Buying a Car for the First Time?

June 20th, 2014

1994 Dodge Viper 2_dr_rt_10_convertible-pic-502

Remember your first time?

Mine was the culmination of a lot of searching, a lot of saving and then a long journey to find what I wanted.

The effort, time and money finally paid off when I experienced one of the greatest first times a young adult could possibly dream of: I bought my first car.

Actually, my first car was a truck and exactly what I wanted in a first vehicle. I bought it just as summer began and looked forward to many long days and warm nights of newly purchased freedom.

With a new summer dawning, plenty of teens and young adults will be considering their first vehicle purchase. What should they look for?

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Anyone Else Ready for the Tesla Model X?

June 19th, 2014

Tesla Model X

It all started with a tiny squeak behind the fireplace.

Some investigation on my part led to the discovery of a baby mouse in the venting system, which in turn led to the removal of handfuls of insulation, which in turn led to the discovery of a perfectly folded newspaper dated September 1988.

I thought maybe I had discovered a hidden stash of money long forgotten by a previous owner, but all I found was a 26-year-old sports section. After the disappointment subsided I headed to the garage to look deep into its abyss to find some tools, so I could fix the damage I did in my quest to remove said mouse and prevent others from entering my abode.

It was there that I made my great discovery. A discovery that could potentially set me up for a future of gas-free motoring.

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When Car Technology Gets Creepy

June 18th, 2014
Bad idea...

Bad idea…

Sometimes the “thank-you wave” just isn’t good enough.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wished I could contact another driver with whom I’m sharing the road to convey a piece of information that a wave simply cannot.

Sometimes I wish I could apologize for a dumb move on my part or tell another motorist that I’ll stop and let him or her into traffic. Waving is good for a thank you, but not much else.

I’ve wondered what it would be like to type the license plate of the car I want to contact into some kind of device, then have access to the driver so I can convey my message.

Naturally, there would be a downside to such technology, because unfortunately, people like to use good inventions for evil. Road rage would become more personal, and the ability to curse out other drivers would rarely end well.

A new app could make the possibility of car-to-car communication a very real, and very scary, reality.

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GM Failing Recall Test?

June 17th, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Impala

Multiple-choice question:

When there’s a safety problem with a car, it’s best to fix it:

A) As cheaply and easily as possible.

B) As thoroughly as possible to make sure the faulty part performs as required.

The answer will be revealed later in this blog.

First, keep in mind that General Motors has had an extraordinarily tough year as it has dealt with the ramifications of waiting more than a decade to recall cars affected by an ignition-switch problem. That problem has proven fatal in a number of instances and is still in the process of being fixed.

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How to Get the Dealer’s Secret Price

June 16th, 2014

car dealership

A car dealer’s secret price sounds mysterious, right?

As I partake in my daily adventures on this vast ocean of online sensory overload known as the Internet, I see a lot of ads promising to reveal the secret to obtaining access to the “secret” price of dealers.

The idea of a “secret price” that dealers hold in a vault and disperse to only a lucky few is a complete myth. True, there’s an invoice price that usually serves as the Holy Grail of car shoppers, but even that can be deceiving due to manufacturer holdbacks and other factors.

So how do you become a savvy new-car shopper and get the best possible price?

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The Cars (and Culture) of Mille Miglia

June 13th, 2014

Mercedes_SLR_Stirling_Moss_1977

One thousand miles of no-holds-barred racing through Italian cities and countryside.

Five million spectators.

Twenty-four races.

Fifty-six people killed.

This was the Mille Miglia, a legendary road race that brought the likes of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Bugatti to fame.

The original race lasted from 1927 until 1957, with a few years off due to war. The race was banned mostly because of a lack of safety precautions, which led to the tragic deaths of drivers and spectators.

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Owning Electric Cars Could Get Easier

June 12th, 2014

Tesla Supercharger

The biggest challenge in owning an electric car is getting it recharged. Charging a battery takes a lot longer than filling a gas tank, and there are far fewer places to recharge than refuel.

For the people who use electric cars just to commute from home to work and back, recharging every night at home is enough.

For people who want to use their electric vehicles as replacements for gas-powered cars, EVs just haven’t proven useful enough to convince people to jump ship.

Elon Musk, the infamous Tesla CEO, wants to change that.

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Did Your City Get an Alfa Romeo Dealer?

June 11th, 2014

alfa_romeo_4C

After years of anticipation, it’s official: We got one!

It won’t be long before the new Alfa Romeo 4C is tearing up the streets of the place I call home.

Chrysler announced this week that it has awarded 82 Alfa Romeo franchises to dealers in 33 states across the United States. One of those is my local FIAT dealer, which will soon add the Alfa Romeo logo to its street sign.

If you’re shopping for a new or used sports car, you might want to wait until you at least have a chance to check out the 4C.

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Trailer Towing: The Great Evil

June 9th, 2014

2003 Chevrolet Suburban 2500

It’s boat season.

This is the time of year when swimsuits emerge and boats wake from a long winter’s nap. It’s a beautiful season of water skiing, boat food and kids chattering like baby birds as they are towed through the water on inflatable tubes.

It’s a beautiful season, but there is one huge problem. For me, boat season also means trailer-towing season.

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2014 NEMPA Technology Conference

June 6th, 2014
2014 NEMPA Technology Panel

Panelists John Bozzella, Jeff Ruel, John Capp and Danny Shapiro listen as Dr. Bryan Reimer answers a question posed by moderator John Paul of AAA.

Last week we were lucky enough to attend the New England Motor Press Association’s Technology Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. The conference has become an annual event put on by NEMPA, with strong support from MIT (particularly from Paul Parravano, Co-Director of MIT’s Office of Government and Community Relations).

Each year, the conference aims to shine a spotlight on a particular area of technology and show how that technology is changing the cars we know and love. This year, the conference featured panelists from diverse corners of the auto industry, all seeking to explain how modern technology is “engineering safer drivers” (this year’s theme).

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