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Media post: Watch out for the Deer

Let’s start with a discussion of Mammalian Reproduction. There is a certain time of the year when it is mating season for white-tail deer. Typically, this season is from about Halloween through November and is characterized by, well, a lot of frisky deer. Specifically, Paul Peditto, director of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Service explained, “The breeding-age male deer, those bucks, frankly kind of lose their minds.” And since that means they are chasing female deer around, that a lot of dashing around occurs.

Unfortunately, much of this activity often occurs on or near roadways where cars and trucks are driving with the result that lots of collisions occur. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions occur each year, resulting in over 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and over $3.7 billion in vehicle damage. Being prepared can help prevent you from adding to these numbers. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind.

Timing is everything

Deer are most active at dusk and dawn: periods when your vision is most compromised. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.

Watch for the rest

White-tail deer are pack animals, and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, chances are very good that there more deer following. Slow down ASAP and keep an eye out for any others.

Wear your seat belt 

Often, there’s not much you can do if a deer leaps in front of you but you can be prepared. If the inevitable happen, a seat belt can help reduce injuries. According to Thunder Chrysler, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Bartow, FL, seatbelts are specifically designed to work with airbags. This is especially true if you lose control and collide with something bigger than a deer; you want you’re your seatbelts and airbags working together.

Look for Deer signs

The yellow diamonds with the deer on it are placed by Fish and Game in high-traffic areas for deer. Because they know this to be a high-density area, pay special attention when you drive through.

Center lane

On a multi-lane road, the center lane is your safest bet for avoiding a deer collision. This gives deer plenty of space; and in case your vehicle does startle them, it gives you more time to react if one darts onto the road.

Don’t panic 

If you see a deer, brake firmly and calmly, and stay in your lane. Violent swerving to avoid the animal could make you lose control of your vehicle and make things much worse. Not to mention, deer are unpredictable, and you could jump directly into their path.

Make some noise

Some experts recommend that one long blast of the horn will scare most deer out of the road. Do not rely on those gimmicky hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer—studies have shown them to be largely ineffective at keeping deer away from cars and trucks.

Media post: Advantages and Disadvantages of Anti-Lock Brakes

If you are driving a car or truck made after the 2004 model year, it will have Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) installed.  Before that date many manufacturers were installing them anyway with some actually available as expensive accessories.

There is no question that ABS technology has saved untold lives over the years because of the simple fact that they work. What they do is help re-establish traction when a vehicle is skidding during slippery driving conditions. However, as important as might sound, there are some that people that don’t care for ABS systems. As it turns out there are some reasons for this. Let’s take a deeper look.

What ABS does

One of the most unnerving things that can happen when driving in slippery weather is that when you apply the brakes, one or more of the wheels may lock up. And if your car’s front wheels are skidding, your steering becomes almost useless.

Historically, the best technique to prevent skidding is to pulse the brakes rapidly with your foot so that traction is maintained. A driver who is skilled at this can usually avoid wheel lockup, but an ABS system does this job automatically and usually more efficiently. No wonder federal regulations required that all cars and trucks manufactured after 2003 needed to have ABS systems installed.

How they work

We queried the service experts at Genesis of North Atlanta, a local Genesis dealer in Kennesaw, GA about ABS system technology and got the low-down. Basically, ABS systems operate like self-controlled brakes. When an ABS system detects that a wheel, or wheels, are locking up, it releases/reapplies the brakes rapidly. This allows the skidding tire to re-establish traction so one can control the car again.

ABS systems have three functions parts: a means of telling when a wheel is about to lock-up; a means of releasing the brakes; and a means of restoring the pressure to the brake line after being released.

Advantages of Anti-Lock Brakes

Stopping a skid. As mentioned above, an ABS prevents lock-ups and skidding, especially in wintery slippery conditions or even just when hitting a patch of sand. Anti-lock brakes have been proven to work effectively by helping drivers maintain control of their vehicle.

Traction control. An ABS shares some of the infrastructure of Traction Control System (TCS) do. This is a new technology that also ensures that each wheel has traction on the road but it does so when a vehicle is accelerating and a tire loses traction. Because the functional parts of an ABS and TCS system are similar, it makes it easy for manufacturers to install both systems at the factory.

Lower insurance costs. Because it is a thoroughly tested safety device with a track record of effectiveness, insurers build the reduction of risk that occurs with ABS into their premiums. This may not be the case with an older, non-ABS equipped car.

