The Top Five Most Stolen Vehicles in America

Each year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau releases a report of the most stolen vehicles in America. Below you will find the most stolen vehicles in America before making a purchase.

1.    Honda Civic

There are a number of reasons why the Honda Civic is so often targeted. To begin with, it is a very popular car, which means there is more of them on the road and more opportunity for thieves to steal them. Additionally, Civics are often parked in public areas, making them easy targets for thieves looking for a quick getaway. Finally, Civics tend to have weaker security systems than other cars, making them easier to break into. As a result of all these factors, the Civic remains one of the most stolen vehicles in America.

2.    Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for four decades. But despite its popularity, the F-150 is also one of the most stolen vehicles in the country. There are a number of reasons why the F-150 is such a target for thieves. First, its high resale value makes it an attractive proposition for thieves looking to make a quick profit. Second, the F-150’s parts are also highly sought-after, making it easy for thieves to sell them on the black market.

Finally, the F-150 is simply an easy target for theft; its large size and heavy weight make it difficult to hide, and its popularity means that a large number of them are on the road, making them easy to find and steal. Whatever the reason, the Ford F-150 is one of the most stolen vehicles in America. And unfortunately for owners, there’s not much that can be done to prevent it from happening.

3.    Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the most popular truck in America and one of the most stolen vehicles. There are a few reasons why the Silverado is such a target for thieves. First, it’s a highly sought-after vehicle, so there’s a high demand for it on the black market. Second, it’s relatively easy to steal, thanks to its large size and easy-to-disable security system. Finally, the Silverado is valuable, so it can fetch a high price when sold illegally. If you own a Silverado, take extra steps to protect your vehicle from theft. Park in well-lit areas, use a steering wheel lock and consider investing in a GPS tracking device.

4.    Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is one of the most popular cars on the market and one of the most stolen cars. In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Accord was the most stolen vehicle in America in 2015. There are a number of reasons why thieves target the Accord. First, it’s a popular car, which means there are more of them on the road. Second, it’s easy to break into and hot-wire. And third, parts from the Accord are in high demand so that they can be easily sold for a profit.

5.    Toyota Camry

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Toyota Camry is one of the most stolen vehicles in America. It’s the most stolen vehicle in California. While the Camry is a popular car, it’s also an easy target for thieves. This is because the Camry is often left unlocked with the keys inside. This makes it an easy target for thieves looking for a quick getaway car. The Camry is also a popular choice for carjackers due to its popularity and ease of access.

Just for Fun #118

Looking for a sign you should get your car inspected before you buy it?

…because you never really know what happened to your car before it was listed for sale…

Get your car inspected before you buy so you don’t overpay. TireKickers!

Until now, you didn’t know that getting a car inspection before buying will keep you from buying an unsafe car. Now you do. Tire Kickers come to you.

Auto Makers: US Defunct (Part 4E)

The best way to tackle Car Manufacturers in the US is to break them up by category. We started with the big three, and now let’s get to three noteworthy US Auto Makers that have been phased out or gone out of business.

Hupp

Vital Stats: 1909-1939, Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

The short 20 year run of Hupp motors has some unexpected twists. It started with a design and prototype by Bobby Hupp, financed in large part by his first partner Charles Hastings ($8,500). Hupp would later become the VP and general manager of his own company and Hastings would sink to assistant general manager. How?

The prototype went to the1909 automobile show where it won a modest $25,000 ($753,981 today’s money) from investors like J. Walter Drake, Joseph Drake, John Baker, and Edwin Denby. Drake became President using his experience running Oldsmobile before it sold, and he brought from Oldsmobile Emil Nelson as chief engineer.

This total $33,000 startup gave Hupp the 8th position out of the eight big Detroit automakers. But thei Hupp Model 20 was a marvelous car, and that still matters for something in the car biz.

Well, it was under-powered and the gear ratio was whacky, but selling for $900 with a manufacturers guarantee to replace damaged material except for tires struck a chord with buyers. The car also featured an innovative oil system.

