Ford Autonomous Vehicle Testing to Start This Year

Ford autonomous vehicle testing

Calm down Jr. They’re working on the autonomous cars, ok?

With testing already going on in Michigan at Michigan University’s Mcity facility and on public roads in Arizona, Ford autonomous vehicle testing will also start in California in 2016. The Silicon Valley Ford testing and innovation center will allow for a wider array of tests thanks to California’s year-round mild weather, since rain and snow make testing autonomous vehicles more difficult.

Recently approved by the California DMV, Ford will test a new Ford Fusion on California roads, allowing testers to observe how the autonomous Fusion will react to the different environment and different traffic laws, like motorcycles that can legally split lanes.

Silicon Valley is the perfect place for autonomous testing thanks to the abundance of tech knowledge in the area. Ford hopes to develop lasting partnerships with the local companies like Google, Uber, and Baidu, all of which are testing autonomous vehicles around the country. Ford will also draw on its existing partnership with the University of California Berkeley and other local colleges.

If you can’t wait for an autonomous vehicle, you might want to try a used car from Mama’s Used Cars! We’re located in Charleston, South Carolina, and we’re waiting for you to visit!

Benefits of Buying a Used Car

buying a used car

Buying a used car can be fun, we promise! Just read on to find out. 

Buying a brand new car might seem like a great idea, but don’t discount the benefits of buying a used car—often, if you get something from the last few years, used cars are very similar to new cars but with some cool perks.

First off, used cars are, overall, cheaper. They have a lower initial cost, lower monthly payments, lower car insurance, sales tax, registration fees. If you’re on a tight budget, used cars are the best way to go. Plus, if you want to sell your car again down the line, you get a better return on your investment—the value of a car depreciates the most in its first three years.

And sure, you won’t get the very latest technology on a used car, but not everyone needs that. A lot of slightly older cars will still have cool features like navigation systems. Plus, newer used cars in good condition are often put through a certification process by dealerships, so if you get a certified pre-owned car you’ll end up with something like new but cheaper and with some handy warranties.

Buying used is the right choice for a lot of people, so definitely think about it! Then head down to Mama’s Used Cars to pick out your favorite!

 

The Importance of All-Wheel Drive Vehicles in Winter

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles

When winter rolls in, drivers need to start thinking about what preventative measures to take in order to get themselves safe and their vehicles functioning properly. Things like performing routine maintenance, swapping out all-season tires for winter tires, and making sure your HVAC system is working properly are all crucial elements to preparing for winter. But other drivers may take it a step further and wonder if all-wheel drive vehicles are more suitable to the slippery roads of winter.

The number one benefit, and possibly the most obvious one, is that AWD comes with increased traction over other modes of driving. AWD allows all four wheels to spin independently, so if a one or two wheels lose traction or slip, the other wheels can still pull the vehicle forward. This comes in handy on icy roads during hazardous winter storms. Modern technology also calls for innovations in AWD systems; many AWD vehicles now function on computer systems that allocate more power to wheels with better traction. Additionally, AWD makes for excellent resale value, so someday when you need to sell your vehicle, it will be worth more.

As with any extra, beneficial features, all-wheel drive vehicles typically cost more than other types and lower the mpg of a given vehicle, but many drivers find that the added peace of mind that accompanies AWD systems pays off in the end. If you are in the market for a new car with the winter months coming up, you may be better off looking for a car with all-wheel drive.

December Car Sales Make it the Best Month to Buy

December Car Sales

2015 is drawing to a close as we move into the last month of the year, and people are in the midst of spending lots of money on a variety of different things in preparation for holiday festivities. However, the end of the year is also a great time to buy cars, as dealerships are knocking down prices to clear the outgoing models from their lots and in the hopes of fitting in as many sales as possible before the New Year begins. December car sales make right now one of the best times of the year to buy a new car.

