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Label Liability

Tue., Nov. 26, 2013

Q: I was researching the 2013 Highlander because we might buy one, and saw that it was recalled because of a labeling issue. Cars are being recalled now because they’re mislabeled? Seriously?

A: The Highlander was recalled so a new label, correctly stating the load capacity, could be put on the inside of the door (where it will stay for tens of thousands of miles and through at least a couple of owners, probably).

The labeling is important so that anyone planning to haul a massive amount of marble or concrete mix (or something else really hefty) who consults it to make calculations about how much can safely be crammed in, won’t overload the vehicle and risk tire failure or structure damage.

Q: I keep reading in car reviews about “exterior puddle lamps.” What are they?

A: They’re lights that illuminate the ground beneath where you’ll step when you exit your car so you’ll be able to see if there’s water, ice or whatever.

Q: I read that Volkswagen is introducing a vehicle soon that will be smaller than its Golf. What do you know?

A: The Polo, a subcompact diesel-powered wagon, will reportedly arrive on these shores late in 2014 or in 2015. The little vehicle has been sold in Europe (and just about every place but here) for decades. Now it’s undergoing a bit of a redesign (not its first) in preparation of its U.S. debut.

Q: We bought a three-year-old car and kept having liftback troubles. After a lot of back and forth at the place we bought it, we finally learned (from the dealership in town, not that dealership) that this was a recall issue that should have been fixed two years ago. We got it handled but it made me wonder how often people sell recalled cars they never fixed.

Q: Industry estimates are that only about half of recalled vehicles are ever taken in to be fixed. Sometimes owners ignore the recall notice, sometimes they’ve moved and the notice doesn’t reach them.

A new federal rule requires that by next summer you’ll be able to type the vehicle number into a computer where you’re buying the car and you’ll immediately know if some recall problem remains to be fixed.

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email


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