Author: Centennial Leasing & Sales (page 1 of 4)

The Best Cars for Your Money in 2020

With 2020 underway, you might be in the market for a new car or maybe your lease will be ending soon and you want to know what car will give you the best value as a replacement. There are a number of new 2020 vehicles that deliver the quality and value that might interest you.  The typical car transaction for a brand new car is approaching $40,000 in 2020 and that does not always include the extras that you may want or need. Don’t let the process of buying a new car discourage you, though, as Centennial Leasing & Sales is always here to help you navigate the rough waters of car buying.

   

The Honda Fit has been rated the best 2020 Subcompact Car while the Kia Soul has been rated the best 2020 Subcompact SUV. The Honda Fit has been granted this award for the last 5 years and the vehicle does not disappoint. With the exception of the base model, the Honda Fit offers many infotainment options and features while giving exceptional fuel economy; 33 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Much like the Honda Fit, the Kia Soul has been awarded the best Subcompact SUV for the fourth consecutive time. Also similar to the Honda Fit, the Kia Soul offers great infotainment and safety features in all models except the base model. The biggest feature of the Kia Soul is that for it’s class, it offers the lowest ownership costs and lowest starting price tag.  

 

The 2020 Kia Forte has been rated the best 2020 Compact Car and the 2020 Honda CR-V has been rated the best 2020 Compact SUV. The Kia Forte seems like the best option if you are in the market for a compact car, with all models featuring the safety features that everyone hopes for and provides the lowest starting cost in it’s category. The Honda CR-V provides strong value. The CR-V has a high quality cabin while offering the most cargo space for the vehicles in its class. The CR-V offers the Honda Sensing suite and gives a quiet ride while also giving owners great gas mileage. While the CR-V has the highest price tag in the category, the overall ownership costs are low and the list of attributes is high. 

 

The 2020 Toyota Camry has been awarded the 2020 Best Midsize Car which makes it the third straight year for the award. The Camry offers great reliability and the fuel economy is 29 city / 41 highway. The base price is high for the class but unlike most competitors the ownership costs are low. The standard options help keep the price consistent as owners don’t need to add on different packages. The Camry, including the base model, offers active safety features along with infotainment with compatibility for Apple, Android & Alexa. 

 

If you are looking for a great value 2-row SUV for the money, look no further than the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe. The Santa Fe has a low starting price and a comprehensive list of standard features. Like most cars that have made the list of best cars for the money, the Santa Fe offers good gas mileage and is full of standard safety features and tech options. If you are looking for a 3-row SUV, look no further than the 2020 Kia Sorento. Although the Kia Telluride has gained a lot of attention this year, the Kia Sorento still maintained the award for the best value. The biggest reason is the Sorento has low ownership costs, an affordable base price and tech features that everyone wants in their vehicle. 


While all of these vehicles have been awarded the 2020 Best Cars for the Money, there are still many more vehicles that are of great value. As always, any of our sales consultants will be able to help you find the perfect car for what you are looking for at the best possible price. If you are interested in a vehicle, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can find you exactly what you are looking for. 

 

Class of 2020 Truck: New Capabilites

Class of 2020 Truck: New Capabilites

Horses, landscaping, campers, boats, even tiny homes need to be moved from time to time, and when that time comes, you may need to consider a new truck to haul your heavy stuff.  One of the most common questions we hear at Centennial Leasing and Sales is “what is the towing capacity of this truck?” when we are consulting with our clients, both commercial and individuals.  They are usually surprised when we answer them with a blanket statement that even we barely believe: many manufacturers have half ton trucks that can tow 10,000 lbs. or more!

So, you may be asking:  what are these amazing new 2020 trucks that can give you the power you need to tow your favorite toys for enjoying our beautiful Colorado weather?

Ford has been the long time option for being the towing champion. Unfortunately for them, Chevrolet dethroned Ford this year. There are still many options in the Ford category to get you that mean towing capacity you need. In 2020, a properly equipped F-150 can tow a maximum of 13,2000 pounds. As always, make sure to check your owner’s manual or driver’s door before you load up your boat or camper to make sure your truck is capable.  If you are really uncertain, contact us to help guide you to the right information.

