Real Wheels Live

Jan 10, 2014

The Washington Post cars columnist Warren Brown and guest Lou Ann Hammond will discuss the auto industry. Plus, they'll give purchase advice to readers.

Good morning Warren and Friends

I'm back from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV. I found some great ideas for you.

Remember last week we had a chatter that had a problem with their tire pressure monitoring system and here were other chatters chiming in to tell him what might be the problem?

Bosch has a device called U-Scan.
http://actronuscan.com/ for about $80 you can download an app, connect the device and it will tell you what's wrong with your car.
Today is the last day to enter to win one for free
https://www.facebook.com/ActronTools?sk=app_143103275748075&brandloc=DISABLE&app_data=dlt-1

Another cool thing from Bosch is a 240 volt level-2 EV charger for just $449! Seriously, that's less than some ipads!

How often do you lose your keys, or your wallet, or your iphone? With http://www.phone-halo.com/ Track-R -  The TrackR app runs on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. The app connects to TrackR devices that have been attached to commonly misplaced belongings such as keys, wallets, purses, luggage. The circular one for your keyfob starts at $24.95 (I think).

And only in Vegas would they sell you a technology device called Escort :) The device is called passport max and it not only protects you against tickets, but it tells you where the Red Light Cameras and Speed Cameras are located. I think it starts at $349 and goes up. Check it out at http://www.escortradar.com/

I also interviewed Paul Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. Qualcomm and the  Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), showed off their new Formula E (yes, as in electric) race car. It's a global event that starts in Beijing (appropriately enough, hello smog!) next September. The electric car race runs, silently, from September 2014 through June 2015 and will be electrifying audiences in North and South America, Europe and Asia. lucas digrassi was on hand to show just how cute a race car driver can be.

I liked Kia's idea of bringing bluetooth into the car, that way both Android and iphone users could use all functions in the car and not worry about whether it was an apple or some other smartphone.

And you've heard me rail on NHTSA for not requiring backup cameras with sensors. If Continental (the tire company) can find a buyer (car company) for the backup camera I saw all of us are going to be a lot safer.

I'll have these in video on Driving the Nation soon, but I wanted to give all of you a preview.
You can see pictures from the show at https://www.facebook.com/DrivingTheNation



The Washington auto show returns January 23, 2013. Here are the links to follow the goings on.

http://washingtonautoshow.com
http://Twitter.com/washautoshow
http://Facebook.com/washautoshow

Let's chat about cars

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Lou Ann Hammond

Hi Warren, A friend and I were talking the other day. I said that I'd trade my car in on a new one if I could get the car in the exterior color that I want (gold metallic). My friend said, "me too". I love the possibilities shown by the Smart Car customization at http://www.smartusa.com/customization/ Why don't all car companies offer this? Happy New Year! Cheryl

Good morning and Happy New Year back Cheryl

I did that once. I had a 1991 Lexus LS400 in gray. Loved the car, hated the color. I would get in the car during the winter,and even with heated seats, I always felt cold. I finally traded it in for a 1993 Lexus LS400 in Champagne gold.

We (my husband, Stretch, and myslef)  always comment on how many white, black and gray variations there are and very few other colors. It is because painting in mass makes the car less expensive.

Customization comes after buying the car and you can spend a pretty penny (or an ugly nickel :) on customizing your car. If you look on the front page of Driving the Nation I have a couple cars up there right now that are fully homebuilt. They run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I'm looking to purchase an SUV that I can use in off-road conditions- I will be using this car in a rough, rural area (think sand, mud, mountains, etc.). Obviously I need a sturdy 4x4 vehicle, and I'm thinking a car with locking center differential would be ideal. I'm looking for something used ( from 2006-2011 would be ideal) and preferably under $20k. What cars would you recommend in this class/price range?

Jeep for sure, Mitsubishi Outlander, Kia Sorrento, Nissan Xterra, Toyota FJ Cruiser. I think Acura RDX as well.

2006-2011 is a widespread. It depends on whether you want a newer car that was less expensive to begin with or an older car. I would probably go with Jeep.

Warren, I used to think as I got older (over 65) I would buy a car more for "style and grace" befitting an older and hopefully wiser man--maybe like the previous generation of Jaguars . Today's cars seem more about gadgets and utilitarian functions rather than any attempt at style. Anything on the road today you would recommend? (I can't afford a Roll).

Can you afford a Jaguar? How about a Maserati Ghibli? It is going to start around $68,000

Here are pictures of the Ghibli

http://www.drivingthenation.com/?p=9077

and here's an article you should read. I think it goes to the heart of what you're thinking. It'a about the Lincoln MKX but it's title is "future shock"

http://www.carlist.com/newcars/newcar.php?id=1894&yr=n

Warren and Lou Ann, Happy frosty morning. Have you seen/read about the Elio Motors 3 wheel car that is US made and coming out next year for a price of $6800. Also get 80+ MPG. Thanks.

I saw it at CES. It's an interesting concept. It's a three-wheel capsule so it will be interesting to see it on the roads.

I just wanted to pass along my feelings on the current generation of diesels based on recent issues with a VW Sportwagen Jetta TDI. The most serious were a cracked diesel particulate filter an iced intercooler when the temerature dipped below freezing the day I brought my Jetta home from the DPF replacement. I think they still need a lot of work and concerned how much out of pocket it is going to cost me after my warranty is exhausted. The iced intercooler in particular was a wake up because it was related to the recent winter weather and I have been monitoring reports of this happening to VW TDI owners all over the U.S. the past week. Is the Chevy Cruze diesel having similar issues? Anyway, I am seriously considering trading it in for something more reliable and a more favorable bumper-to-bumper warranty.

I am going to send this to VW and ask them. If I hear something I will let you know. I also have a couple buddies/colleagues that keep their ear to the ground. We were talking about hybrids and EVs in this cold weather but I haven't seen mention of diesels. I am asking now.

 

I emailed my colleagues that know about these things. No one has heard of this happening. Wayne Gerdes from cleanmpg didn't know about it. Mark Gilles from VW hasn't heard of it.

This is Wayne's answer

Lou Ann, I have not heard of this unfortunately and the Chevrolet Cruze TD is to new and to few sold to see any trends. I will post this to my form and see what some of my VW TDI enthusiasts think as a cracked DPF does not sound like anything I have ever heard of in the past.

 

A friend of mine has a 12 Golf TDI in Alberta Canada and has never before experienced this. He is routinely experiencing minus 20 degree F temperatures up there each winter too.

Any reactions?: http://news.yahoo.com/three-wheel-6-800-car-gears-2015-us-193306020.html

It looks scarey to me. I'm claustrophobic anyway, so I wouldn't be a candidate for it. I would rather buy a motorcycle.

I like the reasoning about money leaving the United STates. I like the ideal of one passenger structures because of all the people that commute to work by themselves, I just don't think I would buy it.

And I'd like to have airbags on the inside and outside. Sort of like the Michelin man :)

I recently bought a new 2013 Ford C-Max hybrid and am really enjoying the ride. However, I am getting condensation, and when cold enough, frost on the inside of the vehicle. It is primarily happening on the front windshield, in particular the lower left corner, but also a smaller amount on the rear windshield. For whatever reason the side windows do not seem to be affected. I took the car back to the dealer (a week and a half after buying it) to have them check the seals on the windows, and after performing "water tests" they determined there was nothing wrong. I'm sorry, but I can't believe that I'm supposed to be getting condensation and frost on the inside of my brand new vehicle- the thing is still on its first tank of gas for crying out loud! Is there anything else it could be, or should I just start planning on bringing out a towel to clear my windshield in the morning?

This is interesting. A couple of weeks ago I had a similar complaint from one of the chatters saying about the same thing, but it was a Prius V. I sent their info to Toyota and they are following up with the customer (the customer was ecstatic because they had had no luck in getting help, but Toyota took care of them right away). It's just interesting that this is happening again but on a different car.

email me at lou at carlist.com - put washingtonpost chat in the subject line and I will send it to Ford.

This is from the Prius person

The inside of the windshield ices completely in sub-32 degree weather.  And I do mean ice.  Not just ‘fog’, but ice that has to melt off with the defroster and the resulting water mopped off.  Having to wait 10+ minutes with the car running for the ice to melt is annoying, and so is wasting gas and the battery!  And yes, the doors and windows are closed, and there are no open containers of liquids in the car.

When temperatures dipped down into the single digits, the tire pressure monitor on my car turned on the indicator light. I know that tire pressure is related to temperature and the colder it gets, the lower the pressure would become. But, I also knew that if I inflated the tires to the recommended amount when the temperature was 5F, that the would be way over pressure when temperatures warmed up into the 40s or 50s. I just didn't know how underinflated I should go. Do tires have a pressure release valve if the pressure gets too high? It is times like this when I wish that tires were filled with gel or something less likely to expand/contract with temperature.

First, did you see the opening where I mentioned U-Scan? You should try for the free one -the last day to enter is today.

Continental tires showed us a tire that has it's own monitoring system built in the tire instead of one sensor for all four tires. It would be more expensive...

The only pressure release valve I know of is called exploding tire. Best to follow the manufcturer's settings.

 

the Bosch has a device called U-Scan.
http://actronuscan.com/ for about $80 you can download an app, connect the device and it will tell you what's wrong with your car.
Today is the last day to enter to win one for free
https://www.facebook.com/ActronTools?sk=app_143103275748075&brandloc=DISABLE&app_data=dlt-1

Is Warren in the chat today or is he sill having computer problems?

I'm here. How can I help you?

I believe I read something about a car manufacturer that planned to show off laser headlights at CES. Any new automotive wrinkles along that line you saw that may, in time, make their way to moderately priced cars?

You are talking about Audi. laser lights will be 3 times as bright and beam 2 times as far. Audi was the first to bring out LEDs in mass on their cars, so it will be interesting to see what comes of this laser. Once it is on all the high end cars it will trickle down.

My beloved 97 CRV wouldn't start in the cold on Tuesday evening, but fortunately did start the next day when it warmed up a bit. I already knew it was time to buy a car, but at 37, I've never bought a car before (CRV was my mom's, Accord before that was my dad's, 1975 volvo before that my mom bought me at 16). I'm strongly leaning towards the Mazda3 for safety, fuel-efficiency and cost. How do I go about getting the best deal?

The Mazda3 is a good choice. Consult edmunds.com and kbb.com to get an idea of best available prices in your region.

I emailed my colleagues that know about these things. No one has heard of this happening. Wayne Gerdes from cleanmpg didn't know about it. Mark Gilles from VW hasn't heard of it.

This is Wayne's answer

Lou Ann, I have not heard of this unfortunately and the Chevrolet Cruze TD is to new and to few sold to see any trends. I will post this to my form and see what some of my VW TDI enthusiasts think as a cracked DPF does not sound like anything I have ever heard of in the past.

Welcome back for another year of discussions all thngs atutomobile--product and industry. My apologies for today's late start. We'll do much better. Thanks to Matt Monahan, Lou Ann Hammond, and chief car wrangler Ria Manglapus for all of their help to make this work. Eat lunch. See you all next week.

In This Chat
Warren Brown
Warren Brown has covered the cars industry for The Washington Post since 1982.

On Wheels Archive

Real Wheels Live Q&A Archive
Lou Ann Hammond
Lou Ann Hammond is the founder and owner of the first privately owned automobile website Carlist.com. Recently Lou Ann has developed an automotive and energy issues related website, Drivingthenation.com, that covers a broader range of subjects than solely the automotive or the energy industry.
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