Archive for January, 2016|Monthly archive page

Personal Pacifica impressions

I’ve driven every minivan sold today, and none of them check the luxury level boxes like the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.

The exterior looks far more compact than the existing Town & Country — but it’s actually larger, inside and out. The new body looks much more modern, from front to rear, doing away with the boxy look of the previous models.

2017 Chrysler minivan with sliding door open

The seats are incredibly soft both, in terms of padding and surface material. They have a high end look and feel. I’ve always questioned hour the Town & Country fits into the luxury Chrysler lineup; there is no question how this vehicle fits. Dare I call this the first real luxury minivan?

Theater seats

The third row is roomier. The multi panel sunroof setup looks good and provides a sky view for every row, which will be great for kids on long road trips. The new infotainment system, with seat mounted screens and individual input docks, will be a welcome change for parents with multiple kids with differing taste in programs.

A key difference that I see inside is the new dashboard. Finally, the minivan gets the same gorgeous gauge cluster as the Chrysler 200, along with the newest UConnect setup, which is leaps and bounds better than the system in the current Grand Caravan. There is nothing wrong with the current minivan infotainment setup, but the next gen system is really a step up in every way.

minivan dashboard

The small instrument panel under the touchscreen is very clean and looks far more upscale; it puts the HVAC controls and the shift dial into one small panel.

This is going to be a much better family hauler, but I think that the exterior design and the interior layout will help fight the stigma of the minivan being so tragically unstylish. Thanks to that, I think that this minivan will be more acceptable to those folks who want a proper luxury minivan.

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Sensible Steps to Help Keep Your Car Longer

More and more people are keeping their vehicles longer as the average age of a car on the road today is more than 11 years. Considering the cost of a new car is about $31,000 on average, deciding to keep your car rather than buying a new one makes financial sense, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council offers sensible steps to help motorists maintain their vehicles for safety, dependability and value.

Keep it Clean

Washing the carWashing and waxing your vehicle on a regular basis protects it from the natural elements that may harm the finish.

A good cleaning of the inside and outside of the vehicle prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, reduces the potential for rust from road salt and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.

Steps to a cleaner car.

Rely on Your Senses

When driving, always be alert and rely on your senses.While you may be familiar with noises that your vehicle makes on a daily basis, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem. Listen for sounds such as squealing, thumping, hissing and grinding – these are all signs that the vehicle may be trying to tell you something.

Vehicle Car Smell InfographicUnusual smells such as burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, rotten eggs, burning carpet or the sweet smell of syrup can be a sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle.

When you hear or smell something that doesn’t seem right, do not ignore it. Instead bring your car to a professional service technician to get an informed opinion on the nature of the sound or odor.

Stay on Schedule

The key to a car running at its best is basic maintenance. Keeping up with fluid changes, tire checks, filter changes and other services will help avoid bigger and more expensive repairs. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged. Being aware of your car will help you address any issues before they become bigger problems.

Custom Vehicle Service Schedule OnlineIn addition to following the maintenance schedule recommended in your owner’s manual, the Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule to help you be proactive in caring for your car.

“Everyone loves a new car but sometimes the money is just not there to purchase one,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If you treat your car as a valuable investment and commit to regular preventative auto care, not only will you end up saving money, but your car will keep on running for many miles down the road.”

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica: The new Chrysler minivan

The debut of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica marks a lot more than a name change and a new, sixth-generation version of Chrysler’s minivans.

For one, it’s the first minivan on the U.S. market to get a plug-in hybrid version, the Pacifica Hybrid, which will offer 30 miles of pure electric driving on a charge. Secondly, it signals a new direction for these vans—not just in their far more flamboyant styling, but in a package that for the first time won’t be essentially mimicked with a Dodge version.

The Grand Caravan and its sliding side doors on the way out, to be replaced this next year by a model that’s expected to offer comparable three-row seating and space but characteristically brawnier Dodge styling and hinged rear doors.

Last week at the Detroit Auto Show we caught up with Tim Kuniskis, the North American head of passenger-car brands for Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat, for some more details. And while he wouldn’t reveal any more information about the Grand Caravan’s replacement, found out a lot more about the how and why the Pacifica took the form it did.

