Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Groundbreaking Dart

Chrysler Group brings back one of its most revered nameplates with the introduction of the 2013 Dodge Dart, a sporty and technologically advanced compact midsize sedan that represents a huge leap forward over the 2012 Dodge Caliber model it essentially replaces. The Dart is the first Dodge vehicle to come as the fruit of Chrysler's new partnership with Fiat, and is closely based on the award-winning Italian Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Exterior Styling: Classy and Sporty Rolled into One
The Dart's exterior is a departure from other Dodge models like the Avenger and Charger, with softer curves and a European-inspired design. That said, it's instantly recognizable as a Dodge thanks to the brand's iconic cross-bar grille. Available in SE, SXT, Rallye, Limited and R/T trim levels, each takes a slightly different approach to differentiate within the lineup between Euro luxury and all-American sport.

Powertrains: Advanced Technology Combines Power and MPG
For 2013, the Dart is available with three engine choices. Two Chrysler-developed Tigershark four-cylinder engines are joined by Fiat's advanced turbocharged four, dubbed the Multi-Air. Base models receive a 2.0-liter Tigershark making 160 horsepower, excellent for the class. Next in line is the Multi-Air turbo four with 160 horsepower but also 184 foot-pounds of torque, good for 0-60 times of around 8 seconds. The 1.4 turbo is the most fuel-efficient engine of the bunch, rated by the EPA at 27 city/39 highway mpg. A late-release Aero model will raise highway mpg to 41, one of the best numbers in the class.

The top trim level R/T model uses a larger Tigershark four-cylinder displacing 2.4 liters and making 184 horsepower and 171 foot-pounds of torque. Zero to 60 mph comes in around 7 seconds. Each engine is available with the buyer's choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Dart is notable for offering manual transmissions even at the more-luxurious trim levels, while competitors often place the row-your-own gearbox only in the stripped-down base models.

Interior Design: A Nice Place to Be
Highlighting the Dart's interior is Chrysler's optional newest-generation UConnect Touch infotainment and navigation system, with nice features like an 8.4-inch touchscreen, voice commands, and Bluetooth calling and music streaming. Smartphone integration is no problem, with automatic contact download and a text message-to-speech function with preset responses. Upscale Limited and R/T models open up the availability of attractive Nappa leather seating surfaces and trim, though the seats may be mounted too high for the tallest drivers. Contrasting-color stitching and a choice of several trim colors further makes the Dart's interior among the most attractive and comfortable in the class.

Pricing
The base Dart, with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder and manual transmission, starts at $15,995 or around the same as the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Honda Civic. Topping the range is the R/T model, starting at $22,495. According to consumer pricing data from CarsDirect.com, the Dart's average transaction price when including available option packages hovers at around $20,600.

Conclusion
With excellent fuel efficiency combined with usable everyday horsepower and a class-leading luxurious interior, the Dart is the most important model to Dodge's bottom line to release in several years. The automaker's partnership with Fiat pays off in many tangible ways, from the car's European-inspired styling to efficient turbocharged engine choice. While the outgoing Dodge Caliber compact was the butt of many a joke for its terrible efficiency and lackluster interior, the Dart improves Dodge's compact lineup in every tangible way.

About the Author: Jennifer Carrigan understands all the effort that went into the new Dart, but she prefers her motorcycle to a car any day. For her motorcycle insurance, she compares quotes at Kanetix.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Importance of Taking Your Volvo In for Its 100,000 Service

Volvo cars have always stood for outstanding durability and an advanced commitment to safety. Even today, it is not uncommon to see decades-old Volvo cars still on the roads with hundreds of thousands--or even 2.6 million--miles on the odometer.

So you've clocked 100,000 miles in your Volvo, and you'd like to keep driving it a while longer. If you've kept up regular maintenance, chances are it will still serve you well for many miles to come.

Now is the perfect time to have your Volvo checked out by a dealership or licensed service station, as plenty of vital car parts can begin to wear out at around 100,000 miles. Catching these often small, easy fixes before they turn into catastrophic problems is the key to maintaining the financial advantage that comes with keeping an older car.

100,000-Mile Volvo Inspection and Service: What Comes With It?

If your Volvo is just hitting 100,000 miles, chances are good it was made early or in the middle of the 2000s. Many Volvo cars of this era came with 5-cylinder engines known for durability but prone to catastrophic damage from timing belt failure and other maintenance issues.

