Safety Concerns Regarding Pickups

MotormouthMotormouth Member Posts: 99
edited February 2014 in General
My main concern regarding pickups stems from those pickups who have
"low back" seats (no headrests) and a standard cab.

I once had an import pickup that was like that. I remember driving
past what appeared to be a minor read-end collision involving a truck
very similar to mine. The rear end of the truck, which had been hit by
a passenger car had minor damage, indicating a relatively low-speed

I later read that the driver of the pickup had been killed because the
impact caused his head to be thrust through the rear window which was
directly behind his head. I assume that, in addition to serious
lacerations, he may also had broken his neck.

I got rid of that pickup fast after that!

Today, many pickups have high-back seats to help prevent that.
However, many have extended cabs where the rear passenger is still at

Have any of you had a similar experience or know of any?

What other safety concerns do you find with pickups?


  • deiseldeisel Member Posts: 16
    hey motormouth,

    My biggest concern is with towing. I have a fith
    wheel gooseneck horse trailer. It has a emergency
    brake that attaches to the bed of the truck should
    it become un-hitched (god forbid) What most concerns me is that trailer coming loose and rolling through the cab of the truck.
  • dhkimdhkim Member Posts: 2
    I have 1996 Toyota Tacoma (Extended Cab.) which I bought for the reason of low interest rate (1.9 %),
    and SAFETY that I thought I was getting.
    After I made the purchase, I found out about the
    horrible crash test results on this pickup.
    Not to mention the feeling of betrayal, I am concerned
    about what might happen to me when an accident
    does happen.
    I already made some investment on it (installed bedliner, Leer Cap, and extended warranty.)
    an will lose a lot of money if I sell or trade it.
  • autosonautoson Member Posts: 2

    i own a 1996 gmc c1500 truck-350 vortex-ext cab-sierra style.
    i just got back from having my fifth(5( set of seat rails replaced. after a few months the seats get loose-make noise-
    i have talked to the dealer and gmc about this condition and they said that they need the extra clearance for the electric seat to adjust properly.
    can you imagine the disaster during a collision with a loose seat(s). the new 1999 model will have all new seat designs-great idea- after many years of complaints.i have filed complaints to nhtsa-lemon law organization-letters to gmc.
    the service rep suggested that i should trade-up my truck in 1999.what a solution.
    do you know anyone with the same problem(s)??
    have a great holiday!!!
  • rcbrodskyrcbrodsky Member Posts: 7
    Bravo Motormouth! Your letter speaks directly to my concern about an extended cab pick-up. I had my heart set on one and recently shlepped my family(wife and 5 & 7 yr old kids)to our local Auto Show. The kids piled excitedly into the back seat and buckled up. Their heads sat up straight in back directly in front of the rear cab plate glass window. I thought, "am I *missing* something here?" Is there really zip zero zilch protection for a whiplash injury back there? Do their little heads just go smashing smack into the plate glass window? Maybe this isn't the vehicle for anyone contemplating hauling kids or anyone else around in the back seat. Why don't we hear more about this hazard? Will the newer trucks do something about this? I'd like to generate some discussion about this and see if others share my concerns.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    Don't feel alone. My '96 Sierra extended cab is on it's second set of seat rails, and these are already starting to come loose. The first set lasted 12k, this set less than 10k. I know of others with this same problem in Suburbans. Had I known, I would have opted for a mechanical seat.

  • rcbrodskyrcbrodsky Member Posts: 7
    I need to update my posting of Sunday, Jan 4.
    Yesterday, while reading Motor Trend's Truck Trend, I saw that the new 1999 GMC/Chevy full size extended cab rear seats are going to have headrests for their passengers! In addition to this, the seatbacks are going to be several inches taller than the current versions. This addresses my concerns about whiplash injury for rear seat passengers and is an important safety improvement.
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Member Posts: 2,242
    My '96 Sierra has adjustable height headrests for the back seat. They are not very comfortable, but they are there. I have to say that when GM went to the new seat style in '95 they took a step backward in my book. I only weigh 165 and the seats are so hard I barely deflect them when I am riding. I guess firm support is good, but it does mean for a rough ride on bumpy roads.

