What is Lidar?

autonomous vehicle with lidar sensorsThe successful evening drive performed by Ford’s autonomous Fusion has the auto industry buzzing, as nighttime driving is one of the biggest hurdles that self-driving cars face. Tested in complete darkness on a test course in Arizona, the vehicle relied completely on its Velodyne LiDAR technology and 3D maps of the area.

According to Ford researcher Wayne Williams, “…I was following the car’s progression in real time using computer monitoring. Sure enough, it stayed precisely on track along those winding roads.”

This incredible success has brought one particular question to the minds of individuals across the country: What is lidar?

The primary sensor system used by Ford, Google and other manufacturers working to create autonomous vehicles, lidar technology is rather different from the optical sensors used in the semi-autonomous vehicles Audi and Tesla have on the roads today.

The word “LIDAR” stands for the phrase “Light Detection and Ranging” and is essentially a laser light that analyzes its surrounding to create a high resolution digital image.

These laser sensors are located on the top and front of the vehicles, acting together to gather information on objects both near and far, constantly transmitting this information to the computer system inside the vehicle.

Ford’s successful nighttime test drive is being attributed in part to the high-resolution of the area, leading researchers to believe that autonomous, lidar-enabled vehicles will be restricted to well-mapped areas for testing over the course of the next few years.

Here at PermaPlate, we are interested to see where autonomous technology will take us, and are proud to keep your vehicle – autonomous, semi-autonomous or driver required – looking its best with our appearance protection programs.

Learn More About Our Exterior Appearance Protection

7457028_SPurchasing a new vehicle is a big investment and one that you will want to protect as best as you can. From road salt to bird droppings and tree sap, there are many corrosive substances that can cause damage to the painted surfaces of your vehicle. If you are looking to provide the outside of your new car with the best protection possible, PermaPlate offers Paintguard®, an exterior appearance protection program.

With the latest technology advancements in surface treatment products as well as a network of authorized technicians, PermaPlate’s appearance protection program defends the exposed surfaces of your vehicle from a variety of damage including:

  • Fading
  • Oxidation
  • Loss of gloss
  • Road salt
  • Bird droppings
  • Tree sap
  • Hard water spotting
  • Acid rain
  • Industrial fallout

Instead of worrying about repair costs down the road, purchase PermaPlate Paintguard® with your new vehicle. Unlike car insurance, there are no deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses and no per-occurrence limit.

For more information about PermaPlate’s exterior appearance protection program, Paintguard®, visit us online or contact us by phone at 800-453-8470 to find an authorized dealership near you.

Please refer to your warranty for specific coverage details and exclusions.

Are Our Cities Ready for an Increase in Electric Vehicles?

electric car chargingThe unveiling of Tesla Motors’ Model 3 vehicle has caused quite a stir throughout the automotive community. Starting at $35,000 with a battery range of 215 miles, Model 3 sedans have the potential to change the marketplace. But Tesla’s new vehicle, along with the increase of other electric vehicles on the market, has many individuals wondering if cities across the US are ready to handle an influx of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

Especially in the country’s largest cities, many car owners do not have garages of their own where they can charge their electric vehicles at night. This makes the placement of charging stations throughout the area a key factor in the purchasing of an electric vehicle, and according to an Indiana University study, Portland, Oregon is the major city most ready to accommodate PEVs.

Portland and other top-rated cities have each taken a unique approach to help encourage the use of PEVs, offering good ideas for other cities looking to increase their number of PEV drivers. For example, PEV drivers in Honolulu, Hawaii are exempt from parking fees and those in Austin, Texas pay less than $5 a month for unlimited charging at more than 250 public stations.

With the Tesla Model 3, revamped versions of the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, and a new electric vehicle Hyundai entering the market, there are many different options for car owners to consider when purchasing a new vehicle. And with the introduction of autonomous vehicles drawing nearer, accessible PEV charging stations may soon serve more than one purpose. The perfect place for autonomous vehicles to park between customers, these areas can serve as a hub for the companies that own self-driving cars.

Here at PermaPlate, we are interested to see where the future will take the auto industry, and happy to provide protection services for your new electric vehicles! For more information about our services, visit us online or contact us by phone at 800-453-8470 to find a dealership near you that offers PermaPlate protection products.

Theft Protection Advice and Statistics [Infographic]

theft protection infographic

At one point or another, every car owner has worried that their vehicle may be stolen. And it may surprise you that it isn’t the brand new luxury car that is in the most danger of being taken, but the older, more ambiguous vehicle. Vehicles you see everyday – like the Honda Accord and Ford F-150 – have some of the highest theft rates, which is why it is important for all drivers to brush up on theft prevention tips.

