Category Archives: Technology

The Fathers Day Top 5 Automotive Accessories

Automotive Accessories for dadWith Fathers day on the way we thought we would do some legwork and find out what the top five car accessories are. Nothin’ says, “I love ya Dad” like a nice piece of car gear. These automotive accessories are easy to find, easy to install and easy to use.

Our Dad’s have driven us around from place to place whenever we needed it, and how do we repay them? By whipping our dirty feet on their floors, spilling our drinks in the back seat, and leaving our candy wrappers everywhere. Well, it’s high time we gave back, just a little; to the man who’s done so much for us by making sure he gets to his next destination safely and in style. We wanted to avoid gear that would require more work on Dad’s part, or heaven forbid for us to do. What do I mean? Well, like the time I gave my Dad a tin of car wax, guess who was out there shining the car up, yours truly. So you won’t find any wax, rubbing compound, wheel shine, or engine degreaser in our list. Just fun and cool items he will definitely want and use.

The 5 Best Automotive Accessories
(based on info from Overstock.com, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and Bestbuy.com):

  • chargerUniversal USB Connectors kit: If you’re like any normal traveler your cell phone doubles as a life line back to your home, electronic files, and your safety. But, it needs power and older cars do not have USB ports to charge them with. A small collection of USB adaptors and cables will go a long way to helping everyone on the trip to charge their device.battery_charger

 

  • Portable car battery chargers: A dead battery usually catches everyone off-guard. Be prepared with a small battery charger that can be hooked up right through the cigarette lighter. Even with a battery that’s going bad, this automotive accessory can get you moving until you can get it replaced.

 

  • speakerBlue tooth speakers: While you’re on the road your cell phone or tablet also doubles as your entertainment center. Most older model cars do not have blue tooth stereo sound systems, so connecting to your vehicles sound system is difficult. These small battery powered speakers come with suction cups or hooks and connect to your phone wirelessly so that you can hear your book, or playlist.

 

  • Tie-downs/bungee chord Collections: The safest way to move things with your car or truck is to use tie-downs, to keep the load steady and secure. Usually made of strong elastic and nylon, they typically feature hooked ends and may come with a ratcheting clasp that tightens and holds the load down until you release the catch. This type of accessory is invaluable to large vehicle owners.

 

  • Seat covers and floor mats: Your vehicle’s interior sees a lot of wear and tear, especially the floor and the seats. You can keep them looking nice with car interior accessories, like seat covers and floor mats. Durable automotive accessories, like rubber floor mats can help keep dirt, oil and water from staining your carpet. And car-seat covers can add a flash of color and style while protecting the upholstery underneath.

 

So drop the tie or the “One Free Hug” coupon and go out and get a hold of any of these. Trust us, he’ll love any of them! You can still give him a hug though and a new car, just check out Koons we definitely know he’d love that! ♛

How do car recalls benefit buyers?

recallsSo far, for this decade there have been less than half the number of car recalls from the previous decade. Yet, from all of the hype, one would think that there is nothing but safety problems on the road and that any car that is recalled is a potential death trap. But that just isn’t true. There are a couple of developments that are causing this phenomenon and it is actually good news.

Car recalls are a common part of car-ownership and it is a sign that the safety system is working the way it should. True, there are more recalls than there used to be, but safety and the quality of cars have both improved in recent years. In general a recall notice provides peace of mind, it means the manufacturer or the government agency involved have decided that the defect in the vehicle is of concern and they want to make sure it never causes an issue.

Cars are more complex, so there are more components that can fail and Consumers have more ways to complain. We have access, electronically and instantly, to a global network that wasn’t available in the early ’90s.”
           Sean Kane, President
Safety Research & Strategies Inc.

Most car recalls, aren’t a big deal. For instance, in 2013, automakers recalled almost 22 million vehicles — that’s about 40% more than all the new cars sold last year. However, almost none of those recalls made the news, since most required a quick trip to the dealer for a routine fix at the manufacturer’s expense. Interestingly one major manufacturer led the list with about 5.3 million vehicles recalled in 2013. That same manufacturer also faired well in Consumer Reports and J.D. Power surveys, so you could make the case that there is little to no connection between recalls and poor quality. If anything, a higher number of recalls might indicate the opposite.

In 2013 the total number of vehicles recalled by major automakers was the highest it’s been since 2004. In the ‘90’s recalls were relatively uncommon, but in the mid part of that decade they hit an elevated level and stayed there ever since. Some people feel that this reflects a greater attention by regulators, however, other trends may have more to do with it: an increase of new technology in cars and an increased availability of information to consumers on the Internet.

Recall HistoryThe digital revolution transformed automobiles improved performance, efficiency and safety, but also made cars a lot more complicated. Cars have become mobile computers that use millions of lines of code. That code affects the throttle, braking, steering, transmission and any other systems that have gone from mechanical (analog) linkages to electronic controls. This has improved performance, efficiency and safety, but it’s also made cars much more complicated.