Disadvantages of Anti-Lock Brakes

Despite the fact that anti-lock brakes are a proven safety feature, not all drivers are sold on this technology, at least not on the earlier versions. Here are some of the downsides that some drivers have explained.

Inconsistent stop times. Anti-lock brakes are made to provide for surer braking in slippery conditions. However, some drivers report that they find stopping distances for regular conditions are lengthened by their ABS systems. Honestly, this isn’t a factor with today’s ABS systems but in the early days, some drivers didn’t like it.

Expensive repairs. An ABS can be expensive to maintain, especially on older cars. Expensive sensors on each wheel can cost hundreds of dollars to fix and this is common as systems age.

How Can I tell if My Car has an Anti-Lock Brakes System?

Do you have a pre-2004 vehcile and you don’t know if it has ABS in it? First, see if the car has an indicator, in the dash, that lights “ABS” when the vehicle is started. However, if this is not the case, then there are a couple of things you can do. First, look in the vehicle owner’s manual, this will state if the vehicle has ABS or not. Second, you can ask your local brand dealer to take a look at it.

Media post: Lasers – Coming to an Dealership Near You

Lasers have been around since the 1960s but they were just used for scientific research at first. The word “laser” is a tongue-twisting acronym standing for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Today, lasers are being used for thousands of consumer and commercial applications but none were automotive related. That is about to change.

About Lasers

Laser technology covers a huge gamut. There are massive lasers generated in vacuum containers that are so powerful that they can burn through metal plates. Many of these are built for the military. For consumer purposes, however, most lasers are tiny, chip-based devices that are used in applications as mundane as CD/ DVD players, laser printers and barcode readers. Are you familiar with “blue ray discs”? The term “blue ray” refers to a laser diode that emits light in the blue section of the visible light spectrum.

Automotive applications

As we hinted at earlier, laser technology is about to make its debut in the automotive industry.  Care to guess where they will be used on cars and trucks? If you guessed “headlights,” then you are right. Lasers are being developed to take the place of conventional headlights. However, they are being used in a way that you may not expect: they are not going to be used to illuminate the road in front of a vehicle, at least not directly. The chip-based technology being used to replace incandescent headlights today is Light Emitting Diode (LED). LEDs are starting to show up on today’s cars and they are throw a very powerful beam of light. A major advantage LED technology has is that they are very small and can be packed into small spaces unlike the old style headlights with huge reflectors. Automotive designers just love LEDs because they can design them into just about any shape they can imagine. The same will be true of laser headlights when they appear on production automobiles.

How they work

Laser light is emitted from chip-based technology just as it is from LEDs. However, the light that comes from laser diodes is more than 1,000 times as powerful than similar size LEDs. The folks at Hyundai of Kennesaw, a local Hyundai dealer in Kennesaw, GA, filled us in on what Hyundai is working on. They are using blue laser diodes to illuminate a white phosphorus target, and the light emitted by this target will be bounced off a reflector and then out the front lens. As it turns out, this is a very efficient way to make powerful light systems.

Why is this better than LEDs?

LED technology is very powerful too and inexpensive but the chips generate a great deal of heat. The current vehicles that are being produced with LED headlamps are using LED chips that have massive heatsinks attached. This is bulky and expensive. The result is that, at least for the near future, LED technology will be used for side indicators and tail lights, not for headlights. The power that needs to be dissipated is simply too great. This is where laser headlights come into play.

Laser headlights

As we mentioned, using laser diodes to illuminate a phosphor target is a very efficient way to make light. The result is an intensely bright headlight that stays far cooler than any other light technology. Not only is it an engineer’s dream, It’s also great for car body designers who can now put the headlights in almost any form-factor they desire.

Media post: History of Tyres for Vintage Motor Racing

Many vintage sports cars are still in a very drivable condition; even more so, historic motorsport events such as Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK or Monterey Historic in the USA regularly bring those glorious cars back on the track. Of course, original tyres for the classic machinery are no longer produced, and the tyre choice for these kinds of competitions was a really hard task until major tyre manufacturers (Dunlop, Michelin, Avon etc.) started releasing their classic tyre products featuring authentic vintage construction and modern compounds.

So, the online shop of tyres and accessories, tells about the milestones of the tyre history for the classic motor race.

Early tyre era. Bias-ply tyres and radials

1845 – first air-filled (pneumatic) tyre patented.

