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This Month in Automotive History - Alice Huyler Ramsey Becomes First Woman to Drive Cross-Country

This Month in Automotive History - Alice Huyler Ramsey Becomes First Woman to Drive Cross-Country

Right about this time 106 years ago, 22-year-old Alice Ramsey was setting off on what began as a publicity stunt for carmaker Maxwell-Briscoe, but would become a historic feat for women. After 59 days and 3,800 miles, the Hackensack, NJ housewife and mom would wrap a journey from Hell's Gate in Manhattan, NY to San Francisco, CA in a four-cylinder, 30-horsepower 1909 Maxwell DA, a touring car with two bench seats and a removable pantasote roof. Greeted by the paparazzi of the day, she and her traveling companions would become the first women ever to drive across the United States. At the time, a woman behind the wheel was an infrequent sight, and frowned upon by many of the upper crust of society. But Ramsey and her wily companions - two older sisters-in-law and a 16-year-old female friend - paid no mind to the naysayers. The journey proved quite the girl trip. Though the group was provided with maps from the American Automobile Association, only a small portion of the roadways ...

June 16, 2015


20 Swelteringly Hot Summer Road Trip Songs

20 Swelteringly Hot Summer Road Trip Songs

  Summertime is here and whether you're in terminally sunny South Florida or the northernmost regions of Seattle chances are you're hot. But if you also happen to be a car buff, even the most scorching temperatures won't keep you from piling in and revving up for an epic road trip. To help keep your mind off the miserable heat, your fellow auto enthusiasts here at E3 Spark Plugs offers this list of our top 20 favorite summertime tunes, whether you're blazing down the highway at top speed in your late-model muscle car or tootling along at a leisurely pace in your classic roadster, taking in the scenery - some sultry, some slow, some fast and some just plain fun. In no particular order… Hot in the City, Billy Idol The Heat Is On, Glenn Frey Long Hot Summer Night, The Jimi Hendrix Experience Heat Wave, Martha and the Vandellas Summer in the City, Lovin’ Spoonful Windows are Rolled Down, Amos Lee Barely Breathing, Duncan Sheik Call Me the Breeze, Lynyrd Skynyrd Summe...

June 1, 2015


Outside Air vs. Inside Air Mode – What's the Difference?

Outside Air vs. Inside Air Mode – What's the Difference?

Take a look at your car's air conditioning controls. You're likely to see two options - one for recirculating air already in the car and another for pulling outside air in to your car's cabin. And if you're like most American car owners, you haven't a clue as to the difference between the two or which is best for your ride. Here's the low down from E3 Spark Plugs' automotive experts. Re-circulating air already inside your vehicle's cabin can help quickly cool down your car - far faster than fresh air pulled into the cabin. That quick relief from the summer's sweltering heat makes it the first choice for drivers in the know. But that fast cool-down comes with a health risk if you run your car's AC system on the re-circulate mode for too long. The nature of recirculated air means that its' already been breathed in and out by other occupants riding along with you. Thus, it's sapped of oxygen and filled with moisture. That combination can make you groggy, which can hinder your conc...

May 27, 2015


Save on Gas by Blasting Your AC

Save on Gas by Blasting Your AC

Summertime is upon us. If you're among those living in the hotter, more humid states, you're likely already blasting your air conditioner. Feeling a little guilty about it? Don't. Turns out running your ride's AC can actually help boost your gas mileage a bit. Running the AC does increase your vehicle's gas consumption - That's a no-brainer. But according to fueleconomy.gov, driving on a hot day with the AC on is far more fuel efficient - and easier on your body's sweat glands - than cruising down the highway with your windows down. That's because at highway speeds, open windows can increase your car's aerodynamic drag, and that makes the engine work harder, sapping your miles-per-gallon rate. A few other tips for staying cool and saving gas: Park in the shade, so that your car doesn't get quiet as hot and your AC won't have to work quite so hard to cool you. If you can't score a spot in the shade, use one of those reflective car window shields. Roll down the window for t...

May 26, 2015


GM's Yesterdays, Disney's Tomorrowland Collide in the Coolest Way

GM's Yesterdays, Disney's Tomorrowland Collide in the Coolest Way

Disney's Tomorrowland gives us all a cinematic glance into a fantastical future. But GM is using the film's release as a way to not only publicize its upcoming models, but to hold a bit of a throw-back celebration of its amazing concept cars of the past. Released to theaters nationwide on Thursday, Tomorrowland tells the story of a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen who together embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space. But look closely, and you'll get a few glimpses of a very real future. That's because the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt and EN-V concepts appear in the backgrounds in several scenes of the both the present day and Tomorrowland. It's part of the initial marketing efforts for the Volt that also include a television spot and digital advertising. But also featured are five then-futuristic concept cars debuted by Chevrolet as early as 1959. As described by Chevrolet parent company, GM, the concepts featur...