Case in point a recent analysis shows that about 20% of the recalls in 2013 were for air bags — which barely existed 20 years ago and are large complex systems.  Also, up to one-third of the 2013 recalls were related to electrical systems, things like seat heaters, automatic tailgates, sliding doors, and video systems. Some of the recalls were for things owners might notice — interior lights, blurred digital readouts, or weak A/C systems — these are not things that can cause harm.

Automakers are also more eager to fix issues due to social media and quality rankings. With the advent of third party rating sites like Edmunds or KBB it’s very easy for a buyer to get up-to-date info on how other owners regard their vehicles.  These new “dis-interested third party” rating sites have become a greater factor in the purchase process.  The availability of ratings and in-depth vehicle info has giving automakers more reasons to fix issues.

So, yes, there have been a few attention getting car recalls along with news grabbing manufacturer oversights and they’re obscuring the fact that driving is getting statistically safer. For the record the total number of traffic deaths in the U.S. peaked in 2006 at over 43,000, but since then it has fallen to less 33,000. Due in large part, to life-saving new technologies and perhaps even more aggressive recalls.  So as consumers we should all be happy when our manufacturer recalls our vehicle, it means the system is working and we are more safe than ever. 

 

 

Carplay is Apple’s Entré into the Automotive World

carplay Apples new automotive forray

So Apple releasing Carplay is great news for those of us who love technology, especially car technology!  I can remember the first time I experienced a car “talking” to me. It was almost as magical as heated seats or remote car starters.  Ok, so maybe I am easily impressed. But seriously, having your car talk to you, answer questions, or point things out to you while you’re motoring along… That’s like living out a scene from 2001 A Space Odyssey! “Hal, open the garage-bay door please.” 

Enter Apple, they are stepping in to get things right. It was announced at the Geneva International Auto Show that they would be offering Carplay to auto industry.

To me cars are already like space ships with on board navigation, communications, digital readouts, and warnings.  The seats are form fitting and adjust to every part of your body. Cruise control helps make long trips easier, and HUD‘s make scanning the instrument panels easy.  Cars have always been powerful, but are they really personable?  Then there is the other element of your life that is already so personable and powerful—your smart phone. And now it is being integrated into your car. Smart phones have long been a part of driving for over 10 years now with the integration of Bluetooth. But some of the way it’s been included in your cars accessories has been, to use a tech word, “kludged!”

My kids think it’s funny when the very polite female voice in my car gets the names wrong of people I am telling it to call.  They think it’s hysterical when I have to repeat a command when she miss-interprets what I am telling her to do or she asks again.  Howls of laughter erupts from the back seat, kids, right?  Pushing multiple buttons, confirming commands,  s p e a k i n g   v e r y  slooooowly is just too complicated and quite frankly dangerous, so getting a professional to do it is a long time in coming.

Enter Apple, they are stepping in to get things right. It was announced at the Geneva International Auto Show that they would be offering Carplay to auto industry. CarPlay will debut later this year in vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Ferrari with other carmakers such as Ford and Toyota joining the pack down the road.  With the exception of Ferrari, Koons sells all of these brands and the others that aren’t mentioned will most certainly be in the mix.

In a nutshell, Apple’s Carplay wil offer:

CarPlay gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri® without distraction.

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week, while additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers down the road include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.

To read the rest of the Press Release click here

To use CarPlay, you’ll need at least an iPhone5, and you will have to wait until at least the end of the year for the 2015 models. Android will not be far behind and in all likelihood it will have to coexist a vehicle since no one will know which phones will be in the drivers seats, so Android users don’t have to worry they’ll be left out.

Koons has always taken pride in being able to offer vehicles and brands that are on the cutting edge.  Our mix of accessories both pre-sale and after market allows you, the consumer, the ability to take advantage of all of the new tech that the 21st century auto manufacturers have to offer and we look forward to being able to offer it you. ♛

 

Hybrid Cars – Why Do We Have Them?

Hybrid cars and electric cars will ultimately help the countryMy brother is an avowed “tree hugger.” No joke he is as green as green can be. I can remember a debate I had with him a little over 8-years ago about fuel cell cars and hydrogen.  His whole premise was that, “They’re keeping the fuel cell vehicle from us, we could have them right now if it weren’t for them.” I responded to his claim by saying, “The concept of a fuel cell car is great, but there is no infrastructure in place for it and there won’t be for a long time. What do you do when it breaks?  That’s why we have hybrid cars and all electric.” And I continued, “Who are these ‘They’s’ you keep referring to?”

