Auto Advice & Tips

11/05/2014

2015 International Car Award Finalists Revealed

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Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for 2015 International Car of the Year

Road & Travel Magazine Announces Top 5 Finalists for
2015 International Car of the Year

Los Angeles, CA – November 4, 2014 - Road & Travel  Magazine (RTM) is proud to announce its top 5 finalists for the 2015  International Car of the Year (ICOTY). Listed alphabetically, they are the BMW i3;  Hyundai Genesis; Kia K900; Kia Soul EV; and the Mazda Mazda6.

The mission of the ICOTY Award is to put emphasis on the  emotional connection between car and consumer in addition to how well  automakers achieve that goal through the marketing of their vehicles directly to  consumers through international and national campaigns. [Click here for full release]

12/11/2012

Winterizing Your Vehicle

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Tips for Winterizing your Car

Winterizing Your Car Under the Hood &
Things to Carry in the Trunk, Just in Case of Breakdown

Snow might be pretty to look at, but it sure makes vehicle maintenance (and driving) more of a chore, doesn't it?

Here are some tips that will make it a breeze to winterize your car:

  • Check windshield wiper blades to make sure they work properly. In some areas, snow blades are an effective alternative to conventional wiper blades.

  • Check your anti-freeze/coolant to provide the correct level of protection required in your driving area.

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Letting air out to drive in snow can reduce the gripping action of tires because the tread will not meet the road surface as it was designed to do. Over-inflation has the same effect.

  • Use dedicated snow and ice tires if you live in.  Click here to see all tips

11/11/2012

When is it Too Old to Drive?

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When is Too Old to Drive?

What to Do When Your Loved One Should Stop Driving

by Courtney Caldwell

Americans are living longer than ever before thanks to healthier lifestyles, increased exercise, greater awareness about nutrition, and more advanced medications to either control or delay the onset of typical old age maladies. If seniors can be found jogging or playing tennis today, then when do they become too old to get behind the wheel of an automobile?

Seniors
Seniors Want to Maintain Freedom

My parents drove well into their 80s and until then were in good physical and mental health. Then, my father began having seizures, which later turned out to be the result of advanced lung cancer. He wisely removed himself from the road. Once a very active man (he worked until he was 85), he became a housebound senior who slept, ate, watched TV and waited for the cancer to take his life. Without his mobility, he was bored and actually looked forward to going to chemotherapy just to get out of the house. Full story

07/10/2012

Why Now is the Best Time to Shop for a New Car

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Why Now is the Best Time to Shop For & Buy a New Vehicle

People often ask when the best time is to buy a new car. There are many different answers. It all depends on your needs. Below are some of the factors to consider...

Winter
The colder, nastier months are typically the low point of the year for auto sales. Since business is slow, you may find some excellent deals. However, since customers are scarce, you may find some very hungry salespeople who could be a bit pushy. If you are in the market for a convertible, buy during the winter. 

Spring/Early Summer
The beginning of the season. President's day starts the real upswing in automotive salesafter the winter. Dealerships try and get the season started with the holiday sale, and you will find the industry is getting busy.

Late Summer/Fall
Late summer and early fall is when dealers push great deals and sales the hardest because they need to make room on the lot for the upcoming new-year models. Look for plenty of television commercials starting from July through October each year offering much lower prices, higher rebates, and other great deals. 

Click here to link to full story! 

 

05/25/2012

Driving Solo Across the U.S. - Expect the Unexpected

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TrucksOur cross-country tour for women traveling alone has gone remarkably well so far sans a few bumps and bruises, which are to be expected. First of all, the weather has been perfect every mile of the way with clear blue sky's every day in every state. That in itself has been a surprise although I've always found May to be a good month to do road trips. Traffic, especially considering we're running into Memorial Day Weekend, has been very light, very few delays, which has been a welcomed surprise.

Our U-Haul Truck has been performing flawlessly and very easy to handle. It's funny to see the looks on people's faces when I jump out at gas stations... at 5'1" tall, it's clear they don't expect someone of my size and stature to be driving such a large vehicle but I believe I'm living proof that size doesn't matter. I don't have to carry the truck... I just have to drive it.