1909 Model Roundabout

In 1911 Hupp decided to be the first American Automaker to feature an all steel body (Only BSA in the Uk was doing it.)  Hale & Kilburn Company in Philadelphia had been replacing cast iron in train cars with a pressed metal which saved a ton of weight and therefore gas. The success of an all-steel body came as a result of the work of three men, Nelson (Chief Engineer of Hupp), Edward Budd and Joseph Ledwinka were General Manager and Budd Chief Engineer of Hale & Kilburn. They worked tirelessly to design and fabricate the system in a way that could be taken apart, shipped and then reassembled…but never thought to patent it. The Hupp 32 was born.

Bud and Ledwinka left to form their own company. Ledwinka later tried to patent the tech but a judge ruled against him by reason that it was now in the public domain.

Nelson resigned as Chief Engineer in 1912 ending the companies desire to be edgy and innovative. They returned to traditional body parts.

Noteworthy: Hupp innovated both the Freewheeling Transmission and a filtered air heater called  the Evanair-Conditioner.

Hupp had been fortifying his business by vertical integration–buying up parts manufacturers. In 1913 Hupp decided to leave Hupp Motors, and despite his promise to continue to supply parts, Hupp Motors decided to build a plant to make parts for themselves.

1933 Model K, Cycle Fenders
Noteworthy: Minnesota Car dealership owner, Carl Wickman, turned a 7 passenger Hupp mobile into the first Greyhound Passenger Bus.

Sales grew and peaked at  over 65,000 units by 1928 but began to slump even before the stock market crash and great depression. Why? Beginning in 1925 Hupp started courting a luxury market, something most car makers were attempting to do around that time. The difference is that larger companies could afford to continue producing their mid-priced cars while growing their new market. Hupp struggled to find a design that would take off with luxury buyers, and while they experimented they turned their back on their existing customer base. They also failed to stick with any one design long enough to achieve economy of scale. Add to that the fact that they were moving the wrong direction (toward more expensive cars) when the depression hit…by 1935 stockholders were angry and they company was nearly taken over.

1925 Model R Touring Car

During their rise, Hupp had acquired additional manufacturing facilities, which they began to sell off in 1936. They managed to develop a new line of six and eight cylinder cars but their number of dealerships had shrunk along with their manufacturing, they just couldn’t battle their way back, which lead them to the joint venture below.

The joint venture was the end of Hupp Motors. They fulfilled their orders and closed up for good.

Graham-Paige

Vital Stats: 1927-1962, Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana.

Three Graham brother founded the company, Joseph, Robert and Ray. Technically the 1962 end date above refers to the end of the corporate identity, the original company was bought out by Kaiser-Frazer in 1947.

The Graham Brothers got their start in glass then moved into modifying Model T’s into trucks. They sold off the glass company began branding their creations under their own name. Eventually Dodge became their engine of choice and their relationship with dodge grew such that dodge dealerships were selling their trucks and a dodge plant in Canada was making their trucks to supply the Canadian market.

So, as with so many car companies these were successful business men who moved into car building a step at a time, and as with so many car makers they were swallowed up by a larger company–in this case Dodge in 1925. All three Graham brothers accepted leadership positions with Dodge as part of the deal.

Then in 1928, Chrysler bought Dodge and the Graham brother brand was dead a year later. The brothers saw these challenges coming, so a year earlier, in 1927 they bought the  Paige-Detroit Motor Company, for $3.5 million. They also bought the Wayne Body Company which resolved the main reason Paige had struggled to become profitable–they couldn’t get bodies. Graham-Paige sourced engines from Continental part of the time, and parts to their specs for their own engines most of the time. The result was a successful line of cars with six and eight cylinder engines, which didn’t technically compete with Dodge, which would have violated their sale. Paige already made a line of trucks which the brothers got around to closing down when Dodge complained.