A complete 100,000 mile service should include timing belt and water pump replacement, a complete brake overhaul, a full tune-up, the changing of fluids and any number of other small but important maintenance items. Make sure your mechanic checks turbocharger components if your car is equipped with one. This oft-overlooked maintenance item can be an issue with older-model Volvos.

The complete service may cost you a couple thousand dollars now, but will save you thousands more by preventing future repair expenses. It's also a whole lot cheaper than buying a brand-new Volvo.

100,000-Mile Service and Volvo Safety

For more than 50 years, Volvo has led the industry in researching and developing first-to-market new safety technologies that quickly see adoption by the rest of the industry. Did you know that some of your Volvo's safety features (besides just the brakes) need periodic checking and maintenance as well?

Airbags must be inspected, and sometimes replaced, at 100,000 miles because a malfunctioning or punctured airbag can be worse than none at all. Burns can result when the airbag's charge goes off improperly, negating its effects and causing even more problems.

Other Volvo safety systems like anti-lock brakes and some of the market's earliest stability control systems should be checked for proper function. A well-maintained Volvo, with good tires and brakes, proper-functioning windshield wipers and maintenance items taken care of is the best bet in the industry to keep you and your family safe on the road.

The 100,000-Mile Myth

Common wisdom used to state that cars just plain old wore out at around 100,000 miles. For many brands, especially American cars and some of the more exotic European brands, this was very much the case. Volvos do not fall into that category.

From the 1960s to today, these well-built Swedish machines with their devoted following are built to last. Any Volvo built after 1985 can easily clock 200,000 miles with simple preventative maintenance and occasional repairs.

Still, as is the case with all European brands, Volvos can get quite pricey to fix when things do go wrong. Comprehensive repairs that may cost a few hundred dollars on a competing model can easily stretch into the thousands. A higher-mileage Volvo is still a great car and a great investment, but don't neglect the service!

About the Author: Jen Peters is an author and published car blogger, with a thing for Swedish engineering - hey, if you're in need of a taxi in the Seattle-area, check out: http://www.stitataxi.com/

Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Quickly Cool Down Your Vehicle

As the temperature continues to rise this summer, who hasn't been in the sweltering situation of returning to your vehicle only to find that in your absence it has turned into an legitimate oven in which you could actually, if the occasion called for it, cook a four-course meal on the dashboard?

Okay, while that might be slightly exaggerated, getting into your car after it has been sitting in the hot sun all day is certainly not comfortable nor enjoyable. The good news is that there are ways to prevent and get rid of the heat that has gathered in your car to make the hottest part of your day a little more bearable.

Preventive:

Before you go anywhere there are several things that you can do to make your car cooler when you return, leaving you in a better position when trying to cool it back down quickly to the optimum driving temperature. First of all, if possible park in the shade. Under a tree, behind a wall, or in the shadow of a building as all will help keep the temperature from rising in your car. If you do have to park in the direct sun, be sure to use a sun visor in both the back and the front windshield to get maximum protection. If it is legal in your state, having your windows professionally tinted also goes a long way in keeping your car cool when your are in it or away from it. Shutting out UV rays not only protects your skin while you are driving, but also the interior of your car.

Heating Up:

Understandably, there are going to be times where you can't park in the shade, you don't put up your sun visors and the heat index outside is through the roof. So coming back to your car in a situation like that is where the real tricks to make your car cooler faster come in handy. The first thing to remember is that you want the hot air out of your car as fast as possible in order for the air conditioning to do its job effectively. To let the hot air escape, crack your windows and then set the air conditioning on fresh air (not recirculated air) and set the fan to high. Resist the urge to try and cool your face and upper body first and adjust the air to come out of the feet openings as this allows the old hot air to be pushed out quicker and new cooler air to take its place. As the hot air is removed, close the windows and adjust the air to hit your upper body and begin to cool it down. At this point, your car temperature should be tolerable and on its way to returning to normal, even when the temperature outside is at its hottest.

About the Author: This guest post was written by Freedom Rims, a Responsible Military Lender since 1983. Freedom Rims offers rims credit and financing for a variety of performance Rims and Tires in Twentynine Palms, CA. We offer instant credit approval on a large inventory of tires and wheels with our easy military financing options.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Electric Power Steering FAQs

Electric power steering has become a fixture on many new models of cars.  As with any new technology, particularly one that changes widely from the standard, this power steering technology has been surrounded by some controversy from the start.  Some welcome this change for its benefits, while others point to problems that have been discovered early on.  Here are some frequently asked questions about electric power steering that may help you make a decision on the car you plan on buying next.


