A bit of maintenance now can save you from costly repairs and safety hazards down the road.
Even if you’re ready for spring, your car probably isn’t.
Before winter hits, many people get the oil changed, tires checked and other pre-winter maintenance completed. But winter takes a heavy toll on cars, often causing hidden damage that could be costly or dangerous.
Now is the time to make sure your car is road ready for spring. Here are 10 must-do checks that car experts recommend so you can drive safely into the season:
1. Take your car for a tire check
Almost all cars in the U.S. are fitted with all-season tires. While these tires are safe and reliable in most climates, they aren’t as flexible as traditional snow tires. All-season tires stiffen in the cold, especially when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That can cause cracks and other damage.
You can take your car to many national auto service retailers for a free tire inspection. While you’re there, have your tires rotated and the air pressure checked. Doing these things will make the tires last longer and ensure they’ll grip on rain-slicked roads.
2. Replace your wiper blades
Anyone who has had a windshield wiper peel off during a heavy spring rain knows that winter can be hard on blades. Even if your blades look OK, replace them if they start to leave streaks on your windshield.
An auto technician can change them, or you can easily replace them yourself. Just check the owner’s manual for your car to find the correct size.
3. Ensure your car’s brakes are checked
Do you hear a grinding sound when you step on the brakes? If so, the brakes may need to be replaced. Even if you don’t think there’s a problem, it’s never a bad idea to have an auto technician check them. National retailers offer free brake inspections.
4. Clean the underbody
Most of us take great pride in washing and waxing our cars so they gleam in the spring sunshine. But don’t forget to have the underbody sprayed, too. Salt builds up in crevices and hidden areas underneath, including under the bumpers.
You can spray water under your car. However, a better option is to go to an automatic car wash. Most spray the undersides of cars as they clean the topsides.
5. Change the oil
Many cars use thinner oil during the winter than in the summer. Thin oil flows more easily during cold weather and ensures that your car starts more easily. When warmer spring weather arrives, it’s wise to have an oil change and use thicker oil.
Even if your car uses multi-viscosity oil, as many do, spring is a great time to change it. Winter is hard on engines, and the oil and filter become dirty. Changing the oil will ensure your engine performs well and lasts longer. That means less chance of a breakdown in steaming hot weather of summer.
6. Request checks of other fluids
Multiple fluids are needed for your car to function properly. Many people don’t find out that fluids are low or dirty until the fluids fail and the car is damaged. There usually aren’t many obvious warning signs. When your car is serviced, ask the technicians to check the following fluids:
Windshield washer solvent
The technician should also check belts and wires. Many of those crack or become loose during the winter months, especially if rodents and other small animals crawl into engines to stay warm.
7. Check your air conditioner
Test your air conditioner by running it for about 15 minutes once a month, even in winter.
No, it won’t hurt it. In fact, it might make it last longer. Running the air conditioner ensures the system stays fresh and active. Plus, you’ll find out if the air conditioner doesn’t work before the blazing hot days of summer.
Your car technician can also check the system’s pressure readings and other elements.
8. Schedule a wheel alignment
Of course, cars hit potholes and other dips and bumps that crop up on roads during the winter. That can throw your wheels out of alignment and cause a host of problems, including stress on your car’s suspension, uneven tire wear and other potentially dangerous issues. Stop by a car care center and have your car’s tires aligned.
9. Change your cabin air filter
Does your car smell funny? Many car owners don’t know that there is an air filter in the car’s cabin. The filter is easy to locate and change yourself. NAPA gives a step-by-step guide. If you’re not handy, just ask your car technician to change it.
10. Check the battery
Car owners always think batteries die during the winter. Of course they do, but they also die in summer. Many national auto care chains offer free battery testing, so you can find out whether you need a new one before the battery fails.
Credits to: By: “https://www.moneytalksnews.com/slideshows/get-your-car-ready-and-reliable-for-spring-in-10-easy-steps/?all” Nancy Dunham February 5, 2019
Audi used its 60-second spot during the second quarter of the big game to showcase its electronic car range E-Tron.
The spot, produced by the agency Venables Bell & Partners, marked the automaker’s 10th Super Bowl appearance.
Here’s the full ad:
Hyundai aired a 60-second spot produced by its agency of record, Innocean, during the first quarter.
The ad starred actor Jason Bateman and feature the model 2020 Palisade SUV.
Here’s the full ad:
The automaker made its 11th appearance at the big game this year, in a spot developed by its agency David&Goliath.
At 90 seconds, the spot “Give It Everything” was its longest ever. It aired during the third quarter.
Here’s the full ad:
After sitting out last year, the luxury-car maker returned to the Super Bowl this year.
