Every year right before the Fourth of July, Cars.com releases its American-Made Index, which looks at vehicles that have final assembly in the U.S. Then it looks at parts content, engine origins, transmission origins and ...
We have the latest results of a survey for the 2020 American-Made Pickup Trucks for you in this video. We describe the survey methodology than list the most American-Made Pickups. The results will surprise you.
Gone are the days where premium fuel is reserved for high-end sedans and SU...
As the Show-Me Mustang Club Regional Director for Mustang Club of America, Mitch Mitchell knows a thing or two about the importance of an immaculate paint job. For instance, Mitchell’s personal Mustang Mach 1 is a unique vehicle painted in a very limited production color called “Azure Blue.” A pigment he was recently able to replicate with the help of AutomotiveTouchup, which provided him with a custom blend that flawlessly matched his Mustang’s helmet. This particular shade of blue is so rare, that it was only sprayed on Mach 1 Mustangs for two years before being removed from Ford’s color lineup. Since Ford no longer manufactures this color, Mitchell turned to AutomotiveTouchup to secure just the right shade to match his beloved Mustang. How AutomotiveTouchup makes the perfect paint match With AutomotiveTouchup, show and race car owners alike can paint their helmets and other gear to perfectly match their vehicle. With more than 60,000 OEM colors and over 300,000 custom-blended formulas, AutomotiveTouchup can create virtually any color imaginable. “AutomotiveTouchup makes the impossible possible. I come from a body shop and insurance background, so I am especially particular about paint match. I’ve used multiple products from AutomotiveTouchup, and I am impressed by all of them. They’re easy to use, high quality and I always get a perfect match.” –Mitch Mitchell In addition to the precise color match, the ease of use and affordability of the products drew Mitchell to AutomotiveTouchup products. Most repairs or custom paint jobs include going to the local paint supply store to purchase primers, sealers, base color coat, reducers for the paint, clear coat and catalyst, the hardener, along with thinners to clean up as well as expensive paint guns and equipment, thus spending hundreds of dollars in material. Body shops charge for materials as well as a labor rate, which can also add up to hundreds of dollars. AutomotiveTouchup is a one-stop-shop with affordable prices, the necessary supplies and aerosol spray cans which achieve professional results with the fine mist sprayer. “It truly is like using a professional paint gun when I use AutomotiveTouchup aerosol spray cans. The base coat color provides good coverage, the color matches for all three Mustangs I’ve matched products to or repaired has been excellent and the clear coat flows out so well and evenly to give a great shine,” Mitchell said. “There’s no need for me to spend hundreds of dollars to match my accessories to my Mustangs or to fix any paint problems anymore.” Color matching more just one ride at a time Mitchell has since gone on to paint match all five of the helmets that belong to each of his Mustangs with AutomotiveTouchup aerosol spray cans, and plans on doing the same to his 2019 Mustang California Special next. He currently travels to Mustang shows across the country, taking a different car to each event. All of his paint-matched helmets are presented along with the Mustang they belong to, making them a real conversation piece. This has even given cause for Mitchell to pack AutomotiveTouchup paint in his detail bag for both the car and any last minute touch-ups that might be needed upon arrival. Additionally, Mitchell has painted all of the fire extinguishers that are installed on his show cars to match the OEM Mustang color they go with, a true testament to his appreciation of the product. According to Mitchell, both his attention to detail and dedication to making an impressive presentation of his beloved Mustangs, complete with perfectly color matched accessories is what gives him an edge at a car show competition. About AutomotiveTouchup Headquartered in New Orleans, AutomotiveTouchup is a division of Microfinish LLC, which produces coatings for vehicular and industrial equipment repair and refinishing in a state-of-the-art facility. For more information call 1-888-710-5192 or visit www.automotivetouchup.com/ or www.microfinish.com. You can also find them on Facebook at facebook.com/automotivetouchup as well as on Twitter at @atu_microfinish or via Instagram account @automotivetouchup for those who prefer tons of pretty paint matched pictures.
