2017’s Most Affordable Car

Affordable CarPurchasing a new car in 2017 doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. It’s almost impossible to find a new vehicle priced at under $10,000, but fortunately, there are many makes and models available for just a shade over that price. One great example of this is the 2017 Nissan Versa, which is priced at just $12,825 and is a steal when you consider how well respected the Nissan name is within the automotive industry. Nissan is known for building reliable vehicles that stand the test of time and last you for many years.

If you opt for the base S sedan when you purchase a 2017 Versa, it won’t come with many bells and whistles. You get access to features like Bluetooth phone connectivity, power mirrors, and air conditioning, but you will also get a five-speed manual transmission, manual door locks, crank windows, and many of the most basic features. If you don’t mind, the base model is priced well, and you won’t find a better deal on the car market. However, if you want things like an automatic transmission, 15 or 16-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system, power windows, or a push-button start, you can also look into purchasing the S Plus Versa model for about $14,825, the SV model for $16,415, or the SL model for $17,975. A trusted Nissan dealer will be able to speak with you about your specific needs and then help you pick out the Versa to fit your lifestyle best.

No matter which Nissan Versa you choose, you should consider PermaPlate automotive protection. You can contact us at 1-801-974-5557 to inquire about the excellent services we offer.

What Would Our Cities Be Like If Everyone Drove Electric Cars?

electric cars chargingDid you know that there were more than one million electric cars sold by October 2015? This may seem like a big number to you, but it only makes up 0.1 percent of the world’s vehicle. Less than a year later and this number continues to be on the rise.

Have you ever thought of what our cities would be like if everyone owned an electric car?

Less Pollution

The first improvement that we would automatically see is a reduction in pollution. Cars are a necessity to get us all from Point A to Point B, but there is an incredible amount of air pollution in the world that they contribute to – especially in big cities. There are so many diseases linked to poor air quality that could easily decrease with the use of electric cars. Some of these include cancer, heart disease, asthma and COPD.

Less Noise

The streets would be a lot quieter as well. Imagine sitting outside at your favorite café and not have to talk over the sound of noisy cars driving by, or having to smell the oil and diesel fumes as you try to enjoy a delicious snack and mug of coffee.

No Trips to the Gas Station

Gas stations would nearly be a thing of the past. Think about how many you pass by as you run errands. That number is probably in the range of five or 10. Imagine never again having to run to the gas station to fill up. Instead, you could charge up your vehicle at home and be ready to go for your weeks’ worth of driving to work, soccer practice and the gym!

All of these ideas are truly amazing. Obviously the change will not happen overnight, but the movement is getting stronger and stronger with each passing year. As always, PermaPlate is interested in seeing where the future of cars takes us, and we encourage you to think about all your options – including electric vehicles and semi-autonomous ones – when you are purchasing your next car.

Sources: https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/blog/car/what-if-all-cars-were-electric/http://www.treehugger.com/cars/what-would-our-cities-be-if-all-our-cars-were-electric.html

Get the Most from Your Tires

tiresTires can be a huge investment. Chances are they are at least a week’s worth of pay, if not more. And when you are spending on a big purchase like this, you obviously want to get the most out of it as possible. Luckily, PermaPlate has a few tips of the trade to help you out!

Get Winter Tires

With fall right around the corner, the sooner you purchase your winter tires, the better. Maybe you can even catch some great deals at your local dealer by investing before peak season arrives – when the tires (and the deals) can be sparse. Think about when the snow can hit in your area. There is nothing worse than a storm hitting before your winter tires are ready to go on your car. Plus, by purchasing winter tires now, your all seasons will last twice as long because they will not be over worn while you are constantly breaking on those slippery early-winter roads.

Tire Rotations

Tires wear according to the position they are put on your vehicle, so in order to get the longest life out of your tires, you should rotate them regularly. We recommend having them rotated every time you go in for an oil change, to ensure that they are maintained regularly.

Air Pressure

If you ignore the PSI on your tires, you are guaranteed get fewer miles to the gallon. There are so many easy tools that will help you check your PSI, and many new cars even have the tire pressure programmed into your dashboard – allowing you to check it without even having to step out of your vehicle.

Alignment

If your wheels are out of alignment, they will wear unevenly, leading to an even earlier replacement. This can also be a signal of other mechanical problems with your car, so don’t hesitate to take it into the mechanic when you first notice this problem.

The next time you go in for your oil change, think about all of the above items. At the top of your mind should be preparing for the impending winter months with a set of snow tires. They will be one of the best investments that you can make for your vehicle!