Play it Safe

Although almost 80 percent of drivers always lock their vehicle, 33 percent admit to leaving their vehicle unattended while it is running and 47 percent don’t always park in well lit areas.

Small adjustments can greatly reduce your risk of car theft. We recommend never leaving your vehicle running (or leaving your key in the ignition), even if you are just running across the street to the mailbox or inside a convenient store for a couple minutes.

Pay attention to your surroundings when parking your vehicle, searching for a spot in a parking garage or a well lit parking lot. For vehicle owners who don’t park in a garage at home, we recommend installing a motion activated light near your driveway.

Avoid leaving valuables like your purse or wallet in your vehicle – and if you must leave them behind, place them somewhere out of view. Even bank statements and bills can put your vehicle at risk for theft, so pay attention to what you have lying around before getting out of your car.

Install Anti-Theft Technology

While most new vehicles come with a car alarm, don’t forget to set yours every time you get out. The ringing of this alarm should draw enough attention to your car to stop a thief in their tracks, but if your vehicle does not have an alarm installed, there are plenty of other protections to consider.

With steering wheel locks, ignition kill switches and tracking devices all available – and able to get you a discount on your car insurance – there is a safety device that will help prevent the theft of your vehicle regardless of your price range.

Consider Window Etching

A theft deterrent option recognized by The National Insurance Crime Bureau and various law enforcement agencies, window etching is a simple way to reduce your chances of vehicle theft. When a vehicle has a traceable code etched onto its parts, it is difficult to salvage for money, making it useless to thieves.

PermaPlate offers an etching service called Etchguard, installing a traceable security code to various parts of your vehicle and making it much less desirable to thieves. Etchguard also adds your personal registration to a national database available to law enforcement in case your vehicle is stolen and provides you with a Replacement Vehicle Allowance if it is not found.

To learn more, visit us online or call us at 800-453-8470 to find a dealership near you that offers PermaPlate Etchguard.

PermaPlate Teams Up With Keys To Success Again This Spring

PermaPlate Keys To Success ScholarshipHere at PermaPlate, we believe that it is our responsibility to give back to our local community, especially our community youth. Today’s high school students are tomorrow’s leaders; one of the many reasons we have formed a partnership with Keys To Success.

A program that works to enhance academic initiatives in local high schools and reward students for their academic improvements, Keys To Success’ core values include character, commitment, respect and self esteem.

Based in Utah, the organization has spent the past 10 years helping high school students to continue their education and become members of a well educated and capable workforce. This year alone, more than 300 scholarships are being offered, helping give teens across the state the means to succeed.

One of Keys to Success’ main goals is to achieve the highest percent of high school graduates pursuing post-high school degrees in the country, and each year between the months of March and May PermaPlate teams up with this incredible organization to award students with scholarship money to use towards their college education.

A proud business sponsor of Keys To Success, PermaPlate was happy to present our first scholarship of the season on March 21, 2016.

Learn more about Keys To Success and find out how you can help support your local students here, then visit PermaPlate online to learn about the other community organizations we serve.

Three Services Autonomous Technology Will Rely On

woman in autonomous vehicleWith autonomous vehicle technology constantly improving, automakers are putting more and more thought into how they will be used. Both General Motors and Uber have shown interest in the idea of corporations owning fleets of autonomous vehicles that can be rented by individuals in need of transportation on a regular basis.

ABI Research believes that 400 million people will rely on self-driving vehicle by 2030, and that many of these vehicles will be owned by corporations instead of individual drivers. The transition from owning a vehicle to renting an autonomous vehicle’s services is expected to occur in three different phases, outlined below.

Street Rental Service

A type of membership service that is expected to be popular in cities where individuals can walk or use public transportation most of the time, using a street rental service is like signing up for a club membership. By paying a set amount each month, you can reserve an autonomous vehicle for use just when you need one. All you have to do is pick it up at a designated location and return it when you are done, whether this is after a couple hours or the whole day.

Ride Sharing Service

The next type of service expected to become available as autonomous vehicles become more popular is the ride sharing service. Similar to carpooling or hailing a taxi, this service will allow you to get into an autonomous vehicle, be driven to your destination and then pay the vehicle’s owner a fee.

