The Best Car Accessories for Holiday Gift Giving

Useful gadgets for the car enthusiasts

 

Valentine One Radar Detector

Valentine Oneamazon.com

$439.92

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.

BESTEK 400W Power Inverter

BESTEKamazon.com
$39.98

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.

PAPAGOamazon.com

$119.00

$89.00 (25% off)

 

High Carbon Steel Hard IPOW Car Safety Hammer Escape Tool

IPOWamazon.com

$12.99

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 Suction Grip Mount

RAMamazon.com

$50.99

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.

WizGear Universal Air Vent Magnetic Phone Holder

WizGearamazon.com

$6.69

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.

Cassette to 3.5mm AUX Adapter

Instenamazon.com

$6.99

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.

CarPlay/Android Auto-Compatible Head Unit

Pioneeramazon.com

$263.00

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.

Garmin High Speed Multi-Charger

Garminamazon.com

$24.67

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.

Bestauto 4 Ton Inflatable Car Jack

Bestautoamazon.com

$99.99

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.

Escort Max ll HD Radar Detector

Escortamazon.com

$390.00

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

Zonetechamazon.com

$11.99

This suction mount cup holder may seem a bit strange, but in reality, it’s actually very practical—even if you’re not holding drinks with it. The more storage, the better.

Charlemain 2-in-1 Lightning and Micro USB Cable

Charlemainamazon.com

$9.99

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.

Trademark Global Swivel Tray and Storage Bin

Trademark Globalamazon.com

$8.71

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

Top 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel

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.

Antalya International Airport

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

5 Ways To Prepare Your Car For Winter

Image result for prepare your car for winter

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

THE DANGERS OF FALL DRIVING

why driving in the fall can be dangerous

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.

Back-to-school traffic

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.

Rain

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.

Fog

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.

Frost

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.

Sun glare

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.

Deer

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

Best used cars for college students

These are the best used cars for college students,
according to Edmunds

 

This photo provided by Honda shows the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid, a fuel-sipping sedan that Edmunds considers one of the best midsize four-doors. –The Associated Press

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.

2014 HONDA ACCORD HYBRID

Average used transaction price: $16,430

Estimated fuel economy: 47 mpg combined (49 city/45 highway)

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.

2013 VOLKSWAGEN GTI

Average used transaction price: $13,826

Estimated fuel economy (automatic): 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway)

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.

2014 MAZDA 3

Average used transaction price: $12,770

Estimated fuel economy (automatic-equipped hatchback with 2.0L engine): 33 mpg combined (29 city/39 highway)

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.

2016 TOYOTA RAV4

Average used transaction price: $21,235

Estimated fuel economy (LE and XLE): 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway)

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.

12 ways to prepare a summer road trip – and keep a sunny disposition

 on 

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.

10 Simple Car Care Tips

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.

3. Wipers

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.

7. Tires

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)

Best AWD Sedans in 2018

You Don’t Need an SUV to Have All-Wheel Drive

Not long ago, all-wheel drive was both a pricey option and limited to select vehicles that sacrificed fuel economy for extra grip on the road. With the growing popularity of SUVs and crossovers, however, having all-wheel drive is becoming increasingly popular.

It’s no wonder that car companies are making it available on mainstream sedans – and at more manageable prices. Smarter and lighter all-wheel drive systems are less expensive and more fuel efficient than ever before, too.

Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Legacy 

Midsize Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.0/10

A key attribute of the Legacy is its standard all-wheel drive – most rival midsize sedans charge thousands of dollars more for all-wheel drive (if they offer it at all).

The Legacy has a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The optional 256-horsepower six-cylinder in the 3.6R Limited trim adds better straight-line performance, though even this motor can feel sluggish at times.

While having all-wheel drive used to mean a noticeable drop in fuel economy, the standard Legacy is a fuel-sipper that offers an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in city driving and 34 mpg on the highway. Another upside to the Legacy sedan is its extremely strong performance in safety and crash-test ratings.

Buick Regal

2018 Buick Regal

Full-Size Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.0/10

Newly redesigned for the 2018 model year, the Buick Regal is available in two styles: a convenient hatchback, called the Sportback, and handsome station wagon labeled the TourX. Both come with seating for five adults, along with vast amounts of cargo room. The cargo space of both rivals some SUVs and crossovers. The TourX has a whopping 73.5 cubic feet of cargo room, while the Sportback offers a substantial 60.7 cubic feet.

The Regal Sportback also has a handsome exterior – no, it definitely doesn’t look like a Buick of yesteryear. The biggest drawbacks include middling interior quality, along with fuel mileage that’s only average for the class.

Subaru Impreza

2018 Subaru Impreza

Compact Sedan |  U.S. News Score: 8.1/10

The Subaru Impreza comes standard with all-wheel drive and, in sedan format, has a highly affordable starting price. A five-door wagon is also available.

