Archive for April, 2018|Monthly archive page

Do you text and drive? Your car insurance may go up

If you text and drive, it could cost you.

Arity, a unit of insurance giant Allstate, is tracking in-car smartphone use so that insurance companies can either punish or reward drivers, depending on how they use their phone while driving.

 The technology works by using the smartphone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to sense whether the device is being moved — likely in a driver’s hand — or lying flat on a surface. Arity can also tell whether the phone is unlocked and apps are being used.

Allstate(ALL) may soon use the technology to determine consumers’ car insurance rates. In a statement, it described the technology as a way to promote safe driving.

Arity analyzed data from 160 million trips by hundreds of thousands of Allstate drivers. What it found confirmed research showing that drivers on their phones are more dangerous.

Arity then went a step farther and used Allstate claims data to see how expensive distracted driving is. It says it found that the most distracted drivers cost insurance companies 160% more than the least distracted drivers.

Drivers using smartphones are more likely to get into accidents, and these crashes tend to be more severe. Paying out claims for these crashes racks up big costs for insurance companies.

“We believe that people are coachable and that by driving less aggressively, using the phone less, there are opportunities to not only give a more accurate insurance price based on choices, but to give drivers more control,” Arity CEO Gary Hallgren told CNN Tech.

He sees the company’s new smartphone-tracking method as more accurate than basing a person’s prices off their credit score, a common industry practice.

distracted driving phone

Hallgren expects smartphone data to become commonly used by car insurers in the coming years. Insurance companies who don’t use this data risk losing their best drivers to other companies that offer discounts related to rates of distracted driving, Hallgren said.

But before this becomes a reality, Arity will need regulatory approval from state insurance offices. And car insurance companies such as Allstate won’t be able to use the technology without drivers agreeing to it. Arity requires drivers to download an app so that it can track how a phone is being used while driving.

For concerned drivers, there are ways to minimize the likelihood that Arity will think you’re distracted.

Katie DeGraaf, Arity’s director of product, advises drivers to put their phones in airplane mode while behind the wheel.

If a navigation app must be used, she suggests setting it before departing, and not touching it during the trip. Arity’s software is less likely to identify a driver as distracted if the phone is mounted in a cradle, instead of being held in a driver’s hand.

Read more at: http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/24/technology/texting-and-driving-distracted/index.html

JK vs JL Wrangler

After years of patiently waiting, the Jeep community can finally celebrate the release of the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler! With so much anticipation surrounding its arrival, the fourth-generation JL Wrangler has not disappointed Jeep fans yet. In fact, it’s done the complete opposite. Many Jeep enthusiasts were worried that Jeep would cut corners or stray away from the typical Wrangler aesthetic that so many have come to know and love. Instead, Jeep released a new and improved Wrangler that still maintains that classic Jeep vibe. When comparing the JK vs JL Wrangler, it’s clear to see that Jeep has been working very hard to make the Wrangler better than ever while staying true to its roots. With over 75 years of history, Jeep has established itself as the leading producer of off-road vehicles. With the new JL Wrangler dubbed “the most-capable SUV currently on the market” by Jeep CEO Mike Manley, the claim is certainly validated when take a closer look at the JK vs JL Wrangler. Other than the visual updates to the new Wrangler, there are several performance-related updates to account for as well. With better off-roading performance than ever before, Jeep has really stepped up its game with the JL Wrangler.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Review: Is It Better Than The JK?

Check out our new 2018 JL Wrangler on the CJ Off-Road YouTube channel! We opted for the JL Wrangler Sport Unlimited edition in Granite Crystal, which is the four-door base model, with an automatic transmission. At CJ Off-Road, we like to modify our vehicles, so you can bet that we will be adding our own special touches! Learn all about the new features of the JL Wrangler and how it compares to the previous JK generation in this informative video.

JK vs JL Wrangler: Exterior

When looking at the 2018 JL Wrangler, the first thing you notice is the exterior of the vehicle. While it may look similar to the JK Wrangler at first glance, there are several unique characteristics that help distinguish the JL from the JK. If you’re a Jeep lover, then you probably already know that Jeep Wranglers can usually be identified by their grille designs. Just like the previous generations, the new JL Wrangler has received an updated grille that makes it easy to differentiate it from the JK. When comparing the grille for the JK vs JL Wrangler, the fourth-generation Wrangler has a slightly kinked grille with headlights that cut into the signature seven slots. The JL Wrangler grille resembles the first civilian Jeep that was released to the public, the 1941 Willys Jeep. Originally featuring nine slots in the grille, the Willys Jeep was forced to increase the headlight size due to regulations, which meant they had to remove a slot from each side but the headlights still cut into the grille in order to fit. Thus, the signature seven-slot grille was born.

