Saying Goodbye to the Avalanche

The Chevrolet Avalanche, which won buyers with trendsetting design and unique features – and helped launch the boom in crew cab pickups – celebrates its final year in production with the 2013 Black Diamond Avalanche.

So as a fun send off for the award winning truck, we have compiled a series of photographs of some of the most unique ways people have enjoyed their Chevy Avalanche.

 

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10 of the Oddest Limos and Stretch Vehicles

 

 

10 Little Changes to Cars (That Will Have A Big Impact)

Technology, for the most part, has made life easier in many aspects. Cell phones eliminated the need to carry a roll of quarters around while searching for a remotely clean phone booth. E-mail phased out the desire to write a letter (also eliminating the awful process of licking an envelope shut).  GPS devices pulled our eyes away from a map and allowed us to focus on driving to our destination.

As technology continues to advance, the list of things in the “Back in the day” category will continue to grow, and lately it seems as though the list is rapidly expanding to the point of including vehicle usage. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to know that cars today function a great deal differently than their counterparts of yesteryear. What is new to a lot of people are the advances that are clearing away a lot of common, every day, usage and maintenance of a vehicle. You may have never heard of some of the things on the list simply because it is not the standard across all vehicles, however, if it catches on it could quickly become the standard.

 

Changing a tire

Remember the movie “A Christmas Story?” Well if not here is a refresher: There is a scene where the family car gets a flat tire on the way home from purchasing a Christmas tree. The father shouts, “Time me” as he jumps out, jacks up the car, pulls off the hubcap, removes the lugs, takes the flat tire off, replace it with a spare, put the lugs back on, and then Ralphie says “Oh fudge” and they all drive home in silence.

Everyone at one time or another will go through the pain of having to change a flat tire, so learning how to change a flat would seem like an imperative maintenance skill to have simply because it happens to everyone regardless of your driving habits. So whether you look it up online or you’ve had your father show you while you were out buying a Christmas tree, knowing how to change a flat tire is a staple when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

Why that’s changing:

As gas prices continue their steady rise, so will the demand for more fuel efficient vehicles. There are many ways this can be accomplished, and one way is to lighten the car itself. Now of course there’s certain elements a car is probably always going to need in it for functionality and safety, but the spare tire as of late, is one piece of equipment that is being viewed as expendable. The latest advance in this tradition is the Tire Sealant and Inflator Kit offered in several vehicles, most notably the Chevy Eco Cruze. Rather than spending upwards to half an hour changing a tire on the side of the highway, you can re-patch and inflate your tire within minutes. This is not the standard yet, but it is definitely something we could see on the rise as it is safer and more efficient than trying to install a spare tire while cars fly by at 60MPH.

 

Checking your tire pressure

Thanks to the tire pressure gage we don’t have to walk around our car several times comparing tire sizes with a ruler to figure out if they are over or under inflated. It’s a very small, handy , device that you can slip in your glove compartment and forget about until you need it.

 

 

 

Why that’s changing:

If you already own one, you might as well hang on to it, but if you don’t, then you might not even need to buy one at all. All you have to do is point to a new technology that is emerging in more and more cars to see that even something as mundane as checking your tire pressure has been simplified. Take the Chevy Suburban for example, you’ll notice in the picture that it not only tells you if you’re tires need air, but it will tell you how much air is in each individual tire. So instead of having to run around the car, checking every single tire, you can focus in on the problem tire right away.

 

Listening to music

 This may seem like an insignificant category when talking about vehicle technology, but looking at the evolution of how we listen to music in our vehicles shows that it is actually a very interesting avenue of advancements. We started with the radio, and then there was the 8-track player, followed by cassette players, and finally CD players. Today, most people plug in their iPods or other MP3 devices into the stereo system to listen to music.

Why that’s changing:

 

Vehicles will probably always have a standard radio, but now some vehicles are listing the CD player as optional. To understand why all we need to do is look at the new Chevy Sonic. The Sonic gives drivers the ability to stream Pandora radio from their cellphone – wirelessly. So instead of having a nuisance cable running from your phone to your stereo, you can have you phone neatly secured wherever in the car while you stream Pandora.

 

The changes don’t stop there. If you listen to CDs in the car then you must also know how much of a pain it can be to change a disk while driving, or organize them once you’re done listening to them. The Equinox, however, is changing that. Now you can save music directly from a CD into the system. This way you can play back your music without juggling dozens of CDs while driving.

 

While these changes are progressive, the most innovative is in the Chevy Volt. It’s a well-known fact that the best songs on the radio only start to play when you’ve arrived at your destination. So how do you get to listen to your favorite song, or hear a full traffic report, or catch every minute of your favorite talk show when you’ve already arrived at your destination? Well if you have a Volt you can actually “pause” the broadcast and “replay” where you left off. You can also “rewind” and “replay” a song you’ve just listened to as well.

 

 

Checking the oil

 Even though we are all adults, we still giggle every time someone tells us to lift the hood and check the dipstick.  This involves a simple ritual of pulling out the dipstick (no laughing), wiping it, sticking it back in, pulling it back out and holding it up to the light to see how dirty it is, and we can see if we have enough.