Chevrolet has made towing information more easily accessible for consumers in 2020 than it has been in the past. Their vehicles are now coming with a trailering information label that has the information anyone towing anything needs to know – curb weight, GVWR, payload and towing. For the Chevy Silverado models, if you wish to tow more than 10,000 pounds this does require the company’s Max Trailering Package to be installed. This package equips all trucks with 3.42:1 axle gears taking the maximum towing capacity to 13,4000 pounds. The GMC Sierra also mirrors its cousin, the Silverado, with the exception of the towing capacity being lower at just over 11,000 pounds.

Ram has been trying for years to get in the hunt with their vehicles and made a start with their 2019 Ram 1500. For 2020, the Ram 1500 Tradesman model with a Quad cab should be equipped with a 5.7L Hemi and the Max Tow package in order to achieve their top towing capability. That capacity rings in at about 12,750 pounds. Similar to Chevy & GM with their towing stickers, Ram offers customer’s access to a website that will give you towing capacity based on the VIN. 

Toyota has long had the Tundra as a truck for towing this capacity. Unfortunately the Tundra has not changed much in many years and in 2020 that is still the same. The Tundra is offered in two configurations and six trim levels. 

If you are in need of a new truck for 2020 and you need one of these in order to tow all of your favorite things, make sure you reach out to any of our Sales Consultants. As always they will deliver you “your BEST automotive buying experience” and help you fully understand what a pickup can do for you and your needs. 

EXTENDED PARTS AND LABOR CONTRACTS

You walk down to the mailbox, open up your email (possibly the spam folder) and or answer that strange, unknown phone number as it rings (hoping that everything is ok with Aunt Edna!?!?) to be greeted with………. A cryptic, automated message from a no-name company that is very concerned about the status of YOUR vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty and how it is about to expire! 

Oh NO! What can you do? Is this a scam? What should you do?!? Wait… How do they even know about the car I purchased last October anyway?!? All of these questions are valid, and so is some of the information that this mystery company is attempting to tell, and or sell, you. 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT? 

The purchase and registration of your vehicle is public information, and while not published in a book like the Yellow Pages phone book (if you aren’t sure what that is, it’s OK, here’s a good reason to check on Aunt Edna), it is available to companies for research and marketing purposes. These aftermarket Extended Parts and Labor providers purchase a list with all of our names on them, to which they add us to their email, mail and phone lists to market their products. They do not get your vital information i.e. your social security number, age of your pets, or your first born’s blood type, so don’t worry about identity theft in this example. They do get your name, mailing and email address, phone, type of car you purchased, and sometimes the Vehicle Identification Number(VIN). To find ways of keeping them from getting the information at all, click here. 

OK, I KIND OF TRUST THEM… WHAT ARE THEY SELLING? 

It should be noted that not all Extended Parts and Labor (EP&L) contracts are created equal. There are two basic forms of extended service contracts, 1) stated and 2) exclusionary. The difference being in the “fine print” of the contract itself and what it covers when it comes to mechanical repairs to your vehicle. They are very much apples and oranges, so here’s how to make sense of what you are considering: 

Types of coverage 

Stated : The most popular, and “cheapest” form of EP&L contract is the stated coverage, named differently by different companies. This product covers only the items “stated” on the contract, which therefore leaves a lot of room for what is NOT on the contract to be denied coverage and will only cover what is “stated” in the fine print on the contract. 

This is more than likely the type of product this email, letter in the mailbox or phone call is attempting to provide you with to alleviate your fears of your vehicle breaking down, as they are usually less expensive for the company to provide you with because there is less chance of them having to actually pay a claim when you file it. 

Exclusionary : This is the more expensive, but much more comprehensive product that most manufacturer’s use for their “new car” extensions, along with coverage for their used vehicles. The exclusionary coverage is the exact opposite of the stated coverage, wherein this type of coverage will usually cover EVERY computer, gadget, gizmo, whizbang and sensor in the vehicle, with a minor list of exclusions. This coverage makes sure that when something fails, you are back on the road with minimal expenses. 