The brand showcased its brand-new A-Class vehicle with a guest appearance by the Atlanta-based musician Ludacris, who is now an ambassador for the brand.
It is fitting, as the game was played at the home of its US headquarters.
Here’s the ad:
Toyota made its seventh appearance in eight years at the Super Bowl, this time with two spots. The first 60-second ad focused on the RAV4 and featured the athlete Antoinette “Toni” Harris and was directed by Joe Pytka, who is behind more than 80 Super Bowl commercials for brands like Budweiser, Pepsi, and Nike. The creative was led by Burrell, while media was led by Saatchi & Saatchi.
The second 60-second ad featured its Supra car. The spot,”Wizard,” displayed the car “as it conquers the obstacles of a life-sized pinball machine,” according to the brand. Creative was led by Saatchi & Saatchi and media was handled by Saatchi & Saatchi and Zenith Media.
Watch it here:
Credits to: “https://www.businessinsider.com/super-bowl-commercials-2019-list-2019-1” By: Tanya Dua February 4, 2019
Looking to buy a new car?
Take a test drive of one of these 19 new vehicles.
If you follow the automotive industry — or if you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle anytime soon — this is one of the best times of year to follow the latest releases and developments as automakers turn their attention to 2019 and 2020.
To keep tabs on them all, we’ve compiled a list of the new 2019 model year vehicles … so far. Keep checking in, as we’ll add new cars as they debut.
2019 Audi A7
The Audi A7 was one of the early arrivals to the “four-door coupe” segment back in 2012. In its first major redesign, the 2019 A7 pulls styling cues from the A8 flagship sedan, including the front fascia design and interior layout. The cabin swaps out the MMI dial of previous models for a dial-screen layout, including a 10.1-inch upper screen and an 8.6-inch lower screen.
The A7 now comes as a mild hybrid, working with the 3.0-liter V6 to produce 340 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque.
The A7 will start at $68,000, which is actually $1,700 less than the outgoing model. Availability has not been announced.
2019 Audi E-Tron
Audi is making a smallish SUV as its first mass-produced electric vehicle. It features two electric motors, one at the front wheels and one at the rear. They make 168 horsepower (182 pound-feet of torque) and 188 horsepower (232 pound-feet), respectively. Sport mode instantly increases output by 13 horsepower (46 pound-feet) and 33 horsepower (30 pound-feet). Power is stored in a 95 kWh battery pack and will have an estimated range of around 210 miles.
The E-Tron starts at $74,800 for the Premium Plus trim and $81,800 for the Prestige trim, placing it near Tesla Model S and Model X entry-level range.
2019 BMW 3 Series
The 3 Series is the cornerstone of the BMW lineup; over 15 million have been sold since 1975. This popular luxury sedan has been redesigned for 2019 with many innovations including Reversing Assistant, which records the last 50 meters of forward motion and reverses the vehicle along the same path. The 3 Series also features Intelligent Personal Assistant, which is like Siri for a car.
The 3 Series will be initially offered as the 330i, equipped with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder making 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It will be joined by the M340i in 2019 and 330e plug-in hybrid in 2020.
Base MSRP for the 2019 BMW 330i is $41,195, while the all-wheel drive 330i xDrive costs $43,245. The new 3 Series is expected to hit dealers in March 2019.
2019 BMW 8 Series
The BMW M850i features a long hood, and underneath is a twin-turbocharged V8 making 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It sends power to standard xDrive all-wheel drive. The convertible variant’s roof opens or closes in 15 seconds at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
Inside, the 8 Series features a 12.3-inch touchscreen. It runs the latest version of BMW’s iDrive, and it integrates Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business. Other features include a digital display key fob, Bowers & Wilkins stereo, and an available M Sport Package.
Base MSRP for the Coupe is $111,895, while the convertible will cost $9,500 more, coming in at $121,395. The BMW 8 Series is expected to go on sale in fall 2019.
2019 BMW X7
You’ll instantly recognize the BMW X7 not only for its size, but the size of its grille. Inside, you’ll find three rows and seating for up to seven, or six if you opt for second-row captain’s chairs. Engine choices include a 335-horsepower twin-turbo inline-six (xDrive40i), or a twin-turbo V8 (xDrive50i) making 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.
As the names suggest, power is routed to xDrive all-wheel drive, and the whole thing rides on an air suspension that can lower for easier access. Other neat tricks include rear-wheel steering and an adaptive suspension system with a camera scanning the road conditions ahead.
Base MSRP for the xDrive40i is $73,900, while the V8-powered xDrive50i starts at $92,600. BMW is taking orders now.
