8 Simple Winter Car Care Tips

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Winter is just around the corner. For many drivers, that also means the challenges of winter car ownership are just around the corner, too, like salted streets, icy roads, freezing temperatures and heavy snow. How can you make sure your car is well cared for during the difficult winter months? We’ve listed eight simple car care tips that can go a long way toward making sure your car stays in great shape all winter long.

Lighting

One major hazard with winter driving is that the sun sets earlier in the day, which means there’s less daylight, especially on your commute home. As a result, you’ll want to do everything you possibly can to make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are in excellent shape, providing the brightest possible illumination they can. If a bulb is out, fix it before winter starts, and if there’s snow covering any exterior light, make sure you remove it before setting off to drive anywhere. If your headlights are foggy or yellow, consider replacing them or look into an easy restoration kit.

Battery

It’s often more difficult for a battery to operate in cold weather than it is for a battery to operate in warm weather. As a result, a battery that’s merely weak during the summer could turn into a dead battery during the winter. Our advice is to have a volt test performed on your battery before winter starts to make sure it’s still in good working order. If it isn’t, buy a new battery as soon as possible so you’ll never have to worry about being stranded or left in a cold parking lot with a car that won’t start.

Coolant

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is tremendously important to your car, as it keeps the engine from freezing in cold temperatures. Before you head into winter, make sure your car isn’t low on coolant and that there aren’t any leaks in your vehicle’s engine that could cause coolant to drain out. Many mechanics recommend drivers use a 50/50-mix of coolant and water in their radiators, which usually results in a lower engine freezing point than just coolant.

Gasoline and Washer Fluid

You might be wondering what gasoline and washer fluid could possibly have in common. The answer is that they’re two automotive items you should try to keep full during the winter. You should try to keep your gas tank full for several reasons, like the fact that a full tank may prevent accumulated water from freezing inside your fuel pump and can help you stay warm by allowing the engine to stay running in case you get stuck. Meanwhile, a full windshield-washer reservoir is tremendously important, as messy road debris from a snowstorm can sometimes necessitate constant window washing to see where you’re going.

Tires

All-wheel drive is confidence-inspiring when you’re accelerating, but it doesn’t help you when you’re braking and turning,” says Woody Rogers, director of product information for Tire Rack. “Winter tires are a must in areas where the temperature regularly drops below 45 degrees,” Rogers adds, noting that winter tires are more capable of staying flexible at low temperatures. This means that they can provide improved traction when you’re trying to stop and turn on cold pavement, even if there’s no snow on the ground.

Tire Pressure

It’s incredibly important to keep track of your tire pressure as temperatures get colder. This is because tire pressure can drop along with the air temperature, losing up to one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in air temperature. Driving around with low tire pressure could mean premature tire wear or potential tread separation, which could lead to a major accident. Also, your car handles less predictably with underinflated tires. If you check your tire pressure and find that one or more of your tires are low on air, fill them at a gas station air pump and don’t forget to let out a little air as temperatures start to climb again in the spring.

Defroster and Climate Control

Before winter gets into full swing, be sure to check your car’s window defroster and its climate control system to make sure both items are still working properly. Their purpose is obvious: The climate control system will help keep you warm in the winter (and can help keep your windows from fogging up), while the defroster will keep your windows from icing up. Both items are crucial to maintaining comfort and safety throughout the winter.

Survival Kit

Although this isn’t a car care tip as much as a winter preparedness tip, we suggest considering a survival kit for your vehicle if you want to really maximize your vehicle’s readiness for winter. While it might sound ridiculous for some urban drivers, motorists in rural areas might find themselves stuck on a deserted road with heavy snow falling and few vehicles around for miles. If there’s even some possibility you’ll end up on a road like this during the winter, a survival kit is a good idea. Select one that’s stocked with a blanket, a first-aid kit, a knife, a flashlight, jumper cables and a cellphone charger that works in your vehicle’s cigarette lighter. We also suggest keeping a shovel in your vehicle’s trunk and some sort of de-icer spray handy, so you can easily access the engine or trunk in case they’re frozen shut.

https://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/8-simple-winter-car-care-tips-246739

Volkswagen teams with The Conservation Fund to increase the Cherokee National Forest

From fresh drinking water and wildlife habitats, to helping fight climate change and providing natural resources, American forests play an essential role in our daily lives. To help protect forests in the United States from development and fragmentation, Volkswagen, through a sponsorship of The Conservation Fund, will donate $1.2 million to help increase the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee by roughly 1,500 acres and support other woodlands projects.

“We are excited about our partnership with Volkswagen and the opportunity to help advance their commitment to corporate leadership around sustainability,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “Volkswagen is taking real, measurable steps forward to help protect the environment, embrace sustainable business practices and support the communities in which they work.”

