It’s finally beginning to look like Fall in the DFW metroplex. After such an insanely hot summer, I bet a lot of you are thinking that these 50-degree temperatures feel more like the 30s. This morning was the first time that I’ve actually used the heater in my new car. My previous vehicle was an older model, and I remember idling the vehicle anywhere from 5-15 minutes on cold mornings to “warm up the engine”. Though I hate to admit it, there were even times that I would rev the engine in park to try and get the engine warm.
If only I knew now what I didn’t know then about what idling can actually do to your vehicle. There are three common notions people have about idling, and guess what? They are all wrong.
You should warm up your engine before driving. WRONG. This used to be true decades ago, but it’s simply not necessary in today’s modern engines. The only time it’s really okay to do this is in extremely cold weather. But even then, all you need is 30 seconds.
Idling is good for your engine. WRONG. In fact, it’s the compete opposite. Idling in excessive amounts is damaging your engine components including your cylinders, spark plugs and exhaust systems. While idling, fuel is only partially combusted because the engine is not operating at it’s peak temperature. This can lead to a build up of fuel residue on cylinder walls, which can inevitably increase your fuel consumption.
Shutting off the engine uses more gas than idling. WRONG. According to the Consumer Energy Center, two minutes of idling your engine uses equals driving one mile in terms of gasoline. Once you go past 10 seconds of idling, you’re using more fuel than it takes to start your engine. So it actually takes more gasoline to idle your vehicle than it does to shut it off and restart.
Bottom line, DFW? Avoid idling whenever possible. This is especially true with your brand new Chevrolet during its break-in period. If you’re going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, your gas tank and engine will be much happier if you turn them off.
Hey DFW Camaro lovers, I have some exciting news. Earlier today, Chevrolet announced that its most-powerful convertible ever, the 2013 Camaro ZL1, will debut at the LA Auto show next month. According to a press release issued by General Motors, this Camaro will deliver more performance and technology than many exotic cars and ultra-luxury convertibles. I told you I had exciting news!
The ZL1 will be powered by a 580-horsepower LSA 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine, so I’m sure Camaro Chief Engineer, Al Oppenheiser, wasn’t kidding when he said, “This is a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you drop the top – or hit the gas.”
The convertible will share all its characteristics and engine parts with the 2012 ZL1 coupe model which recently lapped the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife course in 7:41.27 minutes. The only changes we’ll see are a tower brace under the hood, a transmission reinforcement brace, an underbody tunnel brace and a set of X and V braces under the body. All of these are aimed at stiffening the chassis to better handle and apply all the power the LSA generates. Check out this video of the 2012 Camaro ZL1 at Nordschleife.
Are you getting excited yet? The ZL1 convertible will most likely be available for purchase in the late months of 2012. Until then, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the latest updates!
We’ve all heard of the dangers of texting while driving time and time again, but there are still those who continue to do it. Hopefully, my fellow Chevy DFW drivers out there have taken this matter seriously. If not, time to listen up. A new study coming to us from the Aggies shows these dangers are far worse than most experts believe.
Earlier this week, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), an agency of the Texas A&M University System, released a report revealing that reading or sending a text message while driving doubles a driver’s reaction time. The study consisted of 42 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54.
First, participants were asked to drive a course with and without texting, and their reaction times to a periodic flashing light were recorded. Without texting, reaction times fell between one and two seconds. With texting, the reaction times doubled to three and four seconds. Furthermore, drivers were more than 11 times likely to miss the light all together when texting.
As the drivers’ reaction times were being recorded, their ability to maintain proper lane position and speed was also being measured. The results showed that drivers were less able to:
safely maintain their position in the driving lane when they were texting. Plus, their swerving was worse in the open sections of the course.
maintain a constant speed while texting, tending to slow down in an effort to reduce the demand of the multiple tasks. By slowing down, a driver gains more time to correct for driving errors (such as the tendency to swerve while texting). Speed variance was also greater for texting drivers than for non-texting drivers.
Christine Yager, an associate transportation researcher in TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety who managed the study said, “Most research on texting and driving has been limited to driving simulators. This study involved participants driving an actual vehicle. So one of the more important things we know now that we didn’t know before is that response times are even slower than we previously thought.”
Research doesn’t lie, friends. It’s a fact that texting while driving slows reaction time. So why risk you an accident in your new Chevyto send or read a measly little text message? Surely your life is worth than that.
