Drive Safe Ford Owners! Ford Recalls 1.3 Million Cars

Jody Victor would like Ford owners to please check this list to make sure there isn’t a safety issue with your vehicle! A variety of Ford vehicles from as far back as 2006 are now known to have safety issues involving power steering, fire hazards or floor mats.

2011-2013 Ford Explorers and 2008-2011 Escapes and Mercury Mariners are known to have an issue where the power steering can cut out. Explorer models have an issue with electric motor position sensors that can cause the sensors to intermittently shut off due to poor cable connections and this disables the power steering. For Escape and Mariner models the issue resides in torque sensors, in which the sensors may produce a low-fidelity signal that causes the computer to not recognize the driver’s steering movements and will disable the power steering.
Dealers will update the power steering software to continue delivering power assist even if a fault is detected in the system. This January, Ford shipped repair kits for the torque sensors, but the recalls do not call for any part replacements.

On the sedan side of things, the 2010-2014 Ford Taurus has license plate lamps that can corrode, short, and catch fire. Ford first found the problem in 2011, and after initially drawing a blank to the cause, it opened a second investigation in May 2013 and redesigned the lamp in February. The fires continued on these new models, however, and thus dealers will now install new lamp assemblies on 196,639 cars, of which 183,425 are in the U.S. Ford said it knew of at least five owner reports of smoking or melting lamps and another 20 reporting fires. Only vehicles sold or registered in 20 “salt belt” states (plus Washington, D.C.) are included, although Ford said it would also notify other Taurus owners of the condition.

Ford Taurus 2010-2014 models has an issue with its license plate lamps. The lamps may corrode, short out and catch fire. Only vehicles sold or registered in 20 so-called Salt Belt states (plus Washington, D.C.). Ford said they would notify other Taurus owners of the issue, however.

Finally, Ford is recalling approximately 80,000 all-weather floor mats that were sold as accessories between 2006-2011 for the following Ford models: Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln MKZ. These floor mats may cause the throttle pedal to get partially stuck. Ford stated it doesn’t matter if drivers put the all-weather mats over the standard mats or removed the standard mats before installing the all-weather ones. Ford is now redesigning these mats as part of the recall.

http://blog.caranddriver.com/ford-recalls-more-than-1-3-million-cars-for-power-steering-fires-and-floor-mats/#more-150897

You can check for recalls on any Ford model by following the directions at Ford’s official owner’s website.

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012, Part II

When you start looking for a car, used or new, it helps to get some ideas about value, reliability, and safety. Here’s Jody Victor® with the second half taken from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are absolutely right! Having some info to go on gets you started and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. Here’s the rest of the article.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The G Sedan gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: Best Quality Cars II

As technology improves, cars improve too. But new technology always has a few bugs until the techies work them out. I asked Jody Victor®  to tell us about the best cars for 2012.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are exactly right. With all the new cars and technology, there are bound to be some things that work better than others. Here’s the next installment from an article by Clifford Atiyeh of msn.com.

Top Midsize Premium Car: Infiniti M

The M, redesigned for 2011, has some of the most dramatic, flashy styling in its segment, especially with the sport model’s 20-inch wheels and sparkled wood trim. Its adaptive cruise control can start and stop the vehicle in rush-hour traffic without fault. There’s also a hybrid and available all-wheel drive. Keep in mind it’s not cheap or good on gas.

Top Midsize Sporty Car: Ford Mustang

A perennial favorite, the Mustang continues its formula of big-engine, rear-wheel-drive fun for little money. Newer models have higher-quality interiors and more fuel-efficient V6 engines that make as much power as the old V8s. Whether coupe or convertible, GT or the 200-mph Shelby GT500, the Mustang is as much a generational symbol of American progress as it is a serious sports car.

Top Large Premium Car: Lexus LS

Like the Miata, the Lexus LS changed the preconceptions of its market segment when it was introduced in 1989. While the latest LS looks somewhat dated, it’s still a solid tank of a car that glides like it’s riding on glass, much like the Mercedes S-Class (which the LS now almost matches in price). The hybrid 600hL doesn’t save fuel, but boy, the sound system is incredible. Not much breaks on this big car, either.

