Archive for June, 2018|Monthly archive page

Technology and capability offered in the all-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler

The all-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler offers unmatched off-road capability, a design that is true to its roots and some of the latest technological features.

These tech features in the redesigned Wrangler provide drivers the ability to quickly start their vehicles, obtain vehicle information and easily listen to their curated playlists from their electronic devices.

When drivers get behind the wheel, they will notice the push-button starter. This feature is making its debut on the 2018 Wrangler and is weather-proof. This helps protect the starter from the variety of elements the Wrangler may encounter.

Push button starter on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

Once the driver settles in, the instrument cluster features a 3.5- or an available 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) information LED display. The 7-inch LED display allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways, including displaying the current media being played, tire pressure or digital speed readout.

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

Integrated buttons on the steering wheel control audio, voice and speed functions and allow the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

2018 Jeep Wrangler steering wheel.

In the center console, there is a 7–inch touchscreen or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen, which is the largest and most advanced Uconnect system display ever offered on Wrangler. A 5-inch touchscreen is standard on Wrangler Sport.

The new fourth-generation Uconnect systems on the Sahara and Rubicon models offer an enhanced user interface and system performance with quicker start up times and improved screen resolution along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Uconnect systems also provide a range of available hands-free communication, entertainment and navigation features.

USB ports in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

There are two USB ports up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat that connect to the media center. Standard 12-volt accessory outlets are located throughout the all-new Wrangler and a 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics.

Learn more about these features available on the all-new Jeep Wrangler by visiting the Jeep website.

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Truck Thursday: Navigating the 2019 Ram 1500 Uconnect 12-inch touchscreen display


The excitement revolving around the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 continues this week on #TruckThursday! This week, we are taking a deep dive into the segment-leading Uconnect 12-inch touchscreen display.

Designed to fit seamlessly flush against the Ram 1500’s dashboard, the display and the buttons that surround it are right at the driver’s fingertips – all of which combine to help you locate the nearest gas station, jam out to your favorite music and find the fastest route to that taco place you love so much.

Need something fast? This fourth-generation Uconnect system is equipped with a new home button that lets you bypass it all to get you what you need as soon as possible.

Brad Gieske, FCA experience design manager, joins us again this week for a step-by-step walkthrough of the full range of options available through this award-winning 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen system.

Be sure to join us next Truck Thursday when Gieske gets ‘personal’ with programming your many Uconnect options. Until then, happy trails!

Cloudy Headlights Are A Safety Hazard! How to fix them…

The next time you walk up to your car, take a moment to look at its headlights. If the lenses are cloudy or opaque, you have a problem that could impact your health and welfare – and that of others. Cloudy headlights provide significantly less illumination and cause light to scatter rather than being focused on the road, which also creates glare for oncoming drivers. Read on to learn more about this problem and what you can do about it.

The Problem

Most modern headlight lenses are made of clear and nearly unbreakable polycarbonate plastic or a similar material. The lenses are treated at the factory with a special coating that protects them from the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight, vehicle exhaust fumes and other environmental contaminants. In fact, to obtain government approval, plastic headlight assemblies must pass a three-year U.S. Department of Transportation durability test.

What To Do About Cloudy Headlights

Figure 1. A headlight with a clouded lens used in AAA’s research. (AAA image)

In normal use, the life of a headlight’s protective coating depends on the level of exposure to the hazards mentioned above – especially the amount and intensity of sunlight. AAA inspected a representative sample of used vehicles and determined that five years is the approximate timeframe in which visible deterioration of headlight lenses begins to appear.

The Fix

It’s been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that holds true for headlights. Auto dealers and parts stores sell lens treatments that, when applied regularly, can significantly extend the life of the factory protective coating. Think of them as sunscreen for your headlights. To help prevent the lenses from aging, use one of these products periodically per the manufacturer’s instructions.

