Category Archives: Recommended

Recommended automotive news and information.

4 Wheel Drive In Snow Is Not 4 Wheel Brakes

4 Wheel Drive vehicles are fantastic to have in snow emergency situations, especially like those currently striking the Midwest.  I personally have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that gets me around in the snow, ice, mud, and whatever else gets thrown my way.  It instills confidence in myself and my wife’s driving when behind the wheel during questionable conditions.  The 4 wheel drive also allows us to provide services to friends and families who are unable to get out during the 8 inches of snow that have fallen in the past 24 hours.  But when we are out running, we also play it smart, by respecting the 4 wheel drive.

Having 4 wheel drive allows easier movement and perhaps even a more controlled movement in adverse weather conditions like snow.  However, introduce ice and having 4 wheel drive does nothing for stopping and can complicate matters during certain maneuvers.  When possible, only use part-time 4 wheel drive.  Moving at highway speeds in all wheel 4 wheel drive can cause instability and becomes less safe than moving in along snow and ice in normal 2 wheel rear-wheel drive.

Still allow time to stop before an intersection, you will not be stopping any better than that small Honda Civic in front of you.  Consider the life left in your tires when setting out on a wintery mix adventure, 4 wheels might be turning but if there is no grip left, it’s all for naught.

Go prepared, don’t think you are immune to being stranded while driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  Make sure your vehicle is stocked with snacks, water, blankets, and first aid kits, should the worse happen.  During a blizzard most towing companies will not come to your aid until after the storm passes, so you may be stranded for hours.  Those shriveled up raisins start looking awfully tasty after setting for 3 hours in total darkness.

Lastly, if you don’t have to be out, just stay home.  Don’t go play with your 4 wheel drive, let the emergency vehicles and road workers do their job.  Don’t risk becoming another emergency phone call into 911, if you are able to stay home, make some hot chocolate and enjoy being snowed in.

5 Gifts For The Automotive Enthusiast

Christmas music is already playing in stores, which is our signal to start preparing for the gift giving season.  According to my mother, automtive enthusiasts are the most difficult people to buy for.  I think the difficulty comes from not understanding the hobby, as there are plenty of gifts across all price points.  These are my Top 5 gifts I would love to receive and I’m pretty sure anyone interested in anything auto would be happy to be gifted these presents as well.

1. Mechanics Gloves – These gloves are specially designed to fit tight and have grips in all the right areas.  I picked up my first pair a few years ago and now I’ll never do without.  They are rugged enough to keep my hands from being cut up, yet thin enough for me to maintain complete motion and feel in my fingers.  Perfect for picking up nuts and bolts, and staying warm.  A nice pair of Mechanic gloves can be picked up for as little as $20.

2. Small Mechanic Tool Set – My favorite tool sets are Craftsman brand, which usually have no more than 50-60 pieces.  The smaller size makes them perfect to keep in the car or truck and be versatile enough to handle most small jobs.  Pricing usually ranges from $30 to $60.  Even if the person you are buying for has one, these are great to keep as spares, I personally can attest to losing more than my share of sockets.

3. Blu-Ray Car Movies – Looking to spend under $20, no problem, DVDs and Blu-Rays may be the answer.  There are plenty of car movies to choose from that feature hot rods.  Gone in 60 Seconds, American Graffiti, Fast and The Furious Series, and Vanishing Point are just a few suggestions that make great stocking stuffers for the gear heads on your Christmas list.

4. Just In Case Kit – This is a great gift to give to someone, even if they aren’t an auto enthusiast.  Basically anyone that drives a car should have a Just In Case Kit, for safety reasons.  This kit will usually include a flash light, jumper cables, flares, road cones, first aid kit, and a few basic tools.  Pricing will vary, but will starts around $40, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind.  The winters get real cold around here, so being prepared will pay off in spades.