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a21191/tire-guide/

Four Reasons to Love Compact Cars

compact carWhether it is with a house or with a car, there has been a recent movement in the US to downsize. But why are we so drawn to these tiny homes and vehicles? Well, good things do come in small packages!

Here at PermaPlate, we love the benefits that compact vehicles can provide their drivers; here are just a few reasons why.

Fuel Economy

If you are looking for great fuel economy for your hour long (plus) drive into the office and home each day, a compact car is the way to go. According to FuelEconomy.gov the Ford Fiesta, Dodge Dart, Nissan Versa, Toyota Corolla and Fiat 500 can get 40 mpg on the highway.

Luxury

Just because you are going small, does not mean that the manufacturers are skimping on luxury. Have you taken a look at the new Chevy Cruze lately? It has a great sporty appearance with projector beam headlamps, as well as an awesome entertainment center.

Fun

Do you love zipping down the highway? In a compact car, you will be able to maneuver down busy streets – and fit into parking spots – much better than those big, bulky trucks and SUVs. Especially in rush hour traffic.

Price

If you are tired of paying a premium each time you go to the mechanic, you will see a significant decrease in repair and maintenance costs when driving a compact car. There is a big different between buying new tires for an SUV compared to tires for a compact car.

In our opinion, now is the perfect time to look into purchasing a compact car. With prices at the pump in constant fluctuation, why not trade in your old car for a nice compact one? Just don’t forget about your warranty and protection when choosing a new set of wheels!

Sources: https://blog.allstate.com/5-things-to-love-about-small-cars/http://www.cbsnews.com/news/7-reasons-you-should-buy-a-small-car/

Uber Testing Semi-Autonomous Vehicles with Free Rides

semi-autonomous carIf you are interested in taking a spin in a semi-autonomous car, we recommend downloading the Uber app and catching the first flight to Pittsburgh. Why? The company announced on August 18, 2016 that they will be adding self-driving cars to their Pittsburgh area taxi fleet within the month.

Uber has teamed up with Volvo for this test run, which means 100 or so customized Volvo XC90s will soon be carting passengers from Point A to Point B. For those unsure about the capabilities of semi-autonomous cars, there is no need to worry. There will be an engineer seated behind the wheel of every vehicle, along with a co-pilot taking notes on how the car handles. The luckiest of Uber passengers will also be able to contribute to this scientific advancement too, as there will be a table in the backseat sharing more information about the vehicle with you and allowing you to rate your ride.

Best of all, if you happen to get into the backseat of a semi-autonomous Uber vehicle the ride will be completely free!

The Uber-Volvo team up goes even further than the 100 semi-autonomous vehicles you will see on the roads of Pittsburgh. Volvo just announced the signing of a $300 million agreement to create fully autonomous vehicles with Uber by 2021. Through this partnership, base vehicles will be developed by Volvo then purchased by Uber for use, as well as the potential addition of the company’s own autonomous systems.

This announcement marks an incredible advancement in autonomous technology, as it is the first time that members of the public will be able to experience the self-driving car for themselves. We at PermaPlate cannot wait to hear how the Uber semi-autonomous vehicles fare, and look forward to further discussing the topic in the near future.

Audi Plans to Connect Cars & Traffic Signals

traffic lightFor all those drivers who despise sitting at red lights, uncertain of when they will change to green, Audi is rolling out a new service that will count you down to the switch. Often referred to as “V-to-I” technology, the feature connects your vehicle to Traffic Technology Services over a wireless, cloud-based network.

With V-to-I installed in your vehicle, a timer will display on your dashboard in the moments leading up to the traffic light’s switch from red to green. This timer will appear a few seconds before the light changes, giving drivers plenty of time to assess their surrounding and get ready to get back into motion.

According to Pom Malhotra, general manager of Audi’s connected vehicles division, the V-to-I feature is “…designed not as a safety feature but a comfort and convenience feature.” It allows drivers to relax when they are stopped at a red light – instead of staring unblinkingly, willing it to change.

Unlike many apps that are available to enhance driver experience via smartphone, the traffic light information feature will be available only through Audi’s paid Connect Prime service. A service that includes music streaming as well as traffic and safety features Connect Prime costs between $25 and $33 per month.

The unique traffic signal feature will be rolled out in five to seven cities across the United States and will only be available in 2017 models with Audi Connect (including Q7 and A4) that are built after June 1, 2016. Information on the cities that will feature this new technology has yet to be disclosed, but we at PermaPlate will be keeping an eye out for the news!