If the time for prevention has already passed, AAA found you can dramatically improve the performance of deteriorated headlights by refinishing the lenses. Numerous “home remedies” can be found on the internet, such as using toothpaste or insect repellent. These are short term solutions at best, and some can damage the headlights or vehicle finish. The preferred method is to sand the lens to remove damaged plastic, polish the surface to restore clarity and remove scratches, and then retreat the headlight with a protective coating.

What To Do About Cloudy Headlights

Figure 2. The same headlight after refinishing. (AAA image)

Auto parts stores sell inexpensive do-it-yourself headlight refinishing kits, just be sure to select one that includes a final protective coating or the lenses will become cloudy again in a matter of months. You can also have headlight restoration done professionally by many body shops, repair facilities, detailing services and even big-box retailer automotive centers. Depending on the provider and the process, costs generally run from $30 to $150.

The Results

Working with badly deteriorated headlight assemblies, AAA found that using a basic headlight restoration kit from an auto parts store provided significant improvements. Light intensity at the headlight’s “hot spot” doubled, the overall amount of light projected increased by 30 percent and glare-producing light scatter was reduced by 60 percent.

Despite the indisputable benefits for nighttime vision and driving safety, AAA survey results show that just 20 percent of Americans have had deteriorated headlights refinished. If your car’s headlights are still in good shape, consider using a regular protective treatment to keep them that way. If deterioration has already occurred, see your way clear (pun intended) to refinish your headlights at the earliest convenient opportunity.

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FCA Design Cars + Coffee brings out the cool rides, despite the rain

While the mere forecast of rain is enough to keep some classic cars tucked safely in the garage, about 40 hardy enthusiasts drove to the FCA US campus in Auburn Hills in spite of the soon-to-arrive rain on June 3 for the FCA Design Cars + Coffee.

All makes and models were welcome. Vintage cars were well represented, as were modern classics, such as Dodge Chargers, Challengers and Vipers. A pristine 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, a ’69 Lincoln Continental Mark III, a weathered late ‘60s Jeep® CJ-5 and a drag race-ready 1965 Plymouth Valiant were all popular waypoints on the parking lot stroll.

A 1965 Plymouth Valiant is reflected in the front fender of a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner at the FCA Design Cars + Coffee.

FCA Design primed the pump by rolling out some of its recent concept vehicles, including the popular 1965 Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip concept from the 2018 Moab event, the Dodge Challenger T/A concept from SpringFest 13 and the 2017 Moab Jeep Quicksand concept. Yes, those concepts sat out in the rain with no ill effects, and those who waited out the storm got to hear the Quicksand’s burly 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 roar.

The rain didn’t deter Philip Klimski from bringing his modified Dodge Neon SRT-4 across the border from Windsor, Ontario. He was joined by two more examples of the mid-2000s pocket rocket.

Custom LED headlights with royal-blue accents give the Neon SRT-4 a completely new demeanor. The engine cover proudly wears the autograph of FCA Head of Design Ralph Gilles.

Philip Klimski brought his modified Dodge Neon SRT-4 to the FCA Design Cars + Coffee.

“Some people express themselves through their clothes, but for me, it’s my car,” Klimski said.

His other modifications include a custom gauge pod in the center stack, restyled carbon fiber trunk lid and aftermarket exhaust.

One key original part of the Klimski’s car is the mileage – well past 100,000 miles. The Neon SRT-4 is his daily driver.

The FCA Design Cars + Coffee was time well spent, even with the ultra-high humidity. If you missed it, don’t fret – organizers hope to stage another gathering before the summer car show season


Modern and classic Dodge Challenger T/As parked side by side at the FCA Design Cars + Coffee.

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2019 Ram 1500 leads segment with technology first

Can the NAV screen in your vehicle ever be TOO big? We all know the answer to that … no way! The larger the screen, the better your ability to easily pull-up, program and read information faster and more clearly at first glance.

The all-new Ram 1500 has taken the lead in offering the first application of Uconnect 4C NAV on a 12-inch (that’s right, 12-inch) fully configurable touchscreen. It’s the biggest screen offered in the pickup truck segment, and the most flexible since it’s also capable of becoming two screens that can run different programs at the same time.

