Daily Archives

February 12, 2018

Lifestyle

How to Buy a Truck Online

February 12, 2018

The internet has made truck buying a new experience. Most dealerships now have internet sales staff and have everything you want to know online. That means you can research, find and negotiate your desired truck from the comfort of your house. Finding the actual truck you want to buy has never been easier. Here’s a look at the process and how it works. We hope that this will save you from the past confusion and headaches of car-buying days past.

Which make and model?

The internet makes identifying the best truck for you easy. You may easily research various makes and models.  There are also many sites that will give you data on reliability and insight into problems they may have (think consumer reports).

Finding the actual truck

Almost all dealers have their inventory online.  This means you can potentially find several examples of the very make and model of the truck you want in a few hours. This is a process that used to require many days of your time. For an example of the new, easier, online vehicle-buying process, check out the inventory of this dealership, selling new Nissan vehicles, in Yonkers, NY. Remember that you are in control of your truck-buying process; you know better than anyone what exactly you are looking for!

Determine the price to pay

This is the best part: you can perform a total financial analysis of your truck purchase before you even get onto the dealer’s lot. You can find out not only the truck’s MSRP, you may find out the invoice price and even what other consumers are paying for similar trucks (the Fair Market Value). It is unbelievably empowering and eliminates much of the stress of buying a truck. Try it out when you have a couple of minutes!

Research your potential trade’s value

Knowing the value of your trade is useful when you begin considering financing. Most dealerships use one of two sources for used vehicle values: the Kelly Blue Book (KBB) or the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). You can access the same information they have on your computer.

Get quotes

Once your online research is done, you can contact dealerships for an online price quote. Typically, that is done by filling out a website quote form or by emailing the internet sales manager.

Get financing taken care of

You may usually get approved to buy a car through the dealership’s website. You may want to shop around at credit unions and banks also but the truck dealer is likely to offer you a fantastic finance package with little hassle.

Sign away and drive home

At this stage, you should be working with the dealership that has your truck.  After everything is taken care of, all you do is visit the dealer to finalize the bill of sale and sign any financing paperwork. Last step is to pick up the keys and drive your truck off the lot!

Lifestyle

Automobiles Stolen by History

February 12, 2018

It’s easy to forget that many companies were building cars in the 1900s. In fact, estimates are that during the century’s first half that over 500 car manufacturers came and went. Some were successful and were significant brands for many years but eventually faded away. Here are some automakers that were once huge but have since been lost to history.

Sterling

We will start off with the British auto industry, as it made some excellent automobiles in the 1930s to 1970s but by the 1980s the British car industry was a wreck. Rover Limited, however, had an idea to bring it back to life: partner with a successful brand. In 1986, Rover launched the Sterling 800, a luxury sedan like the Honda Legend. However, in 1987, the 800 launched in the United States at the same time as the Acura Legend. The Rover brand never gained traction and Sterling disappeared by the early 1990s after five years and fewer than 40,000 sales.

Nash

Nash was a Kenosha (WI) based independent automobile brand that began in 1916. This small company was highly innovative.  They knew that to compete with big brands, they needed to be different. Here are a few things they accomplished.  In 1939, Nash introduced the “Weather Eye,”, a heating and ventilation system that became the basis for every modern HVAC system created since. In 1941, they brought about the Nash 600, the first unibody (frameless construction) automobile constructed in America. This was revolutionary and nearly every car built today uses that same technique. And in 1951 they launched the Nash-Healey, a two-seater sports car that by two years predated the Corvette. Nash later decided to create a bigger entity and partnered with Hudson to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC).  In 1988, Chrysler Corporation bought AMC.

LaSalle

The top shelf automobile in General Motors was the Cadillac brand. Cadillac always represented the best automotive engineering available at that time. The problem is that Cadillacs were pricy and this drove the company to offer a model that was a “step down” from the Cadillac, called the LaSalle. Often referred to as “The Poor Man’s Cadillac,” more Lasalles were sold than Cadillacs from 1933 to 1940. In 1940, GM decided to discontinue the brand so they could focus on the Cadillac brand.

