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January 2009

Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

January 30, 2009

MINI And Apple Teaming Up

Mini_apple MINI, one of the industry’s most innovative companies when it comes to marketing, is again finding fun new ways to raise awareness for their product line. MINI Financial Services announced this week the launching of “MINI Liquid Assets,” an interactive arcade style Apple iPhone and iPod Touch application based on the old school water jet games we all used to play back when you could still have fun with only two buttons and a directional pad. The game, which is available for free download through the iTunes App store plays a lot like you think it would. Players use the face buttons to guide their coins through a rugged stream while trying to avoid various enemies. The objective is to get the coins to the safety zone where your MINI cars are waiting. Who said financing is boring? Showcasing the full product line of MINI vehicles through various levels, and offering a built in MINI dealer location device using Google Maps as a feature in the game, MINI has paved the way for a new interactive way to reach out to consumers.  

January 29, 2009

Team O'Neil Winter Rally

I've written a lot about Team O'Neil lately, but I had to get up these last videos of their Winter Rally, then I promise I'm done ;-) The first video is some quick interviews with some of the instructors from Team O'Neil who were driving in the rally, Wyatt Knox - Lead Instructor, Chris Duplessis - Instructor and 4-time Rally Champion, Chris Komar - Instructor and Crew Member for Ken Block on Subaru Rally Team USA. It ends with Dave Mirra - X Games Champion and Driver for Subaru Rally Team USA. The 2nd and 3rd videos here are of the 2nd, 4th and 5th stages of the rally shot from Chick's Sand and Gravel pit.

A funny story- After my interview with Dave Mirra I left my gloves behind (not so funny so far). So I'm out on the course trying to video and it's about 10 degrees F. My hands were freezing! (still not funny) As Chris Duplessis comes by on stage 5, flying along with his car skidding half-sideways something flies off (from?) his VW. It sort of looked like a glove... or a pair of gloves? I'm thinking no way, they can't be mine. I figured at least I'd get some gloves, but no! Once I got over there they were mine. Chris carried them along until he spotted our crew and then tossed them out. What a trip! So many thanks Chris, I'll see you at the New England Forest Rally and I'm buying the beers. You can see their "ejection" near the end of the 3rd video in this group.

Team O'Neil Winter Rally Pre-Race Interviews


Team O'Neil Winter Rally 2009 Stage 2


Team O'Neil Winter Rally 2009 Stages 4 & 5

January 28, 2009

Driving On The Edge

Team_oneil_rally1 With a full class of 12 students of varying backgrounds and skill levels, I recently attended a four-day driving course at the 12-year old Team O’Neil Rally School & Car Control Center in Dalton, New Hampshire. Rally driving is an extreme motor sport where cars race on limited-traction surfaces such as dirt, snow and ice. Combining a curriculum of classroom work and hands-on driving, the school’s mission is to teach people — novice to expert — driving skills that include skid control, accident avoidance and vehicle dynamics.
My goal was to learn the skills required to compete in local rally events. By the end of the week I was executing high-speed turns on snow-covered roads like a champ. While in Dalton, I had the opportunity to sit down with the man who started it all, Tim O’Neil, 49, a five-time U.S. and North American Rally Racing Champion, to ask him some questions about the school and his motivation for operating it.

BOB KILPATRICK: Though my dad has been road racing all of my life, I have had no hands-on experience with motor sports until recently, while writing and shooting videos for Seven Days Auto Finder. Something about rally really piqued my interest. Rather than choosing another motor sport, I had to give rally a try.
TIM O’NEIL: I say there are two kinds of people: those who like total control and everything precise, and those who like to wing it. And the over-steer [rally] crowd seems to be better at winging things than having everything perfect.

BK: That makes sense. I like to push my limits. I like things a little on the edge.
TO: That’s why the new generation is so hot on rally, because a lot of them are like that. They’ve seen stock car racing and they think, That’s foolish, and they’ve seen drag racing and they think, That’s foolish, but this [rally] is completely wacky.

