With April 22 being Earth Day, what is the automotive industry doing to protect Mother Earth?

2013_Tokyo_Motor_Show_Toyota_Fuel_Cell_Vehicle_Concept_005_54229_42747_lowAccording to the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry invested $81 billion in technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while the federal government spent $43 billion between 2000 and 2012. They are saying that “these large investments are critical to provide the low-carbon energy we will need in the years ahead.”

The big improvement in the gas used for vehicles is that the 10% ethanol alcohol generally comes from corn. There is also research going on to develop fuel that is 85% ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline. As research progresses in coming years, there will be more stations opening for alternate sources of fuel in the U.S. as sales rise for vehicles using compressed natural gas, electric and hydrogen.

The automotive industry has also made great strides in energy efficiency and reducing emissions and there are a lot of exciting energy-efficient vehicles on the horizon.

Besides rising interest in the Toyota Prius and Prius Plug-in, Toyota recently unveiled its fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January and many were surprised that the introduction of the Toyota prototype (pictured above) was chosen as the show’s opening event. Toyota claims the FCV has no emissions other than water vapor! Now that is very exciting for the environment!

Fuel cell vehicles have hydrogen tanks and represent 20 years of research and development and 11 years of testing. They are scheduled to be unveiled in California in 2015 and in larger numbers than most expect. They are working with researchers in California to help map out locations for hydrogen fueling stations. Why California? Because the Prius was the number one selling vehicle in 2012 in California. (It was also the top seller in Japan.) Hopefully, the Northeast will catch up soon.

Toyota is also continuing to research its battery performance in hybrid electrics, such as the Prius—the most popular hybrid in America. This past year marked new milestones for Toyota and its related company Lexus — two million in sales of hybrids in the U.S. and five million globally.

Many automotive manufacturers, including Toyota, are trying to figure out how to balance the energy efficiency savings and the contribution to saving the environment with creating more cost-efficient vehicles. Stay tuned! Good things are on the horizon for the environment and for consumers.

Considering buying an environmentally-friendly vehicle? Come to Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion and we will help you determine which is the best vehicle for you. We have hybrids including various models of the Prius, Camry and Avalon that are all energy-efficient.

Let’s all try to make a difference on Earth Day, even if it means driving a little less and walking a little more on April 22.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Why do you have appearances by people like Gene Ellison at your dealership?

EllisonKids

That’s easy to explain! At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion, we value both our customers and our community. I believe in celebrating and thanking our customers with family-oriented events. Without our loyal customers, there would not be a Jaffarian dealership and our family wouldn’t be able to do what we love! Last fall, we had the opportunity to celebrate the milestone of 75 years in business!

This Saturday, April 12 is our annual Customer Appreciation Event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at our dealership at 600 River Street in Haverhill (exit 49 off Rt. 495) featuring Gene Ellison known as “The Fishing Machine.” This is our 5th annual event featuring Gene, as our customers love him and so do we! Please join us as this bass angler shares his passion and tips for fishing! Gene is a proud member of the Toyota Tundra National Fishing Team and he will be front and center at Jaffarian on Saturday in his Nitro fishing boat pulled by his Toyota Tundra.

The first 75 kids will get a free fishing rod and reel and a lesson on how to cast. My favorite part of this event last year was when a little boy came in for his rod and reel – left the event and returned before it was over – just so excited to show off the fish he caught! It’s moments like this that make this event so worthwhile.

There will also be a cookout for everyone! We are a family business and are so happy to provide customer appreciation events like this that are family-oriented. I hope to see many familiar faces on Saturday for fishing, fun and food!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Why would I want to take the distracted driving pledge if I can’t talk on my cell while driving? I’m a multi-tasker!

DistractedDriverLogoI’m pleased and proud to announce that Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion is leading the nation as a dealership encouraging people to “Take the Pledge!” – starting in April during National Distracted Driver Awareness Month.

For years, I’ve been speaking at driver training schools where I plead with teens not to text or talk on their cell phones while driving. Though it may be a law for teens not to talk on their cells or for anyone to text, it is still dangerous for adults of any age to talk or text while driving.

Even though you may have hands-free talking capability, being mentally engaged in a conversation still takes your focus off the road. Distracted driving also includes eating, reaching for your phone or purse or other device, putting on make-up, reading directions or other information, or doing anything that takes your eyes off the road.