1895 – first road race on pneumatic tyres pioneered by 2 brothers André and Édouard whose last name, Michelin, soon becomes the top European pneumatic tyre brand. During the next 5 decades, tyres are designed with an inner tube filled with compressed air and an outer treaded tube that served for better protection and traction. Made out of rubber reinforced by layers of fabric cords running across the tyre at a 55-degree angle to the rim, these products were known as bias-ply tyres. All sports cars produced before 1848 had bias-ply tyres as their ‘native’ rubber.

The 1910s and later – the golden era of motoring with iconic all-white tyres started. Firestone’s Smooth and Firestone non-skids with white sidewalls are the classics of that period.

1848 – Michelin presented their groundbreaking radial tyres that totally changed the industry in 20 years. Bias-ply tyres became a vintage thing.

The era of slicks Among all classic race tread patterns of the 1950s and 1960s, Dunlop CR65 is probably the most popular. It dominated the niche until the arrival of slick tyres in motor racing. They are still produced using the original moulds, but out of Dunlop’s a modern 204 compound perfectly meeting the steering and suspension peculiarities of vintage cars of the 1960s. 

The 1950s – racing slicks (race tyres with a smooth tread) were introduced by Marvin & Harry tyres to be used basically in the drag racing. The invention maximized the contact patch with the tarmac, and, therefore, traction. Slicks minimized deformation making it possible to use ultra-soft compounds without risks of blistering or overheating.

The 1960s – ‘cheater slicks’ for hot rods were invented. They had a minimal amount of tread just to cope with wet pavements and get an approval of the DOT. They are still produced today to meet the need in authentic street car look of those times and for the competition purpose where DOT-approved tires are required. Later on, grooved slicks (also referred to as R-compound tyres) were developed for other racing competitions. Initially similar to street tyres with minimal tread and soft compound, they soon evolved into a separate tyre type.

Muscle car tyres The 1970s – muscle cars (2-door high-performance sports cars featuring powerful V8 engines) won the market and became a popular option for the drag racing competitions. Authentic tires of those times featured red, blue and gold lines (BF Goodrich, Firestone, US Royal) as well as white letters (Firestone Wide Oval) and were made in both bias-ply and radial construction.

Media post: Cheaper CTP for motorists – and a refund coming

It’s not everyday the government has good news for car owners. But in NSW, Australia, the NSW compulsory third party (CTP) scheme just had an overhaul. Most vehicle owners will get cheaper CTP – and a refund if they’ve overpaid.

Drivers in NSW don’t need reminding they pay the highest CTP premiums in Australia. Their CTP (or green slips) have increased a huge 85% in 10 years. Without reform to the scheme, they could only look forward to more nasty price rises.

CTP reform

The NSW government passed legislation to reform the NSW CTP scheme starting from 1 December, just in time for Christmas. The purpose of reform is to:

  • Make sure genuinely injured people can get benefits they need quickly
  • Pay a higher share of each premium to more seriously injured people
  • Reduce exaggerated or fraudulent claims for minor injuries
  • Make green slips cheaper (around 20%).

The new scheme provides a mixture of fixed benefits and common law or lump sum claims. It provides a new safety net for all injured road users, whether it was their fault or not. For 6 months, they receive benefits to cover loss of income and the cost of medical treatment and care. Those with more serious injuries will still be able to make lump sum claims.

As people with minor injuries can no longer claim lump sums, there is less incentive for fraud. Fraud was a huge problem in NSW. Already, NSW police have charged several people in Sydney for organised greenslip crime, eg, sham crashes, non-existent injuries.

Cheaper green slips

The average greenslip price for Sydney drivers will be about $553, down from $710. Taxi drivers will do even better. Average premium for them could tumble down from $8,336 to $4,947. Good news for taxis. Unfortunately, motorbike owners won’t get lower prices or refunds, but they will get more for their money. Under the old scheme, 90% of motorcycle accidents were seen as the rider’s fault so they received limited benefits. Now injured motorcycle riders will be entitled to more benefits, whether at fault or not.

And refunds too

Vehicle owners who have already paid higher prices will get a refund. It will be a percentage of what they overpaid as at midnight 30 November 2017. This means the closer to 1 December they bought their green slip, the higher their refund. The government will pay out refunds from January 2018. People who are owed the most will be refunded first, for example, taxi and fleet owners.

Most people have no idea what CTP is and resent having to pay it. But they will surely welcome a refund of what they already paid. Car owners in NSW can use a simple online calculator [ ] to work out what their premium will be on the day their registration is due. They should get a nice surprise.