The 2019 Silverado will weigh 450 pounds less than the outgoing model, thanks to the use of aluminum for the doors, hood, and tailgate. The bed and other major components will still be high-strength steel. A power tailgate will be available, too. The new Silverado will also be available with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 3.0-liter Duramax diesel engine in addition to the 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 gas engines. Power is routed through a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The Silverado will also offer dynamic fuel management to shut down individual cylinders and save fuel.
Base MSRP for the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is $28,300. Some vehicles are trickling into dealerships, so you might be able to find one now. For everyone else, it’s still coming soon.
The Ford Ranger has been absent from the American truck market since 2011. The Ranger is based on Ford’s T6 global pickup, but when it arrives in the U.S. early next year, it will come with features like SYNC 3 infotainment and Wi-Fi that can connect up to 10 devices up to 50 feet from the vehicle. The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder making 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
Ford is already taking orders for the 2019 Ranger, which has a starting price of $24,000 and is expected to hit dealerships in early 2019.
2019 Mazda 3
The Mazda3 is the automaker’s global sales leader, so a redesign gets practically as much fanfare as a sports car. The new 2019 Mazda3 takes a more upscale approach. It’s 3.2 inches longer and less than an inch lower, giving it a more dramatic stance.
Inside, the vehicle features a clean, luxury-like aesthetic. The touchscreen atop the dash is now a large 8.8-inch unit that can be controlled via a joystick dial in the center console. It will be available with gas and diesel engine options, as well as Mazda’s new compression-ignition engine, combing the best attributes of both gas and diesel engines.
Pricing and availability have not been announced.
2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e
This all-wheel drive Prius retains the original drivetrain up front, but it adds an independent electric motor to the rear wheels. At speeds up to 6 miles per hour, the rear motor automatically engages — and will engage as needed — up to 43 miles per hour. Above that, it remains disengaged to conserve energy.
EPA estimates for the all-wheel drive Prius are 52/48/50 miles per gallon (city/highway/combined). Compare that with the FWD Prius, which is expected to return 58/53/56 for the LE Eco trim, and 54/50/52 for the rest of the trim lineup.
The Prius AWD-e will start at $27,300 for the LE Eco trim and $39,740 for the XLE. Availability has not been announced.
2019 Acura RDX
Behind the massive new grille of the 2019 RDX is a new direct-injected 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Inside, the RDX gets a new 10.2-inch display that’s operated via touchpad.
Pricing ranges from $37,300, up to $45,400 for an Advance Package model.
2019 Ford Edge
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2019, and this spacious two-row crossover is loaded with refinements and features. The all-new Edge ST effectively replaces the Edge Sport, and it features performance-inspired styling backed by a 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 making 335 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Ford will also offer Titanium as a luxury-minded trim.
The Edge starts at $29,995, while the ST starts at $42,355.
2019 Honda Insight
The 2019 Insight is the third Honda vehicle to wear the “Insight” name, and this time around, it’s positioned as a replacement for the Honda Civic Hybrid. It employs a two-motor full-hybrid system that’s capable of an impressive 55 miles per gallon in the city, 49 on the highway, and 52 combined. It also has Honda’s updated (and finallyeasy-to-use) infotainment system, as well as Honda Lane Watch and Honda Sensing safety technologies.
The 2019 Honda Insight starts at $22,830.
2019 Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai’s quirky Veloster hatchback continues to offer its strange 1+2 door layout, which features one large door on the driver’s side and smaller front/rear doors on the passenger side. It’s all-new inside and out, and it continues to offer a very unique appearance. Inside, the Veloster gets a sharp interior with a large, floating touchscreen. Hyundai’s new N performance line now extends to the Veloster and boasts a turbocharged inline-four making 275 horsepower.
The Jeep Cherokee is one of the most capable small SUVs on the market. The one polarizing element to this SUV has been its futuristic-looking front end. Jeep heard the criticism, and so it debuted a more conventional front fascia with the 2019 edition. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four joins the lineup, putting out 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
The base Latitude comes in $300 less than the outgoing model, now priced at $25,190.
2019 Kia Forte
The redesigned Kia Forte takes styling inspiration from the new Stinger GT performance sedan. It is now 3.2 inches longer, allowing for a more spacious interior. The interior is also more upscale and features a floating infotainment screen similar to its corporate cousin: the Hyundai Elantra GT.
Its 2.0-liter inline-four makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This engine returns as much as 35 miles per gallon combined.
The 2019 Kia Forte has a base MSRP of $17,690.
2019 Mini Cooper
Like the Jeep Wrangler or Porsche 911, the Mini Cooper thrives on the continual evolution of its iconic heritage design. Subtle updates to the two-door, five-door, and convertible variants include new headlight clusters, along with tail lights with the Union Jack integrated into their design. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard but can be updated to an 8.8-inch navigation system.
