Archive for May, 2012

Top 5 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Summer

Summertime means roads trips and carefree vacations, but it can also mean harsh driving conditions for your car.  Just as essential as preparing your car for the nasty elements of winter is getting it ready for the extremes that come along with the summer season.  Taking a few simple precautions can keep your vehicle running and looking great, no matter what time of year.

Click here to read Rogers Auto Group’s Top 5 Tips.

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Top 5 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Summer

Summertime means roads trips and carefree vacations, but it can also mean harsh driving conditions for your car.  Just as essential as preparing your car for the nasty elements of winter is getting it ready for the extremes that come along with the summer season.  Taking a few simple precautions can keep your vehicle running and looking great, no matter what time of year.

1. Check the Battery:  You might be worried about your car not starting in the dead of winter, but extreme heat is also a serious threat to battery life.  Get your battery tested at Rogers Auto Group’s award-winning service department or a service center near you, especially if it’s more than 3 years old.

2.  Change Your Oil and Check Your Fluids:  If your summer plans include a lot of road trips, be sure your oil is changed on schedule, roughly every 3,000 miles.  While you’re at it, have your car’s fluid levels checked. Extreme heat can affect viscosity and functionality of an engine’s fluids, so it’s important to make sure your vehicle is fully stocked and protected.

3. Check the Cooling and A/C Systems:  No one wants to be stuck on a hot day with a broken air conditioning system, and even more important is the system keeping your car’s engine cool.  The number one cause of summer breakdowns is overheating, so be sure to get your cooling systems checked to avoid being stranded on the side of the road in the blazing sun.

4. Check Your Tires:  Summer heat can do a number on your tires.  Look out for cracks and wear and be sure your tires are properly inflated since high temperate can cause air pressure to rise.  It’s smart in any season to have your tires rotated and balanced regularly to maximize fuel economy and vehicle safety.

5. Protect the Looks:  Aside from keeping your car running well in the summer, you want to keep it looking good.  Give it a thorough wash to rid it of the winter salt, apply a coat of wax for extra protection, and try to park in the shade to prevent your paint finish from fading.  And don’t forget about the interior.  If you have leather seats, applying a leather conditioner can help prevent cracks in your upholstery. Using a windshield sun shade can also go a long way to protecting your car’s interior.

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Survey Reports on Distracted Driving Among Teens

Despite laws banning cell phones while driving and increased awareness of the dangers of doing so, it’s a common fact that cell phone use while driving is still a widespread occurrence.  Perhaps most discouraging to the issue is that much of this distracted driving occurs amongst young drivers, which is not only a safety concern, but also might indicate that the problem could be deeply rooted for future generations.

A recent national survey by Consumer Reports helps quantify this issue and put it into perspective.  In a survey of over 1,000 drivers ages 16 to 21, almost half confessed to talking on a handheld phone while driving in the past 30 days, 30% said they texted, 8% operated smartphone apps, and 7% used email or social media.  An even greater percentage of respondents reported seeing their peers engage in these activities:  84% witnessed talking on a phone, over 70% witnessed texting, and about 30% witnessed peers using apps, email, or social media.

The interesting part of the survey is that while many respondents openly admitted to this behavior, almost all of them considered text­ing, using smart-phone apps, or accessing the Internet to be dangerous while driving.  About 80% thought it was very dangerous, and 63% thought talking on a handheld phone was dangerous.

And they are right to think so.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for teenagers. It was reported that 11% of teenage drivers who died in crashes in 2010 were distracted.

On the upside, though, the survey also found some positive results toward a reduction of the problem.  Almost 75% of respondents claimed to have stopped or reduced distracted driving based on safety concerns, 60% said they were influenced by reading or hearing about the problem, 40% were influenced by laws banning the activities, and 30% were persuaded by urging from family members. 

Consumer Reports’ survey also found that having peers in the car may help curb distracted driving. Almost 50 percent said they were less likely to use a cell phone when friends were passengers. One reason may be that many young people are speaking up; almost half said they had asked a driver to stop using a phone in the car because they feared for their safety.

If you are a parent, friend, or sibling, keep these stats in mind and set a good example.  Pull over to a safe place if you need to use the phone, and speak up if you’re riding with a distracted driver.

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Hyundai Adds 877 New Jobs at Alabama Plant

After a troubled period of bankruptcies and government bailouts within the past few years, the automobile industry is finally on the upswing.  There’s no better example and ringleader than Hyundai, who’s been surging through a recession with record sales figures and growth.

The latest news for this booming Korean automaker is that it’s adding a third shift of production at its Montgomery, Alabama facility, creating 877 new jobs and raising employment to over 3,000.  These extra hands will help crank out 20,000 additional units per year.

This shift addition, which goes into effect in September, was brought about by record sales and increasing demand for Hyundai vehicles.  Hyundai’s first-quarter U.S. sales rose 15 percent, after surging 61 percent the previous four years.  And these successes are in large part due to the popularity of the Hyundai Elantra  and Hyundai Sonata which are both produced at Hyundai’s Alabama plant.  Together the two models account for almost two-thirds of Hyundai’s total sales in the United States.

The expansion at the Alabama plant is being welcomed by the local economy, and the feeling from Hyundai corporate is reciprocal.  Hyundai’s Alabama Plant CEO Young Deuk Lim stated that the commitment to quality and craftsmanship displayed at his location “is the key reason Hyundai Motor Company chose to continue to invest in the people of Alabama and increase vehicle production in Montgomery.”

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