Gift Ideas for Drivers

giftTime is running out for those of us who still have Christmas shopping to do! We all have those hard-to-shop-for people who cause us serious holiday headaches. Whether it is a girl who seems to have everything or a guy who seems to have no interests, an auto-related gift could be just the thing to please them this holiday season. Practically everyone drives, and oftentimes items for the car are things people just don’t think to buy for themselves.

The following is a list of gift ideas to consider for the drivers on your list.

Auto Mats

Life can get messy, and when life gets messy so does your vehicle. Custom fitted, all-season rubber floor mats are a great gift idea for pet owners, parents who chauffeur small children, and people that tend to eat and drink on the go.

Car Vacuum

This is another gift that will be greatly appreciated by those who drive around with dogs and messy kids. A quality portable vacuum cleaning makes keeping a clean ride so much easier.

Car Windshield Snow Cover & Sun Shade Protector

Drivers who have their car parked outside all day will appreciate this all-season windshield protection. This easy-to-install protector keeps the car cool in the summer and free of ice and snow in the winter.

Car Parking Sensor System

Trying to park a large vehicle is a small or crowded garage can be very tricky. A car parking sensor system makes the job much easier and will help drivers avoid scratches and dings.

Folding Shovel

A folding shovel is a great item to keep in the trunk along with a roadside emergency kit. Too often drivers are not prepared for roadside problems, so this gift could be a lifesaver!

Car Wash Coupons

Even those who prefer to do their own washing will appreciate having these in the winter. Keeping a clean car is especially important in the cold weather months when the roads are covered in salty slush.

Digital Tire Pressure Monitor

Keeping tires properly inflated is essential for assuring safe driving and preserving tire tread. A digital tire pressure monitor makes checks easy. This is especially great for drivers of older cars, which may not have TPMS.

Portable Air Compressor

This is not only a great emergency item to keep in your car, a portable air compressor will be useful for filling a leaking tire until it can be fixed. It is also great for other jobs like inflating a camping mattress.




12 Automotive Holiday Gift Ideas

Mele Kalikimaka

For those who still have holiday shopping to do, here are some automotive gift ideas for everyone on your list!

1. For the Kitsch Lovers…

Hula Doll or Bobble Head Dog – Make anyone’s ride a lot more stylish and classic with these moving mementoes.

2. For the Safety Minded…

Car Safety Hammer – A gift you hope they will never use, but feel comfortable having in the vehicle

3. For Young Passengers…

Backseat Car Organizer – Keep all of those travel essentials, like books, crayons, notepads, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures organized and within reach.

4. For the Car Care Do-It-Yourselfers…

Armor All 78452 National Car Care Kit – For those who prefer to scrub their own hub cabs and squeegee their own windshield.

5. For the Super Heroes…

Batman Automobile Swag – If you are shopping for someone who is not afraid to flaunt their secret crime-fighting identity.

6. For the Sports Enthusiasts…

Sports Fan Auto Accessories – What better place than a vehicle to display team pride. This is an especially great gift idea for the tailgaters on your list!

7. For the Uncomfortable…

Koozam Memory Foam Seat Cushion – Anyone with chronic back issues or people who have a hard time sitting for car trips will much appreciate the gift of comfort.

8. For the Carnivore…

Accoutrements Bacon Air Freshener – If there is someone on your list who will enjoy this gift, you know who it is.

9. For the Music Lover…

Plug and Play Audio System – Those who are all about that bass, but also don’t mind a little treble will love this portable sound system.

10. For the Electronics Junkies…

Dual USB Car Charger – For some folks, one charge is just not going to suffice until the next outlet. Give the gift of unbridled power.

11. For the Short People…

Seat Belt Cover Shoulder Pad – May seem strange, but as someone who is vertically challenged, I can attest – this is a wonderful thing.

12. For Anyone You Love…

Digital Tire Pressure Gauge – Save gas! Save tires! Save lives! Give this gift and tell the recipient about the importance of properly inflated tires.

3 Important Car Safety Features To Be Thankful For

Most of us get into a vehicle every day. Automotive travel has become such an established part of our lives that we probably do not give much thought to our safety while onboard a vehicle of any kind. While safety should always be foremost on our minds as drivers and passengers, we have good reason not to be overly worried about getting into a vehicle. Through the years, automotive manufacturers have invested heavily in the development of innovative safety features, which have saved countless lives on the road.

Here is a little history on three major car safety features for which we should all be very thankful:

Safety Belts – Safety belts were first introduced as standard  by the Swedish automobile manufacturer, Saab, in 1958. Earlier, in 1946, California neurologist, Dr. C. Hunter Sheiden  first conceived of the idea of seat belts. His concern arose greatly from the high number of head injuries he saw in emergency rooms. His research was published in a 1955 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). He proposed not only the retractable seat belt, but many other automotive safety measures. By 1968, the U. S. Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard required that all vehicles, with the exception of buses, have seat belts installed in all designated seating positions.