Sources: http://fortune.com/2016/08/15/audi-smart-traffic-signals/https://techcrunch.com/2016/08/15/audis-latest-cars-will-be-able-to-tell-you-when-traffic-lights-are-going-to-turn-green/http://www.recode.net/2016/8/15/12459624/audi-car-traffic-light-technology

Five Ways Autonomous Vehicles May Change Our Everyday Lives

working in autonomous carWith auto manufacturers and tech companies working diligently to improve their autonomous vehicle designs, we at PermaPlate have started to wonder what our cities and highways will look like in twenty years or so. The adoption of self-driving vehicles and the car-sharing services that will likely come with them have the potential to induce countless changes; a few of which we have highlighted below.

Car Ownership

Right now, the average car is only in motion for five percent of its lifetime, but the introduction of self-driving vehicles has the potential to greatly increase this number. Your vehicle will be able to drop you off at work and pick you up (with plenty of time to run errands and get the kids to sports practice in between). Owning a vehicle will sure be a different experience when it is taking care of your day-to-day tasks while you’re at the office!

Down Time

With your commute to work an opportunity to take a nap, read a book or catch up on the news, you may not mind it taking some extra time. Instead of searching for a job that takes 20 or 30 minutes to get to, individuals may be more interested in lengthening their commute for the right job opportunity.

At some point you may even be able to continue your “work day” on the way to and from the office. Talk about making the best use of your time!

Delivery Services

When pizza shops and grocery stores no longer need to hire drivers for their vehicles, delivery becomes a much more profitable option. Gone will be the days when you will have to run across town to pick up a dozen eggs or a gallon of milk when you run out. Instead, you can just purchase these items online and wait for them to show up in your driveway.

Parking Woes

Oftentimes the most frustrating part of going to the mall or out to eat is finding a spot to park your car. But with fleets of autonomous vehicles on call, you can be dropped off right in front of your destination before your ride zips off to find its next passenger.

Changing City Layouts

As autonomous technology becomes more prominent, we can only imagine that city layouts will begin to adjust to meet the needs of those taking advantage of its incredible features.

Although these developments are still years away, the possible lifestyle modifications we have to consider are endless. To stay up to date with the latest automotive news, as well as safety tips and vehicle care advice, check out PermaPlate’s blog and follow us on social media!

Sources: http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20160321-seven-ways-the-driverless-car-will-change-your-lifehttp://www.businessinsider.com/peter-diamandis-how-driverless-cars-will-change-how-we-live-2016-8/#fewer-people-will-own-their-own-car-because-it-will-become-part-of-a-larger-shared-service-1http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2016/06/6-ways-driverless-cars-will-change-world-profit-off-today/

Haggling for a Car: Why Do We Still Do It?

buying a carA term that means, “To bargain in a petty, quibbling, and often contentious manner,” according to Dictionary.com, haggling is a purchasing technique rarely used today. Besides during Sunday trips to your local flea market, when is this tactic practiced? Oftentimes, when purchasing a car.

Priceonomics recently discussed some of the potential reasons that so many Americans still like to haggle for the best deal on a new or used car, and we at PermaPlate find their ideas quite interesting.

Link Back to Horse and Buggy

The idea of haggling for transportation has a longstanding history – one that reaches much further back than the invention of the automobile. Back when individuals travelled to and from on horse and buggy, it was commonplace to haggle for the price of a horse. Depending on its age and health, price was determined and negotiated until an agreement could be made.

Somehow, as we traded in our trusty steeds for high-speed automobiles, this practice continued and was cemented in stone as more than just a tradition; as a societal expectation.

Every Vehicle is Unique

Think about the pricing you see when you head to your local dealership’s lot. As much as they may look alike, no two cars are priced the same. Why? The abundance of unique features, add-ons and colors that make each particular vehicle a one-of-a-kind purchase (even if they are listed as the same make and model as the one next to them on the lot).

Purchasing a vehicle – whether it is brand new or used – is a huge decision, and with big decisions seems to come more wiggle room when considering price.

But Is the End in Sight?

Although we have all become accustomed to and reliant on the idea of haggling for a new vehicle, this tactic may soon see its end. Back in the early 1990s Saturn initiated a “no haggle” policy, and while the car company did not survive, the idea did. The option to purchase a vehicle online takes haggling off the table, and car companies that are now taking advantage of this purchasing option (like Tesla) have adopted a take-it or leave-it mentality.

From self-driving cars to electric options and online purchasing, so much is currently changing about the automotive industry. For updates and insights on what is new, don’t forget to check back on our blog regularly!