Chrysler minivans winnowed down to one—Pacifica

“It’s going to be ultimately the only minivan in the portfolio, going head-to-head against a long list of mainstream competitors,” said Kuniskis. “So making sure we had all the right package and content, and being able to price this vehicle… you’ll see that we’ll be lined up well against our competitors in the segment.”

The Pacifica is built on what’s called the RU platform. The RU vehicles don’t share any likeness, components, or geometric “hard points” with the RT predecessors, which arrived in 2008; and it’s not related to the “short wide” platform that underpins the Jeep Cherokee, among others.

It was entirely developed by Chrysler’s U.S. engineering team, with scalability and the easy addition of all-wheel drive in mind, and it can apply to cars, vans, or SUVs, down to compact (D) size.

Kiniskis says that the team wanted to overcome the “mental image of a minivan,” and decided on the name change from Town & Country to Pacifica “because as we moved through the development of the vehicle we realized that this is a complete, revolutionary change.”

Not the first time Pacifica has signaled a sea change

Reviving the nameplate might not be a positive to everyone, as the previous Pacifica did suffer from some quality issues—such as transmission woes—but it was noteworthy in design, as one of the first SUVs to undergo a rather revolutionary change, pitting it against the Lexus RX in some respects. Even today, Kuniskis says, they found that the name has “good consideration and awareness.”

The spark for emphasizing design this time around came in part from the strong (and mostly positive) reception of the Chrysler 700C Concept from four years ago, which was an early test of the waters for more radical change. Then, Chrysler then wasn’t sure what kind of reception the van might get from the press, and thus revealed it in “stealth mode,” quietly unveiling it on the auto-show stand, without a conference or immediate press release.

“We kind of tested the boundaries of how far can you push the design of a minivan [with the 700C],” Kuniskis said. “From that stage, we took several design concepts out to research, and invited several CUV and minivan intenders to come out and see it. At the end of the day, he says, the takeaway message was that they wanted a stylish vehicle but didn’t want to compromise on the space and comfort of a minivan.

“We pushed the design as far as we could,” he added.

A new opportunity with Millennials

Putting more emphasis on design and technology also goes over well with Millennials, who are having kids and looking for family vehicles—and in many cases, entering the vehicle market for the first time, without the preconceptions that Gen X parents had about minivans.

The automaker clearly has some big sales hopes for the Pacifca. Chrysler is targeting as many sales as for the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country combined—or about 190,000 sales this past year, when they were down somewhat as the result of four months of assembly plant retooling.

On the Chrysler side, the next big step is building the brand, Kuniskis concedes. “You know when you look for well-defined brands in the marketplace, it’s either a product attribute that helps people define the brand, or it’s an emotional, aspirational connection that helps people want to connect with that brand,” he said.

“On Dodge we have product plus bad-boy attitude; we’ve got to do a better job identifying a product attribute and an emotional connection for Chrysler, and that’s our next job.”

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Ram: Four Wheeler’s pickup of the year

Four Wheeler Magazine has named the 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel its 28th Annual Pickup Truck of the Year, beating the Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X, Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Z71, and Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD Off-Road.

Seven judges tested the trucks’ comfort and performance in traffic jams, technical trails, and other conditions over five days and 1,000 miles.

Competing pickups had to be new or substantially changed; a two-speed transfer case was required, along with production of at least 1,500 trucks for the US and being on sale by January 15, 2016.

The writeup said, “Everything about the Ram Rebel feels right. From the suspension to the steering to the beautifully matched eight-speed transmission and V-8 engine, the Rebel is one dialed truck. Sure, we would love to see at least one differential locker and could do without the treads on the seats, but it’s hard to find many faults on- or off-road. This is one Rebel with a worthy cause.”

The judges “overwhelmingly” chose the Ram Rebel crew cab both as the Pickup Truck of the Year and as the truck they’d most like to take home.

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First Ride: Indian Scout Sixty

The open road on a Scout Sixty – doesn’t get much better…

I’ve traveled to the Las Vegas many times. Whether it was for business or pleasure, one thing you can always count on is an entertaining experience from the city started by the mob. Living in Southern California, I’ve traveled to Sin City via a few different modes of transportation including two and four wheels as well as commercial airliners – but this one was different.