For 2019, the Ram loses its iconic “crosshair” grille, emphasizing variation in styling among its wide range of trims. Under the hood, the V6 and V8 gas engines now feature eTorque mild-hybrid integration for improved fuel efficiency. It adds up to 90 pound-feet of torque to the V6 and 130 pound-feet to the V8 engine. A 3.0-liter diesel V6 is also available.
The Ram 1500 is now available with a massive 12-inch touchscreen. This reconfigurable screen is arranged in portrait layout, much like the Tesla Model S. Out back, an available hydraulic tailgate lets you open and close it remotely.
The 2019 Ram 1500 starts at $31,795.
2019 Toyota Avalon
Toyota is taking the generally staid Avalon in a more aggressive direction with its 2019 model. The sporty styling is backed by a 3.5-liter V6 making 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. A hybrid variant will also be available, and it should improve on the 2018 model’s fuel economy of 40 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway.
The Avalon gets a spacious, well-equipped cabin, and it’s one of the first Toyota vehicles to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s also available with a 1,200-watt JBL sound system and a color heads-up display.
The completely redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is larger and more substantial than its predecessor. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged base engine makes just 147 horsepower, but with its new eight-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle returns fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon in the city and 40 on the highway. The new-look Jetta gets a far more engaging interior, complete with a large touchscreen, ambient lighting, and the “Volkswagen Digital Cockpit.” This 10-inch digital display replaces the conventional instrument panel and has six information modes.
The 2019 Jetta starts at $18,545.
Credits to: “https://www.boston.com/cars/car-guides/2018/12/14/2019-new-car-models” By: George Kennedy December 14, 2018
We don’t condone speeding, but for those wanting that extra layer of protection, the Valentine One radar detector remains the best at finding police speed radar signals. It may use the same housing as it did 20 years ago, but the software has been updated to remain one of the best in the business.
If you need to run some serious electronics that require a household 110V plugin, you need an inverter in your car. This Bestek model can be powered via a 12V port or be connected directly to your car’s battery, and even features four USB ports.
PAPAGO Car Dash Camera
With all the crazy drivers out there these days, it can’t hurt to have a dash cam just in case something were to happen. This PAPAGO model is very high-res, which means you can zoom in on images later on.
This is one of those tools you hope to never need. With hardened steel points for smashing through safety glass and a recessed blade to cut off a stuck seatbelt, this handy device could make the difference in escaping a wrecked vehicle as quickly as possible.
Ram Mounts makes some of the highest-quality phone holders out there, but we think the X-Grip model is the best. Not only does it hold your phone in place securely, it also doesn’t conform to one phone size. That means even if you get a new phone, the mount works just as well.
If you’re not into the heavy-duty Ram Mount, this air-vent mounted magnetic phone holder might be more your style. All you need to do is have a metal plate inside your phone’s case, and you can stick it to this mount without any clamping or clipping.
Maybe your car’s too old to have a proprietary AUX input. That’s no issue as long as you have a cassette player, with this device anyway. It’s an adapter that connects a 3.5mm jack to a makeshift tape, allowing you to play music from your modern device on your car’s original stereo.
Or, instead of using a cassette to link your phone to your car, why not change your stereo? Well, fear not, because aftermarket companies want you to be able to use your phone with your car. This is how you can get CarPlay or Android Auto into anything, even that rusty old Miata.
If you only have one 12V port, using multiple accessories at once can become an issue. That’s solved with Garmin’s clever multi-charger, which uses one 12V port and splits it into two USB ports and another 12V input.
This one is particularly useful for off-roaders, but we can see anyone finding use for a jack on uneven terrain. Inflated via a hose you slip over your car’s exhaust pipe, this huge, heavy-duty bag will easily lift your vehicle high enough to change a tire.
One feature that the Valentine One doesn’t have is the ability to detect and remember false alarms, like automatic doors, that can interfere with the radar detector’s accuracy. The Escort Max II has GPS to find and remember these, along with networking access to other Escort users to find out about nearby speed traps.
Zone Tech Recessed Folding Cup Drink Holder – Black Premium Quality Recessed Sturdy Black Folding Vehicle Adjustable Drink Cup Holder
Of course, to charge all of your devices, you’ll need a cable that’ll get the job done. We recommend a three-pack of this two-in-one Lightning and Micro USB charger cable, this way you won’t have to carry two cables around in case you need to charge two different devices. It’s also convenient if a friend wants to charge their phone, but doesn’t have the same input as your phone.