Even if you’re not a fan of The Fast and The Furious movie franchise, you’ve got to at least check out the fifth movie, Fast Five, for the cars alone. The list is long and ranges from 1960s classics to 2011 models. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that my favorite on the list is the 1965 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport. You could probably say I’m a little biased, but even Dennis McCarthy, one of the most well-known picture car coordinators in the business, calls it the “Hero Car”. And with good reason.
Built by Mongoose Motorsports, this replica of a Grand Sport features the Chevrolet 502 big block backed by a Borg Warner Super T-10 four-speed transmission and rides on CS Corvette suspension. Here’s a breakdown of the car’s role in the movie from Dennis McCarthy himself.
According to McCarthy, all of the Fast Five vehicles had a pretty rough life on set. The only ones still drivable were the Hero and two stunt cars. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and you’re a car lover like me, I definitely recommend you check it out. Here’s a scene from the movie featuring the Corvette. Enjoy!
There’s nothing worse than the feeling you get when you’re being pulled over. Whether or not you’ve broken a traffic law or may have a headlight out you’re unaware of, it can be stressful seeing those red and blues flashing behind you. If you know how to handle the situation, it’ll be easier for you to remain calm and possibly up your chances of receiving a ticket.
First and foremost when you see the police’s lights behind you, signal and pull over to the side of the road. Make sure you pull as far over to the right as possible without putting your entire vehicle in the grass. Be sure you don’t do this too quickly though, you don’t want the officer to have to slam on his brakes.
Once you’ve pulled over, go ahead and turn off the car. Roll your window down and place your hands on the wheel. If it’s night time, turn on one of the interior lights. A lot of times people will have their license and registration ready for the officer by the time he gets there. However, I would recommend waiting until he asks you for it. That way, it doesn’t look like you are rummaging about in the vehicle.
When the officer comes to your window, don’t speak first. I’m sure you’ve all seen people in movies saw “What seems to be the problem, officer?” This can come off sarcastic or cocky regardless of how you meant it. Answer all of the officer’s questions with “yes, sir” or “yes, mam”. This is common courtesy in any situation.
I’ve heard that one of the first things officers learn is to make up their minds on whether or not to give a ticket before leaving their vehicle. However, you have nothing to lose by being extremely polite and cooperative. You never know, you may be let off with a warning for your little four mph over offense in your new Chevy.
Electric cars are still pretty new to the states and so it’s only natural that people have questions and may be confused. The new, two-part 2012 Chevy Volt ad addresses this very issue in a brilliant way. Check out part one.
What makes the Chevy Volt so unique is it’s ability to switch between running on electricity and gasoline. In fact, it’s the first automobile with this ability. Not only does the Volt have an on-board electric source allowing you to drive gas-free, it also has an onboard gas generator that produces electricity giving you an additional 375 miles on a full tank of gas!
With all of these options comes choices. Do I drive on electric, gas or both? The answer is simple, let the Volt decide for you! That’s right, the car is actually programmed to give a choice of the three driving modes for the most efficient trip. You can also download an app that will give you real-time data on your battery level!
I’m telling you guys, the Volt brings an entire new meaning to term hybrid. Here’s the second part of Chevy’s gas station commercials. Enjoy!
For the past few years, fuel economy has been a smoking hot topic in the auto industry. Automakers have constantly tried to outdo each other in mpg numbers and we’ve definitely started to see a stronger presence of hybrids and electric cars. So it’s only fitting that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would make one of the biggest changes to fuel economy labels since they were created back in the seventies.
Not only will you now find an estimate of how much you will spend or save on fuel for the next five years (4), you’ll also get an estimate of how much it will cost you to drive 100 miles (5). But wait! There’s still more. You can compare vehicles by how much it will cost you in gasoline annually (6) and how other vehicles in it’s class measure up (3).
One of my favorite new editions though is the SmartPhone integration. Each label has a unique QR Code® (quick response) that you can scan into your phone. Of course, you’ll have to download the free app first, but after that you’ll be able to make even more comparisons and do personal calculations. See what else you can do in the video below.
If fuel economy weighs heavy on your buying decision list, then I’d definitely recommend downloaded this app. After all, most of you are going to be driving that new Chevy in DFW for quite some time and it’s cool to see the potential savings before they even happen.
