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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.


The first rain in a few weeks can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that haven’t had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.

Leaves (and leaf peepers)

Fall foliage is certainly beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring traffic lines and other pavement markings. They also hide potholes and other road hazards. And when it rains, it can make those wet leaves on the roadway as dangerous as ice.

And where there are turning leaves, there are leaf peepers. These leaf-peeping drivers tend to crawl along the roads and make unpredictable stops to admire the changing foliage. If you’re driving behind a car with out-of-state plates, give them a little extra space just in case they stop short for a photo.


Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. This only makes visibility worse because your high beams will bounce off the fog and create glare.

When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the car in front of you so you’ll have adequate time to stop if you need to.


During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.

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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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


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.

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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:


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!



Castle Rock Cruise In

Castle Rock Cruise In

Castle Rock, CO

June 16 to June 17, 2018

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.



Old Town Car Show

old town car show fort collins

Fort Collins, CO

June 2nd, 2018

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.



Goodguys 21st Colorado Nationals

Good Guys Car Show

Loveland, CO

September 7 to September 9, 2018

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.


Telluride Festival of Cars & Colors

telluride cars and colors

Telluride, CO

September 27 to September 30, 2018

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

Castle Rock Vintage Car Club

Castle Rock Vintage Car Club





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.



Super Bowl 2018 car commercials

Another year, another Sunday evening spent covering a series of minute-long and terribly expensive car commercials. While only a few automakers joined the ad fray for Super Bowl LII, there were a decent number of commercials. Let’s see what you may have missed.

Lexus: The car Black Panther would drive, evidently

Lexus may already have an LC500 tricked out in a wild livery to celebrate the release of “Black Panther,” but its Super Bowl commercial was all about the new 2018 LS sedan.

While it may take a leap of faith to imagine that King T’Challa would really get down in a fancy Toyota, the ad rocked the right sort of attitude for a big debut like the Super Bowl.

Hyundai: Kona and cute kids

Hyundai debuted two commercials during the Super Bowl. The first focused on the all-new Kona subcompact SUV and a referee who made the best effort possible to end a youth soccer game early enough so that everyone can go home and watch the Super Bowl. It was cute, and watching a referee throw a bunch of red cards at kids turned out to be pretty entertaining.

Hyundai’s second ad is a mixed bag. In short, it was used to highlight that the purchase of a new Hyundai supports the automaker’s charitable donations for pediatric cancer, and the video showed a bunch of Hyundai buyers being carted away to a room where cancer survivors hugged and thanked them.

Kia: Steven Tyler and time-machine CGI

Kia did some weird stuff to Steven Tyler’s face to help sell a car that, if you take the automotive media at its word, is the best thing since sliced bread. I mean, hell, it also won the Roadshow Shift award for car of the year… why not put that in the commercial? It would have been cheaper than whatever they paid that reincarnated sea witch to pretend to drive.

Toyota: Mobility, mobility, mobility

Toyota had its biggest Super Bowl ad buy ever this year, and it used that time to focus on one word: mobility. Both the ad above and the one below use Toyota’s sponsorship of the Olympics and Paralympics to discuss Toyota’s new brand message, which happens to be “mobility for all.”

Jeep: Solid ads and rocks

Jeep had probably the best Super Bowl of any automaker. Its three commercials were all about the product without having to rely on some serious stretching. The first one was all about the end of the road, and how Jeeps aren’t really bound by such constraints. It featured the refreshed 2019 Cherokee, which now sports a face better aligned with television than with radio.

Jeep’s second commercial had dinosaurs and Jeff Goldblum in a throwback to the Tyrannosaurus rex escape scene from the first “Jurassic Park.” It all ties together at the end with a tagline involving evolution, because the Wrangler is entirely new for the 2018 model year and evolution is how everyone on Isla Nublar ended up in that mess. Clever girl.

Jeep’s third spot of the day was by far its best. This 30-second commercial features one car, one camera, zero music and a very simple voice-over. It lets the product stand on its own, something car commercials rarely do these days. No complaints here, just an SUV in its natural habitat as the gods intended.

Ram: Stretching in every sense of the word

Ram’s commercial featured Vikings, because they’re just the rough-and-tumble sort that would love a rugged pickup truck like a Ram 1500 — provided that Vikings would even be able to grasp the concept of the internal combustion engine, let alone a whole vehicle. There was a tie-in with Minnesota, the location of this year’s Super Bowl and a city that uses the Viking as a mascot for its football team.

(Credits to:


Hakkapeliitta 9

Nokia Tyres Hakkapelitta 9

Tires that crush ice

Nokian Tires

Sometimes the rubber wants to meet the road, and the road is like “nope”—because the pavement is covered in ice. That’s why this winter tire digs in with two different types of steel studs. The middle ones are triangular, with a beveled edge that increases grip during acceleration and braking. The shoulder-mounted spikes are Y-shaped; their increased surface area grabs slippery asphalt expertly in corners.