De Soto

Another vehicle that is rarely spoken about today is the DeSoto. It was made to compete with cars like the Ford’s Mercury and General Motor’s Oldsmobile. Coming out in 1929, the DeSoto set a record as the best-selling first-year model ever. De Sotos were thought of as fine automobiles but brand mismanagement and a changing segment doomed them. In the US, Chrysler retired DeSoto in 1960, but continued to sell trucks badged as DeSotos in other countries.

We hope you enjoyed learning about these four big automakers and how they inspired the vehicle industry! Thank you to this Hyundai dealership’s team in Hartsdale, NY for discussing this with us!

Lifestyle

What are cabin air filters?

February 12, 2018

The cabin air filter is something that really exists, we are serious! Air cabin filters are found in many late-model cars and trucks.  It is a special fine filter that cleans the air that enters the cabinof your vehicle. This ultra-fine paper-based filter prevents pollen, dust and other airborne particles from getting into the car. The filters work well in dusty areas and if you, or a passenger, get allergic reactions, the filters can provide relief.

So where are these air filters?  Many cabin air filters are above or behind the glove box.  Often, they may be seen by freeing the glove box from its support fasteners, then dropping that glove box out of the way.  If this seems hard, let a mechanic do it. In some vehicles, though, the cabin air filter may be underneath the dashboard and may be tough to reach. You want a mechanic to do these for sure. Head down to Central Hyundai Genesis in Hartsdale, NY to find out more!

More signs a cabin air filter should be checked

Are you experiencing headaches, allergic reactions or breathing issues while driving? When a filter is clogged, it won’t prevent allergens and dust from entering your cabin. We touched on this above. What about cut-down airflow from the AC vents? When your cabin air filter is clogged up with stuff, then less air will pass through to your cabin.

There could may be a musty or dirty smell from your air vents to warn you of a failing cabin air filter. The smell may build up overtime and may be noticeable at first, as you spend so much time in your vehicle. But eventually you will have to face it. When it is wintertime, see if you notice any more window fogging than usual. If you do, then this means that your vehicle is providing inefficient heating or cooling.

How often should a cabin air filter be changed? 

Most manufacturers say every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or so.  Perhaps more often depending on where you drive.  If you operate your motor vehicle in a city with poor air quality, in dusty desert climates, or anywhere else with less-than-ideal air quality, a cabin air filter will quit on you fast and you may want to change it more often.

The Replacement Air Filter

By the way, you may be surprised at a replacement cabin air filter’s cost.  As these are relatively big affairs and are made of very fine paper or filter material, they must filter out tiny particles and are usually twice or more times expensive than air filters for engines.  It is just that quality air is super pricey!

If you want to have your local dealership replace your cabin air filter, ask to see the old one before they throw it out.  You might be surprised to see the things that it has caught.  It could have bugs, leaves, dirt and all kinds of things attached to its surface.  Then you will know that the cabin air filters do their jobs!

Lifestyle

The Worst Car Model Names

February 12, 2018

Some car model names have become famous, like “Jeep” for example; others, well, they have not.  Here is a list of some model names—in no particular order–that just did not make sense. Thank you to the staff at this car dealer in Yonkers, NY for their assistance with this article, which you will want to tell your friends about!

Renault Lecar

If you are producing a French car, then you can at least give it an appropriate name for the language it reflects. For those readers who speak French, you know that “Le” means “the.” That means Lecar is “The the car.” Yikes.

Kia K900

Theis car had tons of features, however, with “K9” in the model’s name drivers may have thought that this vehicle was for dog-oriented people, or that it competed in shows or races.

Ford Probe

The Ford Probe was supposed to replace the Ford Mustang.  The first error was replacing the Mustang name with anything else. “Mustang” is a great name. Maybe Ford began to think that this vehicle was a spaceship traveling out to the moon for some reason, we don’t know.

Ford Escort

This is an interesting name. “Escort” is a frequently used name for a call girl.  Who decided on this name’s selection? Again, we wish we knew.

Dodge Dart Swinger

The Dart Swinger was released in the 1970s when the name was more family friendly. Today the word swinger refers to people who live in an “open marriage.”

Diahatsu Scat

In English, “scat” refers to wild animals’ bowel movements. However, it must mean something different in Japan.  Perhaps it means “moving quickly.”