Robotic Service

The third and final service outlined in ABI’s study, robotic service is expected to occur as more trust is put into fully autonomous vehicles. A combination of ride sharing and car sharing – a service where a vehicle’s owner allows you to borrow the car when they are not present – robotic services will allow you to hail autonomous vehicles on the street, call them to your home to pick you up and more.

Without a driver behind the wheel of the vehicle, ride sharing and car sharing will merge into one simple, robotic service.

Here at PermaPlate, we are interested to see where autonomous technology takes us and how it will impact all of our daily lives. To stay updated with auto news and advice for maintaining your vehicle, check back on our blog frequently or “like” us on Facebook!

AEB Systems a Standard Feature By September 2022

auto emergency brakingA feature that goes by many names, you have probably heard of auto emergency braking, or AEB, if you have been paying attention to recent car commercials. Called “Active City Stop” by Ford and “PRE-SAFE Brake” by Mercedes-Benz, AEB systems use sensors, lasers and cameras to monitor for potential collisions, alerting drivers to danger on the road and applying the brakes independently if needed.

A popular addition that more and more manufacturers are offering in their vehicles, research has found that 35 percent of rear end crashes could be avoided completely with the help of AEB systems. And a recent announcement ensures that this feature will be available for everyone in the years to come.

On Thursday, March 17, twenty auto makers and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced their commitment to making auto emergency braking a standard feature in all vehicles by September of 2022.

An agreement that will reduce rear end crashes by 40 percent, the addition of AEB systems as a standard feature will help to improve safety for drivers across the country as we draw nearer to the start of completely autonomous vehicles. Almost all vehicles with a weight of less than 8,500 lbs. will be affected by this ruling, and trucks about 8,500 lbs. will have to include AEB systems as a standard feature by 2025.

Called, “…a win for safety and a win for consumers,” by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the addition of AEB systems into all new vehicles is something that we at PermaPlate are very excited about.

Whether your vehicle has an AEB system or not, PermaPlate is here to ensure that it is running its best with our pre-paid maintenance program. To learn more about this and other PermaPlate programs, visit us online or call us at 800-453-8470 to find a dealership near you that carries our products.

Will Your Vehicle Reach 200,000 Miles?

vehicle maintenanceWhile some car owners prefer to upgrade vehicles every few years, others like to stick with the vehicle they love for as long as they can. If you are the type of driver who would like their car or truck to reach 200,000 miles, regular maintenance is an important factor to keep in mind, as is the particular vehicle you own. Money.com has mapped out which sedans, SUVs, trucks and luxury vehicles are most likely to go the distance, and PermaPlate has some tips that every car owner looking to get the most of their big purchase should try.

Perform Monthly Checks

Instead of waiting for warning lights to pop up on the dash, be proactive and take the time to check your vehicle’s tire pressure and fluid levels monthly. We recommend keeping a couple quarts of oil and some extra windshield washer fluid in the trunk, just in case you are low when you check.

Follow Maintenance Recommendations

Instead of only changing your oil when your annual inspection takes place, follow maintenance recommendations, having it changed every eight months (about 7,500 miles) to extend the life of your vehicle. When you have your oil changed, spend the little bit extra to have your tires rotated as well. This will help to ensure a smooth ride and even wear – which will save you money on new tires in the long run.

One maintenance check many drivers forget about is the filters. This extra step can add miles and many years onto your vehicles lifespan, Money.com recommends changing the passenger compartment air filter at 36,000 miles.

Pay Extra Attention at 100,000 Miles

Around the time your vehicle reaches 100,000 miles, there are some extra precautions you should take to protect its health. Start by checking to see if you need a wheel alignment to ensure that you aren’t wearing down your tires more than you need to be. Also have your timing belt and all of the other belts and hoses that make up your vehicle checked to ensure they are all in good shape. If any have begun to weaken, swap them out for new ones to keep bigger repair costs at bay.

As the mileage on your vehicle increases, so do the chances that you will need to have repairs made, making Prepaid Maintenance extremely helpful. For more information, contact us at 800-453-8470 to find a dealership near you that carries PermaPlate products.

Can You Drive On Your Snow Tires Year-Round?

summer tiresAs the weather begins to warm up and snow melts away across the country, many drivers are wondering if they really need to take their snow tires off. Not only will you have to head to your local auto shop to wait in line and have them removed, but you will also have to make space in your garage or basement to properly store them. And while these discouraging factors may have you thinking about leaving your snow tires on year-round, PermaPlate is here to remind you why it is so important to swap them out for your summer tires.

