US safety agency investigates Jeep Wranglers; wiring problem may stop air bags from inflating

U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that a wiring problem in Jeep Wrangler steering wheels could stop the air bags from inflating in a crash.

The probe covers about 630,000 Wranglers from the 2007 through 2012 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 221 complaints that the air bag warning light is illuminating, indicating an electrical problem in the steering wheel. Jeep maker Fiat Chrysler recalled some right-hand-drive Wranglers in 2011 for the same problem. Now the agency is looking at left-hand-drive vehicles.

The agency reports no crashes or injuries because of the problem. The investigation could lead to another recall.

Fiat Chrysler says it is co-operating in the investigation. Owners whose air bag lights come on should contact their dealer.



Toll from faulty General Motors ignition switches now stands at 117 deaths and 237 injuries

The death toll from faulty ignition switches in General Motors’ small cars has risen by three to 117.

Victims’ families are being offered compensation of at least $1 million each by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM last year. In addition, Feinberg will make offers to 237 people who were injured in crashes caused by the switches in the Chevrolet Cobalt and other older cars.

GM recalled 2.6 million of the cars last year, but acknowledged it knew about the switch problems for more than a decade.

Feinberg’s compensation fund received 4,342 claims by the Jan. 31 deadline. Seventy-nine claims remain under review. About 90 per cent were deemed deficient or ineligible.

GM paid $200 million to settle claims filed with Feinberg as of March 31.


“Canadians need to be much more aware that driving takes your full attention.”

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Take steps to thwart car thieves

By Doug Sullivan TADA President | Source: Toronto Star

In April, the Toronto Star published a story about how car thieves have been targeting posh neighborhoods and high-end vehicles.

One thing that struck me about the article is how thieves are targeting vehicles with the latest, high-tech security systems. They’re using sophisticated technology to gain access to electronic devices that can bypass a vehicle’s security system.

Although thieves are becoming more adept at figuring out ways to steal automobiles, the general trend in police-reported motor theft has been declining for the past decade.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2013, motor vehicle theft fell by eight per cent over 2012. Since 2003, motor vehicle theft has declined by 62 per cent across Canada.

Despite this encouraging trend, vehicle owners still need to be proactive to deter auto theft and protect their property. Having your car stolen is an inconvenience in terms of wasted time, dealing with insurance and finding a replacement vehicle.

The other negative impact of auto theft is that it contributes to high insurance rates, for all drivers. Ontario has the highest insurance premiums in Canada.

Whether your vehicle is parked at a condo in Toronto, in a driveway in Timmins or at a shopping centre in Sudbury, no vehicle is immune from being targeted by would-be thieves.

Yes, there are far more vehicle thefts in urban centers than in rural areas and, yes, thieves often target specific models based on their re-sale value on the black market, but no one single make or model is averse to theft.

The best that car owners can do is to take reasonable precautions and use common sense. Not leaving your car running while unattended (in your driveway or at a corner store) would qualify as common sense, and yet people do this all the time.

Based on my experiences and input from industry experts, here are some suggestions to help protect your vehicles and to minimize the risk of car theft.

— Place your key fob in a closed metallic box or in your fridge freezer, which reduces the chance that a thief could override your key’s coded signal.

— Don’t leave registration documents that contain a key code in your glove compartment. Your personal information can be stolen and used for identity theft.

— Remove valet keys from the glove compartments of your vehicles. Sometimes owners will forget that these keys are often in the manual wallet.

— Consider installing security etching, which permanently marks each window of your vehicle with an identification number. This type of deterrent makes it more difficult for thieves to re-sell a vehicle because all of the windows have to be replaced.

— Put valuables out of sight when your car is unattended. Shopping bags, purses and sports gear make easy targets if they are visible.

— Park near similar types of vehicles as yours. Thieves are often looking to fill “steal to order” models, and if several vehicles within close proximity fit that description, odds are reduced that your vehicle will be targeted.

— Keep your car keys in a secure place; don’t hang them on keyboards in the home and make sure they’re not visible through windows.

— Always lock your doors and close your windows when your car is unattended.

— Park your vehicle in well-lit and well-travelled areas.

This column represents the views of TADA. Email or Doug Sullivan, president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, is a new-car dealer in Huntsville, Ont.

Every driver — even really good ones — can have a bad day on the road.

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Car Owner Reunited With Her “First Love” 43 Years After Corvette Stingray Was Stolen

By  | Consumerist

In a rare, heartwarming tale of the return of a valued possession once thought to be lost forever, the owner of a 1972 Corvette Stingray that was stolen 43 years ago was finally reunited with her “first love.” And she is not going to let it out of her sight ever again.

The Duluth, GA resident bought the car when she was 19 using money from her first job toward a down payment and owned it for just six months, according to a statement from Allstate, which had paid out a claim on the car decades ago after it was stolen while she was at work.

The insurer worked with the used-car dealer who realized there was something funny about the car’s title and government officials to reunite the owner with what she calls her “first love.”

“That car, I hope, will never leave my sight again,” she told Bloomberg. “It needs a lot of love and attention. I want to restore that car, I want to bring it back to life.”

The car dealer said he bought it from a widow in 2014 for $10,000, and noticed something was suspicious while going through the documents that came with the car.

“It wasn’t a convertible, but the title had ‘CN,’ like a convertible should have,” he told Bloomberg. “And then, I looked at the year model on the title, and it said 1969. Well, that body had not been modified at all, and that was a ’72 model car.”

He called the authorities, who traced the car’s ownership back to Allstate. Although in these cases the insurance company will often auction off recovered property, the original owner was able to buy it back for an undisclosed sum, an Allstate spokesman said.

“In the history of Allstate, at least, which goes back 80-some-odd years, we had never come across something like this,” he said. “Almost all stolen cars are either found within the first five or six weeks, or not at all.”

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