Subscribe to the Road & Travel Blog RSS Feed

Auto Advice & Tips Feed

February 01, 2012

How Graduated Driver's Licensing Works by Molliie Jones

How Graduated Driver’s Licensing Works

by Mollie Jones

Getting a driver’s license is an important rite of passage as a teenager. Lately there has been much debate over the age at which teens should be eligible to drive by themselves. These debates have resulted in graduated driver’s licensing laws in many states. Though ages and restrictions can vary by state, graduated driver’s license laws share some common objectives.

  • Learner’s permit
    To obtain a learner’s permit, often a teen driver must meet specific age requirements (typically 15 or 16 years old), complete a driver’s education course and pass a written driving exam. Adult supervision may be required for 30-50 hours of driving time before the teen can earn an intermediate license.

  • Intermediate license
    An intermediate license is granted when a young driver has reached 16 or 17 years of age. At this point adult supervision is no longer required. However, other restrictions to the teen driver’s license will still apply, like night time driving curfews, cell phone restrictions and passenger limits. Teen drivers will also need to pass a behind-the-wheel maneuverability test. Full story

January 27, 2012

3 Things to Consider When Buying a Used Car

3 Important Things to do When Viewing a Used Car

There’s no doubt that buying a second hand car is a great way to save a lot of money, especially if you do it online at Motors. However, it’s equally as important to ensure that what you do but is the real deal. While most used autos these days are of very high quality, it’s always better to be safe than sorry isn’t it? With that in mind, here are 3 important things to do when viewing a used car.

Firstly, you should always be prepared to get down and dirty to give the car a thorough going over as this will reveal any obvious faults that would need fixing. Check everything from the wheel arches to the engine. Get in and press all the buttons you can find in the cabin, and adjust the seat to a comfortable position. Basically, if you walk away without dirty hands, you haven’t had a good enough look. Full Story

January 04, 2012

2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide

Road & Travel Magazine presents its 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide written by Martha Hindes

by Martha Hindes
Road & Travel Magazine Names Chevy Volt
Most Earth-Friendly Car of the Month

Deciding to drive green isn't an easy task. We can't simply go to a "green store" to swap out yesterday's wasteful wheels for an environmentally correct auto to replace it, since there's more than one remedy. In the past few years, hybrid vehicles that combine a small gasoline engine with a small electric motor have been gaining popularity as one earth-friendly solution. But it's not alone. How about clean diesels now just coming online that no longer belch dark clouds of sooty, smelly grit out of tail pipes? Or plug-in electrics on the horizon that never go near a gas pump and are just beginning to make a buzz.

Flexible fuel vehicles that can scarf down liquified plants or even moonshine to power them have been around for a decade or two. And research is continuing on other futuristic technologies such as fuel cells most people haven't yet heard about.

What's a buyer to do? To help answer that question, RTM has put together its 2012 Green Car Buyer's Guide with some of the various ecologically sensitive, fuel efficient vehicles you can buy today without mortgaging one's future in the process.

We choose the Chevy Volt from today's stable of contenders as our favorite for many reasons -- fuel economy, driving agility, security, interior space and style among them. And besides, it's so hot that dealers and buyers alike are falling all over themselves to get one. Full Guide - click here.


December 21, 2011

How to Prep your Vehicle Engine Hoses for Winter Driving

ROAD & TRAVEL Car Care: Winter Engine Check
No motorist relishes the inconvenience and hazard of being stranded on the road. Yet, year after year, the nation's motoring clubs echo the same service call reports.

These organizations respond to more than 50 million annual customer calls, and they estimate one-fifth could be avoided if car owners inspected tires, belts and hoses, and had them replaced before they failed unexpectedly.

The Gates Corporation, the auto aftermarket's leading supplier of engine belts and hoses, says at least 30 percent of all belts and hoses are changed at failure, rather than on a preventive maintenance basis.

To help motorists avoid car problems this winter, Gates advises some simple cooling system preventive maintenance procedures to ask your service technician to perform this fall. Full Story

December 12, 2011

2012 Nissan Quest Minivan Road Test Review

2012 Nissan Quest Minivan Road Test Review by Martha Hindes - 2012 Minivan Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

Would you really expect a minivan -- of all things -- to feel like you were driving a car? Aren't they rather like roadworthy versions of Tele-Tubbies that waddle when they drive? Don't try telling that to anyone who's had seat time in Nissan's 2012 Quest. You're likely to get an ear full in an instant.

Nissan spent the previous year reinventing its extremely capable minivan, toning and tucking its sheet metal exterior to enliven the look that carries over for 2012. A restyled, muscular face gives a sense of command and authority. The resulting sculpture-like profile is surrounded with a sweep of privacy glass

That wasn't what caught our attention as we punched the "Start" button once the keyless entry let us inside. After a few minutes on flat Michigan roads, it became obvious. This was really a sedan masquerading as a minivan. No heavy feeling behind the wheel. No sense of drag on curves or lag during acceleration. Heck, without cargo or a load of passengers, we almost forgot we were driving a minivan. We estimate it would have fared well with those additions anyway. That authority in the front drive Quest comes from Nissan’s 3.5-liter, 260-horsepower V6, with variable speed transmission.

