Pickup Truck of the Year – 2014 Ram 1550

The 2014 Ram 1500 has been named pickup truck of the year by AutoBytel.com. Autobytel is dedicated to aiding consumers with research to find the information they need to make smart decisions when it comes to purchasing a new or used automobile. With more than 80 years of experience under their engine and hundreds of vehicles driven, AutoBytel makes informed choices based on innovation, design, and over all features.

For the third year in row, the editorial team at Autobytel chooses the Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, as well as winners in each individual segment. The team, led by Michelle Narajo, Editor-in-Chief of the automotive media company, said that the results are a combination of the best choices for shoppers in the 2014 model year.

As the most recognized pickup truck on the road, the Ram 1500 boasts fuel saving systems due to its fuel efficient 3.6 liter V-6 engine that delivers best in class fuel economy of 25 and 18 mpg in the city. The Ram 1500 boasts a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Other features of the pickup truck include thermal management and a stop-start system as well as pulse-width modulation. The aerodynamics of the truck include air and grille shutters. The 2014 model features a new EcoDiesel 3.0 liter engine that delivers unsurpassed torque and up to 9,200 pounds of towing capability.

Mike Febbo of Motor Trend says, “Our judges rated the EcoDiesel the highest in ease of towing as well,” and “as we established last year, the rest of Ram 1500 is class leading in just about every other respect,” according to this news article on AutoBytel.com.

Further, they ran a test-track evaluation designed to mimic the best and worst days a truck may face, including hauling and climbing hills and the 2014 Ram 1500 managed 15 MPG, the article explains.

Buyers can choose from three cab styles, three bed lengths, and 10 trim levels. In addition, each 2014 Ram 1500 can be optioned to include highlights such as heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry with push button starting, remote engine starting, a universal garage door opener, upgrades for the audio system, Uconnect 8,4 technology, navigation system, air suspension, reversing camera, and nicer wheels. Additionally, most Ram 1500s can be upgraded with a RamBox cargo-management system with storage bins integrated right into the truck’s bed.

For the second year in a row, the Ram 1500 has been voted pickup truck of the year by both Motor Trend and Autobytel. So what are you driving?

Understanding Mandatory Fees and Dealer Fees

Buying a new car can be stressful, especially if you haven’t done it in over five years. There’s the issue of choosing a colour, make, extra features (if you want them), and of course the messy business of negotiating a price. If you don’t do the research before heading to the dealership, you could fall into a trap many buyers before you have succumbed to and leave the dealership with much more than you bargained for, and not in a good way.

Before you even start talking to a salesperson, arm yourself with enough knowledge about the car to reduce the likelihood of you getting taken for a ride (no pun intended). The first thing you need to do is the research on the car cost. Canada dealers get their units at wholesale prices. You can find out more about this via invoice price reports. Companies like Car Cost Canada offer invoice price reports at $39.95 while Unhaggle.com lets you access it for free. Once you get the factory price of the car, factor in what the dealer needs to make in profit and you can start benchmarking your price for negotiation.

Next, it is also important to understand which fees are mandatory and which fees are optional dealer fees that can be negotiated out of your purchase. The more information you have, the better your chances are of getting a reasonable price, and one that you can be happy with.

Here’s a quick rundown of the mandatory fees you’ll need to pay when purchasing a car according to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry:

1. HST or Harmonized Sales Tax – 13% on car price
2. Air tax – Air conditioner excise tax of $100 for cars with air-conditioning
3. OTS tax or Ontario Tire Stewardship fee – For passenger vehicles and light trucks the fee is $5.84 per tire
4. OMVIC fee – A transaction fee to support OMVIC’s (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) dispute resolution activities
5. PPSA fee – If you finance/lease a car, the bank/leasing company will charge a fee for setting up the loan and registering the lien $50 to $75.
6. Licensing – Most dealerships will take care of this for you and will charge an admin fee of $50 to $75.

If it’s not listed above, consider it a dealer fee. An important thing to remember is that mandatory fees should not be added to the car’s price after you’ve negotiated it, it must already be included. The same goes for advertisements that include the price of a car – whatever is advertised should be the all-in price.