Team_oneil_rally2 BK: They’re raised on video games and hanging by the seat of their pants — on a game controller. So that’s what they look for, I guess. I was really impressed with the course and instructors; I never felt like I was thrown into something. It was a very steady progression. How long did it take you to develop the course and the steps we go through?
TO: It’s still evolving today, but for the most part it took me about two years. I come from military and flight training. I need to be able to train a group of 12 people, and they’re all different. If I was training some rally champion, it would be different, but I have to train people who are scared of driving or who don’t know how to drive with a standard transmission. You have to create a crawl-walk-run process that’s made for everybody.
We get about 90 percent success, which means that, with nine out of 10 students, I would ride anywhere with them after this training. We are still evolving. Techniques like trail braking — we didn’t really have it as an official exercise until about six years ago. And learning about lines and apexes — standing outside the car and looking at the cones that outline the course and judging where to point the vehicle — we didn’t do that six years ago . . .
This training program is not very cost-effective for us. If I were looking for 30 percent profit, like most people, I would never run the business this way. I would have to increase the ratio of students to teachers. At the end of the day, though, I would not be able to provide the same level of high-quality instruction. If you said you wanted to learn this all in one day, I couldn’t do it. I need that first day to teach you a technique and then let that sink in. The second day, we teach you another technique and let that sink in. Now, the third day, we’re taking those techniques and putting them together. And now we let that sink in.
It’s got to be over time. There have to be failures. Part of the problem we have in our society, I think, is there aren’t enough failures. If you went for your driving test in Europe, you’d fail the first time. With our system, if you don’t do it exactly right, you spin out immediately and hit the bank. Then you’re like, all right, I’ll learn, I’ll listen.

BK: So if there’s not great revenue in this, what led you to do it?
TO: The satisfaction of seeing you come from where you were to where you are now. I love being outside. I love driving cars. This is my passion. I don’t do anything for money. You have to make money to pay your bills and pay your people, but I just really get a buzz from seeing people learn. I think it’s a life-changing experience. People come back and tell me they saved their own life because of what I taught them. I won’t die when I see a moose in front of me because I know how to react. People tell me that three or four months or a year later, a moose jumped out in front of them and they went right around him and their wife goes, “Wow! Where’d you learn that?” Then they realize I made them visualize what they would do in that situation. So, when it happens, you react appropriately because you’ve already worked it through.

BK: What are your long-term goals for Team O’Neil?
TO: We’re going to continue doing what we do. We’re going to do it better, like we always do, everything better. We will provide synthetic [simulation-based] training with live training. That will make the live training better. We’ll do motor-sport testing and development. But everything is all about driver improvement.

Interested in rally racing or in dramatically improving your foul-weather or accident-avoidance driving skills at Team O’Neil? I encourage you to read more about my day-by-day experience at the school and see videos of my exploits in the rally section here on my Good Carma blog. I’ll warn you, though, this training may sound like work, but in reality it’s more fun than you could imagine. And fun like that is contagious.

January 27, 2009

Chevy Volting Into The Future

Chevy_volt GM Chevrolet announced at the Automotive News World Congress this week that they will invest $30 million in their new plant specializing in lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will be used in the new Chevy Volt. For anyone unfamiliar with the Chevy Volt it is a new hybrid that GM has been working on. With production set to begin in late 2010 Vermont Car Dealerships should begin offering the Volt in 2011. The car uses a lithium-ion battery that allows the vehicle to drive up to 40 miles on battery power alone. Once the battery has died the Volt can run for an additional 300 miles on it’s gasoline reserve.  The battery will take about three hours to charge using a 240v adapter, meaning that most people living in a urban or suburban area will not even need to use gas to get around town if they own a Volt.  Hopefully the Volt will serve as a stepping stone towards a cleaner more eco-friendly lifestyle for the average American and help to to wean us off of our dependence on foreign oil.  

Source: https://www.egmcartech.com

January 25, 2009

MOTOGP In The Woods Of New Hampshire?

John_hopkins_rally One of my co-students at Team O’Neil Rally School last week turned out to be MOTOGP (Motorcycle Grand Prix) racer John Hopkins. John had a rough 2008 that included 3 serious crashes on his Kawasaki motorcycle. He is now back in great shape and like any champion looking forward to his next challenge.

BOB KILPATRICK: You’re a motorcycle racer. What are you doing here in the snow and woods of New Hampshire in a rally car?
JOHN HOPKINS: Basically just getting my car control down and getting some experience behind the wheel. I got the chance to drive the Subaru [prepared by Vermont SportsCar] on the last day. I’ve always had an interest in rally. Alpinestars, my main sponsor and Arai and Monster thought it would be a really good event if I can get myself enough experience to compete in the X Games this summer. And so I said, “Yeah man, I would love it!”

BK: So the primary goal is to get into the rally event at X Games this Summer?
JH: Yeah, I'm working to get into the X Games this summer, I hope to be competing there this year.

