Archive for the ‘Car Accessories’ Category

Lost Car Keys: An Expensive Lesson in Organization

April 5th, 2013

Car keys

If everything in life happens for a reason, I can only assume there’s a lesson on organization in losing one’s car keys.

There was a time when losing keys wasn’t that big a deal. A copy of a copied spare could be made for about $1.50, and life would get back to normal. Even if no spares were around, a locksmith could whip up a replacement in no time flat, or a new lock and/or ignition could be picked up at the local auto parts store and installed in an afternoon.

Losing keys to a vehicle made in the last decade, though, spells real trouble. Real expensive trouble!

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With New Odyssey, Honda’s Idea of Innovation Sucks

March 27th, 2013

2014 Honda Odyssey

Okay, maybe that’s a terribly cliche headline to use when a vacuum is the main subject matter of a story. While it’s certainly not a derogatory comment on Honda’s overall ability to innovate, I do have to wonder what’s going on at Honda when the biggest new feature of the 2014 Odyssey is an in-vehicle vacuum.

Now that Honda has mastered the equation of understated comfort, exceptional reliability and dependable resale values, the only place left to go is… well… vacuums. Okay, in truth, Honda could probably stand to update its powertrains, build even more efficient engines, explore turbocharging or diesel options, upgrade its transmissions or, heck, even invest in some shiny new wheels. Instead of all that, though, Honda went with the vacuum.

The industry’s first built-in vacuum, mind you, but still a vacuum.

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The Next Wi-Fi Hot Spot: Your Car

March 4th, 2013

GM's Wi-Fi hotspot

I’ve recently been introduced to Sons of Anarchy, and since that day, my Netflix subscription and I have happily spent a lot of time together. I admit, I’m addicted to the show and kind of wish I could take it wherever I go.

To do that economically, I’d need a Wi-Fi connection to follow me in my day-to-day travels. Unless I hop between Starbucks locations all day, my SOA dreams are doomed.

But wait! The good people at General Motors have a solution for those of us who have a hard time tearing ourselves way from constant connectivity. Not only is it possible to access the Internet from our cars, our cars will soon become the Internet.

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Additives for Your Car: Quick Fix or Waste of Money?

January 7th, 2013

Fuel system

As modern civilized humans, we expect quick results with nominal effort. We want magic weight-loss pills, we want to get rich with the simplicity of buying a lotto ticket, and we want to find love by posting a picture on a dating site.

Of course, there’s no quick way to guarantee any of those things. You just have to work hard and keep your mind intent on what you want. The mentality of instant gratification and quick fixes has fueled many marketing campaigns. Companies have learned how to tap into the minds of consumers and get them to part with their cash in exchange for products that promise to make life easier and better while solving a multitude of problems.

The cars we drive are certainly not immune to such marketing. Products that promise to increase fuel mileage, clean your engine, keep your gas from freezing, and more line store shelves. But are these products worth the money?

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Car Keys are So 2012… But What Could Replace Them?

December 31st, 2012

Remember when some cars, GM vehicles specifically, required two different keys? The little round one unlocked the doors and the little square one started the engine.

Then technology grew to combine those two keys into one, so drivers no longer had to fumble with separate keys to gain access to their vehicles. Soon key fobs were invented and the door unlock key became altogether unnecessary as a simple push of a button handled all locking and unlocking functions.

Of course, for modern civilized humans, the act of inserting the key into the ignition and twisting it required far too much effort so the push-to-start button was invented. That gave drivers the convenience of never needing to remove their keys from their pockets.

What’s next in the evolution of car keys? Probably their complete disappearance.

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How Chevy and Apple Might Stop “Webbing”

November 28th, 2012

Chevy MyLink Siri

Next to drinking and driving, texting while driving is the surest way to cause impairment in a driver’s ability to control a car and react to quickly changing traffic conditions.

