Archive for July, 2019|Monthly archive page

Four Steps for Sending Your Car Away to College

Seeing your child off to college is an emotional transition, especially if they are going far away from home. Sending them away in the family vehicle can create even more worry and stress. A little advance planning and a well-maintained vehicle can offer peace-of-mind to parents, says the non-profit Car Care Council

1. Get a sendoff vehicle inspection: College is a busy time for students and it is likely that car care at college will not be top of mind. Be sure to schedule a thorough vehicle inspection before packing up the car so you can rest easy knowing your child is driving a road-ready vehicle.

2. Make an emergency plan: Discuss a plan with your child in case they experience a roadside emergency. Be sure they know who to contact for roadside assistance and stock the car with an emergency kit, including jumper cables, emergency flares, a flashlight with batteries, blankets & extra clothes, water & non-perishable snacks, a first aid kit, a portable USB charger and a fully charged cell phone. To be prepared for inclement weather, include an ice scraper, a snow brush and small shovel.

3. Hit the books: Encourage your child to learn about auto care by reviewing the Car Care Council’s online Car Care Guide and becoming familiar with the owner’s manual. The printed Car Care Guide fits easily in a glove compartment and covers the most common preventive maintenance occasions and procedures that should be performed to keep cars safe, dependable and efficient.

4. Stay on schedule: To stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance, sign up for the council’s free Custom Service Schedule and receive email service reminders and recall notices so that you and your child are aware of any issues and can address them in a timely fashion.

The Car Care Council has introduced a new video, produced in conjunction with AutoNetTV (ANTV), with tips for parents, college-bound students and their vehicles. To learn more about keeping your vehicle in safe, dependable working condition, visit or follow the Car Care Council on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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

The 2021 Ram Dakota Mid-Size Pickup Could Be the Jeep Gladiator’s Cheaper Cousin

Ram already confirmed that a mid-size truck is in the works, and this is what we know about it so far.

Ram confirmed last year that it is working on a new mid-size pickup truck. We think it will be called the Dakota, a name last applied to a Dodge pickup in the mid-2000s. Now revived under the Ram truck brand, the 2021 Dakota is likely to be closely related to the Jeep Gladiator, but with a different mission to attract a broader slice of the truck market.

The new Gladiator, wearing standard four-wheel drive, a peel-off roof, and the coveted Jeep badge, starts at $35,040. A mid-size Ram gives parent company FCA a less expensive and more conventional pickup for buyers who need a truck, which is an entirely different set of folk from those who merely want a truck.

The Dakota will likely be built at the same Toledo Assembly Complex as the Gladiator and Wrangler, using a modified version of the former’s steel frame. Expect the Ram to drop the Gladiator’s live front axle in favor of an independent suspension.

FCA’s utility player, the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6, is on deck, paired with an eight-speed automatic and either rear- or selectable four-wheel drive. If the power­train lineup gets any broader than that, a gasoline-powered four-cylinder is more likely than a diesel.

The competition includes the usual suspects such as the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma. Mediocrity won’t cut it in this increasingly crowded segment. If the Dakota is going to stand out, engineers will need to walk a tightrope to keep the price in check while developing a credible competitor.

The Dakota will hit dealerships in late 2020 with a starting price in the mid-$20,000s.

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Toledo employees trained minds and hearts before Jeep® Gladiator launch

As final tooling and processes were put in place to ready the plant for production of the all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator, Toledo (Ohio) Supplier Park employees were making their own preparations. 

Between March and April, 1,300 employees participated in an extensive four-week training and readiness program known as the “Toledo Way.” Similar to the 2017 program for Wrangler employees, this year’s program included 21 hours of hands-on technical training at the University of Toledo’s (UT) Scott Park Campus, a day of community service and a day to soak in the Jeep heritage. 

Technical Training

The hands-on training, developed collaboratively with UT and taught by UT instructors, was tailored to meet the specific needs of employees working in a variety of positions across the plant. The curriculum focused on expanding their knowledge of and competence in World Class Manufacturing, the Company’s manufacturing methodology that focuses on eliminating waste, while improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. 

