The 2012 Auto Show; Knoxville-style

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

The Show:

This month marks my second year in East Tennessee. While Knoxville is a far cry from the streets and lifestyle of Southern California, one thing in common for both cities is the need for transportation. Not to say that mass transit doesn't exist, but let's face it, neither cities have the public transit infrastructure of say a city like San Francisco or London. And while one will not see the ever popular exotics or high-end vehicles on a daily basis here, autos are still the most ideal way to get from A to B.

Show.JPG
A sea of new model cars, with Danny Hamlin's #11 car in the foreground

Enter the Knoxville News Sentinel and their annual Auto Show, this marks the 24th year for this long-running event. The venue is downtown in the convention center just next to the famed Sun Sphere and the World's fair park. It has been East Tennessee's answer to the larger annual shows held in such places as Detroit, L.A., and New York. While this venue is a smaller scale, the energy is very much the same level.

CTS-V.JPG
The 2012 CTS-V is the most car you will find with a $64,000 price tag

This was my second year attending the event and it's very much needed with the absence of attending one of the larger shows in my life. Many of the 2012 models provided for the show come from local dealers. The remaining vehicles, like the new Lexus LFA for example, comes in from the manufacturer from the larger show circuit.

The Star:

The definite show stealer was the Lexus LFA. This vehicle has spent many of the past years as a prototype car. It began life in 2000 as a supercar project simply code named "P280". The first completed prototype came to life in June 2003. Less than two years later the now-called LFA was premiered at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show. I first caught a real-life glimpse of this car while shooting a 4-part series at the 2009 L.A. Auto Show.

LFA.JPG
Lexus' supercar simply called; the LFA

In August 2009 Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda officially announced the vehicle would enter production. The final determination (accompanied with many sale/lease stipulations) was that production will be capped at 500 cars (150 U.S.-bound). Production was set to run December 2010-December 2012 with an average output of 20 cars per month.

While the LFA is beautiful, a true gearhead still thinks about what else one could buy with a $375,000 budget. personally I would add a Corvette Z06 and a Ferrari 458 Italia to my collection, but that's just me! Some will pay the price for originality, or exclusivity.

Conclusion:

This show had it's highlights, from the LFA to the the new Beetle, the latest Mini line-up, and the pony cars from the big three. At the end of the day no matter what size the venue, seeing the latest innovations in the automotive world is a real treat.

Forty is the New Twenty

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

It's hard not to notice the latest campaign in the automotive advertising world. From the "big 3" to those from overseas, it is evident that 40mpg is the new benchmark for gas mileage goals. These ad campaigns are here to stay, and I will explain a bit further why.

Traditionally the dominant vehicle that had a 40mpg+ best was the sub-compact class, also known as the "B-segment" category in auto geek-speak. There are a few factors that have pushed such fuel-sipping capabilities beyond the world of mini-cars.

Thumbnail image for 78hondacivic_cvcc.jpg
A Honda Civic CVCC Ad From 1978

The bubble up affect of change comes from you, the consumer. After the extreme hike in fuel prices a few years back, manufacturers heard the buyer's demand for better fuel economy. The second factor is change coming down on manufacturers from the NHTSA by way of an increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. CAFE's origin began in 1975, a response to the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973.

According to the CAFE regulations to be changed in 2016, all manufacturer's fleets are to get a cumulative average of 34.1 or better. I won't bore you with formulas, basically they take the manufacturers entire fleet and figure out the overall average. This is why you may notice hifgher mpg vehicles coming from companies you least expected today.

nhtsa.gif

Now you have a better understanding to the "cause and effect" in change that put 40mpg on the top of the promotion list amongst car companies. This new standard in efficiency has also changed the way vehicles are being powered. Technologies we have known and used in racing applications are now finding their way under your hood.

Changes include; the utilization of direct injection, turbo boost, and supercharging of smaller displaced engines. Even those in love with the all American V8 have to appreciate a modern day V6 putting out just as much if not more power than it's bigger brethren.