  • richflynnrichflynn Member Posts: 147
    Interesting comments about the lack of head rests and rear windows. I was always under the impression that (before mandated head restraints) it was observed that people in pickups had less severe injuries to heads and necks when rear ended. The studies showed that the rear window in a pick up truck was actually a safety device that prevented injuries. As a result of these studies, the 600 or so automotive safety experts in Washington DC mandated that we all have head restraints in our vehicles. Thus today's high seat backs and head restraints.
  • dburrowdburrow Member Posts: 11
    Safety chains ?
  • dburrowdburrow Member Posts: 11
    btw-that last post was intended for deisel.
  • KB5UMSKB5UMS Member Posts: 2
    hi folks.. im new to town hall. i have been truck shopping for about a yr now.
  • KB5UMSKB5UMS Member Posts: 2
    are there any safety concerns that you know about for the 97/98 dakota or ram ext cab? where would i find crash tests online?
  • spacetravelerspacetraveler Member Posts: 1
    I need advice on how to shop for a pickup to put a camper on for a light-weight travelers. Thanks to any who've experienced this.
  • N/AN/A Member Posts: 11
    To Knockout:

    The primary thing to keep in mind is that truck manufacturers, for YEARS, have laughed with glee that the safety standards for cars were NOT applicable to trucks. Therefore, they didn't have to worry about things like 5 mph impact bumpers, head restraints, etc.

    This is why, historically, in low mph crashes, especially from behind, SUVs and pickup trucks have almost always suffered more damage than a passenger car.

    What was misleading sometimes was the dollar amount of damage since there just isn't much in the back end of a pickup compared to a car. But take a look at repair bills for SUVS and you'll see what I mean.

    Since the industry wasn't REQUIRED to take the same steps towards ensuring the safety of the passengers in trucks, they never bothered to address this "head through the rear window" problem... no one was forcing them to.

    Then, a few years back, after two family members were killed when the pickup they were riding in was hit from behind by a car traveling no more than 30 mph. The family sued and won a significant amount.

    Suddenly, the industry developed a conscience. Or rather, became aware of the financial liability (to them it's one in the same).

    Now, you have a number of truck manufacturers providing better protection for the head vis a vis the built-in head rests.

    See? The industry has a heart. It only takes a large lost lawsuit to grab their attention. Of course, it often means that a number of people have to die first, but what else is new?

    To Richflynn:
    Specifically what "studies" do you refer to? I fail to see how the idea of nothing behind your head but a breakable glass object can be viewed as a "safety device." If the window doesn't shatter, your head does. But in all likelyhood, the glass will shatter. If you're lucky, it will be the kind of safety glass that shatters into harmless shards. Of course that still means you'll wind up with a concussion, but that probably won't be noticed since your neck will most likely snap backwards (in a rear end collision) so fast and so far that your spinal column will probably sever, preventing you from feeling even the deepest gashes. Thanks just the same... I prefer a head restraint.
  • damcardamcar Member Posts: 2
    If anyone out there owns a 1992 F-150 4x4 XLT Supercab short bed in the 2 tone brown, 5.8L, loaded with goodies, that was probably purchased in the east or central states, please look behind your glove box for a registration sticker. If you find one then post it here or e-mail me and I will get back to you with the details of this truck if the vin# is correct. I know it went back east somewhere from the dealer and would be very interested in "Disclosure Details" of sale. I still have original papers, so will only give info for a correct vin#.
  • scarecrowscarecrow Member Posts: 3
    I have recently seen a report from DOT on '97 F150 and Expeditions; Action #PE97-033, dated July 14 1997. The problem reads "wheel seperation from vehicle". This appears to be an investigation in progress that was opened in Oct. '97. Does anyone out there have more info on this or can tell me where to go for more info. Thanks
  • mikekulpmikekulp Member Posts: 1
    Is anyone familiar with the driver's seat in the 1995 Ford Ranger extended cab completely reclining in a rear impact car accident of 40+ miles an hour? This occurred to me on 1-13-98. The action of the seat reclining caused my head to go through the back window. Incidentally, the air bag never deployed eventhough there were several other impacts that were made with other cars. Who can I report this to so that it does not happen to anyone else?
  • richflynnrichflynn Member Posts: 147
    I'm trying to re-call the source of the information concerning head restraints, pickups and rear windows. All I can remember was that when I purchased either my '68 Camaro or '69 Chevy Wagon there were newspaper articles about the head restraints. It was stated that people in pickups suffered less 'whip lash' injuries because their head usually hit the back window. Maybe there were more cuts to the scalp but less spinal and soft tissue injuries. I don't know about you but I would rather have my head bounce off of the rear window of a pickup than my sholder blades.