Koons carries several different manufactures and many of them have hybrid vehicles, stop by any of our showrooms to get more information on them and take one for a test drive today

For the record I am over-dramatizing our discussion, but in all fairness I am trying to make a point, and the discussion did happen but it wasn’t so much of a debate as it was just a conversation.  That said, he had no answer on the infrastructure issue, but as for “the They’s”? That was “the man, man!”  Whoever that is…

Hybrid vehicles answer the infrastructure questions very nicely for many different reasons not the least of which is, availability.  I’ll explain, so you’re driving down the street in your bright shiny new fuel cell car, when suddenly it has an issue with the “quevo-disc” (for you Seinfeld lovers you know what that is) and you need to bring it in to fix it, but alas the nearest technician is a 5-hour drive away and parts are going to take sometime to get there as well, now what do you do? You wait, that’s what you do.  You wait for the infrastructure to catch up with the technical advancement that is the fuel cell.  You see, although we could have fuel cell cars right now they’re a technology that outpaced reality.  No one knows how to care for them, hydrogen is not readily available and it’s expensive to manufacture, and parts are based on an entirely new type of engine so they aren’t readily available or warehoused and stocked around the country.

Some background:
Hybrid cars have both a standard gasoline engine and an electric engine in them.  This is the blending of two worlds; the gas engine is great for quick starts and long hauls at highway speeds.  The electric engine is great for short trips and slow starts.  Both hybrid cars and all electric are  perfect for around town driving, and with hybrids the act of driving recharges the batteries.  For those of you with all electric cars, charging stations are being built in major cities around the nation so refueling them is getting easier as well.  The other good thing about hybrids and electrics is that if something goes wrong with either the gas or electric engines, their parts are so ubiquitous and technicians are so abundant that you can get your car fixed by just about anyone.  In hybrids they have the added benefit that if the electric engine has an issue it may take a bit of doing to get it fixed but you at least can get the car to the tech that is 5 miles away for a look see by using just the gas engine.  Oh! and the parts needed to fix the gas engine are available at every major auto parts store in the country.

A hybrid vehicle is the perfect tool for the job right now, that job being, getting us from total reliance on the internal combustion engine to an all-electric vehicle dominated economy.  They are referred to as a “Bridge Technology,” as in they bridge us between those two different states, mostly what it does in this case, is allow the realities of the world to catch up with the pace of technology.  We all know that gas powered vehicles are here to stay and they will have their place along side hybrid cars, all electric, clean diesel & biodiesel but for now you have a choice and they are readily available.

Koons carries several different manufactures and many of them have hybrid vehicles, stop by any of our showrooms to get more information on them and take one for a test drive today, Mother Nature will thank you for it. ♛

 

Why factory recommended services are better than just oil changes…

engines and oil, a guide to why getting your oil change at the dealership is for the best

Getting your oil changed regularly is important, very important.  Without oil your car will die.  Oil allows for your engines metal parts to press against each other without causing damage.  Not getting your oil changed can be just as harmful as not having any oil, because dirty oil becomes thick and collects microscopic dirt and metal shavings that are abrasive and that’s what causes engine wear.

I know what you’re thinking, of course they want us to follow their schedules because it’s to their advantage.  It’s really to your advantage and your cars.

The old conventional thinking of getting your oil changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles is a thing of the past.  Car Manufactures know their vehicles power plants inside and out, they’ve created engineering masterpieces that adhere to high tolerances and output incredible power.  But there is a trade off with these engineering marvels, they demand consistent attention in order for them to preform at their best.  To aid in that effort the manufacturers created recommended maintenance schedules that support that consistency and help to: extend the life of your vehicle, prevent high-cost auto repairs, and keep it running at its optimal best.  You, the vehicle owner, are the beneficiary of all of that new technology and planning, you get all the power that these higher tolerances yield, along with the benefit of owning an engine that has a much longer life, more residual value, and is easier to maintain, provided you follow the manufacturers maintenance schedule.

I know what you’re thinking, of course they want us to follow their schedules because it’s to their advantage.  It’s really to your advantage and your cars.  Things have changed, with the introduction of these better engines, better service and maintenance has also been developed, better because its less expensive, more intuitive, and better integrated.  Wouldn’t you want to take advantage of all of that?  You can by seeing a registered trained technician at your dealership.

With the emergence of better technology and Synthetic oils cars can now sometimes go as long as 5,000 to 10,000 miles without getting their oil being changed (each car is different please consult your Vehicles Maintenance Guide).  By coming in to the dealership for recommended service you get access to all of their diagnostic and maintenance options and you also get piece of mind.  You can be certain that the right parts, consumables, and training are being applied to your vehicle.  Small things like regular tire rotations for even tire wear, topping off fluid levels, or filter replacement are now expected with any regular maintenance.  But while they’re taking care of those regular items technicians are also hooking up your vehicle so they can talk with your engine using manufacturer developed proprietary software, this allows them to head off developing issues before they become a major problem.

So as you can see, a simple oil change doesn’t cover all of the items your vehicle needs in order to run for years to come.  It does go a long way to keeping your car on the road, but keeping it in top form requires a bit more.   With advancements in technology, training, better parts, more intuitive diagnostics, and by following your vehicles Factory Recommended Maintenance Schedule you are helping maintain your vehicle for years to come.  Koons has a whole army of trained and dedicated vehicle technicians to make sure that your car is always running at its best.  ♛