The standard 152-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers adequate power and solid fuel economy, though primarily because the modest power output doesn’t inspire aggressive driving. Cargo room is impressive, and the seats are spacious and comfortable.

Having all-wheel drive as a no-cost feature makes the Impreza a great value in the compact car segment, if having extra grip ranks highest on your list of priorities. The Impreza faces tough competition, however, including popular (though only front-wheel drive) rivals like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Ford Fusion

2018 Ford Fusion

Midsize Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.3/10

A comfortable ride and finely balanced handling make the Ford Fusion a strong entry in the midsize sedan segment. Adding all-wheel drive, which is optional, means you’ll get the 245-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. If you want more power, you can opt for the 325-horsepower 2.7-liter V6 in the Ford Fusion Sport.

The powerful V6 is the choice for car buyers who want the safety aspect of all-wheel drive combined with strong performance and quick acceleration – though fuel economy, even in the less-powerful turbo model, falls behind that of some front-wheel-drive rivals. Still, with its combination of a roomy cabin, quiet ride, and nimble driving reflexes (especially with the turbo 2.7-liter V6), the Ford Fusion with all-wheel drive rides a fine line between being a practical family car and a subtle sport sedan.Buick LaCrosse

2018 Buick LaCrosse

Full-Size Sedan | U.S. News Score: 8.8/10

Along with its comfortable driving manners and spacious cabin, the Buick LaCrosse has a surprising amount of power thanks to the available 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. This motor comes standard when adding optional all-wheel drive. For comparison, the entry-level LaCrosse is front-wheel drive, comes with a four-cylinder engine.

The LaCrosse has excellent performance in crash tests, strong reliability, nimble handling, and great fuel efficiency. The V6-equipped LaCrosse with all-wheel drive returns an EPA-estimated 20 mpg during city driving and 29 mpg on the highway.

Genesis G90

2018 Genesis G90

Luxury Large Sedan |  U.S. News Score: 9.1/10

Hyundai’s luxury division is not being shy when it comes to taking on entrenched leaders, such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. While it’s not cheap, the G90 costs many thousands of dollars less compared to its primarily German rivals. The optional all-wheel drive hardware can be fitted to either of the G90’s two available engines: a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 or a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8.

The cabin is fitted with high-end materials, and there is a ton of room for either front or rear passengers – though the trunk is smaller than some other choices in this elite segment.

Kia Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger

Luxury Small Sedan |  U.S. News Score: 9.2/10

Kia is a newcomer to the sport sedan segment, though you wouldn’t know it from behind the wheel of the Stinger. All-wheel drive is available across all trim levels, which allows buyers the choice of a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder or 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Either engine comes with a refined eight-speed automatic transmission.

The V6 has extra punch, though the turbo four-cylinder is a nice match with the direct steering and quick reflexes of the Stinger. Cabin materials are top notch, and leather seating comes standard. A large hatchback reveals a spacious 23.3 cubic feet of trunk room, making the Stinger even more practical and enticing, despite competing in a competitive segment that includes the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Super Luxury Sedan | U.S. News Score: 9.3/10

As statement vehicles go, few have the poise and presence of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. While the sky’s the limit when optioning one of Mercedes’ range-topping sedans the S450 4Matic sedan carries a far less supercar-like price. Powered by a 362-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, the S-Class delivers effortless performance in a whisper-quiet atmosphere.

For that amount of money, you get the very latest in comfort features, safety advancements, and in-cabin technology. Quad-zone climate control, a 26-speaker Burmester 3D audio system, and a seemingly endless list of available active safety features can be optioned into this opulent sedan.

 

April 23, 2018
(Credits to: https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-all-wheel-drive-sedans)

 

2018 Top 4 Car Shows in Colorado

If you live in Colorado, you’re probably aware of how big the classic car scene is here! Colorado is home to the Gateway Auto Museum on the western slope and the Forney Transportation museum in Denver. We’ve looked into some of the best car shows of 2018 according to reports from 2017. Whether you’re a huge hot rod buff or you’re just looking for something to do with the family on the weekend, these car shows are sure to bring a family-friendly and roaring good time. Below is a list of the top 4 car shows you better not miss in 2018!

 

#1

Castle Rock Cruise In

Castle Rock Cruise In

Castle Rock, CO

June 16 to June 17, 2018

http://www.classicrockcruisein.com/

Every summer, on the Saturday before Fathers Day, the Classic Rock Cruise In transforms historic downtown Castle Rock into a showplace for all kinds of cool cars, hot rods and trucks.  The main streets are closed for the day so that  over 300 entries can be displayed by their proud owners and admired by thousands of spectators. The Cruise In has something for everyone – cars, shops, live music, restaurants and food trucks, beer and wine, attractions for the kids, and specialty vendor booths. They have an entry class for everyone.  Class winners are determined by a panel of experienced judges.  This year there are 51 trophies in 22 classes, including a Mayor’s Choice, Hottest Car (picked by the Fire Chief) and Most Likely to Get Pulled Over (picked by the Police Chief). It’s a fun, friendly show in a beautiful small town setting.

