A German parts company called TRW Automotive manufactured a potentially faulty airbag control unit, according to the USDOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Airbag control units are small devices that determine when an airbag should be deployed. The NHTSA claims these parts may fail due to electrical surges caused by a crash, resulting in undeployed airbags.
While we don’t know any specific models yet, we do know this effects potentially 12.3 million cars on the road today. These vehicles are model years 2010-2019, and are from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai Motor Company’s Hyundai and Kia, as well as Mitsubishi.
Are there Recalls?
So far, no official recalls have been made, but the NHTSA has reported one death believed to be caused by this.
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In a world where we have more electronic and automated devices than ever, it seems like part of our life goes on hold when one breaks. How long can you go without your cell phone, for example? It may be pretty tough – you’ll miss phone calls from your boss or spouse, you can’t check social media for entertainment, etc. But what if when something broke, your only option was to take it to the manufacturer and pay whatever they demanded to get it fixed?
In a world of no right-to-repair laws, that’s exactly what you’d be living in, and it wouldn’t be cheap.
The basic concept behind right-to-repair is that you, the buyer of a product, own the device you purchased and should be able to access information and parts to repair it. The manufacturer has no right to have a monopoly on parts or service because once they sell the device, it isn’t theirs anymore. In the automotive world, this is huge.
Up until a landmark case in 2013, automakers were legally free to keep things like schematics, diagnostic tools, and specialty tools out of the hands of John Q. Everyman… and at the same time, out of the hands of independent repair shops and even the national chains. This meant that for major repairs, especially electronic ones, you had to go to the dealer to get your car repaired.
In 2013, Massachusetts passed the first major right to repair law for automobiles. The Massachusetts Right to Repair Initiative, as it was known, said that all people from regular owners to full on repair shops had a right to information and tools already available to dealers.
Shortly after, most automakers agreed to follow the ruleset of Massachusetts nationwide. By doing this, everyone everywhere now had access to technical information and tools on their cars.
This is not the first time laws like these have been passed. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, for example, states that using aftermarket repair parts on your vehicle – things you may find at NAPA or Advance Auto Parts, for example – cannot and will not void your warranty. This is also good for the original equipment manufacturers or “OEMs” – the companies that built the original parts installed as your car was being assembled – as this creates a second market for them to sell in. Companies like Denso, ACDelco, and even tire companies like Michelin don’t have to sell just to Chevrolet or Toyota. They can sell directly to consumers and auto shops too. On top of all of this, aftermarket parts are required to be of equal quality of the original parts installed.
So if the parts you can find at an auto parts store are cheaper, just as good, and available to you and your favorite local mechanic, why should you have to go to the dealer?
You shouldn’t. That’s why right-to-repair laws are so important for you, the consumer. They protect the fundamental concept of capitalism – competition makes for better and cheaper options.
As the technology world grows, you’re likely to see this happen in the cell phone and computer world too. 18 states already have laws about this as of March 2018, according to The Verge.
To recap, right-to-laws are designed to keep manufacturers from creating a monopoly on the upkeep of devices, including cars. These allow places like independent auto shops and parts stores to exist, and also help keep costs down. Overall, right-to-repair laws are designed with the consumer in mind.
Have any questions about these laws and how they impact you? Feel free to call Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill at 704-545-4597, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoAndTireOfMintHill
The average vehicle on the road today weighs about 4,000 pounds. That’s two tons! Cars today weigh much more than their classic counterparts for two main reasons – more efficient engines and cabin comfort. To wheel such a beast is no easy task. Early cars were so hard to drive that when power steering first came out, it was almost overpowered – some companies advertised cars that could be steered with only a pinky finger. Today, we know how to balance power steering properly – not too much but not too little. Achieving such a balance requires a very accurate positioning and maintenance of the power steering system. One of the most important parts, the lifeblood, of most modern power steering is called power steering fluid.
What is power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is essentially what makes power steering possible. When you steer, power steering fluid applies pressure to a system called the rack-and-pinion. For example, if you steer to the left, fluid is used to apply pressure to the left side of a piston, mounted to the rack. Think of it as a crane helping you lift something no human has the strength to lift – you are the brain, the input, the control center – the fluid is the brawn, the workhorse, the crane.
Why do cars need their fluid flushed?
Power steering fluid, much like oil, will get dirty over time. Deteriorating rubber, bits and pieces of dirt and grime, and a slew of other things can get into the fluid. When the fluid has debris in it, it is harder to be pushed around to help you steer – causing premature wear.
When should I get my power steering fluid flushed?
This is usually a case-to-case event. Some cars actually give out a certain milage when it should be replaced in the owner’s manual, while some cars do not. The most obvious of signs include having a harder time steering the car or if when you turn the steering wheel you hear noises.
Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill, LLC has the latest equipment and experienced technicians who can flush your power steering fluid with peak efficiency. If you feel its time to flush your power steering fluid, call us at 704-545-4597