My journey from Indiania to Missouri this week had some pretty rough roads. I would have to day that both Missouri and Oklahoma (so far) had the worst roads as far as poor construction in need of a lot of work. Sure, there was plenty of road work going on but it sure did seem like they were far behind, perhaps budgetary issues. It made for driving the U-Haul a little rough around the edges forcing me to drive very slowly as not to break every last thing in the back of the truck.

These are some of the unexpected things you'll run into on the road for which you just cannot plan. Yes, you can allow extra time each day for unexpected things such as delays or road work, perhaps an extra hour or two just in case, but there's no telling just how bad each freeway in each state will be until you get there. While the truck handled each bump and bruise quite well the bad roads did cause a slow down, which cost time, so it's important to allow extra time for the unexpected. And there will be many... this is just one of them.

Another issue bad roads cost is gas which reduces your miles per gallon. With bad roads and having to stop and go frequently, it puts more demand on your fuel, which ultimately uses more gas forcing you to fill up more often than expected and costing more money. Gas prices do fluctuate throughout the country starting north of $4.30 in eastern states then slowly lowering as you enter midwestern states. Some places were as low as $3.30 per gallon, a whole dollar difference. When you consider your truck takes 30 gallons of gas to fill up, that's a big difference in savings. My point is, choose your gas stations wisely... most service area stops along the Interstates are fairly reasonable but when you get into the southern midwest part of the US there are tiny drive-through towns that offer gas stations at one end at $4.60 per gallon, as they try to hook you as you enter their tiny town, but if you drive a little further into town, you'll find other stations mid-town at $3.60 per gallon. Funny, as I left this little town of Holbrook, the last station out was also expensive. Don't wait until your tank is near empty or 1/4 full because it leaves you with a sense of urgency which may cause you to jump at the first gas station you find, which could be the most expensive. Leave plenty of wiggle room in your tank to find a reasonably priced station as there are many across our great land.

I leave you today with this caution however... choose your stops wisely. Do not stop at truck stops. There are many service areas along the Interstates that look like huge country homes, easy on and easy off the freeway, populated with many families and plenty of stores and restaurants. These are the stops you want to make, one stop for everything. They're clean, safe, and keep you on the move by making fewer stops down the road.

People tell me all the time how courageous it is to make such a long journey alone and while those are kind words, it's not about courage, it's about knowledge. And knowledge is power. When you do your research and homework on your road trip, you arm yourself with all the necessary tools to keep yourself safe on the road. Tomorrow we'll talk about how to achieve the best MPG for your vehicle. 

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Our deepest thanks to U-Haul (@Uhaul on Twitter and @UHaulCompany)and Bridgestone for making this journey possible. My goal is to help educate women on the tips and tricks of staying safe and sane on the road especially for those who don't do road trips very often. There's no need to be afraid... especially once you have a plan of action in the works.

To read more tips on Women Traveling Alone, click here.

05/23/2012

Women Traveling Solo - Safety Tips for Trip

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Driving Solo: First Weekend of Road Trip to LA

U-Haul - A better way to moveThe stars must have been aligned the first weekend of our "Women Traveling Alone" Safety Tour as every tree that lined the freeways was in full bloom with rich and radiant hues of green abundant against a pure blue sky. Norman Rockwell couldn't have painted a much more scenic backdrop himself.

Making it from Rhode Island via Canada to Detroit in my 17' U-Haul Truck (@Uhaul on Twitter and @UHaulCompany)over the weekend, which was loaded to the gills, took 2 days allowing only 300 miles on day one and 400 miles on day two. For some reason, the truck didn't like either Canada or Sonoco gas as it gave a few hiccups and burps throughout the country. Fortunately, it got over its little cold the next day. Not sure what that was all about but delighted it ended. Lessons learned, the earlier you start your road trip, the better all around. And here are a few reasons why.

1. If you are going through Canada or Mexico, make sure you have an up-to-date valid license and passport. Nowadays, you can get just a passport card instead of a full passport for crossing these borders however you cannot fly with a card. You must have a full passport to fly. The passport card looks just like a license only with different info on it plus it's less expensive than a full passport. Allow at least 8 weeks before your trip to apply, which you can do online. If you're driving a moving truck, RV, big van or anything of the like, be prepared to be pulled over for an inspection if the border agents feel there's anything suspicious going on with you or your vehicle. I thought for sure driving a big moving van they'd pull me over, especially after 911, but they didn't entering Canada or the USA but I did see them pull over a few ahead of me. So, make sure your dirty laundry is not the first thing they see should they open the back of your truck.

