Mazda is recalling certain 2001-2002 Tribute compact SUV automobiles because the brake master cylinder reservoir cap could leak brake fluid. The leaking fluid could come in contact with the anti-lock brake system (ABS) and could get into the module wiring harness connector. The connector could corrode and short out, creating a potential fire hazard. Owners are advised to park their vehicles outside until Mazda can replace the brake master cylinder reservoir cap and modify the ABS system wiring. For more information on the recall, contact Mazda at 1-248-393-5990.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into some 2009 Mazda CX-9 sport utility vehicles (SUV) after reports of a high number of warranty claims for servicing brakes. Reports found that the high number of warranty claims on brakes was due to an internal brake fluid leak from the master cylinder into the vacuum booster. Drivers reported reduced brake effectiveness and extended stopping distances. A preliminary evaluation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect. If the investigation should lead to a recall, about 40,000 vehicles could be affected.

Mazda has announced a recall that will affect over 100,000 2008-2009 Mazda 3 and Mazda Speed 3 vehicles built between January 2008 to November 2008. During assembly, the ground terminal from the windshield wiper motor may have been damaged causing an increased electrical resistance. If the resistance becomes too high or the wire should become break completely, the windshield wipers will stop working. The loss of the wiper function in poor weather could reduce the drivers visibility, increasing the risk of an accident. Dealers will rectify the problem by installing an additional ground harness to the wiper motor. Owners wanting additional information on the recall can contact the Mazda customer assistance center at 1-800-222-5500.

A recent recall by Mazda for their Mazda6 vehicles have owners bringing in their cars for spiders that spin a web in a fuel line causing a blockage in the line. Reports released by Honda and Hyundai also warn dealers to keep an eye out for the problematic spiders. Honda said they have known about the spiders since issuing a Technical Service Bulletin back in July of 2009. The spiders have been crawling into a vent pipes createing blockages, but the only symptom Honda drivers have seen is the check engine light coming on.

The yellow sac spider is indigenous to most northern states in the U.S. and accounts for a large percentage of spider bites in America. For most people the bites are only an irritation, although in some cases they cause a more severe reaction.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2010 had the fourth largest number of recalls since the agency started keeping track in 1966. The total amount of recalls reached 20.3 million vehicles with Toyota leading the pack with 6.7 million vehicles recalled. Though this may seem like a record amount, in 2004 the auto industry had the highest recalls with almost 31 million units recalled. While Japanese vehicles have always been known for quality and safety, 2010 was the first year that three Japanese automakers ended up in the top five.

Safety recalls have become more common since 2000, when Congress passed legislation to spot safety defects more quickly. This was in direct response to a massive Firestone recall for defective tires. In 2010, as a result of Toyota’s unintended acceleration recall, Congress, not only increased penalties against automobile companies, but also increased safety standards for vehicles as well as gave the government more power when it comes to recalls. As a resulted more and more recalls are being initiated by automakers, also known as “voluntary recalls.” This does not mean that automakers have the choice to initiate a recall, it only means the recall was not enforced by the NHTSA.

Below is a list of the top automakers number of recalls from 2010:

  • Toyota: 17 recalls – 6.7 million vehicles
  • General Motors: 21 recalls – 4 million vehicles
  • Honda: 15 recalls – 2.4 million vehicles
  • Nissan: 16 recalls – 2.1 million vehicles
  • Chrysler Group: 17 recalls – 1.6 million vehicles
  • Ford Motor: 9 recalls – 581,107 vehicles
  • Volkswagen: 2 recalls – 393,188 vehicles
  • BMW: 15 recalls – 288,503 vehicles
  • Mazda: 3 recalls – 243,500 vehicles

Whether it be the increased involvement of government in the auto industry or the the increased safety features in today’s automobiles, traffic deaths last year also fell to the lowest level in 60 years.

Consumer Reports (CR) is an American magazine published by Consumers Union since 1936. It publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based on reporting and results from its in-house testing laboratory. Consumer Reports does not print outside advertising, accept free product samples, or permit the commercial use of its reviews for selling products. Its publisher states that this policy allows the magazine to “maintain their independence and impartiality… so that CR has no agenda other than the interests of consumers.

Every year, CR publishes their top ten automobiles in ten different categories. The choices are based on performance, reliability and safety. Below are Consumers Reports picks for the 2010 year.

    Family Sedan

    Nissan Altima:

    The Nissan Altima has always been a popular choice as a family sedan. It’s roomy interior and comfortable ride makes the car an enjoyable drive. The 2010 version of this car offers improved looks, standard electronic stability control (ESC) and the best fuel economy in its class.

