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Looking for a new Truck? Things to consider...

What kind of truck do you need?

It is one of the most expensive investments that every business and contractor MUST purchase, a good truck.  But often times, we run into contractors and business owners who don't have what they need and quickly realize that they need more or less truck to compliment their work/life needs.  Here are a few things to consider BEFORE you purchase your next truck.


When considering buying your next truck, make sure you do your homework:

It is vitally important to define what you need your pickup to do. The first step: Create a worksheet to address the performance requirements using the following eight factors:


1. Payload. What is the truck intended to haul? How much will the maximum load weigh?

2. Trailering. Will the truck be hauling a trailer? What size? How much total weight will be towed, including the weight of the trailer and its contents?

3. Bed size. How much cargo room will be needed to carry the load?

4. Cargo management. How will the load be carried and secured?

5. Crew capacity. How many people, including driver, will the truck need to carry?

6. Annual miles. How many miles will the truck be operated per year?

7. Driving conditions. Will the truck be used at primarily highway speeds or for inner-city stop-and-go type applications? Will the truck be at constant, diminishing, or minimal load? Will the truck be driven primarily in hilly or mountainous conditions or flat terrain?

8. Off-road use. Does the truck need to travel off-road? If so, how often will you need off-road capabilities? How harsh are the conditions - e.g., mud, dirt roads, loose gravel, hilly terrain, or steep slopes? 

15-Point Checklist

Once the requirements have been defined, with a clear idea of the capabilities and capacities needed, you can then begin specifying the truck to do the job. Here is a 15-point checklist to help guide the process, ensuring the specs align with the fleet's requirements:

1. Pickup Truck Segment & Classification

There are two primary pickup segments: mid-size and full-size. 

The mid-size segment covers trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) ranging from 4,300 to 6,000 lbs. Examples of trucks in this class include the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier.

The full-size segment includes GVWRs from 6,400 to 13,300 lbs. and is further divided into three classes: ½-ton, ¾-ton and 1-ton pickups. These labels no longer accurately reflect the truck's payload capabilities (for example, today's ½-ton pickup offers a payload capacity closer to ¾-ton or 1,500 lbs.), but the industry continues to use these terms to demarcate the three classifications of full-size pickup.  

What size truck works best for the fleet's application? Here's a breakdown for each segment and classification.

Mid-size (GVWR: 4,300-6,010 lbs.) Application: The payload is less than 1,500 lbs. and/or the truck is hauling a small trailer with total weight below 5,000 lbs. Also the cargo does not require a cargo bed larger than 5-6 feet.

Full-size ½-ton (GVWR: 6,400-8,200 lbs.) application: The payload is 1,500-2,000 lbs. and/or the trailer capacity needed is between 5,000 lbs. and 10,000 lbs. Gains are seen with a maximum bed length at eight feet, two feet longer than the largest mid-size truck bed, unless a crew cab is selected (four full doors), which limits bed length between 5.5 and 5.7 feet.

Full-size ¾-ton (GVWR:  8,650-10,000 lbs.) application: The payload is 2,000-4,000 lbs. and/or the needed trailer capacity is up to 16,000 lbs. Maximum bed length is 8-feet, including crew cab configuration, unlike the ½-ton. 

Full-size 1-ton (GVWR: 9,900-13,300 lbs.) application: The payload is between 3,000 lbs. and 6,500 lbs. and/or hauling a trailer with a total weight up to 21,000 lbs. Maximum bed length is 8 feet, including crew cab configurations.

2. Engine Type and Size

Once the truck size has been selected, the engine options will have narrowed down. 

Mid-size trucks. If it's been determined a mid-size truck will do the job, there's the option of four-cylinder, V-6, and V-8 gasoline engines, depending on the manufacturer. Spec the smaller engine for light payload, non-towing applications. This will lower acquisition cost and offer optimal fuel economy. For greater hauling, towing capacity, and top-end speed, select among the larger engines.

Full-size ½-ton. Options here include V-6 and V-8 gasoline engines and hybrid gasoline-electric (offered by Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra). As with the mid-size trucks, the V-6 typically offers the lowest acquisition cost and - except in the case of the hybrid - the best fuel economy. However, towing capacity is sacrificed, which increases substantially with a V-8. Consult the truck manufacturer on selecting the engine in its ½-ton lineup that best fits the fleet's towing, hauling, and fuel-economy objectives. 

Full-size ¾-ton and 1-ton. With the full-size, ¾-ton, and 1-ton there is the choice of either gasoline or diesel engine. Which is the right application?

The advantage of diesel, compared to the gasoline engine, is that it offers up to 30-percent better fuel economy and greater pulling power. However, the premium  for the diesel option can be as much as $7,000-$8,000 higher than the gasoline engine-equipped truck. 

Therefore, the truck would need to travel enough miles per year to realize sufficient fuel savings to recoup the higher initial cost of the diesel engine. The typical rule of thumb is 25,000-30,000 or more annual miles need to be accumulated for the diesel option to generate a reasonable payback.

Run the numbers based on current and projected fuel prices for both gas and diesel, the additional acquisition cost for the diesel engine option, estimated fuel economy for the gasoline and diesel engines, and annual miles to determine whether it makes financial sense to pay more for the diesel upfront.

Depending on the manufacturer and class, there may be only one engine option. For example, the 2011 Ram 3500 offers only the diesel engine, whereas with the Ram 2500 there is the choice of either gas or diesel.
Also, refer to your trailering requirements. If the truck needs to tow more than 15,000 lbs., chances are the diesel engine may be the only option for the job. 

3. Transmission

Manual or automatic transmission?  Depending on the truck segment, class, and manufacturer, the decision may be made for you. For example, mid-size trucks typically are available in both manual and automatic. However, when you move up to full-size, most manufacturers offer only an automatic, ranging from 4-speed to 6-speed, depending on the engine selection. (One exception among full-size trucks: The Ram 3500 comes standard with a manual transmission.)

If there's a choice between manual or automatic, which is the best one for a particular application?  

The typical advantages of manual transmissions include lower acquisition cost and better fuel economy. The downside is that not all drivers know how to operate a manual transmission, which could limit the pool of available drivers for that truck. Automatic transmission is easier to drive than manual, which expands the driver pool, and usually offers higher towing capacities.

4. Rear/Drive Wheel-Axle Ratio

Here's the typical rule of thumb: The higher the numerical ratio, the slower the gear will be. This higher ratio gives a truck greater pulling power, but since the engine must work harder to spin the driveshaft more times for each turn of the rear wheels, fuel economy is sacrificed.  

The inverse also holds true. When the numerical ratio is lower, the available top-end speed increases. And, since the engine doesn't have to work as hard to turn the wheels faster, fuel economy improves. The downside is that pulling power diminishes. 

In some cases, engine selection will dictate available drive-axle ratio. For example, the only drive-axle ratio available with the diesel engine for the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD is the 3.73 gear. Chevrolet's gasoline engine options offer a wider range of axle ratios to choose from.

5. Pickup Box Size

Mid-size pickup beds range from 5.1 feet to 6.4-feet in length, depending on cab configuration. Full-size pickups typically offer three bed sizes up to 8.1-feet long, depending on cab configuration and truck manufacturer, for example:

¦ Standard bed: 6.3-6.6 feet. 
¦ Long bed: 8.0-8.1 feet.
¦ Short bed: 5.5-5.7 feet (only available on ½-ton class, Crew Cab models).

What size bed will best carry a load? If hauling sheets of plywood, for example, the 8-foot-long bed is usually the best fit. However, with the longer beds, the truck's price increases and maneuverability is sacrificed (which impacts safety). 

6. Two- or Four-Wheel Drive

Will the truck need to operate in off-road conditions? If so, how often would it be anticipated that the driver would have to engage the four-wheel drive for added traction?

These questions are important because the incremental cost for four-wheel drive can be as much as $4,000. Does the application warrant this extra cost? If so, then it's money well spent. If not, stick with two-wheel drive. 

7. Rear Suspension

Why is the rear suspension important? What does it impact? What happens if the suspension is mismatched? If the truck is driven primarily in empty load situations but spec'd with a beefed up rear suspension designed for heavier loads or pulling a trailer, a rougher ride will be experienced when the truck is empty - and fleet most likely paid more upfront for the heavier-duty suspension.