Airbags – American Industrial Engineer, John Hetrick was issued a United States patent in 1953 for the first of his airbag designs. His approach was to apply his experiences with compressed air from torpedoes during his service in the Navy to a device that would provide protection during automobile accidents. Although Hetrick worked with the major American automobile corporations at the time, the airbag concept’s first commercial use did not occur until 1971, when it was tested in a few Ford cars. By September 1, 1998, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 went into effect, and required that all cars and light trucks sold in the United States have air bags on both sides of the front seat.

Safety Glass Windows

The concept of shatter-resistant glass was discovered inadvertently in 1903 by the French chemist Edouard Benedictus. When he dropped a glass flask filled with a dried collodion film, he observed that the glass coated with the film cracked, but retained its shape. A few decades later this laminated glass began to be installed  in automobiles. In 1970, the U.S. government formed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since that time, four Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for automotive glass have been enacted, greatly improving driver and passenger safety during collisions.

Whether you are traveling near or far, I wish you safe travels and a very Happy Thanksgiving!


This Day in History: The Affordable Auto is Born

Ford Automobile Assembly Line

Workers on the first moving assembly line put together magnetos and flywheels for 1913 Ford autos" Highland Park, Michigan

The name of Henry Ford is synonymous with motor vehicles. In fact, the motor company that was started by this American industrialist still bears his name and remains a leading automotive giant today. Though Henry Ford did not actually invent the automobile, he is the man responsible for transforming what was originally a luxury item for wealthy elites into a more affordable and life changing investment for middle class households.  It was Ford’s implementation of the first automotive assembly line that changed everything, and it happened on this day in history.

Henry Ford introduced the Ford Model T in 1908. His goal was to “build a motor car for the great multitude” by making autos affordable for middle class Americans. Ford understood not only automobile design, but also the importance of innovation in the manufacturing  process. In order to produce an affordable auto, he knew he must lower the high cost of producing them.

On October 7th, 1913, Ford’s factory in Highland Park, Michigan ran the first continuously moving auto assembly line.  The chassis was pulled through the various work stations on the factory floor using a motorized rope pulley system. This cut the labor hours to complete one Model T nearly in half, from 12.5 hours to six. Further refinements in the assembly line process reduced the time required to  a mere 93 minutes of labor. This substantial increase in productivity brought about by the moving assembly line allowed Ford Motor Company to drastically reduce the cost of the Model T from its introductory price of $850 to $360. Sales more than tripled that of the previous year.  Ultimately Ford was able to produce one Model T every 24 seconds, and the price dropped to below $300. Before it was discontinued in 1927, over 15 million Model T’s were made and comprised nearly half of all automobiles sold in the world at that time.

His innovative manufacturing plan took Henry Ford’s vision from a dream to reality, and changed the way we live, travel and work today.

The Rubber Meets the Road – Again

Image courtesy of Cass Community Social Services

In Detroit, old tires are finding new life as highly fashionable footwear, known as Detroit Treads. Made from recycled tire rubber and old seatbelt material, these sandals were created by students at the University of Michigan and the College for Creative Studies in a unique program that gives aspiring designers, engineers and business professionals the opportunity to work together to make marketable products.

Treads are becoming an actual retailed product, thanks to a Detroit non-profit that supports sustainable green industries. Cass Community Social Services, works to provide relief in areas of concentrated poverty providing programs for food, health, housing, and jobs.

Image courtesy of Cass Community Social Services

CCSS was already making good use of the over 30,000 illegally dumped tires it has collected in Detroit with its, line of indestructible mud mats.  Detroit Treads sandals adds to their list of green industries, creating revenue and jobs for the people CCSS serves.

Detroit Tread sandals were launched on June 23 2014 at the CCSS annual fundraising event, Catch the Ford Fireworks With Cass. They were reportedly very well-received, and beginning in late July, Detroit Treads will be available for purchase online at the CCSS website.

To learn more about how Detroit Treads were developed, read this article from the University of Michigan Plant Blue.

7 High Speed Holiday Gift Ideas

Next week is Thanksgiving, and many will be starting their holiday shopping in full force on “Black Friday.” For those of you out there with car enthusiasts on your gift list, here are some ideas to rev up your creativity.

Kind of a Shady Gift

If you have any Star Wars fans on your list, they will appreciate having Jedi knights protect their car from sun damage while it is parked on sunny days. Those who aren’t George Lucas fans might simply prefer to keep an eye (or two) on their vehicle.

Creative Chrome

Best Mufflers lets drivers express the love they have for their vehicles with heart shaped custom chrome exhaust tips. Nothing says love like a heart-shaped exhaust cloud.

