Tech Tips January 2013


January 2013 Index Tech Tips Local News National News Biz Tips


Redesigned Silverado to Haul More High-Strength Steel

General Motors engineers are increasing the use of high-strength steels for the key structural elements of the newly redesigned 2014 Silverado.

Key elements of the updated frame, including the main rails and major cross members, are made from high-strength steel. Hydroforming is used to improve strength and reduce mass of the front of the frame.

The cab structures are also all new for 2014, and incorporate high strength steel in the A-pillars, B-pillars, roof rails and rocker panels. Ultra-high-strength steel is used in areas of the rocker panels and underbody in anticipation of new shallow-offset crash tests. In all, about two-thirds of the cab structure is made from high-strength steels.

Even the pickup bed benefits from tougher steels. The 2014 Silverado 1500 features a roll-formed steel pickup box, which is lighter, stronger and more durable than traditional stamped steel boxes used by major competitors.

Aluminum is used in a number of areas to reduce mass without compromising dependability. The blocks and cylinder heads of all three EcoTec3 engines are cast aluminum, while 4WD crew cab models use forged aluminum upper front control arms and cast aluminum lower control arms and steering knuckles for a mass reduction of 42 pounds. The hoods are also aluminum, saving 17 pounds over a comparable steel panel.


New NHTSA Report Shows Increasing Stability Control Effectiveness

The only way to reduce the number of highway fatalities is to reduce either the severity of accidents, or the total number of accidents. A reduction then, in highway fatalities, would suggest a corresponding reduction in the number or severity (or both) of accidents overall. And, according to a new three-year study just released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), electronic stability control technology (ESC) is having just such an effect.

The NHTSA study estimates that ESC saved 2,202 lives from 2008 to 2010 alone, and its effect will increase as more and more cars in the general population are equipped with the technology. “These numbers send a clear message about this technology’s life-saving potential,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “As more vehicles on the road are equipped with ESC in the coming years, we know the technology will save even more lives.”

Electronic stability control was mandated on all light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles under a federal safety regulation issued in 2007. The requirement was phased in over the years covered by the study and applies to all new light vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2011.

NHTSA’s analysis estimates ESC technology saved the lives of a growing number of passenger vehicle occupants each year between 2008 and 2010. There were 634 lives saved in 2008, 705 lives in 2009 and 863 lives in 2010.

“NHTSA research has consistently shown ESC systems are especially effective in helping a driver maintain vehicle control and avoid some of the most dangerous types of crashes on the highway, including deadly vehicle rollover situations or in keeping drivers from completely running off the roadway,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

NHTSA’s final rule required a phase-in schedule for compliance, culminating in a mandate for 100 percent installation of ESC technology on all new light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2011, or for model year 2012 vehicles.

In May 2012, NHTSA proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require ESC systems on large commercial trucks and large buses for the first time ever. NHTSA estimates that applying ESC technology to the heavy-duty fleet could prevent up to 56 percent of rollover crashes each year and another 14 percent of loss-of-control crashes in these vehicles.


Chevy Debuts Lighter, Less Expensive Driver Air Bag

General Motors is introducing a new driver-side air bag on the 2013 Chevy Cruze that uses a “flexible venting” technology designed to deploy more efficiently, using a single inflator, while providing crash protection equal to more expensive and complex air bag systems.

Unlike more complex dual-stage air bags that use one inflator for low-speed crashes and another for high-speed crashes, the Cruze’s new single-stage “smart air bag” uses one lower output inflator to manage both low-speed and high-speed crash forces. The more compact, lighter weight system reduces the risk of inflation-induced injury by allowing the driver’s forward momentum to effectively push the air out and away.

GM testing shows the single-stage driver air bag provides excellent cushioning for drivers of varied sizes in both low-speed and high-speed crash events.

Cruze’s flexible venting driver air bag is the second new air bag technology General Motors has announced for 2013. The new Chevrolet Traverse crossover helped introduce the industry’s first front center air bag, an inflatable restraint designed to help protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.

GM co-developed the flexible venting air bag and the front center air bag with safety restraint supplier Takata.


GM Recalls Mid-sized Pickups for Missing Hood Latch

General Motors is recalling certain model year 2010-2012 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon vehicles manufactured from November 9, 2009, through August 28, 2012, for hoods that may be missing the secondary hood latch.

If the primary hood latch is not engaged, the hood could open unexpectedly during vehicle operation, increasing the risk of a crash. GM will notify owners and instruct them to inspect their vehicle for the presence of a secondary hood latch. Dealers will replace the hood on any affected vehicles, free of charge.

As many as many as 118,800 vehicles may be affected.

The recall is expected to begin on January 17, 2013. Owners may contact Chevrolet at 1-800-630-2438 or GMC at 1-866-996-9463


American Honda Launches Airbag Awareness Website

TORRANCE, Calif., December 14, 2012 – American Honda Motor Co, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of “”, a new, consumer-oriented website designed to increase awareness among consumers about the growing problem of counterfeit airbags.

Included on the site is the original October 2012 NHTSA Counterfeit Air Bag Consumer Alert, stories of those people facing criminal charges for selling counterfeit airbags, a dramatic video showing the deployment of several counterfeit airbags versus Honda Genuine airbags, and more.
The website will be free-standing, but will be connected to an existing American Honda website,
Jim Roach, Senior Vice President for American Honda’s Parts and Service Division said, “Counterfeit airbags are a growing concern because of the potential danger they pose not only to Honda owners, but to the general public. Every Honda owner should visit this new site to understand why they should demand that their collision-damaged car is properly and safely repaired.”

To promote the new website and increase consumer awareness, Honda dealers will be receiving a supply of Consumer Information Kits including a small supply of kits to distribute to collision repair shops. Shops can order additional kits, free of charge, by calling 440-572-7266 and order item #CPHABK12. The site will also be supported through advertising in various collision industry magazines.

To access the site, go to