5 Benefits of Diesel

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Shopping for a new truck—and thinking about going diesel? You may be surprised by the sheer number of benefits and perks that a diesel engine can offer. There are still some lingering stigmas about diesel from years ago that no longer apply thanks to new technology, so you have to have the right information. Whether the Duramax has caught your eye or it’s the Denali that’s captured your heart, here’s the icing on your diesel-fueled sweet ride.

  1. Electric Complexity? Forget About It.

“Regular” ignition systems are managed by complicated electrical systems—which can have glitches and have you shelling out thousands to the mechanic. Diesel ignition systems are simply, well, simpler. This means they’re more reliable, while even touting better thermal efficiency. You need your truck to be a true workhorse, and going diesel can help you get there.

  1. They’re Green

Diesel fuel burns cleaner than other types of gasoline, making a GMC diesel truck more eco-friendly than other options while still maintaining their rugged clout. For those who wouldn’t be caught in a Prius or Tesla, but still have a soft spot for the environment, diesel is the ultimate alternative—no tree-hugging bumper stickers required (unless, of course, that’s your thing).

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When it comes to sheer power, diesel provides more torque than other fuel options. There’s more horsepower in every square inch of displacement, leading to an increased revolution-per-minute of fuel. Basically, when hauling heavy loads, you simply need a diesel engine for better, stronger and faster performance. GMC diesel trucks are the ultimate ride for heavy haulers. From boating gear to construction supplies, if you actually use your bed and hitch, you need the right fuel to pull the goods.

  1. Better Fuel Consumption

There was a time when diesel was cheaper per gallon than unleaded. Those days are sadly over, but what many people don’t realize is that diesel is still more affordable. Diesel engines consume less fuel, which means when you fill up the tank, it’ll last longer. When compared to a gasoline truck that averages 15 mpg, you can expect 22 mpg from a diesel engine. That’s something both you and your wallet will enjoy.

  1. It’s Safer in a Crash

ford-pick-up-truck-2821964_1920Hopefully, you and your loved ones will never be in a serious accident—but if the worst does happen, a diesel engine can help protect you. Diesel is less flammable than other types of fuel, so you have a reduced risk of fire or, even worse, an explosion. This isn’t something that people like to think about, which means that it’s not a common conversation starter when checking out a diesel dealership. However, your diesel engine might just save your life, and it’s something worth considering.

When shopping for your new heavy hauler, there’s more to think about than extended cabs and lift kits. How you fuel your truck can make a huge difference in your bank account, your safety, and performance. Choose wisely.

 

 

Mobile Living (Part 2)

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In part one of our tour of the mobile living movement and its close cousin, the tiny home, we introduced the concept and the controversies around it. We discussed the types of homes typically included when discussing the topic of mobile living based on the purpose they were designed for. For a recap of that information please follow this link.

In upcoming installments, we’ll explore the lifestyle and potential ways these “newmads” are supporting themselves. For now, let’s delve a little deeper into the types of homes. For our purposes, let’s divide the list into stationery tiny homes and vehicle-based living quarters.

Stationery Tiny Homes (STH’s) Definition:

I’ll define STH’s as dwellings under 500sf, either built in place or manufactured elsewhere and then placed on a permanent or semi-permanent location. Major types of STH’s include Park Models, Shipping Container Homes and most custom-built Tiny Homes (even if they’re on wheels).

Vehicle-based Living Quarters (VLQ’s) Definition:

I’ll define VLQ’s as vehicles designed with living quarters or dwellings that were made to be pulled by a vehicle regularly. Major types of VLQ’s include RV’s (Class A, B, C, or 5th Wheel), and certain Ultra-mobile Tiny Homes.

Notice a couple things about these definitions? I didn’t mention whether or not these homes have traditional residential hookups for utilities, RV style hookups, or are built to work off-grid. This is because you’ll find all of the above in either category.

