GM Tailgate WarningOwners of '98-'99 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups should take a look at their tailgate hinges. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating potentially faulty tailgate cables and latches, which have been causing tailgates to fall open upon acceleration. In some cases, a cable can break, causing the tailgate to detach or be dragged by a single cable.
The problem occurs when the tailgate deforms the door-mounted hinge socket, allowing it to separate from the chassis-mounted hinge post. GM has already recalled '00-'05 Sierras and Silverados with the same tailgate, as well as the Cadillac Escalade EXT and Chevy Avalanche of the same years.
More Tundras on Tap
Toyota has big plans to increase its fullsize Tundra pickup population. Last January, Toyota unveiled an all-new, much larger version of the Tundra pickup at the Detroit Auto Show. More recently, Toyota has announced plans to expand the Huntsville, Alabama, V-8 plant to supply 150,000 more V-8s for Tundras and Sequoia SUVs.
In addition, a 2,000-acre site in San Antonio has been chosen for a new plant, which will supply, coincidentally, 150,00 additional Tundra trucks a year, beginning in late 2006. All Tundra pickups are currently being manufactured in Indiana. By increasing V-8 production and opening a second truck plant, Toyota is betting highly (with more than $1 billion invested) that Americans will love the new truck.
Cold-Weather PrepCold weather tends to trigger mechanical failures, many of which can be prevented, according to a bulletin released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Year-round, the single most common breakdown is overheating, which is usually caused by low coolant, loose belts, or defective hoses. The Car Care Council reports that 87 percent of vehicles inspected at check lanes fail at least one aspect of their maintenance inspection.
Cold winter weather tends to create battery failure among batteries that are old or low on fluid, or have corroded terminals. Colder weather also creates a need to recheck tire pressure, especially in 4x4s, which sometime operate with variable tire pressures during summer months. A tire pressure suitable for summer heat might be dangerously low when the snow arrives. Windshield wipers also become a serious matter when inclement weather approaches, since we rely on them to see through snow, rain, and fog. As always, brakes, belts, hoses, and headlights should also receive a close inspection.