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Driving Tips Around the School

Driving Tips Around the School

To promote safety teenage driving, compiled some tips to guide students in driving to or around the school.

* Get to school five to ten minutes early and leave five minutes late to avoid the mad dash
into and out from the parking lots. Many accidents happen when kids are rushing around.

* If your school lot has perpendicular spaces (not angle parking), park in a space you can
pull straight out of instead of having to back out. Backing out in crowed lots is tricky.
Also, the Key Driving School has written me that pulling straight through a parking space
is illegal in some states--so check your local traffic laws before using this tip.

* Watch for kids getting on and off school buses - and don't run into the school buses, either.

* Go slow

* Don't leave valuables like wallets, shoes, leather jackets or sports equipment in your cars
where they can be seen because they invite break-ins.

* Always stop for school buses with flashing lights. The flashing lights mean that students are
either getting on or off the bus--and may be crossing the street. Their safety depends on cars obeying this law.

* Don't park in fire lanes around the school. Not only will you probably get a ticket, but you
could be blocking the area where a fire truck needs to park in case of an emergency.

Toyota to offer Harrier Zagato limited edition

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Toyota's Toyopet dealerships, the automaker has worked with the legendary design studio to build the Harrier Zagato for the Japanese market. Only 250 examples will be built, and the world first got a glimpse of it when it was unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Automatic Gallery, a tuner/specialty car show now in its 6th year.

Toyota Harrier Zagato

The Zagato modification – which is a pure appearance package – gives the sleek and sedate Harrier the look of a rally car. The front fascia is overhauled with an open-look grille, new bumper, and a lip spoiler that houses round foglights. As you walk around the car, the changes continue with the bulging, ventilated fender flares and lower body cladding which carry the aggressive new profile to the rear, where you find revised bumper and a deeper roof spoiler. Gold five-spoke Zagato Design wheels complete the package.

The Harrier Zagato can be ordered with either 2WD or 4WD powertrains for both engines at prices that range from ¥4,935,000 ($42,000 USD) to ¥5,712,000 ($48,800 USD), depending on drivetrain selection. Colors come in red mica metallic or white pearl crystal.

Lexus tops customer satisfaction


Looks like the Lexus is still tops when it comes to customer satisfaction.

J.D. Power and Associates has just released the results of its 2006 Customer Service Index Study that measures which brands have the best service departments. And, to nobody's surprise, Lexus nabbed the top spot with a CSI score of 912. At its heels is Buick with a score of 911, followed by Cadillac with 909. The bottom of the list is occupied by Isuzu with a score of 781, some 29 points below Volkswagen's 810. Interestingly six out of the top ten service departments came from domestic brands.

The Customer Service Index Study measures quality of service in the areas of service initiation, service adviser, in-dealership experience, service delivery, service quality and user-friendly service.

It’s official: Alfa Romeo is returning to the U.S. in 2009

Alfa Romeo Brera

After more than a decade of being gone, Italian automaker has confirmed that it will be returning to North America in 2009. AutoWeek says that three contemporary new models - facelifted versions of the brand’s one-year-old 159 sedan, as well the recently launched Brera coupe and Spider convertible - will lead the charge. All three models were developed with U.S. safety and emission regulations in mind.

Also, from AutoWeek, here’s what we can look forward to with the Alfa Romeo’s return:

159—Facelifted version of current model arrives in U.S. in late 2009. All new: 2012
Brera—Facelifted version of current model arrives in U.S. in late 2009. All new: 2013
Spider—Facelifted version of all-new model (see sidebar at right) arrives in U.S. in late 2009. All new: 2013
Kamal—Compact SUV inspired by the Kamal concept goes up against the BMW X3 in 2011
Sprint—Future uncertain for entry-level coupe seen as a spiritual successor to the Alfa Sud Sprint, developed under the internal codename Racer. Earliest arrival: 2011
169—Crossover replacement for recently discontinued 166 due in 2012
147—Entry level model currently not planned for sale in North America

Sounds like an exciting comeback to me.

GM, Ford to focus more on crossovers

Looks like the guys in Detroit are cutting back on the big cars.

Both Ford and General Motors will drop several light trucks to make room for crossovers.

GMC Acadia

According to AutoWeek, GM will end the production of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy mid-sized SUVs most probably by the year 2010. Ford on the other hand is reportedly planning to drop the Mercury Monterey minivan this year, followed by its Ford Freestar twin soon.

To replace the retiring big boys, GM plans to produce more of its new-generation crossovers - the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Buick Enclave, while Ford plans to develop a production version of the Ford Fairlane concept for both the Ford and Lincoln brands.

Meanwhile, quality Ford and GM auto parts are available at trusted online auto parts stores like Auto Parts Inner.

When the dust settles…you’ll have Da Vinci

Talk about cool car art.

I was browsing through Auto Parts Inner for new Honda headlights when this news from AutoBlog caught my eye. All I could say was wow.