You’ll also notice that I listed the major types as examples but there are quite a variety of uncommon types of home in either category. An example of an uncommon STH would be a yurt or an earthbag home, but we’ve encountered homes made out of everything from concrete pipes to fuel containers. Examples of uncommon VLQ’s actually aren’t uncommon at all, just not thought of frequently. Economically disadvantaged nomads often choose an urban off-grid lifestyle and find it easier to do with a vehicle that they already own such as a car, which has the added bonus of not looking so obvious that someone is living in it.

What’s not on either list is manufactured homes, which are just non-traditionally built homes with slightly more potential to be transported a second time. It’s not mobile enough to bother with in a blog devoted to commuting and transportation.

So why bother with stationary tiny homes? Well two reasons. 1st because we’ve got some awesome pictures of some unique ones, and 2nd because the minimalist lifestyle enables one to relocate more easily—which is many peoples’ definition of mobile living.

 

Stationery Tiny Homes (STH’s)

I don’t want to spend too much time on these since most people are familiar with the concept.

 

Park Models Features:

As discussed in part one, Park Models are made by Manufactured Homebuilders for the purpose of being more portable and less expensive. If you need to live onsite at a campground or construction site this could be your answer. The downside, and it’s a big one, is that you can’t get a certificate of occupancy or a vehicle license so you have a really tough time with Johnny Law if you leave it someplace for more than a year. On the bright side, it’s larger and more comfortable than most custom-built tiny homes.

 

Shipping Container Homes:

As geo-arbitrage became a way to do business overseas manufacturing created a glut of used cargo containers in the US where goods are imported more than exported. Some ingenious home builders have managed to create very modern homes out of them.

Their advantages are that they can be transported easily to the build site and be customized relatively easily with grinders and welders. They have big double doors and wooden floors (which must be removed because they’re treated with chemicals to repel exotic bugs). One need only see some pictures of what people are doing to appreciate why you someone might want one.

Many shipping containers homes have a square footage that really doesn’t qualify as an STH as we’ve defined it, but the idea of creating villages of them to replace garish apartment complexes gets bantered about continuously as a possible solution to the housing crisis in America. We’ve yet to find anyone who’s doing it, but we’re always looking.

 

Custom-built Tiny Homes (even if they’re on wheels):

Tiny Home manufacturers are springing up around the country. What isn’t keeping up is the number of places you can locate that will let you live in one. Zoning laws can be stricter some cities than others but very few really welcome tiny homes. It is sad because they provide an opportunity for more fiscally responsible living that is less impactful on the people and environment around them.

The big difference between tiny homes and other towable living options like 5th wheels is the building materials and design. RV’s were never meant for year-round inhabitation and it will ultimately become obvious to anyone attempting to do so. Tiny homes have incredible insulation and offer monthly winter utility and heating bills as low as $50. They’re also designed with some unique features that reduce the feeling of being in a small space and they’re built to last decades longer.

 

 

Drivable VLQs

Starting with Drivable VLQs where lots of options abound. Sources include (https://www.expeditionmotorhomes.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-class-a-b-c-motorhomes/) and (https://rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguide.com/rv_class/).

 

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Class A

 

Vehicle-based Living Quarters (VLQ’s)

Class A RV’s Features

Typically built on a bus chassis, Heavy Frame and Large Wheels, bad fuel economy (8 to 10 mpg), and measure up to 45 feet in length. Advantages include lots of storage, homelike feel, and ability to tow up to 5,000 lbs. A big reason some owners select Class A’s is that up to 8 passengers can converse while in transit. Disadvantages include fewer places to sleep overnight guests and did we mention the bad gas mileage because it’s worth saying twice.

Class A’s typically market well with couples and serve best as luxury touring coaches and as such tend to be pricey (starting around $75,000). One more thing worth noting about Class A’s is that some have diesel engines (diesel pushers) which are desirable and retain value a little better than gas equivalents.

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Bus Conversions Features

Do it yourself bus conversions are on the rise alongside tiny homes. A surprising number of first timers to both construction and mobile living have decided to wing it. Some of them spend quite a chunk of change.