I hate flying. It’s not the flying part that gets to me, it’s the hassle of dealing with crowds, being crammed onto the plane like a Tokyo train, not to mention the lovely ordeal of being groped by the TSA.

So when Robert Pandya from Indian Motorcycles contacted Cycle News about going to Las Vegas for a new Indian launch and said that we’d be flying there was definitely some mixed emotions involved. That was until he told us that we wouldn’t be dealing with TSA…

Driving out to Long Beach that morning I had the usual butterflies and even left my pocket knife and liquids at home, just by habit. I pulled up to a side building off the main grid of Long Beach Airport and entered through the glass doors with backpack and Biltwell helmet in hand where I found a few editorial friends and Robert standing there with a huge smile on his face. It wasn’t until he walked me out the back doors and onto the runway did I know why he was so excited.

Sitting out back was one of America’s greatest planes, a C-53 built by Douglas Aircraft Company way back in 1943. This particular plane has a long history including being used to drop paratroopers on D-Day and after that was turned into a medical transport plane for injured troops on the front line. Many of these planes used in battle were shot down or heavily damaged but this one survived. After its tour of duty it was transformed into a commercial TWA plane, then cargo transport and so on. It now sits in its current state, a completely restored piece of beautiful machinery that still has that old-time feel.

What’s even cooler is that we would be flying to Vegas in this plane. The flight out was something I’ll always remember, from the smell of aviation fuel from the dual prop engines, to the fact that we were less than 9000ft off the ground and even flying over my house for the family to see! It was definitely one of the most enjoyable plane rides I’ve had.

Once we arrived at the North Las Vegas Airport we were greeted by a long line of 2016 Indian Scout Sixty machines. Now, we’ve put many miles on our 2015 Indian Scout with its liquid cooled 1133cc V-twin engine that boasts an impressive 100hp. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the new breed of Indian Motorcycles is impressive though, because I was in Sturgis a few years back for the Indian Chief/Chieftain launch and those models are extremely good.

Why make another Scout, though? Well, in short, the original Scout made a crap load of power and it might have been a little too much for those green riders of the world to handle. But to say the Scout Sixty is just a dulled down version misses the point completely. With more and more new riders coming into the motorcycle world every day and the custom motorcycle scene bigger than ever, there’s interest in a bike that’s fun to ride but also with a ton of customization possibilities at a reasonable price ¾ so this is where the Scout Sixty comes in.

The flat track scene has seen resurgence lately out in Southern California with the amount of riders at the local Perris Raceway growing by leaps and bounds. One of the classes that’s most popular is the “Hooligan” class, a run-what-you-brung type gig where you’ll find some guys riding to the track on their street legal steeds, ripping a few laps and riding home on the same bike (that’s if they don’t crash and break something). It’s a light-hearted atmosphere where you’ll share a cold beverage and a few tacos with the same guy you were battling with just an hour before.

With the Super Prestigio running their highly anticipated race at the Orleans in Las Vegas is was a perfect time to bring out the “Hooligans” and let them run wild and help shed some light on what’s possible with a few customized street legal American made motorcycles. We all know the name Roland Sands and what the man can do with a motorcycle both behind the bars and with a wrench in hand, and Indian took notice of that, giving him a slew of Sixtys to customize for the Indian sponsored race which we were going to attend while in Vegas. Not only did the RSD Sixtys turn out beautifully but when the dust settled on the Indian Motorcycle Hooligan race it was all around good guy and motorcycle maniac Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles who won the event. Unknowingly to him, the winner was also taking home their very own Sixty! Congrats to Thor and Indian as the bike couldn’t have gone to a better person.

The next morning we headed on a ride to Lake Mead and back aboard the new machines. The fit and finish of the Scout Sixty, like the standard Scout, is clean and well thought out and although the Sixty did lose some of its chrome finishes and put on an extra 4lbs, I’m ok with that. The 2016 Scout Sixty drops a few cc’s down to 999, and instead of the massive 100hp punch it now has a claimed 78hp. It also loses a gear (now featuring a five-speed gearbox). Luckily, it’s just as much fun to ride and if you’ve ever ridden a standard Scout you won’t miss the extra ponies because this steed has just as much get up and go as ever!