On the other hand, if a "smooth ride" suspension is spec'd, but the truck is kept under constant heavy load or regularly pulls a trailer, there's a risk of creating premature maintenance issues and shortening the truck life.

8. Rear-drive axle differential

The drive axle differential transmits power to the drive wheels while allowing them to rotate at different speeds (hence the term "differential"). The need for the wheels to turn at different speeds is required when turning corners, when the inner wheel travels a shorter distance than the outer wheel. The differential becomes especially important to counter slick situations (e.g., ice, water, or mud).

There are three types of differentials to consider:

Open differential. The drive wheels both move at equal force - as long as both wheels remain in contact with the road and have traction. However, if one wheel slips on ice, for example, more torque is sent to the wheel that spins. If the slipping wheel completely loses traction, all power is sent to that wheel, and there is no forward momentum. This is typically the lowest cost option.

Limited-slip differential. This is designed to "limit" the tendency of the open differential to send power to a wheel that lacks traction and redirects that power, to a degree, to the other wheel of the axle. Under normal operating conditions, this differential will send power to both wheels equally when traveling forward. However, when one wheel spins due to lack of traction, the differential will automatically provide torque to the other wheel with traction. It "limits" the loss of torque to a slipping wheel through various mechanisms, such as clutches, gears, and other methods, but it does not provide 100-percent lock-up of differential in extreme conditions.

Locking differential. This offers best traction in slick or off-road conditions, even in two-wheel drive mode. It uses a mechanism that "locks" left and right wheels and turns them at the same speed regardless of how little traction a slipping wheel has. This means traction can be sent to a wheel that may be firmly on the ground while the other wheel is completely off the ground. The incremental cost for a locking differential is approximately $300, depending on manufacturer.

9. Cab Configuration

This determines the number of crew that can safely be carried in the vehicle. The actual terms used for each configuration differ from manufacturer to manufacturer (See sidebar: "Cab Configuration Nomenclature"), but here's a breakdown of each of the three configurations, using generic terms:

Regular/Standard Cab. One bench or two bucket seats. There's no second-row seating and (usually) no substantial storage behind the seat.
Extended Cab. Truck has either jump seat or full bench seat in the rear. There's limited legroom compared to the larger crew cabs. The rear doors often open toward the rear.

Crew Cab. Full-size, second-row seating with full four doors that swing open toward the front. For mid-size and full-size ½-ton pickups, bed length is sacrificed for the crew cab. When moving up to the full-size ¾-ton and 1-ton models, there are no bed-size limitations with the crew cab.

10. Seat Material

Vinyl, cloth, or leather seats? The answer impacts driver comfort, acquisition cost, and seat durability. 

Vinyl seats.
 Vinyl seats are the lowest cost option, built for durability and standard on most work truck configurations. The downside is for trucks that operate in extreme heat environments where the vinyl seats can get uncomfortably hot for drivers and crew.

Cloth seats. Cloth seats help dissipate extreme temperatures and are often more comfortable than vinyl but are also more difficult to keep clean, as dirt can get ground into the fabric. 

Leather seats. Leather seats are usually reserved for a high-level supervisor or company executive pickups. This is the highest cost option but often offers maximum comfort with features including heated seats and lumbar support. It's also the least durable in harsh work conditions, susceptible to heat cracking and tears.

11. Seat Configuration

Bench or bucket seats? This answer impacts crew capacity. A full-size regular cab pickup with a bench seat, for example, provides three-person capacity; buckets only offer two-person. However, the advantage of bucket seats is that they offer seat adjustment and other comfort features that the bench seat often does not. 

12. Comfort and Convenience Options

In most cases, air conditioning is standard, so the focus here is on options such as power windows, power door locks, and cruise control, which usually don't come standard on work truck packages. The incremental cost can be a few hundred dollars for these options but may be worth it, depending on the application. Will the truck be driven long distances, primarily at highway speeds? If so, cruise control may be worth the cost to reduce driver fatigue. If there's concern that drivers might forget to manually lock passenger doors (and leave the truck vulnerable to theft), then power door locks may be worth it. 

13. Side-view Mirrors

If the truck is used for towing, consider extendable mirrors to give maximum visibility around the trailer. If the truck is being operated in harsh winter conditions, look into heated mirrors to expedite defrosting. 

14. Hitch Type

Will the truck be pulling a trailer? If so, how much weight and what type of trailer? The answers to these questions will help determine the right hitch. Here are typical hitch options for pickups:

Receiver hitch. This is the most common hitch option, and is located below the rear bumper, often with a ball or heavy-duty pintle hook attached to it. This hitch allows a trailer to be pulled without impacting cargo capacity in the pickup bed. 

Gooseneck ball hitch. This hitch is attached to the frame near the rear axle. 

Fifth wheel. This hitch is a large horseshoe shaped plate, located at the center of the bed. The fifth-wheel hitch offers maximum towing capacity. 

15. Cargo Management

How will the payload be carried and secured? Will you need toolboxes to organize loose parts and tools? What about an aluminum or fiberglass topper that covers the entire bed to protect equipment and materials from weather or theft? Will you be hauling large ladders or long pipe materials requiring an overhead rack system? The answers to these questions will dictate the accessories needed to safely transport cargo and make it easily accessible at the jobsite.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The key to selecting the right pickup is to know exactly what you need the truck to do - from payload to towing to mileage to terrain to crew capacity. When the time is invested upfront to define the truck performance requirements and follow these 15 points to guide truck selection, you'll gain peace of mind and confidence that the new truck will do the job.

Cab Configuration Nomenclature

Four Full Doors. Full-size, second-row seating with full four doors that swing open toward the front:

¦ Crew Cab (Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan).
¦ Quad Cab (Dodge).
¦ Double Cab (Toyota).
¦ Super Crew (Ford).
¦ CrewMax (Toyota Tundra).

Limited Rear Seating. Truck has either jump seat or full bench seat in the rear:

¦ Extended Cab (Chevrolet, GMC).
¦ King Cab (Nissan).
¦ XtraCab (Toyota).
¦ Access Cab (Toyota, with rear doors).
¦ SuperCab (Ford).
¦ Club Cab (Dodge Dakota).



Originally posted on WorkTruckOnline.com: http://www.worktruckonline.com/channel/vehicle-research/article/story/2011/11/15-point-checklist-how-to-select-the-right-pickup-for-the-job.aspx

Winter/Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires

Stapleton Motors Snow Tires
 

Winter is fast approaching and one common concern among Colorado drivers is driving in our winter road conditions.  If you are like me, the winter months is the time that most Coloradans like to hit the slopes and that means a lot of winter driving.  Winter driving can cause a number of problems for the thousands of drivers on the road.  With all different kinds of driving conditions to deal with from wet roads, icy roads, snow packed, fluffy snow, black ice, to dirty and gravel filled roads, the winter driving months can be quite treacherous!  The advantage of using a winter/snow tire instead of an all-season can keep you in better control and increase your level of driving safety! Below is a list of advantages that winter tires can provide according to Goodyear Tires:

  • Winter tires can provide enhanced braking performance in snowy & icy conditions
  • These tires perform well in all types of winter conditions – snow, ice, sleet, slush, wet and even cold dry roads
  • Winter tires feature tread designs made specifically for ice, snow and other severe winter conditions
  • They have specially formulated tread rubber that stays flexible at low temperatures for better vehicle control
  • The aggressive tread on a winter tire reduces snow build up
  • Most drivers find that winter tires provide a sense of confidence and control in challenging winter weather conditions
Snow vs all-season tires
Notice the deeper bite pattern and the textured surface area on the snow tire which helps give better traction on snow and ice.

In comparison, all-season tires are great tires to drive in most conditions.  If you are looking to be a little more economical with your money and need a tire to get you through the entire year of seasonal changes, an all-season tire is the way to go!  All season tires offer versatile performance and are designed to perform in a variety of conditions including wet roads and light winter driving. All season tires are designed to offer a combination of benefits from summer and winter tires. The all-season tire is the jack-of-all trades but master of none in the tire world.  It will be "good enough" to get you through most driving conditions, but will not "perform" the best in those conditions. Here are the benefits of all-season Tires:

  • All-season tires are designed to help provide traction and grip in wet and snowy conditions
  • They are made to help provide stable handling and even treadwear in both wet and dry conditions
  • Although all-season tires offer traction in a variety of different weather conditions, winter tires surpass them when it comes to traction in snow and ice

Driver Beware! Potholes are out to get you!

Struts are located behind the wheels and absorb the bumps in the road.
 

Driving around the Denver Metro area can be a daunting task.  Because of our extreme changes in temperature, our roads tend to suffer an abnormal amount of wear an tear.  Each year, new potholes appear and each year the city tries their best to repair as many as they can before the summer hits. Unfortunately, a pothole can be your car’s worst enemy.  Potholes on a road’s surface can seriously damage a vehicle’s ride control system.

If you do drive over a pothole, it’s recommended that you have your car’s shocks or struts checked to make sure they aren’t damaged.

struts and shocks denver used cars
Struts (on the left) and Shocks (on the right) are important parts of your suspension system to keep up. Damage to these components can lead to unsafe driving and an uncomfortable ride.

Shocks and struts control how vehicles ride and handle. The struts and shocks act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of a car’s springs. Contrary to popular belief, roads are not smooth and flat.  Due to changing climate, earth conditions, and construction obstacles, road bumps are literally everywhere.  The springs on the struts and shocks are there to absorb all of the millions of inconsistencies of road conditions; without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult.

Strutdrawing
Struts are located behind the wheels and absorb the bumps from the road.

Shocks and struts also control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road. This affects steering, stability and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that your vehicle’s shocks or struts may need to be replaced. Here are a few indicators that you may have a suspension issue that needs attention:

  • If you feel your vehicle sway on turns.
  • When accelerating, the rear of the vehicle squats or noticeably dips down in the back.
  • On a winding, rough road you notice that the vehicle bounces or slides sideways.
  • The front-end of the vehicle dives when braking.
  • You feel the vehicle “bottoms out” or thumps on bumps.
  • You can see that the vehicle sits lower in the front or rear.
  • The vehicle is leaking or has signs of physical damage, such as rusting or dents.
  • You feel a loss of directional control during sudden stops of the vehicle.

There are many components that can affect a vehicle’s handling. If you experience any of the above conditions, it is a good idea to have your vehicle's suspension system inspected by a mechanic. Remember, your car can only perform as good as the parts that are on it.  Without good suspension, you run the risk of poor performance, dangerous driving control, and potentially disastrous results. Make sure you keep your vehicle safe for you and those around you!

Stopping problem? Give me a brake!

There are two main functions of your automobile: Moving forward and stopping.  Often times, car maintenance revolves around those parts that keep us moving forward.  From the engine, to the drive axel, and even the oil and cooling system are used to keep our vehicles operating and moving us in the right direction, but one area that can get overlooks is the breaking system.  Breaks are composed of the break pads, the break lines, and the rotors or drums.  Brake drums and brake rotors are not parts to take chances with. Take good care of them with quality brake rotors, brake drums and related accessories. Brake rotors and brake drums are important parts of a car's breaking system and if there are problems with wear you could face an enormous problem if not taken care of.

brakes and rotors used cars denver
 

Brake rotors work in tandem with your brake pads to slow and stop your vehicle. Each time you step on your brake pedal, the brake pads compress the rotors with thousands of pounds of stopping power. The material in the brake pads will eventually wear down the rotors. To stay on top of this, you should inspect your disc brake rotors every 15,000 miles. Symptoms like squealing, a low or spongy brake pedal, wheel grab, or pulling to one side or the other while braking are all warning signs not to be ignored.

Another sign that it's time to replace your brake rotors is if the brake pedal pulsates on light braking. Squealing or scraping may also indicate brake trouble.  Most break rotors are visible by removing the tires or with some rims, you can see right through to the rotors to see if there is wear and tear.  When a rotor wares down you may see grooves in the rotor, or even a misshape to the surface area of the rotor.  Not every rotor is going to wear the same way, so if you are unsure, make sure to have a mechanic take a look to see if your rotors need to be repaired or replaced.

Breaks and rotors denver used cars
 

The grooves can indicate a worn down rotor.

All brake rotors have a minimum safe thickness. Once the rotors wear beyond this minimum thickness, they cannot disperse the heat produced by repeated braking. If you have a warped or worn brake rotor, your vehicle will take longer to stop. Even with regular replacement of the linings, some additional service is typically required over the long haul. The surfaces of drums and discs wear unevenly in normal use and eventually need to be re-machined or replaced to work properly.

Similar to brake rotors, drum brakes work in tandem with brake shoes and can be found in the rear of some vehicles. While inspecting brakes rotors and drums, also look for signs of leaking brake fluid. Dark or damp brake dust can mean wheel cylinder or axle seal failure.

drum brake used cars denver

Drum brakes are shaped differently.  The pad pushes out towards a rotating housing to stop the vehicle.

Remember – never reinstall worn brake components of any kind. Buy quality replacement brake drums and brake rotors when you need replacement.

Car Parts – What is a CV Joint?

CV Joint
 

All front-wheel drive cars have Constant Velocity joints or CV joints on both ends of the drive shafts (half shafts).
The inner CV joints connect the drive shafts to the transmission, while the outer joint connects the drive shafts to the wheels. CV joints can also be found of many rear wheel drive and all wheel drive vehicles as well.

What does it do?
The CV joints are needed to transfer the torque from the transmission to the drive wheels at a constant speed, while accommodating the up-and-down motion of the suspension. In front-wheel drive cars, CV joints deliver the torque to the front wheels during turns.

Where is it located?
The CV joints are located under the vehicle, connecting the wheel to the transmission.  This can be seen in the illustration below. Although every car is a little different, this is one part that is pretty much the same in every vehicle.

cv location
 

CV-joint problems

CV Joint boot looks OK
 

This is what a normal CV-Joint should look like.

Because there are moving parts in a CV-joint, normal wear and tear is going to happen.  When problems occur, the evidence is usually quite easy to see.  A CV joint is packed with a special grease and sealed tight with the rubber or plastic boot, that is held in place with two clamps. When there is damage to the rubber or plastic boot, a service technician should easily detect it. Unless there is damage to the boot, the CV-joint typically does not need to be replaced.  Many times you can see an intact CV-Joint on a car with 200,000 miles and still have the original part.  Most damage to CV-Joints occur when a vehicle is subject to rough roads, impact with debris, or a little off-roading.  When the boot gets cracked or damaged, the grease inside will ooze out which will cause the CV-joint to wear down faster and eventually fail due to lack of lubrication and corrosion. Usually outer CV-joint boots break first, as they have to endure more movement than the inner ones.

cvjointdiagram
 

Signs of a damaged CV-joint boot or worn CV joint

Broken CV boot
 

Grease coming out of a small crack or tear is the early sign of the CV joint boot failing. If the damage is bigger, you might see dark grease splattered on the inside of the wheel rim and around the area inside of the drive wheel like in the photo. If you continue to drive on a worn out CV-Joint, the joint will eventually fail and the car will be non-drivable.  Although a worn CV-Joint can last for a little while, it is best advised to replace it as soon as possible.  How can you tell if you CV-Joint is failing or damaged without getting under your vehicle? The most common symptom of a badly-worn outer CV joint is a clicking or popping noise when turning. Usually the noise gets louder when accelerating in turns. One of the symptoms of a failed inner CV-joint is shudder or side-to-side shake during acceleration. Another indicator of a worn-out inner CV joint may also cause clunking when shifting from Drive to Reverse.

Fix or Replace?

 Although it is cheaper to just fix the boot on a CV-Joint, the added cost to replace the whole  joint and axel may not cost much more than  just the boot itself because of the labor time involved.  Most repair facilities will recommend that you just replace the whole thing. This will ensure that all the parts are working and there isn't anything that is missed when just repairing the boot.

 

 

The best new accessory for road side emergencies:

Mini Portable Jump Box
 

So often we are running around in our cars and we never think about being stranded.  A dead or weakly charged battery is one of the most common culprits to leaving us in such a pinch.  Sure, a set of cables is a good thing to carry in your car, but what happens when there is nobody around to give you a jump?  The answer: A portable jump box! 

With advances in battery technology now you can get a portable charger that easily can fit in your glove box or truck without taking up too much space.  Light weight, portable, and easy to use, a micro charging device is the new "necessary" when it comes to keeping you on the road. 

All-in-one charging device
 

In addition to jumping your car battery, a micro charge is equipped to supply power to a number of other devices such as cell phones, ipads, notebooks, laptop computers, cameras and more!  And, with the addition of a multi-mode LED light you will have an easy-to-use flashlight, SOS signal, or flashing strobe to help you overcome any need to find your way in the dark.

Micro Charge power supply accessory kit
 

Everything you need is contained in the Micro Charge accessory kit.  

  • 12V vehicle jump starter
  • Portable charging for various brands of digital products, such as: Apple iPhone/iPod/iPad (30-pin and Lightning), Android cell phones and tablets, PDAs, PC tablets, camera, and more!
  • Supports mobile charging for various brands of laptops
  • Multi-mode LED light: bright flashlight, SOS distress signal, flashing strobe signal
  • Strong battery capacity, compact size, quality design and construction

These units are also perfect for people who enjoy camping, wilderness exploration, boating, road trips, foreign travel, and anywhere where small device power is needed!

Expect the Unexpected-Things to Carry in Your Car

roadside-emergency-kit
 

Expect the unexpected.  Isn't that something you always hear? It is a good idea to be prepared for an unexpected event when it comes to driving.  Whether you are on a long road trip or if you are just puttsing around town, having tools and emergency supplies in your vehicle will help should you have trouble. The hope is that you'll never need to use these items, but if you do, they can be both timesavers and lifesavers.

Items to Carry in Your Vehicle

  • Spare tire
  • Jack and lug wrench
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone charger
  • List of emergency phone numbers
  • Flare or reflectors
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Help or distress sign
  • Maps or GPS device
  • Small tool set
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Jug of clean water
  • First aid kit

Winter Items to Carry in Your Vehicle

  • Snow brush/scraper
  • Sand, cat litter or traction mats
  • Tire chains
  • High-energy food
  • Warm Clothing
  • Blankets

 

Get your car Summer-Ready!

denver used cars summer heat
 

Summer is just around the corner, so here are a few tips to get your car ready for the summer heat and de-winterize your vehicle!

Summer is a great time to give your car a little annual love. While driving in winter conditions, your car can really take a beating! With summer fast approaching, now is the perfect time to give your car a check-up to make sure everything is working properly. Check your owner’s manual to see what regular maintenance should be performed. You have two options: take your car in to a reputable repair shop to get all the fluids checked and have a general inspection performed, or you can do a little homework and do it yourself! Learning how to check and change your fluids can help you recognize potential problems and also save you money in the long run! Either way, you want to make sure that your car is ready to take on the summer heat and run problem free when you are having fun in the sun! Here are a few things you will want to pay attention to.

  • Check all the fluids.
    1. Fluids like coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and washer fluid should all be checked. If you have a rear differential, it may be a good time to have the fluid changed out after working through the tough winter roads. Fluids keep all those moving parts moving flawlessly, so making sure the fluid is performing the way it is supposed to will keep your car running smoothly.
  • Check your tire pressure.
    1. Tire pressure can naturally deflate due to a drop in temperature. This is normal in the winter and often times your tire pressure will not be at an optimal pressure when the temperature starts to heat up. Take the time to check your tire pressure and the recommended PSI. Better tire pressure will increase fuel economy and could help avoid a potential blow out.
  • Keep the interior cool.
    1. Although a sun shade can reflect a bit of heat, the interior can really get worn down in the heat. Always look for a shaded spot to park, or if you have a little bit of money ($100-$200) you can get your windows tinted. The internal temperature can reach levels as high as 140 degrees and that kind of heat can damage interior leather and/or plastics over time.   Although cracking a window or two can help expel some heat, I wouldn’t recommend it in public parking areas.

4)      Check the air filter(s). Air filters keep a lot of the gunk out of your engine as well as the cabin. Air filters can easily be replaced and are relatively cheap to purchase at your local auto parts store.   Most oil change facilities will try to sell you on replacing the air filter for a hefty penny, but in most cars it is a very easy part to replace. Learning how to replace this on your own will save you money for years down the road!   Another, air filter to consider replacing is the cabin-air filter. This filters air that is coming into the interior part of your car. With the changing of seasons, the air outside can change drastically with different pollens, dust and other debris. Instead of reaching for the Flonase, try freshening up your drive with clean air!