A few custom bus conversion specialists have thrown their hat in the ring, but not as many as van conversionists. Here’s a link to one a site where you can buy bus conversions at various stages of conversion. Here’s a link to a basic how-to take on a project like that. Notice at both of these sites, the intimate connection between bus converting and tiny houses.

 

Class B RV’s Features

Built on a van frame but modified to allow someone to stand upright inside. They are self-contained, meaning they have bathroom and kitchen facilities although typically very modified and lacking features—for example, they commonly use a wet bath where the toilet and sink are inside the shower. Advantages include good fuel economy, easy to drive/park, less expensive than other models. Disadvantages include low livability for more than one person for more than a few nights in a row.

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Van Conversions Features

People have been doing there own van conversions for decades, the most famous of these being the VW van. Most recently, however, is the kit conversion which allows a cargo van owner to install the Class B features onto a standard Cargo Van. Many dealerships offer to professionally install the conversion on your new van purchase and can sometimes finance the entire purchase on a 15-year loan instead of a typical five or six-year auto loan. Here’s a link to a website with more information.

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Class C RV’s Features

Class C’s are built on a cargo van chassis, with an attached cabin space. They are visually distinct because of the cab-over space much like campers have, which adds a lot of storage or sleeping room. If they look like a cross between the class A and B…it’s because they are. The fuel economy, storage, sleeping and towing ability right between the two other types of motorhome, however with just enough extra room to allow better common areas which vastly increase the ability for more than one person to live in them for a longer term. This could be a better option for the typical family size looking for more extensive travel than just the occasional camping trip.

It’s also worth noting that they tend to be shorter than class A’s (20 to 33 feet long) which means they’re easier to maneuver and can fit into most campgrounds. Also, a big plus is that because they’re made from standard cargo van lines like Econoline, Ford or Chevy Express it’s easier to get parts and mechanical than a big diesel bus.

A final word about the difference between Class B and Class C, because both are built on a cargo van chassis. Plan to spend about as much on a Class B despite getting less room and cramped amenities, but what you’re getting in exchange is ease of maneuvering and fuel economy. With a longer Class C, one with a rear bedroom, for example, your rear-end is overhanging the wheelbase by a lot and that can make cornering tricky. It can also be an issue to store a Class C when not in use, while a Class B fits anywhere a large van does.

Towable VLQ’s

Shifting into towable living spaces lets look at three options. Sources include (https://www.hensleymfg.com/travel-trailer-vs-5th-wheel/) and (https://rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguide.com/rv_trailers/). There’s a myriad of layouts and features in either design so here are some basic differences that may not be initially obvious.

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Travel Trailers Features

Have the biggest variety of size and features to fit your needs. They start around 8ft long which can be towed by anything, and go all the way up to 40 feet to rival 5th wheel for space and comforts. The ability to be towed by almost anything with a trailer hitch makes this much more versatile option for most people. However, larger trailers require several things beyond just a bigger engine. The wheelbase of the vehicle (the length between the front and back tires) greatly affects the length of the trailer it can tow. Also, larger trailers are much easier in high winds and corners when your vehicle is equipped with sway bars and other stability options specific to vehicles built to tow.

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Trailer weight plays a big part also, with both fuel economy and stability on the road. Regardless of the type of trailer, you’ll need to consider what the trailer weighs when loaded with the things you need to live, work and play. Most trailers now come with either a raw weight or a burdened weight so that you know if the number includes typical extra weight or not.

5th Wheels Features

The weight of the 5th wheel lands in front of the rear axle which allows the weight to distribute onto all four tires instead of connecting at one single point at the rear. This radically increases the stability while in transit. It also puts some of the living space over the truck bed minimizing the overall length of truck and trailer combined. That factor makes it possible to back the trailer more easily which is what allows 5th wheels to be longer. It also means there are stairs in a 5th wheel, which bothers some RV owners.

