Long Term Goals

Wise car shoppers know that the best way to get the most for their vehicular dollars is to think long term, like a successful stock market investor, and select a model that not only meets one’s needs and budget, but will cost less to own relative to competing makes and … Read more


Old Car Theft

Q: We’ve had a rash of car thefts in our neighborhood recently, and they’re all older vehicles, even though many of our neighbors leave their new, fancy cars that are clearly worth much more parked in their driveways overnight, not in garages. Is this just an aberration in our city? … Read more

Keep conversation casual

It’s always been common for drivers to have conversations with passengers, but nowadays, phone conversations are also prevalent. Beyond that, many drivers can’t resist the lure of convenient text message communication. The latter is forbidden by law in just about every jurisdiction nationwide. But sadly,… Read more

Supercars Reborn

No, they’re not for everyone. They’re limited-production, high-performance models that can make school kids swoon and set adults’ hearts racing. Carved with complex curves, creases, scoops and spoilers, and set precipitously low to the ground, they’re priced beyond reason and afford little in the way of practicality, but they’re certain … Read more

More Drivers Taking the ‘High’ Road

While the number of drivers having alcohol in their systems declined by nearly one-third since 2007, one in four drivers now say they’ve driven under the influence of at least one drug that could impair their safety - usually prescription drugs or marijuana. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic … Read more

No Top Truck

Q: I bought a Ram 1500 last year after quite a lot of research, and a big part of my decision was influenced by Consumer Reports naming it best pickup in 2014. This year, there’s no best pickup choice by Consumer Reports. What’s up? A: Consumer Reports did not choose … Read more

Undecided Shoppers

Percentage of new car shoppers that don’t have a specific make or model in mind when starting to search for a car. Source: Autotrader.com Read more

Recurring controversy

Over the years of this column’s publication, some driving topics give rise to recurring controversy. Although common sense and written law should dictate driver behavior, certain situations continue to be a source of uncertainty, frustration, and even rage. Differing opinions and indifference to established rules… Read more

Toyota Sienna: People-hauling made better

This side of a big, yellow school bus, the minivan is the most efficient and comfortable way to transport people and their possessions. Nevertheless, its stock has fallen sharply of late, victimized by the popularity of the sedan-based crossover. Doesn’t seem to matter to Toyota,… Read more

History’s Oddest Auto Accessories

A true automotive icon is celebrating its 100 anniversary this year, one that’s been satisfying the needs of garage mechanics and fueling the fantasies of car crazy adolescents for generations. That would be the beloved JC Whitney auto parts mail-order catalog which, aside from the usual array of tires, batteries … Read more

Leasing Fuels New- and Used-Car Markets

New-car leasing continues to gain in popularity among consumers, and is expected to surpass 1999’s previous record high of 3.3 million vehicles by year’s end, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association in McLean, Virginia. Consumers often find they can obtain a better or costlier car for the same or … Read more

Brighter Lights

Q: Are there national regulations on how bright headlights can be, and have they changed recently? More and more I find myself almost blinded by the lights of oncoming vehicles at night. That’s not true of all the cars I encounter, so I’m pretty sure it’s not a new vision … Read more

Buckle Up

Average percentage increase in insurance rates for a driver who receives a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt - the least-expensive infraction nationwide. Source:InsuranceQuotes.com Read more

Elder driver follow-up

Two weeks ago, I presented some situations involving the elder group of drivers. That included accidents related to diminishing awareness/reflexes/vision or health problems, aging drivers’ reluctance to give up the driving privilege, and even some apt remedies for these dilemmas. As is typical, readers followed… Read more

VW Jetta: Promise fulfilled

Volkswagen dropped the sixth-generation Jetta in 2011 and has refined its DNA each year since. Its cabin has grown richer. Engines are more refined and efficient. Ride and handling have evolved. This year, a mid-cycle refresh extends the streak: A stout new turbo-diesel joins the… Read more

Rebirth of the Electric Car

Though electric car sales may have stalled in relation to falling fuel prices, automakers are pressing ahead with new models that draw their power from the grid. Car companies are betting gas won’t stay cheap for much longer and are working hard to achieve ever-stricter federal fuel economy requirements by … Read more

App Lets Parents Keep Tabs on Teen Drivers

Big Brother, meet Big Mom and Dad. Available for both anxious parents of freshly licensed drivers and concerned small business owners, a new smartphone app is aimed at helping reduce dangerous driving behavior. Called SafeCell 360, it allows parents and employers to remotely manage and restrict use of mobile phones … Read more