Archive for March, 2017|Monthly archive page

The First Thing You Need To Say When Calling 911 From Your Cell Phone

When you’re in an emergency situation, the first thing you do, of course, is call 911. But, it’s often hard to remain calm and think straight in the middle of an emergency. While it is important to explain the situation and say who you are, it’s even more important to first tell the dispatcher where you are.

It may seem like in 2017, when GPS is integrated into every device we come in contact with, that 911 dispatchers should be able to figure where we are—whether or not we actually tell them. But, that is not the case. According to the FCC, 911 calls from mobile phones pose unique challenges.

First, because cell phones are mobile, they are not associated with an exact location or address, like a landline phone would be. The location of the cell site closest to the caller can give the operator a general idea of where you’re calling from, but it’s not specific enough to send help quickly.

Second, cell phones can drop calls and there have even been cases where subscribers of certain cell services were simply unable to call 911. It happened with AT&T earlier this year and Verizon Wireless in 2015.

In a situation where your call was dropped or the 911 service became unavailable, if the dispatchers heard your location before the drop, they would likely still able to send help.

After telling the dispatcher your exact location, give them your phone number. Telling them your number will ensure that if your call were to drop or if, in the haze that is an emergency situation, you accidentally hang up the phone, the dispatcher can call you back.

Once your location and phone number is established, tell the dispatcher your name and explain the situation.

Remaining calm is important, as it helps the dispatcher understand what is happening, so he or she can send the correct help as quickly as possible.

Providing all of the relevant details in an emergency situation can be quite difficult, but if you can at least remember what to say first, it could literally mean the difference between life and death.

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Will Trackhawk make 700 hp?

Even before the first Hellcat-equipped Dodge Challenger was shown to the public, there has been speculation on what a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a Hellcat would be like.

(Grand Cherokee SRT shown.) At first, we were told that the Trackhawk might not even be produced, because the Grand Cherokee is an upscale car and the engine was just too noisy; but the Hellcat is quieter than it was when in development trim, and that’s no longer a major issue. Nor is the supply of key parts.

At first, we assumed that the engine was have to be downrated rather dramatically to make all wheel drive possible. How tough can you make the transfer case and still have it fit under the car? We speculated that it would end up at around 640 horsepower, based on the capacity of existing components from various parts makers.

Now, though, reliable sources have posted that the system will make a full 700 horsepower. That means either they’ve found tougher transfer cases (and other parts) that still fit in the Grand Cherokee and aren’t far too pricey; or that they’ve gone the “heavy-handed torque management” route.

Keep in mind, though, that the official rated horsepower might be lower, e.g. 680. That 700 might be an estimate, or a “roughly,” or even gross power (before accessories). Regardless, as we’ve said before, even the low-end estimate we originally had — 640 hp — would be far, far above the current, highly regarded 6.4 horsepower Grand Cherokee’s power.

There’s little sure information about the Hellcat Trackhawk for the moment. We are fairly sure that it will debut in New York City, taking its place alongside the Demon for the most powerful launch in automotive history; but we’ve seen nothing concrete yet.

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Ram Longhorn to match trailers

Just ahead of the Dallas Auto Show, Ram announced a new “RV Match Brown” two-tone contrast color, replacing White Gold. The new color will be used on the lower body, wheel flares, painted bumpers, and running boards, with a bright chrome grille and contrasting tow hooks.


The winner of the “Luxury Truck of Texas” title is available in 1500, 2500, and 3500 forms. The latter has over 30,000 pounds of towing ability, which is why RV Match Brown was chosen — to closely match a shade frequently used on recreational travel trailers.

The Texas-influenced truck shows off its status with a chrome metal Laramie Longhorn badge with painted accents on the tailgate, and capacity-­specific badges on the doors.

The two-tone Ram 1500 Longhorns have 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with brown pockets; monochromatic versions have silver wheels. Ram 2500 and 3500 are similar (with single rear wheels), except that they have 18-inch wheels with 20-inchers being optional; and, finally, the Ram 3500 duallies have polished silver wheels.

RV Match Brown can be paired with Black Forest Green, Bright Silver, Bright White, Brilliant Black Crystal, Delmonico Red, Maximum Steel, Pearl White, and True Blue. Ram Laramies are also sold with an optional Bright Silver two­tone contrast and “non two tone” paint schemes.

The 2017 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 Longhorn have a new front­-end look, including a bright chrome billet port grille with chrome belt moldings. The 2017 Ram 1500 Longhorn models also gained standard Keyless Go, SmartBeam headlights, and rain­-sensing wipers. The heavy duty versions have a standard 6.4 Hemi V8; and the heavy duty 4x4s have Bilstein monotube shocks.

