Weekly auto rail, with teen driving tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week


In 2009, 3,466 teenagers died in the United States from automobile crash injuries, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Such injuries are by far the leading public health problem among youths 13 to19 years old.


The National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends a multi-tiered strategy to prevent motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries among teen drivers: Increase seat belt use, implement graduated driver licensing, reduce teens' access to alcohol and increase parental responsibility.


Lyman Munson, vice president of risk services at Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, also suggests parents talk to their teens about safety issues and the rules they are setting. Explain each one of your rules and the consequences for breaking it. Write up a contract with your teen driver to make sure they drive by the rules and drive as safely as possible. Include the most important issues. Here's a sample:


1. Alcohol: Absolutely no alcohol.


2. Seat belts: Always buckle up.


3. Cellphone/texting: No talking or texting while driving.


4. Curfew: Have the car in the driveway by 10 p.m.


5. Passengers: No more than one at all times.


6. Graduated drivers license: Follow the state's GDL law.


7. Parental responsibility: Set your house rules and consequences.


- ARA


The List


According to Popular Mechanics, here are the top movie cars of all time:




1964 Aston Martin DB5, “Goldfinger”

Batmobile/Tumbler, “Batman Begins”

1977 Pontiac Trans Am, “Smokey and the Bandit”

1976 Lotus Esprit Series I, “The Spy Who Loved Me”

'32 Ford Coupe, “American Graffiti”

1981 DeLorean DMC-12, “Back to the Future”

1968 Mustang GT 390, “Bullitt”

1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, “Vanishing Point”

1973 XB GT Ford Falcon, “Mad Max”

1970 Dodge Charger, “The Fast and the Furious”

Did You Know


General Motors recently announced it is making a new minicar – a completely electric vehicle that will be called the Chevy Spark EV.


Car Q&A


Q: I own a 2000 Buick LeSabre. For the last several years there has been a hooting sound (as when you blow over the top of an empty bottle) when I press the brakes and come to a slow stop. This occurred with old brakes and again with new ones. It does not affect the efficiency of the brakes. My mechanic says there is nothing wrong. It is driving me crazy and will probably compromise any future sale of the car. Do you have any thoughts on this?


A: My question is, can you get the noise while you are stopped? If the answer is yes, the most common problem is the vacuum brake booster is at fault. If the noise happens when the car is moving only, the problem is brake pad- and/or rotor-related.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service