These changes bring on a trifecta of sorts; Smaller engine means less weight, less maintenance (fewer plugs, etc.), and better gas mileage. No matter how much a gearhead, such attributes cannot be discounted as minute.

Cruze.JPG
The Chevrolet Cruze as seen at the 2011 SEMA Show in the Razzi Booth

If better mpg is a goal for you, here are some choices for 2012:

Audi A3 TDI- Luxury meets practicality, and gets 42mpg hwy starting at $30,250
Chevrolet Cruze Eco- This hot ride gets 42mpg hwy as well and starts at $16,800
Ford Fiesta- This euro-spec car gets 40mpg hwy, the base sticker starts at $16,290
Hyundai Elantra- This company's on fire! The Elantra starts at $14,830 w/ a 40+ hwy
Honda Civic- This compact class-leading top-seller gets 41mpg and starts at $15,805
VW has the TDI Golf, Jetta and Passat. They get 42mpg, or better starting at $22,775

There are several more to choose from and you also have an increased lineup for 2012 in the hybrid class. Gone are the days of limited high-fuel economy cars. In today's market you can have sportiness, style, and your 40mpg!

Motor-on, Lance

Cars and Coffee in Knoxville

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

It's been over a year since making the 2100 mile move cross country from sunny Southern California to beautiful Knoxville Tennessee. One thing I have missed the most is the car scene. No one can deny that Socal is the hottest spot for car enthusiast. Just within 15 miles of my home I could visit such companies as Borla, Magnuson Superchargers and Wilwood Brake company to name a few.

It's also hard to have a weekend go by in SoCal without some kind of auto event. From the Running of the Bulls (Lamborghini club run up the pacific coast), to the plethora of make and even model-specific car shows, any given weekend of the year you can find fellow gearheads eager to share their rides and passion for all-automotive.

IMG00310-20110507-0939.jpg

After arriving in early 2010, I found that there is a bit of an auto scene in Knoxville as well. One of several auto-related invents includes a gathering called Cars and Coffee. This get together exists thanks to the European Auto Garage. These guys have a focus on maintenance and customization of euro-specific lines (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc.). They also have a personal passion for all things engine-related.

IMG00311-20110507-0941.jpg

I found out about this get together from a Knoxville-local longtime friend and fellow gearhead; Tom Tharp. Tom is an analytical guy that too enjoys all aspects of cars and is very involved in fabrication and customization of his own cars.

Being I travel so much for work I was not able to attend my first C&C until May of this year. They host one every month during the nicer seasons of the year. I was very impressed with the assortment of cars. Unlike a California car show with the usual super-cars, hot rods and American muscle, this show had anything and a hodgepodge of cars. The variety kept me much more enthralled with each and every ride.

IMG00309-20110507-0933.jpg

Then next C&C is being held July 2nd from 9a-12p. I think I will be taking the Triumph Daytona 675 this time. The weather is right and I need to get more seat time on the bike. I am hoping my Boulevard "bobber-style" motorcycle project will be completed by August's gathering (hurry up on painting that fender Micah!). But no matter what you ride or drive, make time if in town to stop by and check out this event. You will enjoy the cars, camaraderie, and coffee...if that's your cup of tea!

Backroads and Small Towns

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

While 8-10 lane "super" highways dominate a better part of this country, certain parts of the states still very much depend on that traditional 2-4 lane highway. You know the roads I speak of; those sprinkled with little towns and interesting attractions. And with every new highway I ride around East Tennessee I get to see just that... I experience how it is in yesteryear. Yes from the largest underground lake (The Lost Sea of Sweetwater TN), to the busiest state park in the country (The Smoky Mountains).

Smokies.jpg

This throwback to a simpler time is a big part of what keeps me so attracted to this well kept secret of the South-east known as Tennessee. The people are friendly and not afraid to walk up and share their story. Take for example a recent run with my good friend Paul on the motorbikes up past Oliver Springs Tennessee.