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10 bad driving habits that damage your car

You know how important regular oil changes, tire rotations, and changing drive belts are for keeping a car running smoothly and reliably for many years. Perhaps you have a calendar for taking care of routine maintenance tasks, but the way you drive on a daily basis has a significant impact on the longevity of your car and its components. Even experienced drivers have habits that cause unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicle. Left unchecked, these habits can lead to costly repairs or replacements that could otherwise be avoided.

These are 10 common bad driving habits that can cause major damage to your car:

Resting Your Hand on the Shifter: Unless you’re actively changing gears, there’s no reason to touch the shifter. Resting your hand on the shifter places weight on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizers, causing internal wear. Keeping both hands on the steering wheel, and only taking one off to switch gears, is the best idea.

Not Using the Parking Brake: Neglecting to use the parking brake forces the entire weight of your vehicle to rest on the parking pawl, which is one little piece of metal within the transmission. Doing this could cause the parking pawl to eventually wear out and break, making “P” on your shifter effectively useless. Use the parking brake every time – there’s really no reason not to.

Hauling Unneeded Weight: You may not drive a Lotus, but the phrase “simplify, and add lightness” applies to every car. We’re not advocating stripping out sound deadening or removing the back seats, but you should clear out unneeded cargo from your car. Every pound of extra weight impacts fuel economy and handling, plus causes extra stress on suspension, brake, and drivetrain components. Give your interior and trunk a thorough clean so you’re only carrying the essentials.

Only Keeping a Small Amount of Fuel in the Tank: Sometimes the cost of a full tank of gas doesn’t fit into your budget, so you only add a gallon or two at a time. Most drivers don’t know that this can lead to costly repairs further down the road. Modern fuel pumps are cooled by being submerged in fuel, so driving with only a small amount of fuel causes it to heat up and wear out more quickly. Keeping your gas tank at least a quarter full helps prevent this.

Hard Starts and Stops: This one’s a no-brainer. Mashing on the gas can be fun, but uses significantly more fuel than gradually applying throttle. Sudden stops are sometimes necessary, but cause faster wear to the brake pads and rotors. Looking ahead, planning ahead, and pressing on the pedals smoothly is the best strategy.

Revving the Engine When It’s Cold: It’s not a bad idea to let the engine idle for a minute or two after a cold start. This helps it warm up and gives the oil some time to circulate. However, you should resist the urge to rev the engine when it’s cold. Sure, the exhaust sounds great, but revving it when it’s cold causes abrupt temperature changes that can damage components. It also causes undue wear on parts of the engine that haven’t been lubricated by thorough oil circulation. Your engine will sound better, and rev more smoothly, once it’s had a chance to warm up.

Riding the Clutch: You’re at a stop light in your manual transmission car. You’re pressing on the clutch, ready to drop it as soon as the light turns green. All that time spent waiting with the clutch in damages the pressure plate, release bearing, and release arm. Riding the clutch causes its surfaces graze against each other, wearing them down and opening the possibility for sudden failure. It’s better to be stopped with the clutch out and shifter in neutral, only pressing the clutch and engaging gear when the light turns green.

Switching From Reverse to Drive Before Stopping Completely: When you’re trying to fit into a tight parking spot, it’s common to shift from reverse to drive while still slowly rolling backwards. This habit should be avoided at all costs. Doing so places strain on the drivetrain when it’s suddenly forced to move in the opposite direction. Simply take that extra moment to make sure you’re completely stopped before switching from reverse to drive.

Dragging the Brakes Downhill: Driving down a steep hill can be daunting, so you rest your foot on the brake pedal to be ready to slow down at a moment’s notice. This causes strain and heat to build up in the brake system, wearing out components like brake pads and rotors. Instead, you should shift into a lower gear when you’re driving downhill. This will cause engine braking, which helps slow the car down through natural drivetrain decompression. You’ll find that engine braking can be as effective as regular braking in maintaining your downhill speed.

Ignoring Warning Signs: It’s easy to ignore those little squeaks, intermittent rattles, or other unusual noises your car makes. Those sounds are warning signs that something’s wearing out or about to go wrong. Don’t wait to find out the cause of the noise, or it may make itself abundantly clear at the worst possible time. If your car is making strange sounds or giving you other warning signs, it’s important to inspect the issue right away.

Bad habits can be hard to break, especially for seasoned drivers. Regardless of how much time you have behind the wheel, you care about taking care of your car and not wasting money on unneeded repairs. If you catch yourself doing any of these bad habits, thinking about the money you could save might motivate you to break them.

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5 Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Car

From potholes and road salt to ice and snow, winter weather puts stress on cars. Check out these spring auto maintenance tips.

Winter can be brutal on your car. In many areas of the country, drivers face snow storms, below-zero temperatures and pot holes – conditions not conducive for healthy cars.

Mechanics say spring is a good time to wash away the winter sludge and tune up your ride.

