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      Model year 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport vehicles

      The side curtain airbags may not deploy properly

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 1,201 model year 2018 Santa Fe Sport vehicles.

      The side curtain airbags on these vehicles have a component that may detach during deployment of the inflatable curtain air bag.

      If the component detaches during deployment, the curtain air bag may not inflate properly during a crash, increasing the risk of injury. Additionally, if the detached component were to enter the vehicle occupant compartment, there could be an increased risk of occupant injury.

      What to do

      Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver and passenger side curtain air bags, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin February 9, 2018.

      Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-671-3059. Hyundai's number for this recall is 171.

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 1,201 model year 2018 Santa Fe Sport vehicles.The side curtain airbags on these vehicles have a component that may d...
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      More consumers prepare for 2018 with New Year's resolutions

      One expert reveals tips for how to achieve your goals

      A recent poll revealed that more than a quarter of Americans (29 percent) plan to make New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead -- a slight increase from 2016.

      Researchers from Saint Leo University found that traditional New Year’s resolutions held steady, with top responses being: lose weight (55 percent), save more money (56 percent), travel more (29 percent); and spend more time with family (26 percent).

      A small number of respondents (4.4 percent) said they want to spend less time with family in 2018 -- up from last year’s response of 0.4 percent. Vacationing more and finding a new job also ranked in the top five resolutions with 29 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

      “On the whole, the top resolutions found on the poll all reflect a desire toward self/life improvement with saving money and more time with family also being big winners,” Dr. Christopher Wolfe, associate professor of psychology at Saint Leo University, told ConsumerAffairs.

      Age differences

      The poll also revealed a few demographic differences when it came to New Year’s resolutions. Millennials were more likely to make resolutions that would help them improve their life and health in the coming year compared to Gen Xers.

      Almost half of millennial respondents (49 percent) plan to make resolutions, while only 31 percent of those in the 36 to 55 age group will do so; just 16 percent of those in the 56+ age demographic said they will make New Year’s resolutions.

      Positive change

      While younger consumers may be more likely than their older counterparts to make resolutions, the reason for creating New Year’s resolutions tends to be the same across all age groups.

      People make resolutions in an effort to create positive change in their life, Wolfe says. Resolutions “can act as a sign post, a benchmark, or even a line in the sand; from a static point, this change can begin,” he said.

      “We are often so wrapped up in our day-to-day routine that the thought of change can be daunting,” he added. “But as one year gives way to the next, we take the opportunity to set out a goal and try to embrace a desired change in ourselves.”

      Tips for keeping resolutions

      To improve your likelihood of sticking to resolutions, it’s important to try to see them as a beginning point -- “not an ultimatum or a race,” says Wolfe.

      Setting small goals and embracing the fact that you may occasionally fail at keeping them can make sticking to resolutions seem less daunting.

      “As our bad habits took time to set in, these new patterns of change will also take time to take hold and for real results be seen,” Wolfe said. Embracing this mindset towards resolutions can help ensure you don’t abandon your goals at the first sign of a setback.

      Wolfe recommends focusing on small victories that support your resolution to help you stay motivated. It can also be helpful to take note of obstacles that you experience along the way..

      “Look for triggers that may distract you from keeping your resolution and consider writing them down. Keep a small notebook of these triggers and add to it as you experience them,” he said. “The acts of writing them down and carrying the reminder may help to curb these triggers over time.”

      A recent poll revealed that more than a quarter of Americans (29 percent) plan to make New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead -- a slight increase from...
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      Model year 2018 Ford Escapes recalled

      The side curtain airbags may not deploy properly

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 10,157 model year 2018 Ford Escapes.

      The vehicles' side curtain airbags have a component that may detach during deployment of the inflatable curtain air bag.

      If the component detaches during deployment, it may enter the passenger compartment and be a projectile within the vehicle cabin, increasing the risk of injury.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver and passenger side curtain air bags, as necessary, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin January 29, 2018.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 17S44.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 10,157 model year 2018 Ford Escapes.The vehicles' side curtain airbags have a component that may detach during deployme...
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      Chrysler recalls various vehicles with electrical issue

      The alternator may fail suddenly

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 17,116 model year 2014 Dodge Challengers, Chargers, Durangos, Chrysler 300s, and Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with a 3.6L engine and a 160 amp alternator.

