The Worst Car Theft Hot Spots

In the US a car is stolen every 44 seconds according to the FBI. To protect your car and avoid your car from becoming just another statistics you can take several different precautions. It also helps to know which cities in the US are the worst for car theft in the states.

The Golden State is once again golden for auto thieves, as California is home to seven out of the top 10 cities in the United States for vehicle thefts, according to the latest “Hot Spots” report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in Des Plaines, Ill.

Tony Bennett may have left his heart there, but far too many motorists are losing their rides in San Francisco (specifically the S.F./Oakland corridor), which leads all metro areas in the nation for stolen cars with over 29,000 pinched during 2014. The only non-California spots among NICB’s “hottest” cities for autos were Odessa, Texas, and the Spokane and Seattle, Wash. regions.

On the plus side, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says car thefts of all kinds are steadily on the decline after seeing a slight increase in 2012. The FBI says there’s been a 5.7 percent reduction in motor vehicle thefts during 2013 and 2014, and they’re down by a whopping 42.8 percent since 2003. The National Highway Safety Administration attributes the decrease to a variety of factors including the increased use of standard antitheft devices (especially coded keys, engine immobilizers and telematics locating systems), vehicle parts marking, increased and improved prosecution efforts by law enforcement organizations and increased public awareness.

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2015 on track to break auto sales records

So far, 2015 is proving to be a promising year for U.S. auto sales.

May was a phenomenal month for auto sales and June has followed suit. Forecasters predict that this has been the best spring for U.S. auto sales in a decade with an industry wide gain of about 5 percent.

Forecasters at LMC Automotive and Kelley Blue Book each raised their full-year sales forecasts to 17.1 million, matching TrueCar. Sales are on pace to surpass 8.5 million units in the first half of the year — marking the industry’s best first half and second quarter since 2005, when employee-discount-for-everyone deals caused a surge in demand.

“This is arguably the strongest and healthiest the auto industry has been in a very long time,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC, said in a statement.

“A green light outlook across a basket of metrics — including economic support, gas prices, the stock market, higher and stable transaction prices and significant product activity — is behind our forecast of a 17.1 million unit pace in the second half of 2015.”

LMC estimates consumer spending on new vehicles in the first half of 2015 to reach a record $206.2 billion, $11.6 billion more than the same period last year.

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Ford Participates In New Car Sharing Program

A new program has been created based on the concept of renting out your ride. Several companies, across the US, including Ford have joined in to attempt something completely new to drivers.

Under the program, customers finance their vehicles through Ford Motor Credit will be able to rent their vehicle to pre-screened drivers for short-term use, helping to defray some monthly vehicle ownership costs.

“As most vehicles are parked and out of use much of the time, this can help us gauge our customers’ desires to pick up extra cash and keep their vehicles in use,” David McClelland, Ford Credit vice-president of marketing, said in a written statement.

Ford Motor Co. said that 14,000 customers in the United States will be invited to participate, along with 12,000 in London.

U.S. customers will partake through ride-share company Getaround, while London customers will use easy Car Club.

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New Look Redesigned By Honda

Honda has redesigned there classic Honda Civic to display a more sportier image as they have done so before. With a metallic green exterior this car stands out from other Honda Civics.

When the company last rolled out a new Civic four years ago, it took no risks. The car was panned for unremarkable looks and a cheap interior, with a chintzy plastic dashboard and bed-sheet thin seat fabric.

The next-generation Civic unveiled Wednesday has dramatic creases, a longer hood, 20-inch wheels and a big rear spoiler clearly designed to jettison the current car’s dull appearance and handling.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, is the return of the sporty Civic,” Executive Vice-President John Mendel said at the car’s introduction.

Honda says the new car was redesigned top to bottom, with U.S. engineers and designers taking the lead. It’s got single-line LED tail lights and a mean-looking front grille. The distance between the front and rear wheels is longer, and the car will get all-new engines and transmissions.

Honda was short on details about the 10th-generation Civic. Executives did say higher-end versions will get a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, a first for Honda in the states. The Civic will debut in the fall with a sedan, followed later by the Coupe and an R-Type high performance version. A five-door hatchback and other unspecified variations are planned as well.

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Considering a crossover? Here are the most reliable models

If you’re in the market for a small crossover or SUV, reliability is likely a top factor in your purchase decision. It’s only natural to expect good reliability, but some manufacturers always seem to do a better job when it comes to making vehicles that last.

For 2014, Consumer Reports polled its readers to find out which small crossovers and SUVs proved the most reliable, and Autoblog compiled the top three and bottom three performers.

Here are the top 3 most reliable small crossover SUVs:

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Subaru Forester
Subaru XV Crosstrek

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Tips to maximize your fuel economy

If your vehicle isn’t living up to fuel economy promises there are a few possible culprits. Follow these tips to maximize your mileage.