Here are five spring car maintenance tips to keep in mind:

1. Remove leftover salt

Salt, used on roads to melt ice and snow, can cause serious damage to cars, especially their undercarriages where metal can rust. Take your car to a highly rated car wash to eliminate salt, and check that the business has sprayers that clean the undercarriage.

2. Check alignment and suspension

Driving over potholes can damage your car’s alignment and suspension, says Scott McClure, owner of highly rated Westerville Automotive in Ohio. You might have a problem if you notice that the car pulls to one side or the steering wheel vibrates as you drive. An alignment check typically costs $25 to $40.

3. Change oil and check fluids

“If your last oil change was before winter, then this is a great time to do it,” says McClure. He adds that spring is also an ideal time to flush your transmission fluid. “It’s one of the most neglected services,” he says. “It’s a very costly repair – between $2,200 and $4,200 – if you have to rebuild or repair (a transmission).”

Mechanics recommend changing your car’s oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

Don’t forget to check window washing fluid levels, as well as your brake and cooling system fluids.

4. Rotate tires and check air pressure

“You should check the tire pressure, including the spare should you ever need it,” says Leann Kinney, owner of highly rated Jeff’s Auto Service in Hopkins, Minnesota. “You car’s tires affect the ride, handling, traction and safety.”

Mechanics recommend tire rotation every 5,000 miles to keep tread wear even.

“One of the biggest issues we see is the front tires wearing out prematurely,” McClure says. “That can lead to handling issues. Tires aren’t cheap. They can go from $500-$600 for four new ones.”

5. Inspect brakes

Nothing, perhaps, is more important than having brakes that function properly. Have a technician check the pads and rotors to ensure there are no safety issues. Neglecting them can lead to a costlier repair down the line.

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The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Sounds So Nuts You Might Think It’s Broken

Say what you will about Dodge’s lineup, but they know how to make cars that look mean and sound meaner. As expected the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will have a gnarly rumble which you can download as a ringtone because apparently, this is 2004.

In the latest video installment of, WILL YOU JUST SHOW US THE DAMN CAR ALREADY, Dodge debuts the Demon’s signature sound, but it seems even they aren’t so sure about it,

“This week’s release couldn’t be more fitting of Dodge’s “If you know, you know” tagline, because “if you know” you will hear extreme performance, but those who don’t will think something is wrong with the engine.”

The unique sound is the result of the Demon’s advanced torque reserve launch system, which Dodge says is the first ever on a production car. Basically, the system allows more airflow into the engine which increases the supercharger RPM, but it doesn’t overwhelm the brakes with excessive torque.

The torque reserve system activates in Launch Mode when the motor is above 1000 RPM and does two main things:

It closes the bypass valve on the supercharger, “prefilling” the supercharger
It manages fuel flow to cylinders and changes spark timing. To balance engine rpm and torque, the Challenger SRT Demon’s powertrain controller will briefly cut fuel flow to selected cylinders. This creates the noticeable change in the exhaust tone. The controller also advances or retards the ignition timing to fine-tune the engine rpm/torque balance

In essence, the boost build up allows for quicker launches without sacrificing traction. And of course, there are more clues because, “Remember, nothing is a coincidence and everything means something.”

This latest clue is actually quite simple to solve. As our own Jason Torchinsky figured out, the Demon will get 3.9 MPG, leading to an extra $221 per week to commute on the 405 in Los Angeles.

Easy peasy. Next clue, Dodge?

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“Scat Pack Looks” (updated)

March 2017, buyers of the Charger R/T or R/T Plus that opt for the Super Track Pak option group will also get “Scat Pack Looks” with new SRT appearance items; some are also on the Charger R/T Max.

The Super Track Pak option group has been popular with enthusiasts; it adds, among other things, performance tires, a 3.07 rear-end gear ratio, and three-mode stability control. Now, the Super Track Pak will also have an SRT hood, Mopar cold air intake, SRT door sills, and SRT rear fascia with exhaust tips.

2017 Dodge Charger R/T Super Track Pack

The package sales code is AWD (not to be confused with all wheel drive), lists for $1,205. It includes, in addition to the 3.07 ratio, Performance Pages, and three-mode stability control:

245/45Z20 performance tires
Performance brakes and suspension
Functional hood scoop and black grille with body-color fascias
Lower body-color cladding
Mopar cold air intake
Rear parking assist
Projector fog lamps
“Performance steering wheel”

The Charger R/T Max (code 2DS) comes with the performance brakes, suspension, and steering wheel, and the P245/45Z20 tires. The Super Track Pack is not available on the R/T Max.

Speculation – Could a package like this be coming to the Durango R/T in 2018 to differentiate its looks from the Durango GT? We have seen a mule like this here on Allpar, but only time will tell.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler Spied with Rumored ‘True Three-Piece Hardtop’

The new Jeep Wrangler is rumored to have multiple roof options.