Graham-Paige succeeded as a car company even despite the great depression which wiped out so many car makers. Their secret was a winning design from Amos Northup. This 1932 model featured an 8-cylinder engine dubbed the “Blue Streak” and the car would become the most influential design in automotive history. Innovations included moving the radiator cap inside the hood and changes to the grill and bumper in a way that prevented mud and road debris from collecting in the engine. They also moved the drive train and mounted the rear springs outside the chassis, lowering and widening the car. In 1934 they added a crankshaft driven supercharger and went on to make more supercharged cars than anyone until Buick in the 1990’s.

Graham-Paige built a solid reputation for making reliable automobiles but by 1938 the brothers were desperate for a second hit design. They rehired Northrup but he died part way into the design. They managed to finish the redesign and include a few more innovations that won them races in France, but ruined the look and killing off sales.

This lead to a desperate joint venture with Hupp, to be detailed below. Post WWII, Graham-Paige brought out a new model under their new president, Joseph Frazer. Financing came from none other than shipbuilder and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Graham-Paige tried to rally their success into a new line under their name, but stock holders intervened placing the companies assets at the disposal of Frazer and Kaiser, who diversified to make all sorts of things including farm equipment.

Ultimately, Graham-Paige dropped motors from their name and went into commercial real estate, acquiring Madison-Square Gardens which was later acquired twice more.

Cord

Vital Stats: 1929 to 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937, Headquartered in Connersville, Indiana. Founded by E. L. Cord.

Cord is interesting for several reasons but the first is that it existed for two short 3-year spurts. Cord is a luxury brand name for a line of cars manufactured by Auburn Automobile Company. The brainchild of E.L. Cord who was also the force behind Auburn Auto, Cord is most famed for its innovations and streamlined design.

L-29

The Cord L-29 for instance was the first car offered to the public with front wheel drive. To be fair Ruxton was only months behind. The L-29 was also the first production car to use CV-joints. By not having a rear drive train the L-29 was lower to the ground than other cars of the era, giving it a sleek look. It also came with full instrumentation: temperature gauge, oil pressure and oil level gauge, speedometer, gas gauge, and Ammeter.

Cord also pioneered hidden headlamps 4 decades before they would return on other luxury models. Their second model the 810 featured independent suspension. Cord could have been iconic but they were plagued with reliability issues (common among the first years of automobile startups), and there was pretty stiff competition. Dealerships abandoned Cord for more lucrative models and soon investors started suing, alleging fraud .E.L. Cord abandoned the company and moved to Arizona where he made his next fortune in real estate.

812 Phaeton

In 1940 Hupmobile saw an opportunity to develop a cheap car using an existing body and frame design but couldn’t really afford to produce them. Graham-Paige offered to help and the Hupmobile Skylark and Graham Hollywood were born. Naturally Hupmobile wasn’t interested in creating a luxury car, so the hidden lights and front wheel drive were scrapped in favor of cheaper, standard options. The total number of cars made by this collaboration is believed to be 1850 units, mostly Graham Hollywoods. By 1941 the deal fell apart.

Noteworthy: Cord’s have been drafted no less than 6 times by Hollywood, notably for the movie “Live and Let Die,” (to be driven by a bad guy) and for basis of the original Batmobile as creator Bob Cane felt it had the right look for a millionaire vigilante. Also, Puzzle maker “bePUZZLED” turned a creme colored 1936 810 Cord into a feature of their murder mystery. PlayStation has tapped a Cord twice for their video games. Jay Leno owns a Cord 812 making it a car worth taking not of.

How To Take Off Window Tint

You probably are reading this critique because your window tint doesn’t look new anymore. You may have spotted some peeling along the edges, bubbles, or scratches on its surface. Luckily, you can take off your car’s window tint without hiring a professional. Here’s how to take off window tint the easy way.

Use a Hairdryer

You can remove your window tint using a hairdryer. The process also works well with a heat gun. However, you need to figure out a good corner to start removing the tint.