Speed Kills … Efficiency

If your mileage is off, one of the easiest things you can do to remedy this situation is modify your behavior. Going full-throttle at every green light or driving 20 MPH faster than the highway speed limit can have a devastating impact on your fuel consumption. Slow down, take a breath and watch your efficiency improve.

The national speed limit used to be 55 miles an hour for a reason, even if most people hated the legislation and everyone ignored it. This restriction, on paper at least, saved fuel by allowing vehicles to operate in their most efficient speed range. If you’re not in a rush it’s something you can still do today.

Cruisin’

And if you’re zipping down the interstate, taking advantage of cruise control can also improve your vehicle’s efficiency. These computer-operated systems adjust throttle inputs more finely and accurately than a human ever can, keeping you right at the set speed. And when you’re running at a constant velocity you’re far less likely to exceed the limit, something that also improves economy.

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How to plan a safe and enjoyable summer road trip

Road trip season is upon us. Whether you’re hitting the road with friends or family, proper planning is the key to a safe and enjoyable adventure for all.

Road trips—where you take a long car ride and hit many stops on the way—present a unique set of challenges (and opportunities). Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you plan.

Plan your route and stops in advance

You know your destination, but deciding on your route and stops can really depend on your travel style. HowStuffWorks suggests you make sure everyone is on the same page before you leave to avoid being stuck in a car with unhappy passengers for 8 hours a day. If you have to travel with someone who’s style doesn’t mesh with yours, consider planning a shorter trip.

You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress if you map out how you’re getting to your destination before you leave (obviously). These two services can help you plan.

Roadtrippers: We’ve talked about Roadtrippers before. The service uses Google-Maps based directions to lay out your route and helps you find all the stops along the way. You can now save trips and edit them too. With Roadtrippers you can also calculate fuel costs, time, and distance.
OnTheWay: Another app we’ve talked about before is OnTheWay, for iOS. The app can show you stops and restaurants along your route, but it can also help you find interesting things like museums, parks, and roadside attractions.

There are a lot of other apps you can use too, but these are two of the best. If you’re interested in some non-road-trip-specific travel planning apps, you can see what else we think is the best.

Get more helpful tips here.

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Car noises you don’t want to ignore

Your car or truck should operate as silently as a sleeping baby, so when it starts making sounds it’s a good idea to investigate. Here are a few common car noises and what they could mean.

Hissing

Sure, there might be a bundle of rattle snakes living under the hood but if your car or truck’s engine makes a hissing sound it could also be an indication of a leak, either in the cooling system or a vacuum line. If it’s the former overheating is a concern, the latter, drivability and fuel-economy issues could result. A trip to the mechanic is in order.

Clunking

If your vehicle clunks while driving over bumps or pot holes something is definitely out of order. Chances are it’s not a case of roadway elves knocking on the undercarriage, even if these diminutive humanoids are sworn to protect the highways and thoroughfares of America. Moving on …

Bad ball joints, worn control-arm bushings or faulty stabilizer link-pins can cause uncivilized sounds, but other chassis components could be to blame as well. Even a loose exhaust system can flop round and make percussive noises.

Porcine Squealing

If your car’s engine is making a shrieking sound it could be an issue with the serpentine belt. Either the rubber has gotten old and brittle or the tensioner could be failing. If the latter is to blame the belt may not have the appropriate pressure applied to it, causing slippage and ultimately ill-mannered commotion. Fortunately this repair should be relatively simple and inexpensive so there’s no excuse for putting this off. Get it taken care of before the belt snaps or pops off when you’re driving home at 2:00 in the morning during an ice storm, because, you know, that’s when it would happen.

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Still no explanation for Takata’s exploding air bags

Testing to uncover what caused some Takata air bags to spray metal shrapnel upon deployment continues as the mystery remains unsolved.

“This may not be something as simple as just one root cause,” said former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David Kelly, who has been hired by the industry to investigate the problem.

It’s a painful, open question for families of victims and a big concern for anyone driving a car or shopping for a new or used vehicle.

Ten automakers, including the Detroit Three, are involved in a massive recall of 17 million vehicles with Takata air bags. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been tied to the specific air bag defect.

It’s also unclear whether the replacement air bag systems are safer. That’s because they use the same volatile chemical to inflate the bags, ammonium nitrate, that some suspect is at the heart of the problem. Other air bag manufacturers use less-volatile chemicals, but they cost more.

Chemicals are key to how an air bag operates. When the car’s sensors detect an imminent crash, the inflator — like a rocket booster — sets off a chemical charge to produce nitrogen gas that fills the air bag like a pillow. After the crash, vents in the pillow allow for a slow deflation.

Read the full story here.

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