WHY ARE YOU TELLING US ALL THESE DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS?!? 

Here at Centennial Leasing and Sales, we offer the exclusionary product first and only, assuming your vehicle qualifies for the product! 

What do we mean “assuming your vehicle qualifies?” Well, much like health and life insurance, the older your vehicle is, the higher mileage it has on it, the higher the premium will be, because there is a more likely chance that the EP&L company will have to pay a claim. 

What does that mean for you? It means that we are able to provide the EP&L at the time of sale, with lower miles on the vehicle, at a lower premium, to help you protect that very big, very nice purchase you are making! In many cases, we are also able to provide you with the product that we trust AFTER the sale, but we don’t buy your information on the aforementioned lists just to market them to you. Just in case you changed your mind, are deciding to refinance and keep that lease, or just don’t remember your consultant talking with you about it, because you were so excited when you got that new or used vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t be protected. 

Our valued partner, CNA National, has been a leader in the vehicle service contract industry for over 35 years. Their award winning customer service, incredible coverage and willingness to assist our clients when needed, are the reason they are the best of the best, just ask us

Your consultant can get you more information when you are discussing that new or used car, or if you want to contact us for more info, please feel free to do so. We want to help guide you, transparently and comfortably, through the process of purchasing or leasing all of your vehicles, so that’s why we are willing to educate you with the industry secrets about items such as EP&L… 

In summary, when you get that letter, email or dreaded phone call, don’t fret; give us a call and we will make sure you are handled by a company that we both can trust to provide an excellent EP&L coverage and service for your particular needs!

Leasing vs. Buying – What Works for You?

Is Leasing or Buying the Right Option for You? 

In the automotive finance world, the term lease has a shroud of mystery behind it.  To many buyers, it conjures up images of grandfathers cautioning to buy instead of lease with the mentality that ownership of the vehicle is a more important and “trustworthy” way of buying the vehicle.  In the late 20th century, that may have been true. New regulations, more consumer-centric laws, slower depreciation and more expensive, technologically advanced cars have made leasing much different than the leases your grandfather warned you about. 

How does leasing a car work?

When you lease a car, you pay for a portion of that vehicle’s cost.  The portion you pay is for the amount you’ll “use” over the term of the lease.  A car depreciates, nothing can stop that, and a lease is the financing of that depreciation, interest (money factor) and taxes. 

 The “use” of the vehicle is based on your yearly driving habits, which creates the residual value that is backed by the leasing bank.  Your monthly payments consist of buying the sale price of the vehicle, minus any down payment and/or incentives, to that residual value at the end of the contracted term.  At the end of the term, you can buy, sell, trade or return the vehicle to the bank, giving you many different options to choose from. 

Buy vs. Lease Comparison

Consider the following example. You have your eye on a $40,000 vehicle. In two years, that car will have an estimated (in this example) value of $26,000. This is called depreciation, and this is what your lease payments are made up of, plus finance charges, possible fees and taxes .

Buying the same for $40,000 car, you pay the entire amount of the vehicle’s value, plus fees and taxes and finance charges, over the contracted term of repayment.

Is leasing the better option for you?

The short answer is, it depends.  

The long answer is: there are many factors to weigh in as a consumer in today’s market.  The vehicle’s market depreciation is based on make, model, body style, trim and equipment, along with many other factors that a leasing bank uses to set it’s residual.  The use of the vehicle, your annual driving habits, technological desires, manufacturer backed incentives and concerns about mechanical repairs under factory warranty or out of pocket are a few more that should be covered when making your decision. 

How can Centennial Leasing help? 

At Centennial Leasing & Sales, we don’t assume what the right answer for you but rather, provide you with all the information you need to make a wise, informed, financial decision. If you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, contact us today. One of our professional consultants will happily provide you with multiple cost comparisons for a variety of different vehicles to help you determine whether leasing or buying is the better fit for you. 

We don’t want you to feel pressured into a transaction you aren’t sure of, and our professional consultants will guide you through the decision making process, to make sure you have “your BEST automotive buying experience!”