NICB Updates Drivers on 2015 List of Most Stolen Vehicles

auto theftIf you have been following PermaPlate’s blog for some time, you probably remember the car theft statistics infographic that we released this March. A facet of automotive safety that is easy for drivers to forget, it is just as important to protect your vehicle from potential theft as it is to protect yourself and your passengers from dangers on the road.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently released their list of top stolen vehicles of 2015, and the cars included on it are extraordinarily similar to those on the 2014 list. The only new additions are the Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Impala.

As you are reading this article you are probably thinking either, “Phew, I don’t own one of those vehicles,” or “Oh no, my car made the list!” But in all honesty, it is not as important what type of vehicle you drive as it is what precautions you take. Regardless of if you are toting your family around in a Dodge Caravan or heading to and from work in the latest Tesla model, there are criminals who will try to take advantage of your mistakes.

As you are getting out of your vehicle each day, we at PermaPlate recommend asking yourself the following questions.

  • Are all windows closed?
  • Are you taking all valuables out of the vehicle with you?
  • Are you parked in a well-lit and trafficked area?
  • Did you lock the car doors?

To further enhance your vehicle’s protection, drivers can also purchase and install anti-theft technologies like ignition kill switches and GPS trackers. PermaPlate even offers Etchguard, a service that installs a traceable security code to various parts of your vehicle. This code makes your vehicle much less appealing to potential thieves.

For more information on PermaPlate’s Etchguard service and other protection programs we offer, please contact us today at 800-453-8470.

NHTSA Projections Identify Steep Rise in Traffic Fatalities

NHTSA Projections Identify Steep Rise in Traffic FatalitiesEvery year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) publishes statistics detailing the number of motor vehicle-related deaths that occur nationwide. Earlier this month the NHTSA released its preliminary estimates for 2015, and they’re not looking particularly sunny.

The NHTSA estimates that there were 35,200 fatalities on America’s roadways in 2015. This constitutes a 7.7 percent increase in fatalities compared to 2014. That’s the largest single-year percentage increase the NHTSA has seen since they began tracking nationwide fatality statistics. If their estimates are correct, that means 2015 was also the deadliest driving year since 2008.

Safety analysts have attributed the sudden rise in fatalities to a few different factors – most notably, an improving economy and falling gas prices. Now that Americans have more surplus income on hand and gas is no longer prohibitively expensive, they’re traveling and putting more mileage on their cars than they were a few years ago. NHTSA officials have also been quick to point out that, because 94 percent of car accidents are caused by human error, improved automated driving technologies could dramatically reduce accident fatalities in the future.

While these statistics aren’t exactly encouraging, they’re also probably not as dire as they might seem at first glance. Bear in mind that a decade ago, more than 40,000 Americans were killed annually in car accidents. Thanks to dramatic improvements in vehicle design and nationwide driver safety campaigns, that number has fallen steadily for the past 10 years. Last year’s rise in accident fatalities is certainly cause for concern, but it’s not necessarily a sign of a greater long-term problem.

Stay tuned for more updates from your premier source for automotive protection products – PermaPlate.

Mastering Family Road Trip Fun

family road tripWe have discussed road trip safety, essential items to pack and maintenance checks to perform when you are going on a road trip with your family this summer. But we have yet to touch on the most important topic: Having fun together while you are on the road! Whether you are traveling across the state or across the country, the memories you make on the way there are ones that your children will remember for years to come. So instead of just plugging everyone in to their electronics, try these tricks to keep everyone entertained.

Pack a Bag

Instead of having everyone veg out on their smartphones and tablets, pack each of your children a bag full of crafts, puzzles and games. Any time they begin to get bored or antsy, there will be something new to do to pass the time away. Simple origami crafts, coloring books and crossword puzzles are all fun options that will help your young passengers to pass the time.

Play a Game

When your family starts to get bored of the quiet-time activities you have packed in their bags, you can also have some fun playing games that involve the sights that pass you by on the highway. One of our favorite ideas is to plan a “scavenger hunt” before you go. Print off a categorized list of sights, animals and items that you are likely to see on the trip, giving a copy to each of your passengers. When they see an item on the list they can call it out and check it off. Then, the first person to check off all items in a particular category wins a prize the next time you visit a rest stop!

For more game ideas, check out this article from MiniTime.com.

Plan Your Stops Strategically

Especially if you are heading out on a road-trip that will last a few days, taking some time to stop and stretch your legs will be much appreciated. Instead of just stopping at roadside rest stops along the way, plan out a couple of fun detours, visiting area attractions like parks, historic sites and museums. This way, the adventure is in the journey itself and you won’t have anyone constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” from the back seat.

