Thursday, February 20, 2014

IIHS Safety Ratings

Every year, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) awards vehicles with safety ratings.  There are two different aspects of safety that they measure all vehicles by: 1.Crashworthiness, how well a vehicle protects its passengers in the event of a crash, and 2.Crash avoidance and mitigation, technology that can prevent a crash from occurring, or lessen the severity of the crash.  To determine crashworthiness, IIHS rates vehicles in the following categories: good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.  These categories are based on performance in five tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints. To determine the success of crash avoidance and mitigation, IIHS assigns vehicles that are equipped with front crash prevention systems ratings of basic, advanced, or superior, which are based on the type of system and performance in track tests.

There are also two different levels of awards that vehicles can receive from the IIHS.  First is the “Top Safety Pick”, for a vehicle to qualify for this it must earn good ratings in the following categories: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.  The vehicle must also receive a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.  The second level that a vehicle can achieve is “Top Safety Pick +”, and for a vehicle to qualify it must meet the criteria for the “Top Safety Pick” as well as earn a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

With the qualifications, only a few select vehicles earned a safety award this year, compared to years before.  You will be happy to know that three Honda models have been given the “Top Safety Pick” award for 2014: the Civic, Accord, and Odyssey.  Check out the link below to see all the details.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Keeping your tires safe

Most people love getting maximum fuel efficiency and maximum life out of their tires.  But when you drive on a significantly under-inflated tire, the tire can overheat, which can lead to tire failure.  Under-inflation reduces fuel efficiency and tire tread life, and may affect the vehicle’s handling and stopping ability. 

If you drive a Honda, your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that comes on every time you start up the engine in your vehicle, which monitors the pressure in your tires while you drive.  Each of the tires on your vehicle has its own sensor.  If the air pressure in any of the tires gets low, the sensor sends a signal that causes the low tire pressure light to illuminate.  This warning light represents a flat tire, though it looks more like a horseshoe or a fishbowl with an exclamation point inside of it.

What should you do when this light illuminates on your dashboard?  Stop and check your tires as soon as possible, and if needed, inflate them to the proper pressure, which can be found in your owner’s manual.  Also, make sure to have your tires checked by a dealer, in case one of the tires has a leak, which may cause it to go flat if not repaired.

Because tire pressure is affected by temperature and other conditions, the low tire pressure indicator can come on unexpectedly.  For instance, in cold weather, your tire pressure can decrease overnight due to the air becoming denser with the sudden drop in temperature, thus causing the low tire pressure light to illuminate.

Remember to manually check your tire pressures often, including the spare, about once a month, to ensure that they are within the recommend inflation pressure.