Under the Hood

87, 89, 91: What’s The Difference Between Fuel Grades?

March 15, 2019
Fuel-Grades-Explanation

When you pull into a gas station, you use the same ‘level’ of fuel each time. Have you ever wondered why there are so many to choose from? Have you ever wondered what it all meant? Have you ever wondered what the purpose of life is?

Well, a young gentleman tweeted recently, asking this very question. So, after speaking with the friendly technicians at a friendly Kansas City auto service center, I’m ready to give you some answers to two of those three Qs (you can guess which ones). Here are some of the key differences between 87, 89, 91, and other fuel grades.

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Behind the Wheel, Car Culture

Headlights FAQ: “What’s Wrong with My Car’s Lights?”

February 28, 2019
Headlights-FAQ
Having problems with your car’s headlights? Millions of car owners around the world are right there with you, shoddy headlamps and all. But if you’ve got questions related to your vehicle headlights, I’ve got answers—and solutions—that should put those problems in your rearview.

Why are my headlights so dim?

You’re in some automotive Twilight Zone episode, sitting between “headlights quit working” and “headlights are too bright” dimensions. Fortunately, getting out of this paranormal predicament is fairly simple. Although bad headlight switches and alternators can cause issues with hazy headlamps, dim headlights are usually caused by either old-bulb filaments or corroded ground wires.

  • To diagnose your headlight ailment, open your headlamp assembly and inspect the bulb. Notice any gray, brown, or black residue inside? If so, purchase new lights from your dealer or at a headlight store, and replace those suckers.
  • If your headlight bulbs look clear, check under the hood. Follow your headlight’s wires back to where they connect to the vehicle. With a wrench, unscrew the ground cable from its point of connection. Use a wire brush to scrub away any corrosion or dirt. Reconnect the cables and inspect your light’s brightness.
  • If neither solution solves your problem, consider taking a trip to your auto service center. They’ll help.

Why are headlights so bright?

If you feel like car headlights are getting brighter each year, you’re not crazy. With LED, halogen, HID, and xenon technology becoming a new norm, high-intensity headlights on the road today can cause temporary blindness, or “road dazzle,” putting other drivers at risk. Continue Reading…
Car Culture, Local Events

The Best 2019 Car Shows & Events in Kansas City

February 12, 2019
Kansas City Car Shows
Auto shows rev every car lover’s internal engine, scratching that itch for all things automotive. Luckily, Kansas City car aficionados are in for a treat this year, as there are a number of excellent car shows on tap. Here are a few of my favorites.

59th Annual World of Wheels

When: February 22-24
Where: Kansas City Convention Center, 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City
Tickets: Adults – $19 / Children 6 to 12 – $7 / Children 5 and under – FREE Continue Reading…
Behind the Wheel

4 Vehicle Maintenance Skills Every Car Owner Should Learn

January 30, 2019
DIY-auto-maintenance
Tinkering with the car is a favorite pastime for some individuals. But most of us just want the car to start when we turn on the engine, stop when we hit the brakes, and get us to where we are going with no hassle. Owning a car requires a little more from us if we want to avoid frustrating delays, total dependence on road service, and being stuck in sticky situations. Here are the most important car maintenance skills anyone can and should learn.

  1. Check Tire Pressure

Checking your tire pressure is a critical skill to have. Regular pressure checks are the best way to ensure your tires are running at the optimal PSI and are not leaking air, which would obviously mean a flat tire is in your future. Continue Reading…
Behind the Wheel

Where to Report Curb Damage Near Kansas City

January 16, 2019
Curb-damage-Kansas-City
Potholes cause approximately $3 billion in vehicle damage per year, but let’s not forget about what curbs can do to tires, rims, and suspensions. One round with a busted curb has the potential to cause some serious damage to your vehicle. We’re talking about misaligned wheels, perforated mufflers, broken tie rods, pierced transmission cases, punctured tires. Do you really want to deal with those problems? I think not!

If you’re concerned about a specific pesky curb damaging your car in Kansas City or a neighboring city, it’s in your best interest to report it pronto. Here’s a HUGE list of official contacts and websites to submit street repair requests in Blue Springs, Sugar Creek, and everywhere in between. Continue Reading…
Money Matters

What Factors Affect the Resale Value of a Car?

December 21, 2018
Car-Resale-Value
I heard through the grapevine that you’re considering selling your car to a dealership or private buyer. Congratulations! But although you may be ready to grab a new set of car keys, the real question remains: is your vehicle ready to be sold? To get the most money out of your car, it’s important to understand the factors that go into determining its resale value.

Vehicle Brand

Brand reliability and dependability plays an important role in deciding vehicle resale values. Most people who are looking for a used car opt for brands with great reputations, such as GM, Toyota, and Hyundai. These automakers typically design models that have few technology defects, require little maintenance, and are rarely recalled (see “Recall Rates” section below).

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Auto News

Time to Buy an Electric Car Before EV Incentives Get Axed?

December 13, 2018
EV-Tax-Credits
Earlier this month, the White House announced their intention to eliminate electric vehicle incentives and rebates. If you’d planned on buying a new EV soon-ish, this move would all but take $7,500 out of your pocket! Even if the tax credits aren’t immediately shuttered by the government, the phase-out period for tax credits for most EVs – including GM models like the Chevy Bolt and Volt – is looming, which would also prevent you from cashing in on the full, sweet federal EV tax credit.

To put it simply: Now’s the time to buy your electric car. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today! Continue Reading…
Money Matters

8 Best Reasons to Buy a New Car

November 28, 2018
Buy-a-new-car
Should you buy a new car? Second only to a home mortgage, a new car is perhaps the biggest purchase you’ll make. But is it worth it when there are millions of quality used cars for sale out there? Let’s go over the benefits of buying a new car vs. a used vehicle.

1. Long Warranties

One of if not the major perks of buying a new car is its manufacturer’s warranty. The majority of new vehicles come with a comprehensive warranty that covers defects for up to 3 years or 50,000 miles. Some auto brands offer even more coverage; Hyundai, for instance, includes an incredible 5-year/60,000 mile warranty combined with a 10-year powertrain warranty. You may also be able to purchase extended warranty coverage through your car dealer.
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Behind the Wheel

Printable DIY Roadside Emergency Kit Checklist

November 15, 2018
emergency-kit
You’ve got your phone and tunes, a travel mug full of coffee, and (probably) a spare tire in the trunk—but we’re here to talk about your roadside emergency kit. Oh, you don’t have one? Like thousands of other Americans and Kansas Citians, your lack of a car emergency or safety kit is fairly typical. Most drivers don’t even have jumper cables stored in their car, let alone a full emergency kit. You can imagine how problematic that can be, especially in the winter.

Let’s turn your unpreparedness into super-preparedness. Build your roadside kit for winter now using this checklist as a guide. (Printable PDF can be downloaded here.)

Jumper Cables A long pair of jumper cables is essential for any emergency car kit. Try to have at least 15-feet of cable to work with—just in case.

First-Aid Kit You don’t need a fancy medic bag, but your first-aid kit should be well equipped. Include Band-Aids, antiseptic, tweezers, bandages, gauze, super glue, and aspirin. If you have severe allergies, your first-aid kit should also include epinephrine to treat allergic reactions. If you suffer from other common illnesses like diabetes, be sure you have an adequate amount of medications available.
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