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I am a mom of a teenager who would like to buy a 2001 Xterra, but I am afraid of the rollover problems associated with teen drivers. I am told that there is something you can put on Xterras to decrease the rollover potential. Please let me know if a product like this exists and if it works.
 

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these are "roll bars" they reduce the body roll of the vehicle which gives it the momentum to roll. body roll is when the car acts like a boble head, the wheels are strait but the body is bouncing/leaning/ every which way. other than that the only other thing to do it stiffen up the suspention alittle. seems like alot of work though, if you are worried, just get a smaller sedan or jeep wrangler with no lift. (the jeeps are much less top heavy because they have no metal roof)
 

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Boxed Fox
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1.6pete said:
if you are worried, just get a smaller sedan or jeep wrangler with no lift. (the jeeps are much less top heavy because they have no metal roof)
The Jeep Wrangler is not much better in terms of rollover safety. Being less top heavy means very little compared to better chassis and suspension design. That is why the newer Jeep Grand Cherokee has a much higher rollover resistance than the Wrangler despite having an extremely heavy passenger compartment and roof.
 

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Boxed Fox
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jhall said:
I am a mom of a teenager who would like to buy a 2001 Xterra, but I am afraid of the rollover problems associated with teen drivers. I am told that there is something you can put on Xterras to decrease the rollover potential. Please let me know if a product like this exists and if it works.
JHall, I would rethink your approach to the issue. No matter how many mechanical or electronic safety devices you attach to your SUV, you will not be able to eliminate the possibility of a rollover. Changing to a different vehicle would not be a practical solution either. No matter how low the center of gravity of a vehicle is, if it sits on metal springs it can still be rolled by no more than a tall curb or a large, inconveniently placed pothole.

The only real solution for your concerns is to go straight to the source. Most real-life SUV rollovers (as opposed to closed circuit lab testing) occur as a result of driver error. People simply do not know how to react to a vehicle that is beginning to tip over because they have never studied car suspension systems. All they have to go by is that idiotic "steer against the skid" type advice in the state driving manual.

Therefore, I reccomend a state sanctioned defensive driving course for your son/daughter. It's relatively cheap, they are fairly thorough for a street driving course, and insurance companies will often give you a discount for participating in one*. It's also a good preventative measure for other types of accidents as well, which statistically occur far more often than SUV rollovers. I feel that this will be far more effective than any stability control/anti-roll device on any modern car or truck.

*The state of New Jersey, for example, requires all insurance companies to provide a 5% insurance discount to all drivers who have less than four points on their license and have participated in a state sanctioned defensive driving course. This might not sound like much, but if you consider that the average NJ resident pays over $1300 a year in car insurance (some pay well over double that), it's a significant amount
 
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