 

Get a Jump-Start on Your End of Year Commercial Fleet Purchases

As the fiscal year comes to a close and the holidays loom large around the corner, it’s tempting to put off end-of-the-year responsibilities. However, getting a jump-start on your financial review can save your business tens of thousands of dollars. Companies that utilize fleet vehicles in their operations should pay careful attention during this final quarter as many are able to offset profits with commercial vehicle leases and purchases. Here’s what you should know about getting a jump start on your end-of-the-year commercial fleet vehicle purchases. 

What is the End of the Year Lease Rush? 

As business owners approach the end of the year, they start to plan ahead and look at making capital asset purchases in order to offset the current year’s profits. In many cases, companies wait until the final few months as they are understandably inundated with other important Q4 tasks. Each scrambles to make last minute commercial fleet purchases and inventory frequently runs dry. Low inventory and high demand for what remains inhibits business owners from maximizing profits and minimizing taxes. Whether it’s a purchase or a lease, companies can take advantage of Sec. 179 accelerated depreciation with Centennial Leasing & Sales.

Our Commercial Leasing Program 

At Centennial Leasing & Sales, we’ve been helping our commercial clients buy and lease vehicles since 1984. We work with businesses of all sizes, outfitting you with the fleet vehicles you need to operate efficiently and profitably. Commercial leasing is our bread and butter and we offer exceptional service to all of our commercial fleet vehicle clients. We’ve seen the end of the year acquisition push and want to ensure our valued clients get the exact autos they need. Planning your vehicle acquisitions before December helps us source the exact autos you need. 

Signing or Terminating a Lease with Centennial Leasing 

Leasing commercial fleet vehicles has never been so simple. Our consultants are there to help every step of the way. We offer closed end, open end, and Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause (TRAC) leases and very attractive financing to ensure each business may acquire the lease or purchase terms they need. Your experienced consultant will negotiate manufacturer fleet incentives, offer lease vs. buy comparisons, and can arrange disposition of your underutilized fleet vehicles, saving you time and money. 

In addition, we understand that fleet management often falls on the owner’s shoulders. Our Fleet Management Service is top-notch, easy to implement, and can be built out to include maintenance plans, fuel, warranties, telematics, and more. 

We understand that your end of the year to-do list is already a mile long. However, with a little pre-planning, we can help you save money going into 2020 through commercial fleet vehicle acquisitions. Don’t wait — contact us for all of your end-of-year commercial fleet vehicle needs. 

Are We Ready for Autonomous Cars or Semi- Autonomous Cars?

 

Image result for self autonomous cars

As the future of cars is changing drastically and while the ability for fully autonomous cars is still a few years down the road, semi-autonomous cars are starting to make their presence known more than ever. There are already 6 vehicles that have semi-autonomous systems on the market or ready to come onto the market. Now these systems won’t let you take a nap behind the wheel, but they will help you manage one thing that so many daily drivers hate, excessive traffic. 

The Audi A8 Sedan is launching Traffic Jam Pilot expected to be out late this year or early next year. This system is not fully autonomous but the system will help take over in heavy traffic. The system is functional below 35 miles per hour, the system can steer, accelerate, brake and even come to a complete stop and start up again. One positive of this system is that you don’t have to ride the brakes which can save you trips to the mechanics for worn out brakes. 

Much like Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot, BMW has launched Traffic Jam Assistant. This system is not a fully autonomous system either but it is a feature that will take away some monotony of sitting in heavy traffic. The system works at very low speeds but it does require that you keep your hands on the wheel, even if it’s doing the steering and working the pedals.  

A new system available right now in the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan is the Cadillac Super Cruise. Cadillac bills this system as “the world’s first true hands-free driving system” on the basis that unlike other platforms the driver doesn’t have to intervene. If you drive on the brand’s mapped routes, you can let the system drive your vehicle for hours and without ever having to tap the steering wheel. The one drawback to this system is you have to drive on Cadillac’s mapped routes for the system to work and right now Cadillac has only mapped 130,000 miles across the US and Canada.  