The team here at PermaPlate hopes you have an incredible time road tripping with your family this summer! Safety is always of the utmost importance on the road, so be sure to read through our recent blog posts for safe driving advice.

Maximizing the Resale Value of Your Used Vehicle

Buying a new vehicle is an exciting undertaking, and whether you are trading your previous car in to a dealership or selling it on your own, the money you make will play an important role in this big purchase.

Taking good care of your vehicle throughout its lifetime is the best way to ensure it has a high resale value, and PermaPlate has a few other tips for you to consider before putting up the “For Sale” sign.

Mileage and Mechanical Upkeep

Before going to sell your used vehicle, make sure it is running in its best shape possible by having the oil changed, topping off fluids, changing wiper blades and checking the tire pressure. You will also want to put together all your vehicle records including the title, maintenance invoices and any information you have about accident history.

This will give the potential buyer a full picture of your vehicle’s history, and will assist you in confirming its value. Remember, mileage matters a lot when it comes to the price buyers will be willing to pay.

Add-Ons and Options Packages

Depending on the add-on features your vehicle has, they can be a great asset when it comes time to sell. Some systems that buyers are most interested include back-up cameras, navigation systems and heated/air conditioned leather seats.

On the other hand, if your vehicle has illegal window tinting or a loud exhaust system, you may want to consider having these features fixed to attract more potential buyers and a higher trade in value.

Interior Condition

Of course you should have the interior of your vehicle detailed before you put it up for sale, and you should also look at the lights on your dash. If the check engine light or any others are displaying, we recommend having them fixed for the highest trade in value possible.

Exterior Condition

Give the exterior of your vehicle a good cleaning before you part ways, shining up all exterior surfaces from the wheels to the roof. Dings and dents can really make an impact on the value of your vehicle, so keep this in mind when purchasing your next car.

For more tips on boosting your vehicle’s trade in value, check out PermaPlate’s latest infographic below:

trade-in vehicle infographic

Take Safety Into Consideration When Purchasing a New Vehicle

safe carWhen you think of car safety, you probably think of the features like seat belts and air bags that are standard technology today. But with the technology in our vehicles constantly improving, there are many more safety features available that can help to make every drive you take a safer one. And whether you are looking to purchase a brand new vehicle or a used model, safety features should be one of your top priorities. Listed below are a few checks to perform and features to consider when test driving potential vehicles.

Look Around You

The very most important thought to take into consideration when you get behind the wheel of a car is the way you feel. Do you feel comfortable in the driver’s seat? How well can you see in every direction? How big are the vehicle’s blind spots? Ask these questions and others like them as you are test driving potential cars, taking the time to test out three point turns, parallel parking and backing into parking spots.

Also look at the size of your vehicles from a safety standpoint. To be safe on the road, you need to feel comfortable driving in your lane, parking your vehicle and backing it up. And while we often associate increased size with increased safety, this isn’t necessarily so if you do not feel comfortable and confident behind the wheel of a big truck or SUV.

Review Structural Integrity & Safety Features

No one wants to think about the possibility of a crash when they are purchasing a new vehicle, but it is important to know how the vehicles you are interested in perform during crash tests. Kelley Blue Book’s Safety Center is an incredible resource to use when looking into the safety ratings and specific features of the vehicles you are interested in purchasing.

Must-have safety features include air bags, antilock braking systems (ABS) and electronic stability programs (ESC).

Consider Popular Safety Assist Technologies

Once you are sure that the vehicle you are interested in purchasing offers all the safety features you require, you may also want to consider safety assist technologies. Reversing cameras are one of the most popular options, as they help to prevent back-up mistakes while helping to ensure the safety of those around you.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), blind spot monitoring (BSM) and fatigue monitoring systems (FMS) are a few other features that are growing in popularity, although they are currently only available in premium vehicles.

Once you have found a vehicle that will keep you and your family safe on the road, you may want to consider automotive protection products that will keep your vehicle safe as well. From appearance protection to pre-paid maintenance, PermaPlate offers an extensive number of products and programs to keep your vehicle looking and running like new. For more information, visit us online or contact us by phone at 800-453-8470 to find a dealership near you that offers PermaPlate protection products.

Sources: http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-advice/what-safety-features-should-i-look-for-in-a-new-car-31846

http://www.kbb.com/car-news/all-the-latest/our-5-favorite-new_car-safety-features/2000012391/

Three Ideas to Protect Your Car’s Interior from Your Kids

children in carMost adults maintain their vehicle’s clean interior, but for parents with young children, the back seat of the car can quickly become a crumb-covered mess. Trips to the grocery store end with sticky snacks in the seat cushions, and picking the children up from soccer practice results in muddy footprints all over the carpet. Spending extra time detailing your car’s interior may seem silly (it’s just going to get dirty again), which is why we recommend trying some of these simple tips from LifeHackers.com to keep the back seat of your vehicle in the best shape possible.