BK: What do you need to do to get that far?
JH:  Basically I’ve got some races that we’re going to attend to. Today was the make it or break it day, where I decided “okay, I think I’m good enough where I can get to the next level”. Now I'll start progressing from here. If I didn’t like it we would have taken the car experience and moved on, but I’ve come away today just so damn excited about it. I just had a blast. A really, really good time. I feel like I’ve got a lot to learn, but I can progress strongly. Now the next stage is to get on the phone with my agents and managers back in Carlsbad, that manage Pastrana and Mirra, all the same guys, and say “Okay, what’s next? Get me in the next rally.” They’ll line it all up and I think the first race will be in Canada. And from there we’ll do more races and try to get as much testing under our belts as possible, just drive as much as possible leading up to the X Games.

John_hopkins_rally_ BK: We all agree rally is fun. I know I’ve felt like a kid on a roller coaster all week. Is it similar to riding the motorcycle?
JH: It’s similar for me as far as just the adrenaline and the excitement that I get. That’s what got me to the level that I’m at with my motorcycle racing. My instinct, my excitement and my passion for racing and this just brought it all back. It was something new today that I really, really enjoyed. I’ve definitely got a passion for it.

BK: I would think that on the motorcycle it would be more precision, there’s one particular line to ride as opposed to rally where you’re bouncing around and you’re switching things up.
JH: It’s a completely different discipline, but I’ve done a lot of off-road stuff as well. I’m always out in the desert off-roading my trucks. It’s a similar concept. It’s whether you can get yourself into that tunnel vision, you start getting into that focus in rally, you’re bouncing around everywhere. I’ve grown up in motocross where you’re flying everywhere. You’ve got legs flying off the bike and you’re still staying on it. It’s a similar sort of mental focus. I think rally drivers are probably the smartest drivers on the planet as compared to any other discipline of driving. You’ve got to work with a co-driver. You’ve got to know what’s coming up. If you slide off the track in Formula 1 or anything like that you’re going to go in a gravel trap. You’re going to be safe. In rally you’re doing a hundred miles an hour in the forest. Man, you hit a tree and there’s going to be some consequences. That brings tons of excitement back to it. I love it.

January 24, 2009

Team O'Neil Day 4

Well the good times had to end sometime and so I find myself at the end of my four days at Team O'Neil Rally Driving School. We came out to the course after lunch and it hit me, darn it, this is it.
As long as everyone's driving skills had progressed appropriately, and ours had, we got to drive one last long run on a particularly tough course. This last winding run included a scary looking, off-camber, icy, narrow, steep downhill section that in preview had me spooked. Instructor Chris Duplessis (a two-time, two-wheel drive Rally Champion) took us through the course at top speed which was a wicked blast. That really inspired me to give it a go. How did I do? Check out the video. It was a great ending to a fantastic week. Thanks to Tim O'Neil and all of the superb Team O'Neil instructors, you guys all kick ass!

January 23, 2009

Team O'Neil Day 3

Each day (and each skill for that matter) at Team O'Neil is a well thought out progression into the following one. They don't push you too hard, but at the same time you are constantly challenged. Each vehicle has two students and an instructor on board. For each new technique first lead instructor Wyatt Knox explains the technique on a white board. Then another instructor takes you out on a few runs showing you how it's done. Then you and the other student switch back and forth each taking about 4 runs and then swapping seats to watch the other guy try it. The pauses allow you to think about what you're doing, then you get to hit it again. Towards the end of the day we got to extend the course a bit and included a big loop around the garage. This added about 6 turns on narrower roads and it was really a blast. I started getting the hang of linking my turns and that felt great. Today we get to push it further and go out on some longer roads. I can't wait!

January 22, 2009

Team O'Neil Day 2

We began Day 2 running a slalom course driving the same front-wheel drive Volkswagen Jettas that we started with on Day 1. The slalom started with long turns that grew steadily tighter. It was a good way to re-acclimate to the vehicles and also to get the feel for weight transfer which would lead us into the second maneuver of the day, Pendulum Turns. A pendulum turn is used to whip you around a tight corner at a reasonably high speed. You first turn hard enough in the opposite direction of the turn to start a skid and then counter steer to whip the car back around and accelerate out. Good luck. This was the first time in the course that I really started getting frustrated. I could get the first skid down pretty well, but found myself somewhat overwhelmed mid-way through and half the time ended up chowing down on the cones that marked our desired path on the exit. Then we added the slalom again, finishing it with a pendulum turn. This actually seemed to settle me down. I was over-thinking it less and instinctively feeling the turns a little better. To end the driving portion of the day we switched over to all-wheel drive Audi 4000s. Of course this meant more changes to our driving technique, but not so much that we couldn't hit the slalom and pendulum turns fairly well right away. At the very end of the day there was an optional classroom course that earned you co-efficients (or points) towards a rally license. I'm not sure that I'll ever drive in a pro rally, but I stayed on nonetheless just to increase my understanding of the sport. All in all another great day at Team O'Neil!