Hold the dryer two inches away from the window and run it high to allow the glue to melt. Remove the tip of the tint from the corner you choose. Gently pull the tint as the dryer melts glue on other parts. Once you remove the tint, clean the car windows before replacing them with another tint.

Use a Steamer

You can also use a steamer to take off your window tint. To do this, roll your car window down slightly so that the top part of the tint is visible. Steam the edges of the window from the outside to melt the adhesive.

After that, steam the other parts of the window and use a razor to lift the edges for easy pulling. Steam other edges where the adhesive hasn’t completely melted. You can then remove the entire tint once the glue melts completely.

Use Ammonia

To remove your window tint using this method, you will need ammonia, dish soap, and paper towels. Other materials that will make the process less stressful include steel wool, scissors, a spray bottle, and a razor blade.

When ammonia comes into contact with the adhesive on sunny days, it melts the glue, making it easy to peel off the tint on your car window.

Start by preparing the soap solution you will be using and fill the spray bottle. Cut some plastic bags that you will use to cover the tinted windows. Ensure the plastic wraps are large enough to fit your windows.

Spray the tinted side of the car window with ammonia solution and cover it with plastic bags. Do the same thing on the inner part and cover it with plastic. Let the plastic sit for about an hour to allow ammonia to dissolve the glue. The window tint should be easy to remove once you remove the plastic bags. Use a razor blade to remove your tint’s top or corner edges and peel it off.

After removing the tint, clean the leftover glue with ammonia and steel wool.

Use Soap and Scrape

The soap and scrape technique is perhaps the simplest way to take off window tints on your car. Prepare a soap solution and fill your spray bottle. Once done, soak the window to loosen the adhesive. Remove the edges using a razor blade or a knife. Peel off the tint gently as you continue spraying the soap solution. You may have to repeatedly scrape some sections since they might not come off immediately.

Typically, these DIY window tint removal methods are easy and don’t require any special equipment. After removing your window tint, ensure you clean the windows using a cleaner and dry them off using a towel.

Local VW Car Show

Once in a while we happen on a cool collection of cars and their owners all going for an impromptu drive. We didn’t have time to really interview anyone but our staff snapped some quick pics. This is the kind of summer fun we like to celebrate here at the Kicker. As cool as the internet is, lets get out and meet some folks who share our passion for vehicles and driving. This was a really great day as I’m sure you’ll see from the pics below.

Best Car Detailing Hacks

Knowing the best car detailing hacks can help you improve the look of your car. These detailing hacks also ensure that you spend less time cleaning your car, especially when it’s dirty on the outside. Here’s a look at these detailing tips you should consider.

Clean the Dusty Air Vents

With the help of a can of compressed air, it can be pretty easy to clean the dusty air vents. You can also use the can to clean small crevices that collect debris and dust. Clean these spaces the same way you would do while cleaning your keyboard.

Dust Your Dashboard With a Coffee Filer

A coffee filter is made of lint-free paper. Therefore, it’s an excellent choice for dusting your dashboard. Use this item when you don’t have a cloth to clean a dirty dashboard. Use a few drops of olive oil on the dirty surface and give it a nice polish.

Get Yourself a Power Polisher/Waxer

Polishing and waxing your car is a great way to give it a shiny look. However, you don’t want to spend countless hours doing this manually. One of the best car detailing hacks requires buying a power polisher/waxer. This machine will save you time and energy.

Use Baking Soda Toothpaste on the Headlights

Cleaning your car headlights is probably the last thing on your mind. However, you can get rid of the brown surfaces by using baking soda toothpaste. This paste is abrasive and will effectively clean your headlights.

Shine Your Dashboard with Olive Oil

As previously mentioned, you can shine your car’s dashboard using olive oil. Doing this can also help to prevent future cracking.