Have you struggled to comfortably eat food in your car due to space issues in the past? Well, this ingenious cup holder-mounted tray is a good solution. It’s height-adjustable, and features a non-slip surface. It also doubles as a useful storage tray.
Credits to: “https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/car-accessories/g13515648/cool-car-accessories-gadgets/” By: R&T Staff
Wherever you’re heading, if you’re traveling during the holiday season, you need to realize that everyone else in the world is, too. But don’t let invasive security scanners, terrible drivers and long lines at the airports get you down. We’re giving you tips to survive the holiday travel season without a Frosty the Snowman-size meltdown.
1: Do your research.
Plan alternative trips if traffic makes your way home too overwhelming. Is there a scenic drive that might be longer but have less traffic? Break up a long drive by finding a few places to stop that will get the kids more excited than a truck rest stop. When flying, make sure you check the airline’s restrictions ahead of time on carry-on luggage and fees for checked bags.
2: Stay connected.
Stock up on the latest travel apps before you leave home. GateGuru gives you approximate times you’ll spend in security. Heading out on the road? Find the cheapest gas and cleanest bathrooms on the road with GasBuddy and SitOrSquat.
3: Pack light.
Avoid checking bags altogether if you can. You won’t have to wait for your luggage on the conveyor belt, and you won’t have to worry about your mom’s Christmas present getting lost in Logan Airport. If you do check luggage, make sure you have all your medications, important documents and a change of clothes in your carry-on just in case your luggage gets lost.
4: Pack earplugs.
Short of doing yoga in the airport, the best way to mentally escape your stressful surroundings is to turn the volume down. And the easiest way to do that is with earplugs. Crying baby next seat over on the plane? Earplugs. Sister’s music in the car driving you mad? Earplugs. And if you really want to check out for a bit? Bring an eye mask (as long as you aren’t driving).
5: Don’t get hangry.
When your tummy growls, your mind can’t think straight, and you could unknowingly get in the wrong line, take the wrong turn, or worse, upset an innocent flight attendant. Pack snacks and drinks, so you and your family will be fueled up for a road trip. If you’re flying, definitely get some grub before you board the plane, so you won’t have to rely on airline food if you’re sitting on the tarmac for hours.
6: Ship gifts or give gift cards.
TSA suggests to ship wrapped gifts or wait until you reach your destination to wrap them, as they might have to unwrap a present to inspect it. Ship gifts ahead of time or bring the gift that can’t go wrong: gift cards to their favorite store or an Amazon card.
7: Travel on off-peak days.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year and can also cause you the biggest meltdown of the year. A better option is to leave early on Thanksgiving Day and avoid the record traffic the night before. Same goes with flying: If you fly on the actual holiday itself you’ll be avoiding the long lines and hordes of travelers.
8: Travel early or late in the day.
Flight statistics show that planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. And if your flight is cancelled, you will have the option of taking a flight later in the day. Also, there will be fewer lines at security. Best time to hit the road? When everyone else is asleep — early morning or late at night. You can always take a nap when you arrive at your destination or on the ride there (if you aren’t the driver, of course).
9: Plan for the unexpected.
Have only a half hour before connecting to another flight? Traveling to Rochester, N.Y., during snow season? Think ahead and plan accordingly. Leave extra time before flights to deal with security, extra time between connections and, for road trips, pack tire chains for snowy conditions, flashlights, and of course, a few bandages never hurt either.
10: Inhale. Exhale.
The overly friendly person next to you on the plane, the cancelled flights, the luggage that fell off in the middle of the highway? All of it will make for great stories over dinner when you finally make it to your destination. After all, holiday travel stress is just as much of a tradition as pumpkin pie and re-gifting.
Credits to: “https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/holidays/articles/top-10-survival-tips-for-holiday-travel” By: Kathleen Rellihan
The winter season can be detrimental for cars, which is why it’s important drivers prepare well in advance of when the harshest conditions arrive.
Ed Gliss, a test driver and technical expert for Michelin, said the best time for car owners to begin preparing vehicles for cold weather is in the weeks leading up to winter.
Here are five ways to make sure your car is ready to withstand cold weather for a safe driving experience.
Monitor tire pressure
Gliss said it’s important to check your tire pressure once a month, especially during the winter, since a tire’s pressure can drop as the air becomes colder.
“An under-inflated tire underperforms and does not wear good for the consumer,” he said.
Tire pressure is measured by pounds per square inch (PSI). If uncertain about what level of PSI your tire should be, the proper inflation level can typically be found inside the driver’s door jam.
In addition, there are specific styles of tires that can help navigate wintry weather better than others. A good rule of thumb is to at least have an all-season tire when driving in conditions below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. For those living in regions where temperatures may routinely approach zero, Gliss said it’s wise to look into winter tires, which are built for superior traction and handling on snowy or icy roads.