 

Another new design for the front end includes LED daytime running lights and turn signals embedded into the front fenders. Vents located behind each front fender allow for more air circulation and reduce wind noise. The JL Wrangler features a raked windshield that is both easier to fold down and safer. The hood is also reminiscent of the TJ Wrangler generation, which featured a power bulge hood. The cowl panel was also redesigned to feature a black plastic piece and easier windshield wiper removal. Another prominent feature of the JL Wrangler is the body line that runs down the side of the Jeep, giving it a bit more structure. Along with those updates, the door handles, mirrors, and door hinges, have been redesigned as well. Jeep was able to refresh the front end of the Wrangler while keeping the relatively same structure of the past generations.

Wrangler JK Rubicon 2018

Regarding the rear of the JL Wrangler, there is a new reverse camera located on the spare tire mount. Besides the new location of the license plate and the adjustable third brake light, the taillights have been updated and include a blind spot monitoring system. The swing gate is now made of lightweight magnesium, which makes things easier when loading and unloading cargo. With a stronger steel frame and aluminum body panels, the JL Wrangler is more lightweight but just as heavy duty. For the 2018 JL Wrangler colors, there are a few classic favorites available such as Firecracker Red, Billet Silver Metallic, Granite Crystal Metallic, Bright White, and Black. However, several new additions have been added to the list: Nacho, Mojito!, Punk’n Metallic, Ocean Blue Metallic, and Sting-Gray.

JL Wrangler Grille 2018 Rubicon

Also new for the fourth-generation 2018 JL Wrangler is three additional top options that are both easier to use and offer more flexibility. The first option is a hardtop, which can come in either the body color or black, and has panels that can be removed individually, letting air flow freely through the Jeep while still maintaining a bit of protection. So not only is the hardtop improved, but Jeep has two more exciting top options including a convertible soft top and powertop. With the soft top convertible, you just flip up the bottom part, peel off the sides, and slide the back window out — no need to worry about zippers as there are none! You can remove the side windows in the same fashion, then you can either keep the top part on or simply unlatch it and lift it up to allow more air in. Now while the soft convertible top is pretty sweet, nothing can top the new sky powertop. While this does cost extra, the expense is well worth it if you want a completely hassle-free top. With the powertop, there are additional painted rails on top of the Wrangler that the top slides into in order to retract. So this top isn’t completely removable, but it will allow you to get more air flow at the push of a button, even at speeds up to 60 mph! You can also remove the back windows, which basically gives you the same feel as having no top on. The doors on the JL Wrangler are also made out of aluminum, which makes them more lightweight for easy removal. The half doors have a porthole, which allows you to have better visibility while off-roading.

JL Wrangler Grille 2018 Fender

JK vs JL Wrangler: Interior

Along with the exterior changes for the JL Wrangler, several changes have been made to the interior. A label located on the tailgate contains detailed information regarding water fording depth limits, approach and departure angles, and specifications regarding the wheelbase. An updated instrument panel and infotainment center with fourth-generation UConnect technology, as well as an optional nine speaker stereo system with a waterproof subwoofer are just some of the extra technology features for the JL Wrangler. The steering wheel is completely updated in comparison to the JK as well, but has the same overall feel and controls. For the JL Rubicon, built-in auxiliary switches make it easy to connect aftermarket lighting solutions, air compressors, or other gadgets you might need while off-roading. For the JK Wrangler, you would have to install switches separately, which usually required drilling in order to mount them.

Interior Wrangler JL Rubicon 2018

Rubberized storage cubbies, rubber around the infotainment screen, and rubberized cup holders make it safe and easy to spray down the JL Wrangler when, not if, it gets dirty. In the back of the JL Wrangler, there are rear air vents for dual climate control with a foldable middle seat that contains cupholders. As a special touch for the JL Wrangler, you will find little emblems of classic Jeep models scattered about that pay homage to the history of the brand. Jeep really was able to update the interior of the JL Wrangler to add a more luxurious feel without sacrificing the heavy-duty qualities that make it a great off-roading vehicle.