The rider cockpit suites my 5’11 build perfect (shorter riders will be happy to hear that there’s an optional lower seat), the non-abs brakes are exceptionally strong; suspension is controlled and the overall feel of the bike is one I have no problem spending and extended amount of time with. One of the biggest selling points on the new Scout Sixty is the MSRP of $8,999 ¾ that is $2,000 less than the standard Scout! If customizing is in your blood there’s definitely a lot that can be done with that extra $2K in the pocket or if you’re a bit of a gambler, Las Vegas will be happy to help you spend it.

After our ride on the Sixty we jumped back on the vintage bird and enjoyed a sunset flight back to Long Beach. While the views were mesmerizing and the Hangar24 was cold, all I could think about was the previous night’s racing, how good the RSD customized units looked and the endless possibilities of this machine. Maybe it’s the bike builder in me that can’t leave much alone or maybe it’s the feeling the Sixty gave me while riding it earlier that day, either way I think Indian is on to something with their new direction for this model making it more accessible to a wider range of riders. I’m looking forward to ripping up the local streets and dirt tracks aboard an Indian Scout Sixty, just like the Hooligans in Sin City.

Words: Jason Abbott

Photography: Indian Motorcycle

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Out with the Old to Save the Minivan

The Chrysler Town & Country is dead, but long live the minivan. That’s essentially what the motto for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is.

Intent on cementing its place as the segment creator and leader, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is basically throwing out the rulebook, or at least throwing out a storied nameplate. But in the process, they’ve injected new life into a class of practical-but-unsexy cars.

Chrysler did make a point to unbox its minivan. The Pacifica is far curvier and sleeker than the Town & Country, with nice detailing in the lights and ambitiously large 20-inch wheels on the highly equipped model shown at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It’s all about the comfort and convenience features in a minivan, and the Pacifica won’t disappoint gadget lovers. A hands-free power liftgate is yesterday’s news now that Chrysler offers hands-free power sliding doors. Like the Honda Odyssey, you can get a vacuum cleaner in the Pacifica. But unlike the Odyssey and every other minivan, you get second-row seats that fold into the floor. The Pacifica will seat up to eight people.

While a huge upgrade over the outgoing Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, the Pacifica’s interior will look familiar if you’ve been in a Chrysler 200 or any recent Fiat Chrysler products. It’s slightly overdone for my tastes, but the quality is there and well-heeled parents will appreciate the level of luxury combined with quantity of cubbies and cup holders.

And being a vehicle built with families in mind, there’s a whole bunch of safety gear and parking cameras now available on the Pacifica, at least bringing it in-line with rival minivans and three-row crossovers. But another lifesaving feature might be the touch screens mounted in the back of the front seats for kids to control movies and apps.

The biggest showroom attraction may be the Pacifica Hybrid. While the normal Pacifica gets a 3.6-liter V6 with a nine-speed automatic transmission, the hybrid adds an electric motor and battery pack to give up to 30 miles of electric-only range and the equivalent of 80 mpg. For buyers who want to lessen their carbon footprint, or use the carpool lane, Chrysler may have just the ticket.

If anything, the Pacifica is pitched to customers who are willing to pay more for lots of comfort and convenience. It’ll therefore be interesting to see what the prices are when the Pacifica goes on sale this spring. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will come to market later, in the second half of 2016.

Some people may remember another car called the Chrysler Pacifica, the 2004-2008 crossover that didn’t click with customers. But this new Pacifica isn’t trying to be a crossover, as some minivans have pretended to be in the past. And Chrysler thinks it’s thrown enough new features to make you wonder why families flock to SUVs.

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2016 North American International Auto Show

Experience the next generation of transportation at the North American International Auto Show 2016. See more than 750 vehicles on display representing the most innovative designs in the world, and experience North America’s largest and most prestigious automotive showcase.

Dates and Times

Early access for handicapped individuals 8 a.m. each day
Enter at the Hall C Entrance only

Saturday, January 16 – Saturday, January 23, 2016
9 a.m. – 10 p.m. (no admittance after 9 p.m.)

