Takata Airbag Recall Expanded – Again

Here we go again. Officials with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) just announced another expansion of the Takata airbag recall. Already the biggest automotive recall in history, the fiasco just swelled again, to the tune of 5 million additional vehicles (bringing the total to some 24 million) registered by US owners and believed to be outfitted with defective Takata airbag inflators. The latest move is prompted in part by the death of the driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger last month in South Carolina. According to court documents, a metal piece from the inflator canister penetrated the driver’s neck once the airbag deployed. That fits with details of other deaths and injuries blamed on the issue. Recalled airbag inflators use ammonium nitrate to...

January 26, 2016
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Audi Aims to Keep Drivers Wide Awake, De-Stressed and Healthy

If your New Year resolution to get healthier is being driven off track by your hectic schedule, you may yet be in luck – if you drive an Audi, that is. Among the the hundreds of health-centric new gadgetry showcased at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the Audi Fit Driver. Originally unvieled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, this app pairs with a wearable fitness tracker such as the FitBit or Apple Watch and, via a series of sensors, monitors a driver's breathing and driving style. Data collected is analyzed alongside outside variables including weather and traffic information to determine whether a driver is fatigued or stressed out – both issues that can significantly boost the risk of an accident. If the system does indicate that...

January 22, 2016
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New Florida Law Nixes Speeding Ticket Quotas

Remember the crazy story of the tiny North Florida town where the entire police department was disbanded after five traffic cops spilled to the city council that their boss had long imposed a strict speeding ticket quota on staff? The debacle that brought down the Waldo Police Department apparently miffed more than just the thousands of motorists who were handed pricey citations for going as little as two miles over the limit over the years. It seems the state’s lawmakers also were irked at “Waldo’s finest” for making the town a notorious speed trap – so irked, in fact, that they hit back with new legislation that nixes the dubious practice within state lines. In effect as of January 1, SB 264 expressly prohibits local law-enforcement agencies from...

January 15, 2016
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Was Your Ride Among the 10 Best Selling in 2015?

Last year was a good one to be in the automotive sales business. Car and light truck sales figures nationwide hid 17.47 million in 2015, up 5.7 percent from 2014’s numbers. Reports show that pickup trucks were the most popular choices, and Ford was the big winner - again. Its F-Series pickup truck kept its top spot as the highest selling ride in the country – a designation it’s boasted for decades. And the next three spots on the top 10 list also were pickups, followed by small and mid-sized cars made by Honda and Toyota. Here’s how the top 10 best-sellers list played out: Ford F-Series – 780,354 sold Chevrolet Silverado – 600,544 sold Dodge Ram – 451,116 sold Toyota Camry – 429,355 sold Toyota Corolla/Matrix – 363,332...

January 15, 2016
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BMW, Skully Unveil Next Generation Motorcycle Helmets

Heads up, motorcycle riders – literally. BMW garnered some serious attention at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this past weekend with the unveiling of its next-generation helmet, complete with a built-in heads-up display. In terms of looks, BMW’s Motorrad helmet has a sleek, modern design with a few extra features – Namely a GoPro-like, forward-facing camera embedded in the top of the helmet and a rear-facing camera that’s used much like a virtual rear-view mirror when the heads-up display is in use. The display feature shows the rider an array of information including speed, fuel level, gear and temperature. An advanced system known as V2V integration boosts rider safety by showing approaching road signs and warning of upcoming...

January 15, 2016
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Faraday Offers Glimpse of 1,000-HP Hypercar Future

Tech geeks around the world had their eyes and ears focused on Las Vegas this past week, as the International Consumer Electronics Show unveiled some of the coolest concepts and most advanced products coming to the marketplace over the next few years. For automotive aficionados, nothing on the show floor turned heads quite like the Faraday Future FFZERO1 concept car. With financial backing from Letv, a Chinese media and technologies company with a market value of tens of billions of dollars, the FFZERO1 began as a doodle sitting on the desk of Richard Kim, Faraday Future’s design head. Along came Nick Samson, the company’s product architect and VP of product R&D who promptly saw a potential publicity powerhouse for its Variable Platform Architecture. This past...

January 14, 2016
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High Tech Cars Drive the Show at CES

For years, the International Consumer Electronics Show, known informally as CES, has showcased the latest and greatest in electronic gadgetry, from toys to televisions. But this year, a major highlight driving crowds is technology on wheels. In fact, the 2016 show, running Jan. 6-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, features no less than a dozen concept and new production cars outfitted with futuristic, state-of-the-art tech attributes. In fact. A full 10 percent of the venue's 2.2 million square feet of display space this year is dedicated to all things automotive. Tech features that automakers are showing off at CES support the future of autonomous/automated driving, including parking assist, collision avoidance, emergency braking and much more. Among those expected to make a...

January 6, 2016
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Fire Risk Prompts Recall of 570,000 Jeep and Dodge SUVs

If you drive a Jeep or Dodge SUV, listen up. Officials with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles this week announced two major recalls of four different vehicles, warning registered owners and drivers of a fire risk. First up - a recall of 352,831 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durango SUVs made before Sept. 2012. Wiring in the headliners of these rides is prone to overheat, short circuit and potentially catch fire, according to officials with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The second recall affects the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot SUV made during a five-month period earlier this year - some 60,100 of which are registered to US owners. Turns out a clamp located in the power steering assembly of these vehicles may be out of place. If so, it could cause a leak of the...

January 6, 2016
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Mad Motocross Skills Featured in Point Break Remake

There's been much debate over this year's remake of the 1991 film Point Break. But even among those questioning the move, there's been nothing but praise for the amazing stunts performed not by run-of-the-mill Hollywood stunt drivers but actual, legit extreme athletes. Among them are pro snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue, freeclimber Chris Sharma and legendary surfer Laird Hamilton. But our favorite here at E3 Spark Plugs just might be motocross racer Steve Haughelstine. He was one of two bikers featured in scenes shot in Swingarm City, Utah, considered the "holy grail of American motocross riding." In the scene featured in the video below, he and another rider dropped onto a rock spine that, to anyone's knowledge, had never been traversed on wheels before. "These guys are not just...

January 6, 2016
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Bold Colors Shaking Up the Automotive Scene

According to Forbes magazine, and backed up with a quick glance around any American mall or grocery store parking lot, white is the most popular color for automobiles in the US. In fact, Forbes lists the top 10 colors, in order of popularity, as follows: White Black Silver Gray Red Blue Brown/Beige Yellow/Gold Green Everything Else But leave it to the millennial market to shake things up a bit in a brightly hued way. Head to your nearest dealership selling most any brand of new rides and you'll likely see at least one ride that's a bit of a color shock. Examples are Subaru's new BRZ two-door sports car and STi sports sedan in Hyper Blue with matching interior features including stitching on the seats, console, door panels, shift knob and steering wheel. The trend started with...

January 6, 2016
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