We stopped at a little gas station for some much needed refueling of both riders and our cycles. While waiting to eat, an older gentleman with his wife and grandchild struck up a conversation with me. "Triumph ay?" he said while pointing at my jacket, "yes sir" I replied proudly as I have grown a strong passion for the brand. "I had a 1956 Triumph TR6 back in the day, great bike but always havvin' to keep those spokes tight" he shares with a grin on his face. You could tell he missed those open-road days.

Those are the people that make me smile. They are okay with keeping things simple. Non-existent are the traffic jams of Southern California as I remember. Nor are the maniacs cutting me off to get one whole car ahead of me in that very same traffic jam.

Does this "big city boy" miss the shows, the diverse food, or even scuba diving in Malibu? Of course, but I can always visit and get my fix on all of the above. I gave it all up for the friendly people, that road less traveled, and the lack of stress in my life. Because at the end of the day the overall quality of life is what matters most.

Ride on,

Lance

Back to Basics

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

What has become of the driving style of yesteryear? In a recent study it was discovered that multitasking is just not one of the human bodies strong-suites. Our brains do better processing one task at a time rather than a slue of tasks all at once. This effects many things, including our driving style.

With the advent of incorporating as much technology as possible into the automobile, many have argued that this only impairs the users concentration and attention to the road. I will be the first to agree to this statement. While I agree that a hands-free device may help you keep your hands at "10 and 2", the conversation itself is still interference of concentration. I speak first-hand from experience.

A handful of years back I was a commercial accounts manager responsible for a territory spanning from Salinas to Ventura on the coast and from Merced to Bakersfield on the valley side of California. This rather larger area consisted of hundreds of miles of monotonous driving. The cell phone made for a good companion on such a drive. The problem is I found myself missing a freeway interchange or exit more than once due to this phenomenal device for communication.

no-texting-while-driving.jpg

Such an experience makes one realize it may be time to just hangup and drive.

What will it take to get us back to basics? The old days when the only interface in a car besides pedals, transmission and column controls was a poor quality radio. If we breakdown the attention-grabbing options in the modern automobile one could go crazy. You have everything from real-time Facebook connectivity, to DVD players for the kids, navigation for the grown ups and countless songs to shuffle through via MP3 devices. All of these items are excuses for you to take your eye off the road.

chips11.jpg

One of the best bits of advice I got was during my years working with AAA Roadside. A savvy CHP officer told me (while helping a stranded motorist on highway 101), "never take your eyes off the road, the minute you do could be your last". From then on I faced traffic and kept an eye up while servicing vehicles on the side of any road. And while that advice applies on curb-side, likewise it goes for actions behind the wheel too.

Remember; nothing is more important that your life. Phone calls can wait, texting can wait, a different song or social media status can too wait. Stay focused and stay alive. Practice and preach this to the next generation of drivers as well.

Motor on,

Lance

Snow Daze

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

Never in a million years would I imagine the day I would be blogging about how to drive in adverse weather conditions. Yet here I am a few thousand miles East of the coast I called home for over three decades, and snow happens every once in a while.

kns_snow.jpg
Downtown Knoxville Tennessee covered in snow

But wait, I know how to drive in snow and ice! My experience was not as frequent as some, but we did have these conditions in parts of California. My first experience with these slippery surfaces was shortly after I turned sixteen. My friend Erik Kane invited me with his family to Lake Tahoe. Being new to driving, I opted to take my own ride.

And what ride was that? It was a 1988 Suzuki Samurai 4x4 handed down to me from my brother (not for free). It might not have been the first vehicle of choice for such adventure, but it was light and had 4-wheel drive which is a good combo.

Erik and I got up early in the mornings during our vacation to do rally-style laps around the neighborhood of the cabin we were staying in. We soon found snow is not as soft as one may think when running into a snowbank at 25mph by car. I lost a few driving lights, but it was all in the name of fun...and being young and naive.