Sunday, January 24, 2016
9 a.m. – 7 p.m. (no admittance after 6 p.m.)

Ticket Pricing

– Adults: $13 per person
– Seniors: $7 (65 and older)
– Children: $7 (7-12 years old; 6 and under free with a parent or guardian)
PLEASE NOTE: Every child in a school group must have a ticket to enter the show

PLEASE NOTE: Seniors’ and childrens’ tickets must be purchased at the door and are only valid the day of purchase.


– Print voucher to redeem tickets at the eTicket window, located outside the Hall C entrance.
– The Ticket window is open 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., January 16 – 23 and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., January 24.
– Each order must be picked up in its entirety.
– A photo ID is required to pick up tickets.
– Tickets are non-refundable

Visit for Tickets!

Group Tickets

– Discounted rate of $9 per ticket is available for groups of 30 or more.
– Pickup is located at the window outside the Hall C entrance.
– American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and business checks accepted. Personal checks and cash not accepted.
– A photo ID is required to pick-up tickets.
– Children 6 and under are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian and do not require a ticket.

PLEASE NOTE: Every child in a school group must have a ticket to enter the show
– There is no group discount for senior tickets.
– Tickets are non-refundable.

Visit for Tickets!

Purchase Tickets at the Door

– Tickets may be purchased the day of the show at ticket booths located in the Cobo Center concourse (cash only).
– Ticket kiosks located in Cobo Center in the concourse (credit card only).
– Children 6 and under are free when accompanied by a parent or guardian and do not require a ticket.
PLEASE NOTE: Every child in a school group must have a ticket to enter the show and tickets are non-refundable
Ticketing Office

Please contact the Ticketing Office at:
1900 West Big Beaver Road
Suite 100
Troy, MI 48084
Phone: 248.283.5173
Fax: 248.283.5172

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cobo Hospitality Scooter Rentals

Cobo Center provides motorized scooters on a first-come, first-served basis for people with disabilities. Each scooter is $35.00 per 4-hour period. Valid driver’s license and signed rental agreement required with each reservation. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and cash payments accepted.

Visit Visit for more details about the upcoming show!

Shovel Snow Safely With These 12 Tips

The snow has finally arrived! Physicians at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network recommend residents keep heart health in mind and pace themselves when clearing snow from their property throughout the winter.

Here are some facts about shoveling:

Shoveling snow can be hard work. Clearing snow for 15 minutes qualifies as a moderate, physical, daily activity recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General. However, for many sedentary, out-of-shape Americans, shoveling heavy, wet snow for 10 minutes is the equivalent of running on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion. Studies show major snow storms are often associated with increased emergency room visits for everything from muscle aches to heart attacks, and the common denominator is snow shoveling.

The cold temperatures don’t help. Cold air raises blood pressure in people who don’t normally have a blood pressure problem and poses an even greater risk to people with high blood pressure, according to University of Florida researchers.

Wear a hat. In bitter cold temperatures, wearing a warm hat helps keep your body warm because a lot of heat can be lost via the scalp if uncovered in very cold conditions.

Blue Cross physicians offer the following tips to help prevent shoveling snow from becoming a pain in the neck, or result in a more serious condition. If you have any of the following conditions (or a family history), talk to your physician before shoveling snow:

– A history of heart problems, heart disease or previous heart attack
– Previous experience with back problems or asthma
– High blood pressure
– High cholesterol level
– Past history of smoking or are a current smoker
– Lack of daily, dedicated physical activity

For healthy, active individuals, Blue Cross suggests the following snow shoveling guidelines:

– Use the right shovel. Shovels with S-shaped handles and non-stick blade surfaces usually require less effort and minimize chances of back pain that could result from improperly bending or twisting. Remember – pushing or pulling snow out of the way requires less exertion.

– Avoid stimulants (for example, caffeine and nicotine) that can raise your heart rate and restrict blood vessels.

– Avoid shoveling immediately after eating a large meal.

– Before shoveling, warm-up by stretching muscles, especially in the morning. Muscles are less susceptible to injury during physical activity after a warm-up.

– Avoid dehydration by drinking fluids before and during shoveling, but not coffee (see above). Breathing cold air dehydrates the body.

