Month: January 2016

10 Awesome Christmas Gifts For Your Car

BY: Bobby Lundwall – Family Deal Blog

Christmas time is just around the corner, which means a few things: grandiose family dinners, holiday shopping, and eggnog (we just can’t get enough of the nog).

While most of you have already begun your annual Christmas Shopping ritual, many of you will forget to buy a gift for the one thing that takes care of you all year long…your vehicle!

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For all our cars, trucks and SUVs do for us each year, it would be a shame to leave them out of the holiday festivities (they are part of the family after-all).

Don’t leave your vehicle out in the cold this holiday season, check out these 10 Awesome Christmas Gifts For Your Car:

1. All-Season Floor Mats

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How many times have you told your kids the following: make sure to kick the snow off your boots before you get in the car. How many times have they told you: okay?

I imagine their youthful charm may have fooled you into believing them, but once you see your carpet spotting and mildewing, you’ll think twice. With all-season floor mats, you can rest easy knowing that your carpet is safe and sound underneath.

Even when snow isn’t a factor, these mats are great for anytime. Driving around with coffee is a risky endeavor, and it becomes even more hazardous when Mr. Lead Foot decides to stomp on his brakes in front of you. Having all-season rubber floor mats takes away the frustration of a stained carpet, so you can stay focused on how stained your work shirt is.

2. The Kensington Proximo

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Admit it… you’ve forgotten where you put your car keys more times than you can count. And how many times have you forgotten where you parked your car? If you’re like me, it happens all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to never have these problems again? Heck to the yes.

The Kensington Proximo works with a simple fob-and-receiver combination: you attach the fob to your key, couple it via bluetooth to your phone, or leave a fob in your car. Using a smartphone app, you can find it anywhere that you get a gps signal. And if you’re prone to losing your phone, when you move a certain distance from it, the app lets off an alarm.

 

3. Splash Guards/Mud Flaps

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One of the laborious joys of having a clean car is seeing how long you can keep it clean. The wintertime presents an especially frustrating challenge towards keeping slush and dirt off your vehicle.

Why not give yourself an edge in that battle with splash guards? It’s not going to keep the Henderson’s kids from pelting your sedan with snowballs, but it will help keep the dirt and grime in the wheel wells where it belongs.

 

4. Fog Lights

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Anyone who has grown up in Michigan has been testament to blizzards so bad you can’t see two feet in front of you. Whether from lake effect weather or just general bad conditions, fog lights become not so much an accessory as a safety measure. Just be sure to tell your kids not to stare at them.

 

 

 

5. Bluetooth Phone System

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Continuing with the trend of safety features, while fog lights may help your driving in whiteout conditions, it won’t help that pesky phone call from Uncle Jeff.

Having a bluetooth phone system like the SuperTooth HD handy in your vehicle helps remove one less distraction from your hectic ride.

Even when conditions become more hospitable, it’s still a much better idea to use a bluetooth phone system over the normal device while driving. You can’t have your hands at two and ten on the steering wheel if two is holding your iPhone.

 

6. DVD entertainment system

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The power of technology truly is incredible. Your kids could be ricocheting off the walls of the back seat, jazzed up on mountain dew and gummy worms….yet you put a movie on, they become catatonic. Miracles really do come true.

For long drives down to Florida, a DVD entertainment system is a godsend. They will keep your kids calm and civil, and potentially reduce time spent pulling over for bathroom breaks (“Everyone go to the bathroom” is much less powerful than “You better hurry up because I don’t know how long Mr. Incredible will last against that giant robot!”)

 

7. Sunroof

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This may seem like a silly thing to have in the winter, but when the temperature is in the single digits outside, and there isn’t a cloud in the night sky, and every star through the glass seems to twinkle a little brighter from the cold, and the roof of your car turns into a celestial ballet, then a sunroof in winter doesn’t seem so silly.

And hey, you’ll be the hero of the car ride when summer comes around and it’s 90 outside. So buy it for summer, enjoy it for winter.

 

 

8. Swift Hitch Portable Backup Camera

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The Swift Hitch becomes handy under a few conditions: 1) You like taking the boat down to the lake occasionally but don’t have anyone around to help you attach the trailer. 2) You like taking the boat down to the lake but the only people you have to help you attach the trailer are your kids, who think it’s funny to give you bad directions attaching the trailer.