Image result for self autonomous cars

Nissan / Infiniti also has a program out, ProPilot, that would be considered the least autonomous of all the systems. Available in the Nissan Leaf and the Infiniti Q50, This system is much like any other adaptive cruise control but with a catch, it can steer for you. The catch with the steering control is that your hands must remain on the wheel the entire time, if you remove your hands at any point then the car chimes until you return your hands to the wheel.  Outside the US, Nissan does have more auto pilot programs in their vehicles and we might see those in the future but for right now the ProPilot system is what the US has offered.

The newest Mercedes-Benz E-Class has debuted a new system called Drive Pilot. This automated driving system does not allow you to remove your hands from the wheel.The automated driving works at virtually all speeds when weather and road conditions are right and will even change lanes.  

Volvo’s Pilot Assist feature works much like Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot. It boasts largely autonomous driving but it still requires occasional inputs from the driver so the system knows the driver is still in place. Volvo does not boast this system as an autonomous system but more of a driver’s aide. The feature is available on the S90 Sedan, V90 and the XC60. 

As all of these vehicles show us that the world of autonomous driving is right around the corner, there are clearly many car companies that are already getting on the wagon to have semi-autonomous features or driver aid features in their car. Is one of these features a reason for you to get a new car? Would you like one of these features or are you like many consumers who have some doubts about the safety of these products? 

 

 

DeMuro, D. (n.d.). 7 Best Semi-Autonomous Systems Available Right Now. Retrieved  July 9, 2019, from https://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/7-best-semi-autonomous-systems-available-right-now-271865

How Important is Connectivity for You?

Image result for subaru crosstrek dashboard

If you would talk to any car dealer in today’s world, they would tell you the top thing that most people look for when purchasing a car is connectivity. The world we live in today is all about how we can stay connected to our phones or our social media accounts. Now the need for manufacturers to step up and create vehicles to meet those needs is stronger than ever.

According to KPMG’s Global Executive Survey, executives ranked connectivity as the #1 key disrupter for the industry until 2025. Well why?

Connected cars are appealing to the younger generations and when they are buying cars that is what they look for. Outside of style and features, millennials want cars that have:

  • Navigation Systems
  • Satellite Radio
  • Bluetooth
  • MP3 Player
  • Mobile Integration (Apple Carplay, Google Carplay)

As the millennial generation is a more digitally oriented consumer a study by Autotrader.com states that 72% of younger millennials say that their car is just as important as their social life. With the boost of drive share companies like Uber and Lyft that have so many millennials working for them, the need and want for more connectivity is only going to increase. People are spending more time in their cars nowadays and manufacturers are going to have to start matching the trends for what the consumers want.

So, would you switch from your current car and manufacturer that you have purchased for years to a different manufacturer just because they have better connectivity? A study by McKinsey shows that 37 percent across all geographics would switch from their current manufacturer to another. That is up from 20 percent in one year. All because people want a car with full access to apps, data and media. This connectivity feature is evolving from a should-have to a must-have for every manufacturer.

When your buying a car are you focusing on the connectivity features? Are you wanting to look at so many different brands to see who ultimately has the best system and features? 43% of premium brand drivers and 28% of non-premium brand drivers say their vehicle’s technology was the main reason for their car purchase. Technology has become part of our lifestyle our cars included.

 

Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 meaning that in-car technology has the greatest influence over the car purchase decision and 1 meaning that the car’s driving performance has the greatest impact on the car purchase decision), what score would you assign for your view?

 

Trends, Automotive Industry. “How Marketers Are Responding to Connectivity and Transformation in the Automotive Industry.” V12, 2019,v12data.com/blog/how-marketers-are-responding-to-connectivity-and-transformation-in-the-automotive-industry/.

 

YOUR CAR’S KEY FOB MAY HAVE HIDDEN FEATURES

Here’s what these extras are and how you can find and use them

Tesla and BMW key fobs
Today’s new cars pack in more high-tech electronic features than ever before, and that includes in the key fob. The device has gone far beyond simply locking or unlocking doors, starting a car remotely, or making chirping sounds to help you find your car in a parking lot. Some have so many features built in that owners may not even be aware of them all.

“Manufacturers are tasking key fobs with a multitude of functions that make the car—and the key fob—more useful than ever,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. “These features can be fantastic if the owner understands the sequence of key-fob button pushes to access them, but they can also be frustrating or even harmful if these features are triggered accidentally.”