CabinWatch backseat surveillance

Honda CabinWatch

Break it up.


Is little Janey asleep? Does Baby Alfred need more Cheerios to dump all over the floor? These are questions parents could answer without risking wrecks thanks to a new interior camera system available on Honda’s Odyssey minivan. A ceiling-mounted wide-angle lens beams the backseat action to the front’s touchscreen. Grownups can even zoom in on any of the five seats if they suspect an occupant of being a real jerk.

2018 Ford GT

2018 Ford GT
A shape-shifting supercar.


The paradox of speed: Your machine should grab the pavement in turns but slice through the air on the straights. To answer these competing needs, the Ford GT changes shape. A cam inside its rear wing can rotate, fattening the spoiler’s profile for more aerodynamic grip. When going for max miles per hour, the wing retracts and the cam rotates again so it doesn’t stop the air slipping by at up to 216 miles per hour.

SRT power chiller

Dodge SRT power chiller

Breathing fire into the Demon.


It’s not the gas but the oxygen that goes boom in your engine; stuff more air into your cylinders, get more power. To achieve the SRT Demon’s crazy acceleration, Dodge’s necromancers of speed flow the breeze over what is essentially an air-conditioning compressor before the supercharger crams the air into its V-8. Colder air holds more oxygen, creating a bigger boom and, eventually, 840 glorious hell ponies.

A8 active suspension

Audi A8 active suspension

Shocks that throw blocks.


Audi’s new flagship sedan can brace for impact. When some yahoo is about to plow into its side, sensors pick up the impending crunch and raise an alert. Then, electric motors attached to the suspension lift the crashward side, directing the force of the collision at the car’s doors and floor—the body’s strongest parts.

Colorado ZR2

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

From office to off-road.


Other factory off-piste pickups are huge, but you can park the ZR2 in a regular garage. Engineers tested it on nine of the roughest courses in the country, including the boulder hell known as the Rubicon. The truck owned. How? A custom suspension, with F1 origins, utilizes three sets of valves: Two make the shocks perform better when the truck tackles rough terrain; the other softens ’em up for smooth roads.


Nuviz helmet attachment

Keeps your eyes on the road.


One problem with a motorcycle’s dashboard: You have to look down to see it—a bad idea when you’re hurtling across the countryside on two wheels. Nuviz brings the dials and screens to eye level. The helmet-mounted device’s head-up display projects an image on your eye shield of your speed, a map, and even turn-by-turn directions. It also has an action cam that’ll capture stills and videos from your ride. $699.

Safe-driving enforcement

Apple Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb.


Distracted driving killed 3,477 people in 2015; Apple’s new mobile OS will try to keep road warriors focused. If you turn it on, Do Not Disturb While Driving will detect that your phone is in a moving car—either because it’s connected to the vehicle, or by tracking nearby Wi-Fi waves as you cruise. The screen stays black, notifications go quiet, and anyone hitting you up gets an auto response. (Get it?)

Skyactiv-X: A gas engine that can act like a diesel

Mazda Skyactiv-X

Debuting in the 2019 Mazda debut.


Diesel engines squeeze the air and fuel in their cylinders until pressure makes the pair combust on its own; gas mills, meanwhile, fire spark plugs to create those torque-birthing explosions. This system, set to debut on the 2019 Mazda 3, blends the two, and gets up to 30 percent more MPG. It keeps the air-fuel ratio light on the petrol so it won’t self-ignite, but, in certain situations, it’ll squirt a skosh of extra fuel into the chamber and set it ablaze with the spark plug. That flame raises the pressure in the cylinder so the main supply of air and fuel more efficiently burns itself up.

Best of What’s New was originally published in the November/December 2017 issue of Popular Science.

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Best Holiday Gifts for the Car Lover in Your Life


Here’s a reality check: The holiday season is officially upon us (when tinsel and eggnog hit the store shelves, it’s on, folks). And that means it’s time to start shopping for gifts. If you’ve got a car lover on your list, never fear: we’ve put together the best stuff for auto buffs.

1. Haynes Manuals


Like textbooks and classics, there’s something comforting about manuals. So ditch the idea that manuals are merely for ignoring and stuffing into a glove box. The Haynes Manuals make a great gift for drivers of Acuras to Volvos and seemingly every model in between. Perfect for the do-it-yourself-er who wants to get schooled in such niche studies as anti-lock brake systems, heating and air conditioning and automotive computer codes. Your car loving buddy will also dig the digital version that has large-format color photos, color wiring diagrams, keyword search function and quick links to common jobs. The manuals also feature model-specific HD videos to walk them through a variety of processes.

