According to Study, Car Owners’ Biggest Fear is Being Stuck Roadside With a Smoking Engine, Yet Few Are Prepared
DANBURY, Conn., Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In a summer when much of the U.S. has endured record-breaking high temperatures with no reprieve in sight, Prestone®, a leading producer of antifreeze/coolant, conducted a study representing more than 1,000 car owners that revealed while 50 percent of respondents said their biggest fear on the road was being stuck roadside with a smoking engine, only 16 percent said they planned to add engine coolant on a hot day to prevent their vehicle from overheating.*
“Simple car maintenance, such as topping off coolant and checking tire pressure, is vital for your vehicle to run at an optimal level, in particular when driving during extremely hot days,” said Jim Brown, Prestone brand marketing. “As heat waves continue across the country, we are reminding car owners to take some basic steps to help keep their cars on the road.”
Prestone certified technicians recommend five easy tips to keep your car running smoothly through the summer heat.
- Check and top-off your fluids: transmission fluid, water, break fluid, and coolant
- Monitor your tire-wear and pressure frequently (set to manufacturer’s specifications)
- Check your oil every 1,000 miles – and change it every 3,000 to 7,000 miles
- Inspect your brakes at least once a year
- Scheduled maintenance: follow your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule
Additionally, the American Automobile Association (AAA) warns that many Americans could find themselves stranded this summer if they neglect proper auto maintenance, reporting that 8.7 million vehicles will break down between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
*Proprietary study surveyed more than 1,000 American car owners about their car maintenance habits; margin of error of +/-5%
Earlier this month, we told you about a survey which found that most people don’t consider car color an important reason in choosing what car to buy. But apparently, in a lot of case, people DO think it’s important. According to a study commissioned by Ford, 40% of car buyers say they’d actually walk out of a dealership if it didn’t have the car in the color they wanted.
The survey also found . . .
Silver is still the most popular car color. It’s followed by black, blue, red, white, green, gold, and orange. And one in nine people has a color other than those listed.
People are more likely to choose an unconventional color . . . like orange . . . when they hit middle age.
Women are more likely than men to buy a red car, and men are more likely than women to buy a black car.
Single people and rich people are also more likely to buy black cars.
They didn’t find any connection between car color and theft rates.
Most Green Cars Actually Don’t Save Enough in Gas Costs to Pay for Themselves . . . But Some Come Pretty Close
If you bought a hybrid or electric car to help save the planet and look down your nose at your neighbors, you probably don’t care about the cost-benefit. But some people wonder if green cars are worth it. In other words, environmentally-friendly cars cost thousands more than similar gas-engine models . . . but supposedly you’ll make that up by saving on gas, and the car will pay for itself. Well, Kiplinger did the math, and found that most green cars actually DON’T end up saving you all the extra money you spent . . . but some of them come pretty close. The Chevy Volt costs about $18,000 more than its closest gas-engine comparison, the Cruze. The Nissan Leaf costs about the same amount over the comparable Versa. On average, after five years of driving the Volt instead of the Cruze, you’ll save about $17,500 in ownership costs, which means it cost you a total of $500 more for the green model. The Leaf will save you $17,200 over the Versa, meaning it cost you an extra $800. The Mercedes-Benz S400 hybrid is the most cost-effective green car. You actually save about $7,000 over five years compared to the gas-engine model. At the other end of the spectrum is the Lexus LS600 hybrid. It costs about $36,000 more than the gas-engine Lexus, and it doesn’t save you anything in ownership costs. (–But if you’re looking to spend $110,000 on a car, does it even matter?)
A Woman Went to Flip Another Driver the Bird, Lost Control of Her Car . . . and Flipped it into a Ditch
Before you start road raging, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re actually a better driver than the people around you. Otherwise something like this might happen. A 23-year-old woman was driving a 2004 Ford Taurus on Monday in Tacoma, Washington, and she wanted to get in the right-hand lane. But a driver in a Subaru Outback was already there. Since the Outback wouldn’t make room for her, the woman responded by flipping off the driver. At least, that was the plan. When she let go of the wheel, she lost control of the car, hit the back end of the Outback, which FLIPPED over into a ditch next to the road. The woman crashed into the ditch too. She’s has been charged with reckless driving, and was hospitalized with minor injuries, along with both people in the Outback.
Sure, every age demographic is important to marketing and sales teams in the automotive industry. But automakers would love nothing more than to grab hold of a young person and instill brand loyalty at an early age. Which manufacturers are actually doing that? According to a study conducted by TrueCar.com, American car shoppers aged between 18 and 27 years old are flocking to Scion, Mitsubishi and Mazda.
Referred to as Generation Y, this group represents a vital segment of the car-shopping public. If a brand can grab you here, it has a strong chance of grabbing you again down the road. In 2009 and 2010, Scion was able to capture 21.2 per cent of the Gen Y car buyers. Mitsubishi was close behind with 20.3 per cent of that market, and Mazda was third with 10.7 per cent. Surprisingly, Bugatti failed to make the list.