    There was an interesting statement rear end damage being excessive on pcikups and SUVs. (I can not speak for SUVs.) Recently I was hit in a three vehicle deal. The rear most vehicle hat the center vehicle which hit me. The center vehicle (a stick shift) and I were stopped. I would guess that the culprit was going between 15 and 20 Mph at impact. The center vehicle was towed away. The rear vehicle should have been; but it was a rental and the driver took it to the return lot. The only "real" damage on my truck was the trailer electrical connector was bent beyond starightening and the bumber was slightly tweaked. My insurance company replaced both connector and bumper and the rental car company paid about $450. From 5 feet I couldn't see enough damage to the bumper to warrant replacing but I wasn't going to argue. The guy in the center car was, like me, stopped and waiting for the light. Both of us had only light pressure on the brake. My back was sore for a while and I got a good jolt. The high back seat saved me from whip lash. The guy in the center car was ok but obviously banged up. I'm sure that the next day he didn't want to get out of bed!

    So there is one for the high seat back and very little damage to my F-250.

  • bailbondsbailbonds Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone heard anything about recent accidents caused by the 97 F150 Front-end problem?
  • scarecrowscarecrow Member Posts: 3
    See #16, I am also seeking info on this problem.If you get any new info please post it here.
  • Troll333Troll333 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone had front brake problems with 96 Dodge Ram pickups. I had to replace the discs at 23,000 miles. Only one disc was making contact with the rotors.
  • DoncoyoteDoncoyote Member Posts: 2
    I am looking for a head pad to stick to the rear window of my truck cab to prevent my head from getting whiplashed backward if I get rear ended.
    I have no headrest on my 1990 GMC C1500 Pickup.
    Does anyone know where I can buy this item?
  • RufusRufus Member Posts: 1
    My sister is going to buy an 87 Jeep Laredo. It has 170,000 miles on it, original engine, tranny, it is loaded to the teeth and it is a 4wd. Has anyone heard anything bad about the model year and if so is there something I should tell her to look out for? The guy is asking 3500.00 for it. According to Edmunds, that is a reasonable price but I'm uneasy about the mileage on the vehicle.
  • scarecrowscarecrow Member Posts: 3
    The problem I have been concerned with may be isolatrd to the wheel itself and not the front end. I have heard that some of the "steel" wheels have bad welds and come apart.
  • autosonautoson Member Posts: 2
    thanks jlflemmons--
    i have been raising all kinds of hell with gmc.
    if you need a good lawyer for help-check out this great web
    i called yesterday to check it out-and the guy was great-gave me ideas to get results.lemon laws can cause car companies plenty of grief.
    ps-ill be going back for #6 seat rails this month.
  • TheDuskTheDusk Member Posts: 2
    I know we've been talking a lot about the GMC seat rails, but I have a safety concern about Toyota Tacoma's. I'll be graduating college in a few months now, and I need something to carry around a lot of gear. A mini-truck sounded like a good idea, but the only one that measured up to my needs was an Xtra Cab Tacoma 4x4.

    Overall I was very pleased with the design and specifications..even went for a test drive and found it much more refined than any of it's competition.

    But imagine my disappointment when I saw those crash test scores! I love the truck, but I don't want to die in it. I'm not planning on having passengers in the Xtracab, just gear. The head reast issue isn't too big a deal for me.

    I see that for 1998 the Tacoma has dual airbags, but has Toyota done anything else in '98 to improve 1997's abysmal crash test scores? More body reinforcement perhaps?

