Posted by & filed under Popular, Resources.

By ANDY STONEHOUSE

Special for UtahRides

The pickup truck arms race has yielded some wild and wooly choices for manly men and their burly machines — but, really, do you need a high-powered pickup that’s tough enough to race the Baja 1000 or pull a 17,000-pound trailer?

The rock-crawling monster truck might appeal to the kid inside you, but occasionally, the issues of practicality need to guide you in your choice of four-wheeled finery. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.

By AARON COLE

Managing Editor, MediaOne of Utah

Few vehicles are asked to do as much as pickup trucks, but consumers are asking truck makers for one more trick to their repertoires.

Fuel economy has leapfrogged into the top spots in many car buyers’ minds thanks to $3-something gas these days. And truck makers are responding.

But it might not be in the way that you’re thinking.

“If you go back to the mid-2000s, when we were doing our research on capability vs. fuel economy, you’ll find that buyers weren’t willing to trade capability for fuel economy at all,” said Bob Hegbloom, director for the Ram truck brand. “Now, we ask, ‘Would you sacrifice those the capabilities?’ And the answer is still no. People are more aware of it now … that’s really all.”

Hegbloom’s sentiment is echoed almost universally among truck makers: People would like better fuel economy, but when it comes to pickups, it can’t be at the cost of performance. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Popular.

Dear Tom and Ray:

About a year ago, I had the timing belt replaced on my 2003 Subaru Outback. Then, last week, I had the head gasket replaced at a different shop. When they replaced the head gasket, they looked at my timing belt and said I needed a new one! The reason was because they could not see any writing on the belt, and they said if it was replaced last year, there would still be writing visible, as it takes 40,000-50,000 miles to wear the writing off a belt, even an aftermarket one. So, now I am wondering, Did they really replace my timing belt last year, or did they rip me off? — Jim Read more »

Posted by & filed under Resources.

By Steven Cole Smith

The Orlando Sentinel

Perhaps the most astounding story in the automotive world is the success of Kia, which only entered the U.S. market in 1993 with the little Sportage SUV, then the Sephia, an anonymous-looking sedan. In 1997, Kia declared bankruptcy, and a majority of the company was sold to the other major Korean manufacturer, Hyundai. It wasn’t until 1999 that Kia vehicles were available in all 50 states. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.

By AARON COLE

Managing Editor,
MediaOne of  Utah

The gangster is gone.

That is, of course, my perception of what the 2011 Chrysler 300 presents. Once the darling of dubs and titan of tint, the 300 was a smash hit with an unintended audience and became a sedan-sized life raft for Chrysler during their rough waters.

Out of bankruptcy and back into profitability, the aging 300 found itself among the first to be nominated for an Extreme Makeover: Chrysler Edition. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.

By AARON COLE

Managing Editor,
MediaOne of Utah

TOOELE — This is how it starts.

All England Lawn Tennis Club isn’t open to the public on weekdays. The field at Cowboy Stadium is not open for your passes. Yankees batting practice pitcher Paul Schreiber is not waiting for your cuts.

But the bends of ribbon-laid asphalt at Miller Motorsports Park are eager to take your turns. Access to a major-league facility like this doesn’t come without a high draft pick in other sports. For $25 here, you can run onto this Wrigley Field for your short time, line up in the back and do it all over again until it gets dark. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Popular.

Dear Tom and Ray:

My wife had the oil changed in her 2010 Camry at Walmart. One week later, as she was finishing her 25-mile morning commute, she noticed a noise coming from the engine while she parked the car. She called me to report it, and said she also noticed a small amount of oil dripping under the car. Upon restarting the car at lunch, the sound was much worse. So she shut off the car, and had it towed to the dealer where it was purchased. The dealer said that the oil-filter cartridge was installed incorrectly, so the oil ran out and the car’s engine probably is a total loss. I will be going to the dealer and also speaking with a Walmart manager tomorrow. How do I ensure that Walmart will make good on this, and won’t try to weasel out of paying for my new engine? It’s going to cost thousands of dollars. Thanks for your advice. — Tom

TOM: Well, you can’t prevent them from TRYING to weasel out of it, Tom. The manager wouldn’t be worth his salt if he didn’t at least try to claim that the oil was abducted by aliens while you were walking the dog.

RAY: Actually, what they may argue is that your wife shares some responsibility for the engine failure because she had an obligation to notice that the oil light was on. And that once the oil light was on, she should have stopped driving before the engine was ruined completely. If she did drive some distance with the oil light on, that argument has some merit.