This was the third time that the Toledo Assembly Complex turned to the university for training support — first in 2013 to prepare the workforce for the launch of the Jeep Cherokee and again in 2017 for the launch of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler. 

Community Service

In the second component of the Toledo Way, several thousand Supplier Park employees took to the streets to lend a hand to the people and places that make the community special. Employees were frequent contributors to projects at the YWCA, Highland Park Shelter House and Mayores Center – to name a few – logging more than 8,000 hours of service. Many of these projects included painting, cleaning and playing “Jeep Bingo” with seniors.

Toledo Supplier Park employees volunteered as part of the Toledo Way program.

Jeep Immersion

As the name suggests, the Jeep Immersion program allowed employees an opportunity to learn about Jeep history, the pride associated with building the iconic brand in Toledo and the importance of building a vehicle that is safe and fun for its owners. 

A 2020 Jeep® Gladiator tackles the course built on the grounds of the Toledo Assembly Complex.

Part of the immersion included giving employees the opportunity to experience the Gladiator’s performance and capabilities first-hand on three different courses constructed right on the plant’s property.  

The Jeep Gladiator began shipping to dealers on April 12, 2019, shortly after the conclusion of the Toledo Way. Prior to the launch of the Gladiator, employees at the facility built the previous-generation Jeep Wrangler, which ended production in April 2018. The Wrangler is now built on the North side of the Toledo Assembly Complex.

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Distracted Driving

Visual and Mental Distractions Behind the Wheel Are Real and Potentially Dangerous

Visual and mental attention is key to safe driving, yet many in-vehicle technologies can cause drivers to lose sight and focus of the road ahead. Hands-free, voice-command features and other interactive technologies increasingly common in new vehicles may create visual and mental distractions that unintentionally provide motorists with a false sense of security about their safety behind the wheel. Just because a technology is available in your vehicle, does not mean it is safe to use while driving.


Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that vehicle manufacturer’s in-vehicle technology, as well as Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto systems, can create dangerous distractions for drivers while behind the wheel.

Vehicles with infotainment systems rolling off lots today include new capabilities available to the driver that increase visual and mental distractions behind the wheel. New cars also allow for smartphone-based systems, like Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, to connect to a vehicle. The technology offered by these systems can make placing a phone call or programming audio entertainment more complicated by requiring drivers to maneuver through complex menu systems using touch screens or voice commands rather than use of simple knobs or buttons. Many of the latest systems also allow drivers to perform tasks unrelated to driving like surfing the web, checking social media or sending a text message- all things drivers have no business doing behind the wheel.


AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest research evaluated the infotainment systems in 40 new 2017 and 2018 vehicles. Specifically, the research focused on the visual (eyes-off-road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task. Participants were required to use voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, program audio entertainment or program navigation, all while driving down the road.

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. In addition, none of the 40 vehicle infotainment systems produced low demand, while 29 systems generated high or very high levels of demand on drivers:

  • 17 systems generated very high demand
  • 12 systems generated high demand
  • 11 systems generated moderate demand

AAA recommends that industry strive to design in-vehicle technology systems that do not exceed a low level of demand.  For a breakdown of the overall vehicle findings, click here.

In addition, the research found that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems are less demanding for drivers than automakers’ (native) in-vehicle systems; though still create potentially unsafe levels of demand. Both CarPlay and Android Auto generated an overall moderate level of demand while the native vehicle systems created very high levels of demand for drivers. When it came to complex tasks like programming navigation or dialing a contact, CarPlay and Android Auto were 24 percent (5 seconds) faster on average than the vehicle’s native system when making a call and 31 percent (15 seconds) faster when programming navigation. Even with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto requiring less overall demand and time to complete a task, drivers still took up to 33 seconds to complete a navigation task compared to 48 seconds for native systems. At 25 MPH, drivers can travel the length of three football fields during this time.

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New Ram Truck Ad Celebrates the Bonds of Loyalty

Year after year, month after month, day after day, the Ram Truck  brand remains laser focused on building customer loyalty with benchmark performance, capability, technology and luxury. 