Having a portable camera fixed on your hitch eliminates the constant getting in/getting out of the truck to check its alignment. With all the time you’ll save this way, you can now go on a week long vacation to Grand Cayman! (You might not save that much time, but you should still go on a vacation to Grand Cayman.)

 

9. Handpresso Auto Espresso Maker

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It’s possible to drink and drive responsibly this Holiday Season with the Handpresso Auto, a portable espresso maker designed for in-car use.This gadget will allow you to consume a cup of hot coffee in your car seat while you fight against time.

To brew a coffee, plug the Handpresso Auto into your car’s 12V cigarette lighter, add some cold water, a coffee pod and wait. It takes only three minutes to brew with an indicating beep sound (a safety feature as there’s no need to take your eyes off the road).

 

10. Heads-Up Display by Garmin

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When I was a kid, I remember sitting in my dads lap in the front seat of his car, yanking the steering wheel left and right (the engine was turned off!) and imagining it was a spaceship, blowing up alien invaders out of the sky. Now I’m an adult and that behavior is frowned upon. That doesn’t mean I can’t still relive those glory days. The Heads-Up Display by Garmin turns your windshield into an information gala.

Even if rocket ship cars aren’t your thing, having your navigation, temperature, and speed in front of you rather than down and to the side can help out your overall driving experience. At the very least it’s a nifty tool by a trusted company.

One thing that can be said about Christmas shopping: very rarely do you run OUT of ideas for gifts. Just don’t forget to get something nice for your vehicle.

Wet and Potentially Wild: Driving Safely in Rainy Weather

Provided By:  Bridgestone Tire Brands

In rainy weather, driving conditions can become dangerous pretty quickly. Oil and engine fluids can float atop rainwater, creating treacherous driving surfaces. Water creates a barrier between the road and your tires, which can cause you to lose traction and hydroplane. If this occurs, take your foot off the gas, hold the steering wheel in place, and lightly apply the brakes. Dangerous driving surfaces, coupled with reduced visibility, contribute to the thousands of accidents on wet roads every year. Fortunately, this can be prevented with a little preparation and smart thinking in the moment.

Wet road driving tips
Before you hit the gas

Make a habit of checking a few critical items before you start to drive:

See and be seen

When the forecast calls for rain, it’s important to confirm that a car’s headlights, brake lights and windshield wipers are clean and functioning properly. Turn your headlights on in the rain to help other drivers see you. Also, replace windshield wipers that leave streaks or don’t fully clear the windshield each swipe and fill the washer reservoir bottle with a washer solvent.

Love your tires

Before heading out, check your tires by looking for proper tire tread depth and tire inflation:

  • Tread depth: Tires should have more than 2/32-inch tread depth. Use a tread depth gauge, or check by inserting a penny into each groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head (including his hair!), it’s time to shop for a new set at one of our Bridgestone dealer locations.
  • Tire inflation: The vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for tire pressure can be found on a label affixed to the driver’s door or door jamb, or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Remember that tire pressure should be checked at least monthly when the tires are “cold,” which means when your car hasn’t been driven for three hours or for less than a mile at moderate speed.

Clear your view.

Using a rain repellent product on windows and mirrors helps water run off cleanly, improving visibility. Also, it’s important to remember to clean the inside of your windows at least once a week.

When you’re on the road

The dynamics of driving change dramatically when the roads are wet, which means driving habits must change, too.

Slow down

Driving more slowly reduces your risk of losing contact with the road and hydroplaning. Reduce your speed by 10 mph for each degree you increase your windshield wiper speed.

Count to three

Leave extra room behind the car in front of you in case a sudden stop is necessary. Using telephone poles as a landmark, start counting once the car in front of you passes a specific pole. If you pass the same pole before you can count to three, you’re following too closely.

Know how to control a skid

If your car starts to skid, don’t panic! Continue to look and steer the car in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming on the brakes to maintain control of the vehicle.