Put Cupcake Liners in Cup Holders

Used for holding water bottles, loose change and an endless assortment of odds and ends, your vehicle’s cup holders have a way of becoming the dirtiest spot in the car. One quick solution to keep them clean is to line them with silicone cupcake liners. This way, when your cup holders start getting dirty, all you have to do is pop the liners out, clean them and put them back in.

Keep Necessities in a Shoe Organizer

Over-the-door shoe organizers fit over the seats of your vehicle perfectly! A great way to store family essentials like disinfectant wipes, sunscreen and tissues, adding an organizer to the backseat of your vehicle will help to ensure you don’t have containers rolling across the floor and that you have everything you need for any trip you are taking.

You can even use a shoe organizer to store books, crayons and toys that your children can entertain themselves with on long drives.

Invest in Rubber Mats

From juice to chocolate and ice cream, the carpets in the back of your vehicle have seen it all. But with so many spills come stains and a musty smell that is tough to get rid of. Instead of constantly fighting to keep your carpets clean, give them one final scrubbing and invest in rubber mats for the backseat. This way, you can easily shake out crumbs and wipe up spills without having to worry about lingering odors and stains.

With these tactics in place and PermaPlate’s interior protection, the backseat of your car will be able to withstand everything your children throw at it. For more information about our interior protection programs and to find a dealership near you that offers it, please call us at 800-453-8470.

Advice for Off-Roading with Your 4×4 Vehicle

off roadingOne of the best times of the year for off-road adventures, summer is when you get to spin your tires in the mud and test your vehicle’s rock crawling abilities. Whether you have years of off-road experience or are just getting into this exhilarating activity, there are few things PermaPlate recommends you keep in mind before going on your next excursion.

Know When to Use Traction Control

Great for rock crawling and making your way across packed snow, traction control can make it more difficult for you to get through mud and sand without incident. While some vehicles automatically switch traction control on and off, others do not. If your off-roading truck is one of the latter, be sure to pay attention to when this driving aid is on, turning it off to maintain full engine power and allow for some slipping and spinning when you’re on muddy, potentially sticky turf.

Don’t Floor It When You Get Stuck

Almost every driver’s initial reaction when their vehicle starts to get stuck is to put their foot down on the gas harder. Flooring it is never a good idea though, as it will only get your tires stuck deeper in the mud. Instead, ease on the throttle to bring your vehicle out slowly, refraining from cutting engine power. For the trickiest of situations, you might want to employ the tools listed below.

Bring the Right Tools

It is important to be ready for anything when heading off road, which is why Popular Mechanics recommends bringing along these six items on every trip. Perfect for helping you get out of the deepest mud and sand, these tools will help to ensure your upcoming trips are spent driving, not digging yourself out of mud.

  • Shovel
  • Carpet/Cardboard
  • Hi-Lift Jack
  • Tow Strap
  • Winch
  • Snow Chains

Always Perform an Inspection before Heading Home

When the off-roading fun is over and you are ready to head home, we recommend taking some time to inspect your vehicle first. Ensure that it is in proper driving condition by reviewing the underbody for problems. Check to see that there is no debris covering the radiator, that no brush is caught up near the exhaust, that your wheels are clean, and that there are no leaks in the break or fuel lines.

With these checks complete, you can head home safely, which is always of the upmost importance when you get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/trucks/a20726/five-things-you-should-never-do-in-a-four-wheel-drive-vehicle/

When Should You Get Your Oil Changed?

oil changeChanging your oil as necessary is one of the easiest and least expensive maintenances that you can have performed to keep your vehicle running at peak performance throughout its lifetime.

But how do you know when it is time to have your oil changed?

It seems as though everyone has a different timeline for you to follow, with answers ranging from every 3,000 miles to every 10,000 miles or more. CarTalk.com takes a happy medium, recommending you change your oil about every 5,000 miles. Cars.com also has a smart suggestion, mentioning that you change your oil every six months with your recommended tire rotation.

Just remember that if you are putting extra strain on your vehicle – using it for frequent towing, idling extensively or typically drive short enough distances that the engine doesn’t reach full operating temperature – you should be performing more frequent oil changes.

As you can see, there isn’t one all-encompassing oil change rule to follow, but your owner’s manual can provide the best guidance for your vehicle.

