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An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for November, 2012

Driving in a Winter Wonderland…

Posted by carsdiva on November 19, 2012

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are just around the corner, and with that comes cold weather, and probably snow.  Sure, if you live in a place like Cali or the sunshine state, you probably don’t have to worry about this, but for those of us in the north, central or eastern parts of the country, it’s inevitable.  If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to winterize your car. Well, at least if you want to [try to] avoid the hassles that accompany driving during the winter season.

Thanks to a recent post by shopautoweek.com, along with a few of my own tips, here’s a list of items to check or perform on your vehicle before the heart of the cold season hits:

  1. Tires.  Check the tread depth of your tires.  Summer driving tends to wear out the tread depth quicker than winter, and the last thing you want is to feel like you’re on a slip and slide during a snow fall.  Furthermore, if your vehicle is equipped with low-profile tires, it’s time switch to either all-season or snow tires.  They provide more traction and can be the distinguishing factor as to whether you’re smooth sailing over the river and through the woods, or stuck fish-tailing.  Trust me, I can tell you from experience I’ve been there before and it’s a slippery slope— no pun intended.
  2. Wheel Alignment.  Most of you probably know what it feels like when your wheels are misaligned– you loosen your grip on the steering wheel and the car drifts left or right, or if it’s really bad, you find yourself struggling to keep your vehicle on its intended path.  Imagine this combined with slippery conditions— double-trouble.  Avoid the headache and get your wheels properly aligned.
  3. Fluids.  Time to check your fluid levels. If you drive an automatic transmission vehicle (like the vast majority of Americans), this is especially pertinent to you.  Cold weather is harsher on your transmission, and besides, it’s suggested that you change the fluid and filters every 30,000 miles for optimal performance and protection.  Also check your antifreeze, (aka coolant), which keeps the water in your radiator and engine from freezing in cold temperatures.
  4. Wiper Blades.  No explanation necessary.  Check your blades, and if necessary, replace them.  They always seem to malfunction when it’s down-pouring, or worse, during a snowstorm.  It’s also a good idea to check your windshield washer fluid at this time.  As outside conditions worsen, and salt and dirty snow cover your windshield, you’ll need an abundance of fluid to keep it clean.  Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a frost-bitten face, as you hang your head out the window to see what’s ahead.
  5. Battery.  It’s one thing to jump your car in the summer, and another when the temperature is below zero. Be sure to keep cables in your car should the need arise, especially if you drive an older vehicle.  (Note: batteries lose power in the cold.)
  6. Service.  Do you have any “check” lights on that you’ve been procrastinating to investigate?  Get your car serviced immediately.  If you’re having car troubles now, you can be almost guaranteed that they’ll really surface with the drop in temperature.
  7. GAS. Keep your tank full (and no, I’m not talking about increasing your intake of beans, folks.)  Should you follow steps 1-6 and your car still breaks down, you’ll thank me.  If you’re stuck on the side of the road during inclement weather conditions, you’ll want to keep your car running for the heat.

A couple of additional reminders to add– keep a snow brush and ice scraper on hand, and your cell phone (in case of emergencies, of course.)  Though you can’t control the winter weather conditions, you can certainly do your best to prepare for them!

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Posted in Maintain your Ride | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

See It, Saw It….SEMA 2012

Posted by carsdiva on November 5, 2012

After two days of walking [part of] the over 2 million square feet of exhibits, I was exhausted and my feet were swollen…but it was well worth it!  To give you a bit of background, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), the auto industry’s premier specialty products trade show in the world, attracts more than 100,000 people and it’s not open to the general public– it brings in auto industry people from the all over the world.  The show is held at the quintessential adult play-land– none other than Viva Las Vegas, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  (I mean really, what other destination would attract so many car guys and gals?) Here are a few of the highlights from my experience, (the show is so massive so my apologies, I didn’t get to see it all,) and lots of pics:

