Category: Auto Extended Warranty

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Rollaways can be problematic. Especially if you were one of the 68 injuries linked to 266 rollaway crashes last year. Fiat Chrysler could have added a fail-safe device which would have prevented this. An addition onto the automatic transmission shifter would have been appropriate, but they didn’t and now are recalling roughly 811,000 vehicles as a result.

Fiat Chrysler was one of two manufacturers that purchased monostable shifters from a German manufacturer known as ZF. The device is rather odd as it returns back to the center position instead of utilizing a lever that goes through a series of positions as it changes gears. Think of a joystick, an immediate snap-back return. This signifies that the driver must make sure that the transmission is in Park. So what’s the issue? Well, the ZF shifter doesn’t have a fail-safe feature that would shift the transmission in Park or apply the parking brake in the event [...]

Hackers abound, folks. Not trying to put the fear of everything tech in your head, but now that our lives virtually function in the cloud, so do threats, and those threats are not from robots or third-party machines with bad morals. They are smart folks who either are out for bad or just to screw around. Either way, if a hacker hits you, you’ll feel it. Speaking of feeling it, last year Fiat Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million cars as hackers “demonstrated” how they were able to use a homemade kit to unlock, and even start a vehicle from the cloud. Yikes!

Fast forward to today and Fiat Chrysler is now trying to get ahead of the threat by offering hackers up to $1,500 for successfully exposing software vulnerabilities in their cars. Bounties start at $150 and go up from there to tech disrupters who can officially disrupt and identify bugs to the [...]

It is probably a safe bet that regardless of your proclivity towards new or used cars, the choice mostly comes down to cost. Some folks have lots of disposable income and choose to buy new, always. Some folks do not and thus buy used. Yet a third group might fall in one or the other of the previous two and either stretch themselves to the financial end to buy new, or don’t value new cars as much as say a three week adventure to Thailand or Bali.
The good news for those who buy used are technology upgrades now make it possible to have the best of both worlds – your used car that didn’t break the bank plus the amenities of new car. So what are the aftermarket upgrades that you can make? Let’s get to it!

First up, a new head unit. Otherwise known as your car’s stereo, at an economic end [...]

We all probably know how a lease works, right? The buyer agrees on a regular payment plan, follows a predetermined maintenance plan, and thus retains the vehicle for the duration of the agreement. When entering a lease many look at it as a done deal. Basically, this is either all or nothing, no way out. But that’s not the whole story, and in some cases, getting out of lease is just as important as the decision to jump in.

In theory any lease can be terminated early. But the small writing is small for a reason. There are usually an array of penalties and fees that follow to incentivize one not to rupture the agreement. So in the end this comes down to cost. But there are some things that one can do when seeking a break. First, wash, detail, and fix your car’s tires. Next, take the vehicle back to the dealership and request [...]

It has been echoed repeatedly, yet our collective behavior suggests we don’t take it that seriously. Most drivers have a greater likelihood of dying in an auto related accident than anywhere else. The anywhere part can also be transformed to anything for some folks. More likely than a heart attack, cancer, diabetes, you name it. So why do we act so nonchalant in the face of such disturbing statistics? A big reason is cars for some of us are a sort of second home. We are spending up to four or five hours per day in them and technology has facilitated our interconnectedness thus rendering them comfortable, cozy and seemingly safe.

So let’s talk numbers then. Last year approximately 35,200 people died in traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that is a 7.7 percent jump from 2014. Small increases or decreases are usually explained away from a variance perspective. But 7.7 [...]

Google is at it again, and this time privacy wonks are up in arms. In a recently released paper the Silicon Valley giant details a system where motorists would receive a varied range of content (music to even turn-by-turn directions) in exchange for data. What data you ask? Basically, data on personal driving behavior as well as whereabouts. This data of course will be used by Google in marketing/advertising to draw in vendors/suppliers and motorists who divulge their data could receive attractive discounts from insurance companies for example (based on good driving) or receive coupons from restaurants or shops in their vicinity.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well, anytime one talks of data, data based on personal behavior, etc., privacy issues come into play, and more important, how will that data be used? John Simpson, Director of the Privacy Project for Consumer Watchdog has expressed concern. Not only does he feel this is privacy [...]

When VW launched a public relations bomb (not willingly we might add) roughly a year ago announcing that they had used a software device to fake their way around emissions standards, many were outraged. Outraged that a brand as respected as VW would attempt this. Outraged that more than one person and one department obviously had signed off on this ill-conceived plan. And outraged more than likely that if VW were engaged in such nefarious plotting, what would keep others from not assuming they could do the same?

Well, this outrage was not shared by auto insiders. In fact, this had been an “open secret” according to some for nearly a decade. The issue wasn’t the “what,” but rather the “how.” Automakers were generally perplexed as to how VW could get their diesel offerings to run so cleanly when the same technology was obviously being employed elsewhere but generating different results.

Same suppliers, [...]

 

Auto sales volume is up, but that doesn’t mean the industry is resting on its collective laurels. Automakers are using a number of discounts and other mechanisms to keep these sales churning. In June for example, incentives reached an all-time high. An average of $3,278 per vehicle was registered, which again makes it a record setting summer month.

According to monthly forecasts developed by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive (a joint collaboration), the June $3,278 per vehicle discount is $119 above the June 2015 number. This is a four percent increase, something not seen for quite a while.

Coupled with these incentive numbers were new vehicle transaction prices also hit all-time highs. Consumers appear to be offsetting higher prices by examining leasing options and longer terms on loans. Total U.S. sales are expected to set a record for the first half of 2016. Analysts typically look at high incentives and (in most cases) rightly [...]

 

Some distressing (but perhaps not so surprising) news surfaced recently thanks to a Science Magazine study. Researchers conducted six online surveys of U.S. residents between June and November of this year. In it they posed a question – how should autonomous vehicles respond? Or better put, if you had an autonomous vehicle how should it behave (assuming you are the passenger of course).

The overwhelming majority felt an autonomous, self-driving car should be programmed with the decisions that the computer will make for the greatest good. Yet, by greatest good, this is where it gets interesting. Researchers used a series of quizzes that essentially presented a number of unpleasant options. Options that had to do with whether one would chose to spare others or protect themselves. In short, respondents indicated they would rather their autonomous vehicle run over a pedestrian over slamming into a wall (which would of course inflict injury on the passengers).

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One of the clearest ways you can step up your “speed” game in the auto world is moving to 10. Not referring to 10 tires, but rather, 10 speeds. The F-150 is part of the 10-speed club as is the Chevy Camaro. In fact, the Chevy Camaro ZL1 shifts faster than a Porsche PDK for example. Claims are first to second, second to third, and third to fourth are faster than Porsche’s lauded dual-clutch. But enough of the Camaro, we’ll save that for another post. Today we’re talking about the third automobile to reach the 10-speed club – the Mustang.

Word on the street is the 2018 Mustang will have a 10-speed option, although this has yet to be confirmed by Ford. The F-150 and Camaro’s respective 10-speeds are part of a joint venture between GM and Ford. The deal involves sharing designs for both transmissions and Ford now says that the new transmission actually [...]

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