Hey Chevy drivers, did you know that our beloved DFW metroplex was listed as Forbe’s fifth worst city for traffic congestion in 2010? According to Forbes, the DFW has 43 hours of weekly congestion. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), there are five billion hours of traffic congestion per year in America and last year, Americans drove the third highest numbers of miles ever recorded — three trillion!
The US DOT divides traffic into two types — volume or recurring traffic and non-recurring traffic. Volume traffic is exactly what is sounds like… too many people on the road. This happens when there are too many people trying to get to the same place and the highways simply cannot handle it. I’m sure you’re all aware of the new construction going on with 635. That has been the most hated highway in Dallas for quite some time and they city has finally decided that it’s time to expand. Will it help? We shall see.
The second type of traffic, non-recurring, is the result of a car accident, disabled vehicle, inclement weather, special events or temporary construction. My new favorite example of this type of traffic is the 18-wheeler that overturned last week carrying frozen chickens. Several highways were backed up and even closed for hours.
Though the US Department of Transportation only divides traffic into two categories, I believe there is a third in this metroplex that I like to call
“DFW Traffic”. It is caused by the following two things:
Bottlenecking – When ever a highway shrinks down to a smaller amount of lanes and people do not know how to correctly merge using the zipper effect (a perfect example of this is on President George Bush Turnpike at Beltline). If you unfamiliar with the Zipper Effect, it’s basically cars taking turns. One car from the right lane goes, then one from the left lane, one from the right, one from the left, forming a single-file line. People do not realize how much time this would save if everyone would do it correctly. Another issue surrounding bottlenecking, is people merging too quickly. There’s always that one man or woman who has to get over way before the lane actually ends. This causes traffic and is unnecessary.
Rubbernecking -When people will slow down to unnecessary speeds to gawk at a traffic accident (most of the time on the other side of the highway). Now, I’m not saying it’s a terrible idea to slow down by maybe five mph. But 25 mph? That’s going to cause traffic.
There are many of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, and I’m sure there are some of you who are probably realizing that you do one or both of the above mentioned things. Not to worry, now that you’re aware that theses two things can really affect the flow of traffic, you may change up your driving habits a bit the next time you and your Chevy are stuck in traffic on highway 35, 635 or I20.
After a long, hot and dry summer, the DFW finally saw some rain this week! The other day, a friend of mine asked me about wiper blades and how you knew when it was time to replace them. He said he had replaced them at the beginning of the year, but they were streaking and skipping when he used them this week. Did any of your DFW Chevy drivers experience the same thing? I’m willing to bet a lot of you did.
When blades aren’t used for prolonged periods of time, they can begin to deteriorate. The sun’s UV rays also contribute to this, and the ridiculous temperatures we’ve had all summer probably made it worse. Generally, you want to replace your blades once year. But given the weather we’ve had the past few months, I’d recommend taking a walk outside and examining your blades. Look for broken frames, tears, missing pieces and curvature.
If you see any of these things, you may want to replace the blades. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can always swing by and we’ll help you out. In the future, there are a few things you can do to help prolong your blades life. First of all, try and clean your windshield as much as possible. Try cleaning it every time you stop for gas. This will help keep the oil from other cars and random dirt flying in the air from damaging your blades. The second thing you can do is wipe off your blades with a damp paper towel. Try doing this once a month and I guarantee you’ll see a difference.
It’s official! The new 2012 Sonic has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, seeing how this subcompact cruiser is equipped with two more air bags than its competitors and has a vehicle safety cage that is 60 percent high-strength steel.
Photo courtesy of AutoBlog.com
The Sonic also features a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Top Tethers for Children) system, six months of OnStar service including automatic crash response and panic brake assist technology. Did I forget to mention how smart this subcompact is? Should you be involved in an accident, there are sensors that will diagnose the severity of impact and control the deployment of its 10 airbags.
The IIHS only awards Top Safety Picks to the vehicles that perform with the highest level of safety in their class. The ratings are based on how well they protect passengers in front and side crash tests, in rollovers via a roof strength test, and in simulated rear impacts to evaluate seat and head restraints for protection against neck injuries.
You can see how the Sonic reacts in two of these tests below. If you’re looking for a seriously safe subcompact that averages 40 mpg, then feel free to swing by and take a test drive.
Hi, I'm Hagen Durant, General Manager of Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, TX - I am a huge car and truck enthusiast and love talking cars. I'm a cyclist, health nut, father, geek, and drummer. I look forward to giving you great information about cars and trucks, driving tips, maintenance and so much more.
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