 

 

Why it’s changing:

It’s not complex, or even all that time consuming, but it’s all quickly changing. In the beginning, vehicles were using oil life systems to simply inform owners of when to change the oil, but even that technology is old news. Now, vehicles have Oil Life Monitoring Systems that will not only tell you when to change the oil, but it will give you the life expectancy of the remaining oil in the vehicle. So instead of having the “Change Oil” light sneak up on you or wonder when your next oil change should be, you can actually get an accurate idea of when your next oil change will be without having to hoard receipts or hover over the dipstick every couple of weeks.

 

Spare keys

There are few things more embarrassing than locking your keys in your car. At first you go into denial as you check every door (including the trunk) in hopes that one of them is unlocked. Then you fly into a minor rage and consider breaking a window to get your keys out. Then you remember that someone has a spare key. So you call them up and wait for them to come to your rescue.

Why that’s changing:

While it’s still a good idea to leave a spare with someone else, you might be a little more confident when you lock your car knowing that new technology has emerged to prevent you from possibly following through on the rage-stage of locking your keys in your car. The first piece of technology is the new “Push Start” button. Once Exclusive to vehicles like the Corvette, are now being offered in the Chevy Volt and Cruze. With this technology, you will no longer need a key to start your car. So instead of accidentally leaving the keys in the ignition, you can slip the key back into your pocket after unlocking your vehicle. A second advancement has to do with OnStar. There are a plethora of services they offer, and one is remote unlocking. So even if you have the push button start on a Cruze, and your keys fell out of your pocket while driving, and then you manually locked the car – OnStar can still unlock your car for you.

 

Parking

We all remember that painstaking afternoon when our parents tried to teach us how to back into a parking spot for our driver’s exam, right? Everyone always had their tricks whether it was turning the wheel when the side mirror reached a certain point, or lining your vehicle up with another car and pulling in at an angle – whatever your trick was to pass the exam, future generations may have it a little easier.

 

 

Why that’s changing:

Of course, parking itself isn’t going anywhere. Even if we had flying cars, we would have to put them somewhere after pulling up to our hovering three bedroom apartment. What is changing is the cheat-sheets our vehicles are giving us. It started with the back and front censors that would make a beeping sound when anything was getting uncomfortably close to the vehicle. Then came the backup cameras, which went a long way in helping us see exactly what was making our cars beep so much. Now, in addition to the previous two, we have guiding lines, showing us exactly where the vehicle is going based upon the position of your tires. How cool is that? So now, instead of mumbling to yourself “I think I have enough room” you can see the exact path your vehicle will take as you’re backing up.

 

Warming your car up

One of the worst parts about winter is sliding into a freezing cold car and waiting for the heat to come on so you can feel your fingers and toes again. So naturally people tend to warm up their cars before pulling out of the driveway using the standard method of leaving their car running for a few minutes while they wait for the car to warm up inside the house.

Why that’s changing:

Well, sort of changing. The idea of warming up your car isn’t changing, but how you do it is changing. There are two large flaws with the standard method – First,  your car is now running with the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked, which makes for the easiest getaway for anyone looking to pick up a new car at your expense.  Secondly, you increase the risk of locking your keys in your car when you go back into the house after starting the engine, which means that every minute you’re trying to get the car unlocked is more gas your vehicle is burning through while sitting in your driveway.

The solution to this mess – remote starters. Now you can start your car (while it’s still locked) from inside your house. So now your keys are safely tucked away in your pocket and your vehicle is nice and warm when you get inside. This remote start technology is not just limited to your key ring, but you can also start your car with your cellphone or iPad with the Chevy MyLink application as well.

Of course, the big downside to this feature is that your car may be so warm and comfortable that, instead of going anywhere, you’ll just want to curl up on the seat and take a nap:

 

 

Fuel efficient driving

Like parking, there are all sorts of tips and tricks to helping your fuel economy that it’s difficult to keep track of them, and like most car tips it’s hard to know if you are harming your car by performing a certain auto-trick correctly. So the simple solution is to drive as little as possible.

 

 

Why that’s changing:

Of course driving less will save you gas, but new technology is already here that is helping drivers drive more efficiently every day. Take a look at this picture taken from the Chevy Volt.

At first, this screen doesn’t make any sense, but it is the latest technological advance that can help you save gasoline. This screen in the Volt informs drivers when they are accelerating or braking too aggressively, thus incorporating driving habits in your daily commute that can help you save gasoline in the long run. For now, this feature is only available in the Volt, but we could easily see it become the new standard in all Chevy cars to help drivers save fuel.

 

Cell phones

We have come a long way in cell phone technology and the way we use them in our vehicles. First they were attached to the car like a home phone. Then cellphones became easily portable and we started mounting the phone on our dashboard or using uncomfortable earpieces.

