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Berliant, a reporter for News-Tribune (Tacoma), offers a compilation and interpretation of the most common complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on cars made between 1983 and 1992. Complaints about tires are not included.
The volume is divided into three sections. Section 1, "Troubleshooter's Guide," is organized alphabetically by make and model and year. A typical listing includes the following: a summary of complaints and suggestions to prospective buyers, such as "Test the steering for noises and turning difficulty, give the brakes a thorough test, listen for odd noises" (1988 Dodge Dynasty); a five-star accident-rating system as determined by the percentage of complaints to NHTSA that were associated with accidents; "recall alert" (with a reference to see the "Recall Index," section 3); and "Hot Spots," which excerpts complaints by category (automatic transmission, brakes, etc.). A theft-alert rating is given for the 100 most frequently stolen automobiles in 1993 (as determined by a Chicago firm that provides information to insurance companies). Section 2, "Safety Comparisons," is a ranking of the top-100 vehicles with the worst accident-to-complaint ratio and the major causes of accidents for each vehicle, with the same two breakdowns arranged by automobile class (compact cars, large cars, etc.). The "Recall Index" (section 3), listing NHTSA-mandated recalls, describes defects, consequence of the defects, and corrective action. A brief glossary of technical terms used in the guide concludes the volume.
Besides Berliant, three other guides--with established reputations for providing reliable information--are available: Jack Gillis' Used Car Book (HarperPerennial), Used Car Buying Guide (Consumer Reports Books), and Best Used Car Buys, the August 1994 issue of Consumer Guide Magazine's Auto Series. Each adds much additional information, such as miles per gallon, average price and price range, buying tires, insurance, warranties, and specifications. Used Car Reliability & Safety Guide supplements but does not supplant the Gillis, Consumer Reports, and Consumer Guide titles. Indeed, public libraries with both the Gillis and Consumer Reports books could adequately satisfy most patron requests for used-car information, although at this low price, libraries can always use another title.From Library Journal:
Berliant here organizes the most common complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration for more than 800 models of cars and trucks produced over the past ten years. He includes a section of safety comparisons, a recall index, crash test results, and frequency-of-theft figures. His volume may be a useful supplement to the oft-consulted Consumer Reports magazine reliability ratings, since Berliant automatically defaults to vehicles with problems (i.e., trouble-free cars and trucks are not listed). Berliant relies on government data rather than comprehensive study, and flaws or skewing in the reporting of reliability may have led him to assign unjust reliability ratings to certain models. However, the reasonable cost of this book and good judgment on the part of the reader can make this a useful addition to large consumer collections.
Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, R.I.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Betterway Books, 1994. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX1558703713