SEMA 2012

For those of you that don’t know, the SEMA award is awarded to those vehicle models that are viewed by specialty equipment manufacturers as the best platform to accessorize, and also showcase the year’s coolest products.  Kudos to Ford, for being honored with two awards– the “Hottest Car” award went to the Ford Mustang & the F-Series was chosen as the “Hottest Truck.”  Other recipients included Scion FR-S (Hottest Sport Compact), Jeep Wrangler (Hottest 4×4-SUV).  And speaking of Jeep, how about that recent auto-industry targeted commercial from Romney?  Struck up a bit of controversy, to say the least.  But enough about that…

EF-65 hand cleaner— AMAZING. Tried and tested. I heard the whole story from the guy behind the product, and it was quite compelling nonetheless (more to follow at a later date).  In the meantime, to give you a brief overview, I did watch him scribble ink on a piece of velour, then use the product to remove the stain in a matter of seconds.  (I almost felt like I was part of an infomercial.) Plus, it’s eco-friendly– buzz word in of the moment in every industry.  Therefore it’s non-toxic, biodegradable, good for your skin, and won’t dry it out. Admit it guys, I know the latter may be more appealing up front to the ladies, but you don’t want dry hands either– and the “ladies” in your life sure don’t want your hands to be dry. Furthermore, I received a sample, so of course I tried it when I got home to really see the action (i.e. mysterious red stain on my carpet that wouldn’t come out for nothing).  And guess what, it worked….carpet is now white again, and my hands are still soft.  So yes, it’s also multi-functional.  Made in the USA, it’s a gem in the garage, but fabulous for everything else too.

GoPro—  I’m sure most of you have read the recent articles on the launch of the HERO3, and the excitement at their SEMA booth was not disappointing. The HERO3– the major showcase, is 25% lighter, 30% smaller, and features WiFi capabilities, and the most coveted “Black Edition” offers ultra-wide angle HD video streaming at 1080p-60fps, and captures 12MP (megapixel) photos at 30 photos per second.  Silver and white editions offer a more affordable price point. In the GoPro booth, you could find the rest of the on-fire line of GoPro products, celebrity autograph signings, giveaways, and so forth.  It was huge, and at any point you walked by the vicinity, there were tons of people milling around.

Ford— Inside the convention center, Ford took up an entire wall of one of the halls, showcasing their latest models, customized and accessorized to the max, and outside, you could find “Ford Out Front.” Featuring their current star drivers and racing vehicles, in this area were also high-performance drivers drifting and doing all kinds of tricks to keep you entertained.

General Motors— Seeing the much anticipated debut of the Chevy Camaro Hot Wheels Edition— the first-ever, production Hot Wheels vehicle, was exciting in itself, and brought me back to my childhood.  Then outside, between the South and Central Halls, General Motors had quite the ensemble set up with their proving ground, giving attendees the opportunity to take a hot lap in vehicles like the Chevy Camaro and the Chevy Corvette, amongst others.  Unfortunately the line was super long and I didn’t have time to wait, but I sure did smell the tires burning all day!

And now for the best part… the pictures.  Enjoy!

Oooh La La Ferrari….showcasing Seibon carbon fiber.

It wouldn’t be Vegas without the showgirls presenting Ford with an award.

Vehicles of the future…driving themselves.

Kia and DC Entertainment = superhero themed cars

One of the KIA “superhero” themed cars.

All-new Ford Fusion!

Ford F-Series receives the SEMA Award for “Hottest Truck”

The GM Proving Ground– checkout the Chevy Camaro and the Chevy Corvette….

Quite the Dodge display- red carpet all the way.

Ford showcases a classic!

NASCAR!!!

This guy seemed pretty excited to be here….

Check out the paint job and the rims on this Cadillac!

And one of my favorites- the Audi R8….

Miss Painless Performance….what exactly that refers to, I’m not sure.

Posted in Car News & Trends, CarsDiva News | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »