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March 2010

March 31, 2010

Traveling with Allergies

87813395 By Lauren Bjerk

It's a vacation, time to relax, right? Well if you have allergies, not necessarily. Travel can be a nightmare for those with allergic ailments. From the methods of transportation to the outings fellow vacationers choose to embark on, those with allergies may find it challenging to rest and enjoy their time away.

Combating the surroundings on vacation and in transit is not an easy task, but here are some tips to help enjoy the vacation without an EpiPen.

1. Bring the right amount of medication. Also check and see the pollen amount in the area you are staying in.

2. Plan activities wisely. Check online the locations and what the weathers like in the area you're in. 

3. Don't make a smell. Avoid colognes, perfumes, lotions and anything else with a scent as it will attract insects or possibly give rise to your allergies.

4. Sensitive sunscreen. Make sure the sunscreen you use is kind to your skin type, and do a patch test a couple days before so you know just how your skin will react.

5. Check the labels. Especially if you have food allergies, make sure to be very aware of everything you eat on your trip. Often times when vacationing people will try a new dish, so before you do that, find out whats in it.

For more RTM articles about Travel Advice and Tips, click here.

March 30, 2010

Teach Your Teen to Drive a Stick

89296994[2] Though manual transmissions are often called "standard," there's no typical way to convince your teenager that he or she should be driving a car with one in it.

For you, the parent buying the car, the choice to go standard is easy: Cars with manual transmissions are often cheaper than their automatic counterparts, get slightly better gas mileage and can be easy to handle for longer trips, such as traveling to and from college.

But your child might not feel as enthused about learning how to drive a stick shift, so we've outlined a simple way to get him or her off the bench and into the driver's seat. Read our tips below for teaching how to make using a clutch a cinch.

Practice on an older car. Newer cars have "stickier" transmissions, and let's face it — you want this process to go as smoothly as possible.

Find a flat, empty parking lot. You don't want your teenager worrying about hitting light poles or other cars while he is learning. Also, you might want to start teaching in the middle of the parking lot so there's lots of room to move around.

Introduce your teen to the pedals. There are three pedals, from left to right — the clutch, the brake and the gas. Make sure your young driver readily knows which is which.

Review the shift pattern. Each gearshift has a simple diagram to show your teen where the gears are. First, third and fifth gears are along the top; neutral is in the middle; and second, fourth and reverse are at the bottom.

Make sure your teen engages the parking brake. Enough said.

New drivers, start your engines. Instruct your teen to press down on the clutch pedal, move the gearshift into neutral and start the car.

Conquer first gear. Tell your new driver to — while still pressing the clutch pedal — move the gearshift into first gear, or the top-left position on most cars. Be sure to point out that this is how to shift into reverse, too.

"Brake" out. Have your teen apply the foot brake and release the parking brake. The new driver can slowly release the foot brake when he is ready to start moving. As a co-pilot in this new venture, you might want to locate the parking brake yourself, just in case.

Everyone, listen to the car. Have your teen driver release the clutch pedal slowly, and when he hears the engine begin to slow down, to slowly press the gas pedal. Have him continue to release the clutch until the car starts moving.

Watch the RPM gauge. When the engine accelerates to about 3,000 RPM, instruct your young driver to take his foot off the gas and pull the gearshift down into second gear, all the way down and to the left. Say these gear-location directions out loud to help your teen remember.

Shift, rinse, repeat. Each time the engine reaches 3,000 RPM, tell the new driver to shift up into the next gear. Since you're practicing in a parking lot, your teen probably won't move out of second gear. Regardless, make sure he knows where all of the gears are.

Discover downshifting. To have your teen master shifting down, teach him to release the gas to slow down. Then have him press down on the clutch and move the gearshift down one gear at a time. Once the car is in the lowest gear, have your teen driver release the clutch and brake simultaneously.

Teach how to stop. Instruct your teen to stop the car by downshifting into second gear and pressing down on the brake. Then have him press the clutch as the car slows down, and make sure he doesn’t downshift into first.

Encourage, and be patient. There will probably be many jerky stops and starts along the way. But don't worry — your teen will eventually get the hang of driving a stick shift.

So take a couple of deep breaths, buckle your seatbelt and maybe recruit a few manual transmission-driving family members to help with the learning process. Practice makes perfect!

 For more articles on RTM auto advice and tips, click here.

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March 29, 2010

New Car Review: 2010 Jaguar XF

2010-New-Jaguar-XF-car-wallsBy Martha Hindes

If any car has a velvet touch, it would have to be the XF. I tested Jaguar's newest darling and found it supple, compliant in every way, and a delicious balance of luxury and thrill. Every function flows, from a telescoping gearshift that "dials" the chosen gear, to overhead lights that operate by sensor, touchable 7-inch navvies and cooled seats.

But take this road hugging cat for a spin and WOW! does it deliver. Three new engines for 2010 underscore its ability to launch or carve around corners. I played with manual drive by simply changing gears; no toggles or gauges to set. While I was distracted with girl talk it quietly returned to automatic.

Inside this pristine Jag I found quality in every corner, a balance of function and clean design. Outside, its identifiably Jag profile and face blend in a sporty, roomy and liquid smooth sedan rendition. Pricing's in the $50K to high $70K range. Head turners -- including the pumped up R and upcoming Diesel S editions - never had such sophisticated allure. Who cares if it only gets 16-miles to the gallon?

For more information about the Jaguar XF, click here.

For more new car reviews from Road & Travel Magazine, click here.

March 26, 2010

Driving Habits That Save You Money

Uniroyal Tire is excited to be partnering with the Road & Travel Magazine blog as part of our “More Mileage for Your Money” campaign. Uniroyal’s posts will help you save money on everything from gas to vacations. Enjoy our first post!


Have you ever thought about how your driving habits affect your wallet? The way you drive can significantly decrease your gas mileage or cause other costly problems for your vehicle.


Here are some tips to make sure you are getting “More Mileage for Your Money”:

  • Drive the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
  • Don’t be an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving (excessive speeds, accelerating quickly, abrupt stops/braking) can lower gas mileage and wastes fuel.
  • Go easy on the air conditioning. Roll down your car’s windows and let in the summer breeze. Using the gas-hogging air conditioning as sparingly as possible will give your car’s fuel economy a real boost.
  • Clean out your trunk. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones.
  • Park in the first spot you find. If you wander all over the parking lot looking for the closest parking space, you’ll use more gas. Even if you have to walk a little, it’s good exercise.

For more information on Uniroyal Tires, click here.


For more articles on RTM auto advice and tips, click here.

March 25, 2010

New Car Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart

By Bob Plunkett

We're flying along the twisty course in a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback.

    Posed on a stiff platform which counterbalances the pumped-up turbo muscle with sure-stick all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction and forceful brakes, the slick new 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sportback scoots through the snaky section in a flat stance with sticky summer tires clawing the tarmac.

    Even when parked on the lot, the Lancer Ralliart Sportback looks like its racing at an illegal speed.

    You can drive it like an automatic, without a thought devoted to shifting gears, or you can switch to hands-on for shifting chores to maximize driver control. Lancer GTS Sportback is the entry edition equipped with a four-cylinder engine tied to a five-speed manual gearbox or optional six-speed continuously variable transaxle (CVT).

   The car exhibits awesome stick-to-the-road ability because of the all-time AWD device with a front helical limited slip differential and mechanical rear limited-slip, plus Mitsubishi's ACD (Active Center Differential) which employs an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch to split engine torque between front and rear wheels.

    The cabin of Lancer Ralliart Sportback is an expansive space in a layout which shows two buckets up front, a back bench split 60/40 with room for three, and the rear cargo section.