Pressure’s On

This digital tire pressure gauge from Accutire has a large, easy to read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI in 0.5-pound increments. Ergonomically designed, easy to use, and accurate, this simple gift keeps on giving by extending tire life.

An Empowering Gift

A must for tailgaters and campers, this heavy-duty 12-foot extension cord plugs into the car cigarette lighter and powers  cooking appliances, coolers, heated blankets, or any 12-volt devices.

Peace of Mind

The Battery Tender Junior 12-volt/.75-amp battery charger keeps vehicle batteries optimally powered when the vehicle is not in use. The charger connects to a battery and assures the battery is ready to use when needed.

Keep it Clean

Chemical Guys Poly Clay Bar and Lubricant Detail Spray easily and safely removes stubborn contaminates that do not wash off during the normal washing process.

Here’s a Hot One

Bummed because you can’t afford to give someone you love a new car with fancy features like seat warmers?  Just give ’em the seat warmers! That’s right, Grandma can have the luxury of warm bum, even in her 2000 Corolla.

Street Smart Ideas for Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat night is such a fun time in my neighborhood! We always have lots of takers and weather-permitting, the neighbors all  sit outside to watch the parade of giddy kiddies. It probably will not surprise you to learn that I always give EXTRA candy to the kids that come to my door in auto-themed costumes! Lightning McQueen  has been a very popular choice in recent years.

If you are still working on costume ideas and are a do-it-yourself type, here are some clever ideas to help you along:








Many of the components of this cute car costume can be found around your home.

This costume just requires a little dressing up of ordinary clothing items, and has the added benefit of being warm!

Coolest Homemade Costumes has an entire page full of high speed costumes like this fresh idea!

Looking for a family costume? This one covers the entire crew!

And this amazing transformer concept just has to be seen. Here are two awesome examples:

If you don’t have the creative skills to make your own car themed costume, there’s a wide variety ready-made options to choose from.

Have a fun and safe Trick or Treat night!

For the Love of Tire Advertising

I was recently looking for decorating ideas and thought that as a tire lover, it would be fun to frame some vintage tire ads. I found a really cool old tire ad board on Pinterest, that was a great place to start for ideas. I was amazed to learn from the ad pictured here that there is a “puncture fiend” who is actually to blame for tire damage.

Of course looking at these ads got me thinking about tire commercials. Some of my favorites include: Karma and the Beaver and The Frightened Squirrel. Proving that humor always makes for a great tire commercial, and these international ads promoting winter tires and the need for good traction gave me a chuckle.

Then there’s the classics. This “Discount Tire” ad invites customers to feel free to make a return.  And these old commercials combine sexism and a weirdly inappropriate level of drama to stress the importance of flat tire problems and long lasting tires. But my award for the strangest tire commercial ever must go to this Nancy Sinatra tribute.

Hope you enjoyed this fun bit of tire nostalgia!

Celebrate Independence Day and Tires!

Happy Independence Day! This is the week for celebrating our nation, relaxing, and enjoying good times with family and friends. If you are looking for something fun to do this holiday weekend, and happen to have some old tires lying around, this post is for you!

Anyone who is feeling creative and loves tires as much as I do will find some fantastic project ideas in the environmentally friendly website WebEcoist’s feature on items made from old tires. As the article points out, more than 290 million tires per year end up in North American landfills. Meanwhile, people are spending top dollar on things like fashion accessories, flooring, shoes, and playground equipment. This article brings these two ideas together by showing some amazingly creative ways to turn old tires into the new items you want and need.

I just love these ideas and have started my personal project list. Hopefully some of you will find ideas here. If you have enough old tires, you might even sell some of these items and retire early!

Don’t Leave Your Tires to Luck

Tis the season of Erin go bragh, and even folks who aren’t Irish tend to feel a wee bit green. This year’s Food City 500 NASCAR race, held in Bristol, Tennessee, takes place this Sunday, on St. Pat’s Day and Danica Patrick has her car decked out for the occasion. For those who want to sport green on the road but cannot indulge in a custom paint job, don’t worry! There are other ways to dress up your car.

Though you may be feeling lucky in the spirit of the season, remember  that it is never wise to leave your tires to chance. It is very important that you check your tires on a regular basis. At the first indication of trouble, you should have a trusted tire professional inspect and correct issues or replace your tires if necessary.

Warning signs to watch for include:

  • Uneven tread wear. Any number of problems can cause uneven wear – have them corrected before it’s too late.
  • Excessively worn tread. Most tires have tread-wear indicator bars running across the tread, or you can use the penny test. When the tread wears down to 1/8″, it’s time to shop for new tires.
  • Cracks, cuts, bulges or blisters. If you see these potential weak spots, replace the tire as soon as possible.
  • Excessive vibration. Tire vibration may indicate misalignment, imbalance, or internal tire damage. Get service right away.

Top of the drivin’ to you and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!