Cupcake Liners in Your Cupholders

Cupholders are known to collect stubborn dirt. To prevent this, use clean out the cupholders using an old toothbrush. After that, place silicone cupcake liners in these spaces. Over time, these liners will collect dirt that would have accumulated in the small areas. It makes it easy to clean your car since you will only have to remove the liners and replace them with new ones or rinse the cupcake liners and put them back in.

Buy Some Handy Wipes

You may have to deal with some messes which miss the cupholders. To ensure you’re prepared to deal with this mess, buy a pack of car cleaner wipes. They cost a few dollars and will keep your car’s interior neat.

Cover Your Back Seat

Consider covering your back seat if you have a furry friend you love to take on those long rides. Investing in a pet hammock can make a huge difference. It only takes a few seconds to keep it in place since it comes with handy buckles.

Keep Things Organized

If you have documents to store in your car, you should keep things organized using an organizer. Keeping all paperwork organized inside the vehicle will ensure you don’t have a messy environment to deal with.

With these car detailing hacks, it should be easy to clean your car and have a less chaotic environment.

5 Car Maintenance Myths

Car owners have heard many times about the best way to maintain their vehicles in good condition. Most people get advice related to engine power, fuel efficiency, and overall car longevity. While some tips seem like practical ways of enhancing your car’s performance or keeping it in shape, most of the maintenance tips are nothing but myths. Here’s a look at the top 5 car maintenance myths.

1. You should change your engine oil after every 3,000 miles

You’ve probably heard it before from your friends or even your mechanic that you should consider changing your engine oil every 3,000 miles. It’s not surprising that certain oil companies are still pushing for the same idea.

However, most modern cars can run up to 7,500 miles before an oil change. Technological advances have helped to develop superior engine designs and better chemical composition of oils. These improvements have helped cars to go for longer miles before oil changes.

2. Premium fuel will increase your car’s performance

Unless your car has an engine that gets hotter or has a high compression, standard gasoline is okay. Even the cheaper 86 octane fuel must meet the required quality standards. Therefore, you can be sure it won’t affect your car’s performance.

3. Servicing your car at different service centers voids its warranty

Manufacturers will recommend specific service centers you can turn to in case your vehicle needs maintenance. A common myth is that going to other service centers will void your vehicle’s warranty. But this is far from the truth.

You can repair your car at any service station without hampering your warranty. What you need to ensure is to have all the receipts for repair expenses in case they are required for further inspection and compensation.

4. You should replace all four tires

Most car owners also believe they should replace all four tires even when others still have good grip and treads. However, this is another car maintenance myth you should be wary of.

The reality is that you don’t need to incur unnecessary expenses just to replace all four tires. You simply need to check the tire depth and confirm that your wheels haven’t outlived their lifespans. When replacing your tires, ensure you choose the right size, model, and depth for increased durability.

5. Warm your car engine before driving off

Perhaps you’ve been warming your car before driving it in the cold weather. How true is this myth?

Well, it turns out that modern cars warm up faster. Another thing is that other car parts like transmission and wheel bearings warm up once the car is in motion. So, there isn’t any advantage gained by taking a few minutes to warm your vehicle before driving away.

Idling your car uses gas. You’ll be wasting time and money waiting for it to heat up.

Generally, knowing that these car maintenance myths are actually not true helps to ensure you use and maintain your car as required.

4 Best Traffic Apps

Tired of traffic jams? There’s no doubt that running into traffic is frustrating. Often, this happens when you’re in a hurry. Luckily, technology has made it possible to know how to avoid traffic and arrive at your destination in time. This post takes a look at 4 best traffic apps you should consider using on your smartphone.

1. Google Maps

Good things in life are free, right? Google Maps is one such traffic app that can help you avoid traffic jams. It’s a common navigation app that is found on most Android devices. The application has evolved over the years and is more than just a navigation tool. You can use it to know how traffic moves and which places to avoid.

Plus, Google Maps can also be used to find the shortest routes to your destination. So, besides avoiding traffic, the software can help you find alternative shorter routes, saving time and money.