Top Midsize Car: Chevrolet Malibu

Chevy’s 2008 redesign turned the Malibu from humdrum into something worth humming about. The fuel economy, styling and overall comfort were right up there with it Japanese peers, and while it’s taken some time to catch on, the people have spoken. For 2013, the Malibu adds an electric motor to the base 4-cylinder engine to save fuel and emissions, and promises more connectivity.

Top Large Car: Ford Taurus

Now being offered as a police car, the Taurus is everything the Crown Victoria wasn’t: fresh, refined and available with fuel-efficient turbocharged engines and all-wheel drive. The Taurus is a slick-looking car and it’s well-built, as it’s based on the Volvo S80 chassis. The small windows make visibility more difficult than in other large cars, however. The complicated MyFord Touch infotainment system was redesigned after poor J.D. Power ratings last year and works just fine.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012 II

If the economy hasn’t affected you, maybe common sense has. I asked Jody Victor® to continue on with the best used car values.

Jody Victor®: Joe, it never hurts to look at all your options. If a used car makes more sense for your budget then do it! Here’s the rest of the list of best used car values, from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kipplinger and msn.com.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna LE, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The Infiniti G gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check these great vehicles out.

Joe Victor

 

Joe asks Jody Victor®: 12 Best in Class Car Values, 2012

Kiplinger’s Best in Class winners top the msn.com rankings in each of 12 categories, based on performance, value and safety — plus driving impressions from road tests. Iasked Jody Victor to tell us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor: All except one of the msn.com Best in Class winners are also Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Picks (no sports cars made that list this year). Her’s the first five.

CARS UNDER $20,000: CHEVROLET CRUZE

Sticker price: $19,995 (Eco, manual)
Invoice price: $19,225
TrueCar national average price: $19,889
3-year resale value: 57%, 5-year: 40%
City mpg: 28, Hwy: 42

Introduced last year to replace the Cobalt, the Cruze quickly shot to best-seller status. It’s wallet-friendly on many fronts, blending a low price with impressive fuel efficiency and high resale values. Its stylish and nearly silent interior, plus solid handling, push it to the front of the compact pack.

CARS $20,000-$25,000: VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI

Invoice price: $23,451
TrueCar national average price: $23,619
3-year resale value: 62%, 5-year: 46%
City mpg: 30, Hwy: 42

The Jetta offers German engineering at a budget price but without a budget feel. It’s as spacious inside as compacts come, and as nimble, whether you’re parallel parking or navigating city traffic. The diesel version gets top honors for its powerful, fuel-efficient engine and stellar resale values.

CARS $25,000-$30,000: KIA OPTIMA

Sticker price: $25,850 (2.0T EX)
Invoice price: $24,205
TrueCar national average price: $25,205
3-year resale value: 52%, 5-year: 36%
City mpg: 22, Hwy: 34

The Optima’s redesign last year shook off the bland styling, adding sharp creases and an aggressive front end complete with fog lights and wraparound headlamps; it also won Kiplinger’s Best New Car award for its category. The turbo-boosted four-cylinder engine puts out more horsepower (274) than most in its class, a difference you’ll feel on the road. Add value pricing and a five-year warranty and you’ve got serious swagger.

CARS $30,000-$40,000: FORD TAURUS

Sticker price: $38,950 (SHO)
Invoice price: $35,820
TrueCar national average price: $35,005
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 39%
City mpg: 17, Hwy: 25

A Kiplinger’s top pick since its 2009 reintroduction, the Taurus earns its plaudits with a mix of fuel efficiency and power. The V6 EcoBoost engine gives it the power of a V8 without guzzling gas. The Super High Output (SHO) badge means it gets a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and paddle shifters.

CARS $40,000-$50,000: BMW 5 SERIES

Sticker price: $47,575 (528i)
Invoice price: $43,840
TrueCar national average price: $44,838
3-year resale value: 54%, 5-year: 37%
City mpg: 23, Hwy: 34

Direct injection and turbocharging make the 528i one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class. An eight-speed automatic transmission also lends a hand, as does start/stop technology, which shuts the engine off when you’re stopped and automatically restarts it when you press the accelerator.

Thanks, Jody! More next time!

Joe Victor