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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. ♛

 

Simplified: Hybrid and Green Technology

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy 

Hybrid. Plug-In. Electric. Green Technology.

What do these terms mean? Well we’re hear to clear that up for you.

Simply put, a hybrid is a vehicle that utilizes two separate power sources. The most common configuration is called an HEV or Hybrid Electric Vehicle. These vehicles use  a conventional internal-combustion engine (typical engine in most cars) that is mated to an electric motor. In most applications, like the Toyota Prius, drivers have the option to use both power sources together or separately, meaning that if the driver chooses, they can drive entirely on the electric motor.

So this is where we get into Plug-In’s. A Plug-In can be either an HEV (Chevrolet Volt) or a fully electric vehicle (Nissan LEAF). The term ‘Plug-In’ refers to the ability to actually plug the car into a conventional outlet at your home or garage to charge the battery packs that power the electric motor. In addition, one thing you may see when reading about electric vehicles is the acronym MPGe. No, that’s not a typo. MPGe is actually a new standard of measure that stands for Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, since electric engines don’t use fuel.

Among the leaps and bounds made in hybrid technology, manufacturers have also been experimenting with other methods of ‘Green’ technology by developing ways to increase fuel-economy while decreasing emissions with simple approaches. Mazda has developed what they call SkyActiv technology.

Mazda’s new SkyActiv technology is their attempt at a holistic approach to improving fuel-efficiency and emissions. Mazda has taken their Mazda3 and changed nearly every aspect of it. Using lighter materials and overcoming engineering feats, they have made the car lighter, stronger and more fuel-efficient. All of the car’s components now work in perfect harmony, allowing owners to enjoy the thrill of driving while getting excellent fuel-economy.

Whether it be a hybrid, fully electric plug-in or an everyday car that just happens to get great fuel-economy, Koons Automotive is here to suit your needs.

-KK