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Ultra-mobile Tiny Homes Features

Ultra-mobile tiny homes are the ones built to be towed around the country. They include all the features of STH tiny homes only the size is typically even smaller and great pains were taken to use the lightest materials available. For example, if you’re building a tiny home in a large barn and then towing it once to a plot of land where it will stay, you might not worry too much if it nudges over 15 high at the peak. Ultra-mobile tiny homes need to stay below 14 feet with the tires inflated so they can go under bridges and overpasses. Ironically, you’re more likely to see RV hook-ups on ultra-mobile style Tinys because it can be harder to locate a good off grid location as you travel around the country. The unique features you can build into one of these makes it interesting to some freedom seekers who just don’t want to live in an RV.

 

Campers Features

While you don’t technically tow a camper, you carry it, this is the closest category for it to fit into. There are several sizes of camper, which must be matched to the bed size and carrying capacity of your truck. Like a trailer, you can store it easily at your single family home when not in use and regain the full use of your truck. Campers come in two main varieties, self-contained and not. This refers to the amount of bathroom in the camper. Given the tight amount of space and availability of bathrooms at campgrounds, rest areas, and truck stops many people like the option of not having to deal with hauling a stinky bathroom with them everywhere they go. This saves a lot on maintenance too, as things can go wrong with plumbing and the minimum you’ll have to do is drain your holding tanks.

If your wife doesn’t mind a little hike in the night to pee, a non-self-contained camper can be an affordable option, that still keeps you warmer, off the ground, and more bear-resistant than a tent.

 

In Summary

Regardless of the type of Towed VLQ there’s an advantage to having a separate living space from the vehicle in that once you arrive at a location you’ll be able to unlink the two and drive around normally. If you need to grab some groceries in town, it’s hard to decide if you’ll try to find a store with a big enough parking spot for your motorhome or if you’ll pay for a rideshare into town.

Car Hacks (Vlog 19): Headphone Debacle

Today, Mike takes on an important topic, which is one that people are often confused about, and we are often confronted with–with his typical light-hearted fashion.

PS the thing that struck me while listening to this…earphones are for listening to music and headsets are for talking on the phone? Or is it the other way around? I don’t know.
PPSS On behalf of the Kicker Blog staff, we apologize for how Mike (and all New Yorkers) pronounce the word, “Oregon.” Please feel free to mock him in the comments below. (He loves that.)

Garage Floor Coatings

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Garage floors are unfortunately overlooked and ill-maintained. It is one of the few spots in your home (or mechanical garage) where problems are not noticed until they get out of hand. Check out your garage floor, and you will likely be surprised by how stained, dirty and perhaps even cracked it may be. Garages have a big job, including holding up against the weight of vehicles and recreational equipment. It is no easy task to hold the weight of your SUV, commuter car, barbeque and ATV year-round. Garage floors need some upkeep, and one of the quickest and most affordable solutions is with a garage floor coating.

There are some garage floor systems that can instantly transform your garage floor into a veritable work of art. You personalize the color, pattern and look of your garage floor based on your tastes and needs. Any garage can become a showroom that showcases your rides, all while increasing the strength and durability of this critical flooring. By utilizing epoxies that are solid and specifically engineered to be tough enough to stand up against anything you can throw at it (or drip on it), the value of your home or business automatically increases.

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Your Latest Car Accessory

Lab-engineered products like Elite Crete Systems products feature polyurethane and polyaspartic resins that are just as good looking as they are durable. Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to designing your new garage. Add in a logo, choose a wild design, keep it subtle and classy or make an enormous chessboard in your garage—the Elite Crete Systems products can do anything your heart desires. This is not a paint or stain that will fade or chip over time. The system becomes part of your existing garage floor, strengthening it and beautifying it.

Your entire project will be customized to perfectly suit your needs and ideas. Plus, the end result is a floor that is incredibly resistant to salts, oils and heavy weights, which are all common occurrences in garages. Depending on the size of the garage, most installations are complete within one or two days, and can be applied during the construction of a garage or afterward.