How does electric power steering work?

Electric power steering works with an electric motor rather than a hydraulic pump.  When the driver turns the wheel, the motor detects the rate of turn.  A computer takes into consideration other factors such as the vehicle speed in order to determine what feedback the driver should feel in the steering wheel.


Why is electric power steering becoming more popular?

Automotive manufacturers have begun using EPS more and more in late model vehicles.  There are a few simple reasons.  First of all, electric power steering systems are less expensive for auto makers to build.  This means more profit at less cost.  Another reason for EPS popularity is that this system creates better overall fuel efficiency for a vehicle.

In vehicles in which power steering is controlled by a hydraulic pump, the pump constantly runs regardless of whether or not power steering is necessary.  Constant drag on the fuel system by this hydraulic pump harms a vehicle’s fuel performance.  Lastly, EPS systems cut down on the number of hoses and mechanisms under the hood, simplifying the manufacturing process.


Does EPS help me at all?

For many of the same reasons that auto makers have turned to electric power steering, this system has several benefits for a car owner.  Since the EPS vehicle needs no hoses or a hydraulic pump, it also requires no fluid.  You won’t need to worry about the power steering fluid level, or whether or not your vehicle has a leak.

A steering system that is operated by computer also has a benefit for you.  As with any computer system, the EPS system on your vehicle can be adjusted.  If you feel as though the power steering is somehow not working properly for you, an adjustment can be made with a computer, not a risky mechanical procedure.

Finally, the fuel economy of the EPS system makes it ideal for any car buyer.  Innovations that provide higher fuel efficiency are what drive car sales while at the same time making vehicle owners happy.


Are there problems with electric power steering?

There are still issues with EPS that require some ironing out.  Several auto manufacturers have issued recalls of their power steering issues after receiving numerous complaints.  Some drivers report that the power steering causes the car to veer while driving at high speeds.  Others have cited difficulty steering the vehicle and an occasional loss of steering ability.

Auto manufacturers are investigating the source of these problems and working to ensure safety and functionality.  While there are some issues with EPS, there is no arguing that this system is steadily growing to replace the traditional hydraulic power steering.

About the Author: Matt blogs on behalf of David Stanley Dodge based out of Oklahoma City, OK. David Stanley Dodge Jeep provides Oklahoma residents with great deals on automobiles and is a trusted dealer well-known all around the state of Oklahoma. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2013 Volkswagen Golf R at Betten Imports

The 2013 Volkswagen Golf R, Volkswagen's most powerful sports performance vehicle, is now available at Betten Imports. The R32's successor, the sporty VW Golf R has improved performance and fuel-economy. The new Golf R can receive 33 hwy mpg and 23 city mpg, while its TDI Clean Diesel model can receive 42 hwy mpg and 30- city mpg, making the Golf a hot hatch with a fuel-conscience.

Why read about it when we can just show you? Take a quick test drive with our resident auto enthusiast and sales consultant Eric Divelbiss:

Interested in testing the Golf R out for yourself? Give us a call at (616) 301-2100 or visit us online at www.bettenimports.com.

Design:

  • Bi-Xenon headlights

  • Multi-function steering wheel

  • Heated front seats

  • Cooled glovebox

  • Climatic climate control with pollen filter


Safety:

  • Intelligent Crash Response System

  • Electronic Stability Control

  • Crash-optimized front end

  • Six airbags with Side Curtain Protection


Performance:

  • 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic

  • TDI Clean Diesel engine

  • 2.5L in-line 5-cylinder engine

  • 4-corner independent suspension


Technology:

  • Bluetooth with audio streaming

  • RNX 315 touchscreen navigation

  • AUX-in for MP3 players

  • Premium VII touchscreen sound system

  • Dynaudio premium audio system


Want more VW videos? Check out our Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/bettenimports

More on Volkswagen from GRAutoBlog:
Coming to America: 2013 Volkswagen Golf R
Betten Imports Introduces New VW Service Xpress
VW Beetle Fender Edition, TDI Versions Coming This Fall
2012 Volkswagen Beetle at Betten Imports
Volkswagen NILS Concept
2012 Volkswagen Up!
2012 Volkswagen Passat Test Drive Event at Betten Imports

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Courtesy's 'Car of the Month' August: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee

With the Grand Cherokee, Jeep proves that it is possible to seamlessly blend iconic 4x4 power and ruggedness with the comfort of luxury refinements. The Cherokee's 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine packs a powerful driving experience while simultaneously delivering a solid 23 hwy mpg, not to mention Best-in-Class driving range with the ability to drive more than 500 miles on one tank of gas. The Grand Cherokee also has best-in-class in towing with a capability of hauling 7,400 pounds.