May 23, 2015


One in Seven US Cars Recalled

One in Seven US Cars Recalled

That Takata airbag recall fiasco just keeps getting worse. Earlier this week, the Japanese auto parts maker finally admitted that its airbags contained potentially dangerous faults. Those faults thus far have been linked to six deaths and hundreds of injuries caused by knife-like shrapnel that flew from ruptured airbags. Almost immediately afterward, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru added 715,000 cars and trucks to what is already the largest auto safety recall in history. To date, the collective recalls of automobiles suspected to be outfitted with Takata-made airbags involves some 34 million cars and trucks - a figure that reflects one in seven American-registered rides. Here's what to do if you suspect that your vehicle is affected by the recalls: Search your VIN: Your first step is to find your ride's VIN (vehicle identification number), a 17-digit code found on your driver's side dashboard and visible from outside the windshield. Visit www.safercar.com/vin and type in your co...

May 22, 2015


Meet the Man behind Mad Max: Fury Road’s Crazy Rides

Meet the Man behind Mad Max: Fury Road’s Crazy Rides

Mad Max: Fury Road is furiously burning up the box office, earning $45.45 million in America and $109.5m worldwide in its first few days of release. Described as a "sardonic $150 million budgeted 3D demented demolition derby of a movie" that "throws everything to the wind and cuts to the chase for an insanely wild 2 hour ride," this film is, at its heart, is a car flick. E3 Spark Plugs introduces you the guy behind crazy onscreen rides. Meet Mad Max production designer Colin Gibson. Charged with a mission by director George Miller to "Make it cool or I'll kill you," Gibson did just that, primarily by making sure every single car in the film would be fully functional. To that end, Gibson and his crew created a total of 150 vehicles of 88 separate designs, leaving plenty of room for backups and blow ups. And it's a good thing they did. More than half of the on-set rides were destroyed during production. The destruction of those dozens of rides comes as no surprise when you consi...

May 22, 2015


Is Your Ride Among the All-Time Best Selling Cars?

Is Your Ride Among the All-Time Best Selling Cars?

You see them every day - Lots of them, and for good reason. They're the all-time best-selling vehicles in America, as compiled by researchers at the Wall Street Cheat Sheet. Is your ride among the most popular in automotive sales history? 10 - Chevrolet Impala: The Bowtie Brand has sold 14 million units since introducing the car as the Bel Air Impala in 1958. 9 - Volkswagen Passat: Despite being on the roadways for far less time than the Impala, the Passat has sold more than 15.5 million units since its 1973 debut. 8 - Ford Model T: Credited with setting the benchmark for mass-production cars, the Model T, first appearing in 1908, sold 16.5 million units, making it the most populous car on America's roadways at one time. 7 - Honda Accord: Known for its reliability, the Accord initially was released as a compact, since has become a favored sedan, selling 17.5 million units since 1976. 6 - Honda Civic: Slightly ahead of its sibling ride, the Honda Civic has sold 18.5 million ...

May 22, 2015


Practice Crash Prompts Changes in IndyCar Series

Practice Crash Prompts Changes in IndyCar Series

  After three dramatic crashes in a week, officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have ordered changes to cars to make them safer for qualifying and racing in the Indianapolis 500. During last week's qualifying runs, cars driven by three -time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and teammate Ed  Carpenter flipped after hitting the wall mid-turn. Apparently three strikes were enough to force multiple safety-minded changes including: Returning cars to their lower, prequalifying turbocharger boost levels, which will reduce power to around 50 horsepower and speeds to under 230 mph; Having teams run the same aerodynamic configurations for both qualifying and the race. Changes to qualifying and race rules may not be enough, though. The three crashes have renewed questions as to whether the new aerodynamic design of the cars makes them susceptible to flipping. That's because in each of the three incidents, the cars, all Chevrolet models, flipped as...

May 22, 2015


Knowing When to Change Your Spark Plugs

Knowing When to Change Your Spark Plugs

A great working set of spark plugs is crucial to your vehicle's performance. And they don't last forever. Do you know when it's time to change yours? E3 Spark Plugs offers these six top tips. Your engine's got a rough idle: An idling engine normally produces about 1000rpm and gives off a constant, smooth sound. But if your spark plugs aren't performing the way they should, your engine will let you know with a rough, jittery sound and a produce a rough and jittery sound and heavy vibrations. You've got starting trouble: Car won't start? Your first guesses likely are that it's out of gas or the battery's busted. Instead, it may be that your spark plugs are worn. Plus, faulty spark plugs may drain your battery, which means you'll need to replace both.   Your engine misfires: When your engine misfires it causes the vehicle to jolt to a stop for a fraction of a second, then continue on.  This means one or more cylinders aren't firing properly, which means that you've got a bum s...