The goal is for the additional public lands, located near the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant, to be open to the public for recreational use and used to help protect the habitats of local animal populations, including the black bear and the endangered Indiana bat. The Conservation Fund is currently negotiating with private landowners to acquire the properties, which will be held until they can be transferred to the USDA Forest Service for long-term stewardship over the next few years.

“Our support of The Conservation Fund will help strengthen the environment and help us give back to a community where more than 3,800 of our colleagues live,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “This collaboration in our own backyard underscores our ‘Drive Bigger’ goal of pursuing ideas bigger than ourselves and then taking action. We feel a responsibility to show how a major automaker can credibly contribute to the greater good.”

Located on the outer edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cherokee National Forest stretches the length of eastern Tennessee’s border. The forest’s acreage includes the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, several whitewater rivers and 12 designated wildernesses.

In addition to supporting land conservation, Volkswagen’s donation will go toward helping to preserve and protect natural resources in Tennessee, with The Conservation Fund developing a grant program of $200,000 to support the state’s environmental objectives and goals.  The Conservation Fund, will solicit grant requests of up to $50,000 from qualified nonprofits, schools and public agencies working in eastern Tennessee to help improve water quality, increase access to outdoor recreation and advance environmental education.

For more information and an application, visit to conservationfund.org.

Science fiction becomes real as Volkswagen puts quantum computing to work

Chances are, if you didn’t use your smartphone to navigate traffic today, you will soon. Millions of people rely on their navigation apps to not just point them in the right direction, but plot out a route around traffic on the road. These systems all work well, but they’re limited in their ability to map only individual vehicles rather than taking the entire system into account.

What if a more powerful computing system could provide navigation that anticipated where traffic was building up and adjusted its recommendations on the fly? That’s the concept behind a test Volkswagen Group ran last month to demonstrate one of the first real-world uses of quantum computing.

Over the past couple of years, quantum computing has taken the first steps from theoretical papers and science fiction into reality. A typical computer processor basically handles data as a series of math equations that it has to work through in order to find a single answer. Modern computers grow more powerful by performing that math faster; your newest smartphone can handle 600 billion operations every second.

But there are some problems that are so complex that even the fastest processors would need years to solve them. Quantum computing uses the oddity of quantum physics to handle far more complex math problems far faster than traditional machines — allowing them to tackle new types of challenges.

One of those: How do you route a vehicle through traffic without creating more backups? Volkswagen researchers in the United States and Germany have been working for the past three years on a potential answer that uses the power of quantum computing. They call it “quantum routing.”

Last month, Volkswagen performed its first real-world test of the system during the WebSummit conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Working with the city’s transit system, Volkswagen outfitted nine buses with tablets linked to the quantum routing system. The buses were assigned routes from the airport to the convention center with 26 stops. Before each trip, the quantum routing system provided them a custom route that accounted for not just existing traffic, but the other eight buses it was routing as well.

Volkswagen’s system relies on the D-Wave quantum annealer, a different kind of machine than the universal quantum computers under development by other firms, including Google. Quantum annealers can only solve very specific distribution problems, and researchers at VW Data Labs in San Francisco and Munich believe traffic optimization can be one of them.

“Traffic in major cities is highly complex due to a large number of road users,” says Abdallah Shanti, Global CIO Volkswagen Brand and CIO Region Americas. “That’s why we’ve tried to solve this problem with D-Wave’s quantum computers.”

Based on the successful test, Volkswagen plans to continue developing quantum computing and quantum routing applications. Volkswagen developers have designed the system so that it can work in any city and with vehicle fleets of any size. Such a system could be used by public transport companies, taxi companies or other fleet operators.

“The biggest challenge is to solve the vehicle distribution problem under consideration of all other vehicles in the traffic system quickly. Traffic optimization, due to the dynamics of traffic and quick changes, requires us to solve this problem in the shortest possible time,” said Florian Neukart, Volkswagen Director for Advanced Technologies in San Francisco.

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA JOINS AUTOMATED VEHICLE SAFETY CONSORTIUM

  • VWGoA joins group focused on developing standards and best practices for testing and deploying highly automated vehicles
  • Volkswagen Group taking a series of steps to develop future mobility services and solutions across all levels of automated driving
  • VWGoA joins Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Lyft, Toyota and Uber ATG as members of AVSC

Herndon, VA — Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) today announced it has joined The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC). The group, which includes automakers and technology companies, is focused on jointly developing standards and best practices for testing and deploying highly automated vehicles for the future.