    Passengers are surrounded by air bags, including multi-stage frontal air bags and side air bags for front seats along with curtain-style air bags tucked in the ceiling for all outboard seats. There's even an inflatable air bag ahead of the driver's knees. Front seatbelts employ load-limited and pretensioning apparatus, while backseat restraints include upper and lower anchors to mount a child's safety seat.

    Mitsubishi establishes a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $19,200 for the Lancer GTS Sportback. Numbers for the Lancer Ralliart Sportback begin at $27,600

Click here for more information about Mitsubishi vehicles

Click here for more new car reviews from Road & Travel Magazine.

March 24, 2010

The Residence Inn Review - Manhattan Beach, CA

Two-room-suite What I loved about the Residence Inn was their two story penthouse suites, which provided a sense of apartment living rather than staying in a hotel. They do offer one and two bedroom suites where one bedroom is on the second floor with its own bath and the other on the first floor behind French doors also with its own bath. Don’t assume a ‘penthouse suite’ is out of your range. Some of these suites can go for as little as $149 per night depending on when you stay, which in my book is a lot of bang for the buck.

The living room area is large and some suites come with a fireplace but you must request it at the time you make your reservations. What I really enjoyed about this suite was the separation of the bedrooms from the living room, providing privacy for all. The living room couch also doubles as a sofa bed, which can easily sleep one full size adult comfortably or two kids. That means the Penthouse Suites can sleep up to six with ease.

The Manhattan Beach location sits only blocks from one of the most beautiful beaches in America. While you can’t see the beach from this property, you can easily walk to it if you felt up to it. Manhattan Beach is a very upscale community with great shopping, many unique restaurants, and plenty of places to go and things to do, many of which are within walking distance with the right pair of shoes.

For the full review of Manhattan Beach, click here.

For more RTM hotel and resort reviews, click here.

For more information on The Residence Inn Manhattan Beach, click here.

March 21, 2010

New Car Review: 2010 Infiniti EX35

By Bob Plunkett

503 We're poised on a parking lot in a San Diego suburb preceding some drive tests in a 2010 Infiniti EX35 crossover utility vehicle.

 EX 2010 unites a powerful V6 engine with sculptural bodywork and a spacious five-place passenger compartment filled with a carload of comfort gear as well as high-tech electronic gadgets.

 Infiniti says the EX possesses the soul of a nimble sports coupe, but then it packs the hardware of a sporty car.

 All EX models carry Infiniti's vehicle dynamic control device and traction control system which automatically check lateral skidding on slippery pavement.

 Also, there are plenty of air bags concealed in the passenger compartment. The collection includes dual-stage frontal air bags plus side-impact air bags for front seats and curtain-style air bags mounted in the roof above front and rear outboard seats.

 Hang on for a wild ride because EX35 romps -- it's quick off the stoplight line but also quick to accelerate at highway speed and, as our drive tests reveal, downright fun to drive.

 The smart equipment is able to distribute the engine's torque in amounts which vary with the pavement conditions (smooth or rough, wet or dry) and a particular driver's intensity. That torque division could be 50:50 (front/rear) to assure good tire grip on dirt or slippery snow, or a split of 0:100 (front/rear) for optimum acceleration on dry pavement from a standing start.

 The cabin for EX35, with form-fitting seats and lots of electronic gizmos, is an artful design trimming in premium leather with textured aluminum accents.

 Infiniti structures the price chart for the 2010 EX35 CUV upward from the entry MSRP of $33,800.

Click here for more information on Infinit vehicles

Click here for more new car reviews from Road & Travel Magazine.

March 18, 2010

Tips for Selling a Used Car

Are you ready to be out with the old and in with the new? Here are a few general tips for getting the most out of your used vehicle.

Car Be prepared. Know what you old car is worth, know how much you want to get for it, and stand firm. Before you go in, set a baseline in your mind that you're not willing to break. If the deal isn't right, go somewhere else.

Flatter your car. Give it a good scrubbing inside and out. Spend some time polishing with a good car wax and run through the inside with a vacuum. Stale French fries lodged between the seat cushions might not be a fair indicator of the car's condition - but it's quite a turnoff nonetheless.