May 22, 2015


Hitting the Water This Summer Season? Take the Designated Skipper Pledge

Hitting the Water This Summer Season? Take the Designated Skipper Pledge

Ah, summertime! It's a great time to hit the water, and millions across America will do just that later this month when the Memorial Day holiday hits. Unfortunately, all that fun in the sun can quickly turn dangerous if the guy at the helm is also on the sauce. Statistics show that alcohol or drug use is involved in at least 15 percent of boating fatalities each year. And, the US Coast Guard estimates that boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration above 10 percent are 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than those who save the cocktails for shore time. In numerous states, drinking alcohol while boating is perfectly legal, so long as the boat's pilot isn't impaired. But keep in mind that the heat of the sun intensifies alcohol's effects on your body. Essentially, you feel the effects of drunkenness quicker and more intensely. These include diminished balance, coordination, motor skills, vision and judgement - all significantly boosting your risk of a de...

May 22, 2015


May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

By May, every region nationwide is feeling the warmth of the summer sun. This means that even in the northernmost reaches, motorcycles are coming out of the garages and seeing the light of day once again. And that's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Down south, Florida, Texas and California, consistently top the nation for motorcycle injuries and fatalities, largely because their near year-round warm climates means that motorcycles spend all 12 months on the roadways. So, it's important to understand that for every mile traveled, you’ve got a 30-times-higher risk of being killed in an accident on a motorcycle than when riding in a car. No matter what you drive, E3 Spark Plugs wants to make sure you're safe on the roadways. To that end, we offer these top tips for staying safe every month of the year.  Allow for a greater following distance when behind a motorcycle than when behind another car. Motorc...

May 22, 2015


E3 Spark Plugs Salutes Our Military Members and Veterans

E3 Spark Plugs Salutes Our Military Members and Veterans

May is Military Appreciation Month, culminating with the May 25 Memorial Day celebrations, honoring the scores of servicemen and servicewomen who died while serving in our country's armed forces. We here at E3 Spark Plugs have the utmost respect and love for America's military members and veterans, not only for their valiant sacrifices but also for the bevy of amazing rides they've given us over the decades. For instance, multiple vehicles earned their pedigree during World War II, when the US manufacture of automobiles completely stopped. The few rides made during that time were created solely for the war effort. Later, the best of them transitioned to the civilian market. A number of the now antique originals and many of their successors remain on the roadways today. Here are a few of our favorite vehicles that originated or evolved in the military: Jeep Wrangler: Arguably the ride with the most decorated military career, the Wrangler's legacy was born with the Willys MB, ...

May 7, 2015


New Ram Trucks Ad Celebrates Badass, Truck Loving Women

New Ram Trucks Ad Celebrates Badass, Truck Loving Women

Let's face it. Truck ads are pretty formulaic. Macho guys behind the wheel flinging mud, pulling heavy stuff, rolling over rocks and doing high-speed donuts on suspiciously empty lots, all to the pounding beat of some patriotic ditty is pretty much the go-to formula. Dodge just changed that. Among the assumptions apparently made by the (perhaps not-so) creative types on Madison Avenue is that women don’t buy trucks - that they're far too comfy in their minivans, sedans and soccer-mom SUVs. Not so, statistics show. Truth is, women make up 19 percent of buyers of midsize pickups and 13 percent of full-size or heavy-duty pickups. What's more, automakers increasingly employ women in high-level design, engineering and brand marketing positions. In the case of Dodge Ram trucks, Becky Blanchard is the director of the Ram brand and Elizabeth Krear is chief engineer of the Ram 1500. The influx of women into such positons is a smart move on the part of automakers, considering the econo...

April 29, 2015


Nissan Skyline GTR Gets a Sharpie Makeover

Nissan Skyline GTR Gets a Sharpie Makeover

What do you do when you decide the color of your ride is oh, so last season? Well, if you're a gutsy kind of guy with an artsy kind of gal at your side, you hand her a couple of Sharpies and stand back. That's what one US military veteran did when he went shopping for a Midnight Purple Nissan Skyline GTR, but came home with a silver 1995 model. He quickly set about tuning up his new car and planning to repaint it. Apparently bored with the whole thing, his girlfriend grabbed a Sharpie and doodled over a scratch on the front bumper. "It didn't matter. I was repainting it anyway," said the car's owner, identified as GroundForceOne in an online forum for Nissan owners. The next day, when he spotted his girlfriend's bumper art, he was impressed - So much so that he decided to forego his violet-hued plans and handed his woman a few more Sharpies. While he continued to tinker on the inside, she spent the next few months busily creating a masterpiece. Roughly 100 hours and several cle...