Don’t be pressured into buying additional products or features you don’t believe have value. If you’re being made to believe that a certain add-on is compulsory because it’s already been installed, you have the right to report them to the OMVIC for deliberately misleading you.

Dealer fees and add-ons like security packages which include a police traceable code in case of theft could already be part of your insurance coverage so make sure you do the due diligence and read your contracts before signing them.

A great way to avoid paying for more than the car is worth is to do extensive research online and see what other people are paying for the same car. Find out also if there are any on-going Canadian dealer incentives that you could take advantage of.

Toyota and Lexus offer interesting choices in entry level editions

Toyota’s entry level car is a good little vehicle that’s more fun to drive than you might think. Even with an automatic transmission. Lexus’, on the other hand, is nice vehicle that could be even nicer if they’d offer a non-hybrid version.

Toyota’s little guy is the Yaris, which replaced the Echo that replaced the Tercel that filled a hole created when the Corolla grew up. A lot has changed since those days, of course, but one thing that hasn’t is the fact that Toyota’s littlest guy has a lot to like if you’re shopping at this end of the marketplace.

Lexus’ current entry level model is the CT 200h, a great little wagon that would go head to head against such worthy entries as the Audi A3 or VW GTI if it weren’t saddled with a gutless and funless hybrid power train. As it is, however, it’s still a really nice little car, even if it isn’t great to drive.

I drove these cars virtually back to back and, even though the Yaris is seriously down market to the CT 200h, I enjoyed driving the Toyota more than the Lexus. Who’d have thunk it? On the other hand, it’s hard to argue against the CT’s luxurious interior and increased amenities.

Obviously, Lexus is pursuing a different market than I think they should (and how dare they!) and, let’s face it, the company and its parent Toyota are doing pretty well by not following my advice, so maybe they know something I don’t. Still, I pine for what could be.

More on that later…

Yaris sticks out…

The Yaris, on the other hand, is just fine as it sits, though you might want to check out the version with the manual transmission if you’re into “joie de conduire.” That said, even the atavistic four speed automatic of Toyota Canada’s sample offers a better driving experience than the CT’s noisy CVT.

Available as either a three or five door hatchback, the Yaris offers pretty good interior space and enough technology to qualify it as being up to date. Toyota’s five door sample, for example, even offered Bluetooth for phone and audio, though it didn’t have a voice interface and so I had to pull over and scroll up and down the audio system’s LCD screen to use it, which kind of defeated the purpose.

Under the Yaris’ hood is a four cylinder engine that features dual overhead cams, 16 valves and variable valve timing. And while its 106 horsepower and 103 lb.-ft. of torque may not set the world on fire, it works surprisingly well in this small and light vehicle; I was surprised at that minimal oomph ante because it felt like more.

Power gets to the front wheels via either the four speed automatic of Toyota’s sample, or what’s undoubtedly a more entertaining five speed manual. The automatic shifts well, but not nearly often enough compared to a lot of its competition these days. The “European tuned” suspension (which boasts struts up front and a torsion beam bum) – ditto for the steering and brakes – even feel a tad sporty; you won’t confuse the Yaris with a hot hatch, but that’s not what this car is about.

One thing that worked against a more compelling drive was the non-telescoping steering column, which meant I couldn’t get as close to the wheel as I liked. Couple that with a relatively high seating position and I kind of felt as if I were sitting on a bar stool. Not a big deal, however, and after a couple of days I was used to it. And to be fair, I got into the Yaris right after being in a low slung sporty coupe, so that didn’t help.

On the downside was the typically Toyota audio system. Oh, it worked fine for what it was, but the volume and tuning buttons were the worst I can remember: they don’t stick out far enough from the head unit to let you get a proper grip on them at the best of times; if you’re wearing winter gloves they’re nearly useless. The SE trim level on the five door helps here by adding steering wheel-mounted controls.

The Yaris comes with only one windshield wiper, a huge thing that actually cleans the windshield surprisingly well, better than some cars with two wipers. The only drawback, and this is minor, is that the washer spray comes right off of the wiper arm and when you first start it up it tends to waste some fluid by hosing it sideways across the car until the wiper starts its scroll. You might spend a tad more on washer fluid because of this, but not much.