    In anybody's opinion is this truck less safe than the little '87 Chevy Nova that I drive now? I could probably drive it with some confidence knowing at least that it's as safe as my Nova was.

    The Taco' at least has ABS and dual airbags. The Nova has neither.

    (Interesting side note, the Tacoma and my Nova were both built at the same plant. The NUMMI plant in Freemont, CA)

    -Kelley in Richmond
  • MotormouthMotormouth Member Posts: 99
    I am unaware of any improvements on the Toyota this year. Unless they can demonstrate significant changes to the side protection, etc. I would avoid that truck. Is it safer than your Nova? Yes, but then so are most soap box derby cars.

    If you're going to spend that much money, why not consider a one or two year old (lease return) pick up with better protection? Or even new since the price of the Dakota is in the same ballpark. And it has much better test scores, I believe.
  • Rob11Rob11 Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know what changes were made to the 1998 Tacoma that increased it's NHTSA test crash rating from 1 star in 1997 to 4 stars this year?
  • scoobyde64scoobyde64 Member Posts: 1
    help, I am looking for a SUV and I don't know which one to get! I really wanted a minivan but feel a SUV would be safer. I think I like the passport by honda. Any thoughts?
  • Ryan30Ryan30 Member Posts: 1
    I'm looking for a pick up, but I'm not sure if a ranger or a dakota would be better can anyone help any opinions?
  • petecpetec Member Posts: 4
    I'm looking at the new Mazda pickup. Probably a 4x2. Any remarks?
  • flybyu2flybyu2 Member Posts: 1
    robll the changes that were mad to the 98 tacomas's that helped its crash test scores , were the addition of the passenger air bag and a new restyled larger front bumper.
  • gypsygypsy Member Posts: 1
    I am buying a new pick-up this summer. I think I have ruled out diesel. Stinks, noisy, too expensive to buy and maintain. I pull a 14,000 lb. camper about 6,000 miles a year. Probably drive another 6,000 miles a year not pulling. I am looking at the Dodge & Ford V-10 engine. Any comments or suggestions? I now drive and pull with a Ford F-250, 460 engine. I sure could use some help. the Gypsy
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    I was reading a comparison of the Dodge and the new SuperDuty in Truck Trend magazine. They seemed impressed with both engines. The Dodge 8.0L V-10 produces 300hp and 450 torque. The article says that only the Ford 7.5L Powerstroke diesel offers more torque in a pickup with 500. Despite the specs, the reviewer said the torque builds gradually and confidently and never overwhelmed the chassis. The Ford V-10 is a 6.8L producing 275hp and 410 torque. The Ford is more efficient producing 40.4 hp per liter compared with 37.5 hp per liter with the Dodge. That's about as much detail as the article went into to. An article with some additional details on the new line of Triton engines for Ford, including the V-10, can be found in the 1999 SuperDuty preview at I seem to see a lot of the same terminology and phrasing in numerous articles, so my guess is alot of it was provided by Ford.
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113
    I just reread the article in Truck Trend. There is a little more info on the V-10 than I initially thought. You might pick it up, or read on the stand. The article is not that long. The magazine has a picture of a Dodge and the SuperDuty on the cover.
  • 97Isuzu97Isuzu Member Posts: 4
    Does anyone have any opions on the Isuzu Hombre?
  • reset9reset9 Member Posts: 7
    re: Izuzu
    It is an S-10 in disguise!
    I think it has a longer warranty: 3yrs-50,000 m.
    Other than that, it is pretty much a chevy S-10.
  • LJTIIILJTIII Member Posts: 1
    I leased a 1997 F-250XLT and have had nothing but problems... 4wd vibrates at 25mph, exhaust is loud, when cold, the truck sounds like a diesel (no it is not a powerstroke), transmission slips, driveshaft has been lubricated on numerous occassions to stop it from "sticking" when coming off a standstill. In Mass. one can use the "lemon Law" to resolve problem vehicles. I sent certified mail to Ford and received nothing in return (they have 10 days to resolve a lemon law complaint once in receipt of the certified mail..) Now I am in arbirtration and will find out the outcome within 1 month, i hope.
  • BrutusBrutus Member Posts: 1,113

