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Safety Check for Older Vehicles
Friday, July 6th, 2012

The Great Recession has had a big impact on the way Americans drive – and what cars we drive. The age of the average car on American roads is almost 11 years old, an all-time high.

If you are holding on to your car or truck a few years longer than planned, take the time to make your vehicle as safe as possible.

Track safety recalls – There is a good chance your vehicle has a recalled part you did not know about: the average consumer response rate to vehicle recalls is less than 75%, according to National Highway Transportation Safety Agency. allows you to search for recalls specific to your vehicle, and sign up for new recall alerts.

DAmore_Law_Group_Aged_tire_safetyPay attention to your tires –  Aged tires are a hidden danger on older cars. The tread on old tires can dry out, causing the tread to suddenly peel off.  Even replacement tires are at risk for this problem: safety experts say that tires can deteriorate without ever being used on a vehicle. Most major tire companies recommend replacement for any passenger car tire older than 10 years; other say a tire cannot be safe on the road after 6 years.

Know your air bags – Front air bags have been standard on all cars since 1998, and trucks since 1999. But "advanced" frontal air bags have been standard since 2006: they use sensing devices to gauge the size of the front passenger, reducing the risk of an air bag-induced serious injury or death to a child. If you drive an older-model vehicle, you may need to manually switch off the front-passenger air bag for a child or small adult.

For more information, see Consumer Reports Guide to Car Safety



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