Media post: 2017 Dodge Challenger – A Real Muscle Car

Remember the muscle cars of the 1960s and 70s? Oh…of course you don’t, most of us are too young to have been there. How about the muscle cars in old movies that we’ve all seen on TV at one time or another? Okay, now we’re talking. The one that I always remember the most is the Dodge Challenger. It was the coolest of all the cool muscle cars.

The 2017 Dodge Challenger is pretty similar to its ancestors but its even cooler, and much more comfortable and way faster.  We were going to write about the different Challengers and the V-6 and V-8 engines that are optional and what they offer, but we just want to jump to the chase and take a look at the SRT Hellcat – the big dog of all Challengers and of all muscle cars.

The engine in the SRT is totally awesome…do people still talk like that? Anyway, it’s a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that pumps out 485 horses and flies like an eagle – so to speak. The SRT with that awesome engine under its hood can pretty much beat anything that challenges it at a surface street red light. On the other hand, there is a slightly faster monster Challenger SRT that flies like a rocket and no muscle car owner in his or her right mind will ever challenge it no matter where it is stopped. It’s the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that shovels out 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque.

The supercharged Hellcat lives up to its name and reputation. It kicks butt and doesn’t look back. By the way, you can see this beautiful and legendary muscle car at North Star Dodge. Just make sure you don’t cut in line if you’re going in for a test drive. We hear that people really want to drive the Hellcat. And no wonder…that supercharged SRT will hit 60 miles an hour from a dead stop in only 3.7 seconds. It has a top speed of over 200 miles per hour. We don’t think that the sales people will want you to actually go that fast, however, so just be patient and make sure you have your seat belt on just in case you accidentally push down on the accelerator when the sales guy is looking the other way.

Media post: The 2017 Nissan Armada is The Real Thing

SUVs should be big, versatile, rugged, luxurious, and they should have a lot of power. At least that’s what a lot of people have thought over the years but they really haven’t been able to find that combination of qualities until this year when the fully redone 2017 Nissan Armada came out. The Armada takes care of all the SUV wish lists and more.

It’s a full size SUV, not some scrawny little crossover that will just get you to work and back but not really anywhere else. The Armada can seat eight people very comfortably and tow an incredible amount of weight behind it smoothly and without complaints. The powerful V-8, 5.6-liter engine pumps out 390 horses with 394 pound-feet of torque, which means it can get you moving fast and get you anywhere you want to go in a hurry. The fuel economy is pretty good for an SUV this size and this good. It gets about 16 miles pre gallon combined with rear-wheel drive (city and highway driving) and about 13 with the all-wheel drive models. It can also easily tow up to 8,500 pounds.

You can see this super SUV at Central Avenue Nissan and take it for a test drive. You can also see all the wonderful features that are available on this great vehicle when you get there. The SV trim level comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, side steps, a full-size spare tire, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt and telescoping leather wrapped steering wheel, a second row bench seat, a 60/40 split third row seat, Bluetooth, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, satellite radio, 13 Bose speakers and much, much more. The SL level comes with 20-inch wheels, auto-dimming heated mirrors, automatic wipers, remote engine start, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, and among other features, a 360 degree top down parking camera with moving object warning. Some options include: a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, emergency automatic braking and blind-spot monitoring.

The top of the line Platinum trim comes with all the SL features, including the options, along with a heated steering wheel, rear seat entertainment system, blind-spot intervention system, two 7-inch headrest mounted displays, DVD player and the optional second row captain’s chairs are offered with a center console.

Media post: The 2017 Jeep Wrangler – The Origin of SUV

Way back when the phrase SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) wasn’t even thought of yet, there was, nevertheless, a real SUV on the road. Well, it was on the road in Europe and on islands in the Pacific Ocean. That was in the early 1940s and the SUV that we’re talking about was the original Jeep. That’s right, that olive green open air, open seating little utility vehicle that could climb hills and traverse the roughest terrain as it dodged bullets and grenades to get to safety.

It was World War Two and Americans had the coolest and arguably the best reconnaissance vehicle of any army in the world. It Was the Jeep. Right before the war started for us in 1940, a notice went out to auto manufacturers to come up with a design for a light vehicle that could multitask as a scout car and an overall durable vehicle that could climb rocks, hills, fallen trees and generally just do everything it could do to help win the war. (General Eisenhower later said that the Jeep was one of the things that helped win the war).

