle deceptive advertising charges.  The agency alleged that the dealers made a variety of false claims in print, Internet, and video advertisements that violated the FTC Act, deceiving the public about the actual costs of purchasing, leasing, or financing vehicles. One dealer even advertised that consumers had won prizes they could collect at the dealership — only to find, when they arrived on the lot, they had not won.

“Buying or leasing a car is a big deal, and car ads are an important source of information for serious shoppers,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Dealers’ ads need to spell out costs and other important terms customers can count on. If they don’t, dealers can count on the FTC to take action.”

According to the FTC, the agency’s ‘Operation Steer Clear’ led to settlements with these dealerships in California:

Casino Auto Sales of La Puente, CA and Rainbow Auto Sales of South Gate, CA. Both allegedly violated the FTC Act by “deceptively advertising that consumers could purchase vehicles at specific low prices when, in fact, the price was $5,000 higher. Both dealers’ ads involved a mix of English and Spanish.

Honda of Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, and Norm Reeves Honda of Cerritos, CA, violated the FTC Act by deceptively advertising that consumers could pay $0 up-front to lease a vehicle when, in fact, the advertised amounts excluded substantial fees and other amounts. The ads also allegedly violated the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) and Regulation M, by failing to disclose certain lease related terms. Norm Reeves Honda’s ads also allegedly violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation Z, by failing to disclose certain credit related terms.

The FTC also settled similar cases with dealerships in Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas. The Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs and the Michigan Department of Attorney General assisted the agency by investigating dealers in those states.

The FTC deserves credit for focusing on harmful auto dealer practices, including at politically potent new car dealerships.  However, no dealer agreed to pay a fine or any restitution to victims. Instead, the dealers agreed to behave better in the future.

The public is invited to comment to the FTC about the settlements, until Feb. 10.

Read more:  FTC Announces settlements with auto dealers

 

 

2011 – 2012 Ford Explorers recalled due to steering defects

Ford Motor Company is recalling 300 model year 2011-2012 Explorers equipped with steering gear replacement parts that were installed in September 2013 and January 2014. The  gears may lock, resulting in steering loss and an increased risk of being in a crash.

As required by federal law, Ford will notify owners about the safety recall. Ford dealers will replace the defective steering gears with new steering gears, free of charge to the owners of the Explorers.

The recall was expected to begin on January 24, 2014. Customers who have questions may contact Ford at 1-800-392-3673. Ford’s number for this recall is #13S14. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to:

 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

If you are shopping for a used Explorer, NEVER trust the dealer to tell you whether or not this safety recall has been performed.  Lobbyists for new and used car dealers claim they cannot tell if a car is safe or not, and say it’s too much bother to check safety recalls prior to selling a used car to the public.

They also say that if there is a delay in getting repair parts, they should be able to sell the unsafe car to a consumer, rather than having to wait until the repairs have been performed.

Want to see for yourself what dealers have to say about their right to sell unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers?  Check out YouTube video from official CA legislative hearing:

car dealer lobbyists trying to kill auto safety legislation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NY Times: Ford issues safety recall, NHTSA upgrades investigation into Jeep fires

WARNING — FORD EDGE and CRYSLER JEEP owners:

“Ford recalled about 28,000 of its 2012-13 Edge crossover utility vehicles for possible fuel leaks on models equipped with the 2-liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine, according to a report posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. The automaker said the fuel line pulse damper was not manufactured properly by a Michigan supplier, which could allow ‘fuel odor, seepage or a small fuel leak.’ ”

Caution: If you are buying a used vehicle, NEVER  rely on the auto dealer to ensure that the safety recall repairs have been performed. Car dealers have been caught over and over again selling unsafe, recalled cars, pickups, and SUVs.

One large new car dealership in California even sold one that was supposedly a  “certified” used car — that nearly killed the buyer when the safety defect occurred.

How can you find out if a vehicle has a pending safety recall? It’s easy — write down the Vehicle Identification Number and call a local dealer, or check the manufacturer’s website.

Read more: “NY Times report”

Dealers selling unsafe, recalled used cars

 

Odometer fraud — the “Fountain of Youth” for high-mileage cars

A lot of people think that odometer fraud is a thing of the past, thanks to digital odometers. Unfortunately, that’s just wishful thinking. In reality — crooks have found ways to hack into vehicle computer systems and re-set odometers. All it takes is a simple gadget that you can buy online — and a lack of scruples.

Making matters worse:  thanks to incredibly stupid rules the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued years ago under the Federal Odometer Act, vehicles more than 10 years old are exempt from key provisions of the law. That never did make sense, since all it does is encourage fraud that hits low-income used car buyers the hardest. It makes even less sense now, when RL Polk says that the average age of all light vehicles on the road in the US has hit a record 11.4 years.

One of the worst things about odometer fraud:  an altered odometer can make the warranty void, or make any service contract you buy with the car worthless and void.

According to AOL Autos, a New York man was alerted by friends that his used car miraculously showed less mileage after he sold it on Craigslist:

http://autos.aol.com/article/buying-used-car-tips-odometer-fraud/

How can you avoid getting scammed by an odometer fraudster?

1. Insist on seeing the work orders showing past repairs — and look carefully at the mileage.

2. Call repair shops that worked on the car and are listed on the work orders to confirm the numbers.

3. Have the vehicle inspected by your own independent auto expert BEFORE you agree to buy it. They can hook it up to diagnostic equipment that will access the onboard computer systems — which may reveal telltale records of higher mileage.

Here’s a good place to find a good mechanic:

Car Talk Mechanics Files

 

 

 

 

 

Car dealers: “no love for liberals”

Keith Crain, publisher of Automotive News, the auto industry’s leading trade publication, knows the auto industry inside out. His response to auto dealers’ vitriolic reaction to Hillary Clinton’s being invited to address the National Automobile Dealers Association:

“If anyone doubted that Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure, all he had to do was look at the brouhaha caused by the National Automobile Dealers Association’s selection of her as a keynote speaker at its convention next year in New Orleans…

The episode did demonstrate that the American new-vehicle dealer, who I’ve always felt is the last of the entrepreneurs in North America, basically has no love for liberals…”

Sales of service contracts pad auto dealer profits

High-cost service contracts are major profit centers for auto dealers.  One dealer told Automotive News that in 2005 his gross profit per extended service contract was $436.  By the end of last year, it had skyrocketed to $1,178.  (Automotive News, March 11, 2013)

Consumers anxious to avoid unexpected, costly repairs often buy them without realizing they are usually full of loopholes and exclusions that allow companies to deny coverage. For example, they usually fail to cover prior damage, even if that’s the cause of the problem.

Some auto dealers pressure their finance managers to meet a quota of service contract sales, or be fired. Others have tried to sell service contracts at lower, more competitive prices, but then faced litigation by the companies that offer them.

Some dealers mislead car buyers into thinking that they have to buy a service contract in order to get financing. Legal experts say that such deception is illegal, but can be difficult to prove.

CARS recommends that, instead of getting a service contract, it’s smarter to spend about $000 for a thorough inspection before you buy.  Then if the car has major problems, you can decide if you still want it, or take your business somewhere else.  Also — beware of dealers who try to sell you service contracts that kick in at the same time as the warranty, and expire just when you might need them.