Fast-forward to my college years in San Luis Obispo. The snow wasn't as close as it was while living in the bay area. The nearest for us was Sierra Summit, a 3+ hour drive from SLO. Several trips with friends gave me some drive-time to learn how a vehicle reacts on snow,slush, and ice.

ra.jpg
One of many roundabout signs in West ireland

When it comes to driving instructions (on specific elements), I say keep it simple. Example; a few years back I visited Ireland with a few friends. After landing in Shannon, we took a shuttle over to the the rental company.

The kind shuttle driver gave me a brief bit of advise as I stepped off, he said with an Irish accent, "We have roundabouts...just remember to look right, turn left". This was a simple, yet extremely effective statement of advice. Driving a left-hand vehicle on the left-hand side of the road can be a little hairy, roundabouts add a whole other level of stress to the situation. That's where his words of advice proved priceless for me.

So I say this to those that are venturing through "the white stuff"; brakes make you slide far, gas makes you slip in place. It's a world of opposites really.

By hitting the brakes you are deliberately putting the vehicle in a hazardous situation. Lightly applying, or tapping the brakes will save you from an uncontrollable slide .

The same applies when applying the gas. Even, smooth pressure is best. You gun the gas and you are likely to end u getting nowhere, your tires will just spin in place.

Thankfully most manufacturers have systems tied into the on-board computer that will execute the above in such a situation. Traction control is one (TC), electronic stability control is another (ESC). So don't turn such features off while driving on any unstable surface (i.e. dirt, sand, snow, ice, grass, etc.). And every little bit helps when driving.

Remember to always be safe and unless necessary, stay off the road.

Ride on,

Lance

What's Hot, What's Not

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

With so much constantly changing in the auto industry, it's tough to keep a pulse on things these days. A simple drive to your local shopping center will give you a good census of the latest trends. Yes, mostly gone are the days of tight parking due to the trendy urban assault vehicles (aka SUV's). Notably the masses have shifted interest to more practical sized vehicles, a reaction to gas prices and alike on recent years.

mall.JPG

Those of us close to the industry saw the crash coming, It caught my attention in the early 2000's when the roads were flooded with Explorer's, Tahoe's and everything in between. It was just a matter of time that people grow tired of the gas guzzling, and higher maintenance fees...not to mention those small parking spots at Target!

Today is the time of crossovers and CUV's (compact utility vehicles). These vehicles still have a the luxury and space of many SUV's (sport utility vehicle), yet boast a more compact overall footprint. They also help the future MPG Cafe laws bestowed upon manufacturers. The thought of 20-40% increase in MPG is a marketing campaign in itself, and don't forget lower insurance premiums!

So what manufacturers are hot? One word, four letters; Audi. Audi's movement into the automotive spotlight a few years back with the then all-new R8. It has since turned heads with the new Q7 and gorgeous S5. See Audi's 2010 L.A. Auto Show booth and video of the A3 here:2010 L.A. Auto Show- Audi's A3 TDI

This shift in popularity couldn't have been more evident than at the 2010 L.A. Auto Show.To add insult to injury, the Audi booth and all it glory sat right next to it's tried-and-true German nemesis; BMW. These two have always had a love-hate relationship.

What's next? One may not know until it's here, but the anticipation is what makes it so fun! I say keep an eye out for Nissan's Leaf, the "Dodge" Fiat 500, and the next generation of "Bangle-free" BMW's. CUV's and crossovers are here for the long-haul.

Happy Holidays,

Lance

Winter Car Care

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

Season's Greetings!

What better time to do some routine vehicle maintenance? A family road-trip is a great excuse to check your vehicle, so get in gear and tend to those that need attention on your automobile.

Some of the key elements I always like to touch when it comes to maintenance are those items that are necessary to operate a vehicle safely. These items include, but are not limited to; brakes, tires, belts, fluids and wipers.

First off here's my little disclaimer: All of my recommendations are rules-of-thumb in the industry, for specific maintenance schedules please check your owner's manual or contact your local authorized dealer.