All told, the 2014 Toyota Yaris is a great little car. It may not be quite the fun of some others in this segment – the Mazda2 or Honda Fit, for example – but it’s a surprisingly interesting drive anyway. And at a starting price of $14,255, it won’t break the bank.

Low end Lexus…

For 2014, Lexus has upgraded and enhanced the CT 200h and – my angst about the power train notwithstanding – I liked the little wagon even better than the last one I drove.

One thing they’ve done this year is to inflict that Lexus “spindle grille” on the CT, but unlike models such as the IS it doesn’t ruin the front end. That may be because this particular spindle isn’t as in your face as others.

The CT’s bum features a new bumper design that incorporates L-shaped reflector housings and a black lower center section to “emphasize the vehicle’s low center of gravity and broad rear stance,” according to Lexus’ press materials. It all contributed to a handsome vehicle, one of the nicer-looking small wagons available today.

Inside, the CT 200h offers more stuff, and Lexus says it also features improved visual and tactile quality (which I guess means its materials look and feel better than before). It works.

The front wheel drive car features a decent suspension and would be pretty nimble if it had the oomph to back up its chassis. Lexus says the CT’s stiffness has been improved through the use of more spot welding and structural adhesives. The suspension has also been re-tuned, with optimized coil spring rates, new shock absorber valves and a tweaked rear stabilizer bar diameter.

The CT’s anemic oomph comes from a 1.8 liter Atkinson cycle four cylinder engine with the hybrid electric stuff tacked on to create a combined horsepower rating of 134. That wouldn’t be too bad for a car this size, except Lexus seems to be concentrating on greenness to the exclusion of “whee!” factor. That’s okay if that’s what you’re looking for, but it might be a deal breaker for others; it certainly would be for me.

On the other hand, after spending a week with the CT 200h I only spent $17 and change to fill it up with gas, so that’s something.

Ergonomically, the CT scores well, with a “cursor control-type thingy” that works and is located close to hand. The audio system is quite good, too, perhaps because it uses what the company claims is the world’s first bamboo loudspeaker technology to create “the industry’s thinnest loudspeaker diagram, which results in noticeably improved sound quality,” according to the company. Sounds like mumbo jumbo to me, but I can’t argue with the sound quality. I’ve heard lots better, but not usually in this price range.

The F SPORT package has been revised from earlier CT’s, but as it’s still as much a trim package as a performance one. It tweaks the spindle grille design, adds a cute roof spoiler to the top of the hatch as well as adding cut outs to provide extra downforce for the better grip and stability you probably won’t need. You also get unique 17 inch, 10 spoke alloy wheels, exclusive upholstery, ornamentation and trim pieces. The F SPORT option also changes the coil spring settings and optimizes the front/rear roll rigidity distribution.

It all seems rather wasted, though, as long as the car’s a gutless hybrid with a continuously variable transmission that howls like a banshee when you step on the gas. The only time the car approaches feeling lively is when you put it into sport mode via the center console knob (you can tell you’ve done this because the instrument panel glows with red illumination).

Toyota, Lexus’ parent company, has a terrific engine that could turn this car from a pretender to a real Audi A3 wagon fighter. It’s the one from the Scion (also a Toyota brand) FR-S, that great little sports car that feels like a budget priced Porsche. Drop that engine and either of the six speed transmissions (manual or automatic with paddles) and you’d really have something here. I have no idea if it’s even feasible, but it would sure be nice!

I’m not saying they should dump the hybrid. To each his own! And the folks at Lexus have undoubtedly thought their strategy through. It’s just that this very nice little wagon could be so much more. I guess they won’t, but it would sure be great if they did!

As it sits, the Lexus CT 200h starts at $30,950 Canadian, which seems like a pretty decent price for what you get. You can option it up from there, via the Touring Package ($34,150), the Premium Package ($37,750) and the F SPORT package ($38,400), at which time you’re getting into some serious coin – but at least the hybrid mien of this machine means you’ll get a break at the gas pump.

New Jerseyites can still buy Tesla Model S, despite new ban on Tesla car sales

On Tuesday, New Jersey put up a road block preventing Tesla Motors from selling cars in that state. On Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk issued a blog post saying Tesla customers in New Jersey will still be able to buy Tesla’s cars, still get service on their cars, and laid the blame on anti-competitive antiquated laws governing automobile sales.