“It’s important that the industry work together in the development of standards and best practices for automated driving,” said Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, chief engineering officer for Volkswagen’s North American Region. “That process begins with efficient testing criteria and we’re excited to begin work with the AVSC to ensure those are defined and adopted across the board.”

Volkswagen Group is taking a series of steps to develop future mobility services and solutions across all levels of automated driving. Among the most significant developments came in July, when Volkswagen announced its investment of approximately $2.6 billion in Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle platform company, by committing $1 billion in funding and contributing its $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving company. This deal, part of an agreement with Ford Motor Co., is still awaiting anti-trust approvals worldwide.

In October, Volkswagen AG announced the foundation of Volkswagen Autonomy GmbH (VWAT) with headquarters in Munich and Wolfsburg. Led by Alexander Hitzinger, Volkswagen AG senior vice president for autonomous driving and member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management responsible for technical development at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, the VWAT subsidiary will be responsible for integrating autonomous systems into future VW vehicles and industrializing their production.

The AVSC, a program of the SAE Industry Technologies Consortia, launched in April 2019. It includes leading OEM and technology member organizations committed to the development of best practices through which AV technology can be responsibly developed, tested and adopted prior to mass deployment.

VWGoA joins Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Lyft, Toyota and Uber ATG as members of AVSC.

The overall objectives of the AVSC are to accelerate industry standards for automated driving systems, implement best practices, and ultimately raise public confidence in and awareness of AVs.

 

About Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. VWGoA operates a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and houses the U.S. operations of a worldwide family of distinguished and exciting brands including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, as well as VW Credit, Inc. Founded in 1955, the company’s headquarters are in Herndon, Va. The company has 8,000 employees in the United States and sells its vehicles through a network of nearly 1,000 dealers.

SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC®) is an affiliate of SAE International. The SAE ITC team specializes in establishing and managing consortia by providing proven processes, tools and resources. ITC enables public, private, academic and government organizations to connect and collaborate in neutral, pre-competitive forums thus empowering the setting and implementation of strategic business improvements in highly engineered industries globally. (www.sae-itc.com.)

VOLKSWAGEN SURVEY REVEALS STRENGTH OF AMERICAN LOVE AFFAIR WITH SUVS

  • Survey of 1,000 SUV owners finds nearly nine in ten expect to always own an SUV in the future
  • Comfort, safety and passenger space lead list of purchase considerations

Herndon, VA — As sport utility vehicles have grown in popularity to account for nearly half of new U.S. vehicle sales, Volkswagen of America has moved to answer that demand with vehicles like the Atlas, Tiguan and new Atlas Cross Sport. Today, Volkswagen released results of a survey of 1,000 SUV owners that illustrates their motivations for their choices—and shows that the shift toward SUVs will continue for the foreseeable future.

The survey polled drivers in the United States who currently own or lease an SUV and identify it as their primary household vehicle. Overall, the survey indicated that safety and comfort are the two features that matter most when it comes to purchasing SUVs. Results also showed that families are spending a lot of time together in SUVs and that third rows are being used a lot more than previously thought.

“This survey confirms that our current portfolio of SUVs aligns with what consumers are prioritizing here in the U.S.,” said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy for Volkswagen of America, Inc. “All of our SUVs rank high on independent measures of comfort, standard safety features and passenger space within their classes, and we’re focused on those priorities as we develop new entries like our upcoming subcompact SUV.”

The survey highlighted three key trends among SUV owners:

Safety and comfort rank high in importance but vary by gender.

  • Nearly nine in ten owners ranked SUVs as the best vehicles for your money (96 percent) and indicated that they do not plan on owning any vehicle other than an SUV in the future (87 percent). Drivers also agreed that they feel more confident on the road when driving an SUV (94 percent).
  • Safety and comfort are the highest priority features when it comes to SUVs, with 68 percent of drivers rating them as most important. For men, comfortable seating is more important than overall safety, while women are more likely to place importance on safety and passenger space.

The SUV is the new American living room.

  • More than eight in ten parents say they have family discussions in their SUV, creating a new space for family time, whether on the way to school or on a family road trip.
  • Parents, more than non-parents, agree that they expect to continue to own an SUV from now on (90 percent) and use their SUV as a place for family discussions.
  • SUV owners with a third row are more likely to say family discussions take place in their SUV (75 percent, vs. 60 percent of owners without a third row) and younger SUV owners (18-34 and 35-54) and parents are more likely to use their third row on a daily basis.

Gen Z and Millennials want to be safe, first and foremost.

  • Generationally, Gen Z and Millennials rank the overall safety of the vehicle as most important when it comes to their SUVs, followed by handling on rough roads, whereas drivers ages 55+ ranked comfortable seating as most important.

