IIHS says booster seats are getting better, releases 2012 report

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has released its latest booster seat test results which show seat makers are more than ever designing better products.

The agency looked at 17 booster seats newly introduced for 2012. All but two of those have been added to the list of Best Bet booster seats which now totals 47.

“Booster manufacturers have risen to the Institute’s challenge to improve seat design, giving parents more choices than ever when shopping for a booster that will provide a good, safe fit for their children,” says Anne McCartt, Institute senior vice president for research, in a press release.

The Institute does not crash test booster seats, but instead checks to make sure a car’s seat belts properly fit the seat and the child. A correct fit means the lap belt lies flat across the child’s thighs and the shoulder belt crosses snugly over the middle of the shoulder.

The two low-ranked boosters for 2012 are the Safety 1st All-inOne and Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite. Both are older 3-in-1 designs made my Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. The two seats can convert between a rear-facing infant seat, front facing child seat, and booster for larger children. While the IIHS said the two seats perform acceptably for the first two stages, they were not suitable as boosters

Four Evenflo boosters that didn’t make last year’s cut have been discontinued.

See the IIHS video, along with a press release and the rundown of all the Best Bet booster seats.

[Source: Autoblog]

Feds ironing out rules for autonomous cars

With the increasing development of autonomous vehicles, and even some states issuing licenses for self-driving cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided it was high time to lay out a set of rules for these advanced vehicles. According to a Detroit News report, NHTSA is embarking on a research project that could take two to three years, at the conclusion of which, the administration will write rules to govern driverless cars.

According to the report NHSTA administrator David Sctrickland says the technology could possibly save “thousands of lives.” It was also reported that NHTSA has been in talks with a number of companies, including Google, regarding the implementation and development of this technology. Google has been testing its own fleet of driverless cars, logging over 300,000 miles on American roads. The tech company says autonomous vehicles could be made available to the public in the next ten years.

The technology has profound implications on the automotive industry and car culture. Strickland calls it a “game changer” and could make it possible for blind drivers or senior citizens who would otherwise have their licenses revoked, the ability to get around town. The savings from cutting down on congestion could result in as much as $100 billion in fuel savings.

But before that, NHTSA says it needs to determine the effectiveness and reliability of these driverless cars. In addition, new crash test standards may need to be developed for these autonomous vehicles. According to Strickland, “We don’t want this technology to be commercially available and then there be a vacuum of no federal motor vehicle safer standards.” To that end, NHTSA says there is a huge amount of work to be done before autonomous vehicles hit the roads.

Electronic crash-avoidance systems get thumbs up from consumers in federal testing

Starting last fall, eight carmakers worked with the Department of Transportation on a study assessing drivers’ acceptance of accident-avoidance technologies. The initial six-month program in the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program put people on closed roads in cars that communicated wirelessly to issue warnings about lane changes, blind spots, forward collisions and other cars approaching intersections. Of the 688 participants, more than 90 percent wanted the tech in their cars, and that response rate covered just about all age ranges.

But perhaps the most remarkable finding about the study was that in spite of massive favor, none of the participants wanted to have to pay “more than $250” for the technologies. We don’t know how the question was phrased, but when an iPod Touch costs $195, adding Ford Sync to a Fusion SE costs $395 and a trip to Disneyland for a family of four can bankrupt a small nation, we’re slightly surprised that a suite of potentially lifesaving features isn’t even worth considering for more than $250.

The study isn’t over yet – the next phase involves 3,000 test cars trying out the features on open roads in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It will begin this fall and run into next year.

Portland Jeep dealer presents 10 tips for Spring Maintenance, brought to you by Mopar

Considering Portland experienced snow in March and flooding last week, it doesn’t seem like hot weather will ever get to us. We promise that it is coming and spring is primetime for vehicle maintenance. Don’t wait until summer to do your springcarcleaunup, come down to your Portland Jeep dealer soon to do what you need to do to keep the safety, performance and life of the vehicle in tact. Remember, it’s not just the Chrysler lineup we can service…we can service all competitors as well. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-756-6909 or visit our website.

10 Mopar Maintenance Tips:

Check Brakes

Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components. A thin layer of the brake pad disintegrates every time the brakes are applied. It’s vital to replace pads or shoes before drums or rotors become damaged. Check pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and parking brake to prevent problems.

Check Tires

A smooth and safe ride starts when the rubber meets the road. Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare, as improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage. The entire surface of the tire, both tread and sidewall, should be inspected for uneven or irregular wear. Excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear may be signs that other maintenance is required.

Check Wiper Blades

Be prepared for spring showers and summer storms. Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in all conditions. Mopar all-season wiper blades are made from an all-metal superstructure that provides durability and reliable performance, featuring an innovative wear indicator that gradually turns from black to green to yellow as the blades wear.