Tesla Motors sells their cars through company owned stores, and via their website. The stores act more as education centers than traditional car dealerships, and are usually located in shopping malls unlike regular car dealerships. The problem is the laws across the U.S. require car sales via franchised car dealerships, and make other requirements, like on-site service shops, that result in the shape of “regular car dealerships”.

According to Musk’s blog post, Tesla had been negotiating with New Jersey regulators over legislation to be brought to the NJ Legislature. Instead, according to Musk, the Christie administration caved in to demands from the “the New Jersey auto dealer lobby” who sought to “protect its monopoly” over the car sales process. As a result “the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, composed of political appointees of the Governor, ended your right to purchase vehicles at a manufacturer store within the state.”

What Musk did not say in the blog post is that the laws also, theoretically, protect customers. An automaker with a monopoly over servicing the cars they sell could, theoretically, turn evil and start gouging customers for service. Musk claims this won’t happen because Tesla’s policy is to not treat service as a profit-making business, but instead a means to build goodwill.

The good news for prospective Tesla Model S or Model X owners in New Jersey is that, after jumping through a couple hoops, you’ll still be able to buy cars. Musk wrote: “Our stores will transition to being galleries, where you can see the car and ask questions of our staff, but we will not be able to discuss price or complete a sale in the store. However, that can still be done at our Manhattan store just over the river in Chelsea or our King of Prussia store near Philadelphia.”

Tesla is already following this model in other states, like Texas, where local laws prevent personnel from discussing prices.

Because the changes only affect car sales, Tesla will keep their New Jersey service centers open.

In short the changes are an inconvenience to Tesla, and their customers, by complicating the sales process. In the short term customers can just go to the next state over, but what if the New York or Pennsylvania auto dealers associations manage to erect similar bans in those states? In the past, Tesla Motors has said they’re looking to take this fight to the Federal level as well.

In the meantime, Musk urged Tesla’s fans to contact NJ State Legislators: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/districtnumbers.asp

There are also two related petition drives on the White House website:


Honda’s domestic CL72 Type 2 Scrambler… one of a kind in the U.S.A.

Just when you think you have “been there-done that” with most all of the Honda 250-305cc variants, which for me can include Police Bikes, solo-seat, rotary-gearbox Dreams, and first-year production Scramblers, something new pops up, quite unexpectedly. In preparing my book, “History of the Honda Scramblers” (Silver, 2012), all the data and manuals available helped to shape the story and filled in some gaps in the author’s knowledgebase. One of the reference material items was a Japanese-language Honda Scrambler Parts Manual, which included CL72, CL77 and CL300 editions. Tucked inside one of the production charts was a mention of some Type 2 (360 degree firing) CL72s.

Early US shop manuals showed the Type 2 engine option for 250cc Scramblers, and I have been aware of an early 1964 version, but overall these are very rare bikes to find in this country. In the Japanese CL parts book, it appears to show that the Type 2 engine was available in all years of production, from 1962 through 1965, at least. Generally, the only way that one of these machines turns up in the US is usually due to the actions of a 1960s-era servicemen, who bought one in Japan and had it shipped back when after a transfer or discharge from the service.

While researching the History of the Honda Scrambler book, I interviewed Dave Ekins (who was test-riding early pre-production models) and he stated that American Honda needed to make a decision about whether to bring in Type1 or Type2 models and asked him for guidance. Because the Type2 engines have more pumping losses at high rpms, he recommended that AHMC only bring in the Type1 powered machines which produced more power overall, even in stock form. Rather than bring in both, requiring extra parts inventories, the decision was made to stick with the Type1 models for US consumption.

Fast forward to March 2014 and an interesting Craigslist posting popped up during one of my recurring searches for vintage Hondas located in SoCal for sale. Their numbers are dwindling, but periodically something unusual or previously unseen/unknown turns up as a surprise. In this case, the headline title of the CL posting was: 1966 Honda CL72 Dream Scrambler. With only two photos to go by, a quick look revealed that the bike had DLS (double-leading shoe) brakes, seen only on 250 Scramblers made in 1965 (CL72-1008851 for US bikes and CL72-1502911 for domestic Type 2 models). The serial number shared by the seller over the phone was CL72-1503108! Considering that Honda began the seven-digit serial numbers at the beginning of 1965 for all models of 250-305s, the production date must have been in early 1965, the 3108th one built then.

