Archive for November, 2017|Monthly archive page

2018 Wrangler Details…

The Jeep Wrangler was officially unveiled yesterday, with a new lighter-weight body atop a high-strength steel frame, three engine choices – four by 2020 – and a new, optional full-time four wheel drive system that dates back to the old and respected Grand Cherokee WJ.2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

What’s left? Well, there were a few new details and a revelation or two they were still managing to keep from us, despite all the leaks.

Overall aerodynamic efficiency has been increased by 9%. Both headlamps and fog lamps are LEDs (available option).  The windshield can be dropped while the rear-view mirrors stay in place; and the doors have larger windows, it’s not your imagination. That should help in both city and off-road — especially off-road.

The power top can retract the canvas roof all the way, even at speeds up to 60 mph. At least one of what Jeep brand chief Michael Manley called a “catalogue of open air iterations” is a spring-loaded manual soft top, presumably for one-handed ease of use.

The new electro-hydraulic steering systems have a more natural feel, and there is a new steering wheel, according to Manley, who delivered a 20-minute monologue during the unveiling in Los Angeles.

The Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon all have different exterior styling cues, but all have an integrated spoiler at the rear of the roof; all are Trail Rated.  Two new Rubicons were shown off, a yellow one joining the red, along with the dark gray Safari familiar to Allpar readers.

Safety upgrades include the ever-handy rear cross-path detection and many other additions. The Jeep information pages include a screen with five analog gauges, for those who miss having full instrumentation.

The hybrid system includes regenerative braking as part of the mild-hybrid package.  The diesel is coming in 2019, not 2018, and “should deliver over 30 miles per gallon” once it’s rated. Manley said the diesel had to be offered “due to overwhelming consumer demand.”

And for those wondering what FCA is doing about the EV future so many predict is coming, a full plug-in hybrid-electric Jeep Wrangler will be available in 2020 as the fourth engine option.

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As Temperatures Drop, Check Tire Pressure More Often

Now that the weather is beginning to turn colder, you may notice the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light on your dashboard has come on. It is recommended that you check your tire pressure regularly, especially during the winter, to help keep the TPMS light off and your vehicle safe.

It is normal during the colder months of the year for you to get TPMS warnings. Many times you see this warning light in the morning and then as the temperature rises throughout the day the light may turn off. It is still likely that the tires will still be a few PSI under inflated. For this reason it is important to check your tire pressure regularly.

According to the U.S. Tire Manufactures Association, for every 10 degree drop in air temperature, tire pressure decreases one to two pounds per square inch (PSI). An important part of vehicle safety, tire life and gas mileage, is maintaining correct tire pressure for your vehicle and tire specifications.

Incorrect tire pressure can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every one PSI drop in pressure of all four tires and improve fuel efficiency by up to 3.3 percent when the correct tire pressure is maintained.

Your tire pressure should be checked at least monthly with a proper tire pressure gauge. It is important to note that newer cars with tire pressure monitoring systems may not alert you until the tire is significantly under inflated, so in the winter you may want to check more frequently. It is also important to check tire pressure whenever there is a significant weather change, which can occur more often in the winter months.

What to Do in the Event of an Accident

Accidents are always stressful events, no matter how serious the results. With adrenaline pumping through you, it can be difficult to process what exactly happened during the accident and what to do when the dust has settled. As such, it is extremely important to know how to handle the situation before it occurs.

Immediate Actions
While the steps you take generally depend on the severity of damage, the most important thing you can do after an accident is try your best to stay calm. Panic can make a bad situation worse. If need be, take a few deep breaths before assessing the situation. If anyone is seriously hurt, call 911 immediately; this is one of those times when seconds can matter.