Check Headlamps, Tail Lamps, Turn Signals and Hazard Lights

Properly functioning headlamps and tail lamps play an important role in safe driving, especially at nighttime, or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect and test all exterior lamps and lights, including turn signals and hazard lights to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment.

Check Air Filter

The air filter is one of the unsung heroes of a vehicle, as it protects the engine from airborne contaminants. Poor air flow within the engine hinders performance and can lead to greater fuel consumption. Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.

Check Oil

Oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Engine oil level should be checked often, with the oil being changed and replenished regularly. Low or dirty oil may have dire consequences on how the engine and its components perform, especially under the extreme heat and conditions of summer driving.

Check All Fluid Levels

With the increase in miles driven during warm-weather months, vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked often and changed at factory-recommended intervals to make sure they’re fresh and filled. Dirty fluids and low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly monitored and filled.

Check Engine Belts, Hoses and Fuel Filter

Belts and hoses under the hood play an important part in the proper function and performance of the engine. Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Quality-tested Mopar belts and hoses offer precision fit, optimal service life and original-equipment performance. Checking and replacing the fuel filter is also key to ensuring that the engine is running at its optimal level and maximizes fuel economy.

Check Battery

Following a winter full of cold-morning starts, definitely check the battery. Having reserve power to run the air conditioning and other vehicle accessories in the summer is priceless. When checking the battery, be sure to look for corroded terminals, and inspect for a bulging or cracked case.

Check Shocks & Struts

Following the traditional cold-weather pothole season, shocks and struts should be checked. Shocks and struts are vital to a smooth ride and may also affect a number of related parts on your vehicle. Mopar shocks and struts optimize vehicle handling, tire life and keep vehicles riding smoothly.

NHTSA ready to submit rearview camera mandate to Congress

About 100 children and over 200 adults die every year because drivers accidentally back over them. It’s a sad statistic that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration feels can be prevented if all new vehicles come standard with backup cameras.

The New York Times reports that NHTSA plans to announce this week that rearview cameras will be mandatory on all vehicles by 2014. The compulsory cameras and interface for viewing what the camera sees is estimated to set new car buyers back an additional $160 to $200, but the government feels the cost is worth it if it prevents some of the 17,000 Americans that are harmed in backup accidents every year.

Clarence Ditlow, director for the Washington-based Center for Auto Safety, tells The New York Times that while the government acknowledges that in terms of pure numbers, the cost of the program is high and the amount of lives saved is small compared to some other safety implementations. But those numbers look a lot more doable when considering how devastating roll-over deaths are to families. “When you have a parent that kills a child in an incident that’s utterly avoidable, they don’t ever forget it.”

What do you think, should rearview cameras become legally required?

[Source: Autoblog]

Award winning all-new Dodge Journey in Portland now at Dick’s Country Dodge!

One of biggest honors that a car manufacturer can get is when auto writers single out your vehicle for award. That is exactly what just happened with the 2011 Dodge Journey, for sale in Portland at Dick’s Country Dodge in Hillsboro.

That award is the 2011 “Family Car of Texas.” The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) bestowed the honor after more than 50 journalists had the chance to get behind the wheel and drive the Journey at the group’s annual Spring Roundup May 2 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

For 2011, Dodge takes what was good and makes it better. The Dodge Journey, for sale in Beaverton, receives a major overhaul with a completely redesigned and retuned suspension, the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that delivers 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, along with excellent fuel economy of up to 25 miles per gallon on the highway, and a gorgeous new interior. And that’s not all. Owners will feel like they have the world at their fingertips with the Journey’s available touchscreen command center, Uconnect® Touch.

“The Dodge Journey will wear the ‘Family Car of Texas’ award like a badge of honor,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. “The entire team at Dodge is thrilled that journalist and customers who get behind the wheel of the new Journey are experiencing the excellent driving experience and striking new interior that’s been a labor of love for our team.”

TAWA has been holding their annual Spring Roundup for more than 7 years. This year, more than 50 vehicles competed for seven different Writers’ Choice Awards.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) “Top Safety Pick” in 2011, the Dodge Journey, for sale near Gresham, reasserts itself as a competitor to watch in the mid-size CUV segment with a beautifully upgraded new interior, technology that keeps families connected and a major overhaul to the suspension delivering an exhilarating driving experience. The 2011 Journey is packed with value and style.

You can find the all new Dodge Journey in Portland at Dick’s Country Dodge in Hillsboro. We are part of the Dick’s Auto Group. Whether you’re looking for a new or used Dodge Journey in Portland, come see us!