2. Steeling Wheel Protector and Car Seat Protector

When it comes to cars and accoutrements, sometimes simple is best. We love the un-fussy, stylish genuine leather steering wheel cover by Elegant USA. It protects hands in chilly weather, makes your digits a little more comfy, and looks like it belongs in every car. It fits in by standing out — in the best way. If you have a friend with a penchant for hitting up the drive-through (with more than a few smudges to show for it) a new cover is the best way to spruce things up. 2-pack, $89.99,

Crumb-age (the unsightly onslaught of too many croissants) is a real problem. Keep your auntie’s seats in pristine condition and get her a set of car seat protectors from Drive Auto Products. These neoprene-backed beauties don’t slip or slide out of position. They have a thick foam cushion to give your tired bod a little boost, and are heat-resistant, fade-resistant, waterproof and have a universal neutral fit. Choose from black or dark gray, and give your loved ones a lovely new reason to snack away — these guys clean up in a snap. $14.99,

3. Roav Dash Cam C1


For the camera junkie you love, nothing captures the holiday spirit like the Roav by Ankor Dash. This dashcam records in full HD, can simultaneously track up to four lanes of traffic with a wide-angle lens and is shock activated (a sensor activates the camera if your car is bumped or moved to automatically record hit and runs).

The lighter side of the dash cam is just pure fun, like when your pal catches a crazy meteor shower he’s just got to show off, he can download the ROAV app to share in a snap.

4. Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit


Like chefs with their knives, and ballerinas with their pointe shoes, car geeks and kits go hand in hand. Get your gear gal a Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit to ring in the New Year and let the happy dance commence. This 12-piece cadre of fun includes a bottle of Gold Class Car Wash, Gold Class Carnauba Plus liquid wax (with special conditioners that reflect damaging UV rays), Endurance Tire Gel (to help keep tires inky black with a rich, dark gloss shine), Quik Detailer, a container of ScratchX and some essential car spa tools like a microfiber towel and wash mitt. Yes, of course you can hire someone to give your ride a spa day, but it’s so much fun to roll up your sleeves and bring back the sparkle yourself with some elbow grease.

5. Streamlight Night Com UV LED Flashlight


It may not be the sexiest gift in the world, but a heavy-duty flashlight is a safety must-have for all drivers. This one from Streamlight has an unbreakable polycarbonate lens, several different modes — LED high, LED low, UV LEDs and Safety (the latter mode prevents the light from coming on when you don’t want it to). This is no wimpy flashlight (like the ones you hoard from the dollar store that conk out ridiculously fast). This light is a favorite of law enforcement — who click it on to detect fraudulent documents — but your bestie can use it to check for engine and HVAC leaks. He or she should place one in the glove box and give you a huge hug for giving a safe gift, in all the right ways.

6. Chevy Seatbelt Belt


Cute, clever and chic. Done. You’ve checked off each of those boxes when you fork over a crisp $20 and get a Chevy Seatbelt belt buckle for your GM-loving friend. Fashioned from a real seat belt made from high quality polyester and chrome-plated steel components, these fit any standard size pants and are fully adjustable up to size 38 (with XL sizes available upon request). It opens with the — you guessed it — click of a button. They’re made in the U.S. and are officially licensed by General Motors, so you’ll feel giddy about giving something glam without burning through too much cash.

7. DeWALT Tool Set


We’re guessing the car nut on your list has a pretty paltry tool set — you know, lots of random pieces sort of haphazardly thrown into a tackle box. All that changes when he or she opens this 108-piece beauty. Its packed with sockets of varying sizes, adaptors, ratchets, hex key sets and a 22-piece bit set with handy storage case. A polished chrome vanadium finish makes it extra gift-worthy. I mean, who doesn’t want something sparkly under the tree this year?

8. AVANTEK Universal Cell Phone Air Vent Car Mount Holder Cradle


Not all gifts need to put a dent in your wallet. A car mount is the perfect gift for that pal who needs a safe place for his phone (read: not in his hands). With its spring-loaded arm and sturdy mounting clips, this cradle can securely accommodate most phones, and the ability to swivel 360 degrees is an added plus. The two flexible clips may be rotated to fit vertical or horizontal air vent blades and the space in between is also adjustable. For those of us a little scratch-leery, this mount’s soft rubber padding protects a phone from any scuffs or nicks.

Gotta love when being a thoughtful gift giver with safety on the brain only sets you back about $10.

Whether you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, or you’re looking for budget gear, spoil the car lover in your life this year with gifts that illuminate, sparkle and shine. It’s just the kind of fuel we all need.

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