I want to share a few maintenance steps that apply to everyone. Most of you find yourselves at the gas station once a week or every 150-300 miles. So 4 times a month you have an extra few minutes to care for your car. Don't hook up the pump then sit on your
rump, make use of this down time and check these items

1. Brakes:
With all the constant hype about horsepower and top speeds of new cars, who has time to talk about stopping? This should be the most important element in my opinion being that stopping a car will more likely save your life than being able to do the ΒΌ mile in 13 seconds.

Always listen, look, and feel your brakes. If you here an odd squeak, this most likely means your pads are worn down to the wear bars and need replacing. Do a visual of your brakes when rotating your tires. Look for glazing of the rotors, or uneven wear of the pad or rotor. Feel for your brakes; do they pulsate or does the car pull one direction when applying them? If so, it's time to get them addressed.

inflate.jpg

2. Check your tires: The only thing that keeps you on the road is your tires. They may look big but each contact patch (a.k.a. footprint) can be as small as 3"x6" which isn't much for a 2 ton automobile. Tire manufacturers also state it's not uncommon for tires to lose an average of 1-2 pounds of pressure per month. So, take the time to check the tire pressure at least once a month and while doing so visually inspect the tire for any potential damage and uneven wear.

Do not go off the sidewall for tire pressure! This is an old practice that needs to end. The correct tire pressure is specific to the car, not the tire itself. The pressure on the sidewall is stating the max pressure allowed for that tire not what the actual operating pressure should be.

DOT has required since the mid-nineties that vehicle tire pressure be noted not only in the owner's manual but on the car. For most the pressure ratings are in the driver's door jam but others vary. For example; BMW puts their tire pressure on the inside of the gas door. It is found that 80% of flats occur when there is 20% or less tread on a tire.

3. Check your belts:
The typical rule-of-thumb for belts is to replace them when you see 5 or more cracks per inch. I go a step further and replace belts if they are glazed over. Glazing will often cause squeaking and slipping of the belt. They cost very little and are pretty easy to replace.

oil-check.jpg

4. Check your oil: Even the newest of cars potentially "use" oil.. Oil has more jobs than just to lubricate all metal parts in your engine. Oil is also there to prevent friction buildup, to transfer heat away from the combustion cycle as well as to clean out chemicals and buildup in the engine. As temperamental as some engines are today this is more important than ever to maintain proper oil levels.

Be sure to check what specific grade oil your vehicle takes. Almost every manufacturer puts the required oil weight on the oil cap, if not check your manual. The oil stick can be found on the side of a standard motor (European and some domestics) and the front of a transverse or "side-set" motors. Most oil stick handles are red but some aren't so look hard. Your owner's manual can show you the exact location as well.

5. Check your wiper blades: In some parts of the country you get extremes from below freezing, to 90+ degrees out. If that's the case for you, I would almost just replace your wipers every 1-2 years. In more ideal climates like California, you can go for years without replacement. This is another inexpensive item to replace, and very easy to install. If they streak, smear, of skip...replace them. It's all for safety!

Motor on, Lance

Backroads and Beautiful Sights

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

It has been 8 months now since my migration from the golden state to the Southeast. While I don't recommend making a move to a new area mid-winter, I will say it gave me that much more anticipation for the other three seasons of the year here.

Being motorcycle riding is my passion, fall was the season I anticipated most. After all that was the time of year I came for my last interview prior to taking this new position. It was the last week in October, the weather was the same as I left in California. Now I had been here many times, but that was the first time when the leaves were turning.

autumn.jpg
A beautiful autumn day in Suches Georgia.

You know those shots of autumn you see from space? Well, those are here in my backyard! The Hallmark card ideal we all have of fall is exactly what it looks like in the Southeast. The beautiful scenery combined with the crisp air makes for perfect riding.

My motorcycle meetup group recently took advantage of this time of year and planned an overnight trip to Suches Georgia. Eight of us in total made the trip. Suches is a little town situated in the middle of the Chattahoochee National Park.

Suches.jpg
My friend Paul in front of the bunkhouse at High Valley Resort.