Inside, we were spoiled with the upscale SL edition provided by Nissan for testing. The handsome beige interior highlighted with burled wood-look trim, felt downright toney and helped create that enjoyable sedan feel. Heated seats on the first blustery late fall day felt wonderful. And an advanced air purifier system to filter out allergens and odors should satisfy any sensitive nose. Full Review

December 02, 2011

7 Automakers Collaborate to Standardize EV Charging

Automakers Unite on Harmonzied EV Fast Charging Solution

  • Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen agreed to support a harmonized single-port fast charging approach for use on electric vehicles in Europe and the United States

  • The system is a combined charging approach that integrates all charging scenarios into one vehicle inlet/charging connector and uses identical ways for the vehicle to communicate with the charging station

  • The seven auto manufacturers also agreed to use HomePlug GreenPHY as the communication protocol. This approach will facilitate integration of the electric vehicle into future smart grid applications 

  • Agreeing upon a single, harmonized DC fast charging system, we believe will help infrastructure planning, reduce vehicle complexity and improve the ownership experience for electric vehicle customers. Full story.

November 29, 2011

Do You Need a Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

Do You Need a Four-Wheel Drive?
by Cameron Sloane

When purchasing a new car, you have many options to choose from, including four-wheel drive (4WD). Although cars with four-wheel drive offer performance benefits – namely, better traction on slippery roads – they’re more expensive. So, before you pay for this feature, make sure it’s necessary for the conditions you’ll be driving in.

What is four-wheel drive?
Most vehicles are equipped with two-wheel drive, meaning that the engine powers either the front or rear wheels. With 4WD, the engine can power all four wheels. This reduces the risk that you’ll lose control of your vehicle if any of your wheels lose traction. Four-wheel-drive systems are most useful in conditions when it’s difficult for your tires to grip the road – like snow. 
Weighing the costs of four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive typically adds between $1,500 and $4,000 to a vehicle’s purchase price. In addition to a higher upfront cost, a car with 4WD also has higher ownership costs. Four-wheel-drive systems generally weigh between 500 and 1,000 pounds, which makes the vehicle less fuel efficient. In addition to higher fuel costs, you should take into account the extra expense of maintaining a 4WD system. Replacing or repairing your tires and brakes, both of which tend to wear faster on vehicles with four-wheel drive, can also add to your maintenance costs. If you live in an area with severe winters, the cost of a 4WD vehicle may be worth it, but in areas with mild winters four-wheel drive usually isn’t necessary. Full Article

November 22, 2011

Advice About Driving in the Dark

Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones

When you are behind the wheel of a car, your eyes are constantly on the move – looking at vehicles ahead and to the side, reading road traffic signs, checking your rear view mirrors, and shifting your gaze inside and outside your vehicle in order to check the speedometer, look at your global navigation system, or change a radio station.

Healthy Vision with Dr. Val JonesDuring darkness these tasks can become even more difficult for some drivers.  On the new edition of Healthy VisionTM with Dr. Val Jones, two experts join Dr. Val to talk about what happens to your eyes in the dark and how you can take better care of your eyes – and your car  –  to improve your nighttime driving.

Nearly one of every three drivers on the road (32 percent) say they have difficulty seeing all or most of the time while driving in the dark, according to a nationwide survey* of 515 vision-corrected Americans aged 18 and over. More than one-fourth (26 percent) report that they have trouble seeing signs or exits; one-fifth (20 percent) acknowledge difficulty seeing animals or pedestrians, and more than one in five (22 percent) report problems judging distance while driving in the dark.
[Full Story]

October 28, 2011

How to Choose Best Driving School for Your Teen

How to Choose a Reputable Driving School for Your Teen

Driver's Ed Alone is Not Enough to Keep Your Teen Safe

Choosing a driving school for your teen can be a difficult decision. Use the following tips to find a reputable driver’s education course to help prepare your teen to get behind the wheel.

Get recommendations
If your teen’s high school doesn’t offer a driver’s education course, ask if they recommend a local driving school. Also check with friends, family and neighbors to see if they have recommendations for a first-rate driving school. Contact your state’s department of motor vehicles for a list of state-certified local schools.

What to look for
Look for a driver’s education course that encourages parent involvement. Some schools invite parents to attend the first class and provide regular updates on your teen’s progress throughout the course.

Find out if the driving school offers supervised lessons on a variety of road types and driving conditions so your teen can gain behind-the-wheel experience driving in different situations.

Ask about the condition of the cars your teen will be driving: Are they regularly maintained? Are all safety features in working order? Do the tires have good tread left on them?  Full story here.

October 25, 2011

Dad is Becoming Carpool King

2012 Chevrolet Traverse Dad-Mobile

National survey finds majority of fathers active in driving kids to and fro

As children across America head back to school, a new survey commissioned by Chevrolet finds that many fathers in America are taking more of an active role in before-and after-school carpooling duties, with utility vehicles the preferred choice of dads over minivans.

An online survey conducted by Harris Interactive® showed that 80 percent of fathers in the United States with children age 17 or younger take an active role in daily family life, with more than 70 percent driving their kids to school, daycare or extracurricular activities.

But in the evolution of carpooling, the study also showed that both drivers and their vehicles have changed. While moms may prefer minivans for their sliding doors, more than half (58 percent) of the dads surveyed prefer to do their business, personal and leisure shuttling in a family hauler that doesn’t question their masculinity. In fact, survey results demonstrated that fathers gave their current family vehicle a 6.4 “cool” rating on a 10-point scale. Full story.