Keep the motor clean. Consider hosing off the engine with a degreasing agent.

Perform a general maintenance check. Change the oil and make sure all other fluids are topped off. Make sure the tire pressure is at the level outlined in the owner's manual.

Change the spark plugs. Many buyers request to pull a spark plug to check for deposits of oil, and to assess the condition of the engine. And if they don't ask, pull the new sparkplugs for them.

Get all your paperwork in order. Prepare a folder containing a list of all maintenance records, the owner's manual, registration and title. The more organized you appear, the more confident a potential buyer will be that you've taken good care of the car.

Show it off. If you choose the online route, or even if you decide to pay to run a photo in a printed classified listing, photograph your meticulously cleaned car with a flattering backdrop. Shooting it in an appealing location near a coastline, some mountains or in front of some greenery will look more impressive than standing next to a dumpster.

March 17, 2010

New Car Review: 2010 Ford Taurus

By Bob Plunkett

Ford1These wheels de jour amount to a new flagship 2010 Ford Taurus in the package of a mid-size model but the cabin of a big car with high-riding seats and a load of high-tech and luxury gear.

The doors run deep to make cabin entry and exit easy and seats are elevated so passengers sit a few inches higher than in other sedans of comparable size. Ford labels the design as 'Command Seating' and compares the upright seat position to that of a crossover utility vehicle.

 And while the beltline is high, so too is the wrap of windows around the cabin so a driver has good sight lines with virtually no blind spots -- note triangular glass in rear roof pillars to diminish corner vision blockage.

 The spec sheet for Taurus lists lots of active and passive safety equipment.

 Passive devices include smart dual-stage frontal air bags for front riders, plus seat-mounted side air bags up front and curtain-style side air bags front and rear.

 Active safety systems range from four-wheel disc brakes tied to an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and traction control system (TCS) or Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic anti-skid mechanism.

 Essentially, the passenger compartment on Taurus was designed around body sizes of intended occupants, with more than adequate room for long legs and broad shoulders.

 Cool ideas make it nice inside:

 * Intelligent Access with Push Button Start -- a driver totes a keyless fob, taps a touch pad on the door pillar to enter, then cranks the engine from a push-button starter.

 * Adaptive Cruise Control -- a radar-based system capable of maintaining a precise distance between the Taurus front bumper and the back bumper of a vehicle ahead.

 * BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert via icons in side mirrors.

 * Ford Sync -- voice-activated control over in-car phones, media players and USB storage devices.

 Ford surprises with price points on the 2010 Taurus at the level of 2009 models, beginning at $25,180 for base Taurus SE FWD.

The 2010 Ford Taurus won the 2010 International Car of the Year Award. Click here for more information.

Click here for more information about Ford vehicles

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Building a Vehicle Emergency Kit - Part Two

Here are additional items necessary for you onboard vehicle safety kit:

FlashlightFlashlight —Purchase a wind-up flashlight, and you'll never have to worry about dead batteries.

Jumper Cables — Look for the compact, coiled type that fit neatly into their own bag.

Liquid Latex — This miracle-in-a-can seals small holes in tires.

Matches — If you have to stay overnight in your car and make a campfire somewhere beside it, the last thing you want to worry about is how to start a fire rubbing two sticks together.

Meal Kit — Keep non-perishable items like packs of crackers, dried fruit, peanut butter, energy bars and even canned tuna with pop-top lids in your car at all times.

Pencil and Notepad — You might need this in case of a car accident, so you can jot down the other drivers' information, or for writing down instructions from 911 or directions.

Snow Scraper — You might also need a small shovel and a snowbrush. But if your area primarily deals with ice conditions, a snow or ice scraper will do.

Warning Light or Road Flares — If you're in an accident — especially at night — make yourself more visible to rescue personnel and other drivers.

Click here for more safety tips from Road & Travel Magazine

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