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Archive for the ‘Car Tech’ Category

Tires

January 5th, 2017, 3:41pm by Jake

Yesterday I discovered my tire was completely flat as I started to drive home. Got a lift, and returned this morning to survey the damage– sorry I forgot to nab a photo. Tire looked like it was toast. Called roadside assistance, put on the spare (but didn’t have air to inflate it– so now I have to drive on a mostly flat spare a couple miles to add air). Tire definitely toast, huge nail in it but the killer was the wear on the sidewall from driving with a partial-mostly flat 4-5 miles. Turns out, my car is at 45,000 miles and probably due new tires regardless.

My question for The Board is: where’s the best place to buy new tires, and what’s the best brand/type to buy? Should be all-season since there’s the chance we’ll drive to the mountains at some point.

Prius V

February 18th, 2013, 1:20pm by Mike

Seems crazy, but it was almost 9 years ago that I first drove a Prius, now we own one! It’s really funny to go back and re-read that post and the first comment on it — the technology has certainly gotten better, but the experience is pretty similar.

I’d say that driving our new Prius V, it feels like Toyota is really trying to give the most futuristic driving experience possible. The car has all sorts of technology built-in — nav system, Bluetooth audio/phone, and the crazy “energy flow display” (not the official name) that shows whether you’re running off of electricity, gasoline, or a combination of the two, and whether the battery is being recharged. Unlike 9 years ago, there is no longer any keyhole/port in the dashboard — the key stays in your pocket. As long as you have the key, the doors unlock when you touch them, and the car starts when you push the power button. The key basically never leaves my pocket, except when locking the car while walking away.

The “v” model of the Prius is a station wagon — it has more interior cargo space, and larger (and sliding) backseats than the regular model. It’s slightly larger capacity than the Jetta wagon we’re replacing (I think), but not hugely different. It is taller, though, so it feels much more spacious inside.

Of course, its selling point is its fuel economy. We’re only on our second full tank of gas, but so far, it’s getting in the high 30s on average — below the rating of 44, but over twice what we were getting in the Jetta. I think the cold weather also has something to do with it — not sure, but I’m guessing that the gas engine is required for heating the car.

Will post pictures soon, but the picture above is what it looks like (without the snow that’s been covering it lately).

CES Watch 2011

January 4th, 2011, 2:15pm by Jake

So another CES is upon, and while no big announcements are expected from Apple, Google or HPalm, there are still bound to be thousands of items introduced, and a few big hits. First one that caught my eye is this Samsung WiFi P&S camera, with the novel feature being that you can use your Android phone as a viewfinder! Kelvin also spotted a camera item, the Eye-Fi Direct mode, which lets your phone talk direct with your camera as well. Let’s keep updating the best of C.E.S. here so we can look back in a few years and laugh at our prognosticating skills.

New Wave Sound

February 15th, 2008, 11:30pm by Jake

Installation As the readers of this blog may know, I bough a brand new car last month, a Nissan Altima Hybrid. The only, and I really mean only, downgrade from the Neon was the car stereo. The old stereo was an Alpine with an add-on iPod adapter. Alas, the new car stereo didn’t have any iPod integration. This would have to be solved shortly! One of the major upgrades I got for the Altima was the Convenience Package. That included the much-coveted steering wheel controls. With the steering wheel controls, I can change the volume, change the station and change the source. At least, I could do that with the factory stereo. Adding an after-market stereo would lead to the loss of those controls… or would it?

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Jake’s New Car

January 17th, 2008, 1:57am by Kelvin

I downloaded an 2007 Nissan Altima SE for my Forza 2 racing game and proceded to smoke a field that included a Civic, a Focus, and a Celica. Looks like Jake made the right choice :). OK, so mine wasn’t a hybrid– what’s an extra hundred horsepower, anyway?
Jakes.jpg

The great car stereo search

January 12th, 2008, 6:55pm by Jake

avn2210p.jpg
Sadly, Sync isn’t available for non-Fords, and I’m not willing to wair (and most likely pay for) Pioneer’s Linc. The best value for what I want in a car stereo– iPod integration, Blueooth support, GPS navigation, integration with steering wheel controls and CD player. Heck, might as well throw in an AM/FM radio! The Eclipse pictured above seems to fit the bill for about $500 at Crutchfield and elsewhere. Cnet has reviewed the unit, and Engadget pointed me to another review at GPS Review. I’ve connecting to a few display units, but the results have been mixed. So today I’ve decided to post in a half dozen forums. This is ground zero, of course.
Crutchfield, Nissan Forums, GPS Review, Treo Central, another Treo Central thread about TomTom/GPS/Treo issues. I’m still waiting for my post to show up on iLounge. Now posted.
I’m thinking of buying the Eclipse AVN2210p to use in my new Altima. It seems like a nice system, and looks like it has all the features I want– CD player, Bluetooth hands-free support, iPod support, and a GPS navigation system, too. Before I buy it, I want to make sure it works with all my gear. So I have a bunch of questions:
1) Will the Eclipse unit (really a TomTom 720, I believe) work with my Sprint Centro? The Centro is very similar to the Palm Treo 755p. What features will be supported? Hands-free is a must, downloading the phone numbers from my phone is desired, and support for TomTom Plus services would be nice. The Centro doesn’t show up on TomTom’s list of compatible phones, but the Treo 650 does.
2) How is the sound for the hands-free operation? Can I add an external microphone?
3) Will this unit integrate with the steering wheel controls on my 2007 Altima Hybrid (standard stereo)?
4) How easy is it to install in the Altima? How does it look?
5) How is the iPod interface?
6) Any thing I should know about the Nav system? It support spoken directions, correct?
Thanks for your help. I’ll be checking in.

