Teen driver Arizona

Safest Cars for Arizona Teen Drivers- an updated 2015 list.

Safest Cars for Arizona Teen Drivers- an updated list.

As an auto body company dedicated to the safety of our customers, O’Rielly Collision Centers is concerned about the safety of all our drivers, especially the newest ones- the teenage driver.

Each year a new group of teens come of driving age, and with that parents begin a very stressful car buying process. As adults we typically know what we are looking for in a car, Whether is is performance, size, style, utility or simply price, we search for cars with that set of criteria in mind and that is it.

But when it comes to purchasing a car for a teenage son or daughter, the criteria list is somehow more important. As a parent we want to control the safety of our children as much as possible. However when the child becomes a licensed driver, we are forced to let go of some of that control and trust the skill and discipline of our child behind the wheel. As a parent of a new teenage driver, you are facing a host of factors that put our child’s safety in jeopardy. First off there is the lack of experience that all new drivers have. It takes hours and years to master driving at the safest level, and when we had over the keys to a car, we are placing that trust in the least skilled driver in the family. We also have to contend with the temptations that all teen drivers face such as speeding, and now texting and driving. Like all parents we want a safe car four our child, one that will protect them in all driving conditions, even ones that can correct for driver error. The good news is that these cars do exist, and each year more and more affordable used cars with high end safety features enter the used car market.

The third factor that most parents have to contend with but few automotive journalists take into consideration is the teen’s acceptance of the car. Let’s face it, we are a privileged society, and no group is more vocal about their demands than teenagers. As a parent, we want to find good, safe economical car, and one that our child will not put up a fight with us to drive.

So what should a parent look for when shopping for safe cars for a new teen driver?

First off, let me say that most parents automatically think that this child will probably get some scrapes and bumps on this car so let’s just look for a cheap used car in decent shape. I cannot stress enough what a flawed logic this is. Please keep in mind that you are putting the most inexperienced driver in the family into the oldest, or least equipped car in the family fleet. Simple scrapes and bumps can be repaired as body shops like O’Rielly Collision Centers in Tucson for a lot less money than most people think. And what price do you put on your child’s safety?

Typically larger, heavier cars offer better protection in crashes than smaller, lighter cars.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its new, updated list of safest used cars for teen drivers. The list of options to parents has grown by more than 50 percent since the group’s initial report in 2014, even though the price and safety criteria haven’t changed since last year.

“Time is on the consumer’s side,” Anne McCartt, the institute’s senior vice president for research, said in a statement. “It’s easier than ever to find a used vehicle with must-have safety features and decent crash test performance without spending a fortune.”

The IIHS is a nonprofit automotive testing facility in Virginia and is solely financed by the insurance industry and is famous for its crash test safety ratings. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (or NHTSA) is the government oversight group who also conducts crash testing for national safety standards, however, the IIHS crash testing is more rigours and includes more tests and data. This data is primarily used by the Insurance industry to set insurance rates however the information from these tests is also made public in the desire for a safer motoring public.

The IIHS compiled its first list of recommended used vehicles after finding that the vast majority of parents who bought a vehicle for their teen driver bought it used.

According to the IIHS, this year’s list includes higher price points for most of the vehicles they recommend for novice drivers than what a lot of people are used to spending. The IIHS encourages parents to consider paying a little more for safety if they can.

The list is a guide to choosing vehicles that have decent crash test scores from the Institute and the federal government. These vehicles all include standard crash avoidance technologies such as electronic stability control that has been proven to reduce teen driver accidents

A wide range of vehicles are organized by model type and price and designated either as “best choices,” priced under $20,000 with good ratings in the institute’s four oldest crashworthiness tests, or “good choices,” priced under $10,000 with less-than-perfect ratings in some tests.

Click here to go straight to the IIHS list.

Have a car in mind for a teen driver that needs a little “aesthetic improvement”? Click the button below for a free estimate.

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three factors takata air bag

Airbag recall expands to seven additional brands.

Airbag recall expands to seven additional brands.

At O’Rielly Collision Centers in Tucson Arizona, safety is our guiding principal. Anytime there is a public safety issue we want to bring it to your attention, just like the ongoing developments of the Takata airbag recall. The Takata airbag recall is not a new recall, but it could be expanding.

This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notified seven automakers, including Tesla Motors and Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Suzuki Motor, Volvo Trucks and Spartan Motors that it is considering expanding the Takata airbag recall.

“It is expected that the scope of the current Takata recalls may expand as time goes on and will likely grow to include vehicles that are outside the scope of the current recalls” is one excerpt from the NHTSA letters. “The recalls may also grow to include inflator types that are not currently within the scope of the Takata DIRs (defect information reports).”

The NHTSA has increased its estimates to 23.4 million defective airbag inflators that are in U.S. vehicles.

The recall on the defective inflators alleges that they can deploy with too much force in a crash, shooting metal fragments at the vehicle’ passengers. The defective inflators have been blamed for eight deaths so far in the United States.

The NHTSA letters urge the seven new automakers to outline out how many vehicles have Takata airbag inflators and whether they are considering recalls or any other service actions related to airbag inflators.

The NHTSA has asked these seven automakers what challenges do they expect to face if NHTSA issued an administrative order expanding the scope of the current Takata recalls, either by model year or inflator type. NHTSA is holding public hearing regarding the Takata airbag recall scheduled in two weeks.

The agency has offered to work with all carmakers to develop plans for replacing faulty airbags with new ones.

On September 16, NHTSA updated its list of affected manufacturers and vehicles.

Consumers will have to wait until NHTSA is finished gathering information from these latest automakers before taking any action. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to check NHTSA’s VIN Lookup tool to see if your vehicle is included in the Takata airbag recall.

So far about 23.4 million Takata driver and passenger air bag inflators have been recalled on 19.2 million U.S. vehicles sold by 11 different companies, including Honda and Fiat Chrysler.

NHTSA said one purpose of the letters is to figure out how many additional vehicles might have to be recalled. The agency is preparing for an Oct. 22 public meeting in Washington to discuss an ongoing investigation into Takata and whether the agency will take over management of all the recalls to speed up repairs.

So far, only 4.4 million air bag inflators had been replaced. The lengthy replacement schedule has been exacerbated because car makers have had to scramble to get parts.

NHTSA is asking each of the seven additional companies to identify every model that uses a Takata air bag inflator with ammonium nitrate as the propellant. Currently, Takata’s theory on the cause of the problem is that the accelerant chemical degrades over time. According to Takata, this could potentially lead to “overaggressive combustion” or potentially cause the inflator to rupture. The NHTSA claims that time, temperature and airborne moisture contribute to the early failure of the Takata airbags.

The reason that the NHTSA has added additional manufacturers to its list of faulty airbag has to do with an investigation into a June crash involving a Volkswagen SUV near St. Louis in which the left side air bag inflated with too much force and blew apart the inflator canister. The crash between a deer and a 2015 VW Tiguan was the first reported in a Volkswagen and the first instance with a side air bag failure. Previously Takata had said the problem was limited to older designs in front and passenger air bags.
VW said at the time that the Tiguan driver did not seek medical attention, and it was working with NHTSA and Takata to better understand the problem.

Mercedes, Jaguar-Land Rover and Tesla all said the Takata air bags they use are not part of current recalls, but wouldn’t say which models had them. Mercedes and Jaguar-Land Rover said they were cooperating with NHTSA.

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Dodge truck death wobble

What you need to know about the Dodge truck “Death Wobble”

Out here in Tucson Arizona, as is the case with a lot of the Southwest, it is truck country. We fix a lot of trucks in out body shops in Tucson and Green Valley Arizona. As a result we have probably encountered, heard of, or repaired just about every kind of ailment that a truck can encounter. We also hear about recurring problems among truck owners. One such occurrence is the Dodge Ram truck and Jeep Wrangler “death wobble”.

When we hear a term like “death wobble” being uttered in the same breath as a car or truck, we become very alert to instances such as this. We pride ourselves at O’Rielly Collision Centers on being able to return any car or truck to its safest possible condition. So today we are going to discuss this particular truck ailment in detail.

Even as recently as July 17, 2015, Law firms are taking out class action lawsuits against a Chrysler, alleging that certain Chrysler-manufactured Dodge Ram trucks have a defective steering system. According to the complaint, certain 2009-2012 Dodge Ram trucks are equipped with a defective steering system that causes the trucks to shake uncontrollably and can cause the steering system to fail abruptly.

The Chrysler death wobble complaint was filed in United States District Court for the Central District of California. The case is titled Looper v. FCA US LLC, Case No. 5:14-cv-800 and is currently pending before Judge Virginia A. Phillips. There are no new developments in this case as of yet.

What is the death wobble?
Jeep Wrangler owners who experienced a similar diving abnormality in their particular vehicles originally coined the “death wobble” phrase.

When travelling at highway speeds and hitting a bump or pot-hole in the road, the front end begins to shake violently and does not stop until the driver jams on the brakes and brings the truck back down to below highway speeds.

Some people contribute this phenomenon to the worst possible downside of having a coil-sprung front suspension on a truck with a track bar. Unlike a typical suspension set up, Dodge Ram trucks will continue to shake long after hitting the bump to the point that controlling the vehicle is nearly impossible until the driver slows down.

Chrysler’s failed recalls

The current lawsuit alleges that Chrysler learned about the death wobble defect with Dodge Ram trucks in the mid-2000s but waited four years before conducting a series of recalls from 2009 through 2013. Chrysler classified the recalls as Safety Recalls, H36, H46, K28, L16, N62, N49, and N63. The recalls addressed various parts of 2009-2012 Dodge Ram trucks’ steering linkage system, including its tie rod assemblies. The complaint alleges that the recalls excluded many affected vehicles and that Chrysler provided replacement parts that were also defective, forcing Chrysler to make additional recalls to remedy prior recalls. Consumers have reported that Chrysler does not have enough replacement parts to repair all the vehicles for which it has submitted recall notices and that drivers have been put on long waiting lists for repairs.
Chrysler’s steering linkage defect and redesign

Allegedly, the ball stud is defective in the Chrysler Suspension design. The driver’s side tie-rod ball stud that Chrysler used is too weak to and is known to fracture under normal driving conditions.
The tie rod is a “crucial link” in the vehicle’s steering system. A loose tie rod can cause any vehicle to have an excess shimmy or, in cases like this, the dreaded death wobble.
The tie rod can affect front-end alignment. When the vehicle’s alignment falls out of whack, it can cause the vehicle to pull suddenly to one side of the road.

It’s important to note that beginning in the 2013 model year, Chrysler redesigned its trucks with a new reciprocating ball steering gear that provides greater durability and control. The trucks also have better steering knuckles, ball joints, and more robust linkages.

Death wobble could be a danger to consumers

In the lawsuit, the Chrysler death wobble class action complaint alleges that the death wobble is a safety hazard to drivers of Dodge Ram trucks, as well as their passengers and anyone who shares the road with these vehicles. Drivers of Dodge Ram trucks have reported that the defect has caused serious accidents and injuries, including vehicle rollover, and accidents resulting in drivers or passengers being thrown into rivers, trees, ditches, fences, telephone poles, and concrete barriers.

The lawsuit also alleges that Chrysler has acknowledged that the steering system defect has led to injuries and accidents. In a press release regarding the recalls, Chrysler stated that the company was aware of “six accidents and two injuries involving the model year 2008-2012 2500 and 3500 trucks and one additional accident with no injuries involving the remaining models.”

Dodge Ram Trucks with Death Wobble Problems

2008 Dodge Ram 1500 2006-2008 Dodge Ram 1500
2012 Dodge Ram 2500 2004-2012 Dodge Ram 2500
2012 Dodge Ram 3500 2004-2012 Dodge Ram 3500

Also included are the 2007-2012 Dodge Ram 3500 Cab Chassis, 2008-2012 Dodge Ram 4500, and the 2008 Dodge Ram 5500.

Death wobble defect causes consumers financial loss

The lawsuit further alleges that the defect in Chrysler’s steering linkage system has caused financial loss to consumers by decreasing the resale value of Dodge trucks, and that consumers have incurred out-of-pocket expenses when they have attempted to repair their trucks. Additionally, the defective steering linkage system is alleged to cause wear and tear on other parts of Dodge trucks, such as front tires, which can be expensive to repair or replace.

Does your Dodge Ram have a death wobble caused you some auto body damage? Contact us to get a free estimate for repairs by clicking the button below.

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exploded sunroof

Are Shattering Sunroof the Next National Safety Recall?

In the last two years, automotive safety recalls have taken center stage in a ways that we have never seen before. Coming on the heels of a major GM botched safety recall over its faulty ignition switches and the Takata airbag recall. Most recently Chrysler has announced a buy back program for 200,000 dodge pickups over a steering issue, and nearly 1 million Jeeps over a gas tank issue. Now the NHTSA is investigating new safety issue- Exploding sunroofs.

In sunnier areas of the United States such as right here in Tucson Arizona, more cars are sold with sunroofs than those without them. We are also exposed to more extreme sun and heat issues. So it is an alarming thought that the NHTSA has received over 400 new claims of exploding sunroofs. And the NHTSA has taken notice, calling for a National investigation into the problem.

The exploding sunroofs are not specific to one particular make or model, however recently Audi and Kia have performed small scale recalls on their sunroofs including a the Kia Sorrento from 2011 to 2013.

Types of glass used in Auto manufacture

When it shatters, it will sound like a gunshot. Unlike windshields which are made of a laminated safety glass, sunroofs are made of tempered glass, the same as your side windows and rear windows. Tempered glass is baked at high temperatures at the factory and shatters into millions of small pieces upon impact. While strong initially, the glass becomes very fragile once it is hit from a sharp object, or twisted or contorted as if in an accident. This is designed for safety, to keep the occupants from getting cut by large sharp shards of glass, and also to make glass breakage easy for rescuers and first responders.

On the other hand your windshield is actually two layers of glass, non-tempered, with a thin plastic layer sandwiched between both layers of glass. This s designed to protect you in an impact and to keep the glass shards from entering into the cabin upon impact. Laminated glass is also a structural element to modern cars.

Possible causes for sunroof explosions

Early investigation found hundreds of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the problem which lead Audi and Hyundai to issue voluntary recalls on some models.

Due to the relatively small number of complaints filed, all other manufactures so far have waived off any responsibility claiming that external impacts from rocks or other foreign objects are causing the damage.

One researcher who investigates crash scenes for insurance companies claims that the problem is that the sunroofs and the mechanical structures are too light for their purpose.
The glass in the structure around the sunroof is being made thinner in vehicles these days as part of weight savings.

Car-makers are under increased pressure from the federal government to make vehicles with better fuel mileage, and they’re doing that by using lighter metals for the frame and auto bodies.

Kia’s own investigation found no evidence of a defect, however federal regulators at the NHTSA have started their own investigation stating that the recent influx of reported incidents is concerning. That investigation that started in May 2014, and it’s still open.

How to prevent your sunroof from shattering in Arizona

Here in Arizona, where the sun and heat are very intense, experts suggest that when it’s really hot out, you should leave the shade to your sunroof open when you’re not in the car. This prevents extra heat from building up between the glass and the shade that will put more pressure on the glass.

exploded sunroof with sahde

They also suggest that getting your sunroof tinted on the inside would prevent glass from showering down on you if the sunroof did break.

You can search for your car’s make and model in NHTSA’s database online to find out how many times others have complained about this issue happen.

Have an issue with your sunroof or any other autobody issues you need us to look at? Click the button below.

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Auto Glass facts that could save your life.

Auto Glass facts and YOUR safety

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