      The alternator may fail suddenly, causing the vehicle to stall without warning, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the alternator, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin January 10, 2018.

      Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is T75.

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 17,116 model year 2014 Dodge Challengers, Chargers, Durangos, Chrysler 300s, and Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with a 3....
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      Airbag issue prompts recall of model year 2018 Jeep Compasses

      The passenger side air bag assembly may have loose inflator mounting nuts

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 26,971 model year 2018 Jeep Compasses.

      The passenger side air bag assembly may have loose inflator mounting nuts within the module assembly.

      In the event of a crash necessitating air bag deployment, unsecured inflator mounting nuts outside of the cushion assembly are potential projectiles that may strike the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

      What to do

      Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger air bag module assembly, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin January 10, 2018.

      Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is T73.

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 26,971 model year 2018 Jeep Compasses.The passenger side air bag assembly may have loose inflator mounting nuts with...
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      Ford recalls model year 2016 F-150s and Explorers

      The front seat occupant may not be properly restrained in a crash

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 177,264 model year 2016 F-150s and Explorers.

      Loose power seat adjuster pivot bolts may cause the front seat cushions to detach and not properly restrain the seat occupant in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of an injury.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the tightness of the power seat track upper pivot link bolt, either applying threadlocker or replacing the lift link and hardware, free of charge.

      Interim letters are expected to go out January 15, 2018, and a second notice will be sent when the remedy becomes available.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 17S40.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 177,264 model year 2016 F-150s and Explorers.Loose power seat adjuster pivot bolts may cause the front seat cushions to...
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      The financial advantages of moving during winter

      Consumers can find attractive deals and discounts during the colder, off-peak months

      While spring and summer are typically regarded as prime seasons for moving, relocating during winter has benefits for those on a tight budget.

      Since moving during winter isn’t a popular idea, buyers (and renters) can enjoy less market competition and seasonal price drops across many areas pertaining to moving. 

      "Moving during certain times of the year can result in significant savings, and the winter is one of those times," Mike Keaton, senior director of communications for the American Moving & Storage Association, tells ConsumerAffairs. 

      "Most moves happen during the late spring and summer months, so moving companies have greater capacity and more flexibility on moving dates during the off-season. They’re often able to offer bigger discounts during these times when they’re less busy." 

      Financial breaks

      Although you might have to bundle up on moving day, moving during cold weather has its advantages -- namely, lower moving costs.

      Due to decreased demand, most moving companies tend to charge less in late fall and winter. Companies often lower their rates by as much as 30 percent compared to the peak summer months, according to moving industry consultant Vasilka Atanasova.

      “We do generally see slower rent growth and often even a seasonal price drop in the winter months. This year, our national rent index has fallen by 0.1 percent in each of the past three months, and rents have decreased over the past month in 66 of the nation's 100 largest cities,” Sydney Bennet, senior research associate at ApartmentList.com, told ConsumerAffairs.

      She says that’s a big change from the spring and summer months, noting that those seasons are “the busiest time of the year for renters to move.”

      In the winter, consumers are also more likely to encounter motivated sellers who are willing to negotiate on various aspects of a move, such as selling price and even what household appliances and items are included in the sale.

      For those who plan to rent a new home or apartment, moving during winter may also pay off in the form of lease specials. For example, some property management companies may lower the rent or offer a month or two of free rent in an effort to fill vacancies. Many of these deals tend to pop up in February and March, since they are slower months for the rental industry.

      Top cities for job seekers

      Between saving for a downpayment and footing the bill for moving costs, leaving one residence for another can be an expensive endeavor.

      To help offset the cost of moving, it can be beneficial to consider putting down roots in a city with a strong job market and/or relatively high average annual salary. A batch of recent studies highlight a few cities that have been ranked highly by young job seekers.

      • Austin, Texas. Millennials have been flocking to Austin for years, perhaps due to the city’s booming job market. A recent study by LinkedIn showed there are 23,000+ jobs in Austin. The most popular industries include IT and Services, Computer Software, and Internet.

      • Richmond, Va. Richmond constantly ranks on the US News & World Report list of the Best Places to Live. Millennials tend to thrive in this city thanks to affordable housing costs and a strong job market (just 4 percent unemployment for their age group).

      • Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Recent data shows there are 21,000+ jobs available in the Raleigh-Durham area. Raleigh also boasts strong job growth and a high quality of life, making it an ideal place for millennials to call home.

      • Nashville, Tenn. In a recent study, Nashville ranked as the best place for millennial job seekers in the state of Tennessee. The city is rife with job opportunities and has a median annual salary of $40,353.

      • Miami, Fla. Miami took the top spot on Indeed.com’s 2017 list of best cities for job-seekers. The career site evaluated 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and found Miami scored high across four different metrics: work/life balance, salary compared to cost of living, job postings (weighted to interest), and job security/advancement.

      While spring and summer are typically regarded as prime seasons for moving, relocating during winter has benefits for those on a tight budget.Since mov...
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      Most credit card users rack up debt to meet basic expenses

      Survey reveals trend that personal finance expert calls 'disturbing'

      A new survey of consumers who carry chronic balances on their credit cards shows much of their spending is on basic daily needs–making ends meet.

      The research from credit card site CompareCards.com found 42 percent of consumers in the survey group reported their shortage of cash at the end of the month was a significant driver in running up debt.

      Aside from gasoline and groceries, consumers reported that emergency expenses such as car repairs and medical care went on credit cards because money was not available.

      Bruce McClary, a vice president at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which represents non-profit credit counselors, says the survey should raise some warning flags.

      'Disturbing'

      "What I find disturbing about this survey is that it shows consumers are rolling over more than $5,000 in balances from month to month, coupled with the fact that much of that debt–some 42 percent–is related to simply making ends meet, covering expenses that would ordinarily have been covered using cash," McClary told ConsumerAffairs.

      The survey focused on reasons for credit card debt and the stress that it causes among consumers. Millennials are more likely than older consumers to feel stress, yet baby boomers are having a harder time than millennials paying off their debt.

      Also disturbing, the survey found about 28 percent of consumers had two or more credit cards with a balance they can't pay off in full.

      "We are clearly in a trend where more people are falling behind on their credit card payments and people are carrying larger balances," McClary said. "That combination can be very dangerous."

      The survey can be subject to different interpretations. Despite a soaring stock market and improving job market, a sizable group of consumers may still be struggling financially.

      At the same time, McClary says some consumers with job security may have become too comfortable with debt over the last few years and are now in over their heads. He says it's easy to do.

      Long term costs

      "Consumers should think about the long term costs of the things they're buying on credit, he said. "If their credit card is simply charging them the average interest rate, which right now is around 16 percent, you can be adding a lot to the cost of the item you're buying."

      McClary cites the example of carrying a $1,000 balance and paying the minimum $25 a month at 16 percent APR. At that rate, he says consumers would pay an additional $400 by the time they paid off the balance.

      It might be difficult, but McClary says consumers struggling with credit card debt can turn it around.

      "In my 20 years of non-profit credit counseling I have always found that there is the possibility of finding room in the budget for savings," McClary said. It's just a matter of where you look and how hard you're willing to work to make those adjustments."

      For help, he suggests contacting a non-profit credit counselor. While some consumers may have little or no discretionary spending that can be cut, a credit counselor can suggest tactical moves that can save money on existing financial obligations.

      A new survey of consumers who carry chronic balances on their credit cards shows much of their spending is on basic daily needs–making ends meet.The re...
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      BMW recalls vehicles with instrument panel software error

      The instrument panel display may not illuminate properly

      BMW of North America is recalling 3,188 model year 2018 230i, 230i xDrive, M240i, M240i xDrive, M2, and X3 xDrive 30i SAV vehicles.

      Thee vehicles may have an error in the software for the instrument panel, causing the display to not illuminate properly.

      As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 101, "Control and Displays."

      If the display does not illuminate during start up or does not illuminate various control and warning symbols while the vehicle is being driven, the risk of a crash can increase.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will update the instrument cluster display software, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin January 8, 2018.

      Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

      BMW of North America is recalling 3,188 model year 2018 230i, 230i xDrive, M240i, M240i xDrive, M2, and X3 xDrive 30i SAV vehicles.Thee vehicles may ha...
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