2. As a woman driving alone, you want to drive during daylight hours, allowing for unexpected stops or delays. While traffic was unusally clear over the weekend, it took some time to get used to handling the loaded U-Haul and how even the slightest breeze affected the steering of such a high profile vehicle. The difference between driving an empty truck home from the U-Haul lot to driving a truck fully loaded with thousands of pounds of furniture is considerably different. It definitely required 2 hands on the wheel at all times.

3. There a hundreds of 18-wheelers on the freeway and while most are professionally trained drivers, and you are not, it can be daunting to have so many pass at high speeds causing wind gusts in their wake, which can make your moving truck a little swirly, so plenty to get used to which takes a little time but after awhile you get your groove on and get in the zone and learn the ways of the road.

4. When you leave early, you also leave plenty of time for gas stops or traffic delays, without getting your knickers in a knot about arriving late or after dark. At the end of each day, assuming it's still light out, I like to fill up with gas to quicken the morning start. I use the evenings and mornings in my room to reorganize notes, call ahead to the next hotel to confirm ETA, and prepare my food for the next day's drive so there's no fiddling around inside the cabin of the truck trying to find something to eat. All that I need is within eye and arm reach, allowing for a safe drive and less stop time. Less stop time means less time outside the cabin of the truck and more miles on the road.

So far, so good, however I do have to say how surprising I find it to see so many young women at some of these roadside travel service areas barely dressed, taking photos of each other, posing and giggling, just having harmless fun, yet from where I sit in the high profile U-Haul as I pull in, I also see men sitting in their cars, backed into a remote shaded spot, watching, staring, glaring... and the young women haven't a clue. One guy in an old Pontiac Firebird saw me pull up as he watched two girls taking photos of each other and for whatever reason, drove away in a hurry when I pointed at him. That's all it took. Whether he felt busted or was just on his way out we'll never know but his departure was unusual and behavior suspicious.

The goal of this journey is to help educate women of all ages, pay attention to your surroundings! There's always someone watching!

Bridgestone TiresOur sincere thanks to Bridgestone Tire and U-Haul (@Uhaul on Twitter and @UHaulCompany) for sponsoring this 'Women Driving Solo" safety tour. Through their support, we're able to help educate more women about personal safety on the road.

To read our opening story on this journey, 'Women Traveling Alone' please visit us at Road & Travel Magazine, and read about the journey of Sacajawea, the young Indian woman (teen) who helped lead the 1804 Lewis & Clark Expedition to a safe conclusion.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for more tips of how to stay safe and sane on the road. I'll also share gas saving tips and how to better your MPG... leaving a lighter footprint.

05/17/2012

U-Haul & Bridgestone Sponsor Women Traveling Alone Safety Tour

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Women Traveling Alone - Focusing on Your Personal Safety

Traveling Alone – What Women Need to Know Before They Go!

Sponsored by U-Haul & Bridgestone Tires

by Courtney Caldwell

Driving around town is an everyday occurrence for most of us. Errands, going to and from work, picking up kids at school or soccer, grocery shopping, visiting family and friends, a girls’ night out… you know your area like the back of your hand.

But, what about driving into territory beyond your borders? Do you have a fear of driving outside your comfort zone? Do you worry about getting lost or even worse, followed?

The number one reason women stick close to home is fear of the unknown, what to do, what not to do, how to keep yourself safe on the road in unknown territory, never ming where to begin in the planning process of a big road trip. Whether you’re planning an across-country or across-town move, the very first place to begin your journey is with your homework and advanced planning.

I’m about to embark on a 3200-mile cross-country journey, driving a 17' U-Haul truck, and yes, all by myself. When I tell people of the road trip, they look at me dazed and confused, and then after a short pause ask, ‘you’re driving alone?’ That one question in itself speaks volumes to how much education is needed for women, and many men, on how to plan a road trip with fun, not fear.

Doing your homework and pre-planning are essential in making your journey safe and sane… whether across town or across country. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80, as long as you carefully plan out every detail of your trip's route, hotel stays, gas stops, navigation, and every detail of your trip, you'll arrive at your destination safely.