Operating a large commercial vehicle on US roads and highways is a considerable responsibility. Accidents involving commercial vehicles can be devastating and potentially fatal. The sheer size and weight of a commercial vehicle should never be underestimated and all safety precautions need to be taken at all times. For these reasons, not just anyone is allowed to operate a commercial vehicle. Special licensing, qualifications, and training are required to drive a commercial vehicle in the United States. In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a driver must already possess a valid class-D driver’s license and be 18 years of age or older. Although an individual may be able to get a CDL at the age of 18, they will not be allowed to drive commercial vehicles across state lines and they cannot haul any loads of hazardous materials until they are 21. The pre-trip inspection explained An important aspect of the process to obtain a CDL involves the “pre-trip inspection.” The pre-trip inspection is a vital process that must be conducted before every trip a driver embarks on. The purpose of the pre-trip inspection is to ensure everything vehicle-related is in correct working order before leaving. If any equipment is damaged or there are safety concerns, the driver must have them addressed before departing. There are specific minimum requirements when it comes to the pre-trip inspection. They include an inspection of the service brakes and trailer brake connection, parking brake, steering, lights, reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wipers, rear-vision mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims, and all emergency equipment. Additional safety inspection points to consider Here is a more detailed description of what a driver may want to look for when inspecting the vehicle before departure. ● Brakes: Ensuring that the brake systems on a commercial vehicle are in proper working order is essential. Large trucks already take longer to stop than other types of vehicles and so it is important that all the brake systems are functioning properly. A commercial driver should inspect the parking brake, hydraulic brake system, and air brakes before each and every trip. ● Steering: Being able to properly steer a commercial vehicle is vital to ensure safe transit. A driver may want to inspect the steering wheel and steering column to make sure the power steering system is intact as well as take a look at the power steering fluid level. If the power steering fluid is low, then the driver must sufficiently fill the power steering fluid reservoir. ● Lights: Lights are one of the most critical components of a vehicle to communicate with other vehicles while on the road and to provide visibility for the driver. A commercial vehicle should always have functioning headlights, tail lights, fog lights, off-road and emergency lights, as well as signal and accessory lights. If any of these lights are not functioning, ideally the driver should have a backup kit containing replacement bulbs for the various lighting systems. If the issue is more complex than a simple burnt-out lightbulb, then the driver will need to have a certified truck mechanic make any necessary repairs before the driver can embark. ● Reflectors: Having reflectors on a large commercial vehicle can help to increase visibility while on the road. The reflectors make other drivers aware of the presence of the vehicle at night, in rain or snow, and in tunnels. There should be reflectors placed all over the vehicle, however, it is especially important that the reflectors are placed on the sides and rear of the vehicle. ● Tires: If a tire should happen to blow out during a trip, it can cause a driver to potentially lose control of the vehicle and collide with other vehicles, highway barriers, or other roadway infrastructure. A driver of a commercial vehicle should inspect each tire and look for any visible cuts, cracks, bulges, knots, and/or bumps. If there are any noticeable defects in any of the tires, the driver should seek to get the tire replaced before taking the vehicle out onto the road. Additionally, a commercial driver can quickly test the pressure of each tire by striking the tire with a mallet to ensure it is properly inflated. ● Horn: A properly functioning horn is critical to help the driver communicate with other roadway occupants and pedestrians. The horn can warn others of the vehicle’s approach and presence as well as call attention to potential hazards that may occur in the roadway. ● Windshield/Wipers: Having a windshield that is free from cracks and other blemishes helps to ensure the structural integrity of the windshield while making sure there is nothing obstructing the view of the driver. Additionally, having windshield wipers is extremely important to ensure that rain and/or snow is cleared from the windshield and that the driver is able to see the road clearly and at all times. ● Mirrors: All mirrors should be cleaned and adjusted to help the driver view their blindspots. Mirrors are critical for backing up, coupling, and for maintaining a full range of visibility while on the road. ● Coupling: Before departure, drivers should check that the trailer is coupled properly to the cab. The lines, clamps, nuts, mounting brackets, locking jaws, locking pins, and all bolts should be inspected. ● Wheels/Rims: Wheels and rims should be inspected to ensure there are no loose or missing lug nuts. ● Safety equipment: Every commercial vehicle should be equipped with a variety of safety equipment. There should be a designated area in the vehicle where items like emergency flares, emergency triangles, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are stored. A driver should inspect the equipment and take a mental inventory of the equipment they have in the event of an emergency. ● Doors & Locks: Check all doors to make sure they shut properly and that they are free from obstruction. Additionally, doors should lock, especially the trailer door. ● Cab inspection: Before leaving on a trip, it is important to clear the cab […]