Overall safety and availability of driver-assistance features have been a priority throughout the Volkswagen SUV lineup. In November, the 2019 Tiguan earned a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for vehicles built after June 2019 when equipped with LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) and High Beam Control (Light Assist) as well as available Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist). The 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating is issued to vehicles that have earned good ratings in IIHS tests evaluated in six categories: driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It must also offer an autonomous emergency braking system (AEB) that earns at least an advanced rating for front crash prevention and headlights that earn at a good rating for visibility and lack of excessive glare.

Volkswagen has approached passenger comfort from several directions, whether it’s ensuring ample passenger space and sliding second-row seats in the Tiguan and Atlas to a controlled, but responsive driving feel. Standard touches like App-Connect in-dash entertainment integration with three major smartphone platforms for compatible devices —Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®—and optional features like a two-pane panoramic sunroof that extends over the second row also add to the comfort of Volkswagen SUV owners.

“As we look to the future of Volkswagen, and the direction we are mapping out for our lineup, we understand that appetites for certain capabilities of SUVs evolve. This includes EV options in the SUV market,” said Schafer. “Taking into account the features that we know consumers are looking for in upcoming models, we’re eager to bring a price- conscious, thoughtfully-designed, and range-competitive electric SUV to the U.S. market in the near future.”

Survey Methodology: 5-minute online survey among n=1,000 SUV owners in the U.S. (n=500 men, n=500 women), defined as those who own or lease an SUV and identify an SUV as their primary vehicle. Field dates: September 19-24, 2019Margin of error: ±3.1%

The Volkswagen ID. SPACE VIZZION concept previews a sleek electric crossover for America

For more than a decade, Volkswagen vehicles have been known worldwide for a variety of timeless designs built from a single common chassis. The MQB platform that forms the basic pieces of the Golf compact hatchback also underpins the seven-seat Volkswagen Atlas, and almost every other Volkswagen in between.

At the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, Volkswagen revealed another example of how it will take that same approach with electric vehicles, with the ID. SPACE VIZZION — a sleek concept crossover that previews a production electric vehicle coming to America.

Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may vary.

Almost exactly as long as the new Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, but about 10 inches lower at the roofline, the ID. SPACE VIZZION concept has a long, luxury-like visual profile while still looking rugged. While the design draws from all previous ID. concepts, the ID. SPACE VIZZION evolves the look while adding a few new features. The new light-up VW logo sits proudly at the front tip of the hood, flanked by slim white LED strips. All of the lights on the car switch on when the driver approaches; the headlights can be animated to look as if they’re opening and closing like eyes.

Overall, the ID. SPACE VIZZION has been designed to maximize its aerodynamics. Several new surfaces keep air moving smoothly, such as a horizontal slot between the headlights and an integrated spoiler-type panel above the tailgate. The 22-inch wheels have special designs to minimize airflow disruption. The doors have no handles; instead, touch-sensitive haptic pads illuminate as soon as the car’s driver approaches. The result: a 0.24 coefficient of drag, making it sleeker than most production vehicles.

Volkswagen ID. SPACE VIZZION concept EV
Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may vary.

Inside, the ID. SPACE VIZZION seats four in limousine-like comfort with a sizable center console; the production version will likely offer a more traditional back seat. Most of the driving information is shown on a head-up display rather than a traditional instrument panel, and next to the driver sits a 15.6-inch touchscreen. All seating surfaces and some trim use a new material known as AppleSkin™ — which uses the byproduct of apple-juice making to create a fabric that feels like leather without any animal content.

Behind the seats the concept has a 20.7 cubic feet luggage compartment, like many SUVs, with two electric skateboards stowed underneath the storage floor that can be used to get you to the destination a car can’t take you, like the beach at Venice, California.

While the ID. SPACE VIZZION looks laid back, it can hustle when needed. Power comes from a 275-hp electric motor driving the rear wheels, drawing from an 82-kWh battery. An additional 101-hp motor on the front axle can provide all-wheel-drive capability and a combined peak output of 335 hp. This 4MOTION version of the ID. SPACE VIZZION can hit 60 mph in 5 seconds, with a projected range under U.S. testing standards of up to 300 miles.

Volkswagen ID. SPACE VIZZION

Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may vary.

Underneath all the design and technology, the ID. SPACE VIZZION relies on the same set of basic components as all other ID. concepts. Known as the modular electric toolkit, or MEB in its German acronym, Volkswagen expects the chassis to underpin about 20 million vehicles worldwide by 2029. That includes the upcoming production version of the ID. CROZZ concept and the production version of the ID. BUZZ concept revival of the Volkswagen Bus. After those two arrive, Americans may get a chance to sample a more spacious vision of an electric future.