Excess Wear

Created from a more flexible rubber than all season and summer tires, snow tires provide extra traction in the winter, gripping to the snow and ice on the road better than other tires can. As much as it helps you in the winter, this pliable tread works against you in the summer, wearing down very quickly on the warm, dry pavement that doesn’t require extra grip.

Decreased Performance

Another problem caused by the soft rubber of snow tires is the inability to quickly maneuver your vehicle. The harder all season and summer tires provide a crisper response than the flexible snow tires can, making them a safer choice when the weather is warm.

Additional Fuel Costs

Along with decreased performance and excess wear comes an additional problem: a decrease in gas mileage. No one wants to fill up their tank more often then they need to, and with summer vacation approaching, the extra money you spend on gas can take away from your fun in the sun!

Winter tires are expensive and ineffective during the spring and summer months, so make yours last and ensure a safer drive by taking them off promptly after the snow and ice melt away. Your vehicle and your wallet will thank you!

PermaPlate offers tire and wheel protection along with a wide variety of other automotive protection programs to help ensure your vehicle looks and drives its best. Learn more about them here and visit our blog regularly for more vehicle advice.

Three Year Study Highlights the Biggest Driver Distractions

texting while drivingDriving is an activity that requires your utmost attention, and it comes as no surprise that distracted drivers are a leading cause of accidents on the road. Accidents happen in a matter of seconds, and just a moment with your eyes away from the road can be dangerous.

So what distractions are the worst? Virginia Tech Transportation Institute explored this question in a three year study that gathered information from more than 3,500 drivers using onboard video cameras and sensors.

During the course of the study, almost half of the participants were involved in some sort of driving incident, and while some accidents were small – like the little bumps into stationary objects – others were rather serious, and distraction played an important role in both types.

An unexpected driver distraction that researchers noticed was mood. Whether subjects were crying, angry or agitated while behind the wheel, these strenuous emotional conditions increased the risk of a collision up to 980 percent. And even more frightening than this was the fact that drivers were distracted more than 50 percent of the time they were on the road!

One of the study’s most interesting findings was that interacting with children in the back seat of your vehicle is nowhere near as dangerous as expected. Why? Researchers believe that driving in your children’s presence actually has a proactive effect, since you are paying closer attention to the road and making more careful decisions to help ensure their safety.

For drivers getting behind the wheel after a difficult day, we recommend taking a few deep breathes to calm yourself for the drive ahead. Interested in brushing up on your defensive driving skills? Check out PermaPlate’s recent article about our top five defensive driving tips here.

Accidents can happen to anyone, which is why it is so important to keep your vehicle protected. Here at PermaPlate, we offer a variety of protection packages to ensure that your vehicle will stay looking like new throughout your time together.

Sources: http://www.bustle.com/articles/145312-the-most-dangerous-driving-distractions-you-should-avoid-according-to-statistics

http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/76302/scientists-identify-most-dangerous-driving-distractions

Microsoft Testing Unique Solution to Combat DMV Woes

computer conferencing One thing that everyone can probably agree on is that it isn’t fun to have to go to the DMV. Whether you are applying for your learner’s permit, renewing your license or trading in your license plates, the office is always busy –and no one wants to take time out of their busy day to wait in line. Lucky for us, an interesting solution to the problems associated with the DMV and other municipal offices may be on the horizon.

Microsoft is currently working in India to create a program that hooks up India’s national identity system (similar to US social security numbers) to a video service like Skype. In theory, this program will allow you to video chat with public offices – like the DMV and City Hall – to handle your business without dealing with the hassle of driving across town and waiting in line. A great solution for individuals who don’t want to take time off of work or wake up early on Saturday to handle paperwork, this video service has the potential to become immensely popular.

Although Microsoft is still in the early stages of the creation of this program, questions have already arisen about security. Microsoft President Brad Smith has mentioned the use of facial or fingerprint scanners in conjunction with an ID number to prevent identity theft, but even with security questions still buzzing around close to one billion Indian citizens have enrolled in a voluntary program to try out this new video technology.

Here at PermaPlate, we are interested to see where these interested developments will lead and how they will help to make obtaining and completing driver-related permits and paperwork easier for our customers.

Our Top Five Defensive Driving Tips

defensive drivingThe longer you drive, the more confident you become behind the wheel. And sometimes this confidence can cause you to forget that not everyone is paying as close attention to the road as you are. Whether you are teaching your teen to drive and are looking for some good advice to give them, or you just want to brush up on your own driver safety, PermaPlate has put together a list of our top five defensive driving tips to help keep you safe out on the road.