Mike Novak, Uconnect marketing manager, demonstrates how the Ram 1500’s  advanced technology and the largest NAV screen in any pickup truck combine to help put you in command of wherever you need to go and whatever you need to do.

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Truck Thursday: 2019 Ram 1500 Uconnect technology is your new on-road ‘BFF’


Over the past several weeks our Truck Thursday series has been bringing you up to speed on many of the innovative features that help the 2019 Ram 1500 ‘up the game’ over the competition. We’ve taken you under the hood; down to the longest, lightest and most efficient frame in the half-ton segment; behind a segment-leading aluminum tailgate with lift assist; checked out the Ram 1500’s more than 100 safety and security features, and given you a taste of the Ram 1500’s customized interior luxury and comfort appointments.

For the next eight weeks, we’re turning our focus to something even more personal. A Ram 1500 segment-leading feature that’s really all about you!

The award-winning fourth-generation Uconnect system puts you in command of your destination, your music favorites, your comfort level, your on-the-road lifestyle needs with a 12-inch touchscreen display that happens to be the largest in the segment.

Summer vacation? Weekend get-a-ways? The best of summer is just ahead. Are you ready? In this Truck Thursday edition, Brad Gieske –FCA Experience Design Manager, takes a deep dive into how to easily program and access information at a quick glance from the Ram 1500’s dual cluster display.

Be sure to join us next week when Truck Thursday and Brad Gieske put the full range of customized, state-of-the-art technology on display in the all-new Ram 1500’s class-exclusive 12-inch touchscreen system.

Wrangler Wednesday: All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler features backup camera

The all-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler takes drivers forward into new and unchartered trails, and for the first time, the iconic vehicle comes with a standard ParkView rear backup camera to give drivers a view of what is behind them.

But how did FCA designers add a backup camera without radically altering the look of the vehicle and preserving the rear-mounted spare tire?

“On the Jeep Wrangler, where we mounted the camera was a big consideration,” said Thomas McCarthy, Head of Product Safety & Product Analysis FCA US. “The Wrangler always has a rear-mounted spare tire and we wanted to make sure we had the camera mounted in a position where, regardless of the wheel and tire package, the camera functionality would not be obscured.”

The backup camera on the all-new Wrangler mounts in the center of the rear spare carrier and is covered in a metal, tube-like structure to protect the camera. Additionally, a rear camera cover provides additional protection and locks the tire to the carrier.

All new 2018 Jeep Wrangler

The camera provides a wide-angle view of the area immediately behind the vehicle. Dynamic grid lines aid the driver when maneuvering into parking spaces or narrow areas. The camera image displays on the navigation screen when the transmission is shifted into reverse.

Learn more about the ParkView camera and other available safety features on the all-new Wrangler by visiting the Jeep website.

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Before They Start Driving…

Your teen started learning about driving long before you began thinking about learner’s permits, driving classes and teenage driving tips. Children watch their parents’ driving behavior from the back seat, learning how they interact with other drivers, obey traffic laws and avoid distractions.

Now that it’s time to begin more formal driver training, AAA can help you choose the right driving school, talk to your teen about proper driving practices, set family rules about safe driving and offer more tips to help your child become a safe teen driver.

AAA simplifies the driving education process for parents of new and future teen drivers. Read on for the information you need as you get ready for your teen to start driving.

Understanding the Facts & Risks” explains why teens crash—it’s not just from distracted driving or drunk driving. “Licensing Process” walks you through Michigan’s system for getting a driver’s license. “Insurance” details insurance requirements as the teen driving process begins, and the news is probably better than you expect. “Driver Education” helps you understand your state’s specific driver ed requirements and pick the right driving school for your teen. “Key Points for Parents” boils everything down to the simple things that you should be doing now to instill safe driving practices. You and your teen are partners in this process, and “Teen’s Role” lays out some of your teen’s responsibilities.