Even if no one is injured, call the police – especially if there is significant damage to the vehicles. In some states they aren’t required to attend a non-injury accident, but police can help mediate the situation and control traffic if the vehicles are unsafe to move.
If, like 70 percent of accidents, no one is injured, you can consider moving all cars involved to a safe area away from traffic. If the cars cannot be moved, it is advisable to turn on your hazard lights and set up marking flares, cones or a reflective triangle. Keeping other drivers aware of the situation is important for the safety of everyone involved.
You’ll want to exchange information with the other driver at this point, so grab your license and insurance card. The more information you get from them, the better, including their name, phone number, address, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number and license plate number. If the owner of the car was not driving, get information for the owner as well as the person who was behind the wheel.
Write down the year, make, model and VIN number of the other car and, if you’re feeling up to it, try to jot down any details of the crash itself – your speed, the direction the cars involved were traveling, that sort of information. The insurance company will want to know as much as possible and it’s best to record the details when they are fresh in your mind.
Having a camera is also helpful. In many cases, the closest camera is on your cell phone, but if your phone doesn’t have one or takes poor pictures, keep a disposable camera in your glove box. Taking pictures of the accident site, damage and even insurance information will help process the insurance claim. If there were any witnesses around, get their contact information and a recorded statement.
Accident Report and Insurance Claim
If a police officer is on the scene, he will write up an official accident report for you. If not, you’ll need to file an accident report on your own. If you’ve taken the pictures and grabbed all the information you can, this should be a straightforward process. Make sure that you file it within a few days since many states have limits as to how long you can wait before reporting an accident. You can find the form at the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.
Also on the to-do list is filing the much-dreaded insurance claim. Needless to say, the sooner you report the accident, the faster the whole process will be finished. Be truthful and as detailed about the accident as possible. It also helps to know the extent of your car insurance coverage before getting into an accident in the first place, so you’re not blindsided by the repair estimates.
Automobile accidents are an unfortunate but are also a nearly inevitable part of driving a car, and they generally add more stress to your already busy life. Being prepared for the worst can make the process easier, ensuring that you get back to the things that matter as quickly as you can.
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Seeing is Believing When it Comes to Road Safety

It’s no secret that properly functioning vehicle lights, wipers and mirrors allow for better visibility while driving, yet these items are often forgotten or ignored when performing basic auto care, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Making sure that you can see and be seen on the road is essential to avoiding motor vehicle accidents, yet many motorists overlook simple maintenance steps that can improve driving visibility,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “For example, community car care events held throughout the country reveal that nearly one in three vehicles inspected had insufficient wiper fluid. This simple auto care service can make a world of difference on the road.”

Following a few auto care visibility tips can be illuminating, helping to ensure the safety of you, your passengers and other vehicles around you.

  • Replace any exterior or interior lights that are dimming, rapidly blinking or non-functioning, and be sure headlights are correctly aimed.
  • Make sure that vehicle mirrors are clean and properly positioned.
  • Check windshield washer fluid level and when it gets low, replace it.
  • Replace wiper blades if they show cracking or if they chatter or streak when operating. Don’t forget to check the rear wiper blade.
  • When in doubt, turn your lights on to help you see and help other drivers see you. Some states have laws that require headlights to be on when windshield wipers are operating.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights. Maintain a speed that will allow you to stop within the illuminated area, otherwise you create a blind crash zone in front of your vehicle.

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

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Be Car Care Aware Before Your Holiday Road Trip

The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about your vehicle making it over the river and through the woods in time for dinner at grandma’s house. The Car Care Council recommends that before hitting the road for the holidays, you take a little time to have your vehicle thoroughly inspected to make sure it is road ready.

“The last thing anyone wants during the holiday season is to break down miles from home in the middle of nowhere,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It’s always a wise idea to have your vehicle checked out before you leave home to identify any potential problems that can be serviced before your holiday journey.”

The non-profit Car Care Council suggests a pre-trip check of the following items on your vehicle to help ensure a safe holiday road trip: tires and tire pressure, brakes, hoses and belts, air filters, wipers, exterior and interior lighting, and fluid levels, including engine oil, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

“A pre-trip inspection will not only make sure your vehicle is running right, but it will also help make the trip a lot less stressful,” continued White. “Whether you do it yourself or visit a trusted neighborhood technician, being car care aware before you leave home will help you relax and enjoy the ride to your holiday destination without the worry of unexpected, costly car trouble.”

As a precaution, the Car Care Council recommends that drivers keep important telephone numbers in their cell phone or glove box in case of a travel emergency. Vehicles should have a roadside emergency kit that includes items such as a first aid kit, tire-changing jack, tire pressure gauge, jumper cables, flashlight and blankets. A copy of the council’s 80-page Car Care Guide should be kept in the glove box as a reference and can be ordered free-of-charge at

Check out our list of shareable fall car care tips.

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

Motorcycle Safety


Motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 fatal crash data. To keep motorcyclists safe, we urge everyone to share the road and be alert, and we’re reminding motorcyclists to make themselves visible, to use DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets, and to always ride sober.


Share the Road

Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. But it’s especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists such as size and visibility, and motorcycle riding practices like downshifting and weaving to know how to anticipate and respond to them. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road.

The Topic

Cycle Safety

If you ride a motorcycle, you already know how much fun riding can be. You understand the exhilaration of cruising the open road and the challenge of controlling a motorcycle. But motorcycling also can be dangerous. The latest vehicle mile travel data show motorcyclists are about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 6 times as likely to be injured. Safe motorcycling takes balance, coordination, and good judgment. Here are some ways to ensure that you’ll be around to enjoy riding your motorcycle for many years to come.

The Topic

Road Ready

Make Sure You Are Properly Licensed

Driving a car and riding a motorcycle require different skills and knowledge. Although motorcycle-licensing regulations vary, all States require a motorcycle license endorsement to supplement your automobile driver’s license. To receive the proper endorsement in most states, you’ll need to pass written and on-cycle skills tests administered by your State’s licensing agency.

Some States require you to take a State-sponsored rider education course. Others waive the on-cycle skills test if you’ve already taken and passed a State-approved course. Either way, completing a motorcycle rider education course is a good way to ensure you have the correct instruction and experience it takes to ride a motorcycle. For the motorcycle rider-training course nearest you, call the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at (800) 446-9227.

Practice Operating Your Motorcycle

Given the fact that motorcycles vary in handling and responsiveness, be sure to take the time to get accustomed to the feel of a new or unfamiliar motorcycle by riding it in a controlled area. Once you feel comfortable with your bike, you can take it into traffic. Make sure you know how to handle your motorcycle in a variety of conditions (e.g., inclement weather or encountering hazards such as slick roads, potholes, and road debris). If you plan to carry cargo or a passenger, be prepared to make adjustments to the tires, suspension, and placement of the load.

Be Sure Your Motorcycle is Safe

Before every ride, you should check the tire pressure and tread depth, hand and foot brakes, headlights and signal indicators, and fluid levels. You should also check under the motorcycle for signs of oil or gas leaks. If you’re carrying cargo, you should secure and balance the load on the cycle; and adjust the suspension and tire pressure to accommodate the extra weight.

If you’re carrying a passenger, he or she should mount the motorcycle only after the engine has started; should sit as far forward as possible, directly behind you; and should keep both feet on the foot rests at all times, even when the motorcycle is stopped. Remind your passenger to keep his or her legs and feet away from the muffler. Tell your passenger to hold on firmly to your waist, hips, or belt; keep movement to a minimum; and lean at the same time and in the same direction as you do. Do not let your passenger dismount the motorcycle until you say it is safe.

The Topic

On the Road

Wear the Proper Protection

If you’re ever in a serious motorcycle crash, the best hope you have for protecting your brain is a motorcycle helmet. Always wear a helmet meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. That is the manufacturer’s way of certifying the helmet meets the DOT standard. A certified helmet also will have a permanent inside label identifying the manufacturer and providing information about the care and use of the helmet. Helmets meeting FMVSS 218 weigh around three pounds; have a thick polystyrene-foam lining; and sturdy chinstraps. ANSI or Snell labels are voluntary indicators of helmet quality. Don’t leave your helmet behind on short trips because it could be a deadly mistake. Some motorcycle helmets, in addition to offering protection to your head in a crash, include plastic face shields that offer protection from wind, rain, insects, dust, and stones thrown up from cars. If your helmet doesn’t have a face shield, be sure you wear goggles because eyeglasses won’t keep your eyes from watering, and can easily fall off.

Arms and legs should be completely covered when riding a motorcycle, ideally by wearing leather or heavy denim. In addition to providing protection in a crash, protective gear also helps prevent dehydration. Boots or shoes should be high enough to cover your ankles, while gloves allow for a better grip and help protect your hands in the event of a crash. Wearing brightly colored clothing with reflective material will make you more visible to other vehicle drivers.

Ride Responsibly

Experienced riders know local traffic laws – and they don’t take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes. Remember to ride defensively. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally are caused when other drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. Proceed cautiously at intersections and yield to pedestrians and other vehicles as appropriate. You can increase your visibility by applying reflective materials to your motorcycle and by keeping your motorcycle’s headlights on at all times, even using high beams during the day.

Be Alcohol and Drug Free

Alcohol and drugs, including some prescribed medications, negatively affect your judgment, coordination, balance, throttle control, and ability to shift gears. These substances also impair your alertness and reduce your reaction time. Even when you’re fully alert, it’s impossible to predict what other vehicles or pedestrians are going to do. Therefore, make sure you are alcohol and drug free when you get on your motorcycle. Otherwise, you’ll be heading for trouble.

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Can All-Season Tires Really Handle the Snow?

The question comes up year as the snow starts to fall: Should you put winter tires on your car, or are all-seasons fine? We drove up to Northern Minnesota to get some hard, cold data.

Back in 1977, Goodyear introduced the Tiempo, the first tire dubbed all-season. The idea was simple and alluring: Instead of dealing with the hassle of switching between snow and summer tires as the seasons change, drivers could use one tire all the time. Sales skyrocketed and other companies quickly followed suit. These days nearly all vehicles sold in the United States are fitted with all-season tires from the factory, and 97.5 percent of replacement-tire sales are the same. But is that such a good idea? Actually, no. It turns out that all-season tires are fine in warmer months, but in the snow, they lack traction compared with dedicated snow tires. And that means that the millions of drivers who make do with all-season tires in the winter months are driving cars that aren’t as safe as those shod with tires designed for icy conditions.

We know because we traveled to northern Minnesota, home of some of the nation’s harshest conditions, to test the claim of the all-season tire. And since all-wheel drive is rapidly becoming a common option, we also tested the notion that the feature is a suitable substitute for snow tires. Our assumption was that, while AWD improves some aspects of winter performance, it doesn’t help a car turn or stop, and the added weight of the mechanical bits can actually be a disadvantage. Common sense and physics suggested this to be true, but nothing proves a point like data. And the best way to gather data on winter-tire performance is to find yourself an icy, snowy proving ground.


There’s something foreboding about traveling to a place so cold it’s called the Ice Box, but Baudette, Minn., was the perfect place to run our experiments. The sprawling Automotive Enviro Testing facility there specializes in frigid-weather testing for many large auto manufacturers. With a five-month winter season, the facility can maintain enormous snow and ice surfaces kept within strict tolerances by GPS-controlled tractors towing custom-built ice- and snow-grooming systems—basically the world’s largest Zambonis.

To set a level playing field, we brought along two nearly identical four-cylinder 2011 Chevy Equinoxes—one optioned with front-wheel drive, the other with AWD. We ran both through a series of tests to measure acceleration, braking, hill-climb and turning ability. The cars were first outfitted with Goodyear all-season tires, then we ran the tests again with Goodyear snow tires. We ran each test numerous times and then averaged the results. To minimize the variables, the same driver performed all the tests, and the traction- and stability-control systems were left on. Data collection was completed with the industry standard VBOX—a GPS and accelerometer-based data logger.


In a contest between all-season and winter tires driven on snow and ice, the latter won the day. Although the year-round rubber performed admirably, it’s clear in all situations that with either FWD or AWD there’s a substantial advantage to having proper rubber under you. The results were especially striking during braking and cornering, when snow tires improved performance by up to 5 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Buying and living with winter tires isn’t that much of an inconvenience, but there are some guidelines you should follow:

If you live anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, it’s probably worthwhile to invest in winter tires.

Make sure you buy four tires; skimping and putting winter tires only on the drive end of the car will result in unpredictable handling and could be dangerous.

If you’d rather not remount your tires each season, pick up a separate set of inexpensive steel wheels for permanent winter-tire duty. (This also keeps expensive alloy wheels from getting damaged in harsh, salty winter conditions.)

Swap to winter tires around Thanksgiving and back to all-season or summer tires around Easter—winter tires’ softer rubber compounds wear quickly in warmer temperatures.

Store off-season tires in a cool, dry area out of the sun, and consider wrapping them in black plastic bags to reduce oxidation.