Although it is a smooth, comfortable ride, the Grand Cherokee never truly forgets its 4x4 roots. It has three available 4WD systems: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Drive II with rear Slip Differentials, Quadra-Trac II, which allows you to transfer torque to any wheel. The SUV also features class-leading technology with the Selec-Terrain System that allows you to choose Auto or Sand/Mud, Sport, Snow, or Rock for the ultimate ride control no matter what conditions you encounter.

Whether your Jeep is traversing muddy inclines or simply driving to pick up the groceries, to help you and your ride be as safe as possible,  the Grand Cherokee has numerous advanced safety features: Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, hill assist, and more.

Current Offers:

Through August at Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, West Michigan's Mopar Elite dealership, as part of Chrysler's 'Summer Clearance Event', qualified customers are eligible for special 0% financing for up to 72 months or Customer Cash up $3,000 on select Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram truck models.*

Did you know the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV ever!? Click here for a full list of its awards. 

*See dealer for details.

More from ‘Car of the Month’:
2012 Chrysler 300 – July

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan – June
2012 Jeep Wrangler – May
2012 Chrysler Town & Country – April
2012 Dodge Charger – March

2012 Jeep Compass – February
2012 Chrysler 200 – January
2012 Ram 1500 - December
2012 Dodge Journey – November

2012 Jeep Liberty - October  


More on Jeep from GRAutoBlog.com
Five Jeep Grand Cherokee Features You Might Not Know About
Most Awarded SUV Ever: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 
JK-8 Jeep Wrangler Pickup Conversion
Jeep Wrangler Wins ALG Residual Value Award 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Betten Imports Introduces New Volkswagen Service Xpress

 Betten Imports VW Xpress Service



Here at Betten Imports we’re happy to introduce the new Volkswagen Service Xpress: routine maintenance and oil changes that are fast, convenient and work within your schedule, not the other way around. We understand that in your fast-paced world it can be frustrating to carve out time for appointments, so we eliminated the need for them. That’s right, Service Xpress boasts those three great words everyone loves to hear: ‘no appointment necessary.’

Your Volkswagen’s fast, so why shouldn’t your VW’s service be the same? With the Service Xpress, we’ll get you in and out in under 30 minutes, like your neighborhood quick lube, but with one crucial thing they can’t offer: VW-Certified Technicians using only genuine Volkswagen OEM Parts. The Service Xpress was designed to cover your 10,000 and 30,000 routine maintenance vehicle check-ups covered under your 1-3 year VW Carefree Maintenance. This special service also covers oil changes and tire rotations and is currently open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We want only the best for you and your Volkswagen, so we’ve added Service Xpress with a dedicated, customer service savvy technician you can see for yourself in the video below:


Volkswagen Service Xpress:

  • No appointment necessary

  • Under 30 minutes

  • VW-Certified technicians

  • Genuine VW OEM parts

  • Competitive pricing

  • Carefree Maintenance check ups

  • Oil changes

  • Tire Rotations


Don’t forget to check in!
We’ve got monthly specials on Foursquare, so sign in and start saving!

As if you needed more reasons to love driving a VW, learn more about Carefree Maintenance: 5 Reasons to Love Carefree Maintenance

More from GRAutoBlog.com:
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced
VW Beetle Fender Edition, TDI Versions Coming This Fall
How to Get More MPG with Your Car
The Art Gallery at Betten Imports
Volkswagen in America: The Story Behind the Chattanooga Plant

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Choosing the Right Navigation System for You

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you probably are hoping to get the most modern features and customizations available, provided that the price is still right. There are a number of technological advances that have become indispensable once we got a taste of them.

GPS mapping technology is one such advancement, and many Americans can scarcely remember a time when obtaining driving directions involved bulky road atlases and frequent stops to ask for help.