The posting was both specific and vague, causing numerous replies to the ad to question the authenticity of the machine. Some thought that the tank badges were incorrect or fakes and others thought that the bike was built up from parts of other bikes. The frame and engine numbers were both close to each other, thus a factory pairing, but people were confused to see a CL72 with “big brakes.” Closer examination of the photos revealed a heel-toe shifter and turn signal switch on the right hand side of the handlebars. The handlebars appear to be unbent except at the left end and the cable system is that of the early CL72s, using the “mousetrap springs” with matching lever brackets and the large knob adjusters, which were eventually replaced with standard CB72-77 lever brackets and adjusters.

Once he gave me the serial numbers the next question I asked was “Does it have TYPE 2 on the points cover?” “Yes, it does!” he answered. While the owner was fairly informed about the 250cc Scrambler bike series, in general, he realized that “MrHonda” was feeding him all the confirmation of the bike’s features over the phone that he needed to make sense of what he had in the garage and why it wasn’t matching up with his on-line research of the 250cc Scramblers. What he had was a genuine Japanese domestic CL72 with the optional Type 2 engine, right from the factory. The “Dream 250” tank badges were superseded to “Honda 250” types in 1964, for the US machines, but I have seen domestic 1965 CP77 Super Hawks with “Dream 300” tank badges in place on original bikes. The AHMC rules here don’t always apply to those of the Japanese domestic market models!

An appointment was made and kept promptly, then spent an hour and a half reviewing the various features of the bike, one-by-one. The bike had steel fenders, just like those of the early CL77s sold in the US, along with the solid-mounted rear fender. The seat pan was the early-style double hook type, but the suspension pieces were all “late” CL77 style, featuring alloy forks and the “big brake” wheels. The rest of the parts which were Japanese domestic specification included the turn signal switch, kph speedometer, rigid driver footpegs, a Ministry of Transporation sticker on the swing arm, replaceable headlight bulb and front turn signal stalks coming out of the headlight shell bolts. The headlight switch was a 3 position type and the headlight reflector accepts the removable round base bulb. Revealed in the Japanese parts book was that 2nd and 3rd gear ratios were unique for this particular engine style. The main product code for the Type1 250cc Scramblers is -273-, however any Type2-specific parts are coded -274-. Those -274-coded parts include the camshaft, crankshaft, condenser and the two sets of transmission gears.

CL72-77 rims are always an issue with these models, as they have deep grooves which strengthen the rim, but also becomes a rust, dirt, mud channel which can ruin the rim completely in extreme cases. Today, even getting decent rims re-plated can cost upwards of $200 per rim, so this can be a big consideration. The rims on this bike had a few small areas where the wheels were left in one position for many years. There are some small pitting areas, but overall they should clean up pretty well.

Missing were the rear turn signal brackets and the top shock covers. Bonus items included the original Japanese language owner’s manual, service booklet and the tool kit/with tools still in place! Most of the rubber items, like the side cover bumpers, speedometer packing, tank mounts are degraded or missing. The fuel tank knee pads are in decent condition, however. The centerstand bumper was missing altogether, so the stand comes up above horizontal when retracted.

The engine compression readings were 180/170, which are quite good for bikes of this age, but the clutch lever pull was very difficult and the clutch adjuster lineup marks were off a ¼,” so something is amiss with the clutch assembly. The clutch cover screws are all looking a bit chewed up, so someone has been in there mucking around. When the clutch cover was reinstalled, the shift lever was misaligned so the toe portion was too low for the footpeg location, which didn’t help the shifting issue.

The stock exhaust pipes had the standard small baffles installed, but there apparently was no muffler installed in this 1965 model. It appears that the rear mount bolt, which ties the exhaust pipes to the frame, at the rear of the frame, has been replaced perhaps with a larger bolt. These mounting holes are often damaged when the bolt loosens up and backs out a little at a time, which causes damage to the thread holes. The special muffler mounting bolt is 8mm, so perhaps the stock bolt was lost and a plain 8mm bolt was installed in its place.