This trek was 135 miles each way and packed with great sites and twisty back roads. And unlike California, you can travel hundreds of miles without ever jumping on a freeway (interstates as locals call them). This makes such a ride all that much more fun. We happened upon the neat little town of McCaysville. This is literally a throwback town reminiscent of Norman Rockwell illustrations on The Saturday Evening Post.

We also stopped by in Morgantown for a bite to eat at a local cafe. Another town where southern hospitality is alive and strong. Shortly after we rolled into Suches and unloaded at the High Valley Resort. This hideaway actually has it's own little runway. The cabins were all booked, so we stayed in a few bunkhouses. This is essentially a little stand-alone room with two beds and a space heater, but that's all we needed.

We spent the rest of our time riding in and around Suches. It was a great weekend and one that reminded me how beautiful this end of the world is.

Happy Trails,

Lance

Social, Beyond "The Book"

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

Online, it has ties to the auto industry and hobby. Everything is online, including; car forums, club sights, and event pages. We even use it to do homework on cars prior to purchasing. Yes, the internet is in every inch of our day-to-day lives.

For many of us the social networking evolution is nothing new. Thanks to friends that migrated to Silicon Valley soon after college, I have always had an ear close to the tracks of technology. Then again, just being in California always made for an advantage in the world of online trends.

I remember first getting into MySpace in 2003. It was perfect timing to have a platform to reach out to those I had lost connection with over time. After all, '03 was the year of losing my father and being diagnosed with cancer (over 6yrs. cancer-free now). What better time in my life to reconnect with long lost friends?

By 2005 everyone was on the space-wagon, even my little twin cousins. It was the perfect storm for something better, fresher and cleaner. First introduced to me by a friend's sister in '05, Facebook just felt more mature and refined than MySpace. By 2008, Facebook took over as the social network king.

Twitter came and went quickly for me, I just don't think people need to know my every interaction I do. LinkedIn is another great social site, with professional networking as core focus. It too has been shadowed but has gross potential.

qz.JPG

The next big thing I believe will be Meetup.com. It was actually conceived back in 2001 by Scott Heiferman and has some big shareholders. While not as popular as others, it's a great place to meet people and network beyond the keyboard.

With 5 million+ members, soon Meetup will become a household name along the likes of Twitter and Facebook. And with the motto; Do something, Learn Something, Share something, Change something... this site is a motivator!

Whats this have to do with the world of engine-powered interests? Well Meetup.com is for us hobbyist that want to both talk AND do things related to our interests.

For the past few years I have been a member, and organizer of several Meetup groups. It started first with joining SoCal Street Bikers back in 2008. After several months as a member then assistant organizer, I took over the group and enjoyed running it before moving away.

gride.JPG

After transferring to Knoxville this year, I joined another local riding group. That too quickly turned into becoming an assistant organizer roll. Seeing a need for a sport bike-specific group, a few friends and I recently started Knox-Rockets. But no worries if riding isn't your thing, you will find nearly every hobby and interest with a group on Meetup. Many utilize the site when moving to a new area, myself case in point.

So give Meetup.com a try. It's a great way to meet people with like interests. And who knows, you might just make some great friends along the way as well!

Money Saving Maintence

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

Summer is here, with the season comes hotter days and longer drives for some. Among the summer trends we all know so well, much of it involves additional stress on your vehicle. Winter too is tough on a car, but a hot engine plus hot weather can equal major problems.

You may run into a few issues that are easier than you think to resolve. It's those little things that add up when having professionally repaired. Keep in mind that in many cases a repair shop has labor minimums. For some it's one hour, others it's thirty minutes. With labor rates from $80-100p/hr, think twice for the fix. This is as good a time as any to start polishing those DIY skills.

fixit.JPG

Take your A/C for example; if it's just low on Freon, that's an easy enough job to take on. Simply go to your local parts shop and ask them about the A/C re-charging kits. It takes minutes to do and you will be much happier when the heat hits triple digits outside.

