Archive for the ‘Car Accessories’ Category

Are Auto Parts Stores a Thing of the Past?

June 19th, 2013
How's the parking lot at your local auto parts store?

How’s the parking lot at your local auto parts store?

How much longer will auto parts stores be around?

In college I worked the parts counter at a national auto parts chain store in Seattle. I loved my job. I worked all day on Saturdays and Sundays and from 5 pm to 10 pm two to three times during the week. I loved helping out and learning about the customers’ project cars, learning about different parts for different cars and occasionally helping stranded motorists by changing a battery, doing an electrical test, even breaking the rules once and changing out an alternator right there in the parking lot. In the dark.

This was in the late 1990s, and the auto parts store was a busy environment of shared enthusiasm for cars and ambitious DIYers taking on repair projects for their beloved vehicles.

I have a feeling that culture is gone… or quickly vanishing.

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Car Accessories, Car Minded, Car Parts, General Chat , , , ,

Costco Fulfills F1 Racing Dreams… For a Price

May 20th, 2013

Costco F1 racing simulator

Costco: the land where dreams come true.

Assuming, of course, your dreams include 50-pound bags of sugar, gallons of mayonnaise and full access to all the toilet paper you’ll ever need.

Bulk discounts on household staples are enough to keep some people coming back every Saturday. Every once in a while, though, Costco surprises by offering something so over-the-top extravagant or absurd that it blows our little minds. That includes million-dollar diamonds, caskets stacked near the TVs, and now, F1 cars.

Kind of.

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Auto Racing, Car Accessories, Car Audio, Car Minded, General Chat , , , , ,

Future Car Technology: Decreasing the Need for Human Thought

April 26th, 2013

Will future Audi vehicles predict the future?

With great interest, I opened an article that claimed cars of the future will probably be able to predict the future. How cool would that be? My mind raced with possibilities.

Could my car analyze information online and tell me if an upcoming date would be a success? Would it be able to predict gas prices 6 months into the future? Maybe my car could predict future Super Bowl winners and clue me in.

Well, it turns out the predictions are nowhere near as exciting.

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

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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Car Accessories, Car Minded, Car Parts, General Chat , , ,

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

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

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 Accessories, Car Minded, Gas for your car..., General Chat , , , ,

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

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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Car Accessories, Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat , , , ,

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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