Here are a few examples of hidden key-fob features, some of which could be on the device for your car.

Lower All Windows Instantly: One of the more common hidden functions on many of today’s key fobs is the ability to roll down all the windows and open the sunroof at the same time by pressing a single button. It’s handy, and it helps cool off the car on a hot summer day. It’s not often labeled on the fob, though, so the owner needs to know the button sequence.

On most cars that have the feature, it’s accomplished by pressing the unlock button on the key fob once, then pressing it again (within 10 seconds) and holding it down until all the windows are opened.

Remote Start: On most key fobs, the remote engine start button is labeled with a circular arrow (but often not the words “remote start”). Typically, the owner first hits the lock button, followed by a press of the remote-start button. On other remotes, drivers must press the circular arrow button twice (indicated by a “2x” or “x2”).

But on some new BMWs, the optional remote-start function is completely hidden. Owners can launch the engine for a limited time by pressing the lock button on the key fob three times within one second.

Mirror Folding: Some cars automatically fold in the side mirrors as part of the door-locking process. With others, this feature is optional, and the owner needs to know how to use it.

For example, on newer Chevrolet and GMC pickups equipped with remote mirror folding, the owner holds the key-fob lock button for a full second to make the mirrors fold in. This is a handy feature when parking on city streets or in a narrow alley, given how large pickup-truck side mirrors are.

Vehicle Summon: The  Tesla Model S and Model X key fobs—which look like a miniature car—don’t have any labels, belying their many uses. One of those is the Tesla Summon function, which moves the car in and out of tight parking spaces while the driver stands outside the car.

Before using Summon, owners must first enable the system using the vehicle’s center screen. This needs to be done only once.

To activate Summon, press the button in the center of the fob—or roof of the mini-car—until the hazard lights flash. Then, if you want the car to pull forward, press the button on the front of the fob (it looks like the hood of the mini-car). To stop its progress, press that same button again. The car can also go backward by following a similar procedure. Press the roof of the car, and once the hazard lights have flashed, press the button on the back of the fob (or where the trunk would be in the mini-car). Again, once it has gone far enough, press that button a second time to stop the car’s motion.

Tesla Model X owners also might not realize that pressing the top of the key fob closes any opened doors—front, rear, or liftgate—all at once.

Mechanical Key: Owners of cars with push-button start systems might not be aware that a mechanical key resides inside the key fob. This is so that owners can still unlock the driver’s door in cases when the car’s battery or the key fob’s battery runs out of juice, or the fob malfunctions. The key is typically accessed by pushing a button on the key fob and pulling the key out, although on some remotes, the release isn’t obvious.

Some cars have an obvious key slot on the door handle; on others, it’s hidden behind the door handle (visible when you pull the door handle out). Still others require removing a plastic cap next to the door handle to reveal the key slot underneath.

The Downside of Key-Fob Secrets

The presence of hidden buttons and functions means that owners need to be aware in order to avoid problems.

For example, while it’s cool to be able to lower all the windows via the key fob, it’s not funny when this happens accidentally—especially during a rainstorm or when a car is covered in snow. This can happen if the key fob is activated accidentally while at the bottom of a purse or sitting in a pants pocket.

This happened to a CR auto editor who walked out to our Honda Accord test car one morning and found all the windows down and the sunroof wide open. Fortunately, it had been a dry night and nothing had been stolen from the car.

A Honda spokesman, Chris Naughton, told us that “unintentional activation is very uncommon, but would be equally possible with other functions, like remote start, or the panic alarm.”

One of CR’s testers was recently surprised to return from an errand to find to our 2019  BMW X5’s engine running. In making sure that the car was locked as he walked away, he evidently hit the lock button on the key fob three times quickly, not realizing that this specific sequence would activate the BMW’s remote-start system. That’s a potentially dangerous situation. Carbon monoxide could have built up if this happened in a closed garage.

But the X5’s remote-start system is designed to shut the engine off after about 15 minutes of running while parked, according to the automaker.

“The recommended way of operating the remote-start system is via the BMW ConnectedDrive smartphone app, which can be performed from any range as long as the phone has reception,” said Oleg Satanovsky, BMW’s product and technology spokesman.

The difference between BMW’s key-fob deployment vs. most other carmakers’, though, is that the X5 doesn’t have a specific button for the remote-start system. It’s a matter of space, according to Satanovsky. The limited surface area of a remote key precludes an additional engine remote-start button, he said.

Still, the automaker should do more to make owners aware, says Kelly Funkhouser, CR’s vehicle usability program manager.

“If BMW didn’t want to put a dedicated button on the key fobs of vehicles equipped with the optional remote start like most car makers do,” she says, “then there should be an indication on the lock button that it has remote-start capability.”

Automakers try to make fobs useful and unobtrusive, and that contributes to the problem, says Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at the automotive research firm Navigant.

“The fundamental problem here is that the key fob is, ideally, reasonably small,” he says. “Unfortunately, like other small devices such as smartwatches, that means you have limited space for both controls and labels.”

Abuelsamid says that it’s a challenge for automakers to get owners to study up on what their fobs can do.

“Personalization of some manufacturers’ key fobs is another area that many customers may not realize they have,” he says. “If there are multiple users of a vehicle in a household, each [driver] can have their own fob, and once they set things like seat and mirror positions, the car will automatically adjust those as you approach the vehicle. For homes with young drivers, this can be used to limit certain functionality, such as top speed and preventing the disabling of driver assist features.”

Volvo key fob

WHAT YOU CAN DO

When you get a new car, read the specific sections of the owner’s manual that cover the fob. If it’s possible to do so, configure the settings on your remote to lock out any features you don’t want to accidentally set off.

Owners should also read the car’s quick reference guide, which covers highlights from the owner’s manual. Many new cars have them. Sometimes the basic features of the key fob are covered here, and it’s usually a much shorter read than the owner’s manual.

What Car makers Can Do

Keyless entry systems allow owners to almost ignore their key fob when it’s in a pocket or purse. Doors automatically unlock when the driver approaches or grabs a handle, and the car starts with the push of a button. No fob interaction is needed.

But there are still times when people have to press buttons on the key fob, such as when they’re searching for their car in a crowded parking lot. Other people just simply prefer to use the key fob out of habit.

“Key fobs need to be labeled more clearly, regardless of whether they have hidden tricks or not,” says CR’s Fisher. “It’s hard to even tell the difference between ‘lock’ and ‘unlock’ on some key fobs, especially at night.”

Our testers have found that key fobs in newer Kia and Volvo models in particular suffer from this problem because of their small, hard-to-decipher buttons placed along the side of the key fob.

When asked about Volvo’s key-fob design, a company spokesman, Russell Datz, told us that the buttons were placed on the side “to reduce the possibility of unintended activation, such as when they’re in a pocket or purse.” But aesthetics were also a factor, Datz said. “There is some Scandinavian design influence to give the fob a clean and simple appearance.”

Abuelsamid admits that automakers are in a tough spot attempting to please everybody, but says “designers and engineers should worry less about the key fob doing everything and focus more on a consistent and easy user experience without any surprises.”

In the future, the point may become moot as smartphones take over these fob functions, Naughton says.

“As the industry moves toward smartphone app-based vehicle controls such as AcuraLink, some of these functions will move into those rather than existing through the key fob,” he says. “For now, though, we cannot make it too difficult to activate the functionality or no one will likely use it or even be able to figure it out. Automotive design is about balancing potential misuse with ease of use.”

 Credit to: https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-driving/your-cars-key-fob-may-have-hidden-features/?fbclid=IwAR2Xj48nhwy4Cmkf9zYljifYTbvQtY0XDhlzGij2E-byMpqoeO4jazkZapc   By: Mike Monticello
April 08, 2019

8 BEST WEEKEND GETAWAYS FROM DENVER

Escape the busy city life of Denver, Colorado by taking a weekend getaway at one of these great Colorado towns. No matter if you’re looking for a destination near the “Mile High City” or a road trip across the state, these 8 destinations are sure to please. From ski towns to charming cities, make the best of your weekend when you visit one of these 8 best weekend getaways from Denver, Colorado.