JK vs JL Wrangler: Performance

While it’s clear to see the JL Wrangler is a good-looking rig, what’s going on under the hood? Don’t be fooled by the new Wrangler’s more luxurious interior and redesigned exterior — the JL performs just as well as it looks. Not only does the fourth-generation Wrangler look more aggressive, it performs even better both on and off the road. From the new engine options to the updated transmissions, the JL Wrangler will not disappoint when it comes to mechanics. For the JK Wrangler, there’s only one engine to choose from: the Pentastar V6. Now, in addition to the Pentastar, there will be three new engine options available for the JL Wrangler.

JL Wrangler Engines

Along with an updated version of the classic Pentastar V6 that has been a mainstay for the JK Wrangler since its introduction in 2012, the Wrangler JL will have three additional engine options. A 2.0L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine dubbed the “Hurricane” will be added to the lineup for the all-new Jeep Wrangler. The 2.0L turbocharged engine will be equipped with “eTorque”, which basically means that it is a mild hybrid system. If that’s not exciting enough, a 3.0L EcoDiesel six-cylinder engine is also expected to be available in 2019. But that’s not all! Jeep revealed that they are coming out with a full plug-in electric Wrangler JL. Expected in 2020, the new electric engine is definitely a first for the Wrangler, typically known as a gas guzzler.

Even though the Pentastar is competing with all the new engines available, there have been improvements made that make the 3.6L engine even better. Featuring Engine Stop-Start (ESS) technology, the Pentastar V6 is more efficient than ever before. The 2.0L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine has auto stop/start technology, electric power assist, intelligent battery charging, regenerative braking, and transmission shift management. With a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger, the 2.0L engine offers both efficiency and performance. Expected in 2019, the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine will offer massive amounts of torque and great fuel economy. The EcoDiesel, like the Pentastar and turbodiesel, comes standard with Engine Stop-Start capabilities and an eight-speed automatic transmission to keep up with the high torque output. Not much information has been released about the full plug-in electric Wrangler, except that it is expected to debut in 2020.

JL Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon Door Panel

An upgraded six-speed manual transmission will only be available for the Pentastar engine, along with an optional brand-new eight-speed automatic transmission. If you want a manual transmission, the only option is the Pentastar V6. All the other engines are equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission. The class-exclusive automatic transmission is designed to improve highway fuel economy, optimize engine output, as well as reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. With an improved crawl ratio of 77.2:1, a 4.7:1 first gear ratio, and a 4.1:1 final drive ratio for the automatic JL Wrangler Rubicon, rock crawling and off-roading is a breeze. However, the new six-speed manual transmission is just as capable for traversing rocky patches and bumpy trails. Equipped with a new gear pattern, 50% shorter shifter, and a revised shift pattern, shifting is both more accurate and more comfortable. Reduced shifter vibration and enhanced sound isolation are due to the manual transmission’s cable-operated design. A manual transmission JL Wrangler Rubicon boasts a 5.13:1 first gear ratio, 4:1 low-range gear ratio, 4.10:1 axle ratio, and a crawl ratio of over 84. Boasting smooth and precise shift quality, an improved crawl ratio, and quick acceleration, the upgraded six-speed manual transmission is a welcome improvement to Jeep enthusiasts and purists.

How Does the JL Wrangler Drive?

JL Wrangler Off-Road Rubicon 2018

So now that we know what’s going on under the hood, there’s one essential question left to be answered — how does it drive? Well, Jeep flew several experts out to Arizona to test the new JL Wrangler’s performance both on and off the road. Not surprisingly, the JL Wrangler received raving reviews by Jeep enthusiasts and industry experts alike. If you’re planning on getting a JL Wrangler as your daily driver, then have no fear. The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL may be trail rated, but it also provides a pretty comfortable ride on the main road, something the JK Wrangler didn’t exactly excel at. While the JK Wrangler is great for off-roading, the JL Wrangler has even better off-road capability than its predecessor. Of course, the Rubicon will be the most capable model for off-roading, with a best-in-class approach angle of 44 degrees, a departure angle of 37 degrees, and a breakover angle of either 22.6 degrees or 27.8 degrees, depending on if you’re driving a Wrangler vs Wrangler Unlimited. Also equipped with an electronic front sway-bar disconnect, the Rubicon has 10.9 inches of ground clearance and 30 inches of water fording capability. With 33-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain tires, the Rubicon is ready for the great outdoors straight from the factory.