In partnership with SiriusXM, the Ram brand is celebrating that unswerving commitment by teaming up with Grammy-nominated country music singer-songwriter Eric Church in a new 60-second spot titled “Loyalty,” which features Church’s song “Solid.”

The ad captures the power of strengthening loyal and loving relationships as a father and son listen to Eric Church on the Ram class-exclusive, 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display with industry exclusive SiriusXM with 360L as they head to catch a live performance of Eric Church on stage. Get caught up in the mood and the moment. And to keep your all your favorite tunes close at hand on the road, owners will receive a one-year SiriusXM All Access subscription with the purchase of a properly equipped 2019 Ram 1500.

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Maintenance Reminder Systems

What you need to know about your car maintenance reminder system

If you own a newer vehicle, car maintenance reminders may display in the dash to let you know when service is due. The car dashboard symbols or messages alert you when it’s time for an oil change and other needed services. Auto service requirements vary depending on the vehicle and its mileage and time on the road, so be sure to consult the factory-recommended maintenance schedule included in your owner’s manual or maintenance booklet to determine what work needs to be done at specific intervals. Two types of car maintenance reminder systems

There are two types of car maintenance reminder systems currently in use. The simpler design tracks the number of miles the vehicle travels. To receive timely alerts, you must first program the system with a service interval based on how you drive the car. Consult your owner’s manual for the criteria used to establish the proper mileage interval, and information about how to enter it into the reminder system.

More advanced car maintenance reminder systems monitor vehicle operating conditions to determine service intervals and do not require entering a pre-determined mileage. Depending on the car you drive and the type of engine oil it requires, the maintenance reminder system can indicate a service alert anywhere between 3,500 and 15,000 miles. Most vehicle manufacturers, however, say to change the oil every 12 months even if a service alert has not yet displayed. Why the right engine oil is important

An important thing to know about car maintenance reminder systems, especially those that track vehicle-operating conditions, is that their accuracy depends on using engine oil that meets the automaker’s specifications. If you use a lesser product – for example, conventional oil in an engine that requires full synthetic oil – the reminder system has no way to know. Thus, the oil could break down, resulting in accelerated engine wear or even failure before the reminder system displays a service alert. Reset the reminder system after every oil change

Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual or maintenance booklet to reset the car maintenance reminder system after every oil change. On most cars, this involves some combination of turning on the ignition and pressing the gas pedal or pushing dashboard buttons in a specific sequence. Other cars require a diagnostic scanner or special tool to reset the system.

If you do your own oil changes and your car requires a special device to reset the maintenance reminder, check with the auto repair shop that normally provides other car maintenance services for you. The shop may be equipped and willing (possibly for a small charge) to reset the reminder system. Note, however, that due to potential liability some shops will not reset the reminder system unless they can verify that all required services for a given maintenance interval have been completed.

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Minivan Monday: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid helps create road trip ‘harmony’

You’ve heard it said, ‘your life changes completely when you become a parent.’ In a new ad called “Bad Parent,” the Chrysler brand hits a more optimistic note, especially when it comes to creating your ‘happy place’ behind the wheel.

With the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, you can have it all! Thanks to the Pacifica Hybrid Uconnect Theatre entertainment system, you can get down with the tunes that rock your world in the front seat while the kids don their headphones in the back seats to enjoy ”Baby Shark” by Pinkfong on two 10-inch second-row touchscreens with dual-zone audio capability. 

The 30-second Chrysler brand ad “Bad Parent” is running across broadcast, digital and the Chrysler brand’s social channels.

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2020 Jeep® Gladiator’s new axles provide greater capability

The all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator entered the midsize truck market with a lot of anticipation and unmatched capability.

Enthusiasts have been clamoring for a Jeep truck for years, with the intensity increasing following the release of the new Jeep Wrangler. But before the Gladiator was introduced, Jeep engineers made sure it was most capable on the market.

One of the Gladiator’s features that allows it to deliver legendary off-road capability is the advanced 4×4 systems. 

