Edition: April 2014 - Vol 22 Number 04
The better you treat your car, the longer it lasts, says the Car Care Council, which recommends several preventive maintenance steps to keep cars running efficiently:
• Schedule an annual tune-up to optimize the car's performance. A well-tuned engine delivers the best balance of power and fuel economy, and produces the lowest level of emissions.
• Change the oil and filter per the owner's manual. Periodic oil and filter changes keep the engine clean on the inside.
• Check the tire pressure monthly, including the spare. The car's tires affect its ride, handling, traction and safety.
• Have the alignment checked annually. Potholes and other road conditions, as well as normal wear, can take their toll on the car's steering and suspension. A wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety.
• Inspect the windshield wipers and lights on the car. Lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, and they are normal wear items that need periodic replacement.
The Car Care Council offers car owners a free custom service schedule. It also provides information about the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign, which promotes the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.
Wear and tear
AutoMD.com released its list of the top ten auto repair jobs for 2013. Topping the list were standard wear and tear jobs, including brake pad replacement and other cyclical repair jobs. Vehicles in need of such repairs, on average, were 11 years old in 2013, the company reports. The full list of top 10 auto repair jobs for 2013 includes replacement of:
• Brake pads.
• Water pump.
• Timing belt.
• Spark plugs.
• Fuel pump.
• Brake rotor.
• Engine mount.
• Catalytic converter.
Greenlots, a global provider of open standards-based technology solutions for electric vehicle (EV) networks, introduced its SKY Smart Charging™ platform designed to address the needs of the utility and vehicle-grid integration (VGI) sectors. The company, which has received OpenADR 2.0b certification through the OpenADR Alliance, is reportedly the first EV charging platform provider capable of using the standard to manage and influence charging behavior thru dynamic pricing. The announcement signals the growing demand from utilities for an open standards-based approach to vehicle-grid integration. The impact of EV charging on peak load and local distribution networks is one of the key challenges that a utility faces and, as the market grows, it becomes increasingly important for utilities to manage EV charging to prevent overloading of the electricity network. SKY Smart Charging™ is designed to help eliminate the need for utilities to develop separate systems for EV charging management and streamlines operations while saving implementation overhead.
Google meets Hyundai
Hyundai Motor America has launched its enhanced Blue Link® in-vehicle telematics platform. The second-generation Blue Link system is expected to be available when the 2015 Genesis goes on sale this spring. The company has announced that Google-powered destination search will be available to the more than 500,000 current Hyundai owners who have the first-generation Blue Link system installed in their U.S. vehicle. As such, Google searches can be performed via voice recognition and the destination can then be sent to one’s Hyundai without the use of a smartphone.
Chip off the block
Swiss u-blox, a company known for wireless and positioning modules and chips, has introduced its next-generation semiconductor technology dedicated to advanced in-dash navigation, emergency call, usage-based insurance, road-pricing and stolen vehicle recovery systems. The company’s new UBX-M8030-Kx-DR chip reportedly can calculate a vehicle's position and speed, as well as elevation in areas of poor or no satellite visibility. The chip is self-calibrating to compensate for sensor aging and temperature effects and is said to be compatible with most vehicles and drive trains.
The 2014 Honda Accord and 2014 Honda Odyssey recently earned Best Value Awards from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. The Accord is reportedly known for its safety and security features. The Odyssey is said to be the only minivan to earn a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and features a 28 mpg highway rating.
Best compact car
The redesigned 2014 Mazda3 has been named the best compact car by MotorWeek. The third-generation Mazda3 features SKYACTIV® technology and KODO design language; MAZDA CONNECT™, a next-generation driving-focused in-vehicle connectivity system; Active Driving Display; and the i-ACTIVSENSE system, which consists of active-safety pre-crash detection features.