Spy photographers have caught a four-door Jeep Wrangler prototype testing what appears to be the rumored “true three-piece hardtop,” which would allow for the removal of the front two or all roof panels while keeping some pillars in place. There’s also the idea that the entire roof could be removed with the configuration.


Other roof options expected to head to the 2018 Jeep Wrangler include a hard glass roof, retractable fabric roof and the possible removal of the basic folding soft top.

The next-generation SUV is expected to get lighter with Jeep using some aluminum, but the body will still mostly be constructed from steel. Rumor has it that a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, called Hurricane, will be added to the Wrangler lineup as a more fuel-efficient engine. The popular Pentastar V6 engine will live on paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, while a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine could head to the U.S. There’s even the possibility of a hybrid powertrain being added to the lineup.

Look for more details later this year, as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler should debut in the coming months.

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The legendary off-road icon is getting even more capability to tackle the most demanding trails — introducing the new 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition.

Designed for improved off-road prowess with an upgraded front axle, enhanced rock rails and heavy-duty cast differential covers, the new 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition is equipped with even more protection for die-hard 4×4 enthusiasts who seek the most severe, rugged terrain. The new 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition also looks every part of a four-wheel-drive icon, with new exterior and interior enhancements and unique color options.

Performance Upgrades

Based on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition ups the off-road ante with a front axle upgrade that features strengthened tubes and heavy-duty end forgings, heavy-duty cast front and rear differential covers and enhanced off-road rock rails that are shortened to accommodate up to 35-inch tires.

Distinctive Design

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition is one dominant 4×4 vehicle, and it comes complete with a toughened exterior appearance to match. A Low Gloss Black grille with Low Gloss Granite Crystal inserts and headlamp rings, Low Gloss Black off-road bumpers and Jeep badge with a red base add aggressive style. In addition, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition includes a distinctive half-inch lift, new 17-inch Low Gloss Granite Crystal-painted aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch BF Goodrich KM off-road tires, optional body-color fender flares and a dual-vented Power Dome hood with a black-silhouette “Rubicon” decal on both sides. Finally, the winch-capable steel front bumper is equipped with removable end caps for climbing obstacles, while unique red tow hooks complete the rugged appearance.

Color Options

Covering the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition in mud is fun, sure. But you may want to wash it off occasionally to reveal one of seven available colors on the four-wheel-drive icon: Black, Bright White, Billet Silver, Firecracker Red, Gobi, Rhino and Granite Crystal.

Interior Highlights

Inside, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition comes with the bold style and design of black leather-trimmed heated front seats with red accent stitching and a “Rubicon” embroidered logo, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Recon theme continues with black vinyl-wrapped front door armrests and console lid with black stitching, red accent netting on front and rear door pockets and the center console, and red accent-colored seatbelts. The passenger grab handle features Midnight Star Black accents that are also found on the vent rings, steering wheel spokes and door pulls. A unique gauge cluster features exclusive Recon styling.

Final Touches

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition is rounded out with details and touches like all-weather slush mats with a red accent “Jeep” logo and red-accented axle locker and sway-bar disconnect switches. The Jeep Connectivity Group, Power Convenience Group, remote start* and automatic temperature control are also standard.

Ready to take the trail? To learn more about the new 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon Edition, visit

Recognizing the Signs of Vehicle Engine Damage

It’s not always easy to recognize when your vehicle is suffering from engine damage as symptoms can be overlooked and seen as “normal.” While not all sounds and smells may threaten the life of your engine, there are some obvious warning signs that require a vehicle inspection right away, according to the Car Care Council.

“Early diagnosis of engine damage can most likely be treated, but it is important to be aware of potentially damaging symptoms and have the vehicle inspected if something doesn’t seem right,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “By acting quickly and making necessary repairs as soon as possible, you could be saving yourself from the cost and hassle of breaking down along the road.”

One of the signs of engine trouble is an illuminated check engine light. This light indicates that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally. Ignoring the check engine light can negatively impact your fuel economy or cause damage resulting in more costly repairs.

Many motorists are familiar with the noises their vehicles make on a daily basis. However, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem, including a high-pitched squeal, grinding or thumping. Sounds under the hood, such as hissing, can also indicate that your vehicle is in need of attention.

Although all cars burn fossil fuels that create undesired emissions, these odors should remain outside of the car. Unusual smells that could signal engine damage include: burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, sweet smell of syrup, burning carpet and rotten eggs. When you smell any peculiar odor, you should not ignore it.

Another symptom of engine damage is excessive amounts of smoke or steam. Although some smoke is normal, excessive amounts of dark smoke in particular indicates that oil is leaking into the combustion chamber and is being burned along with the gasoline.

To help you stay on track with essential auto care intervals, sign up for the Car Care Council free custom service schedule.

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 the latest car care news, visit the council’s online media room at To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at