– Dress in layers so you can remove or add outerwear as needed. Wear a scarf or mask and/or goggles, especially in windy or blizzard conditions. Use your scarf around your neck and face to create a “well effect” in order to avoid directly inhaling cold air, which may constrict arteries, decreasing your heart’s oxygen supply.

– Go slow and ease into the work to avoid a sudden load on your heart. An average shovelful of heavy, wet snow weighs 16 to 20 pounds. That means for every 10 minutes of typical shoveling, you’ll be clearing more than 2,000 pounds of the white stuff. To remove snow, bend from the knees, keep your back straight, lift with your legs and carry — don’t throw — it to the side. Try and avoid heavy lifting by pushing or pulling the snow out of the way when possible. Newly fallen snow is usually lighter, so don’t wait to remove it. Remove heavy snow in two stages: First, skim off the top layer, and then remove the bottom. If snow is too heavy to lift, push or pull it out of the way. Take frequent breaks.

– Immediately stop if you feel any sort of pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing in your chest, stomach upset or discomfort in one or both arms or jaw. No one knows your body as well as you. People with a history of any sort of cardiac condition should check with their physician before shoveling snow or avoid doing it.

– If you have a lot to clear, consider hiring a snow removal service.

– Using a snow blower has its own set of rules. First, follow manufacturer safety precautions completely. NEVER attempt to clear a clogged or stuck blade or auger unless power is shut off.

– Avoid wearing anything that easily can get caught in the impeller, such as a long scarf or dangling clothing, laces or ties. Before starting, be sure children and others stand clear to avoid being injured by hidden objects thrown into the air. Just the act of using a snow blower will elevate heart rates, so talk to your doctor if you have a history of heart problems.

– Don’t forget that slip and fall injuries are more common in snow so be careful when walking outside.

– Let someone know when you will be shoveling so that they can help in the event of any unexpected problems that may occur outdoors.

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Car Care: Winter Maintenance Check

Heavy snow can be fun for some, but many drivers dread treacherous winter driving conditions. Being car care aware will help ensure your vehicle is ready for harsh winter weather encountered on the road, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Many drivers overlook auto care this time of year, even with inclement weather in the forecast,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Driving in snow, especially in heavy snowfall or a blizzard, takes patience and preparation. A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse.”

To ensure that your vehicle is ready for winter driving, the Car Care Council recommends that motorists perform a winter maintenance check of areas that have direct impact on winter driving.

– Battery – Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.

– Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.

– Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

– Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.

– Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. In sub-zero driving temperatures, drop oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

– Lights & Wipers – Make sure all exterior and interior lights are working so you can see and be seen. Check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir and replace wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield.

In addition, the council recommends a thorough vehicle inspection by a trusted professional service technician as winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. Drivers should keep their vehicle’s gas tank at least half-full to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

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Jeep pickup confirmed, will be built in Toledo

Finally. In 2011 Jeep CEO Mike Manley said, “It is too late in Wrangler’s product cycle to add a pickup. The 2015 or 2016 time frame makes more sense,” when the next-generation Wrangler is due. A year later, Manley told an Australian outlet that a decision on a Jeep with a bed would come “pretty soon.” Now, The Detroit News reports that the decision has been made, and it’s a “Yes.”A Wrangler-based truck is expected to arrive in 2017, sometime after the launch of the next Wrangler. And it’ll be built in Toledo next to its sibling.

Those desperate for a carry-all Wrangler have been able to buy Mopar’s JK8 conversion kit for the past four years. Frankly, even though the Jeep Gladiator concept (pictured) is now 11 years old and the JT concept is nine years old, we think either one of them could roll off the line in a year and be welcomed with hosannas.

This year’s New York Auto Show will also be the site of the reveal of the compact SUV that will slot in between the Renegade and the Cherokee, built on the Renegade/Fiat 500X platform and replacing both the Compass and Patriot. Derided by many, in the US the two aging CUVs still sell terrifically well – they both hit records here last year. One of them will live on in name, the new SUV to be called either Compass or Patriot; the former name is bigger in international markets, the latter name gets more recognition here. That show is when we’ll also get Fiat Chrysler’s updated five-year plan that will take us through the presumed end of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s tenure at FCA.

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