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Wed., Aug. 16, 2017, 1:23 p.m. | Search

Learn By Example

Percentage of teens that admit their parents engage in unsafe driving practices. Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance/SADD

Hail Damage Up

Question: We've had many hailstorms the past two summers. Our insurance agent said our car insurance rates would go up, not because we made a claim (we didn't) but because of the pool we're in and the claims history. I accept that, though I don't love it. It made me ...

Why Isn’t There an App for This?

While the dangers of texting while driving have been well documented, another potentially dangerous distraction is quickly surpassing it. In a recent survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions, both in Boston, two out of three teen drivers queried admitted to using mobile phone apps while ...

Cowl Shake

Question: We read a review of a car my husband is interested in buying, and it said it had rather severe "cowl shake." What does that mean? Answer: Clearly, he's interested in buying a convertible! Cowl shake is the term given to the slight rocking motion or vibration you get ...

Gas Prices Squeeze Hybrid Car Affordability

The Lexus CT 200h was named the most cost-effective hybrid by market research firm Vincentic, producing a total ownership cost savings of $8,728.
With gas prices continuing to be more affordable than they've been in a decade and the fuel economy of conventional cars reaching new heights, only a handful of fuel-saving hybrid-electric vehicles make financial sense to own these days. That's according to an analysis of new-vehicle ownership costs conducted by the ...

Best and Worst Cities for Drivers

If there is such a thing as automotive nirvana, it's a place where there's little traffic, few car thefts, cheap gas, low parking rates and a repair shop on every corner. Those, in fact, are among the 21 metrics upon which the personal finance website WalletHub in Washington, D.C., based ...

Record Number of Motorists Ignoring Record Number of Recalls

We suppose this is akin to hiding something in plain sight, but recent data shows that the largest and highest-profile safety related auto recalls are also the ones that most often go ignored by consumers. This is fast becoming a widespread and potentially dangerous problem. According to data compiled by ...

Crazy Gizmos

Question: I know you keep up with the latest gizmos and gadgets carmakers are offering. What's the craziest you saw or read about in 2016 models? Answer: Easy: the power seatbelt "presenters" on the Buick Cascada, apparently intended for people too tired or lazy to actually extend an arm and ...

Slippery When Iced

Percentage of the 52,000 environmental-caused vehicle crashes between 2005-07 that were attributed to slick roads. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Old Hondas Most-Stolen Cars

The Nissan Altima, above, is the most-stolen new car model. The 1996 Honda Accord is the most-stolen used car.
Who could blame owners of racy sports cars and flashy luxury vehicles for worrying that thieves are targeting their rides? True, anyone who's parking a $300,000 Bentley or Ferrari in the garage has probably invested some serious money on security, but the latest data shows that owners of older cars ...

Fatal Uptick

Percentage increase in traffic deaths in 2015 versus 2014 - the first single-year increase of this magnitude since 1966. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Brown Gets Big

Question: Feels like I'm seeing lots more brown vehicles. True or my imagination? Answer: True. Beginning in about 2013, predictions began that brown would heat up. And that's proven true. It hasn't overtaken white, silver or black, and it won't, but there's more of it. I especially like "autumn shimmer" ...

Millennials Crave Cars, Survey Says

Despite previous reports that suggested the internet, social media, car sharing and public transportation had supplanted the need for a driver's license among those in their late teens and 20s, perhaps the millennial generation isn't so down on cars after all. A recent survey of 1,000 adults age 18-34 conducted ...

Ford Reboots Heavy Hitters for 2017

The new Ford F-450 Super Duty Platinum Crew Cab 4x4 packs more towing power with luxury car style.
Pickup trucks are hot sellers these days as buyers are again snapping up in earnest the most purposeful rides on the road. Following the successful redesign of its standard-duty full-size F-150, Ford gives its Super Duty line a major makeover for 2017 that includes both a burly new look and ...

Color-Keyed Resale Values

It seems that in addition to a vehicle's age, condition and mileage, and local supply and demand, a car's color can affect a given vehicle's resale value. Orange, yellow and green vehicles were found to retain the highest percentages of their original values after three years, at 78.4, 78.0 and ...

In a Fog

Q: Here in California, the driver manual says to drive in fog with low beams. A recent article you published in our local paper said the same. What's the use for vehicles equipped with fog lights? A. Excellent question to raise. Here's a big reason why most advice makes reference ...

Helmet Head

60.7 Percentage of motorcyclists that used DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets in 2015, down from 63.4 percent 2014. Source: National Occupant Protection Use Survey

Relax, Drivers

Q: I drove an Audi A8 recently and it had massaging front seats. I like it because most of my driving is long road trips and my back and hips get stiff. Don't want an Audi though. Is this available on any other cars? A: It is. You'll have to ...

U.S. Roads Are Deadlier than Ever

The number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. jumped by eight percent last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which is not only the sharpest increase in the last 50 years, it means Americans suffer the highest highway death toll among the world's 19 ...

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On this date at Woodstock

Quill Country Joe McDonald Santana John Sebastian Keef Hartley Band The Incredible String Band Canned Heat Mountain Grateful Dead Credence Clearwater Revival Janis Joplin Sly and the Family Stone The ...


Hump Day Wild Card — 8.15.17

I've written my farewell column, for tomorrow. And the cake has been ordered for the Farewell-fest at the Fort Ground Grill from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. And I've set ...