We recommend reviewing it to find out the manufacturer’s suggested mileage and oil type for your particular make and model. You should also pay attention to your car’s oil-life monitor and check your oil level at least monthly to ensure you aren’t running low before your pre-planned time.

Regular maintenance is an important part of vehicle ownership, but it can be expensive. For more information about how you can keep your vehicle’s interior and exterior protected, please contact PermaPlate at 800-453-8470.

Safety Gear to Purchase Before Getting On Your Motorcycle

motorcycle safety gearSo you’ve just purchased your first motorcycle and are ready to head out on the open road. Not so fast though; there is some extra gear you may want to purchase to ensure that your two-wheeled adventures are as safe as possible.

Helmet

Regardless of if state law mandates you wear a helmet while riding or not, we at PermaPlate highly recommend you put one on. A good helmet will keep your head safe in the unfortunate event of a crash, and one with a face mask is best equipped to do this.

Fit is the most important factor to take into consideration when choosing your helmet. Look for an option that fits your head shape and size for comfortable protection. Revzilla.com has a great guide that can assist you in finding your first motorcycle helmet.

Jacket

Not only does a good jacket provide protection from the elements, but it is also your body’s first line of defense should you get into an accident. The most popular motorcycle jackets are made of leather and textile, with lightweight options like mesh available to provide protection without overheating you on those hot summer days.

When putting your jacket on, remember to zip it up all the way and tighten the sleeves so they cannot roll up in case of a fall. You can learn more about the different jacket options available in this article by MotorcycleSuperstore.com.

Pants

Although jeans are one of the most popular pant options for motorcyclists, they are far from the safest option on the market. Should you fall, they will provide minimal protection when compared to synthetic textiles. Made of Kevlar or other similar materials, synthetic textile pants are some of the safest available; those with armor padding on the knees, thighs and hips are even better.

Kevlar reinforced denim riding pants are also available; the biggest benefit being that they are much cooler than their synthetic counterparts. BikeBandit.com discusses all different styles of motorcycle pants here.

Other safety options to consider are gloves and boots, both of which provide extra protection against weather, debris and accidents on the road. We also recommend investing in a good backpack for storing your wallet, phone and a change of clothes (especially during those hot summer days).

Now that you have all the gear you need to keep yourself safe in case of an accident all that is left to do is purchase protection for your new bike. To learn more about the products available, give PermaPlate a call at 800-453-8470.

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/motorcycles/g2680/best-motorcycle-gear-accessories/.

The Who’s Who of Self-Driving Cars

autonomous vehiclesWhen it comes to autonomous technology, it seems as though there is new information being released every day. And with such a continuous flow of both facts and speculations, it can be difficult to remember who is doing what and when each self-driving vehicle is expected to release.

With this in mind, PermaPlate has put together a quick guide, breaking down the who’s who of the autonomous car industry.

Google

The earliest adopter of self-driving technology, Google has been testing since 2009. They are currently using modified Lexus SUVs and smaller prototype vehicles on roads in California, Texas, Washington and Arizona. The company has not released a timeline specifying when their technology will be available to the public, but they are expected to begin selling autonomous software to automakers in 2020.

Tesla

With semi-autonomous vehicles already on the road, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is confident that the company will be among the first to offer fully-autonomous vehicles. He originally predicted that a self-driving Tesla vehicle will arrive in 2018, but later admitted this date “might be slightly optimistic.”

Toyota

One of the last companies to announce their autonomous vehicle plans, Toyota’s goal is to have self-driving cars on the roads for the 2020 Olympics, which will be hosted in Tokyo, Japan.

BMW

Another automaker that already has vehicle with semi-autonomous features on the roads, BMW is working with Intel and Mobileye in the hopes of releasing the fully-autonomous iNEXT model in 2021.

Nissan

Nissan is working with teams at MIT, Stanford, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon and University of Tokyo to complete their self-driving prototype, which they would like to be available by 2020.

Ford

CEO Mark Fields does not expect to be the first automaker to release a fully-autonomous vehicle, but he does expect that Ford will have a self-driving car on the road in less than five years. The goal is for this vehicle to be accessible to all, and Ford has teamed up with companies like Google and Uber to push for federal action that will speed up legislation around self-driving cars.

Ford’s autonomous testing fleet includes about 30 vehicles, located in California, Arizona and Michigan.

General Motors

Although GM has not specified a date that they would like their self-driving car released, they do plan to unveil the semi-autonomous Cadillac CTS in 2017. Testing continues to take place year the company’s California headquarters.