 

 

 

Why that’s changing:

Cellphones are not going anywhere, but how we presently use them in the car is quickly evolving. The first piece of this technological evolution is the hands-free Bluetooth. This allows you to sync your phone up with your vehicle and you can make and receive calls by pressing a button on your steering wheel. This eliminates the need for ear pieces or phone mounting kits. The second advancement is through OnStar. OnStar provides a built-in phone system in each Chevy that has OnStar. It’s more geared to those who do not own a cellphone, but even cellphone users can benefit from it if something happened that rendered their cellphone unusable.

 

Hording Maintenance Receipts

It’s tough to remember the last time you rotated your tires, changed your oil, or all the other routine maintenance your vehicle needs. It’s a lot to keep track of which is why most glove compartments are packed with dozens of receipts from nearly every visit to an auto shop.

 

 

Why that’s changing:

Again, we turn to OnStar to help simplify our lives. OnStar provides subscribers with detailed diagnostic information each month in a full report. The report covers areas such as: engine and transmission, air bag system, emission brake, antilock brake system, Stabilitrak control system, and many other systems in your vehicle. These monthly reports also give you recommended maintenance reports. So instead of sifting through various receipts trying to figure out when your next maintenance schedule should be (and what it should be), OnStar can give you all the information you need to keep you vehicle in top shape every month.

Quick Tips on Rust Prevention

With fall right around the corner, and winter not too far behind, now is a good time to start preparing you vehicle for the harsh climate ahead. One of the biggest problems fall and winter can present for car owners is the pestering presence of rust. Most individuals view rust as just simply a cosmetic problem, however, rust can cause serious mechanical problems in the future. The best way to combat rust is to know how to prevent it, and the fall and winter months are times when your car needs the most protection possible.

Before we dive into proactive precautions against rust, we must first understand what rust is and why it is so prevalent during the fall and winter months. So what is rust? Rust (scientifically known as oxidation) takes form when oxygen combines with certain metals at an atomic level, thus weakening the bonds of the metal itself. Add the moist climate of fall and winter and you will have what is known as “Hydrated Rust” which will cause the metal to corrode internally and given enough hydration the corroded mass can entirely rust and disintegrate. So as we head into months of constant rain and snow, there are several steps that should be taken to help prevent this oxidation from turning your beautiful paint into that all-too-familiar flakey orange coloring that can cause serious damage to your vehicle.

The easiest way to protect the exterior of your vehicle from the elements is to routinely wash your vehicle, however, timing is important when dealing with temperamental seasons. You should only wash your vehicle if the temperature is above freezing. When the temperature is below freezing, because once the temperature dips below freezing the ice and snow will hold the salt in suspension and keep it from doing any major damage.

Once temperatures rise above freezing, get your vehicle washed before any damage can begin. Ideally, you will want to take your vehicle to a car wash that has an underbody spray so as to keep the underside free of dirt and debris that could trap moisture. Also, be sure to use a car wash that uses fresh and not recycled water otherwise you will end up spraying salt water from previous cars all over your vehicle.

Once you have finished washing and rinsing your vehicle, pay close attention to the water on the surface of your vehicle. If the water is not beading, then now would be a good time to wax it as well. Ideally, you will want to apply a coat of wax at the end of autumn, just before the first snowfall.

After washing and waxing your vehicle, be sure to park outside.  Parking in a heated garage is tempting during those cold winter months; however, doing so can cause any snow on your vehicle to melt which allows embedded salt to strike. A common concern, other than convenience, that lead to heated garage parking is cold-weather starting problems. If this is the case, then investing in an engine block heater may be an option worth looking into in order to eliminate the need for parking in a heated garage.

That takes care of the exterior, but there are many preventive steps that can be taken inside the car as well. First, purchase a set of heavy rubber floor mats. Snow on your shoes can melt into salty water that can seep into the carpets and cause damage to your floorboards. Having thick rubber mats can act as a huge preventive agent against any rust occurring in the floorboards. While rubber mats are a great preventative, it is also important to make sure you kick off any snow stuck to your body before getting settled into your vehicle. Again, it will help prevent any damage from occurring inside the vehicle, plus it will make for a much more comfortable ride if you are not sitting in a puddle of salty water during your morning commute to work.

Many of these preventative measures are things to be considered as we get closer to the deep of winter, but there are several things you can do today to prepare such as purchasing the rubber mats or waxing your vehicle as stated above. Now is even a great time to start scouting for car washes that use fresh water with an underbody spray. If you do find one, then start getting into the habit of using it maybe once a week to help establish a routine that will follow you during the snowy winter months when rust is at its prime to pounce.

Concept vs. Production

Remember the first time you saw the concept designs for prospect models and they almost always looked sleek and futuristic, almost as if they could take flight at the push of a button? Then the vehicle goes into production and it may only share one or two traits with the concept model. This week’s Throwback Thursday will look back at various Chevy concept models and compare them to the actual production line. Some share a lot of characteristics, but for the most part there are huge changes (some for the better).

Camaro

 

Cobalt

 

Corvette

 

Cruze

 

HHR

 

Traverse

 

Volt

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