The bike fired up on the second kick, however it went into an artificially high idle and the speed screws could be backed all the way out with no change in rpms. A drive down the street yielded only 1st and 2nd gears after pulling firmly on the shift lever, so either the shift selector parts are worn/broken or there is something amiss inside the transmission. Some investigation is in order to remedy this issues, plus a few others before the bike is fully safe to ride again. The license plate is stamped 1984 and the student parking stickers on the fork legs date back to the 1977 era. This bike has been sleeping for a LONG TIME!

So far, the known history is the local seller got the bike from his father, who was in the Navy in the 1960s, bought the bike from a buddy when they were in California. The bike was titled in CA, then he moved to Indiana and the bike was registered there since 1966. The bike went into storage in the 1980s and just came to light recently when it was brought to California at the end of last year.

Stay tuned for the arrival, evaluation and repairs required to bring it back to full function once again!

Bill “MrHonda” Silver

The Two Ways To Sell Used Cars

Selling used cars is something that has gotten a lot easier as the technology of our society has increased. Before the internet was so readily accessible, a person used to have to take an ad out in the local newspaper, or post signs about the vehicle he or she was trying to sell. The seller would anxiously wait for people to call and ask questions about the vehicle, or set up a time to come out to their home in order to look at the vehicle in person. Unfortunately, putting photos of the vehicle in the newspaper or on lamp-post signs was not really an option for the seller. So, he or she would often get a fair amount of people who were disinterested in the vehicle right from the start.

Today, if a seller is looking to get rid of a vehicle there are two viable options. The first way would be to take the vehicle to a dealership that also sells used cars. This is a particularly good idea if the seller is in the market for purchasing another vehicle. Taking the vehicle to a dealership would allow the seller to work out a trade-in agreement. He or she could sell the car back to the dealership in return for money towards a new car from the same dealership. The trade-in value of the car can often work as the down payment for the newly purchased vehicle.

The second way to get into the used cars business is to post the vehicle on a public website, or a local newspaper’s classified section. These outlets allow for the seller to post photos and all the necessary information a buyer might inquire about. Being able to post pictures and all details will help deter people who are not serious about making the purchase. These interested parties are then able to contact the seller through an anonymous email address first. If the seller is made uncomfortable by anything that the potential buyer has stated in the email, than he or she does not have to contact that person back. Online communication is a lot safer than having potential buyers coming directly to the seller’s home.

Once a solid, upstanding buyer has been found, the seller can invite him or her over for a test drive. They can negotiate the terms of the sale and decide if this is the right choice for the buyer. Going through a dealership, or using an online advertising forum are the two best options for getting used cars out of a person’s driveway, and back on the streets.

10 Reasons Why Motor Club of America (MCA) is a Great Investment

With over 86 years of rock solid experience, Motor Club of America Enterprises, Inc has become an established and trusted name in the Motor Club industry. In its beginning tenure, corporate America was its primary business entity. Now mainstream America has the ability to not only receive the wonderful benefits of MCA, but partner as an associate as well. Based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Motor Club of America is the largest Roadside Assistance Service Company (per member capita) in the United States and Canada today. We proudly provide better roadside service coverage for automobile, truck, motorcycles and RV’s than our competitors with additional services including medical, legal, hospital emergency room benefits, travel assistance, hotel/rental car discounts and so much more. MCA staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist in providing its members with a “Peace of Mind.” Whether you are at home, work or play, MCA has you covered. These 10 reasons will enlighten you as to why your first choice in motor club services should be Motor Club of America Enterprises, Inc.