Statistics show that if you’re texting and driving, you are 20 more times likely to be in a crash. Taking your eyes off the road for only a few seconds for any distraction, amounts to traveling the length of a football field with your eye closed! Yikes! According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, anyone using a hand-held device is four times as likely to be involved in a serious accident.

So I’m putting my “money where my mouth is” and supporting an organization called “FocusDriven” by donating $1 to this organization for everyone who goes to our Jaffarian Facebook page and takes the pledge. I have committed to donating up to $5,000. FocusDriven was founded by a woman who was instrumental in getting the U.S. House of Representatives to designate April as National Distracted Driver Awareness Month and is an advocacy organization that encourages cell-free driving. Shelley Forney’s motivating factor was based on a personal tragedy—her 9-year-old daughter was struck and killed by a distracted driver. As a family-owned and family-centered business, we want to be sure no one else has to experience such a tragic loss.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,300 people were killed and 400,000 were injured in 2012 in crashes that involved distracted drivers. According to Shelley Forney, about 11 people die in the U.S. every day from distracted drivers. There were 213,000 crashes in the U.S. in 2011 involving distracted drivers, an increase of 53,000 from 2010.

Unfortunately, the numbers of accidents and deaths increases every year from distracted drivers, though 41 states including Massachusetts, have outlawed texting while driving. Please join the Jaffarian staff, FocusDriven, and the National Safety Council this April in urging those you care about to:

• Stop using cell phones while driving
• Recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit
• Understand the dangers of the cognitive distraction to the brain
• Inform people who call you while driving that you’d be happy to continue the conversation once they have reached their destination
• Tell others about the dangers of cell phone distracted driving.

Though it may not fit into your busy lifestyle to give up talking or texting while driving, I ask each of you to take the pledge. I hope this initiative will raise awareness, change behavior, and ultimately save lives. I thank you for considering joining me in Jaffarian’s “Take the Pledge” initiative and help us spread the word and make the roads safer.

Here’s to safe driving without a device in your hand!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

How can I get my vehicle’s finish looking good again after a winter of snow, sand and salt?

ToyotaWashA salt and sand mixture is frequently spread over roads before or after a snow or ice storm. Salt lowers water’s freezing point, causing any ice already formed to melt even though the air temperature remains well below freezing. The sand helps keep the salt in place, while it helps with traction on wet and slushy roads.

While road salting helps people travel safely, it has a few drawbacks. Salt is a corrosive material. Without proper maintenance, it can rust your vehicle. It can cause major body and undercarriage damage to your vehicle unless you take extra care and precaution.

These tips can help you prevent rust damage:

  • Take your vehicle to the car wash as often as possible. Many car washes in the “snow belt” offer steam cleaning and undercarriage cleaning as well as traditional car washing. Jaffarian Auto Spa is a great place for a professional wash and to accomplish all that is listed here for one low price. To make an appointment, call (888) 234-2854 or fill out a form online by clicking on the Jaffarian Auto Spa link.
  • Have your car re-waxed and sealed when you have it washed.
  • Carefully dry the edges of the doors inside and out, including the undersides of door handles, all hinges, plus the hood and trunk edges. This helps keep them from freezing shut. (But let’s hope the cold is nearly over!)
  • Use a good quality spray protectant on all exterior rubber or vinyl surfaces. It may be best to spray it on an applicator instead of spraying the product directly onto the surface. This will avoid any overspray onto the paint.
  • After a winter washing, apply an additional coat of wax to all exposed metal, using a hand-held hairdryer to warm the metal surface a bit before applying the wax. Warm your buffing rags to help the wax better adhere to the cold metal.
  • In washing salt off in cold temperatures, do so during the day so the vehicle has time to dry. You don’t want the water or soap to freeze on your finish after temperatures fall. The outside temperature should be 40°F or higher. To avoid having the locks freeze, open and close the doors after a wash.

For the chance to win a free Super Wash package for your vehicle at Jaffarian Auto Spa valued at $39.95, like us on Facebook!

Our Super Wash includes many of the above recommended services and more: exterior wash, interior vacuum and windows cleaned, door jambs, wheels and tires cleaned and a spray wax to complete this spa treatment. It is time to treat your car to the spa!