Think about Safety

Defensive driving starts before you even get on the road, so before putting your key in the ignition, take a moment to ensure you are ready to go. Is your seatbelt on? Are your children properly strapped into their booster seats? Are there any objects in the car that may bump around (groceries, sports equipment, etc.)? Do you have everything you need for the day?

Get Rid of Distractions

Another important thing to do before you start your car: Get rid of potential distractions. Driving is a task that requires your full attention, so turn down the radio and leave the newspaper on the seat next to you.

One of the worst distractions for drivers today is cell phones, and if you have been tempted to use yours while driving, we encourage you to switch it to silent mode and set it out of reach before you hit the road. Whether placed in your glove compartment or on the backseat, removing this distraction will help to ensure that you – and those around you – are safe.

Pay Close Attention to Your Surroundings

There is a lot to be aware of when you are on the road. Not only are their stop signs, lights and other vehicles to watch for, there may be children walking down the sidewalk, a dog that runs into the street and much, much more.

Keep your eyes moving as you drive, scanning your surroundings and checking your mirrors to ensure that you are aware of everything that is going on. By paying close attention to your surrounding and the actions of other drivers around you, you are more likely to avoid an accident should anything unexpected occur.

Follow the Speed Limit

Another important component of defensive driving is following the speed limit, and remembering that posted speed limits are in place for ideal conditions. Depending on the weather, take time to assess the road conditions and maintain a speed that will allow you to stay in control of your vehicle.

Also, always maintain an appropriate following distance, even if the driver ahead of you is going below the speed limit.

Don’t Make Assumptions about Other Drivers

The last and most important piece of advice we can offer is not to make assumptions about other drivers and what they will do. Consider the worst case scenarios (the other drivers speeds through the red light, doesn’t move over to let you merge, roll through a stop sign, etc.) and be prepared to act accordingly to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

Even while following these defensive driving tips, accidents can happen, which is why PermaPlate offers automotive protection products for all your vehicle needs.

Improve Your Fuel Mileage with Quick Tips from PermaPlate

filling up gas tank Everyone likes to save money, and if you are looking to reduce fuel costs there are plenty of tips to help make your vehicle more fuel efficient. Not only will these recommendations save you money on fuel, they can also help to ensure your car lives a long, healthy life. From putting some extra time into caring for your vehicle to changing your driving habits, there are lots of choices you can make to increase your vehicle’s fuel mileage.

Check Your Filters

To keep your engine running smoothly, it is important to check the condition of its air filter regularly – especially if you drive down dirt roads on a frequent basis. It is also important to replace your fuel filter as advised by your manufacturer. These two components play an important role in the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, and by keeping them (and the rest of your vehicle) in good shape you can maintain your best fuel mileage.

Properly Inflate Your Tires

Another important vehicle feature to pay attention to is the tires. By keeping them properly inflated, you can reduce your fuel consumption by three percent. We recommend that drivers make checking their tire pressure a part of their monthly or weekly routine. Tires lose an average of 1 PSI per month, and tire pressure decreases much more in the winter.

Don’t Let Your Tank Reach Empty

Instead of waiting till your low fuel light appears on the dashboard and filling all the way up, refill your tank when it reaches one quarter full. Driving on low fuel can put stress on your fuel pump, reducing your fuel efficiency and causing problems for your vehicle down the road.

Use Cruise Control

Instead of letting yourself speed up and slow down as you travel down the highway, turn on your cruise control to maintain a constant speed and reduce the amount of fuel you are using. This technique does not always work as well in stop and go traffic, but in those situations smooth acceleration and braking can help.

Avoid Idling

Whether you are waiting to pick your child up outside of school or letting your car warm up on a chilly day, excess idling can waste a lot of fuel. To save money, improve air quality and reduce engine wear, we recommend turning your vehicle off any time you put it into park, and only warming it up for a couple minutes before heading off to work on those cold winter mornings.

Looking for other ways to ensure your vehicle is functioning at its best? PermaPlate offers a variety of protection programs to help you save while keeping your vehicle in like-new condition.

A Look into the Future of Cars

future of carsMashable recently released an interactive article about the future of the car industry and how technology will transform vehicles over the course of the next ten years. The advances described in this article are based on the idea of a greener, safer and more affordable vehicle – all things that we are looking forward to in the years to come.

Green

As concerns over climate change grow, consumers are already putting pressure on car manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions. It is expected that this pressure will lead to some major changes in the way that vehicles run, with hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles becoming the norm for drivers around the world by 2025.