Always check your SPAM folder

January 10th, 2008, 12:29am by Jake

At the dealer!
A little more behind the story of my new car. The red Neon has been quite useful ever since I bought it in 1995. It got me where I needed to go, never really left me stranded, but let’s face– it was time for that car to make room for the new and improved. I really wanted to get a hybrid car, but the options are still quite limited– in 10 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that every car is a hybrid. The Prius got great mileage, but I didn’t want a hatchback. The Civic Hybrid also did well, but after taking a standard Civic for a test drive, I decided that it felt too much like driving a Neon. So I started looking at the bigger cars, but there were very few hybrids and they were often sold for a substantial premium over their already substantial list prices. The non-hybrids just got crappy mileage.

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Jake’s Next Car Thread

November 26th, 2007, 8:53pm by Jake

Today seems like car day here on Pyslent. Seems like everyone else at Pyslent has gone through multiple cars since we all landed in San Diego, while I’m still driving the ‘ole Neon. It’s fun to drive & all… but it kinda sucks. And I figure it’s time for a new car what should it be? The Ford Focus is on the table due to Sync, the Scion tC seems to be well-regarded, the Prius or Hybrid Civic gets me green street cred. The Mini is getting a lot of Pyslent. And the Nissan Altima & Accord also seem to have solid Bluetooth capability. What should it be?
TV all packed up

New Car!

November 26th, 2007, 10:01am by Mike

As a result of my Camry getting totalled, I have a new car! It’s a 2004 Mini Cooper, which I’ve been wanting for a long time. It’s a great city car — easy to park, fun to drive, and good on the gas mileage. We bought it from an Acura dealer, and got a really good deal on it. Click for larger pictures of the front and back.

Don’t have too much else to report yet — it seems to handle rain and light snow pretty well so far, and was able to pick up the in-laws at the airport with no problem (though we had to put down half of the backseat to carry luggage). Next task is to install the auxilliary audio cable for iPod connectivity.

Totalled

November 15th, 2007, 1:34pm by Mike



It’s the end of an era in our family. For the second time in 7 years, I had a car that was originally my mom’s, and had that car brutally totalled in an accident that was in no way my fault. In both cases, the insurance company agreed with me, and in both cases I was given a check that seemed too small to do any real good in replacing the car.
The first time, some of you may remember, my 1988 Accord was rear ended at a traffic light in San Diego. It didn’t take much to total the 12 year-old car, but there was quite a bit of damage, and I was given about $3500 to find a new car. After scanning the newspaper (that’s where you found cars those days!) Kelvin and I trekked down to Chula Vista in search of the 1993 Saturn SC2 that I ended up buying, after bartering the price with a kid who was younger than my Accord had been (his dad didn’t speak English). As it turned out, the car had a very shady title history (having spent some time South of the Border), and most of the passenger side of the car didn’t work (the side view mirror just sort of wobbled, the automatic seat belt didn’t work, and the door didn’t seal properly). But hey, $3500. The car made the trip to Boston and survived over a year here before we decided we didn’t really need a car, and donated it to charity.
This time, it was a 1997 Camry. I had gotten up to go to work, and gone out to the car, which I had parked on the street the night before. I got to the spot where I thought I had parked it, and the car was gone. In its place was another car, along with some car body parts that were the color of my car. At first I was convinced that I just had forgotten where I parked the car (it’s happened before), but after 20 minutes of walking around the block looking, I was convinced that my car was gone.
A call to the police verified that the car had been towed, because it “had been involved in an accident.” According to the Cambridge Police’s incident report, somebody was driving down the street I was parked on when a tire blew out, and swerved into the line of parked cars, glancing off of the car behind mine (knocking the bumper loose), and hitting mine square on the rear quarter-panel. The car was knocked up onto the curb, causing damage to the wheel on the passenger side as well. Since it was then on the sidewalk, the car had to be towed, and since I don’t have a landline anymore, the police had no way to contact me. A couple days later, the car was declared a total loss, and again, I was given an insurance check.
It’s looking like this one is going to have a happier ending than the last one, though, as far as the replacement. Stay tuned…


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