Hopefully this will be the last week of winter temperatures or snow! Spring weather really is just around the corner!

Drive safely,

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

Now that I’ve driven over at least 100 potholes in the past month, how do I know if I need an alignment?

Hawkeye alignmentAs we discussed potholes in last week’s Ask Gary blog, the most common problems from potholes are tire and rim damage and throwing your vehicle out of alignment. The tires are an important part of the driving experience—they control the feel of the ride and the functionality of your vehicle. Tires are expensive (and increasing in price due to petroleum prices) so if you hit potholes, have your alignment checked.

Indications you may need an alignment include:
• Uneven or rapid tire wear. If your tire has an uneven wear pattern, it may be too late to save that tire. So that’s why it’s a good idea to check alignment periodically.
• Pulling, wandering or drifting away from a straight line on a straight, level road.
• Spokes of the steering wheel are off to one side while driving on a straight, level road.

A wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of this is to maximize tire life and allows for a straight and smooth ride, particularly when driving along a straight and level road, though after this winter, there are very few level roads.

Back in the “old days,” we used to use string and many still rely on the technician taking the vehicle for a ride to assess if an alignment is needed. While technology advancements have improved many aspects of our lives (think GPS vs. AAA’s trip-tik), technology has dramatically improved the accuracy of our service advisors assessing your vehicle’s alignment.

Here at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion, we have invested in one of the most sophisticated alignment testing systems on the market. The Hunter Hawkeye system uses state-of-the art high-resolution cameras. For our service technicians, this state-of-the-art technology helps them accurately assess your vehicle and for you as a consumer, we can show you the results to support the findings and recommendation. Many oil change shops and service stations may be happy to upsell you on an alignment, but with the Hawkeye system, your service team can put your mind at ease showing you the results so you are comfortable with knowing whether you need and alignment or not.

If this winter’s potholes are leaving you wondering how your vehicle is faring, put your mind at ease. Just because you are not holding the steering wheel sideways to stay straight does not mean that your vehicle is in alignment. I encourage you to service your vehicle at a location that invests in technology and professional expertise to best answer your questions and protect your wallet. Call one of our experienced Jaffarian Service advisors at 888-355-1041. We’re here six days a week to answer your service questions. You can also schedule your visit online anytime for your convenience.

Spring has arrived and not a moment too soon! Think spring!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

How do our vehicles survive all those potholes after one of the worst winters ever?

potholeI have to agree with you on both issues, it was one of the snowiest winters and the resulting potholes seem to be everywhere. The media has called this year’s pothole situation an “epidemic” and an “explosion” caused by plows and dramatic changes in temperature.

I’ve also noticed more potholes than ever in parking lots, as well as streets and highways. While the state DPW has begun filling the potholes on the highways, it may take months for our roads to recover from this winter.

There’s no doubt that vehicles will sustain damage from the potholes. To help you avoid damage to your vehicle, I advise the following:

• Slow down— this will give you sufficient time to see a pothole ahead of time.
• Don’t tailgate— this leaves you too little to no reaction time to avoid a pothole.
• Be careful not to swerve to avoid the potholes unless you’re 100% sure there are no other vehicles in view.

Below is a list of damage that potholes can cause with the most common damage being to tires, rims and your vehicle’s alignment system:
• Tire puncture, damage or wear
• Wheel rim damage
• Premature wear on shocks and struts
• Suspension damage, including broken components
• Steering system misalignment
• Exhaust system damage
• Engine damage
• Undercarriage damage causing fluid leaks and wear leading to rust formation.

How do you know if there is damage you can’t see?  Your vehicle will:
• roll or sway when you turn
• experience front-end dives when braking
• have rear end squats when accelerating
• bounce  or slide  sideways on a winding or rough road
• thumps on bumps
• sit lower in the front or rear
• leak or have signs of physical damage, such as rust or dents
• lose directional control during sudden stops.

If you hit a pothole that possibly caused damaged, pull over and inspect your vehicle. In case damage resulted, take a photo of the pothole with your cell phone even if you can’t see any damage; make a note of the specific location. Pothole damage can be extensive. You have the option to file a claim with your insurance company, however, it will add “points” to your record similar to a collision; and you will have to pay your deductible and your rate may go up next year as a result of the claim. I recommend you consult with your insurance agent.