But what is the best option for consumers who are searching for a new vehicle and also want to get the most out of GPS technology? There are many options out there, and a wide range of pricing points, and each comes with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

The first option for a new-car-buyer to consider is the factory-installed navigation systems. Factory systems have been given some bad publicity in recent years for being too costly, but manufacturers have been slashing prices recently on these optional upgrades, and there are some significant advantages that the factory models have that you cannot get in a handheld device, and for many consumers these benefits will make the modest extra costs well worth it.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of the factory navigation systems:

  • Aesthetics – If a sharp-looking, uncluttered interior is important to you, a factory system will probably be the way to go. The factory systems are fully integrated into the design of the vehicle, and generally include larger screens and a sleeker look than portable options. They also have the capability of working with other vehicle features such as voice-activation and steering wheel controls.

  • Warranty – Factory-installed navigation systems are almost always covered by bumper-to-bumper warranties. So if something goes wrong with the system, you simply take it to the dealer and have them service it for you.

  • Security – Portable navigation systems have become a popular target for thieves who see them as enticing grab-and-dash option. On the contrary, criminals are going to be less inclined to mess around with a system that has been integrated into the dash.


The downsides to factory systems are mostly related to the costs, both of the feature itself and for the mapping updates that customers may choose to add over time. However, especially when considering that factory systems have been shown to help with a vehicle’s resale value, the factory-systems may still come out on top when a comprehensive cost-benefit calculation has been made.

If the factory system is not for you, you have three other options:

  • Portable devices – These popular devices, such as the Garmin or TomTom, are very popular due to their portability – you can move them from car to car, or use them when walking/biking – but they are a magnet for thieves and there is little recourse when one is damaged or broken.

  • Aftermarket Systems – There are a number of aftermarket alternatives available for consumers who want integrated navigation but choose not to go with the factory system. The advantages of the aftermarket systems are that there is a wider variety of customization options and sometimes there are more features available. On the downside, these systems are a frequent target of crooks as well, since they are much easier to remove than factory models.

  • Smartphone technology – Most smartphones have GPS/navigation apps available at a very low cost, and some consumers prefer to use them for their in-vehicle navigation needs. This is a dangerous option, however; using your smart phone while driving is not only a safety hazard, it has become illegal in many states. Furthermore, with many smartphone plans, maps and directions will not be available in certain areas -- and those areas are likely to be the ones where you need directions the most!


I recommend researching the specific options for the vehicle you are considering purchasing and talk over the factory systems with your dealer. Like many consumers you may find that in the long run it is advantageous to go with the factory system.

About the Author: Jack Payton is a car nut in the purest form. He loves to write about everything gear related, and rebuilt his first engine at 15. He works as the online publisher for the online tire retailer www.tires-easy.com. In his spare time he enjoys cruising, attending car shows, and watching NASCAR.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Exploring Affordable and Reliable Options for Classic Customization Parts

Classic Mercedes-Benz models are some of the most popular cars to customize and restore.  However, one of the biggest challenges to owning any classic ride is finding affordable parts.  Whether you are looking for a performance enhancing intake, exhaust or fuel system, body parts, brakes, or are just simply fixing a burned out light, the task often becomes an exercise in budgeting and patience.  The old fashioned method of taking the part off, going to the local parts store to look up what they think it should be, and comparing what they currently have in stock to what you have in your hand can be time consuming and frustrating.

The age of online shopping for parts has helped simplify this often daunting task.  With a little bit of research, you can often find the exact part you need just a quick click away.  To ensure you get the right part for the best price, it is always advisable to check the policy of the online company you are using before ordering.   Look for price match guarantees, e-mail discount offers, and, most importantly, be sure you understand the shipping policy.  The cost of shipping a heavy item often becomes the deciding factor in your source selection.

Whether you have a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL or any other current or classic model, one online supplier that is becoming a popular source for even difficult to find parts is MBZ Parts.  Signing up for e-mail offers and their price match guarantee helps manage your budget for maintaining your beauty.  You can find similar online resources for just about every auto make and model.

Summer is a great time to restore or customize your ride. Don’t let finding affordable parts hold you back from showing off a hot, smooth running, shiny set of wheels.