You have an ally in AAA as you embark on the road to safe driving. As you and your teen begin this shared journey, be sure to check out AAA’s free, online Dare to Prepare program, too.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee offers off-road capability and improved on-road performance


When work began on the mid-cycle enhancement of the Cherokee, the Jeep® team not only worked on the exterior styling of the vehicle but also improving its capability on and off-road.

“What we’ve done in the mid-cycle action has maintained (the Jeep Cherokee’s) off-road capability while tuning for a better on-road performance,” said Mike Downey, vehicle executive, Jeep Cherokee.

He added that shock and suspension tuning were a focus on the 2019 Cherokee to give the vehicle “better ride and handling.”

2019 Jeep® Cherokee Overland

Not only does the 2019 Jeep Cherokee have better ride and handling, it has an available all-new, advanced 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine that enhances performance and fuel efficiency.

“It is a great fit for the Cherokee because it provides us with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder while providing the performance of a six-cylinder,” Downey added.

In addition, when it’s time to go off-road, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk model offers best-in-class capability with aggressive approach and departure angles to allow “the driver to get in, and out of, difficult situations as it goes off-road in Trailhawk situations,” Downey said.

To learn more about the various capabilities of the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee, view the attached video and visit the Jeep web site.

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Brampton Assembly builds the last 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon


For the past nine months, the record-breaking 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has come to life on the line at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario.

So there wasn’t anything obviously different about the black Challenger SRT Demon, mixed among the Dodge Challengers, Chargers and Chrysler 300s on the line, that made its way through Brampton on Wednesday, May 30.

Except that every worker knew that this was the last SRT Demon to be built, completing the run of 3,000 cars for the U.S. market and 300 for the Canadian market.


The instrument panel is loaded into the last 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon on the Brampton Assembly Plant line.

For the 48 seconds or so that the car spent at each station along the line, the crew flashed a thumbs up or knowing glance at each other as they added their component to this historic, 840-horsepower muscle car.

Being the last makes this one-year-only production car extra special. But this Challenger SRT Demon is also part of a unique pair, to be joined by the last 2017 Dodge Viper built and auctioned during the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction in Connecticut during June 20-23, with all the proceeds being donated to the United Way. The pair of cars is billed as “The Ultimate Last Chance.”

By the time the last Dodge Challenger SRT Demon arrives at the Barrett-Jackson auction, it will wear the same Viper Red paint color (production code LRN) as the last Viper, along with the SRT Demon badges and wide 18- by 11-inch wheels and sticky Demon-branded Nitto 315/40R18 street-legal drag tires, which are added after the vehicle leaves the Brampton plant.

Brampton workers attach the front fascia and the front fender flares on the last 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

“We have a lot of pride in this car,” says Ron Vukovic, launch manager at the Brampton plant. “It really resonates with our plant’s motto of ‘Belief, Ability and Pride.’ ”

There is a lot of love for the Challenger SRT Demon and performance at Brampton. The plant gift shop has a tough time keeping many Demon-branded items in stock. Plenty of Brampton workers wear shirts touting the plant as the home of the SRT Demon and the Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats.

“Building the Challenger SRT Demon has been more than just a job, it’s been a passion,” says Ardis Snow, Unifor Local 1285 plant chairperson. “You feel this car inside you when it goes by and we could not have been more proud to have it here.”

A look at the underbody of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon as it transfers onto an assembly line at the plant in Brampton, Ontario.

The last Dodge Challenger SRT Demon body shell entered the Brampton line around 7 a.m. on Wednesday and rolled off the line just before 3 p.m., just as the plant’s first shift was ending. The timing made it possible for many in the plant to gather for a “family photo” with the car, before it completed its journey through the plant’s validation and inspection stations then loaded for transportation.

It’s not the first time this car will be in the spotlight, nor will plant officials be surprised if someday it comes back home. They’ve grown accustomed to Challenger SRT Demon owners and fans bringing their cars back to Brampton for a photo or two.

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