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Motormouth: Government has not adopted new rule for shatterproof car windows

Bob Weber, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

Q: I recently saw something online about a new federal standard requires all passenger compartment windows to be laminated shatterproof glass. As a retired first responder (36 years with FDNY), I can recall many times that we had to break a passenger window to remove a victim suffering a medical emergency or a child or even a poor dog in a locked overheating car.

Is this true or is it just another internet rumor? If it is true, it would seem that the regulators did not give it complete thought.

-- L.H., Pompano Beach Fla.

A: It was almost true. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in April that it was dropping a 2012 proposal to require U.S. vehicle window safety standards to match international rules. The agency said that it could not conclude that replicating European Union rules would increase safety, saying that the "current glazing materials are performing acceptably."

The U.S. already has performance requirements to reduce injuries resulting from impact and to minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown through windows in collisions.

Q: More vehicles are coming with start/stop technology these days, and I've noticed at stop lights when the light turns green, there are several vehicles being automatically re-started as they proceed. Will vehicles with this feature need their starter motors replaced more frequently because it is being used multiple times during stop and go driving? Or do these vehicles use a different type of starter motor specifically designed to accommodate the extra engine starting?


-- T.D., Naperville, Ill.

A: Your hunch is right about a different starter. They are specially made to take the beating of dozens or even hundreds of repeated starts per day.

Q: I was recently advised at my last regular maintenance servicing that the lug nuts on my 2014 Ford Escape are becoming extremely worn and that they (Ford dealership servicing) had a hard time getting them off for the tire rotation. They stated that the originals have an aluminum encasement that gets soft and wears down.

The dealer stated that I need to order "after-manufacturer" lug nuts and bring them the next service so they can replace them. Has this been a concern that you've heard of?


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