Chrysler, Fiat Seeing Eye To Eye

Chrysler_fiat Chrysler announced on Tuesday that the company will be forming an alliance with Italian based car manufacturer Fiat. The proposed alliance would give a 35% stake in Chrysler to Fiat in exchange for sharing of management, manufacturing, and technology. The alliance hopes to allow Chrysler and its subsidiary Dodge to enter into foreign markets where the American car manufacturer has fallen behind its competitors, and boost Fiat’s North American sales. Chrysler will have access to all Fiat vehicle platforms allowing the US auto maker to offer smaller, more fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly cars into their production portfolio. The hope is that the agreement will help provide sustainable sales and market share consequentially creating more jobs and helping to boost the economy. The deal was designed to enhance the return on investment for American tax payers from the $4 billion loan that Chrysler  received earlier this month.  The alliance, that is expected to be completed by April of this year, is subject to approval by the U.S. Treasury which is overseeing the $4 billion rescue package for Chrysler. No stipulations involving cash compensation from Fiat were involved in the agreement.

Source: https://www.freep.com/

January 21, 2009

Team O'Neil Day 1

So here I am in Dalton, NH at Team O'Neil Rally School. The day started with a rendezvous at the Hampton Inn in Littleton, NH and then we convoyed out to the school's remote location. The site is beautiful. The school sits in a small valley or dale surrounded by rugged evergreen and birch covered hills. We started with an hour of classroom instruction and then headed out to the skid pad to start practicing left-foot braking and how to use that technique to turn the vehicle on the snow and ice covered low-traction surface. Then we hit the slalom course to start to get some rhythm and commit the technique to muscle-memory. All in all a great start to the week. These guys know what they're doing. I can't wait to see what day 2 brings!

January 19, 2009

I'm Going To Team O'Neil Rally School This Week

Tomorrow morning I'll be heading out bright and early, at about 6am, so I can get over to Littleton, NH for a 4-day Rally Driving School put on by Team O'Neil. We'll spend a portion of each day in a classroom, learning about rally driving techniques, then we'll head out for practice on the miles of snow covered roads their compound encompasses.

Owner and lead instructor, Tim O'Neil is a five-time US and North America Rally Racing Champion.I'll be blogging each evening, describing the events of the day, so be sure to check back in.

Chrysler Auto Financing Gets A Boost

Chrysler_dodge  The US Treasury Department this past week okayed a $1.5 billion loan to Chrysler specifically to provide loans to consumers. After a thirty percent drop in sales this past year, the news could not come at a better time for the US automaker. The five year loan starting with a $100 million installment last week will come from money in the Troubled Asset Relief Program that was created late last year in an effort to help bolster failing financial institutions. Following the news of the loan, Chrysler announced that they will ease off on credit standards for customers purchasing new cars, and will be offering zero percent, 60 month financing on 11 of their vehicles such as the Dodge Ram pickup and the Chrysler Town & Country minivan. With the massive loan, the hope is that Chrysler will be more willing and able to lend to potential car buyers and restore faith in the consumers; which should be good news for the people over at Goss Dodge in Burlington. The auto industry and the rest of the economy are certainly not out of the woods yet, but it’s a good sign that things are pointing in the right direction and help is on its way.


Source: https://www.nytimes.com

January 16, 2009

Nascar In High Speed Collision With The Economy

Race_collision Nascar’s Sprint Cup Series kicks off in just a few weeks with an exhibition event February 7th at the Budweiser Shootout taking place at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach Florida. Then the 36-race series really kicks into gear the following weekend with the biggest Nascar event of the year, the Daytona 500 on February 15th.

For the past decade Nascar has grown in leaps and bounds, from an organization that was primarily funded by ticket sales and merchandise to one driven by lucrative sponsorships and advertising. As the economy falters those sponsors are cutting back or pulling out entirely. The NY Times reports that in the 2008 racing season 400 companies put up more than $1.5 billion dollars in sponsorship funds. About one third of that was provided by big automakers. Much of it has been slashed for 2009.