Buick LaCrosse

It is tough to tell where this name came from, perhaps from the sport.  The problem for French speakers is that “LaCrosse” has sexual meanings.

Chevy Nova

In Western society, “Nova” is an astronomical term to refers to an exploding vehicle.  In Spanish, it is similar to the term “no va” which means “no go”.

Renault Wind

Not a bad vehicle but you can imagine the puns you would be subjected to concerning the word “wind.”  You know, such as “passing wind” and that type of thing.

Skoda Yeti

This one isn’t so bad.  It’s tough to figure out what Soviets had in mind with this one, however, it is a mythical creature for Westerners.   If the Skoda Yeti is a wonderful car for winter climates, it might really be a good name.

Studebaker Dictator

The Studebaker Dictator was a vehicle from the 1930s. The term “Dictator” did not have the same connotation that it does in the present day.  Today we think of people like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini when seeing the word “dictator.”

Nissan Moco

“Moco” means “mucus” in Spanish. Who wants to drive a vehicle called mucus? No one we know, because mucus can be one of the most annoying and gross things ever.

We hope that you enjoyed learning about these interesting—but not so fantastic—vehicle names.

Lifestyle

Things For All Drivers to Know

February 12, 2018

Driving classes teach people driving tips and safety procedures.  However, it is only after Driver’s Ed classes that many people learn the other lower level stuff, the items about car maintenance and vehicle ownership.  If you are new to car ownership, or just would like a refresher, here are some things to know concerning your vehicle.

1)  Learn how to check your tire pressure. This is essential because when you drive with tires with low pressure, you’ll get poor gas mileage and you wear the tires out quickly. The majority of gas stations have an air station where you may add air to your tires.

2)  Do not forget to put a roadside emergency kit in your car. It’s smart to have a roadside emergency kit with flares, a flashlight, jumper cables and first aid supplies just in case you want them. Our friends at Brown’s Chrysler in Patchogue, NY like to remind their customers of this kit’s importance!

3) Know when you must get the tires rotated. This will really help prevent you from getting damaged tires. While the guideline to follow used to be every 3,000 miles, that is no longer true for all cars. Read your manual to know when your vehicle’s oil change is due but you’ll likely find it is some 5,000 to 8,000 miles now.  Usually it is a good idea to get this done when you are at the dealership already for a tire rotation.

4)  Seek out reasons why the “Check Engine” light may illuminate.  Check Engine Lights (CELs) illuminate if your vehicle’s central computer senses that something is not right.  In almost every case, it is not a serious situation – you may drive home.  But, if your CEL lights up, go to a dealership or your local garage within the next few days to make sure it’s nothing serious.  The mechanics can read the car’s computer codes and tell the mechanic what’s happening.

5)  Learn how to check all of your car’s fluids. It’s a great idea to know how to check and top all of your vehicle’s fluids. This includes oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluid. An owner’s manual for your specific vehicle will show you where all these items are located.

6)  Get a great mechanic. Do not just go with the least expensive or the repair place closest to you. Ask your family, friends or roommates for ideas or play it safe and bring your car to your local brand dealership.  Today’s vehicles are complex and you really need a wonderful mechanic who works in your interest.

7)  Learn how to replace windshield wiper blades. This is an easy way to save money.  Windshield wiper blades last 6-12 months and they are easy to switch out and in. You can find them at your nearest hypermarket. If you need some guidance, there are many YouTube videos that’ll show you how it’s done.

Lifestyle

Car Air Conditioning: A Brief History

February 12, 2018

There was a time when vehicle air conditioning was “the newest thing” and an unusual automotive accessory. Did you know that it wouldn’t be until the mid-1950s that an affordable air conditioning unit could be mass produced by the automobile industry? How interesting. Let’s hop in our time machine with the Brown’s Alfa Romeo—in Patchogue, NY—staff, and examine the facts. Enjoy the adventure!

In 1902, Willis Carrier invented the first modern air-conditioning system to control humidity at the printing plant where he worked in New York. However, the premier automotive AC systems were born in the 1930s. As a 1933 Popular Science article indicates, a third-party custom installed these super interesting units. The third party used a large compressor mounted under the floor boards. These automotive air conditioning systems were expensive, and they were only outfitted in limousines and fancy cars. So much for someone needing to save money having one.

