At the latest count more than 17 million vehicles from ten manufacturers have been recalled for frontal airbags in the United States alone and another seven million vehicles worldwide may also impacted by faulty airbags from the same manufacturer. Airbags are made by the Japanese parts manufacturer Takata and installed in vehicles starting model year 2002 through 2008. Among the recall are vehicles made by Acura, more than 765,000 vehicles from BMW, 2.88 million vehicles from Chrysler including Dodge and Ram, Over 500,000 vehicles from Ford, 5.5 million vehicles from Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Subaru, and 877,000 vehicles from Toyota.
The issue is defective inflator and propellant deterioration over time and may deploy improperly during an accident causing severe damage to the driver and passengers. Metal fragments from the airbag housing structure can also be released throughout the cabin adding more harm to occupants.
First sign of faults started with Infiniti in April 2013 and it took couple more years to realize the true impact of the problem. Toyota started to recall its vehicles in June 2014. Takata was slow to admit the problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the problem is acute under humidity and forced regional recalls starting with Florida, Hawaii and the rest of the US.
When the weather changes from winter to summer, it is time for you to think about vehicle maintenance more specifically tires. Tire pressure changes according to the weather. Warmer weather causes tires to lose air pressure by one to two pounds for every 10 degree increase in temperature. Since you tend to travel more under better weather conditions vehicle maintenance require your attention. You and your family’s safety depend on well-maintained vehicle.
An under-inflated tire could cause a tire blowout. You can easily recognize the condition due to bulging of the tire and noise it generates when you take a sharp turn at lower speeds. Noise also an indication of alignment problem and you need to get it checked by a certified auto maintenance specialist. An over-inflated tire poorly hugs the road and under wet conditions could cause hydroplaning. A worn out tire is similarly spell danger. Perform the penny test to see whether the tire is worn out or not. If you can’t see the Lincoln’s head when you insert a penny into the grove, the tire is still good. Tire inspection for cuts, nail and other inserts can be done visually. Make it a habit to inspect your tires each time you pump gas into the vehicle.
By Phin Upham
American cars have a uniquely American swagger about them, and it’s common for people to debate over which ones are the best ones. Among those hardcore fans, there are always two major houses that stand the tallest. Ford and Chevrolet. Both have a long standing history in the automotive world, and both are still driving forces in the industry today.
The company many of us refer to as “Chevy” began in 1911. It was started as a division of General Motors, another important name in American automotive manufacturing. Louis Chevrolet started the company with William C. Durant, and the two were so successful that Durant purchased General Motors in 1918 in a reverse merger. This was important because Durant was reclaiming his spot in GM’s corporate history as its president.
His tenure lasted only a year before he was ousted a second time in favor of a man named Alfred Sloan. Sloan chose Chevrolet as his flagship brand, and he decided to compete directly with Henry Ford by manufacturing mainstream cars meant for the every man. At the time, Ford’s Model-T was the best-selling car in the United States and Chevy intended on beating that.
Whether they did or did not is a question best left up to auto enthusiasts, but it’s clear both companies were wildly successful. Today, GM cars are marketed and sold all over the world. One can buy a Chevrolet in Europe, thanks to a recent re-launch of the brand in 2005, and you can even find Chevys in Russia.
Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.