One result is that teams across the country are merging to save money resulting in wide spread job losses. The American Winston-Salem Journal Newspaper reported recently that 700 jobs had been cut by Nascar teams and suppliers.

Famous race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is also the owner of JR Motorsports, says they will be running one full-time Nationwide car this year instead of the two they had last season. “Everybody's been making job cuts and stuff here and there, trying to do whatever they can to maintain their organizations and keep their teams together.”

Race tracks around the country are slashing ticket prices, offering fan incentives and trying to find other creative ways to maintain attendance. At the Daytona 500 grand stand tickets have been reduced from $99 to $55. That’s the lowest Daytona 500 ticket price since 1995. At the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA front row grandstand seats have been cut from $55 to $35. Texas Motor Speedway will have tickets for as low as $20 for its Sprint Cup races this year.

Traditionally test sessions are scheduled at tracks around the country to allow teams to tune their cars performance in preparation for races there. Now Nascar has banned these tests for the entire season to save money. Drivers like three-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson don’t like the ban. His consistent success on the track is built on good “data acquisition”. Team owners on the other hand might be happy to be saving an estimated $60-70,000 for each testing session totaling millions of dollars over a season.

So far there has been no reduction in this year’s 36-race schedule, but potential cuts are definitely on the table. As 2009 unfolds more changes will certainly be in store.

January 14, 2009

Dealer.com Put The Pedal To The Metal in 2008

Dealer.com Dealer.com, "the leading provider of online marketing solutions for the automotive industry" (and the power behind the Seven Days Auto Finder site) just announced that in 2008 they had their highest annual growth to date! That they are ranked #2 within the entire software industry for great customer service might have something to do with their success.

From their cool campus at the corner of Howard and Pine here in Burlington, VT they have been growing by leaps and bounds and have a six-year growth rate of 925 percent! That translates to lots of good jobs for Vermont.

I really have to say it's nice to have some good auto-related economic news to talk about for a change.

In case you are unfamiliar with them they specialize in creating web sites and a variety of lead management and search engine products for auto dealerships throughout North America.

Keep on truckin' Dealer.com!

January 12, 2009

Motor Sports Application For The iPhone

Iphone_app The iPhone finally goes on sale in Vermont this Thursday. Sure it’s a phone, but it’s also packed with other advanced tech features including an accelerometer which detects movement. The primary purpose of the onboard accelerometer is to turn the screen as you rotate the device. So if you are holding the iPhone upright the display is upright, turn it sideways and the screen immediately turns sideways giving you a widescreen view. Manufacturers of iPhone game applications or “apps” quickly saw the potential for this technology and built games like Super Monkey Ball whose action is controlled as you tilt your hands - similar to the Nintendo Wii.

Now Dynolicious has created an iPhone app for the motorsports crowd. The $12.99 Auto Performance Meter can measure and record:
•    0-60 mph acceleration
•    ¼ mile elapsed time
•    Lateral G’s
•    Horsepower
•    Downloadable timed run graphs
•    Downloadable skidpad graphs

It even stores a history of your runs, showing averages and trends. You can upgrade your car’s performance and then show before-and-after results giving you a depiction of the effectiveness of your efforts. They claim the device is very accurate, with samples taken as often as one hundred times per second. It is described as needing no setup, wires or additional hardware. Road and Track magazine calls it a “killer app for the amateur road-tester” whose color-coded graphs “practically leap off the device”.

I guess that’s one more good reason to get yourself an iPhone. I suspect I’m going to be seeing them mounted to the dashboards of many of my performance-minded friend’s vehicles this season.

January 07, 2009

Winter Safe Driving Tips

Af-image010709 To drive safely on ice and snow, you need to prep your car and acquire the knowledge and driving skills to handle winter’s slippery conditions. Snow and ice present an entirely different driving experience than dry or even wet pavement. For your own, your passengers’ and other motorists’ safety, learn how to drive with control. It could be a matter of life and death.

First, give yourself a test. Don’t wait until you’re on an icy highway to determine whether you, and your car, have what it takes. Find a traffic and hazard-free area such as an empty parking lot that is covered with snow. At a slow speed, try braking quickly to a stop. Does your car brake evenly? Depending on your braking system and its condition, the car may veer right or left, or fail to stop as intended. Do you have ABS brakes? They have a “stuttering” action that can be alarming. Try them out so you are not shocked by their effect. If you find your ability to stop the car is significantly reduced in ice and snow, be sure to have a professional check your vehicle.

Next, practice turning. Think “donuts” are just for teenagers? Think again. You should practice maneuvering your car under controlled conditions to sharpen your reaction time when you encounter a sudden loss of traction out in traffic. Try driving in a circle and continue to build speed slowly until the car starts to lose traction. Practice until you can control the vehicle even as it starts to skid.

Here’s what to do if you start to skid in practice or on the road. Your instinct will probably be to hit the brakes, hard. That’s the wrong thing to do and will likely reduce your ability to control the car. First, let off the gas and then steer in the direction you wish to be moving. Depending on the nature of the skid and the configuration of your vehicle, there are a variety of next steps, but it all starts with practice and knowledge of your vehicle. Knowing when to brake and when to accelerate out of a skid are things you can’t just read about and then accomplish without practice.

Want to take it to the next level? Local groups such as the Sports Car Club of Vermont host events year-round that can help you hone your driving skills in a supportive and safe environment. Team O’Neil Rally School & Car Control Center in New Hampshire offers a variety of winter driving sessions that can teach you to drive like a pro on any road condition.

What if you do stuff your car in a snow bank? If you aren’t buried too deeply, first try slowly turning your wheels back and forth to clear some snow away from them. Then press the gas slowly, but don’t spin your tires. That will just dig you in further. If you are really stuck, you’ll need to get out and clear snow from around the vehicle to free it up. Then pour some sand or kitty litter in the path of the wheels. Now when you try to drive out, attempt to use a rocking motion by pressing and releasing the accelerator. Again, don’t spin the tires excessively. You can also shift back and forth from forward to reverse, but some automatic transmissions can be damaged by this action, so be sure to check your owner’s manual first.

Nobody wants to get in an accident, especially in frigid temperatures; you might end up stuck on the highway or on a remote back road until help arrives. Taking the time to prepare yourself and your vehicle is well worth the effort. Approach it as an enjoyable challenge and have fun!

Sports Car Club of Vermont
www.sccv.org

Team O’Neil Rally School & Car Control Center
www.teamoneil.com
603-444-4488

Tips for Driving on Ice and Snow
• Slow down! Many drivers don’t reduce their speed until they see another driver lose control, or one stuck in a snow bank. If there is ice or snow on the road, assume that your traction will be reduced.
• Since it will take longer to stop on a slippery road, leave extra space between you and other vehicles.
• Brake, accelerate and steer gently. Sudden changes can cause you to lose traction and control.
• Drive with your lights on even if in the daytime — it makes you more visible to other motorists.
• Be sure to clean off your headlights and remove all frost from your windshield.
• Beware of bridges, snow-blown roads and shady areas, as they generally freeze up first.
• Maintain a safe distance from plow vehicles. You are better off staying behind them. If you have to pass, do so with great caution. And assume that road conditions will be worse in front of them.
• Avoid using cruise control and overdrive on icy roads.
• Don’t assume having four-wheel or all-wheel drive gives you super powers — it will not stop your vehicle any faster than two-wheel drive would. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are often the first ones to go careening off the road because of the over-confidence they inspire.

Source: www.weather.com

Winter Auto Checklist

  • Switch to snow tires
  • Test battery and charging system
  • Check anti-freeze mixture
  • Get scheduled oil changes
  • Fill washer fluid
  • Inspect windshield wipers
  • Inspect belts and hoses
  • Inspect brakes
  • Inspect spare tire
  • Locate jack and lug wrench
  • Assemble emergency kit (should include flashlight, jumper cables, blanket, gloves, sand or kitty litter and energy food)
  • Wash your vehicle throughout the winter to remove salt
  • Keep gas above a half tank, especially prior to winter storms
  • Add dry gas prior to bouts of extremely cold weather

Courtesy of McCaffrey Sunoco of Burlington, Vermont

January 03, 2009

I Got Gas For Eleven Cents A Gallon!

My local Price Chopper grocery store is offering a $0.10 per gallon discount on gas for every $50 you spend there. I've been watching the discount on my account grow until it finally hit $1.50 off per gallon last week. I headed down to McCaffrey Sunoco (a participating gas station) here in Burlington, Vermont and got 19 gallons of gas for about $2. Nice!

You should check out the Fuel AdvantEdge program if you are interested in saving a few bucks on gas yourself.

Website by Dealer.com