The first company to offer AC as factory-installed was Packard.  They advertised the mechanical feature by saying “Forget the heat this summer in the only air-conditioned car in the world.”  Unlike dash-mounted systems in the modern day, the cooling coil (evaporator) was in the trunk with a fan blowing cool air into the passenger compartment.

To turn off Packard’s system, you needed to remove the drive belt from the A/C compressor.  The one on-off switch was on the fan. One of the problems that slowed AC adoption at this time was money. To buy a Packard with AC cost an additional $274 when the average annual income was $1,368.

General Motors was next.  In 1941 Cadillac created approximately 300 vehicles with AC, which like the Packard, was in the vehicles’ trunks.  The units also had no compressor clutch, so the only control was by shutting the fan on and off. Cadillac improved this after World War II by creating controls. The only drawback to that “improved” system was that the driver had to get into the rear seat to operate it. That must have been really, super convenient.

GM first equipped its 1954 Pontiac with a new mass-produced system. The automaker was also the first to offer a magnetic clutch on the compressor, so when it was not in use, no power was required.

Little documentation exists on Ford’s air conditioning development, but by the late 1950s AC was offered on several Ford models. Ford’s “Select-Aire” system was the first to direct air through the vents below the windshield.  Ford also offered a dealer-installed air conditioning system called Polar-Aire, a stand-alone hang-on system.

Today, automotive AC systems are a necessary technology and are found in 95% of the vehicles sold in America.  They’re usually built into cabin temperature control systems to work with the cabin’s heating system.  In most automobiles, one can set the temperature one desires the cabin to be at and the system either turns on the AC or the heater depending on the outside temperature.

Lifestyle

Car Myths That Will Not Disappear

February 12, 2018

Ever since there have been passenger vehicles there have been myths concerning them.  Some of the myths are just wrong but they persist anyway. Here are many automotive myths that won’t die.  You have undoubtedly heard several of them. Thank you for the Sales Manager at Alfa Romeo of Larchmont in Larchmont, NY for discussing these with us! Enjoy!

Either jet fuel or premium gas will give you more power

Cars with jet fuel will not get anywhere at any speed if anything but gas is in the tank. In fact, modern-day car engines cannot combust kerosene. As for premium gas, that is wrong as well! Premium gas is less volatile than your typical gas so it the gas of choice in high-compression engines. Using it in your lower compression automobile would be a waste of money because it would be just as effective as ordinary gas.

Insurance is more expensive for red cars

Why are red cars more expensive to insure?  As the myth goes, “Because red cars get into more accidents!” Well, have you ever purchased insurance for a car? Was there any point where they asked what the car color was when you got your quote?  Insurance people love this one and get asked about it almost daily. From an insurance point of view, car color makes zero difference but the red car myth seems to go on year after year.

Small cars aren’t safe, but big cars are

It’s funny howmany people think that their huge SUV (with average handling and a rollover-prone high center of gravity) is safer than a small economy car. People forget that the safety of modern day cars are hardly a function of only mass but involve tons of safety items like high-strength steel, energy-absorbing crumple zones and several airbags. The myth continues, though, and we think it accounts for a sizable amount of SUV purchases each year.  No wonder as a country that we use so much petroleum; it’s all these “safer” SUVs out there.

Overdrive makes you go faster

Ever heard of the Hollywood cliché of “kicking into overdrive”?  This generally means that we are seriously going to haul now.  Funny thing is, this myth is true because overdrive puts a car into a higher gear.  Basically, it is just for cruising and saving gas; as the engine RPMs settle down the vehicle’s fuel economy typically increases.

Oil changes should happen every 3,000 miles

The 3,000 rule goes back to when engine oils were less refined than now and got dirty quicker than now.  Regular car service, like an oil change, was a necessity back then to keep a vehicle reliable. Nowadays, engines are better, oils are better and few manufacturers recommend oil changes every 3000 miles.  Just don’t ask the people at Jiffy Lube for their opinion. They are going to tell you that this is hogwash and to stick with the 3,000 mile rule, and to visit their business.