U-Haul Moving TrucksIt is such an honor to have U-Haul as our ‘Women Traveling Alone’ road trip safety sponsor for a variety of reasons one of which is their connection and support to a young Shoshone Indian girl named Sacajawea, who served as an interpreter and guide on the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1804. Her heroism in numerous life-saving contributions helped lead their two-year journey to a safe and successful conclusion.

Sacajawea, just a young teen at the time, not only provided guidance for hundreds of miles through the tough terrain of the northwest Rockies, then known as the Louisiana Purchase territory, she also demonstrated extraordinary courage and strength during numerous life-threatening events, often emerging as the hero who saving lives and supplies from devastating weather, potential enemy threats, and from capsized canoes. Sacajawea became known as the first woman to be included in a democratic vote on the all-male crew, sharing her knowledge and experience as to which route to take for most access to hunting for food and safe shelter in the wild.

In honor of Sacajawea, U-Haul has painted her mural on both sides of our moving truck to celebrate her accomplishments and help shed light on her exceptional contributions to the beginning of what shaped the U.S. today. Her story is one of bravery and the true meaning of persistence.

Her contributions were chronicled by Lewis & Clark in their personal diaries naming Sacajawea as the only person on the expedition who never complained or panicked when confronted with dangerous or devastating circumstances. Level-headed and fierce, she faced each event as it came, contributing significantly to a successful and safe outcome.

Sacajawea was married to a Frenchman twice her age, who had traded her for goods and supplies with a tribe who had kidnapped her at 12 (away from her Shoshone family and friends). While little is known about her husband’s contributions to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Sacajawea’s accomplishments earned her a place in American history. Add to that, her journey included a pregnancy, childbirth in the wild, and then carrying her infant on her back during the expedition. The baby boy nicknamed Pompey, spent the first two years of his life living right along side his brave mother.

Sacajawea’s story is one of true courage and inspiration. It is with great pride that I have the opportunity to share her story as I traverse the U.S. in my 17’ U-Haul truck with her mural painted on each side, sharing her tale with everyone I meet along the way.

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2011 International Car and Truck of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel MagazineWe'd also like to extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to long-time partner and sponsor, Bridgestone Tires, for their support of tire safety and helping people understand how to choose the right tires for their vehicle. As one of the leading tire companies in the world, Bridgestone is committed to not only helping women stay safe on the road but also to keeping our environment clean with their One Team One Planet message. Bridgestone Americas is dedicated to achieving a positive environmental impact in all of the communities it calls home. This commitment includes efforts such as developing tires with improved fuel economy, manufacturing products and providing services in an environmentally responsible way, and establishing wildlife habitat and education programs.

Reduce environmental footprint - Save gas: When driving long distances or larger vehicles it's important to remember that the faster you go the more gas you'll use. So keep in mind as you plan your route and how many miles you'll drive each day, also plan to stay within the speed limit and stay to the right on 2-or more lane roads to allow cars to pass on your left. By reducing your speed, starting and stopping slower, you'll not only achieve better gas mileage and save money, you'll also be reducing your environmental footprint. This issue is important to all of us but our sponsors, Bridgestone and U-Haul, are international companies contributing significantly to help this cause. 

For more information to keep yourself safe on the road, click here.

 

05/03/2012

Safety Tips for Traveling with Your Pets

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RTM's Annual Traveling with Your Pet Issue : How to Keep Your Furry Friends from Freaking Out on the Road

Road & Travel Magazine - 2012 Traveling with Pets Issue

Traveling with Your Pets - How to Keep Them Safe

Camping with Canines & Cats
6000 campgrounds pamper your pets

Hot Cars Cause Heat Stroke in Pets
Pets suffer same demise as kids

Gnawing at Numbers - Pet Travel Stats
America has more pets than people

B&B's Welcome Pets with Perks
Bed & Breakfast Bits for Bowser

Air Travel Tips for Cats & Dogs
Onboard or in the belly?

Transporting Your Vehicle
How to ship your car across country

Pet Travel Hotel Directory
Posh places to park your pooch

Pet Travel Insurance
Protect your pet on the road

Restraining Order for Pets
Protect pet from becoming projectile

Which Cars are Best for Pet Travel?
Choosing the right ride for Fido

Pet Petters Ploy for Stolen Purse
What to do if stolen when traveling?