    Amazing! I have a 92 F250HD XLT Lariat 4x4 with 82,000 and have had none of those problems. The first 17,000 miles, I lived in Alaska and regularly ran it on the highway in 4wd in the winter. The 5.8L V-8 still runs smooth and quiet. I guess every manufacturer makes a couple of lemons. What a drag that you should be the recipient of one.
  • kazukishawkazukishaw Member Posts: 2
    Question: Has anyone bought a Ford Ranger Extended Cab 4.0L with 5-speed Automatic? What do you think?
  • goinkergoinker Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 1998 dakota 3.9l v6 auto. looking for any one with any interesting good or for that matter bad characteristics of the vehicle. thanks
  • frednickfrednick Member Posts: 1
    i've had a 98 3.9l v6, 5 speed since early january. i liked this truck better than any others in the class before i bought it, and i still do now that i've put a couple thousand miles on it. the most surprising things for me were:
    - easy ability to almost redline! maybe i'm still used to my old datsun racecar, but i thought this would be different...i am new to the truck scene.
    - turning radius IS good...i can still do u-turns on these narrow city streets.
  • greencargreencar Member Posts: 11
    greetings-after a month of computer crashes-i'm back on line. I changed my nickname to GREENCAR-since my computer crash-i couldn't get back here with autoson.
    my 96 gmc 1500-sierra extended cab still has loose bucket seat rails. i have gotten many responses about the loose seat rails from gmc-chev owners. it occurs in other models including bench seats.if you know of anyone with this dangerous condition please contact me at [email protected],com. i have been in contact with NHTSA and have a number for the person to contact.
    don't forget-if you have a safety problem---contact NHTSA.
    thanks for listening----
  • faxfax Member Posts: 1
    i have a 1997 Hyundai accent. I purchased the car new in august of 1997 since then the car has had several transmission problems and bread problems. if anyone else has had these problems please e mail me at [email protected] thanks
  • mharde2mharde2 Member Posts: 278
    WOW...I did not know Hyundi made pickup.
  • KatmanduKatmandu Member Posts: 24
    I think a positive safety feature is the toughness
    of trucks in general. I have a 1991 S10 2wd pickup. I was hit in the passenger door by a 1975 GMC full size pickup. My wife was sitting shotgun when we got hit. I'm not sure how fast he was going but my guess is around 20mph. My wife and I
    got out of the truck, to look at the damage. We were a little sore, but otherwise just fine.

    I believe that if we would have been in a Geo Metro or some other tin box like that we would have gotten seriously hurt. There is no substitute for a vehicle with a frame. For that reason, there will always be a truck in my garage. Saving $10 a week on gas isn't worth your life. Think about it.
  • kjbadkjbad Member Posts: 7
    Actually, Hyundai did make a pickup called the Pony about ten years ago...don't bet on seeing one on the road, though. Korean power rules!!!!
  • WrenchWrench Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone have anymore info on the late 70/ early 80's Chevy/GMC fire problem. Have seen quite a few burnt husks of these trucks in various junkyards. GM's lawyers seem to have silenced CBS pretty effectively and would like to know if there is a fix for this problem before any of my friends driving these trucks get toasted.
  • MotormouthMotormouth Member Posts: 99
    Yes, I know I posted this in another area, but in case you missed it, I thought it might also be appropriate to post this here.

    Follow this link to information about the safety (or lack thereof) regarding compact pickups.

    This data was featured on a recent Dateline and was rather sobering to watch.

    Here's a link to the data:

    Compact Pick-up Truck Safety

    Don't forget to come back here to comment about it.
  • MCrossleyMCrossley Member Posts: 1
    Just a response about the pickup safety test and there results, I am a '98 Dodge Dakota owner and I just want to comment that I personally feel extremely safe in my Dakota, and I have done extensive research on the truck, overall the Dakota performed very well in all general aspects; and further more, how many day to day crashes do you hear about crashing directly into a concrete wall at 40MPH. I would recommend a Dodge Dakota or Ram to anyone who asks.
This discussion has been closed.