Have your battery tested
Battery capacity decreases significantly in cold weather, so it’s important to have a mechanic examine it to ensure it’s at peak performance, according to Michelin.
“It becomes increasingly important to have a well-performing battery in those cooler temperatures. It’s just harder on the cells and it robs their battery capacity,” Gliss said.
Parking a car in a garage, out of the freezing cold, is another way to protect the battery. Having jumper cables handy is also important, not only if your car breaks down, but also in case you come across another motorist in need of a jump start.
Look for cracks in windshields and make sure wiper blades are in working order
“If you have cracks or chips [on the windshield], they are likely to worsen in extreme cold temperatures. So I recommend getting those repaired or looked at by an expert,” Gliss said.
Gliss also recommended replacing wiper blades to ensure they can handle the various elements and keep the windshield clear. In addition, he said it’s important to use a washer fluid that’s rated for subfreezing temperatures.
Car owners should also make sure their defrosters are in proper working order to assist with maintaining visibility.
Add a coat of wax to your car
Michelin states that a fresh coat of wax before the snow starts falling can help protect a car against damage from salt and dirt on the roads.
Road salt, while an important factor to combat icy roads, can cause extensive damage to vehicles over time because it is corrosive.
Turtle Wax recommends using its product on the lower parts of the vehicle, including behind the wheels, quarter panels and front grille. This is because ice, snow and salt tend to build up and stay in these areas the longest.
Inspect headlights and brake lights
It’s vital to have fully functioning headlights and brake lights when dealing with thick winter fog or heavy snow.
“It’s going to help your own visibility while driving, but also make sure other drivers are able to see you,” Gliss said.
Gliss added that he notices plastic headlight covers with a haze on them or looking discolored. This can have a negative effect on the brightness of the headlights.
Plastic headlight lens repair kits can be found at various retailers if you choose not to have it serviced by a professional.
Credits to: “https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/5-ways-to-prepare-your-car-for-winter/70000108” by Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the fall. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. And with days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to or from work in darkness.
Fall means back to school for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers also need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.
The first rain in a few weeks can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that haven’t had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.
Leaves (and leaf peepers)
Fall foliage is certainly beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring traffic lines and other pavement markings. They also hide potholes and other road hazards. And when it rains, it can make those wet leaves on the roadway as dangerous as ice.
And where there are turning leaves, there are leaf peepers. These leaf-peeping drivers tend to crawl along the roads and make unpredictable stops to admire the changing foliage. If you’re driving behind a car with out-of-state plates, give them a little extra space just in case they stop short for a photo.
Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. This only makes visibility worse because your high beams will bounce off the fog and create glare.
When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the car in front of you so you’ll have adequate time to stop if you need to.
During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.
Fall is also a bad time for sun glare on the roads. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the car in front of you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers describe being “blinded” after exposure, and this sometimes leads to accidents or near misses.
Sun glare can also cause problems when the sun sets behind drivers. In this case, sunlight can bounce off your rearview mirror or reflect off traffic lights up ahead, and this can blind you for a split second while your eyes adjust. It can also make it hard (or impossible) to see traffic lights, which can prevent you from knowing if you’re supposed to stop or go.
The fall season brings an increase in deer activity because it’s their time for mating and migrating. If you live in a deer-heavy area, watch for darting deer, especially when driving at night.
fall driving tips
Being prepared for fall’s inclement weather and hazardous driving challenges is half the battle.
Watch your speed: Drive a bit slower when faced with fall driving hazards, especially if you’re driving around a school bus.
Keep your distance: Leave a little more space between you and the car in front on rainy or foggy days, during dawn or dusk, and in areas with wet leaves. This will give you more time to react.
Stick with low beams: Keep your headlights on low when driving in the fog (and rain). High beams will only cause glare.
Clear frost away from your windows: Frost can reduce visibility and response time on the road.
Approach traffic lights carefully: Sun glare can make it harder to see traffic lights change, so approach them with more than the normal care.
Avoid using products that increase gloss: Washing and waxing with these products can magnify the fall’s sunny glare and make it hard to see.
Clean your windshield, inside and out: When your windshield’s illuminated by sunlight, dust particles, streaks, and smudges become magnified, making it hard to see the road.
Watch for wildlife: especially in the early morning and evening hours.
Check your tire pressure: Since fall weather rapidly changes from warm to cold, your tires will often expand and contract. This can lead to a loss of pressure.