[quote type=”center”]it’s hard to have the internet under a 57 Chevy with you[/quote]

5. Haynes or Chilton Manuals – This gift requires you to know what kind of vehicle the gift receiver owns.  However, having these useful manuals are a God send for anyone looking to get their hands dirty.  Usually these manuals won’t set you back to far, they can be bought and ship for $25 online.  You may be thinking, but they have the internet, why do they want some old print book on how to break down a car.  Haynes and Chilton have mastered the art of putting words to pictures and are extremely thorough on an entire model car.  Finding information on line is difficult and spotty at best when looking up specifics, plus it’s hard to have the internet under a 57 Chevy with you.

Hope these great gift giving ideas help for the upcoming 2012 Holidays.

Mercedes Ener-G-Force Crazy Prototype

Mercedes will be showing off their latest prototype at the Los Angeles auto show and it is truly a bulbous racket to see.  Imagine an xTerra that’s been injected with silicone and it was not done by a qualified doctor.  Mercedes seems to believe that this may actually become a production SUV and not just an attention starter at the show.

Unfortunately for show goers who are interested in the guts of the Ener-G-Force SUV, there are none.  There is no drive train, no engine, and no interior to gawk at, only a very eccentric shell.  The idea, according to Mercedes, is that if this prototype is ever put into production, lets say around 2025, then it will be powered by an engine that does not exist yet.  Ideally a hydrogen powered mill would force this SUV out of the city lights and into fly over country and to do this it would have to be energy sound.  They claim that the technology envisioned for such an SUV does not exist yet, but they are willing to try.

Realistically the Ener-G-Force will never be put into production, but Mercedes wants to hear what you think about the lines or lack thereof.  Will buyers be drawn to the curvy and accentuated fenders and handle less doors?  Or will they simply ignore what any of the consumers think and go the way of the Chevy Volt, where the actual production model doesn’t even resemble a distant cousin of the prototype brought to show?

2012 Camaro ZL1 Rims

2012 Camaro ZL1

The latest iteration of the Chevrolet Camaro, the Zeta platform, has been out for 2 years now.  I still feel the same way, nice motor, nice exterior, absolutely horrible interior and execution.  You don’t have to look very far to find that Camaro has had some serious paint problems and visibility inside is horrendous.  Why haven’t these issues been addressed or at least publicly announced that they are or will be fixed?

Now we have an updated Camaro, known as the ZL1, which has plenty of the aforementioned good sides.  A 6.2 liter super-charged engine brings plenty of meat to the 2nd pony car.  Although it’s not like all that displacement is bringing absurd amounts of power, 580 horses is all that the Camaro brings to the table, which is only slightly more than the 5.4 that Ford offers in their Shelby GT500. (The 2013 Shelby GT500 announces power gains of up to 660 hp!! -ed.)

Strictly speaking, the outside of the Camaro ZL1 is slightly different than a standard Camaro purchased from any dealership.  The ZL1 has some pretty new badges and some phat shoes to roll around on.  Which, in my opinion are what makes the car, these rims give the Camaro body a very aggressive look and aid in the actual handling of the gas guzzling sports car.

Gas shouldn’t be a concern to people who are planted firmly in Chevrolet’s target market.  Expect to spend $55k before taxes and possibly a little more depending on availability and how rabid Chevy fans are for this new Camaro.

Aventador, All New Lambo Pushing 700hp

Lamborghini has always been known for their high horsepower pavement ripping works of art, this only makes it more difficult for them to raise the bar.  Their answer is the Aventador, a 700 horsepower V12 capable of doing 0-60 in 2.9 seconds and doing so in a recognizable canvas.

My first impression of the Aventador is that it looks like a stretched Gallardo, with slightly more aggressive lines.  I imagine the larger wheel base and stretched appearance lends itself to a more stable ride at max speed, somewhere around 217 mph.  Also, thanks to advancements in weight positioning, the 6.5 liter engine seated over the rear tires allows for breakneck 0-60 times of 2.9 seconds.

The Aventador comes in a variety of color combinations and options, including 2 solid paint options of either black, yellow, or optional white.  In addition, there are 4 different metallic colors, 4 pearl orange effects, and 3 different matte finishes.

How much does the Lamborghini Aventador cost?  If you have to ask, it doesn’t matter, especially considering all 2011 models have already been spoken for.  Ok, if you must know, the 2011 Aventador has a list price of $387,000.  Get in line now for the 2012 model year and bring your check book.