When driving on the main roads, the JL Wrangler is smoother and quieter than the outgoing JK. Of course, there is still some wind noise because after all, it’s a Wrangler. The upgraded interior offers a more comfortable ride, but is still not going to be the most luxurious of SUVs since the Wrangler is built to withstand rugged terrain. Increased visibility and safety features make driving the new JL Wrangler on the highway easier than before. Another improvement for the JL Wrangler is the three new tops, which make driving on the road better than ever with reduced wind noise and simpler removal. No matter which top you choose, cruising down the highway in a Wrangler has never been so good. The main consensus seems to be that the JL is a new and improved Wrangler, which is exactly what a new generation model should be. With a smoother and quieter drive on the main roads and enhanced off-roading performance on the trails, the JL Wrangler can do just about anything.

2018 Wrangler JL Rubicon Crossing Water

JK vs JL Wrangler: Price

As with most new releases, the JL Wrangler will be more expensive than the previous generation JK Wrangler. Ranging from an additional $2,600 to as much as $3,350 in relation to the JK Wrangler, the increase in price for the JL Wrangler is well worth it. With all the additional features, better driving performance, and enhanced visual appearance, you can’t go wrong with the fourth-generation Wrangler. These are the prices that Jeep has announced, not including a $1,195 destination charge.

2018 Wrangler JL Prices (2-door)

  • Sport: $26,995
  • Sport S: $30,195
  • Sahara: Not available
  • Rubicon: $36,995

2018 Wrangler JL Unlimited Prices (4-door)

  • Sport: $30,495
  • Sport S: $33,695
  • Sahara: $37,345
  • Rubicon: $40,495

2018 JL Wrangler Parts

If you’re not totally head over heels for the JL Wrangler, the great thing about Jeeps is that they are easy to customize to your liking! Perhaps you are already in love with your JL Wrangler but want to make it even more aggressive than it already is coming straight from the factory. Whether you want to increase your ride height, install aftermarket bumpers or fender flares, add some lighting fixtures, or get a fresh set of new wheels, CJ Pony Parts has all the aftermarket JL Wrangler parts you need to make your JL Wrangler even better!

Read more at: https://www.cjponyparts.com/resources/jk-vs-jl-wrangler

New Michigan law: dark lights are NOW treated as 4-way stop

Michigan lawmakers have passed a new bill that some say just makes sense: if you come up on an intersection that doesn’t have power, it will now be treated as a four-way stop.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley signed Senate Bill 521, changing the state law from treating dark intersections as right-of-way to a four-way stop. The law is supposed to make intersections safer, according to the lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Calley signed the bill into law, changing the way we should all treat dark intersections.

The issue came up last year when Michigan State police tweeted in the days after a powerful windstorm knocked out power to thousands. The message was that you don’t stop at a dark intersection and it’s to revert back to the basic right-of-way requirements. The gist — the street with the heavier traffic has the right of way. If two vehicles get there at the same time, the driver on the right has the right of way.

If that seems backwards from everything you’ve been taught in driver’s education, you’re not alone. Now the law is changed to what really makes sense – and what most people were doing anyway: treating it like a four-way stop.

Calley signed the bill because Governor Rick Snyder is on a trade trip to Europe.

Read more at: http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/local-news/new-michigan-law-dark-lights-are-now-treated-as-4-way-stop

Extras Needed for Commercial

EXTRAS NEEDED: Here is your chance to be on TV. We are shooting a New TV Commercial on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, for Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Plymouth and are looking for extras to portray “Happy Customers” in our showroom.

Extras will be throughout the showroom performing various activities, such as getting in and out of new vehicles and interacting with sales associates. Extras should plan on wearing business casual attire (we please ask that no one wears t-shirts with writing or logos).