Breath Easy - Change Your Cabin Air Filter Regular

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The first thing I notice when I get into a car is how it smells.  This can make or break my experience on the drive.  The smell of a car is part of the experience.  If you get into a car and it has an unpleasant odor, you will take note.  In addition to odor, what other particles are flying around in the car?  Is there an excessive amount of dust?  Are you affected by allergens that may be in the air?  All these things can affect the way your driving experience unfolds.  The best way to cut down on these distractions is by cleaning or replacing the cabin air filter.

What is a Cabin Air Filter?

Cabin air filters, also known as compartment filters, interior ventilation filters, pollen filters or dust filters, were initially designed  to remove solid contaminants like dust and soot from the air that circulates inside your vehicle. Cabin air filters work to remove nearly 100 percent of airborne particles, like pollen, road dust, soot, and other microscopic particles that decrease the quality of the air being emitted from your vehicle's air vents.

Why is a Cabin Air Filter important?

Surrounding vehicles can create an exhaust gas tunnel made up of gaseous odors and pollutants that get funneled right into your vehicle.  Unclean air can also lead to allergic reactions, and with over 40 million allergy-sensitive people in America, the need to keep your cabin air filter in good shape will reduce the chances of allergies affecting driving safety.

How do Cabin Air Filters work?

Cabin air filters work by filtering the outside air coming into your vehicle. Premium filters are made up of a multi-layer design that traps airborne contaminants that would otherwise be sent into the air you breathe.  The first layer uses loosely packed fibers to trap larger, coarse particles.  The middle layer consists of fine-spun microfibers.  These microfibers are electrostatically charged to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns.  To put that into perspective, a human hair is between 40 and 70 microns. and the tip of a pen measures about 200 microns.  The special pleated design also maximizes the filter surface area leading to the highest possible filtration capacity.

cleanairchart
 

Where Are Cabin Air Filters Located?

Cabin air filter are typically located under your vehicle's dashboard or attached to your glove box.  Others may be located in the engine compartment.  In nearly all cases, cabin air filters can be changed in as little as ten minutes.

How Often Do You Replace A Cabin Air Filter?

Vehicle recommendations may vary, but the general guideline for replacing cabin air filters is every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or at least once a year.  In addition to an unpleasant odor, filters no change after about 20,000 miles can result in decreased heating and air conditioning performance caused by restricted air-flow through the cabin air filter.

Important Reasons to Replace the Cabin Air Filter Regularly

  • Cleaner air in the passenger compartment.
  • Helps remove dust, soot, and airborne pollen.
  • Helps remove microscopic particles and foul odors.
  • Reduces allergy related problems.
  • Improves your vehicle heating and air conditioning performance.

11 Ways to Improve Your Fuel Milage!

GasPumpDollar
 

Although gasoline prices have been cut in half in recent days, you can save even more money by making sure your vehicle is performing at an optimum level.  Here are 10 ways to improve your gas mileage!

  • Keep your tires inflated properly - also check for excessive wear
  • Perform regular tune-ups - in addition to properly aligning the suspension and steering.
  • Replace air filters regularly - a clogged air filter is like breathing through a gas mask.  Make it easier on your engine by keeping it clean.
  • Replace oil regularly - the thinnest viscosity oil that your car manufacturer recommends
  • Replace spark plugs regularly - over time they can erode or build up corrosion.
  • Observe the speed limits - for your safety, but also keeps your rpm's down
  • Combine trips - be efficient with your errands and map out a route to get everything done
  • Don't haul unneeded items - a heavy car needs more power and gas to move around.
  • Keep quick start and stops to a minimum - be easy like Sunday morning all the time
  • Avoid excess idling - this includes excessive warm-up time.  Modern engines do not require warm-up like old ones
  • Keep the gas cap tight - About 17 percent of the vehicles on the road have gas caps that are either damaged, loose, or missing altogether causing millions of gallons of gas to vaporize each year.