To report a nuisance pothole and get it filled quicker, the state has a new hotline for reporting potholes at  857-DOT-INFO. Since the hotline started in January, MassDOT says it has filled more than 800 potholes.

If you do have damage, do the research, as many cities and towns, including Boston, have a process to make a claim from potholes. Be sure to file as soon as possible, as most cities and towns have time limits for reimbursement.

If you hit a pothole and have any of the signs or symptoms listed above, please bring it in as soon as possible to the Jaffarian Volvo or Toyota Service Departments. If you are not able to drive the vehicle safely or popped a tire, call AAA and have your vehicle towed to a trusted shop. We hope you choose Jaffarian Volvo Service or Jaffarian Toyota Scion Service! Your safety is our most important concern.

Drive safely! Spring is right around the corner!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary

How much credibility do those top 10 lists really have in the automotive industry?

Toyota prius2All of these lists are produced by objective sources and independent firms. It’s hard for me to be objective where these lists are concerned, since both Toyota and Volvo fared so well this year on all of these top ten lists. Below are the lists that I feel have merit, given the sources and statistics they are based upon.

Here are the lists which featured Toyota and Volvo models, which appear to be on every list out there.

Boston Globe Top Drives for 2014: Toyota Corolla LE Eco—The Globe gave it accolades because of its fuel economy and high horsepower and technology that gives it a superior engine. They said it had the feel of a “more spacious midsize car. A lot to like for” the price.

Also, making the same list—The Volvo S-60 R-Design for its sporty look, attracting younger customers looking for fun and performance, combined with Volvo’s safety record which they term as “the safety gene that’s dominant in the company’s DNA.”

Top Ten Best Selling Vehicles in 2013Toyota Camry is #3 overall for vehicles—but it is still the best-selling car in the U.S. for the 12th straight year with achieving the 10 millionth Camry sold in the U.S.! Toyota Corolla is #9 overall with 40 million sold since 1966. Corolla is also the #1 seller in the U.S. Hispanic market. The new Corolla has also been called “An Economy Car with Attitude.” We could fill a page will all of the accolades and awards bestowed on the Camry and Corolla.

Kelly Blue Book’s Top Resale Value List—It’s the third straight year that Toyota has topped the list as best brand. Toyota finished high enough in many of the individual categories to have the highest overall score.

This Top resale value list includes these Toyotas:
FJ Cruiser
Tacoma
Tundra
4Runner.

Best Re-designs for 2014Toyota Corolla—accolades for the new design and being among the highest fuel-economy vehicles money can buy! The Boston Globe referred to the 2014 Toyota Corolla as “A New Look for an International Star.” The Corolla LE Eco as the newest model is referred to as “A Star is born.”

VolvoS602IIHS (The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Picks—based on statistics, it doesn’t get more objective than this…For 2014, 17 vehicles achieved the basic level in addition to 22 that earned the higher Plus designation for safety. The Toyota Highlander earned the Plus award for the first time, in addition to former winners: Toyota Prius, Volvo S60, and Volvo S80. The IIHS has consistently recognized Volvo for their innovative, advanced safety system. The Volvo S60 sedan and XC60 SUV earned the highest rating of Superior for frontal crash prevention systems.

U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 Best Cars for the Money—Toyota was #1 in the following categories:

Midsize cars—Toyota Camry
Sports cars—Scion FR-S
Compact Pick-up Trucks—Toyota Tacoma

Kelly Blue Book Awards include:
12 Best Family Cars of 2014Toyota Sienna.Sienna2014
10 Most Affordable Cars of 2014Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla, Scion xD, Toyota Yaris, Scion iQ.
The 40 mpg Cars of 2014—Toyota has the highest number with Avalon Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, Prius V, Prius c, Prius, Prius Plug-in and the RAV4 EV.

And the Top 10 list we’re so happy that we don’t see any Toyotas, Scions or Volvos—the top 10 list of vehicles with the worst resale value!

Like anything, these lists are guidelines when you’re narrowing down what you may want to buy. The best advice after doing your research online is to come in to Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scionand speak with a member of our sales team who will help you make an informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary
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