About the Author: Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications.  Smith covers the latest topics in the automotive, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

Top Vehicle Maintenance Needs Every Car Owner Needs to Know

Al Brown, our resident Express Lane guru here at Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, takes you through the 'Top Vehicle Maintenance Needs' that every car owner should know:


Top Maintenance Needs:

  • Tire Rotation

  • Oil Change

  • Brake Inspection

  • Suspension & Alignment

  • Air Conditioner Check

  • Coolant




Introducing New Express Lane Service: 
No appointments and no waiting, all types of vehicles welcome: Check out our Express Lane Oil Change, where you can receive a full-service oil change, tire rotations, and many more routine maintenance services. From our parts department to fulfill all your Mopar needs and beyond, to a body shop open to all models: Learn more about what our Service Department has to offer.

Oil Change Special:
For a limited time, purchase 4 oil changes for $67.95, which comes to just $16.99 each!* : http://www.courtesy.com/express-lane.htm


Check in for dealership specials:
When you're here for service, don't forget to take advantage of our current specials on Foursquare.

Read what our customers have to say about us:
DealerRater.com: http://www.dealerrater.com/dealer/Courtesy-Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-review-20060/
Google Places: https://plus.google.com/112436986849737414047/about?gl=US&hl=en-US
Customer Testimonials on Youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDF73D18858512DCF&feature=mh_lolz

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Join on the convo:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/courtesycjd
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/courtesygr
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/101597471836886257521/posts
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/company/2468443?trk=tyah

440 28th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49548
(616) 452-2143 ‎

*Offer requires initial purchase of $67.95 or an amount determined by the dealer. Service contract expires 24 months after the date of the original oil & filter purchase at a participating Chrysler group LLC dealership. (Up to 5 quarts only. Additional charges may be applied for HEMI and fluid disposal). Service Contract Essential Care oil change offer is made by  the dealer, who is solely responsible for it. Plan offered on 1995 to current year vehicles (excluding Crossfire, Viper, Prowler, Diesels, SR10 and all other vehicles that require synthetic or semi-synthetic oils). Offer valid for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles. May also be available for other vehicle makes and models (additional charges may apply). See Service Advisor for details. This offer is good through 9/30/2012 and valid at participating Chrysler Group LLC dealers only.

More on Courtesy CJD from GRAutoBlog.com:
How to: Chrysler UConnect System Video Tutorial
2013 Dodge Dart Series: Part Three - Dart Comes to West Michigan
Courtesy Celebrates 46 Years of Business in West Michigan
Welcome to the Service Department at Courtesy CJD
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced
6 Steps to Carefully Buying a Used Car
Courtesy Announces New ‘Fuel for Fans’ Facebook Contest
 

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to Deal with a Nail in Your Tire

It's bound to happen. It's most likely not a question of if, but when. Sooner or later, you'll run over a nail and be faced with the question on the spot of how to deal with it. Here's a quick series of questions you'll want to answer in the moment, and being familiar with them now may just be the thing that gets you out of a potentially sticky situation.

First, can you drive on it? After you notice the nail, check to see if the tire pressure is low or relatively unaffected by the puncture. If so, then it's safe to drive without using your spare, at least initially. But you will still want to address the damage yourself or get it to a shop as soon as possible. If you notice the tire is losing air pressure quickly, you'll want to change the tire immediately, replacing the punctured tire with your spare and getting your vehicle to a professional right away.

Second, does it need to be replaced? If you had to use the spare, it may be more likely that the nail damage is not repairable and thus requires you to replace the tire. Inspect the puncture hole closely and check to see if any ancillary damage exists.  Unless the tire was allowed to deflate considerably before addressing the nail, the chances are a repair is possible and replacement tire not necessary.

Finally, can you repair it? If the nail can be removed and the hole patched, you have to decide whether you are comfortable executing the repair yourself or it you prefer to have a specialist do it for you. It can be a very inexpensive and relatively simple repair to do on your own, but each situation is different and individual comfort levels with the steps involved will vary. Either way, the nail is not going away once it lodges itself in your tire. Minimize the time you drive on a damaged tire (or spare, if not a full-sized tire), and be sure to repair or replace the tire as quickly as possible.

Somewhere along your driving journey, picking up a nail is bound to happen, no matter how careful you are about where you drive. Of course, avoiding potentially dangerous locations like construction sites or unpaved roads decrease your chances of picking up a nail in your tire, but don't entirely take it out of the realm of possibilities. Knowing what to do when this unfortunate event happens to you and your car is key keeping your frustration levels low and keeping you safe.

About the Author: This guest post was written by Freedom Rims, a Responsible Military Lender since 1983. Freedom Rims offers rims financing for a variety of performance rims and tires in Jacksonville, FL. We offer fast and convenient credit on a large inventory of tires and wheels with our military financing options.