TOM: But whether she shares responsibility or not, your job now is to lock down your evidence. So, when you go to the dealer, you want to get his statement, in writing, of what he found, when he found it, what he believes happened and how much your new engine’s going to cost. Take some dated pictures of the incorrectly installed part, if you can, and get the names and phone numbers of the individuals who examined your car. Ask them to agree to testify in small-claims court someday, should that be necessary.

RAY: And by the way, I would ask the dealer to specify a new or remanufactured engine, rather than let Walmart repair your engine. Here’s why: The worst of the damage — to the crankshaft and the bearings — will be obvious when they take apart the engine. But when you run out of oil, there’s subtle damage to every other part that’s supposed to be protected by oil. And that damage may not show up for 50,000 or 75,000 miles, when you start burning oil and belching blue smoke.

TOM: And while that’s not a problem for a car that already has a lot of miles on it, your car is practically brand-new, and you have a right to expect another 100,000 non-oil-burning miles out of it. So ask the dealer to write down that the engine needs to be replaced and cannot be satisfactorily rebuilt.

RAY: Once you have all of your evidence collected — the receipt for the Walmart oil change, the dealer’s statements, the pictures with circles and arrows on them — trundle over to Walmart and calmly lay out your case. Basically, the more you’re able to convince the Walmart manager that resistance is futile, the easier a time you’ll have getting your money from them.

TOM: The good news is that just about all repair shops have what we like to call “bonehead insurance,” which covers us for the stupid things we, or our employees, inevitably do once in a while.

RAY: Well, it covers us for the stupid things we do while working on other people’s cars. It won’t cover me for agreeing to write a newspaper column with my brother, unfortunately.

TOM: But Walmart either has insurance to cover its employees’ mistakes, or it self-insures and covers the cost of the errors itself. Either way, you have to let them know that they’re going to have to make a claim and buy you an engine.

RAY: If they try to give you the runaround, then you have to take them to small-claims court. Or, if the small-claims damage limit in your state isn’t high enough to cover the cost of the engine, you’ll have to pay a lawyer and use the regular court system.

TOM: But in front of a judge, the expert testimony and contemporaneous evidence you collected from the dealership should win the day. And hopefully the Walmart manager, or his or her higher-up, is experienced enough to know that in advance. Good luck, Tom.

In their pamphlet “Should I Buy, Lease, or Steal My Next Car?” Tom and Ray break down the strategies for buying a car, so you can make the most of your money. Send $4.75 (check or money order) to Next Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

Get more Click and Clack in their new book, “Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk.” Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper, or e-mail them by visiting the Car Talk Web site at www.cartalk.com.

Posted by & filed under Resources.

By AARON COLE
Managing Editor, MediaOne of Utah

There are no words to describe the world the Nissan Juke comes from.

It doesn’t come from an alien planet. It doesn’t come from the future. And it doesn’t come with an apology.

The Juke must come from France.

And indeed, we can partly blame the cheese eating, rally monkeys for delivering the most unique CUV on this planet. Where else would style trump substance, form overthrow function and fun march all over common sense faster? If the Juke had been sent into Belgium, it would have given the Germans at least reason to pause while traipsing through the Ardennes. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.

By AARON COLE
Managing Editor, MediaOne of Utah

Despite my best efforts, I don’t think gasoline will ever flow like Salt Lake’s floodwaters into your basement. And OPEC changes its mind fewer times than Rupert Murdoch changes his cartoonish Droopy dog facial expression.

Truth is, gasoline’s dependable combustibility is matched by its unreliable supply and addictive qualities that makes it more akin to heroin than any natural resource. High octane is a hard habit to kick, it turns out.

Where does the 2011 Toyota Yaris come in? It’s like a patch for gas junkies to a world of smarter, smaller cars. A harbinger of tomorrow’s future, powered by the fossilized dinosaurs we find today. Read more »

Posted by & filed under News.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ROME — An animal rights group has urged Pope Benedict XVI to “truly go green” and insist that the next popemobile is made without leather.

PETA said it has written to the pope with the request following the Vatican’s confirmation Wednesday that Germany’s Mercedes-Benz auto company is making a study of a hybrid, energy-saving popemobile. The car would replace the current Mercedes vehicle used when the pope travels abroad.

PETA spokeswoman Ashley Gonzalez says leather production is not only “toxic to the environment, it’s also hell for cows.”

The letter, which is dated June, 22 and also sent to The Associated Press, said PETA counts many Catholics among its members and suggested that a leather-free car could “help the environment and prevent animal suffering.” Read more »