Now that smart phones have infiltrated nearly every section of humanity (hey, I just got one, which is a sure sign everyone else in the world already did), they are wreaking havoc on the focus of drivers everywhere. With Facebook updates, NFL scores and email access just a thumb-swipe away, it’s easier and more tempting than ever to take eyes off the road and lose them in the all-too-familiar comfort of the retina display touchscreen.

USA Today report cites a study that recently polled 4,000 drivers aged 18 and up. The study discovered a truly alarming amount of people surf the web while driving, which apparently is now known as “webbing.” (No comment on the lameness of that new word!)

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How To Ruin a Camaro ZL1

November 21st, 2012

813 Customs Camaro

This blog post could be finished with that one picture. Sometimes words just aren’t necessary to further explain an automotive atrocity.

As a natural-born writer, though, certain words simply erupt from my fingers when I look at this picture. Many of them unsuitable for a respectable blog.

First, I should note that I can appreciate a good car modification as well as anyone. I know a lot of time and money and skill goes into tearing down a vehicle and rebuilding it to exact specs specifically suited to an individual’s tastes. That’s partly why I’ve been in love with car culture so long: A vehicle can take on the persona of the person behind the wheel. And that’s pretty cool.

But this… this I just don’t get.

Perhaps the saddest part of this custom job is the donor was a Camaro ZL1. The GT500-killing 580-hp superbeast that reigns supreme as king of the muscle cars. Think the car you see above will turn a lap at Leguna Seca in 1:39.18 or blast to 60 in 3.8 seconds? Nope. So why not use a base V6 Camaro for this custom job when all performance is lost anyway? That’s where I get lost. Even more confusing, a turbocharger was added to the 6.2-liter V8, which I can’t imagine will ever get used.

The work was done by 813 Customs in Tampa and includes a gold vinyl wrap (at least it’s not actually gold-plated), 30-inch Forgiato wheels, a custom dash and a completely re-worked interior to handle at least 8 million speakers and three 23-inch TVs. I didn’t know one 23-inch TV would fit in a Camaro.

813 Customs Camaro, interior

The 813 Customs Facebook page is littered with comments about the car, some even positive. For the few who see this work as an improvement on the ZL1, you’re in luck. The company has its creation up for sale.

The 813 Customs Camaro ZL1: Yes or no?


Used Chevrolet Camaro
Used Ford GT500

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Cars Coming Soon: Vehicles Without Electronics?

November 8th, 2012

iPad Mini in car

Imagine shopping for a new car. You pick out a model you like, open the door for a test drive, take a seat, start the engine and reach for the radio knob. Only there’s no radio knob. Or touch screen. Or navigation unit. In fact, there’s nothing to suggest this new car offers any kind of entertainment or technology other than the required driver input information.

What’s going on? Is this car a throwback to the days of basic transportation when no air conditioning or car stereo existed? Is it the result of the government trying to limit driver distraction? Or is the lack of technology actually a sign of some of the greatest in-car tech ever used?

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Cars Coming Soon: Hot Hatches of SEMA

October 18th, 2012

Hyundai Velocity SEMA car

If you want to see some seriously over-the-top designs and custom work on cars, the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is where you need to go. Massive wings, wide body kits, outrageous colors and more turbos and intercoolers than you can shake a stick at all shout for the attention of show visitors.

This year’s show, just a few weeks away, won’t disappoint the tuner crowd. Especially with the treats being served up in the form of a whole lot of Ford Focus ST variations, and one very special 400-hp Hyundai “Velocity.”

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Car Accessories, Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Shows, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat

Beat the Drought: Wash Your Car!

July 6th, 2012

Washing a car

At last count, drought covered 56 percent of the continental United States. Crops are dying, people are sweating, and A/C units are chugging down freon like people are drinking water.

Intense heat pounds most of the country. Oftentimes, I’m shielded from triple-digit heat in my tucked-away Washington state location, but even my local weather girl has warned of hundred-degree misery come Monday. That panics me. But I have a way to deal with it.

I’m going to wash my car.

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