TrueCar.com also took a look at the specific models that appeal to this young segment of shoppers. The Scion tC, Mitsubishi Lancer and Honda Civic Si nabbed the top three spots for sales in the previous two years. Generation Y clearly has a thing for imports, and you can dig deeper into TrueCar’s findings by reading the full press release posted after the jump.
[Source: TrueCar |
You can laugh at this poor guy, but we all thought about doing this when we watched “The Flintstones”. An unnamed 24-year-old near Detroit was driving home from his roofing job on Wednesday afternoon, when the brakes on his pickup failed. He was able to coast to a stop on the side of the road. He checked his brakes, saw they weren’t working . . . and drove off anyway. Witnesses say he was able to come to a stop a second time, and check the brakes AGAIN, before getting onto the highway during rush hour traffic. He made it about two and a half miles, by opening his door and using his FEET as BRAKES. Not surprisingly, police noticed him and began a pursuit . . . and he ended up crashing into four cars. He told them he drove without brakes because he didn’t want to wait for a tow truck since was tired, and needed to be at work early the next morning. Police gave him a series of sobriety tests, but he was sober. One officer said quote, “No alcohol. No drugs. Just a serious lack of common sense.” But he WAS driving with a suspended license, and has also been charged with reckless driving.
You know those stretches of road where you just put the pedal down and FLY? The ones where there aren’t any twists, you never see cops, and there are hardly any other drivers Yeah . . . people aren’t blazing down them like they used to. A traffic data company called INRIX analyzed GPS data to analyze how fast people are going on roads that are notorious for being drag strips. And it turns out we’re getting safer. In 2010, the average driver went 85 miles-per-hour down the fastest roads in the country. In 2011, that’s dropped 5%, to 81-miles-per-hour. Jim Bak is a spokesman for INRIX. He doesn’t think we’re necessarily getting safer . . . just cheaper. Quote, “High gas prices are slowing drivers down” . . . because slower highway speeds mean better fuel economy.
Good news and bad news here. The good news: Gas prices are about to start dropping like CRAZY. They’re projected to drop by about 50 cents over the next few weeks. The bad news? That’s a SERIOUS sign the world’s economy is still in big trouble, and that we could be headed for another global recession. Oil prices are going down quickly because of speculation that the economy . . . not just here, but around the world . . . is in for a long rough spot. That will reduce the demand for oil and gas . . . both for cars and for manufacturing. James Williams of WTRG Economics says, quote, “Weak economies engender low oil prices [and show] the lack of confidence in a recovery and an increase in expectations of another recession.” Still . . . cheap gas, right? The national average gas price has gone down from $3.70 to $3.62 already . . . and could be $3.25 in the next few weeks.
And now, a news story that sounds like it’s from 95 years ago. Last week, a man died when he crashed his car . . . a 1915 FORD MODEL T. 64-year-old Kenneth Meek of St. Clair, Missouri owned the vintage Model T. He and his wife, 68-year-old Margaret Meek, have been driving around, participating in a multi-state tour for a Model T club. When Kenneth was driving near Rochester, Minnesota, a WHEEL FELL OFF the car. He lost control, the car flipped over and rolled twice, and both Kenneth and Margaret were thrown onto the highway. Needless to say, the Model T didn’t have airbags. It didn’t have seatbelts either . . . you’re allowed to drive without seatbelts as long as the car was manufactured before 1964. It didn’t even have a roof. Kenneth died from the injuries he suffered in the crash. Margaret was injured too, but her injuries weren’t critical.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau just released their annual list of the 10 most stolen cars in the U.S. And good news: Your collection of Ferraris and Bentleys is totally safe. For the third straight year, the most stolen car in the U.S. is . . . the 1994 Honda Accord. It just beat out the 1995 Honda Civic and the 1991 Toyota Camry. So why do thieves target cheaper foreign cars that are 16 to 20 years old, instead of stealing a bunch of Ferraris and modern luxury cars? Two reasons. One, modern cars have much more sophisticated anti-theft systems, so they’re harder to steal on a whim. And two, at a chop shop, the parts from a new car aren’t much more valuable than parts from older cars. The good news: Overall, auto theft rates are dropping. Between 2009 and 2010 they went down 7.2%, according to preliminary stats. If that holds up, it’ll be the lowest number of auto thefts since 1967.
Here’s the full top 10 list of the most stolen cars . . .
#1.) 1994 Honda Accord
#2.) 1995 Honda Civic
#3.) 1991 Toyota Camry
#4.) 1999 Chevrolet Silverado
#5.) 1997 Ford F-150 pickup
#6.) 2004 Dodge Ram
#7.) 2000 Dodge Caravan
#8.) 1994 Acura Integra
#9.) 2002 Ford Explorer
#10.) 1999 Ford Taurus