These products are a fantastic addition when repairing a garage, ensuring this critical part of the home is as durable as necessary. Give your garage the added protection it needs, and never worry about stains or spills again. With this system, your garage flooring can be just as gorgeous as the rest of your home.

 

The Car Lover’s Guide to Long-Term Vehicle Storage

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You wouldn’t leave your child with a suspect babysitter or drop your dog off at a subpar doggie daycare, would you? Don’t do the equivalent with your car. Whether you’re buying a classic car that needs constant protection or you’re simply heading out of town for a long stretch and want to ensure your ride is cared for, how you store your car is just as important as where. Any time your car will be sitting more than two weeks, there are best practices to follow and make sure it’s safeguarded.

And if you don’t? You might be signing up for a lot of mechanical issues. Start by getting a filter and oil change—specifically, make sure additive-free oils are used. Caustic detergents are often fine when you’re driving a car, but can be damaging if it’s just sitting there. Next, fill up the tank. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but filling it with premium fuel prevents condensation in the tank. To play it extra safe, add some gas stabilizers (often sold for lawnmowers) and seek out premium fuel without ethanol if possible.

Check, Check

Have your mechanic check all fluids and oils in the car, including the coolant levels. Also, take a look at the tires—how is the pressure? Was there a patched leak that could really do with a tire replacement? This is especially crucial for those in regions with rough winters. A slight overinflation can be helpful, and remember to thump tires every ten miles once a car is taken out of storage.parking-932921_1920

Next, wash and wax your car even if you know it’ll collect dust. Clean thoroughly under the hood and in the wheel wells. The interior also requires some TLC, especially when cleaning up food scraps which can lure in pests. However, steer clear of any products with water (such as Armor All) since it can trap moisture.

Prep Work

Some people put a piece of plastic beneath the car’s floor just in case there are leaps or buildup of vapor. If you’re storing your car indoors (as you should when possible), crack the windows slightly. Convertibles should have tops up with a rag in the air intake/exhaust to keep animals out. Metal screens are also useful for all types of cars. It’s also a good idea to pick up a battery maintainer so you don’t need to hunt down someone to jump your car when taken out of storage.

Along with that plastic used under the car, put a sheet between the windshield and wiper blades to prevent sticking (another option is just taking the blades off). Removing the spark plugs yourself (if you’re comfortable) is a good idea to stop rusting. You can also jack it up on axle stands in order to prevent flat tires. However, the less mechanically inclined owners can simply release parking brakes so pads don’t cling to the rotors.

Finally, leave a note on the driver’s seat with everything you’ve done so you know where you stand when you return. Lock the doors, and remember that a car cover is only appropriate for cars stored outdoors.

 

Used Car Buying? Take a Look at the Goods…

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(Editors Note: What other topic could we possibly cover on Friday the 13th?–that’s rite, buying a used car…)

You can get a used car salesman’s costume off eBay, which might consist of dodgy hair, dark glasses and a Hawaiian shirt. Perhaps the trousers are white Teflon. There are tales of plaid jackets, multicolor shoes and much more. In the old days, they would include a half-smoked cigar, but this might be the one thing that has changed.

As for the dealerships, they seem to crowd into the same corner of the wrong side of town. It becomes a metaphor for the whole experience. We know that we shouldn’t be going down there across the railroad track; we feel likely to get robbed, but we go anyway, and never do shake the feeling even after we buy. But what choice do we have?

This idea of a used car salesman with all the patter, who will rob you blind, seems to be an old one. Of course there’s a big difference between one used car dealership and another, but there’s a few things in common–they all know more than you do about the car business, they all use negotiation tactics in their daily lives when you probably don’t and they are all in the business of making money.

When it comes to buying used, our fowl impression may also be linked to so many things going wrong with second-hand cars. It seems some used car dealers in this country have given up. “You buy something used, it is bound not to go right” is their mantra.