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon

The Command-Trac 4×4 system, which is standard on Sport and Overland models, features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.

On the Gladiator Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4×4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials.

“To meet the payload requirements, we went to the heavy-duty Dana 44 axles,” said Pete Milosavlevski, chief engineer. 

The standard heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear solid axles on the Gladiator also have extra-thick tubes and forgings for additional strength, rigidity and durability.

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2019 Ram 1500 Laramie: Why I’d Buy It…

“What truck should I buy?” It’s a question consumers ask themselves every day, but what would MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina drive? Keep reading for the answer, and see other editors’ picks here.

“If I still lived in Texas, this is the truck I’d get,” I told my dad when he was visiting me in California while we were riding in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie. He gave me his what are you talking about face that only a father who drives a BMW 4 Series could have, but I firmly stood by my decision. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I live in Redondo Beach, where having a full-size truck can be a bit uncomfortable to drive on a daily basis.

But if I was living in Texas and still maintained my single status, the Ram 1500 Laramie is the truck that I’d buy. I would most likely go with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine, since it’s powerful enough to drive in the city and off-road, and it comes with eTorque as standard. I’d also be saving about $1,400 with this engine over the V-8, and even more bucks on a weekly basis when hitting the pump. But best of all is that I’d be getting a truck that drives well and looks great.

With so many options and packages available for the Ram 1500, its $41,635 base price can quickly skyrocket. So, I would keep things simple. By choosing the Laramie, you’re already getting a nicely equipped truck, so there’s no need to go for more (at least in my opinion). Because I wouldn’t be towing or doing any hardcore off-roading, I’d keep things simple and go with the standard 3.21 rear axle ratio, 4×2 traction, and no towing packages. I would add the deployable bed step for $195, as it simplifies the access to the bed.

The Level 1 Equipment package is not a bad deal for $1,695. It adds automatic high beams, blind-spot monitor, parking sensors in the front and rear, automatic windshield wipers, and remote tailgate opening, among other things. Also, as much as I’d like to upgrade the 18-inch wheels, I’m fine with those and prefer saving a few more bucks. Interior-wise, I’d only add the rubber floor mats, which can be a bit expensive for $135, but it helps when cleaning the truck. Other than that, I wouldn’t add more options, as I’d get leather seats and the 8.4-inch touchscreen with Uconnect and Apple CarPlay as standard equipment.

That would bring the final price to $42,110 given some of the discounts that Ram currently has. In today’s full-size truck market, this isn’t a bad deal. Granted, I’m not getting 4×4 traction or any other fancy equipment, like the 12-inch touchscreen. But this price gets me MotorTrend’s 2019 Truck of the Year that’s well-equipped and doesn’t break my wallet.

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There’s Bad News About The Dodge Demon

This is not a rumor. It’s official.

The outside chance that Dodge would revive Challenger SRT Demon production has finally been crushed. Speaking with, recently re-appointed head of FCA passenger cars Tim Kuniskis has confirmed once and for all that production of the street-legal 840-hp Demon drag racer will remain capped at 3,300. “The Demon isn’t coming back,” Kuniskis stated. “You know what would happen, if those 3,300 people that paid a lot of money for a serialized car, do you know what they would do to me if we brought it back?”

The guy has a point. This doesn’t mean anyone who didn’t manage to get a build slot for one of the limited-run Demons is completely out of luck. It just means they’ll have to pay more on the private market for that highly prized collector’s muscle car.

It’s no wonder the Demon was so highly sought after due to it being the highest horsepower production Challenger ever. It also has the highest output of any production V8 ever, fastest quarter-mile time (9.65 seconds) of any production vehicle, and its 0-60 mph is an outright crazy 2.3 hypercar-killing seconds. MSRP: $84,995. Search online, however, and you’ll see prices over $100,000 and climbing.

Aside from that sheer amount of power, one of the Demon’s other great attributes was the fact it could be quickly modified for drag race use thanks to the Demon Crate, which cost buyers only $1.

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