Pull Over

If the downpour or spray from other vehicles is too heavy, just stop driving. When visibility is so low that you can’t see the edges of the road or the vehicles in front of you, pull off the road as far as possible, turn on your hazard lights and wait out the storm.

Introducing the New Centennial Leasing & Sales Home

Introducing the New Centennial Leasing & Sales Home

Centennial Leasing & Sales is excited to present you with our brand new building!  We are so proud to be able to give our clients an even better auto-buying experience, with an even larger selection of inventory.

When you step in to Centennial Leasing & Sales, you will immediately see that we provide a remarkable, one-of-a-kind experience.  You can trust you will receive a friendly and outgoing greeting…a welcoming you deserve when making such an important purchasing decision.

Before browsing our new vehicle warehouse, relax in our beautifully finished lobby, equipped with a wide-screen TV, coffee and tea.

Our warehouse stocks 70+ vehicles and provides you with both the accessibility and comfort to explore our latest and greatest inventory.  With Colorado’s temperate weather and colder months approaching, Centennial Leasing & Sales gives you the convenience of anytime car shopping.

One client stated that viewing our indoor inventory was like visiting the Dumb Friends’ League…”If you go to Centennial, you’re likely to come home with a car!”

We also have plenty more inventory in our back lot, offering you the extensive selection you are looking for, while searching for your next dream vehicle.  If for some reason you are not seeing what you want, our staff is highly experienced in locating both new and used vehicles, utilizing our most trusted partners, nationwide.

Additionally, we offer a wide assortment of commercial vehicles and have helped thousands of companies succeed by fulfilling their automotive needs.

When you step in to our consultant offices, you will witness the energy and passion they have for the automotive industry and will be reassured by their commitment and dedication in finding your next vehicle.

Visit us today at our new facility, where we will introduce you to “your BEST automotive buying experience.”

 

Back-to-school cars that make the A-list at Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds

By Mark Macesich on September 1, 2015

New vehicle or used, students (and their parents) have options.

Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds, both of which are recognized widely for their automotive expertise, have offered complementary recommendations for back-to-school vehicles.

KBB’s “A-List” comprises 10 models from 2015 and 2016 selected for “their safety, affordability, functionality, practicality, style and how much fun they are to drive.” Edmunds answers with its 11 best used cars ranging from 2002 to 2015 that are “inexpensive to buy and maintain but still stylish.”

Photo: zombdrive.com 2004 Mazda Mazda3

Photo: zombdrive.com
2004 Mazda Mazda3

The vehicles selected by KBB are priced around $20,000 or less, while prices on Edmunds’ list range from $4,000 (Mazda Mazda3) to $30,000 (Ford Mustang) with most at $26,000 or less.

However, four vehicles made both lists: Honda Fit, Kia Soul, Mazda Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza.

Photo: zombdrive.com 2015 Mazda Mazda3

Photo: zombdrive.com
2015 Mazda Mazda3

“When you look at the [Edmunds] list, you will notice that we left out sensible used-car choices like the Honda Civic, Toyota RAV4 or Ford Fusion,” said James Riswick, Edmunds.com used car editor. “While these [three vehicles] are all great options, they are generic enough to appeal to anyone, and we wanted to craft a list specifically based on what matters most to today’s students.”

Specifically, Edmunds cited low cost of ownership, modern electronic features, good crash ratings, distinctive style and a versatile cargo area as “key attributes” for cars on its list.

The full KBB list, with models (2015 unless noted) and starting price, are:

Honda Fit, $15,790; Kia Soul, $15,190; Mazda Mazda3, $16,945 (sedan) and $18,945 (hatchback); 2016 Honda HR-V, $19,115; Nissan Versa Note, $14,180; 2016 Scion iM, $19,255; Chevrolet Colorado, $20,120; 2016 Ford Fiesta, $13,965; Subaru Impreza $18,195, and MINI Hardtop, $20,700.

The Edmunds used-car list, with models, model years and price range, are:

Mazda Mazda3 (2004-09), $4,000-$15,000; Honda CR-V (2002-06), $4,900-$13,000; Scion tC (2005-10), $5,000-$15,000; Acura TSX (2004-08), $6,500-$15,500; Ford Mustang (2005-09), $7,000-$30,000;

Toyota Prius (2006-09), $7,000-$15,000; Kia Soul (2010-13), $8,000-$17,000; Honda Fit (2009-13), $8,500-$18,000; Hyundai Tucson (2010-15), $11,000-$26,000; Toyota FJ Cruiser (2007-11), $11,500-$28,000, and Subaru Impreza (2012-15), $12,900-$26,000.