Source: http://www.techinsider.io/google-apple-tesla-race-to-develop-self-driving-cars-by-2020-2015-10

 

2016’s Fastest Selling Used Vehicles

fastest selling used vehiclesWith some incredible 2017 models hitting the market this summer, many drivers are beginning to think about selling their one to three-year-old vehicles for an upgrade. iSeeCars.com reviewed 2.2 million used cars sold between January and May of 2016 to find out what vehicles are selling fastest, and the results may surprise you.

It turns out that electric and hybrid vehicles are in high demand. Five of the top ten cars are alternative fuel models, and all of the top ten take less than a month to sell. Most vehicles this age take 42.4 days to sell, so if you have one of the cars mentioned below you are in luck!

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

The fastest selling used car of 2016, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid spends an average 19.7 days on the market. Standard features for this four-door hatchback include keyless ignition, rearview camera and a navigation system. Able to travel 10-15 miles and up to 62 mph on battery power alone, the car follows standard hybrid operation when outside of the electric-only range.

Nissan LEAF

One of the most popular electric cars available in the US, the Nissan LEAF is the second top-selling used car of 2016. The 2016 model is available with two battery choices, although earlier models only offer one. With a four-hour charge time from empty to full and plenty of impressive features, this car is a great choice for eco-friendly drivers so it is no surprise that it sells in about 24 days.

Tesla Model S

Called the “all-electric dream car” by CarAndDriver.com, the Tesla Model S is a beautiful combination of luxury and green. The standard model can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and can go more than 200 miles without needing to charge.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The first traditional gas vehicle to make the list, the Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a compact car that sells in an average of 27.8 days. Available in hatchback and coupe styles, the 2016 model received a consumer rating of 7.9 out of 10.

Other members of the top-ten club include the Infiniti QX60, Infiniti QX56, Lexus CT 220H, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Lexus RX 350 and the Mazda 2.

For car owners debating the upgrade to a 2017 model, if you have one of these vehicles it may be a great time to do so. And for those in the market for a used vehicle, don’t hesitate to place your offer if you come across one of the quick-selling models on this list!

Regardless of if you purchase your vehicle brand new or slightly used, PermaPlate offers a wide range of automotive protection programs that will keep it looking its best during your time together. For more information, please call us at 800-453-8470.

Five of the Biggest Moments in Automobile History

automobile historyWith semi-autonomous cars already on the road and the development of fully autonomous vehicles constantly reaching new milestones, we have spent a lot of time looking to the future of cars. But what about the milestone moments that got us to where we are today?

Before another of the biggest moments in automobile history arrives, here are a few of the big moments that go us here.

Electric Headlamps

Although early car headlamps did allow drivers to navigate roads at night (and improve pedestrian safety) they were rather unreliable and sometimes hazardous.

The invention of the electric headlamp occurred in 1898 and it was a major milestone in vehicle safety. They were first installed in Electric Vehicle Company’s Columbia Electric Car, and then improved upon by Cadillac with the first modern system being introduced in 1912.

Moving Assembly Line

Henry Ford’s mass production technique made a huge impact not only on the manufacturing of cars, but the manufacturing industry as a whole.

The first moving assembly line was installed in Ford’s Michigan Highland Park plant in 1913, helping to make vehicles available to the masses. It brought the production time of a vehicle down from 12 hours to two and a half.

Fully Automatic Transmission

Nowadays, many American drivers have never driven anything but a car with a fully automatic transmission, but it wasn’t that long ago that this invention came to be. Called “Hydra-Matic”, fully automatic transmission was first introduced in 1940 in GM’s popular Oldsmobile.

This invention completely altered the automobile industry, making driving a breeze and becoming an expected feature in almost all vehicles today.

Seat Belts

An addition that was considered optional for many years, the seat belt was introduced as a safety feature in 1948. The first car to add them was the Tucker Torpedo, but it wasn’t until 1955 that a car manufacturer decided to make seatbelts a standard feature.

Volvo was the one to make the jump first, followed by American auto companies in the mid-1960s.

Airbags

Another important safety feature that it is difficult to imagine not having; airbags were not adopted by popular U.S. auto manufacturers Ford and Chevy until the mid-1980s.

The earliest airbag was invented by John W. Hetrick and was patented in 1953. More than ten years later, Mercedes-Benz became the first auto manufacturer to develop airbags for their vehicles.

Car manufacturers have made incredible leaps and bounds in the years since the above technologies were developed, introducing features that the manufacturers of these early additions only dreamed of. And with fully autonomous vehicles expected on the roads by 2020, PermaPlate looks forward to experiencing another important milestone in automobile history!