Fleet management is a critical concern for trucking companies of all sizes. Not only do you need to worry about the safety of your drivers and vehicles, but you also need to keep costs under control. However, optimizing your trucking fleet doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a few key areas you can focus on that will make a big difference. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for optimizing your fleet management so that you can run your trucking company more efficiently. Automate workflow Most trucking companies have a lot of paperwork and phone calls to manage on a daily basis. The process of coordinating trucks, drivers, and loads can be time-consuming and frustrating. However, by automating their workflow, companies can optimize the performance of their trucking fleet. By using software to automate dispatching, tracking, and billing, companies can reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks. In addition, automated systems can help to improve communication between dispatch and drivers, leading to faster turnaround times and fewer delays. Automated systems can also calculate trucking rates, ensuring that companies are charging the correct amount for their services. As a result, automating the workflow of a trucking company can lead to improved efficiency and profitability. Regular maintenance of vehicles Any business owner knows that maximizing efficiency is key to saving money. When it comes to transportation, this means making sure that your fleet of vehicles is running as efficiently as possible. One way to do this is to ensure that your vehicles are well-maintained. This means regularly checking and servicing the engine, tires, brakes and other vital components. Not only will this help to prevent breakdowns and costly repairs, but it will also improve fuel economy and performance. As a result, regular maintenance can save businesses money in the long run. By keeping trucks in good working condition, companies can avoid unexpected repairs, extend the life of their vehicles, and improve fuel efficiency. Furthermore, regular maintenance can help prevent accidents by ensuring that tires are properly inflated and brakes are in good working condition. Ultimately, companies that invest in the regular servicing of their truck fleet will enjoy significant savings in both the short and long run. Optimize routes Many companies that have large fleets of trucks face the challenge of how to optimize their routes in order to reduce fuel costs and increase efficiency. There are a number of software programs available that can help with this process. By inputting data such as the location of each truck, the destinations, and the types of terrain, these programs can generate suggested routes that will minimize fuel consumption and travel time. In addition, companies can use GPS tracking devices to monitor their trucks in real-time and make changes to the routes as needed. By taking these steps, companies can optimize the performance of their trucking fleet and save money on fuel costs. Safety training for drivers As any trucking company knows, the success of their business depends on the performance of their drivers. If drivers are not safe, efficient, and reliable, it can cost the company time and money. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to optimize driver performance. One way is to provide training on how to safely operate the vehicles. This can include both classroom instruction and on-the-road training. In addition, companies can use technology to track driver behavior and identify areas for improvement. GPS systems can be used to monitor speed, acceleration, and braking, while telematics can be used to track hours of service and fuel usage. By improving driver performance, companies can improve the efficiency of their trucking fleet. We hope that this blog post has helped you understand the basics of trucking fleet management. There are many different ways to optimize your fleet, and we encourage you to explore all of them in order to find the best solution for your specific business.
Starting and running a successful family owned business is a great achievement. Statistics reveal nearly 78% of all new jobs across the U.S. are by family owned businesses. But starting a family business has its fair share of challenges. Take, for example, a father and son business. Some fathers find it difficult to allow their sons to take the lead role in a business they founded. On the other hand, some sons abuse certain liberties, creating confrontations that affect business operations. But if well managed, business challenges can be very minor. So, how do you run a successful father and son dealership? Respect and know each other’s strengths Respecting and appreciating each other’s strengths is one way to run a father-son business successfully. If your father is a visionary and you’re a hands-on individual, you can co-exist in a work environment by appreciating each other’s strengths. The owner of Carvana, a used car dealerships platform, advises visionary fathers to manage the business as sons employ a hands-on approach and manage daily business operations. To manage conflicts, rely on outside expertise When there are conflicts between a father and son, it’s best to rely on outside expertise to make informed and strategic decisions. One of the smartest things to do is to create a board that helps run the dealership. A board can help preserve the founder’s vision for the company and provide continuity and guidance to a younger generation. Directors can build relationships with new family members who are added to the company or board. Remember, conflicts at work always spill over into conflicts at home. You’ll not only affect your business operations but also disturb the peace at home. Only 30% of family-owned businesses make it into the second generation—and conflict is one of the culprits. Keep family relationships away from the office Removing relationship labels can help you to efficiently run the business. Instead of viewing each other as family, view each other as business partners. It’ll be uncomfortable at first, but it’s necessary for business efficiency. Family relationships and business can intertwine to form a cocktail of complex dynamics that could affect the entire business. To make sure this doesn’t happen, keep family relationships away from the office. Be firm about it for the interest of the business. Spend time outside the office Avoid conversations that turn into family talk when in the office. Keep family-related conversations at home to avoid conflicts at the workplace. The opposite is also true. Spend time together away from the office and keep off work-related conversations. When you’re having a family dinner, focus on your family. Take time to spend quality time together away from the office. For example, you can play sports together. When focused on a specific sport, you’ll barely have time for family or business-related conversations. Spend time together outside the office often. Connect with nature or enjoy each other’s company, and you’ll avoid conversations that lead to disagreements and conflicts. Work together to grow your relationship and your dealership. Author Biography: Mahrukh is a content creator, calligrapher and educator. She is a regular contributor to various websites like Contenterist, where she writes a variety of niches such as well-researched articles, blogs, product descriptions and so on.
