Early Warning data Prompts Another Bridgestone/Firestone Recall

For the second time this year BFS has recalled tires allegedly based on unfavorable early warning data-the data that manufacturers are required to provide NHTSA following the Ford/Firestone recalls and the subsequent TREAD Act. This time BFS is recalling 250,000 Bridgestone Dueler A/T 693 replacement tires, size LT285/75R16, Load Range D, made in Tosu, Japan (plant code "EJ"), beginning in July 1, 1998 through July 31, 2002. The company estimates 27,000 are left in service.

Auto safety discrepancies: Kudos to Hyundai’s campaign

NOTE: The following article was published in Auto Monitor, an automotive trade journal that covers India's rapidly growing automotive industry. The article was written in response to controversy that arose when Hyundai advertised that it's Indian market vehicles contained the same safety features as its U.S. models, while competitors models did not. The U.S. market has experienced similar safety discrepancies which are discussed in the article

Hyundai's recent media campaign highlighting the different safety specifications its competitors offer for the Indian market compared to international versions brings to the surface a well-known issue to those who monitor vehicle safety and its regulation in the US.

NHTSA Roof Crush Study: Greater Intrusion = Greater Injury

The recently released NHTSA study, "Roof Crush Analysis Using 1997-2001 NASS Case Review," which has been in the works for nearly four years, reviewed NASS rollover crashes in an effort to determine whether roof deformation patterns identified in an earlier agency study were still valid for current vehicle designs (see "Upgraded Rollover Roof Crush Protection: Rollover Test and NASS Case Analysis" NHTSA, June 1992). The new study, which examined 273 rollovers from 1997-2000 NASS, also examined the frequency of roof deformation patterns to determine if differences existed among various vehicle classes. Patterns were compared to results of 216 tests, tests with extended crush limits, SAE J996 drop tests, and the extent that windshields provided roof support.

What's Behind the Firestone Steeltex Recall on Ford Excursions?

In February 2004 Firestone found itself in the headlines again when it agreed to recall 497,000 Steeltex tires that were predominantly installed as original equipment on 2000 through early model 2003 Ford Excursions (04T-003). While no specific defect pattern was noted, the tires experienced sidewall failures, tread separations, blowouts and unexplained loss of pressure and caused at least six crashes involving five deaths. The Steeltex line covers a number of different tire types and sizes, those subject to the recall include only the Radial AT size LT265/75R16, Load Range D manufactured in the Joliette, Quebec plant during March 1999 through December 2002 and installed on Ford Excursions.

A Brief History of Electronic Stability Controls and their Applications

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems are still only on a small percentage of U.S. models yet they offer significant improvements in performance by sensing when a vehicle is about to lose control and intervene to keep the vehicle stable. ESC systems, which are known under a host of other acronyms and various trade names, work by using ABS brakes as a foundation and with the addition of sensors measure steering wheel angle, yaw rate and turning force. Software algorithms interpret the sensor data and determine whether the vehicle is travelling the way it should given the driver input. If not, the system automatically activates the brakes on one or more wheels or activates the throttle slightly to bring the car back in line.

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