Da Vinci

The artist here is Scott Wade of San Marcos, TX who creates is masterpieces on the dirty and dusty back window of his MINI Cooper. Aside from his fingers, Wade also uses more traditional tools like brushes as well as unconventional ones like popsicle sticks to create his inspired dust art.

Now that’s one great way to make your car stand out.

How many kids have you sent to the hospital today?

That seems to be the question that the Environmental Working Group is throwing at you in the study it made on how much pollution cars on the road actually emit and its effect on the health of the public, especially on children. According to EWG, each of us who drives one of the 204 million cars and trucks registered in the United States shares responsibility for triggering or exacerbating asthma and other respiratory diseases among our fellow Americans.

EWG found that vehicle pollution varies widely based not only on the type of vehicle, but also on the year it was built, the number of miles it has been driven, the automaker, and the quality of construction. Here are some of their findings:

• Among the largest automakers, Honda, Mazda, Hyundai and Nissan stand out as performing better than their competitors. Cars from General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler were more polluting.

• Four-year-old cars with 80,000 to 100,000 miles on the odometer, on average, emit nearly twice as much smog-forming chemicals per mile as cars with 20 to 40,000 miles.

• Even typically clean models can include a number of extreme polluters. A typical 2000 Honda Civic with automatic transmission was almost as clean as today's cleanest new cars. But fully one-tenth of the 2000 Civics tested emitted 6.5 times more pollution than the typical ones.

To learn more, click here. To avoid contributing further to the pollution from cars, choose a cleaner, more fuel efficient car; practice better driving habits and maintain your car properly. Should you need quality auto parts such as Saturn catalytic converters, Pontiac wheels, or Ford engine parts, just click over to Auto Parts Inner.

Chrysler’s ESP to become standard on all models by end of 2006

Chrysler has announced yesterday that by the end of this year, Electronic Stability Control (Chrysler calls it ESP — Electronic Stability Program) will be standard equipment on all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brand sport-utility vehicles and will be standard or available on over 70 percent of Chrysler Group models.

Exactly what does Electronic Stability Program do? According to the automaker, it enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. Aside from that, it also provides the greatest benefit in critical driving situations, such as turns, and is especially valuable when driving on slippery surface conditions, such as patchy snow, ice or gravel. If there's a discernible difference between what the driver asks through the steering and the vehicle's path, ESP applies selective braking and throttle input to put the car back onto the driver's intended path. The system is calibrated to offer safe control of the vehicle under a variety of conditions, and to operate in a manner that is not intrusive in normal or spirited driving.

Among the vehicles with the ESP system are the 2006 Chrysler 300 and Crossfire; Dodge Charger, Durango, Magnum and Sprinter; and Jeep Commander, Grand Cherokee and Liberty. ESP will soon be offered on the 2007 Chrysler Aspen; Dodge Caliber and Nitro; and Jeep Compass, Patriot and Wrangler as well as on other vehicles to be announced at a later date.

Meanwhile, quality auto parts for these vehicles are available at Auto Parts Inner.

The Mitsubishi “I” Car

I am excited over this car:


It’s just too cute not to be noticed. But, don’t be fooled by the cuteness. The great thing about this little car (134 inches long, 58 inches wide, on a 100-inch wheelbase) – aside from being fuel efficient -- is that its size allows you to squeeze into tiny holes in traffic and miniscule parking spaces that would be impossible for normal-sized cars. The i’s 660-cc, 64-hp turbocharged three-cylinder engine may not get your adrenalin pumping, but there is sufficient power to allow you to zip past traffic and boost your speed on the occasional express- way drive.

Here’s a quick glance at the I’s features:


ON SALE: Now (in Japan)
BASE PRICE: $11,000 (est.)
POWERTRAIN: 660-cc, 64-hp, 69-lb-ft turbocharged three-cylinder; 4wd, four-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 2116 lbs


I’d be crossing my fingers that this car makes it here in this part of the planet (with modifications of course). Till then I’d have to make sure that my current ride is in excellent working condition. With the help of my favorite online auto parts store Auto Parts Inner, doing just that is a lot easier.

170,000 Priuses to be recalled

Do own a new Prius?


You may have to take it back to your dealer soon.

I read from Inside Line that Toyota has announced Tuesday that it will be launching a voluntary recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of about 170,000 Priuses sold in the U.S. The recall affects 2004 through early 2006 Prius models.

According to Toyota, a portion of the vehicle’s steering shaft assembly may become loose or develop a crack under certain operating conditions. This may occur if the steering wheel is turned forcefully to the locked position at low speed or the tires make contact with the curb while driving. The condition however, does not involve hybrid components.

Notification from Toyota will arrive by mail beginning mid-June.

Meanwhile, you can still get the best replacement auto parts and add-onns for your Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Ford and Honda vehicles at Auto Parts Inner.

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