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vehicle safety features1

CHOOSE A SAFE VEHICLE

Let's take a minute or two and talk about how to choose a safe vehicle to purchase.

Now a days, big corporations, will cut corners in order to make bigger profits, and some of those corners include vehicle safety. Just look at the headlines, about recall after recall, and it is not, just one company, but it seems to be all of them.

In a nut shell, their profits come before the consumers safety. So with that being a fact of life in the 21st century, we as consumers must educate ourselves for our own safety. When the big corporations begin to lose our hard earned money for safety concerns, then maybe they will start to place their customers first again.

Crash tests can help you determine how well a vehicle will protect you in a crash. These organizations perform crash tests and rate vehicles:

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year, N H T S A crashes vehicles head-on into a wall and bashes them broadside to test their ability to protect their occupants. NHTSA focuses on evaluating vehicle restraints such as air bags and safety belts.

• The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A different test by the I I H S uses offset-frontal car crashes to assess the protection a vehicle’s structure provides.

• Consumer Reports. The annual auto issue of Consumer Reports rates vehicles in terms of overall safety. Its safety score combines crash test results with a vehicle’s accident avoidance factors — emergency handling, braking, acceleration, and even driver comfort.

• The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. The N M V T I S provides information about a vehicle's history and condition, including information about its title, odometer reading, brand history, and, in some cases, theft. You can also report safety risks to N H T S A.

Safer car dot gov allows you to identify and report problems with your vehicle, tires, equipment or car seats.

To find out whether a manufacturer has recalled a car for safety defects, contact NHTSA . If a vehicle has been recalled, ask the dealer for proof that the defect has been repaired. Used vehicles should also have a current safety inspection sticker if your state requires one.

 

RECALLS, “LEMON” LAWS, AND SECRET WARRANTIES

Sometimes a manufacturer makes a design or production mistake on a motor vehicle. A technical service bulletin notifies the dealer of the problem and how to resolve it. Because these free repairs are not publicized, they are called “secret warranties.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a database of technical service bulletins filed by manufacturers.

If you have a problem with a vehicle that is a safety hazard, check whether the manufacturer has recalled your vehicle. You can find information about technical service bulletins, recalls, and other safety defects in N H T S A’s database or call DOT’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-800-424-9393. You should report hazards that are not listed to your dealer, the manufacturer of the vehicle, and N H T S A. If a safety-related defect exists, the maker must fix it at no cost to you—even if your warranty has expired.

If you have a vehicle with a unique problem that just never seems to get fixed, you may have a “lemon.” Some states have laws concerning “lemons” that require a refund or replacement if a problem is not fixed within a reasonable number of tries. These laws might also go into effect if you have not been able to use your vehicle for a certain number of days. Contact your state or local consumer protection office (p. 107) to learn whether you have such protections and what steps you must take to get your problem solved. If you believe your car is a “lemon”:

• Give the dealer a list of the problems every time you bring it in for repairs.

• Get and keep copies of the repair orders listing the problems, the work done, and the dates the car was in the shop.

• Contact the manufacturer, as well as the dealer, to report the problem. Check your owner’s manual for contact information.

The Center for Auto Safety gathers information and complaints concerning safety defects, recalls, technical service bulletins, and state “lemon” laws.