Adjustments will also be made to make engines more efficient, since about 95 percent of cars are will still rely partially on fossil fuels.

Safe

It is well known that human error is the main cause of accidents on the road, and autonomous vehicles have the opportunity to greatly reduce the risk of car accidents and injuries. There are four levels of autonomous driving that are currently being tested: Safety assistance, complex driver assistance, semi-autonomous driving and fully autonomous driving.

Not only will self-driving vehicles provide us with the opportunity to relax – or get more done – as we travel around town, they can also help elderly individuals to maintain their independence.

Affordable

Auto sales are expected to increase enormously in developing countries over the next ten years, making small, inexpensive vehicles market leaders. According to Mashable, car ownership typically starts to gain momentum when income reaches between $10,000 and $20,000, and as income rises in developing nations, so will the number of vehicles owned.

Here at PermaPlate, we look forward to seeing how technology will impact the development of vehicles over the course of the next ten years. To help ensure that your vehicle looks and drives its best until you can catch a ride in a self-driving car, PermaPlate offers automotive protection programs like windshield protection, theft protection and pre-paid maintenance.

What Color Vehicle is Right for You?

row of different color carsEveryone has heard the urban legend that red cars get pulled over more than vehicles painted in more muted hues, and while this is probably just another old wives tale your grandma told to keep you away from the flashy sports car you wanted in your twenties, the color of your vehicle does say something about you. Wondering why a particular paint color is sticking out at you as you search for a new vehicle? PermaPlate has uncovered some interesting information on the subject:

Most Popular Choices

When it comes to luxury vehicles, most of us think that bright yellow and cherry red reign supreme, but it is actually shades of white and silver that are most popular. According to an article from Bloomberg Business, one in every three luxury vehicles is silver in hue and another 30 percent of these vehicles are white. With more than half of all luxury cars coated in silver or white paint, these two shades must have a particular understated appeal that customers enjoy.

Best Resale Value

While we do recommend choosing a shade you love when purchasing your new vehicle, another factor to consider when it comes to paint color is resale value. Shades like white, silver, gray and black will always remain in style, but colors like orange and green won’t be loved by all potential purchasers.

According to Kelley Blue Book, less popular colors depreciate you vehicle’s value in a big way (between hundreds and thousands of dollars), so if you tend to trade in your car for an upgraded model every few years, it is probably best to stick with a classic color.

What Each Color Means

Now that we have discussed which colors are most popular, you are probably wondering exactly what the color of your vehicle says about your personality. Here is a brief list of what different car color stands for, according to psychologists:

White – Elegant, fresh, simplistic

Gray – Traditional and cautious

Silver – Practical, sleek and innovative

Black – Sophisticated and timeless

Red – Ambitious and fun

Blue – Optimistic, stable and serene

Yellow – Happy and bright

Whether your vehicle is red, blue or any other shade of the rainbow, PermaPlate offers automotive products to keep it looking its best. Paint protection film and paintless dent repair are just two of the many ways we can ensure your vehicle stays in top shape.

Autonomous Vehicles and Liability

car accident liability As companies like Google, Ford, Tesla and Toyota continue testing and working out the kinks in their autonomous prototype vehicles, more and more questions are arising about the liability issues surrounding driverless vehicles. Who will be charged in a fatal accident involving a driverless vehicle? How will car insurance change? Could the person inside of an autonomous vehicle have prevented the accident?

With questions swirling around the heads of consumers everywhere, The Washington Post has put together an article highlighting the answers they have been able to uncover, as well as the many questions that are left unanswered.

Carmakers May Take the Blame

When it comes to autonomous vehicles that are found at fault for an accident, many experts are leaning towards the idea of auto manufacturers assuming more responsibility. One possible scenario is that the victim of a car accident would sue the manufacturer of the driverless car that hit them for building a vehicle that did not operate the way it was intended to.

Volvo, Google and Mercedes-Benz have all stated that they will accept liability in accidents involving their self-driving cars, showing just how much these companies trust the technology they are building.

More Scrutiny on Drivers

Another possibility, since different manufacturers are planning on introducing different degrees of automation, is that the human in the driver’s seat of the autonomous vehicle will face further scrutiny in a car crash. It is likely that the question, “Did you have the ability to stop the accident?” will come into play if the vehicle allows for humans to take control.

To address this problem, some states have proposed that all self-driving cars will be required to have a licensed driver behind the wheel, but as of right now there is no clear answer to most of the questions being proposed.

Here at PermaPlate, we are extremely interested in how these liability issues will play out as car manufacturers draw closer to releasing their first fully autonomous vehicles. Regardless of if you – or your car – is in charge of the wheel, you will still want your car looking its best, which is why PermaPlate is proud to provide automotive protection products for all your needs.

Are You Making These Common Winter Vehicle Mistakes?

winter car problemsAs drivers across the country face freezing temperatures and winter whiteouts, we are reminded of the fact that vehicles don’t always function well when facing cold weather conditions and that drivers sometimes play a role in the problems that can occur. PermaPlate has put together a list of driver mistakes that can cause extra harm to a vehicle during the cold winter months.

Not Changing the Windshield Wipers

While proper visibility is important regardless of the season, it is even more important when facing snowy winter weather. We have all been guilty of putting off changing our windshield wipers, but this year, pay close attention to the clarity through which you can see the road and make sure to switch out your old wipers for a new set as soon as the wipers start to leave streaks on the window.

Forgetting To Check Tire Pressure

The colder the weather gets, the more the pressure in your tires can decrease, which is why we recommend checking your tire pressure regularly to ensure that they are at the optimal pressure for your vehicle. Not only will maintaining the correct tire pressure help to ensure better handling in snowy weather, but it will also help your tire to wear evenly.

Letting the Gas Tank Reach Empty

To prevent your fuel line from freezing, it is extremely important to keep your vehicle filled throughout the cold winter season. We all get in a rush to get home and let the fuel gage trickle lower and lower, but try to remember to fill up before your gas tank dips below one half, your vehicle will thank you!

To help ensure your car looks and drives its best throughout its lifetime, PermaPlate offers appearance protection programs including fiberguard, leatherguard, paintguard, rustguard and soundguard. Regardless of what winter weather conditions you face, we are here to keep your vehicle in the best shape possible.

Sources: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/chi-subzero-car-care-story.html

Ask Yourself These Questions Before Shopping for a New Car

shopping for a new carPurchasing a new vehicle is a big commitment, and with so many options to consider, finding the right one for your lifestyle can seem like a daunting task. Before you start shopping, we recommend developing a general idea of what you want – and need – by answering these questions.

What Size Vehicle Do You Need?

The easiest way to narrow down your search for the perfect vehicle is by deciding what features you need. First, think about the number of passengers you typically drive with. If you have three or more children, your vehicle needs will be extensively different than someone who is single. And while sedans typically offer better fuel mileage than SUVs and trucks, they don’t have all the same capabilities. For example, if you need to tow a boat or camper or bring a few kayaks along on vacation with you, you may need the extra space provided by a larger vehicle.

What Features Would You Like?

Once you have decided what size and style vehicle you are interested in, it is time to think about specific features. Do you prefer to drive manual or automatic? Are heated seats a must? Does your family need a DVD player in the back? Make a list of the features you would prefer your vehicle to have and bring them along with you when it’s time to test drive the cars you love most to help narrow your choices down.

Do You Feel Comfortable?

Now that you are ready to test drive some cars, pay attention to how you feel inside each vehicle. The car you choose will probably be with you for years to come, so if the seat is uncomfortable or you think the trunk might be a little too small, you will have to live with this for a while. When you find your perfect vehicle, you will know.

Regardless of what vehicle you decide to purchase, PermaPlate is here to insure that your brand new car stays in the best shape possible. Our automotive protection programs are designed to keep your vehicle in top shape, just like it was when you purchased it!

A Recap of the Big Game’s Car Commercials

From dachshunds in hot dog buns to the “puppybabymonkey”, the commercials played throughout this year’s big game ranged from adorable to quite strange. For car enthusiasts who were more focused on snacking between plays than watching the commercials, PermaPlate has you covered with some of our favorite car commercials of the evening:

Kia

Featuring Christopher Walken and a pair of brightly patterned socks, the Kia Optima advertisement may not have been the funniest to appear on screen, but it was fairly memorable. With a 4 out of 5 rating from Car and Driver and a 4.5 out of 5 rating from The Car Connection, the car is stylish in appearance with some great standard features (think cruise control, satellite radio, Bluetooth and more).

Hyundai

With Kevin Hart in one spotlight and Ryan Reynolds in the other, Hyundai highlighted two of their top-selling vehicles, the Hyundai Elantra and the Hyundai Genesis, with two pretty comedic commercials. While the ladies probably preferred Ryan Reynolds’ spotlight, Kevin Hart’s overprotective dad commercial was one everyone could relate to – and laugh at.

Honda

The singing sheep in Honda’s big game commercial were quirky and memorable, and the truck bed audio system available in the 2016 Honda Ridgeline is pretty cool. With an updated sleek look, the truck is expected to hit the United State’s market sometime in the first quarter.

BMW

This year, BMW focused their advertisement on the 2016 MINI Cooper and the breaking of its typical stereotypes. With a handful of celebrities including Serena Williams, Tony Hawk and T-Pain featured in the commercial, the car is looking to break away from its cute image with a “Defy Labels” campaign.

Toyota

Toyota decided to highlight the Prius this year, and while their first commercial of the night didn’t turn any heads, their second set of commercials featuring bank robbers in a Prius was one of the most memorable and entertaining spotlights of the big game. Are we sold on the idea that you could successfully evade the police in a Prius? No. But we give Toyota points for their creativity!

Audi

A tribute to David Bowie with an incredible storyline, Audi’s commercial was one that you couldn’t help but smile at. We’ve never been to the moon, but we would love to get behind the wheel of the new Audi R8.

Fiat Chrysler

To celebrate Jeep’s 75th anniversary, FCA focused their two commercial spotlights on the vehicle’s history and current capabilities. The first commercial was a heartfelt photo tribute of all of the places Jeep has been, including the beaches of Normandy, Jurassic Park and the moon. Happy 75th Jeep!

With so many great car commercials this year, it is hard for us to pick a favorite, but we would love to hear yours! Click here to share your response with us on our Facebook page.

No matter what brand of car you drive, PermaPlate’s automotive protection products will ensure your vehicle looks like new throughout your time together.

PermaPlate’s Top Five Tips for Teaching Your Child to Drive

teen learning to driveWhile every teenager is busy counting down the days until they can get behind the wheel of a car, every parent is busy worrying about their child’s safety. It is completely normal to be nervous about teaching your teen to drive, but it is important to put your fears aside so that you can do your best to instill good driving practices. Here are PermaPlate’s top five tips to help ensure a positive driving experience for you and your child.

Discuss the Drive Ahead of Time

Before heading out on the road with your teen, we recommend deciding on a route ahead of time and discussing what skills you would like to focus on. Working on parallel parking? Choose quiet side streets with curbs. Practicing left turns? Start with an area that’s not too busy and slowly work up to those loud, congested roads.

Keep Your Cool

Even though it may be hard, remember to keep your cool while you are out on the road. Learning to drive is stressful enough as it is, add a shouting parent to the mix and it is easy for your child to get discouraged. Pay close attention to the road as your teen drives, giving them advanced notice for turns and lights that have just changed.

Also, instead of talking as you drive, have your child pull over to discuss mistakes or miscommunications. Instead of talking down to your teen, try to maintain a calm, positive tone. As much as kids hate to hear those “when I was your age stories”, this is a great time to pull one out. Share your most embarrassing driving story with your teen and remind them that driving is a skill that improves with time and lots of practice.

Review the Session

After you get home, talk to your teen about the session, complimenting on improvements they have made and noting things that you would like to continue to work on with them. Don’t forget to ask your child their opinion, discussing what skills they aren’t yet comfortable with and how they would like to work to improve them. If your teen wants to spend an hour making three point turns over and over again, let them! Driving is all about confidence and if this activity will help them feel more prepared for the road ahead, then sit in the passenger’s seat and provide all the support you can.

Lead By Example

Now that your teen is learning what to and what not to do on the road, it is more important than ever to follow the rules of the road when you are behind the wheel. Sure, some drivers may feel comfortable speeding or even hitting the gas when they see a yellow light, but you wouldn’t want your child picking up on these traits while they are learning! Stay on your best driving behavior to help your child stay on theirs, and remember to talk about the importance of putting away your cell phone before getting behind the wheel.

Consider Drivers Education Classes

Whether you are having a hard time teaching your child or just want to ensure they are learning the rules of the road the right way, drivers education classes are a great way to improve your teen’s driving skills. Not only are the instructors trained to prepare teens for their road test, but they are also a stranger, and having someone who isn’t you tell your teen what to do can always help them to listen.

Teaching your teen to drive can be tough, both on your emotions and your vehicle – which is where PermaPlate comes in. Our automotive protection products can keep your car looking like new, even when facing a first-time driver.

Source: http://www.dmv.org/articles/tips-for-parents-teaching-their-teens-how-to-drive/