If you are interested in being a part of this unpaid, professional commercial shoot, please sign-up HERE with your name, email address and daytime phone number. Filming will be done in two sessions; 20 extras each. Please sign up for the 1st Session (9:00am – 1:00pm) or 2nd Session (2:00pm until 5:00pm) below. Prior to May 16th, we will contact you with additional information, along with a waiver to complete and bring with you on the day of filming.

Date: 05/16/2018 (Wed.)Location: 684 W Ann Arbor Rd, Plymouth MI 48170

How Much Will Pothole Damage Cost You?

You’re driving when you suddenly strike a deep hole in the pavement that shakes your car. The culprit? A pothole.

It’s a hazard millions of drivers across the country face as winter gives way to spring and roads begin to thaw, causing an annual outbreak of potholes. But potholes can form at any time of year in any climate, and they can be quite dangerous and costly.

Paying for pothole damage

Pothole run-ins can wreak havoc on your car’s tires, wheels, shocks and more. A 2016 survey from AAA found that nearly 30 million U.S. drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repairs. Most pothole-related repairs cost less than $250, but in some cases the bill can exceed $1,000.

Hitting a pothole—or taking the wrong measures to avoid one—can also lead to a crash. A blown tire or broken suspension part can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, as can a split-second decision to stomp on the brakes or swerve out of your lane to avoid a pothole.

How to protect yourself—and your vehicle—from potholes

  • Routinely check your tires for proper inflation. This is your best protection, as a tire is the primary “cushion” between a pothole and your vehicle’s wheels and suspension. Here are the key warning signs that you need new tires.
  • Be wary of puddles. They may conceal potholes.
  • Don’t swerve. Look out for collision threats, such as using your rearview mirror, before attempting to dodge a pothole.
  • If you can’t avoid a pothole … slow down, but release the brakes and straighten the steering wheel just before impact to help minimize any damage.
  • Stay focused. Eliminate distractions, look ahead for roadway hazards and keep a safe distance from other vehicles around you.

What to do if you hit a pothole

What do you do after you hit a particularly big pothole? Here are a few warning signs that your vehicle may need to be checked by a mechanic.

  • Listen for odd vibrations. Pothole impact can dislodge wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel and bend or break suspension components. If you hear any unusual noises or vibrations in your vehicle, get it checked out.
  • Check the wheel alignment. Hitting a pothole can knock your car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. Often, you’ll know this happened if your vehicle pulls to the left or right.

Read more at: https://aaaliving.acg.aaa.com/auto/how-to-avoid-costly-pothole-damage/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=fb-180418&sf87337299=1

U.S. DOT and NHTSA Kick Off 5th Annual U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Campaign

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is kicking off National Distracted Driving Awareness Month today. NHTSA is mobilizing law enforcement officers nationwide to look out for drivers texting or using their phone behind the wheel. The ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ high-visibility enforcement campaign, now in its fifth year, is supported by a $5 million national media buy. The ads are in both English and Spanish, and will appear on television, radio, and digital platforms targeting motorists aged 18 to 34 – those who, data shows, are most likely to die in distraction-affected crashes.

“Cell phones have a place in our lives, but not while driving,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King. “Everyone should understand the very real dangers of texting while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for a moment is all it takes to cause a crash and change lives forever. Remember, no text or call is worth a life.”
In 2016, new NHTSA data shows that at least 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, including those who were texting and driving. Key statistical findings in NHTSA’s new 2016 Distracted Driving Research Note and Teen Distracted Driver Fact Sheet include:

  • Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2016 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • Nine percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the times of the fatal crashes.
  • In 2016, there were 562 non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected crashes.
  • In 2016, 70 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes were male, as compared to 74 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes.
  • Hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers.
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted-driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.

To prevent tragedies due to distracted driving, motorists are urged to:

  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against unsafe drivers.

All pedestrians and bicyclists should focus on their surroundings and not on their electronic devices.

Currently, 47 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but four have primary enforcement laws – an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place and be given a fine. Fifteen states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Important to note: 38 states and DC ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states and DC prohibit it for school bus drivers.

A Little Auto Care Goes a Long Way

Performing simple preventative maintenance on your vehicle will go a long way toward protecting your vehicle investment, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“Buying a new car today comes with a hefty price tag when you add up the down payment, monthly car payments and higher insurance rates. Neglecting its care can mean even higher costs down the line in the form of more extensive repairs and lost resale value,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “By following a proactive auto care plan, the typical car should deliver at least 200,000 miles of safe, dependable, efficient and enjoyable performance.”

National Car Care Month in April is the perfect time of year to give your car some extra attention. The Car Care Council recommends following a vehicle service schedule, keeping a free copy of the council’s Car Care Guide in the glovebox and performing the most common routine maintenance procedures to keep your vehicle performing at its best.

  • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  • Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  • Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

“Be sure to fully inspect your vehicle annually, including performing a tune-up and wheel alignment,” continued White. “If you ever suspect there is a problem, it’s a good idea to address it quickly before minor repairs become more complicated, expensive repairs.”

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 http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council’s consumer education website at www.carcare.org.

The Importance of Wheel Alignment

A lot of things go into maintaining your vehicle so it performs safely and at its best. Proper wheel alignment is one thing that plays an important role. Wheel alignment affects fuel efficiency, tire wear, tire performance, vehicle handling and maneuverability. Wheel alignment is a big factor in a vehicle’s steering response. This leads many to the most frequently asked question about tire alignment, “When should I get an alignment?” There is no absolute answer to the question since all vehicles have different service requirements. A service technician at Dick Scott Automotive Group will be able to do an alignment check to determine if alignment if necessary. We can also give you advice about how often you need to have alignments done.

WHAT IS WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

Vehicles rely on precision in order to function safely. Tires and wheels can easily become misaligned due to anything from road conditions and driving habits to hitting a big bump or getting into a minor accident. Most often, the front wheels are more susceptible to losing proper alignment, though rear wheels can also experience issues with displacement and proper alignment in many of today’s vehicles.

The process of alignment varies depending on the vehicle. Passenger cars with a modern four wheel suspension receive a different alignment process when compared to a wishbone suspension, or the wheels and tires on a 24 foot box truck that is used to haul heavy loads. That’s why tire alignment is something that should be performed by licensed service technicians employed by a professional repair center with modern computer alignment capabilities. These technicians are certified by the automaker and possess the expertise and equipment necessary to properly align tires to the exact specifications of specific vehicle makes and models.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF WHEEL ALIGNMENT

When tires and wheels are out of alignment, a number of problems can develop within a vehicle’s various systems. When alignment is really bad, it’s easy to tell as you drive. The vehicle will pull one way or the other. In other words, if you let go of the steering wheel and the vehicle immediately steers to the left or right, there’s a good chance that there’s an issue with your wheel alignment. Misalignment may also cause vibration that you’ll feel especially in the steering wheel.

Simply put, proper wheel alignments allow for safer driving. Wheel alignment will also extend the life of your tires. Incorrectly aligned wheels are one of the main causes for uneven and/or premature tire wear. Uneven tread wear will decrease the safe driving life of a tire, or in a worst case scenario may damage a tire beyond repair, requiring premature replacement.

 

GETTING A WHEEL ALIGNMENT

Known as everything from an alignment job to wheel alignment or tire alignment, this service is one that must be performed by a licensed professional technician. Because wheels and tires being a part of the intricate suspension system, it’s helpful to rely on a specialist at a credible automotive repair shop. These technicians are trained and certified to service your vehicle. They’re qualified to install tires and wheels, repair them, and perform alignment tests and four-wheel alignments.

It’s recommended to have a tire alignment any time you have a new set of tires installed on your vehicle. Your automaker also recommend regular alignments according to your automaker’s specifications for your particular model. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for more information about your service schedule or contact your local auto dealership. Visit Dick Scott Automotive Group to have your alignment evaluated.

Are Old Headlights Safe?

It’s a known fact that headlight bulbs wear out with age and use just like tires, shocks, and brakes. As the bulbs get older, they start to dim, putting less light on the road. This can create serious safety issues at night for all drivers. In spite of the fact that there is five times more traffic during the daytime, statistics show that approximately 65 percent of accidents occur at night or in poor lighting conditions.

The primary reason is usually attributed to poor driver vision caused by reduced light, which at night can be up to 70 percent. Because the human eye is not adapted for nocturnal vision, colors tend to disappear, contrast fades away, and drivers are often blinded by the oncoming light from other vehicles. In essence, nighttime drivers can experience the feeling of shortsightedness and can also lose some depth perception.