Estes Park

Estes Park

Home to one of the most famous national parks in the country, Estes Park is a great place to visit no matter what time of year. Since Estes Park is only an hour and a half drive from Denver, this small mountain town is ideal for a short weekend getaway. While you’re here, you must visit Rocky Mountain National Park, which has hiking trails, scenic picnic areas, and a scenic byway known as Trail Ridge Road. After enjoying the park, make sure to hit up the Estes Park attractions like the downtown shopping area and Stanley Hotel.

 

hot air ballooning, Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs

The three-hour drive from Denver is well worth a weekend spent in Steamboat Springs. Perfect for skiers and snowboarders, this mountain town during the winter comes alive as tourists flock to Steamboat Ski Resort. However, this town has plenty to offer in the summer too, like hiking, biking, and horseback riding. After a long day on the trail or the slopes, you’ll want to visit Strawberry Park Hot Springs, a natural hot springs pool that is arguably the best in the state.

 

Fort Collins

Fort Collins

Visit the fourth largest city in Colorado for your next weekend getaway. Fort Collins, home to Colorado State University, is a biking town that is filled with craft breweries. Commonly referred to as “Colorado’s Craft Beer Capital,” popular breweries like New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Company are based here. Old Town, the downtown area of Fort Collins, is so cute that even Walt Disney himself based Disneyland Main Street USA off of it. Apart from the town, however, Fort Collins is also a great place for outdoor recreation. Hike Horsetooth Mountain or take a boat out on Horsetooth Reservoir.

 

Idaho Springs

Idaho Springs

Idaho Springs is one of the closest destinations to Denver on this list. Only a 40-minute drive outside of the city, Idaho Springs is just far enough away to forget all about city life. There are two draws to Idaho Springs: Indian Hot Springs and Smokin’ Yards BBQ. After soaking in the mineral hot springs, make sure to grab some well-made barbecue from this family-owned restaurant. The town also has a number of hiking trails in the area too.

 

Palisade, Colorado

Palisade

Wine lovers should head to Palisade for the weekend. This town found in the western slope of Colorado is set right in the middle of wine country. The drive here is longer than others on this list at nearly four hours, but tasting Colorado’s best wines is well worth the wait. The Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway is not only scenic but also offers stops to over a dozen wineries.

 

Georgetown Colorado

Georgetown

With just under an hour drive outside of Denver, you’ll find yourself in the quaint mining town of Georgetown. This town is home to a number of small museums that will make any history buff happy. Take a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, which once serviced the silver mines in the area. A drive through Guanella Pass isn’t a bad idea either, as there are a number of scenic stops along the way. Hotel Chateau Chamonix is one of the most popular and most charming hotels in the area that will make your stay in Georgetown unforgettable.

Image result for maroon bells

Aspen

For a luxurious weekend getaway, look no further than Aspen, Colorado. This mountain town is known for its skiing and luxury lodging options. However, this ski town is not just for skiers and snowboarders. Foodies will also enjoy the top-notch restaurants here. If you’re visiting here during the summer or fall, make sure to check out the Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed spots in Colorado.

 

Glenwood Hot Springs pools and amusement park

Glenwood Springs

Come to Glenwood Springs and leave your worries behind while you rest in the world’s largest hot springs pool. This little mountain town is a three-hour drive from the Mile High City. Consider staying at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, which is a hotel home to the largest hot spring-fed pool. You don’t have to stay at the lodge to gain access to the pool. Another hot spot to consider in Glenwood Springs is Yampah Spa & Salon, where you can get a massage and enjoy the natural vapor caves here. Before you leave, you may also want to hike the Hanging Lake Trail, one of the most popular hikes in the state.

 

Credit to: https://www.tripstodiscover.com/best-weekend-getaways-from-denver-co/   By: Madison Dragna

10 CRUCIAL STEPS TO GET YOUR CAR READY FOR SPRING

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:

  • Power steering
  • Brake
  • Transmission
  • Windshield washer solvent
  • Antifreeze/coolant

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 

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