They may have a point. You could try buying new if you can afford it—then at least its under warranty. Though the moment you buy it, it becomes a used car and half the value is gone. So we’re all looking for the same thing–an effective second-hand car at a good price.

Even dealerships which sell new cars make incredible profits from back-end deals, having you pay for warranties, organizing a loan and so on. This is hardly a new story though for the big money in selling cars is not taking the customer’s cash, but how to organize the deal.

road-sign-464654_1920Most people feel that they will always be sold a car in the same way, but it doesn’t have to be. There are hundreds of effective ways to sell a car and the most effective words occur in the closing argument or pitch. So no matter what type of car they are selling, or the type of customer you are, you can learn the gist of their tactics and avoid being taken.

Some good ways to avoid the hucksters include:

  • Don’t let the dealer know you are desperate for a new car. (Don’t say you need to get one for work on Monday for instance!) Keep your guard always up and plan to outlast them. They will ultimately meet your price but it might take a couple hours.
  • Don’t talk payments, talk actual total price. Talking installments means talking about the combo of price and financing. The price of the car shouldn’t depend on your credit score.
  • Don’t just buy the first car you see from the first dealership you see. Shop around. In fact, if you want to see your salesmen sweat, use your cell to look up the actual value of the car in front of you. (https://www.truecar.com/#/ )
  • Get to know what you might actually get for your buck. This may be a lengthy process, but it is ultimately worth it. Look up the type of car your looking for in advance. Know that the salesman will introduce extra factors like, undercoating, ignore this entirely.
  • Don’t let your trade-in become part of the negotiation about the price of the car you’re buying. They may offer to value your car higher than KBB said it was worth even. But this is a bargaining tool in their toolbox. After a couple hours of sticking to your price and turning down extras you say, “so we’re agreed this car is $XX,XXX.” They say yes, you say, “now you said my trade in is worth…”
  • Make sure you go for a test drive before paying for the vehicle. You may need to visit the lot a couple times. When they’ve determined that you’re wasting their time they may turn you over to a junior salesman who might give you an advantage when you’re actually ready to buy.
  • Get the history of the exact vehicle through an internet search of Carfaxx.com or similar  But the trick here is that you may not be able to interpret what you’re looking at. Was the car sold at auction? What’s that really mean?
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection at an independent inspection service. An inspector can run the reports above, along with a visual inspection and test drive to paint a picture of your vehicle’s condition. Know the car your buying better than the salesman and your negotiations will go your way.

You can find more tips about dealing with the unscrupulous car dealer: https://adequateman.deadspin.com/how-to-buy-a-new-car-without-getting-ripped-off-1682148797

http://www.urbo.com/content/car-salesman-secrets-to-know-before-you-buy-a-car?rtg=mhwhm-4Mc13R&param4=urbo-fni-fbss-2856-demo

Kicker recommends that you have the car inspected by a professional (that is not just the dealer/ mechanic) before you buy the car so you have a nonbiased idea of what the car is worth. If you do a bit more digging you can prevent the common problems that most people who buy used cars run up against.

If you follow this advice, you will be better prepared against anyone trying to take advantage of you!

Car Hacks (Vlog 18): How-To Clean Up

Hello, fans and fellow travelers. This week’s VLog from our intrepid video dude is neat and surprising. By that I mean the topic is cleaning cheap sunglasses (which you should have in your car), and surprising in that he has no head! Click the video and see for yourself–he has no head this week.

PS The real reason he has no head is that we gave him less than no time to prep and film this weeks installment. Its fun to throw him curveballs, what can I say. while we’re on that topic, please send us ideas you’d like to have Mike cover (off the wall is great) and if you’re a sponsor who’s wanted to get your product in front of a crowd contact us through the page. We’d love to get some product that Mike has to figure out how to review…tune in again this month to find out if Mike gets his head back.

The Safety Benefits of Tinted Windows

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By Kyle Kotecki

The mere mention of tinted windows may call to mind images of those sound-systems-on-wheels parked by teenagers at beaches across America. Though many view them as little more than a fashion statement, tinted windows can actually make your car safer in multiple ways. Read on to find out how.

Shatter-Resistance

Aftermarket tinting is accomplished by applying a thin film to the inside of a vehicle’s windows. In the event of an accident, the film helps hold the glass together, preventing shattering. Car accidents are bad enough without shards of glass flying every which way.

UV BlockingKyle K_Tint2

Tinted windows block harmful UV rays, which not only prevents the fading and cracking of a vehicle’s interior but also protects the driver’s skin. Some forms of skin cancer are more often found on the left side of the body, and researchers think exposure to UV rays while driving is to blame. Window tinting can protect your interior, but more importantly, your skin, from sun damage.

Fighting Glare

Few things are as irritating as driving toward the blinding sun, leaning, squinting and adjusting the sun visor as you make your way down the road. This is not only annoying but also dangerous. It goes without saying that reduced visibility hinders one’s ability to commute safely. Window tinting reduces distracting glare and allows you to keep your hands off the sun visor and on the wheel, where they belong.

Obstructing Prying Eyes

A would-be thief may lack the motivation to break into your car if he is unable to peer through your window and see any valuables you may have in your car. Why risk arrest when, for all he knows, there could be little more than an eight-track player and some crumpled up fast food wrappers in there? While I still wouldn’t recommend leaving your bulging wallet atop a mountain of valuable Beatles memorabilia, tinted windows have the potential to serve as a theft deterrent.

In Conclusion

Tinted windows offer more than just style. They make driving not only more comfortable, but safer, too. One can view window tinting as an investment that helps keep both you and your car on the road for many years to come.

Tech Out This Pony!

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Tech Out This Pony!

Muscle car enthusiasts might have a penchant for respecting classic styling and nostalgia, but there’s no need to be left in the dust. Gadgets, gizmos, and apps galore can all help you trick out a ride like no other. Whether you’re in the business of supplying parts to consumers or are simply looking for new ways to upgrade your own powerhouse, you’re in luck.

Check out some of these latest and greatest inventions and accessories to make life easier (or at least more impressive). There’s only so much new Mustang valve covers can do. When it comes time to figure out Mustang gift ideas, look no further than a cool techie toy. Those new car scented fresheners are so tired.

There’s an App for That

Ford went app crazy a couple of years ago and enthusiasts are still reaping the benefits. There are a series of apps, like the Twitter hit, that allows your phone to connect with the car’s Sync system so that data is delivered right to your ride. Talk about hands-free innovation.woman-1446557_1920

Scroll through apps that you need from checking tire pressure to finding the nearest gas station with the lowest costs. It’s all about saving you time, stress, and cash. What’s better than that?

Open Pandora’s Box

Your favorite free music feed can be enjoyed in the driver’s seat. Ford’s unique Sync system also allows for the internet-based app to directly feed into a car’s stereo system. There’s no more of the same old Top 40 for you. Options like HD Radio might give you more than FM, but at a cost so why not get the same thing for free?

Don’t forget to take advantage of Pandora’s latest features. Link your Pandora to your Facebook friends to find out what others are listening to. HTML 5 utilization means it’s faster than ever. The improvements for creating lists and browsing for new music are welcome and make rocking out a breeze.

Speak Up

Ever since the first Mustang rolled off the assembly line in 1964 ½, Ford has been a leader in improving how you get around. The company pioneered advanced voice control options to allow for better overall control of the car while staying safe. Sync’s “flatter” feature means less restrictions and easier navigation.

The Only REAL GPS

It usually doesn’t matter how fantastic your GPS navigation system is. What good is it to know where you’re going and how many more miles if there’s a rollover causing hours of delays? Providing real-time traffic updates has long been an obstacle.

Inrix came on the scene as part of MyFord Touch system to provide actual traffic conditions on both highways and surface streets. Inrix is also on your iPhone with a Traffic Pro app. Is it worth it? It depends if you like being stuck in gridlock for hours on end or not.