Common Courtesy - Rules of the Road
8 Tips for common driving courtesy

For more information on Pet Travel Tips, click here.

07/07/2011

The E-Bike Debate: Is It For You?

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This recent article in Sierra Magazine (Look, It's a Cheatercycle!) got us thinking about the pros and cons of electric bicycles, gaining in popularity - especially in urban areas - as fuel prices continue to climb. The power-assisted bikes, which store energy as you peddle and then return power to the rider as needed (cyclists can usually choose "low" or "high" assist settings) are a godsend when commuting to and from work on sticky, humid days, but to many cycling purists are known as lazy man's gear. 

We vote in favor of e-bikes, especially when they're used as an alternative to automotive transporation. Take, for instance, an urban professional who typically drives or rides the train into work. Switching to an e-bike, even two days a week, significantly cuts carbon emissions - and also gets you a decent work out at the same time (minus the sweat incurred on a traditional bike). In our eyes, it's a win-win! 

If you haven't considered an e-bike yet, now's the time to take a look at the latest technologies available. Companies like Pedego Electric Bikes offer a selection of electric options, or you can go straight to a manufacturer like Optibike (hand-crafted here in the USA) for a more limited, but custom selection. Prices range widely on current bikes, but expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 upward for a reliable and well-made bike. (Keep in mind the savings you'll reap if you're able to ditch your vehicle!)

Is an e-bike in your future? Or, have you already converted? Share your story or suggestions in the comments.

07/05/2011

Road-Trip-Ready Vehicles for Summer 2011

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Cruze

American drivers love to spend their vacations hitting the open road. For those in the market for a new vehicle that they hope to log plenty of miles in while traveling, we've got your top vehicle picks for road trips.

"Since the invention of the automobile, Americans have enjoyed taking road trips. From wood-paneled station wagons to oversized conversion vans, most Americans have grown up taking road trips with their family and friends," said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information. "Today's American road trips come in many different forms: family vacations, mancations, girlfriend getaways, romantic excursions and more. And the ideal vehicle for a road trip can come in as many different forms depending on where you want the road to take you and who will be joining you for the ride."

If you're about to embark on a cross-country trip, you'll want a set of wheels that's both economical and eco-friendly. Take a peek at the front-runners below, which offer plenty of cargo space, great mileage and most importantly, a fun driving experience:

Chevrolet Cruze Eco – From the Cavalier to the Cobalt to the Cruze, each generation of compact Chevrolet vehicles has been an improvement from the previous, and the Cruze is no exception. AAA Auto Buying experts tested the "Eco" version with a six-speed manual transmission, which is the non-hybrid gasoline fuel economy leader in its size category. It also received a five-star overall rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) more stringent new crash test program. AAA found the Cruze Eco to be a good value with impressive fuel economy, making it a smart pick for road trip lovers on a budget. For those looking to take more than two on their road trip, the Cruze lacks rear cup holders and a center armrest, and the rear seat may be cramped for tall passengers. 

Ford Focus – A definite improvement over the previous version, the new 2012 Ford Focus drives very nicely with above average ride and handling. Fuel economy and engine performance also are very good and highway cruising is impressively quiet for the small car field, making it a top pick for road trips. As with other cars in the category, it's ideal for two travelers as the backseat can be a bit cramped. 

Toyota Prius – The Toyota Prius is a road trip top pick because it's roomy, comfortable and economical. The hatchback design makes for exceptional flexibility, as well. The hybrid drivetrain sips fuel, and with careful driving, it can push fuel economy well past 50 mpg. However, for those who love engaging and sporty vehicles for their road trips, the Prius may not be the right choice. It's a secure and predictable ride, but not engaging to drive. 

Ford Escape Hybrid - For families with a bit more to tow, we can't leave the Escape Hybrid off this list. It's roomy cabin is perfect for a long ride and its expanded sun roof lets in lots of light. Driving in either pure electric mode, or with the gasoline-powered engine, fuel economy evens out to be great bang for the buck, and let's not forget the ability to tow a trailer or camper if needed. (Hey, sometimes a tent just isn't enough.)

Source: AAA, Road & Travel