MCA roadside assistance benefits consist of 24/7 “sign and go” dispatch with unlimited towing up to 100 miles to the destination of choice and up to $100 reimbursement cost covering automobiles, trucks, rv’s, motorcycles, boats and livestock trailers or your dually pickup over one ton.
Unlike traditional auto insurance, if you are ever involved in an auto accident or an accident at home, work or play and need to go to the emergency room or need ambulance assistance, MCA members receive up to $500 for this event made payable directly to you. This benefit covers all emergency room cost related to a covered accident provided in a trauma center or emergency room, including but not limited to doctor care, IV’s, splints, medication, etc are covered. If you should happen to be admitted to the hospital as a result of your injuries, as a member of MCA, you don’t have to worry about anything but healing and getting better. Your membership will provide up to $54,750 or $150.00 in daily hospital benefits.
Your Motor Club of America membership also covers “travel assistance” reimbursement up to $500 for local accidents. If in need of a rental car, no need to worry. Your membership plan will cover accidents more than 50 miles from a covered member’s home. MCA will also reimburse for lodging, meals and transportation. We never leave you without.
Let us assist in planning your vacation by making travel reservations including maps with detailed routing, airline reservations and hotel information with discounts so that you may enjoy your trip worry free.
The Motor Club of America membership card serves as a $500 cash bond when a covered member is involved in traffic violations which warrant arrest. We don’t encourage going above the speed limit, but if a member is involved in a moving violation, up to $200 in benefits will go towards this occurrence. Your membership will also include up to $25,000 bail bonds if charged with vehicular manslaughter or negligent homicide. Even though these services are the extreme, it’s better to have them than not have it at all.
Need an attorney? MCA members can receive up to $2,000 for attorney fees when charged with vehicular manslaughter, or negligent homicide arising from a covered accident. Covered MCA members also receive up to $1,000 for attorney fees for accidents and vehicle damages. .
In the event of auto theft, our members are covered with a reward amount of up to $5,000 leading to the arrests and conviction of the thief. Not only will this assist in deterring this behavior from criminals, but as a member of MCA, you can feel assured of one less worry and possibly get quicker results from the public.
With theft on the increase, one can never have enough security or protection. If your credit cards are ever lost or stolen, Motor Club of America members can rest assured that MCA will provide up to $1,000 in credit card protection. There is also free credit card registration to assist you in the process.
If the lack of health insurance has been your worry, Motor Club of America provides discounts of up to 60% on prescription drugs, up to 50% on dental and 60% on vision care, including ophthalmology such as Lasik surgery which is covered up to 15%.
Unlike any other roadside assistance company, especially our competitors, MCA provides its members the opportunity to be a part of its continued success as well as utilize the benefits. As a member, without any additional fees or obligations, you have the ability to refer the same services you have to friends and family and earn a referral fee from $40-$90 dollars for each new member. This option also includes the opportunity to earn residual income. If you have ever thought about being your own boss, here is a prime opportunity. You don’t have to quit your job to be successful at this business, just share, refer and earn. Some independent agents have not only doubled, but exceeded their primary income.

Motor Club of America is NOT auto insurance. It is a supplement to assist you in everyday life occurrences that are typically not covered or under covered by traditional auto insurance plans. For as little as 33 cents a day or $9.95 a month, you too can share in these wonderful benefits. Never again will you leave your destination with worry if you are covered with MCA. Most people feel they have these wonderful benefits with their current plans. I recommend that you read your plan fully and you will see that MCA not only offers more, but it is an excellent addition to your coverage/financial portfolio for ten plus reasons. If you are interested in becoming a member or want to learn more about what we offer, go to www.mcacareersearch.com.

Apple’s CarPlay system is essentially iOS for your cars’ touchscreen

If you use an Apple iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, your next car purchase may be Apple equipped.
In case you haven’t heard, Apple announced that leading automakers are introducing CarPlay software in their vehicle line-ups.

Apple’s CarPlay is essentially iOS for your car’s touchscreen, an LCD screen that comes with virtually all new cars.

CarPlay software is an intuitive way, says Apple, to make calls, use MAPS, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch.

Apple says users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without taking your eyes off the road.

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes, Volvo will premiere CarPlay on 2014 debuting cars. Down the road, BMW Group, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota will also include it in their new vehicle offerings.

According to Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing, “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets them use their phone in the car with minimal distraction. CarPlay brings your car and iPhone together for a thoughtful experience by letting drivers focus on driving while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone.”

CarPlay will work like this: Once your iPhone is connected to a vehicle, Siri helps access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls, or listen to voicemail messages. When incoming messages or
Notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers’ messages and letting them dictate responses, or simply make a call.

The system will make driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts. It will also provide routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. You’ll be able to ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on the car’s built-in display.