Key Features:

  • Real-time transit information
  • Real-time ETAs
  • Discover places

2. Waze

If you’re looking to join a community of people who are always looking out for each other in terms of traffic, then Waze is the right app for you. Waze has many fans, and it works on the idea that people can help each other escape traffic snarls. When using this platform, you can get real-time updates from community-generated alerts. For example, you can alert others to avoid specific routes when you run into traffic.

So, Waze works best when there are many users on it. One exciting aspect of this app is that it offers better voice directions compared to Google Maps.

Key Features:

  • Superb voice-guided navigation
  • Community-generated warnings and alerts

3. INRIX

INRIX is another good traffic app with amazing features. It comes with a traffic news section that keeps users updated on real-time traffic, accidents, constructions, road closures, and more.

The app provides clear directions to your destination, making it easier for you to navigate. If you have a common route to your place of work, you can save it. The traffic app will keep you updated about your daily route with personalized alerts on the specific road.

Key Features:

  • Good traffic camera feeds
  • Cloud sync for real-time notifications
  • Traffic map with detailed info

4. Apple Maps App

Apple Maps App is a worthy competitor to Google Maps, especially for the millions of people using iOS platforms. Apple Maps app provides enhanced satellite and map imagery, cycling navigation, and city guides.

Having this app on your smartphone can give you regular updates about your routes and the best time to travel. It also provides informative reviews about your points of interest. These can help you make intelligent choices about your destinations.

You can download Apple Maps to your iPad device.

Key Features:

  • Enhanced satellite and maps imagery
  • Real-time city guides

With these traffic apps, you no longer need to worry about arriving late. You can get real-time notifications about the best routes to take. But, it’s always essential to plan your trip early to avoid any inconveniences.

What To Expect When Your Mechanic Makes a House Call

Mechanics have simplified the process of getting car repair services. You no longer need to drive your car to the mechanic to get it fixed. Now, mechanics are going rounds making house calls. Therefore, besides the convenience of having your car fixed right from your doorstep, there’s a lot more you should expect with door-to-door car repair services.

Car Care Made Easy

Driving your vehicle to get it fixed is always a hassle. This sometimes means paying an extra fee to tow it to the nearest service center or a mechanic you trust. With car repair services delivered to your home or office, you will save a lot on additional expenses that you could have alternatively incurred.

Once you book an appointment, the mechanic will arrive with all the required gear to fix your car. You need to provide the mechanic with enough parking space or driveway. To ensure you don’t forget about the appointment, your mechanic or service center will send you a reminder a day before the appointment.

During the specific day when your vehicle should be fixed, your mechanic will send you another reminder that they are on their way. If you’re not around your home or office, you can notify the mechanic where to collect your car keys and fix your car while you’re away.

Your mechanic will strive to keep time, so you should expect them to arrive within the scheduled time. Avoid driving your car during this time so the engine cools down for effective repairs.

If you’re present during the house call, you can use this opportunity to ask your mechanic about any mechanical issues with your car. You also don’t have to worry about disposing of old replaced parts of your car since your mechanic can do this for you.

What You Get

After inspecting your account, your report will be recorded in your account. The report details essential safety items like car engine codes, brakes, filters, fluid levels, tire treads, belts, etc. You can easily access your report at any time. This allows you to maintain your car in good condition to serve you better.

Your mechanic will then bill you for services rendered. You can choose your preferred payment method and won’t be billed until you’re satisfied with the car repair services. Depending on your payment method, your mechanic will send you a digital receipt and update your data on their platform. This helps you to track your car repair expenses and budget for them in the future.

When your mechanic makes a house call, they can send you maintenance reminders from time to time. Plus, you can manage your vehicle online. You get to schedule appointments and review any services your car needs to function at its best.

Car maintenance is easier than ever before, especially now that your mechanic can provide door-to-door services the ‘Uber-style. Therefore, apart from convenience, you can be confident that your car will always be well maintained.