Knowing what to look for and using these tips can help you avoid weather-related car accidents in the fall.
credits to: https://www.esurance.com/info/car/dangers-of-fall-driving
These are the best used cars for college students,
according to Edmunds
By CAMERON ROGERS AP,
August 3, 2018
It won’t be long before incoming freshmen head off to college. That means it’s prime time for students — and parents — to find suitable, affordable cars for the road ahead. Edmunds has compiled a list of used hybrid, compact and crossover SUV vehicles that best lend themselves to varied demands of college life.
We chose vehicles for their strong value, utility, fuel efficiency, performance and the availability of advanced safety features. We also offer some other alternatives in our picks’ respective classes. The prices shown are the average prices paid for the cars at a franchised car dealership, compiled by Edmunds.
Though Honda only sold the second-generation Accord Hybrid for the 2014 and 2015 model years, it holds up well, even when compared to new hybrid sedans. Its spacious cabin easily seats four adults. On the safety front, all models come with a rearview camera and an additional camera that displays what’s in the driver’s right-side blind spot. EX-L and Touring models further add lane departure and forward collision warning systems.
If the Accord Hybrid doesn’t appeal, several other worthy midsize hybrid sedans are worth a look. Chief among these is the Ford Fusion Hybrid, with a similarly roomy interior and excellent ride comfort. Maximum cargo capacity isn’t great in either car, but the Fusion’s rear seats fold down to accommodate larger items.
Overall, the Accord is more desirable for its superior fuel economy, quicker acceleration and more intuitive touchscreen system. It also holds its value better than the Fusion.
Hybrids are great for saving on gas, but college-bound shoppers who want excitement will want to look elsewhere. Luckily, there are a handful of cars that are both fun and sensible. The standout in this group is the sixth-generation Volkswagen GTI, produced from 2010 to 2014. A sport-tuned suspension and turbocharged engine provide the thrills, while high-quality interior materials and eye-catching upholstery make the GTI feel more refined than its primary rivals.
We think the GTI offers the best blend of performance and comfort, but there are competitors also worth considering. The Ford Focus ST is notable for its bold styling cues, beefier engine and larger cargo area. The Ford’s stiffer ride, subpar infotainment system and lack of an automatic transmission option make the GTI a better choice for everyday driving.
Note that the sixth-generation GTI actually carried on until 2014, but the final model year offered fewer choices: It had a limited color palette, only two trim levels and ditched the available two-door body style.
For those who like the GTI’s utility but need something more affordable, a standard compact car might be the best choice. The Mazda 3 is a good representative. The Mazda’s interior is one of the nicest in the segment, with plenty of soft-touch plastics. It’s a tech-rich car as well: There’s a dash-mounted screen with high-quality graphics, an available head-up display, and safety options such as blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera and forward collision warning. It’s also one of the most fun-to-drive compact cars on the road.
Popular rivals include the Honda Civic and the Ford Focus. But thanks to its many standard and optional features, excellent driving dynamics and nifty fold-flat seats, the Mazda 3 shines brighter.
Though small cars and hybrids are useful and fuel-efficient, they can’t carry much. For students who are moving cross-country or who frequently transport large items, a crossover is the way to go. The Toyota RAV4 is a solid pick due to its comfortable ride, generous amount of interior space, and Toyota’s reputation for reliability. It’s also available with all-wheel drive, which can provide extra traction in snowy conditions.
While the fourth-generation RAV4 has been on sale since 2013, a handful of noteworthy additions make newer RAV4s more desirable. For 2015, Toyota revised the RAV4’s front structure to improve its crash scores, while 2016 brought a restyled front end and the introduction of a host of advanced safety features.
The RAV4 isn’t the most exciting vehicle in the class. The Ford Escape offers more powerful engines, and the Mazda CX-5 stands out for its impressive handling. But the RAV4’s all-around competence and widely available safety equipment make it a top choice.
EDMUNDS SAYS: A number of newer used cars provide good value for students heading off to college while offering the features and little luxuries that make a new life that much more fun.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Cameron Rogers is a staff writer at Edmunds. Twitter: @_crogers.
Road trips are as much a part of summer as ice cream cones and miniature golf – and in some places visiting the boardwalk or boating at the lake.
In fact, nearly two-thirds of Americans planning a trip this year will be driving, AAA estimates.
But planning ahead for your road trip can make a big difference in whether you merely endure hours in a crowded vehicle and suffer in the hotter temperatures your likely to encounter along the way or actually enjoy the ride and arrive at your destination with a sunny disposition.
To help with your road trip planning, we’ve put together an infographic, “Summer Road Trip – A dozen great ways to prepare for an automobile adventure,” that captures some of the best advice available on ensuring that your summer road trip doesn’t turn into an ordeal.