Several designs were submitted and prototypes were built and the army combined a few of the elements to ultimately come up with that famous green vehicle that is in so many thousands of WW2 photographs. The Jeep became so popular during the war that former military personnel bought up most of the surplus Jeeps that the government put up for sale when the war ended. When the Jeep manufacturers saw how fast they were selling, they decide to create the Civilian Jeep and designated it as the CJ. Those vehicles were incredibly successful. They were built until 1986 when the Jeep Wrangler replaced the CJ model and of course, we see how terrific the Wrangler is today. It is just carrying on a family tradition of four-wheeling and being able and very willing to go into rough territory where few other SUVs dare to venture.

The Jeep Wrangler, although a bit different in looks than its original ancestor, it still has the guts, the talent, the four-wheel capability and the love for the outdoors to be worthy of the name Jeep. You can see these great vehicles at Cuero Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram.

Media post: The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is all new this year

The 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage is a great little hatchback. It is affordable, stylish and gets incredible gas mileage. It’s also front-wheel drive, which is a real bonus when you need to maneuver in and out of traffic and any kind of weather conditions. The cool thing about this year’s Mirage is that it is practically a brand new car. That’s right, Mitsubishi pulled this subcompact off the market for an entire year just to upgrade and improve it.

The engine has been improved by four-horsepower and the brakes have been enlarged on all four wheels. There’s a new steering wheel, revised suspension tuning, newly designed headlights and taillights along with a great new bumper. The interior has been gone through also and the glossy black trim was a terrific idea because it gives the Mirage an element of “cool.” The interior also has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality that brings it into the future right now.

Safety is always a consideration at Mitsubishi and the Mirage has incorporated many safety features. There are front seat-side airbags, side curtain bags and a driver knee bag. Anti-lock brakes all around (rear drum and front disc), along with a traction and stability control system. On the GT and SE trim levels (there are three levels) the Mirage has a standard rearview camera and rear and front parking sensors are available as options on all levels of trim.

Speaking of safety, the Mirage was awarded the highest rating of “Good” by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for moderate overlap frontal offset, roof strength and side impact tests. For rear impact crashes the Mirage was also awarded “Good” for whiplash protection in its seat/head restraint design. The Mirage also earned high scores for frontal impact, side impact and over all crash protection.

Since the Mirage is well known for its economic value we should mention that the EPA’s estimate for this subcompact’s fuel use is 36 miles per gallon combined (city and highway). That’s with the manual five-speed transmission. The EPA goes even higher when judging the Mirage with the CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission). It gets 39 miles per gallon combined, which is almost incredible for a non-hybrid car. The Mirage is once again on the showroom floor just waiting for you to test drive it. Come see it at Lone Star Mitsubishi.

Media post: The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer is a great all wheel drive compact

This compact sedan will surprise you with all that it has to offer. The 2017 Mitsubishi Lancer is available in all-wheel drive, which is nice no matter where you live; it just makes your car safer and lets you drive in any kind of weather with peace of mind. Other standard features for the 2017 model year are the rearview camera and the 6.1-inch touchscreen. It has also received a front-end make over and the styling gives the Lancer the look and feel of much more expensive brands.

Besides being a great looking compact sedan, the Lancer has a strong 2.4-liter engine that provides quick acceleration and will get you where you want to go on time and on schedule. That get up and go comes in all three trim levels: ES, SE and SEL. The base trim level is the ES and it comes with 16-inch alloy wheels LED running lights, integrated turn signals, automatic climate control, Heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, 6.1-inch touchscreen interface, CD player, rearview camera, USB port and a sound system.

The SE has some additional features like a six-speaker sound system, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, sport tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels. If you select the SEL trim level you’re going to get all the SE’s features plus automatic wipers, upgraded interior, leather upholstery, a leather wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and automatic headlights. Some of the options that are available on all Lancer trim levels are: LED fog lights, rear parking sensors, a rear spoiler, a 7-inch touchscreen and a navigation system.

The 2017 Mitsubishi lancer has great fuel economy. The EPA estimated the Lancer will give you 28 miles per gallon combined with a manual transmission and 30 miles per gallon with a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission). That is with the 2.0-liter engine. When driving the 2.4-liter motor and all-wheel drive, the EPA gives the Lancer an estimated 26 miles per gallon combined. You can test drive a Lancer with either one of these engines at West Loop Mitsubishi.

The Lancer has plenty of safety features such as, traction and stability control, driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags, front seat side airbags, rearview camera and antilock disc brakes. It has earned high safety marks from IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for overall frontal protection and side protection, side impact, roof strength, moderate overlap front impact and head restraint.