Last year the show sold out so pre-register your car to secure your spot. Pre-registration is $25 and the day of show cost is $30 (if available). As always, the show is free for anyone that doesn’t want to bring a car and wants to just come hang out and see some great rides.

The show is organized and produced by a partnership of the Vintage Car Club and the Castle Rock Downtown Merchants Association, and in 2013 was awarded the Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence as the Best Promotional Event in Colorado.  Every year, the VCC donates a portion of the proceeds from the show to support local charities.

 

#2

Old Town Car Show

old town car show fort collins

Fort Collins, CO

June 2nd, 2018 

http://downtownfortcollins.com/events/old-town-car-show

Hundreds of great hot rods, vintage cars and classic trucks will be on display in Downtown Fort Collins.  This event is free for spectators and open to all ages.  Come Downtown and enjoy the atmosphere of historic Old Town while viewing hundreds of cars. Custom cars, street rods, fat fender street rods, muscle cars, classic motorcycles, classic cars and classic trucks will line the Downtown streets. Plenty of vendors and beer will accompany the car show and you’re sure to have a great time in Old Town Fort Collins.

 

#3

Goodguys 21st Colorado Nationals

Good Guys Car Show

Loveland, CO

September 7 to September 9, 2018

https://www.good-guys.com/cn-2017

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association promotes and produces some of the world’s most dynamic automotive events. They’re car people just like you. Founded by lifelong hot rodder Gary Meadors in 1983, Goodguys is the world’s largest hot rodding association with over 70,000 active members worldwide. Goodguys events feature thousands of hot rods and customs, tricked out trucks, mighty muscle cars and regal classics sprawled throughout venues such as lush fairgrounds, super speedways and large outdoor stadiums. The cars, the vendor exhibits, the adrenaline-pumping Goodguys AutoCross, the live entertainment and colorful people create a festive atmosphere. Goodguys offers over 20 events annually across the country from the coast to coast. Their events range from two-day affairs attended by 30,000 to 40,000 people to three day extravaganza’s attracting over 100,000 auto enthusiasts.

They pride themselves in producing affordable, high quality family-oriented entertainment and having fun with automobiles. All Goodguys events welcome rods, customs, classics, trucks, street machines and muscle cars through 1972 vintage while the “Get-Togethers” and “Super Sunday” programs welcome all, years, makes & models of American made and American powered cars and trucks.

#4

Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors

telluride cars and colors

Telluride, CO

September 27 to September 30, 2018

https://carsandcolors.com/

The 4th Annual Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors, September 27-30, 2018 is a world-class celebration for automobile aficionados and lifestyle enthusiasts set in the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado. Nestled in the canyons of the San Juan Mountains, its placed against the backdrop of Tellurides spectacular palette of Septembers autumnal colors. Focusing on high-end restorations, vintage and exotic vehicles, the festival will occupy three distinct venues over the course of the four days: the downtown Telluride Historic District, Mountain Village and the Telluride Regional Airport.

 

Car Club Resources

If you’re looking to get involved in a classic car club, or just looking for a place where you can get more info on car shows going on around Colorado, these are two great resources. The Rocky Mountain Car Club and the Castle Rock Vintage Car Club are two fun-loving reputable car clubs in Colorado and always know how to have a good time. Check out both of these organization’s webpages and learn more!

Rocky Mountain Car Club

Rocky Mountain Car Club

http://www.rockymountaincarclub.com/

Castle Rock Vintage Car Club

Castle Rock Vintage Car Club

http://www.thevintagecarclub.com/

 

 

SPRINGTIME AUTO TIPS

 

Spring is one of the prime times for auto maintenance. That first wash-n-wax on a warm Saturday afternoon is liberating. Winter’s gloom (to say nothing of grit and road salt) is literally washed away. Take out the snow shovel, the gloves, and heavy boots and store them ’til next season. Surely summer can’t be far away.

Some preparation now will help ensure that your summer driving plans go as smoothly as you envision then now. Here are some helpful tips on getting your vehicle ready for summer:

  • Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.
  • Have hard starts, rough idling, stalling, etc. corrected before hot weather sets in.
  • Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically.
  • The tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a qualified auto technician.
  • Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician to reduce the likelihood of more costly repairs.
  • Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual. (Properly dispose of used oil.)
  • Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended.
  • Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Always check tire pressure when the tires are cold.
  • Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs.
  • Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to combat summer’s dust and insects.

 

 

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