The year-end sales rush causes many manufacturers to dramatically slash sticker prices by the thousands with the intent of clearing inventory of outdated products and ushering in the new. 2016 models that have already launched may also see impressive deals as dealerships try to attract buyers to updated models. However, demand around this time of year also falls drastically, so even used car dealerships will offer great deals in an attempt to bolster sales as fewer people are looking for new vehicles during the holiday season.

Though December car sales may attract you, keep in mind, too, that dealerships operate on what is known as the US Sales Reporting Calendar. This calendar, unlike the public one, ends on January 4th as opposed to New Year’s, so buyers may find even better deals during the first few days of January when car dealerships are fitting in a few extra sales before the Sales Reporting Calendar ends.

The Importance of Winter Driving Safety

winter, tips, safety

With winter coming up, drivers may start to worry about potential hazards posed by winter weather like snow and ice. Truthfully, the safest way to deal with these hazards is to simply avoid them. Listen to snow emergencies and closures and stay inside when you can. However, for many people, staying in is not a possibility. In that case, winter driving safety is good to know when braving the slippery roads.

Oftentimes, a change of tires can make all the difference. Cold temperatures can reduce the malleability of rubber, making normal tires more prone to sliding. Old, worn tires should be replaced anyway, even if you aren’t interested in seasonal snow tires. Traction can have a big influence on how far you slide while stopping.

Either way, drivers should be cautious while stopping, as vehicles will take longer to come to a full stop and sudden starts will cause fishtailing on slippery roads. If you do happen to slide, don’t hit the brakes or gas – ease off and turn into the direction you are sliding. Overall, be slow and cautious when stopping behind another vehicle or passing them.

Winter driving safety and maintaining a cautious and defensive outlook can prevent many emergencies and accidents in the colder months. Being prepared and exercising these simple tips can keep you getting where you’re going safely. However, keep in mind that it’s always better to stay home or be late than put yourself in potentially life-threatening danger.

What are the Best Used Cars for New Drivers?

Best used cars for new drivers

Getting your first car is always a milestone in a teenager’s life, and many of them dream of getting something ‘cool’ like a convertible or some sort of luxurious muscle car. However, not only is that typically not practical for the family’s budget, but parents are often concerned about the safety of their first-time drivers. Young drivers simply don’t have the experience and knowledge to be defensive on the road, and as a result, they can get into more accidents. That’s why the IIHS put together a list of best used cars for new drivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety published a similar list last year, but the 2015 year’s list of safe, used vehicles has grown by more than 50 percent, reflecting an increase in availability of safety features such as electronic stability control and more airbags. However, despite the recommendation of large, older sedans, the IIHS warns parents they should still consider spending a bit more money in the interest of investing in better safety features.

Cars on the list include the Ford Taurus, Volvo S80, Chevy Malibu, Kia Optima, Buick Encore, GMC Terrain, Chevy Traverse, and many, many more. The best used cars for new drivers span a wide array of classes, sizes, and model years, and the list is worth a look for parents looking to get the safest vehicles for their teenagers.

Tips for Handling Driving Emergencies

driving emergencies

Do you ever look at traffic and think how miraculous it is that the situation is as consistently predictable as it is? The truth is that for the most part, everyone knows what is at stake. And for the most, people practice the golden rule on the road. Yet despite our best efforts, driving emergencies do happen.

# 1 – Tire Blowout

This emergency occurs most often when a tire is underinflated on the highway and the temperature is hot. According to Edmunds.com, “The repeated flexing of an underinflated tire causes the failure.”

The first thing to do is not brake, and then try to get off of the road as quickly as possible. Maintain as much of a straight line as possible while allowing the vehicle to coast toward the side of the road.

# 2 – Going Off the Road

The problem comes about when there is little shoulder and particularly when your left tires are on the pavement, the left tires are off, and the pavement is slightly elevated.

Here’s the plan: “release the accelerator, keep the steering wheel straight, allow the vehicle to slow on its own and smoothly steer back on the road.”