New 2010 Models Arrive with Cool Features to Warm up the Automotive Market

Whether you want to keep your soft drinks cold or your hands warm, new 2010 model-year vehicles are arriving to Dick’s Country Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Hillsboro with a wide variety of features to make life on the road a little more comfortable.

 “Heated steering wheels and built-in beverage coolers are just a couple of the unique features available on 2010 model-year cars and trucks,” said Mr. Inukai. “While customers aren’t going to choose a certain vehicle just because it has lighted cup holders, they do appreciate the thoughtfulness of the small details – especially it if it eliminates coffee spills during late night driving.

 “Performance, fuel economy, vehicle size and price are still important drivers of buyer decisions,” Mr. Inukai said, “But, often it’s the ‘creature features’ that new vehicle owners like to show off to their friends and neighbors.”

 Dick’s Country Chrysler Jeep Dodge is replenishing its vehicle inventory as new 2010 model-year Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Car and Ram Truck vehicles continue to arrive. Some examples of the unique comfort and utility features that can be found on 2010 vehicles follow:

 Chill Zone® acts as a cooled-beverage storage bin holding up to four, 20-ounce bottles or cans. It is available on Dodge Caliber, Avenger and Journey.

 Heated Steering Wheel fights the cold of winter mornings and is activated either by a switch inside the vehicle or by using the remote start function. It is available on the Ram 1500.

 Illuminated front cup holders make it easier to find your drink in the dark. It is available on Dodge Caliber and Journey and Jeep® Patriot and Compass.

MusicGate Power™ speakers swing down from the rear liftgate and face rearward for entertaining at tailgate parties and picnics. It is available on Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass and Patriot.

 Rear Cross Path warns a driver backing out of a parking space that traffic is moving toward his or her vehicle. It is exclusively available on Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

 Blind Spot Monitoring notifies the driver using side-view mirror icons and audible charms if a vehicle is in the blind spot when changing lanes. It is available on Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

 Integrated child booster seats have a movable seat cushion that can stay in the normal position for older children and adults, or the seat can be raised to accommodate children between four and eight years and 40-80 pounds.  It is available on Dodge Journey and Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.

 RamBox is an industry-first cargo management system built into the bed rails for versatile, weatherproof, lockable and drainable storage. It is available on Ram 1500.

 “Store-in-the-floor” bins offer versatile, covered storage in the floor of the vehicle. It is available on Chrysler Town & Country, Ram 1500 and Dodge Journey and Grand Caravan.

 Multi-displacement system seamlessly alternates the engine between smooth, fuel-efficient four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is requested. It is available on Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, Ram 1500, and Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee.

 Voice Command lets drivers select radio stations, choose satellite radio channels, enter navigation destinations and make phone calls using voice recognition technology. Voice command is standard with the Uconnect phone feature available on Chrysler 300, Sebring, Sebring Convertible and Town & Country; Dodge Avenger, Grand Caravan, Caliber, Challenger, Charger, Dakota, Journey and Nitro; Ram 1500; Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, Compass, Liberty and Patriot.

Sirius Backseat TV™ is exclusively available on Chrysler Group vehicles and offers commercial-free satellite broadcasts of Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. It is available on Chrysler 300 and Town & Country; Dodge Charger, Grand Caravan, Journey and Nitro; Jeep Commander, Grand Cherokee and Liberty; and Ram 1500 and 2500/3500.

 Rain-sensing wipers automatically detect moisture on the windshield and activate the wipers. It is available on Chrysler 300, Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee.

 emote Start will turn on the vehicle and its automatic climate control (if equipped) to heat or cool the vehicle as needed. The remote start is integrated in the key fob and works up to 300 feet away. It is available on Chrysler 300, Sebring, Sebring Convertible and Town & Country; Dodge Caliber, Charger, Dakota, Grand Caravan and Nitro; Ram 1500; Jeep Patriot, Compass, Commander, Grand Cherokee and Liberty.

 Stow ‘n Go® provides second- and third-row seating that quickly and conveniently folds into the floor for more cargo space when the seating space isn’t required. It is unique to the minivan segment and is available on Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

 Swivel ‘n Go™ features second-row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the third row, a removable table that installs between the two rows, and fold-in-the-floor third-row seating. It is exclusive in the minivan segment and available on Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

 About Dick’s Country Chrysler Jeep Dodge

 Dick’s Country Chrysler Jeep Dodge is an authorized new vehicle dealer affiliated with Chrysler Group LLC and sells Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Car and Ram Truck vehicles. Chrysler Group LLC was formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat Group and produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge Car, Ram Truck, Mopar® and Global Electric Motors (GEM) brand vehicles and products. 

 Dick’s Country Chrysler Jeep Dodge provides warranty service for all Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles.