Weekly auto rail, with winter-driving tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
This winter, millions of Americans will be hitting the roads and facing cold temperatures, along with the snowy and icy conditions winter weather brings. These factors are not only a nuisance, but at times, very dangerous, even for the most confident and experienced drivers. Simple driving maneuvers, such as starting, stopping and making turns can become very challenging if vehicles are not properly prepared for inclement weather. To prepare vehicles for the winter months ahead, here are some simple tips to help you arrive safely at your destination.
- Traction is key: The economy has forced many to postpone tire purchases, but with wet weather and unpredictable winter conditions ahead, now is not the time to have low tread on your tires. Your tires need good traction to help keep your car on the road. It's important to have the correct tire tread and in particularly cold climates, drivers should consider investing in winter tires.
- Feel the pressure: As temperatures change, so does tire pressure. Proper tire inflation is essential for increased automotive safety, optimum driving performance and even good fuel mileage. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the glove box and should be checked at least monthly. Over-inflation can lead to premature or irregular tire wear and under-inflation reduces a vehicle's fuel efficiency by an average of 3.3 percent.
- Keep it clean: Consumers' cars, trucks or SUVs are likely weathering the harsh conditions and corrosive elements associated with winter, including freezing rain, snow, ice, sand and salt. Keeping vehicles clean will help protect them from the chemicals and dirt that may attack the car's finish and undercarriage. Be sure to use quality cleaners and waxes specifically designed for handling a car's finish.
- Keep it flowing: Oil is the lifeblood of the engine, helping to keep it running efficiently and effectively. Not sure what oil to use? Defer to a professional or use the grade of motor oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer to achieve optimum engine protection and fuel efficiency.
- Be prepared: Keep a survival kit handy. A flashlight with fresh batteries, a blanket, water bottles, cellphone charger, jumper cables, flares, a "help" sign, and a first aid kit will prepare you for emergency situations or unexpected breakdowns.
According to CNN Money, here are 10 James Bond cars you might be able to afford:
2002 Aston Martin Vanquish
1980 Lotus Esprit Turbo
1996 BMW Z3
1977 Lotus Esprit S1
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1961 Sunbeam Alpine Series II
1969 Mercury Cougar XR7
1974 AMC Hornet
1981 Alfa Romeo GTV6
1997 BMW 750iL
Q: I own a Toyota Venza that in my opinion has a rough and harsh ride. The tire size is P245/55R19 Bridgestone Dueler. Will changing the tire size make the ride any better?
A: There is no question that when the tire size is changed to a larger aspect ratio there is more flexibility between the tire and rim, which equals a smoother ride. There are many readers that will not suggest changing the tire profile. Let me tell you that I do this every day to save my customers from buying a replacement vehicle. You can change the tire size keeping in mind that no more than one-fourth inch in overall diameter is recommended.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service