Toyota’s Prized Prius To Join Recall List?

Toyota’s history-making hybrid, the Prius, may be added to the growing list of cars recalled due to faulty brakes. Toyota’s spokespeeps have said that the company may add around 270,000 2010 Priuses (Pri-ui?) to its recall list, after owners have reported slow-to-activate brakes in their cars. Brake-hampered Priuses sold overseas in the past few weeks have already been fixed by altering the car’s computer software.

Toyota has already recalled close to 10 million cars so far this year, due to sticky break pedals that have been blamed for a handful of accidents. The company is also looking at whether there are brake issues with its hybrid Lexus.

Next Wednesday, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?” The hearing will focus on the federal government’s response to the recall of millions of Toyota vehicles due to reports of faulty gas pedals.


Auto Gadget of The Week: AAA Battery Tender

AAA is best known for its roadside assistance services, but the auto club also markets gear for your ride.

The AAA Battery Tender is a must have for any student driver who is leaving town–and her car–for the summer.  When cars aren’t started regularly, the battery can lose its charge. This gadget keeps your car battery charged when parked for long periods of time, ensuring you don’t get stuck when you’re ready to rev it up again.

The battery tender retails for $40, but a $10 discounts is given to AAA members who purchase a unit through a AAA club.

Auto Gadget of the Week: MagnoGrip Wristband

Decided to get grimey and tinker under the hood? Accessorize with a bracelet that will keep all your loose nuts and bolts at hand. The $16 MagnoGrip Wristband is equipped with a magnetic panel that holds fasteners, nuts and bolts in place while working on your ride. And it also comes in red, for those chicks who aren’t trying to girlify their toolchest.

Teen Reporter Gives Tips On Winterizing Our Rides

Teen writer Shelby Fix published an article in The Buffalo News on winterizing your ride this week. Here are some of her tips:

• Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual or more often (every 5,000 miles or so), and spend the extra money for full synthetic oil to keep your engine alive longer.

• The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended.

• Engine drive belts and hoses should be checked by a certified auto technician, as these parts wear and could leave you stranded.

• Replace old blades with winter blades, as they have a jacket on them to keep the ice off and allow you to see when it’s snowing.

• If you have trouble starting your car, have your battery checked. They usually fail on colder days, and that could leave you stranded at school or elsewhere.

• Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned-out bulbs or replace every two years. Eighty percent of your driving decisions are based on visibility, so make sure you can see at night.

• If your engine sounds unusually loud, the exhaust system may have a leak. Exhaust fumes can be deadly, so fix it immediately.

• Once a month, check the tire pressure and tread.

• Be prepared for emergencies. Carry gloves, boots, blankets, jumper cables, flares, flashlight, cell phone charger, first-aid kit and protein bars.

More info on getting your car winter (or summer) ready can also be found in the book In The Driver’s Seat: A Girl’s Guide To Her First Car.

Click here for Shelby’s full article.

Stocking-Sized Car Gadgets To Give You a Light and Keep it Tight

NW Autos, The Seattle Times auto source, has put together a car-centric gift guide that includes a couple of cool new gadgets. They say:

Striker Magnetic LED Lights are golf-ball-size lights covered in magnets that you can stick in any of your car’s metal nooks and crannies.

**These would be great for much-needed hands-free lighting when changing a tire after dark–or for festooning your car in party lights while tailgating. (Find ’em  for $7 at the Home Depot or RadioShack).

TiePods are powerful suction cups with steel rings that accept rope or bungee cords — perfect for securing large loads in a hurry with no scratches or dents.

**TiePods are $20, which seems kinda steep, but knowing that your stuff is secure (achieving the super-strong knot can be iffy, no matter how many years we spent learning knot tying in Girl Scouts!) is sometimes worth every cent.

The guide also calls In The Driver’s Seat the perfect gift for the new driver! Woot!

Check out the entire gift-giving list here.

Fix Windshield Dings Yourself with a No-Mess Repair Kit

So you’re driving down the road, minding your own business when, tink–a pebble hits your windshield. And a ding forms. Sucky. For a reasonable 7 bucks, you can get the tools to fix the problem yourself. Pitstop International makes a windshield repair kit that is geared to fix dings and cracks up to 8″ long. The included plastic syringe is filled with a stronger-than-glass resin that sets in 20 minutes. Aside from the tools in the kit, the only other gear needed is a dry cloth to clean the area in need of repair and a sunny day to provide the best resin-drying conditions.

Precise Paint Pen Erases Car Scrapes

Frozen yogurt, leggings, neon–everything ’80s is back again. So it makes perfect sense that the car paint du jour is in throwback ’80s paint-pen form. The AutoSharp Paint Pen ($22) lets you gloss over scratches on your car’s body with the precision of a Sharpie (waaay easier than working with a small brush and tube of touch-up paint). After you give the company your car’s paint code (you can search the site to find yours), it will send you a pen filled with the exact shade of urethane paint. (That’s the good stuff they used to spray on your car at the factory when your car was being made.) The company promises that the paint will flow smoothly out of the pen to prevent globbing and properly erase scrapes. For those who are super agro about getting your car’s finish into perfect shape, a clear-coat pen is also available.