In addition, CarPlay gives driver’s access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio with easy navigation through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls, or by simply asking Siri to pull up what you want to hear.

The system will support select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio so you can listen to your favorite radio services or sports broadcast apps while driving.

Apple’s CarPlay is available as an update to iOS7 and works with Lightning enabled iPhones including the iPhone 5s, 5c and S models. CarPlay will be available in select cars this year.

Some of CarPlay’s capabilities are already available in certain vehicles but they’re not as extensive. While this technology is nice, you have to have an Apple phone for it to be compatible. It seems like this is a slick way for Apple to sell more iPhones if the new car owners have Android devices – and particularly since Samsung is breathing down Apples’ neck in sales.

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Houston auto and motor cycle raceways

Here is a list of raceways in and around Houston for auto races and motorcycle races. Motor cycle Super cross raceways are made before the race; the last motorcycle super cross raceway in Houston was made before the race at Reliant stadium. This is generally the case in super cross in other places also.

. Royal Purple Raceway (RPR) formerly was known as Houston Raceway has started this year (2011) in grand fashion. It is a great place for Houstonian auto race fans. Many types of events like Houston SCCA, Legal Street Racing NHRS racing, ASCS sprint car race, Drag racing etc.are held here. It is a great place for weekend (almost every weekend). Click here to see RPR.

. Houston SCCA auto cross races are held at many Houston raceways including RPR.

. Gulf greyhound Park

. Sam Houston Race Park

. Houston Police Academy

. Other raceways in and Houston are:

. Highland Motor Cross Highlands Texas, 11545 FM Rd 2100, 281 843-6686

. Texas World Speedway at College Station, auto/motorcycle. .

RPR is a great place for Texans around Houston to spend a nice weekend and enjoy auto race, drag race, and motorcycle race.

So you’re stuck on a road

Getting stuck on an unfamiliar road can be a nightmare situation. Do you have what you need in case your vehicle leaves you stranded? Are you prepared for a vehicle emergency? Here are some recommended essentials every motorist should have at their disposal just in case…

1) A spare tire! So you think your new car automatically comes equipped with a spare? WRONG? A doughnut or the full-sized spare of yesteryear has fallen by the wayside in many new vehicles, replaced by a repair kit designed to seal small leaks. The kit however is pretty useless, especially if you happen to snag a road hazard that rips your tire to shreds! Fuel economy requirements have prompted automakers to start offering smaller, temporary spares, and in some vehicles, no spares at all. So if you don’t have an extra tire in your trunk, get one PRONTO because you just never know. Yes, there should be ample disclosure when it comes to your vehicle of choice but alas…. Some automakers do have a “no spare” disclosure on the inside door panel, but if you want to know for sure, check with the dealer or car rental company.

2) Keep a flashlight handy. One of the smartest things you can do is to always keep a flashlight around and one that works. Store the torch in a dry, cool place like your glove compartment. Make sure you have extra batteries that are fresh and working so that you’ll never be left in the dark.

3) Great fixer uppers. Vinyl tape is a great mend for a radiator hose; jumper cables will perk up a dead battery; bungee cords are super fasteners; a gallon of coolant does the trick for parched radiators; extra engine oil will take care of that annoying tapping sound; an extra fan belt is the answer just in case yours snaps and a small tool box with pliers, various screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches for the ‘whatyoumacallit’ that needs tweaking. Make sure to keep reflectors and flares on hand so that your vehicle will be more visible to drivers that might suffer from the dreaded night blindness.

4) Don’t forget the small essentials…a roll of paper towel; antibacterial wipes; pair of work gloves; coveralls (no need to mess up a cute outfit); First Aid Kit; fold up umbrella and rain poncho; blanket and believe it or not, a 5-pound bag of kitty litter which works pretty well for tire traction on icy surfaces.

5) Munchies. A morsel or two of a non-perishable snack could come in handy if you’re stranded for a few hours. Snacks like an energy bar in the glove compartment that will retain its freshness for more than a minute but do check on the expiration date every now and then.

6) Cell phone. Nowadays, pretty much everyone carries a cell phone that is great for especially emergencies. A smart move would be to always carry a charger for your cell in the car, so that you can always be ready to make an urgent call if need be. The extra money spent on a car charger will be well worth it.