For more details on both lists, including specifics on each vehicle, see The A-list: Kelley Blue Book’s Back to School Cars 2015 and 11 Best Used Cars for College Students at Edmunds.com.

Your Car’s Brain is in Your Pocket

U.S. News & World Report – Keith Griffin – 7/23/2015

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There’s an interesting phenomenon in new cars. Soon, a major factor in what car you buy could be decided by what phone you carry in your pocket. More and more, your smartphone is becoming the brain behind most vehicles.

Smartphone apps are also becoming a driving factor behind buying decisions. Michael Dietz, senior group manager, connected car and owner marketing for Hyundai Motors America, says smartphone apps have become an influencer in the car buying process. “We have customers who say they are making a purchase because they see the vehicle is more advanced,” he says.

Andy Gryc, content conference director for the Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo, says Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are being integrated by almost every major auto manufacturer. There are also aftermarket devices available from companies like Pioneer so older used vehicles can have the latest technology.

Gryc says younger fans of technology want to buy a car that matches their operating system preference. “If your life is all about the phone and you live through the phone, you want to find a car that supports that,” he says.

Dan Kinney, director, User Experience, Global Connected Customer Experience, General Motors, says smartphone apps are evolving from being a one-way communication tool to something that is more interactive. He says, “We went to a more functional user interface. We wanted it to be more like a tool you wield, instead of just an extension of the key fob.”

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Chevrolet will offer both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in its 2016 models. At that announcement in November, one day after Hyundai announced the availability of Apple CarPlay in its 2015 Sonata, Chevrolet cited Strategy Analytics data showing more than 2.3 billion smartphones in use globally.

Hyundai’s cloud-based Blue Link platform lets users access features like remote start and service information through devices like smartwatches and smartphones. The Blue Link Apple Watch app works with first and next generation Blue Link-equipped Hyundai models dating back to the 2012 model year.

The integration of smartphone apps in vehicle infotainment systems is being sold, in part, as a safety issue by Hyundai. When it became the first manufacturer with Android Auto in May, it cited a NHTSA survey released in 2013 of driver electronic use that estimated 660,000 drivers use their phones or other electronic devices on the road.

Gryc says, “It makes sense to build systems that encourage appropriate behavior while driving. Texting and driving is equivalent to drunk driving. It’s 23 times more dangerous to be texting than be on a hands-free phone call.”

Both Dietz and Kinney say their companies are finding success by offering the latest technology across their full vehicle lineups. “Our big strategy … we look at this as a democracy kind of thing. We don’t want to go into just one model,” GM’s Kinney says.

Hyundai’s Dietz adds, “From an owner experience, it’s about evolving this tech to everyone. While other manufacturers promote it as exclusive, we’re bringing this to the masses.”

Dietz says at Hyundai the ability to remotely lock a car is more popular than unlocking a car. Remote start leads the list of most popular smartphone app uses. The same is true at GM, where during cold weather snaps, up to 150,000 vehicles an hour are being remote started.

Smartphone apps are also proving effective in helping people locate their cars. Dietz says people are in a hurry and often forget where they park. An app can now lay a “bread crumb” trail back to where you parked your car.

While it’s not so much an app, smartphone owners and other Internet-dependent device users will appreciate the rollout of connectivity through their vehicles. Kinney says all new GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada will have available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spots. They can be controlled by apps and track data usage.

Gryc points out that regardless of what operating system you use, the phone is just one element of the technology. You still need good software in the vehicle. “You’re going to want to focus on companies that are doing over-the-air updates. A lot of people think if they have CarPlay or Android Auto, the phone does all the work. There’s a lot of critical software in the head unit that has to be updated. If you can’t update that, it doesn’t matter how great the phone app is.”

Source:  http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/best-cars-blog/2015/07/Your_Cars_Brain_is_in_Your_Pocket/

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