# 3 – Sudden stops

To help you prepare for the time you may need to stop suddenly, you should know more about ABS.

Anti-lock brakes are required by law and have been since 2012. And yet they only work when you use them properly. When a vehicle skids, steering is unavailable. ABS pumps the brakes so you don’t have to, allowing you to also steer as you brake. Here’s another thing: you need to stomp on the brakes to engage the ABS.

The best way to plan for an emergency is to expect them. Then you will never be surprised.

The Best Driving Apps: Spice Up Your Commute

best driving apps

Is your commute starting to grind a bit? Need to mix things up? Here are a few of the best driving apps that can make your commute better, or at least temporarily bearable.

Noisli

  • For iOS, this app allows you to enjoy different kinds of ambient sounds. Imagine listening to the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop in your car while enjoying your morning coffee. Okay. That does seem a little depressing. Try the sound of rain or white noise or mix and match them (rain in a coffee shop near the beach?).

Audible

  • Designed for both iOS and Android systems, Audible is like Spotify except for books. The app has over 180,000 books available for streaming. It has lots of cool features, such as if the narration is too fast, you can actually adjust the pace.

Overcast

  • Do you enjoy podcasts? According to Buzzfeed, Overcast features “access to the entire podcast library.” You can download podcasts and listen to them offline (handy if your cell connection is spotty along your route).

Spotify or Apple Music

  • If you don’t subscribe to one of these music streaming services yet, you are truly missing out. Music streaming makes it so easy to discover new music and what better way to spend your commute?

Brian Kent Goes on Countrywide Road Trip with his Nissan LEAF

countrywide road trip

Brian Kent, a Nissan LEAF owner determined to bring to light the use of carbon in the U.S., is celebrating National Drive Electric Week early by going on a countrywide road trip with his Nissan LEAF. Beginning August 24th, he set off behind the wheel of his EV from Albion, NY, on a journey that will take him across all 48 contiguous US. states—we wonder how close he’ll get to Mama’s Used Cars!

Kent will plant a tree in each state, which is why he’s calling his adventure the Negative Carbon US Road Trip: in 40 years, the 48 trees he plants should absorb about 10 times more CO2 than his LEAF will produce on the 26,000-mile journey. The trees will be planted at some of the 485 sites owned by Kampgrounds of America, which is sponsoring the adventure.

“Not everyone can or needs to drive across the country,” said Kent, “but most Americans drive less than 40 miles per day, and an EV costs the equivalent of less than a dollar-per-gallon of gasoline to drive, so these cars are ideal for most Americans and we need them for our environment and our children’s future.”

You can get your own Eco-Friendly vehicle at Mama’s Used Cars. Drop by today at 1627 Savannah Highway in Charleston, SC!

2016 Honda Pilot Earns 2015 Top Safety Pick+ Rating from IIHS

2015 Top Safety Pick+

The 2016 Honda Pilot has earned a 2015 Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), once again showing that Honda knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to automotive safety. Then again, we already knew that from all the Hondas that have come and gone through the years at Mama’s Used Cars.

The mid-size family SUV earned the highest possible score of “Good” in all categories, including side, roof strength, head restraint, moderate overlap front, and the tricky small overlap front crashworthiness evaluations.

The optional Honda Sensing suite is what allowed the Pilot to earn that extra + rating, rated “superior” by the IIHS. It combines a windshield-mounted camera and radar behind the grille to provide collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assistance, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, and forward collision warning.

“The Pilot demonstrates Honda’s commitment to achieving the highest levels of safety performance,” said IIHS president Adrian Lund. “The Pilot’s crashworthiness ratings set a high standard, and its optional front crash prevention system will help drivers avoid some kinds of crashes to begin with.”

If you’re looking for any other Top Safety Pick+ car options, come down to Mama’s Used Cars today. We’ll find you the best vehicle for the best price, that will fit your lifestyle!