April 29, 2015


Ford Recalls 554,000 Cars Over Power Steering, Fuel Pumps, Heat Shields, Parking Lamps

Ford Recalls 554,000 Cars Over Power Steering, Fuel Pumps, Heat Shields, Parking Lamps

It's been a rough few weeks for Ford. Last week, the automaker recalled upward of 400,000 late-model vehicles for faulty door latches. Now, it's issued a recall of another 553,314 vehicles, citing an array of issues with power steering, fuel pumps, heat shields and parking lamps. Topping the recall list are 487,301 Fusions and Lincoln MKZs from model years 2013-2015 and 2015 Edge vehicles. Bolts on the steering gear motors installed in these vehicles can rust out, crack and disable the power assist. At highest risk for corrosion are vehicles that are registered in or frequent the "salt belt" states, where large quantities of salt are applied to roads during the winter season to control show and ice and lower the risk of automobile accidents. If your ride is affected, your nearest Ford dealer will replace the bolts, cover them in a rustproof sealant and replace any damaged steering gear. Owners of 2015 MKZ sedans should also ask for a software update that will lower the brightne...

April 29, 2015


California Leads in Thefts of Vehicles With Keys Inside

California Leads in Thefts of Vehicles With Keys Inside

All the anti-theft technology in the world is no match for the level of boneheadedness it takes to leave one's keys in one's ride. Thus is the source of the latest automotive survey that will have you reposing this blog post on your social media pages, paired with a #SMH hashtag. An analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau showed that 126,603 vehicles nationwide were reported stolen with the keys still in them from 2012-2014. While the bureau reports that overall car thefts are declining, the number of vehicles stolen with the keys inside is actually on the rise. In 2012, 39,345 cars stolen had their keys in them - often in the ignition with the vehicle still running. The next year, that figure rose to 42,430, then swelled to 44,828 in 2014. The top five states where the most vehicle thefts with keys occurred are: California: 19,597 Texas: 8,796 Florida: 7,868 Michigan: 7,726 Ohio: 7,452 These thefts primarily occurred on Saturdays (19,147), with Fridays (18,71...

April 29, 2015


Volvo XC90 SUV Concept Takes Automotive Luxury to New Heights

Volvo XC90 SUV Concept Takes Automotive Luxury to New Heights

Luxury automobile concepts almost always are impressive. But the new Volvo XC90 SUV concept, unveiled at the recent 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, puts most to shame - particularly on the inside. "We understand that most high-level executives are chauffer driven," said Volvo's Senior Vice President of Design Thomas Ingenlath in a promotional video about the inspiration behind the development of the XC90. So, designers set out to replicate that experience for others. To that end, most noticeable is the removal of the front passenger seat, replaced with a lounge console that doubles as an ottoman for tired feet and a storage space for kicked-off shoes and features a massive 17-inch multimedia screen. The screen unit also folds down to lap-level and becomes a tray table that opens up for easy storage of cufflinks, watches, jewelry and cosmetics, allowing passengers to quickly freshen up their appearance throughout the day. "The lounge console was created to provide a space for personali...

April 29, 2015


Movie Cars Take Spotlight At Austin Auto Show

Movie Cars Take Spotlight At Austin Auto Show

The annual Austin Auto Show is officially underway, showing off hundreds of the latest and greatest in the automotive world offered by members of the Austin Automobile Dealers Association. But the exhibit that's really grabbing headlines is one boasting some of the most iconic cars in TV and movie history, including: The DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future The Ecto-1 from Ghost Busters The Knight 2000 K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider The Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo And your kids will no doubt dig the one-of-a-kind Toyota Sienna SpongeBob van. The guy behind the screen cars' appearance is reality star VideoBob Moseley from the Reelz Channel's Screen Machines. He told Austin-area reporters that his obsession with building replicas of TV and film cars began in 2003 when he bought a DeLorean and set out to replicate the fantasy vehicle from the iconic 1985 film. "Things just got way out of hand and I started building these complete total replicas," Moseley said, n...

April 25, 2015


Harley-Davidson Recalls More Than 54,000 Bikes

Harley-Davidson Recalls More Than 54,000 Bikes

Hey, Hog riders - take note. Harley-Davidson just announced two separate recalls affecting more than 54,000 motorcycles already on the roadways nationwide. The largest of the two recalls affects 45,901 rides with faulty clutch master cylinders. According to documents submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "a chemical reaction inside of the sealed clutch system creates gas bubbles which may cause loss of clutch lift." This can cause a bike to lurch unexpectedly when the rider puts the transmission in gear, particularly after it's been parked for an extended period of time. Thus far, the issue has resulted in 313 warranty claims, 31 customer complaints, 27 crashes or other incidents and four minor injuries. Models affected include: 2014 CVO Road King 2014-2015 Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Classic - Twin Cooled, Ultra Limited, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, and CVO Street Glide 2015 Electra Glide Ultra Classic...

April 25, 2015


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