    Small Sedan

    Hyundai Elantra SE:

    Hyundai safety and reliability has come a long way and has made Consumer Reports top picks for the third time. The Elantra SE, offers a comfortable ride, good fuel economy and plenty of features for the price. The SE comes with standard ESC that is often not offered on similar competitors vehicles.

    Sporty Car

    Volkswagen GTI:

    The 2010 Volkswagen GTI is a sporty version of the Golf. It offers excellent handling and acceleration and is a comfortable car to drive. The interior is tastefully finished with plenty of cargo space, especially with the hatchback model. Like all Volkswagen’s, the GTI offers a respectable fuel economy.

    Small SUV

    Subaru Forester:

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    The Subaru Forester has been labeled as the SUV that offers the most car like driving experience. It offers a comfortable ride with plenty of room and excellent visibility. The Forester offers excellent reliability and an impressive gas mileage for an SUV.

    Best Overall Car

    Lexus LS 460L:

    Lexus has always pampered it’s customers with a luxurious driving experience. The LS 460L is no exception with it’s well crafted, roomy and quiet interior. Though the price is a bit higher than some of the vehicles in its class, if you can afford it, it is well worth it.

    Family SUV

    Chevrolet Traverse:

    Overall, the Traverse stands out as a family SUV. It is comfortable and responsive, and allows up to eight adults seated comfortably as well as room for cargo. Visibility is not the best for this SUV, taking into account the size of it, but Chevy offers convex side mirrors and an optional rear view camera to help.

    Sports Sedan

    Infiniti G37:

    The Infiniti G sedans are one of the highest rated sedans tested by Consumer Reports. Excellent handling, acceleration and comfort make this luxurious vehicle a pleasure to drive. Because it is a sports sedan, space and storage are compromised.

    Family Hauler

    Mazda5:

    The Mazda5 offers a lot in a compact and affordable microvan. It offers the convenience of a minivan with the maneuverability and fuel economy of a wagon. The addition of standard ESC for 2010 makes this minivan safer and fun to drive.

    Green Car

    Toyota Prius:

    The Toyota Prius was one to the first green cars manufactured for the public. Its overall mileage has made it the green car pick for the seventh straight year. It is a comfortable car to drive, and its 2010 redesign makes it even more appealing. Toyota has also added a dedicated EV that allows it to run longer on electric power at low speeds.

    Pickup Truck

    Chevrolet Silverado 1500:

    This well rounded pickup offers a roomy cabin, an exellent payload capacity and a decent ride for a pickup. It is an excellent 4WD family vehicle offering a quality interior on higher end models.

Mazda will be recalling it’s popular 2009-2010 Mazda5 mini van for a fuel system problem that could result in trouble starting or stalling of the engine. According to a notice filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a fuel tank leak check done during assembly may have left water in the fuel pump harness. If the water was not properly flushed out it could lead to corrosion on the fuel pump connector pin causing the pump to fail.

The recall affects 2009-2010 Mazda5 models assembled between June 29, 2009 and April 28, 2010. Owners may contact Mazda customer assistance center at 1-800-222-5500 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to http://www.safercar.gov .

Below are some of the automobile recalls for August 2010

  • Honda is recalling some 2010 Elements with automatic transmission manufactured between April 01, 2010 through June 25, 2010. The cable that connects the shift lever to the transmission was not set correctly during assembly which could result in the key getting stuck in the ignition or the inability to shift into or out of park or reverse. While some Element owners have been contacted by phone about the problem, most owners will be notified through mail. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009.
  • Honda is recalling some 2003 Accord and 2003-2004 Element vehicles for ignition interlock levers which could deform allowing the key to be removed from the ignition when the vehicle is not in park. Dealers will replace the levers with a new design free of charge. Owners may contact Honda at 1-800-999-1009.
  • Mazda is recalling some 2007-2009 Mazda3 and Mazda5 vehicles manufactured form April 02, 2007 to November 30, 2008. These vehicle may experience sudden loss of power steering assist while driving. Due to a shortage of parts, the recall will be carried out in two phases. Owners may contact Mazda Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-222-5500.
  • Nissan is recalling some 2010 Armada vehicles manufactured between June 07, 2010 to June 11, 2010 for second row center seat hinge assemblies that were manufactured out of specification. The seat may not lock in the upright position which could lead to injuries during an accident. Dealers will inspect and replace defective assemblies. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.
  • Nissan is recalling some 2010 Frontier king cab vehicles manufactured between June 10, 2010 and June 26, 2010. The weld between the tether anchor and the seat bracket is out of specification which could result in the tether anchor separating from the seat. The seat gusset will be replaced with a new one free of charge. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.