Likewise consider simple fixes like bulb replacement, cabin and engine filter changes, even oil changes. Your local lube shop may get you for well over $100 do to the above listed. Why pay so much? I made a trip to the local parts shop and purchased both air filters, and oil change items for $59! Your car may cost more or less, especially if not equipped with a cabin air filter.

wiper.jpg

Some of the simpler tasks are bulb and wiper blade replacement. With search engines like Google, it's not hard to find the "how to" tips for most jobs on the World Wide Web. Many parts shops are even willing to walk out and give you a quick tutorial on replacing these items.

While many are strapped for cash, safety should still be a high priority. Burnt out signal and brake lights can lead to an accident. The same can be said for poor performing wipers in a random summer storm. Take time to check these simple things on a regular basis.

Feel free to write e-mail me with any auto-related questions, I'm more than happy to help.

Ride on, Lance

Season of Fun & Safety

Share: Share on Facebook submit to reddit StumbleUpon Toolbar
 

Here we are, the first day of summer. Besides being the longest day of the year, it also marks the official start to the season of road trips and outdoor fun. While some of us celebrate certain summer activities year-round, for others this is the only time for road trips and lake days. No matter what the activity, it's best to be ready for the adventure at hand.

Some of the simplest things can help you avoid being stranded rather by boat, RV, motorcycle, or auto. Below are a few of the top things to look at before you hit the open road (or body of water) this summer.

ride.jpg

Tires-

I have always said that tires are the only thing between you and the road, so don't neglect them. Checking your vehicles tires and tire pressure at the very least once a month can save you time, money, and heartache.

It saves you time by not getting stuck on the side of the road with a flat. It can save you money as under-inflated tires wear considerably faster. It can save you heartache from getting a potential blowout and doing further damage than just a flat tire.

Always check the owner's manual for proper air pressure. The proper inflation for you trailer, cycle, or vehicle is not on the tire. That number is typically the highest the tire can be inflated per the tire's manufacturer. Vehicle weight determines the proper inflation.

supra.jpg

Fuel-

Any vehicle that is used seasonally or even less than once a week, should utilize a fuel stabilizer fluid. I use Sta-bil in my lawnmower and motorcycles. These items sometimes sit and stale gas can cause damage to the engine. The latest ethanol craze furthers the threat of damage. So be on the safe side and add a few ounces to anything with an engine you don't use on a more frequent basis (see fuel stabilizer instructions for specific amount).

Air-

No matter what the application, air is a major contributor to the "mix" of an internal combustion engine. While air restriction might not necessarily leave you stranded, enough loss of air and the engine will die. Again, this is not common but is still something to prevent. Poor air-flow and restricted air flow will affect the performance of an engine too.

Battery -

This is another major element for most vehicles equipped with an internal combustion engine. How you treat a battery while not in use directly affects how it performs while in use. For seasonal vehicles it's best to utilize a trickle charger. This will keep your conventional battery from dipping below the standard voltage capacity. The exception to this rule would be deep-cycle batteries. These are most commonly found in RV and boat applications. They can be "cycled" down and brought back up, unlike standard batteries.

Happy Motoring, Lance

Motorhead
lambert.jpg
Lance C. Lambert is our expert Motorhead, and blogs of all things wheels related.

VCSWheels
  • Lance Lambert: I'm thinking California has become overrated! Life is relaxed here, read more
  • Julian Mcmurphy: This is a really excellent read for me, should admit read more
  • Lance Lambert: I was thinking "gosh California is getting overpopulated and at read more
  • Lance Lambert: I am sorry for the delayed reply Max. One thing read more
  • Brian G: Lance did I read that right your in Tennessee ? read more
  • max: Hi Lancce!! I'm in the process of changing the drive read more
  • Brendel: Clean 636 man! I really wanna see what The Dragon read more
  • Lance Lambert: Thanks for the post Orlando! We will have to get read more
  • Bruce: Good to have you back. But SoCal still rules! read more
  • Orlando: Nice bike! My next bike is an R1 soon. I read more