If you own or drive a diesel truck, you’re bound to run into electrical problems from time to time. We don’t usually think about the electrical components in our diesel vehicles, but these parts are playing an increasingly important role in the industry. Smart sensors and other electronic diesel parts can lose their ability to automate certain functions over time, which lead to a range of problems behind the wheel. Learn about the most common diesel truck electrical problems and how to solve them. Diesel Trucks and Electricity Diesel trucks have come a long way in recent years. Automakers are incorporating more technology into their vehicles to improve engine performance. It all starts with the battery, which powers the various electrical components in the vehicle. Diesel engines use hot, highly pressurized air to convert diesel fuel into mechanical energy. The battery send power to the glow plugs, which heat the pressurized air to ensure that it will combust when it mixes with the fuel. For this reason, diesel engines require more stored energy to start up than traditional gas-powered vehicles. Many diesel vehicles come with two batteries, while others come with a single battery that’s 50% larger than those found on gas-powered vehicles. Other than the battery, diesel trucks have many of the same electrical parts as traditional automobiles, including alternators, solenoids, and starters, and the electronic control module (ECM), which controls the fuel mixture, ignition timing, and emissions system; monitors engine performance, while protecting it from abuse; and detects and troubleshoots problems. Diesel engines also have aftercooling mechanisms that reduce harmful emissions that pollute the environment, including selective catalytic reducer (SCR) systems that inject a special fluid into the exhaust, which converts these toxins into parts of the atmosphere that we breathe normally. Other diesel engines use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems. The EGR cooler reduces the temperature of the exhaust gas to reduce NOx emissions. Diesel engines also use turbochargers to increase the amount of pressurized air going into the combustion chamber, which gives the engine a boost. Many diesel engines use variable geometry turbos that automatically adjust exhaust pressure based on driving conditions. Common Electrical Problems in Diesel Trucks Dead Battery Your engine won’t start if you have a dead battery. The battery sends power to the glow plugs to start the engine. The battery can die for all sorts of reasons. Using a diesel-electric starter will only strain your battery over time, shortening its lifespan. Consider having the starter removed or repaired by a professional to resolve the issue. You should also keep your battery clean and consider replacing it after two to three years. Bad Glow Plugs The glow plugs keep the engine warm. Specifically, they heat up the cylinders when it’s cold outside so that the fuel can combust. If you’re having trouble starting your engine, test your glow plugs to see if they’re still working. Do your best to protect your battery from the cold, so your glow plugs don’t have to work as hard in the winter. You can install an engine warmer, keep your vehicle covered, or bring your battery inside at night. Malfunctioning EGR Cooler The EGR is designed to stop your engine from polluting the environment, but problems can arise from time to time. If coolant leaks into the fuel, you will notice black or blue smoke coming out of your exhaust. Combustion will also be uneven as the engine consumes more fuel than necessary to produce the same amount of power with knocking sounds coming from the engine. The cooler uses a sensor to automatically deploy coolant to lower the temperature of the exhaust gas. Replace your EGR coolers according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to improve engine performance. Malfunctioning VGT Actuator The turbocharger also needs electricity to run properly. VGT use an actuator, or electric positional motor, to adjust the angle of the vanes that control the exhaust flow on the turbine blades. VGTs can help improve engine performance but they can also malfunction from time to time. If the actuator isn’t working properly, it won’t be able to adjust the flow of exhaust as needed. You may notice a sudden loss of power behind the wheel as well as little to no boost. The actuator on the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke engine has been known to be particularly problematic. You will need to replace your 6.0 VGT actuator to improve turbo performance. These electrical components optimize engine performance. You will likely burn through more fuel than normal if any of these parts aren’t working – assuming you can get your engine started. If you ignore the issue, the problem will only get worse as excess heat and friction damage internal parts and components. Fixing electrical parts isn’t the same as fixing mechanical parts. These sensors and actuators can be incredibly complex and intimidating to some drivers, so consider leaving it to the professionals. You can always purchase replacement parts online ahead of time to save money. Watch out for subtle changes behind the wheel to fix the underlying problem as soon as possible. Guest post submitted by BostechAuto
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