Keep in mind that having two sets of tires isn’t doubling the expense, it’s halving the wear. You’ll have twice the number of tires but buy new ones half as often.

Remember, fancy new tires or not, the standard winter driving advice still applies: Slow down, double your following distances, anticipate traffic changes ahead, and give yourself extra time to get where you’re going. Good luck out there!

Rather Dashing: Jeep Teases 2018 Wrangler JL’s Interior

After last week’s surprise reveal of new-Wrangler images during the SEMA show, as well as the introduction of a passel of accessory parts for the next generation of America’s beloved go-anywhere runabout, Jeep seems to have committed itself to a continued trickle of details leading up to the JL Wrangler’s Los Angeles auto show reveal later this month.

2018 Jeep JL Wrangler Rubicon Interior

From the two supplied photographs of a red Rubicon’s passenger-carrying innards, the new Jeep’s interior seems to be an aesthetic improvement over the current version’s Playskool-for-grown-ups cabin, featuring a dash panel color matched to the body. The new unit seems more retro—in a good way—and better suited to the Wrangler’s overall vibe of utility and fun. The vents look less fussy than the previous model’s, and the splash of color goes miles toward rectifying the unpleasant austerity of the outgoing trucklet. The color screen mounted between the tach and speedo also brings a dash of visual life to the proceedings.


Also of note is the six-speed manual’s shifter, which appears to feature a reverse-lockout collar that’s either anodized red or color matched to the dash and exterior. In short, the rethought dash provides a much-needed revision to a cabin that failed to echo the previous vehicle’s classic and friendly nature.


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How to Avoid Driving While Drowsy

Dozing off while driving is never a good option. Here’s how to stay alert at the wheel.

Driving while sleepy can be deadly. In fact, sleepy drivers have symptoms similar to drunken drivers: drowsiness slows your reaction time, impairs your judgment and decreases awareness. A new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that in a 24-hour period, drivers who miss one to two hours of the expert-recommended seven hours of sleep nearly double their risk for a crash. Drivers who sleep slightly less—between four and five hours—have the same risk of crashing that is associated with driving over the legal limit for alcohol. More than 6,400 people die each year in crashes involving drowsy drivers, according to a study by the AAA Foundation.

Here, some tips on how to avoid drowsy driving:

  1. Get plenty of rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. If you’ve not had enough sleep, try taking a short nap before you start driving.
  2. Use the buddy system. If you’re taking a road trip, ask someone to travel with you. This way, you can give each other driving breaks every few hours.
  3. Avoid driving at night after you’ve worked all day. You’re most likely already tired from an eight-hour day, and driving in the dark requires more concentration. Vehicle death rates at night are three times higher than during the day, according to the National Safety Council.
  4. Be mindful of symptoms of sleepiness. Some symptoms include having trouble keeping your eyes open and focused, daydreaming, drifting from your lane or off the road, yawning frequently, feeling irritable and restless, and not remembering how far you’ve traveled or what you have recently passed.
  5. Don’t drink any alcohol. You should never drink and drive. Even small amounts of alcohol will enhance drowsiness.

Three Ps of Auto Care: Preventative, Proactive, Prepared

In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the non-profit Car Care Council reminds motorists of the importance of the three Ps of auto care to make sure their vehicle is ready for the unexpected.

1. Preventative – Reduce the chance of unplanned, costly car trouble by following a vehicle service schedule and performing routine maintenance. The Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder serviceis a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle.

2. Proactive: If you find your vehicle needs repairs, be sure to address them in a timely manner to avoid more extensive work down the road. Before traveling longer distances, perform a pre-trip inspection before your journey begins so you have an opportunity to have any repairs made by a trusted technician before hitting the road.

3. Prepared: Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case an unexpected situation arises. The kit should include jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets. Be sure your cell phone is fully charged and order a free copy of the Car Care Council’s Car Care Guide for your glove box.

“Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms. Being car care aware and taking proactive steps in advance will help ensure that your vehicle is in proper working order so you will be better prepared if you encounter a problem while on the road,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

To learn about the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program and how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, visit

Being prepared for a disaster also means getting your car ready to go at a moment”s notice and restocking an emergency kit for the unexpected.  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