With a little preparation, you can leave the stress at home and enjoy your summer road trip (or trips), whichever direction you’re traveling.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but car care doesn’t take a vacation between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The warmer months present some challenges to personal transportation and maintenance, but this list will help us all have a summer we can enjoy. Here are our top 10 tips to keeping your car — and its passengers — in good shape this summer.
1. Coolant System
Keeping cool is paramount, not just for ourselves but also for our cars. In addition to checking the level of coolant fluid in your car, go the extra mile and inspect the state of the hoses and the coolant reservoir. Keep an eye out for leaks, especially at joints and connection points, such as where a hose connects to the engine block. Also, squeeze the hoses (when the engine is cool) every once in a while to make sure they feel firm and not excessively squishy or soft.
2. Engine Belts
There is usually a serpentine belt that runs between the alternator, the fan and several other components. It can deteriorate, become loose, start to squeal, and sometimes just break for no apparent reason. It needs to be in good condition and at the right amount of tension. If you see cracks in the belt or small pieces missing, it’s time to replace the belt.
Yes, it’s summer, but it’s probably going to rain at some point. Worn wipers create nasty streaks across the windshield and can affect your vision while driving. Replacing them doesn’t cost much, but it can be a fiddly operation. If you’re in the habit of taking your car in for oil changes, ask them about the wipers, too. Sometimes a dealership will sell you the wipers and install them for free.
4. Other Essential Fluids
Check oil, brake, power-steering and windshield-washer fluids regularly. These liquids never stop being used and consumed. Speaking of brake fluid, how do the brakes on your car feel in general? Are they lacking in bite? Feeling a bit spongy? If so, new pads and a system bleed might be required. This is the kind of maintenance you should have your mechanic or dealership take care of.
5. Air-Conditioning System
Air-conditioning is a summer essential. If the system hasn’t been working properly but wasn’t really a pressing issue over the winter, now’s the time to get serious. If it’s an older system, then leaking Freon into the atmosphere is not good. There are plenty of leak-sealing products and refrigerant rechargers available from hobbyist stores and even places like Walmart. Remember, if there’s not enough refrigerant in the system, you have a leak. Have a qualified mechanic fix the leak before paying to have the air-conditioning system recharged.
6. Air Filter
The winter’s decomposing leaves may be clogging up drainage points, windshield-washer nozzles or your car’s air filter. Now might be a good time to buy a new one or take the current one out and give it a cleaning. Many modern cars also have pollen filters or cabin filtration systems, so take a look at those, too. Sometimes these cabin filters are easy to change yourself. Like everything else mentioned here: When in doubt, consult a qualified technician.
Tires really need to be checked regularly all year round. Pressures must be correct (consult the manual because sometimes that information is on the inside of the fuel door or the door jamb for the driver’s door), treads should be free of stones, stray nails and the like, and all four should be in good condition. Good condition means no cracks, no uneven wear (this might be caused by a suspension problem) and plenty of tread depth. Since summer is a time for road trips, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a can of Fix-A-Flat that could at least get you to a shady spot where you could change the wheel more comfortably. The spare obviously needs to be usable, too.
8. Dashboard Sunshade
For those times when you’re not driving, but the car is still out in the sun, a cover that goes in the windshield will protect the dashboard against ultraviolet rays and help the cabin stay a little cooler. Some even have solar panels to keep the battery charged. Consider shades for the rear side windows, too, as they’ll provide some protection for the kids. This also helps prevent areas such as the rear seats and dashboard from fading over time.
9. Clean the Car
Those long, balmy evenings when the sun is a huge, orange orb hanging low in a pinky-blue sky sound blissful. But they can also be a hazard, especially when your car’s windshield is dirty. Even from the inside, that haze will diffuse the light and make things hard to see. That grime has a tendency to build up over a long period, so we don’t really notice it. Things look much sharper after your car has had a good wash, though. Keeping the exterior clean also protects the paintwork from the sun’s rays, as well as any damage caused by birds and insects. Finish off the cleaning with a good-quality wax. Car care makes financial sense in the long run.
10. Driver and Passengers
It’s hot out there. Make sure everyone’s hydrated. It’s better to make a few more bathroom breaks and stretch your legs than to end up cranky and fatigued. Plan road trips as if you were a general marching against an opposing army. Make a list of everything you’re going to need. For example: sunglasses, hats, travel mugs, games for the kids, snacks, chargers for the phones and tablets, route planner, weather forecasts, emergency triangle, flashlight and a small tool kit. If a scheduled service is coming up, think about getting it done before a long drive. It’s also wise to make sure your insurance and driving license are up to date. Have a great summer, enjoy the roads, and take care of yourself and your car.
(Credits to: https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/10-simple-summer-car-care-tips-240454)