According to Ann-Marie Hines, senior marketing manager at Lumileds, a global lighting solutions company and the exclusive supplier of Philips automotive lighting products, the answer is simple. Hines notes, “The filament in a headlight bulb ages with use, time, and exposure to the elements. As a result, it becomes fragile and starts to deteriorate and this causes the light output to diminish. At the end of a typical service life, perhaps two-three years, headlight bulbs will likely be projecting a much shorter and less powerful beam light, than when they were new. From a driver’s point of view this is a critical safety concern.”

This problem becomes even more critical with older drivers. The amount of light that the human eye needs to see properly increases exponentially with age. That means the older drivers get, the more light they need. This is because the lens of the human eye tends to become more opaque with age and reduces the amount of light the eye can receive. At age 40, the average driver may already need twice as much light as a 20 year old. At age 65, that need is dramatically higher. So as the population of licensed drivers 65 years and older increases, the safety issues increase with it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 36.8 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older on the road in 2013. By 2030, the NHTSA estimates that there will be more than 57 million drivers on the road in this age group.

The easy solution to this dilemma is to just put more light on the road. The best way to do that is to replace your old headlight bulbs with new bulbs and make sure your headlight lenses are clear of any clouding and hazing. Lumileds engineers recommend replacing headlight bulbs after two to three years as a good maintenance practice. They also suggest replacing both headlight bulbs at the same time to ensure a properly lit road ahead and the full benefit of the vehicle’s headlights as originally intended by the carmaker.

You can replace your old bulbs with new standard OE quality replacements and restore your vehicle’s lighting performance to original condition or you can upgrade to newer more advanced technology and get even better light output from your headlights.

Better lighting will improve your vision and visibility at night, and in turn increase your safety and confidence as a driver. Whenever possible, you should consider upgraded headlight bulbs over standard bulbs because they are designed to do a better job of lighting up the road ahead. This not only helps to compensate for having old headlights and older drivers, but can also help improve headlight performance in general.

According to a recent study from the AAA automotive club, the halogen headlights found in more than 80 percent of vehicles on the road today failed to safely illuminate unlit roadways, even when vehicles are moving at speeds as low as 40 miles per hour. A new set of upgrade halogen bulbs might just make a difference in seeing better and being seen.

Hines adds, “Our Philips automotive lighting line features a full range of OE quality replacement and advanced technology upgrade bulbs to meet the needs of practically every registered U.S. vehicle and driver. We have developed an innovative online Bulb Look Up that helps users identify the right headlight, exterior, or interior bulb for a particular vehicle application and tells them where to buy. The Bulb Look Up is available at: www.philipsautolighting.com.

By Jake Spencer, Phillips Automotive
http://www.carcare.org/old-headlights-safe/

Basic Tire Maintenance for Every Driver

The tires are the only thing between the vehicle and the road. When they are properly inflated and in good condition, the handling, stability and safety of the vehicle will be maximized. Conversely, when the tires are under inflated, worn out or damaged, all of the safety systems on the vehicle cannot overcome the loss of control that comes with a blow-out or hydroplaning situation. Air pressure in a tire is like oil in an engine; when it is low, the resulting internal damage is unseen until it is too late. Tires naturally lose 1-2 psi per month, so ongoing neglect will eventually result in a tire that cannot support the weight of the vehicle and the occupants. When this happens, the resulting blow-out can result in the loss of control and an accident.

It’s also important to rotate the tires on the vehicle every 5-7,000 miles. Today’s front-wheel-drive vehicles cause the steer tires to wear at a much faster rate than the tires on the rear axle. By periodically rotating the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front, motorists can achieve even treadwear on all four tires and increase the mileage and performance. Failing to rotate the tires often results in the front tires wearing out faster while the rear tires develop irregular treadwear patterns that cause vibrations. The same can be said for alignments. When the vehicle is not properly aligned, the tires will wear out faster which leads to increased operating costs.

Finally, drivers should perform a visual inspection of their tires on a regular basis, especially after hitting a pothole, curb or any type of road debris. Bulges, cuts and other visible damage weaken the internal components of the tire, which can lead to a blow-out. Regular visual inspections will often identify any potential problems before they result in an accident. It’s also a good idea to have the tires inspected by a professional before any long road trips to ensure there are no obvious out-of-service conditions that must be addressed.