2013 Dodge Dart Series: Part Three - Dart Comes to West Michigan

2013 Dodge Dart

The new car with the old name, the Dart is set to shake things up in the ever-popular compact segment. GRAutoBlog's editor Abby Hartig, Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram's Owner, Laura Betten Lamer, and Assistant Manager Curt Campeau attended the Chrysler Dealer DriveAway Event held at The Palace of Auburn Hills, where we had the honor to drive Courtesy's first Dodge Dart back to West Michigan.

We were front row at the event, during which the President of Dodge, Reid Bigland, spoke about the company's excitement for the Dodge Dart and Chrysler's recent successes. On the ride back to West Michigan, the word we all kept using to describe riding in the Dart was "smooth." From the handling of the clutch to the comfort of being a passenger, the nearly three hour ride back to Grand Rapids and Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, the Dart was a comfortable and fun ride.
2013 Dodge Dart

Watch Assistant Manager Curt Campeau's first reaction to the Dart as he drives back from the Drive Away Event: http://youtu.be/J2CF1qEoKvs. We want to hear your first reaction so tweet us @courtesygr or leave a comment on our Facebook!

Want to test it out for yourself? We now have five Darts in-stock, so give us a call to set up your test drive at (616) 452 - 2143 or stop by and visit us on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

2013 Dodge Dart Technology:  The Dart can boast an industry-first innovation: in-car wireless charging for smartphones and mp3 players.

For a complete look at what the Dodge Dart has to offer: http://www.courtesy.com/dart.htm

This is Part Three in our Dodge Dart Series, a three-part blog exploring the various aspects of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart.

2013 Dodge Dart Series:
Part One - Interior
Part Two - Trim Levels 


More on Chrysler and Dodge from GRAutoBlog:
Courtesy’s ‘Car of the Month’ March: 2012 Dodge Charger
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced
Best of 2011 from GRAutoBlog: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Edition
2012 Special Editions: Dodge Charger Super Bee, Yellow Jacket Dodge Challenger
Courtesy’s “Car of the Month” November: 2012 Dodge Journey
2011 Dodge Durango Named “Top Safety Pick” by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Michigan Legend to Auction Original General Lee Charger

Friday, July 6, 2012

Updating the Mercedes-Benz Navigation System with New GPS Maps – Your Easy Guide

Mercedes-Benz are one of North America’s best selling cars, with particular high volume sales attributed to the C-Class and S-Class ranges.  As with most automobile manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz have given the customer the option to pay extra to get the Mercedes-Benz Navigation System installed into the dashboard when buying from the dealer, which means the driver won’t have to pay for a standalone portable navigation device from the likes of Garmin or TomTom (in fact, many of the in-dash units are actually developed by these companies anyway).

Mercedes-Benz GPS Maps Need Updating Regularly

As with all forms of in-car GPS devices, the Mercedes-Benz Navigation System is only as good and as reliable as the maps that are installed onto it.  Contrary to the popular opinion held by many drivers, maps are not beamed down from the satellite network, purely for your car’s position, with the mapping software installed directly onto the device.  Every single day of the year there are changes being made to the road networks such as new lanes, highways, intersections, and such like – and because of that, the GPS maps in a Mercedes-Benz car will never truly be up to date and current.

Thankfully, new Mercedes-Benz Navigation System updates are released annually by a company called Navteq.  These are the people who supply digital mapping solutions to the majority of GPS manufacturers and for Mercedes-Benz vehicles the new software comes packaged on a yearly Mercedes-Benz Navigation DVD.  If you decide it’s time to update the maps in your car, this is how you do it with a few tips to make sure it all goes smoothly.

How to Install the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Navigation DVD

Assuming that you have already purchased the Mercedes-Benz Navigation DVD set for 2012 then installing the new maps is relatively straight forward, and should take you no longer than 30 minutes.  Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Get into your Mercedes-Benz and turn the ignition on.  This should boot up the Mercedes-Benz Navigation System automatically, but if it does not then you will need to switch it into navigation mode.

  2. If the old Navteq DVD is already in the disc drive then press to eject it.  Regardless you will need to insert the new Mercedes-Benz disc.

  3. Once the new Mercedes-Benz Navigation DVD is in the system, the display should prompt you with the command “Update Maps.”  Click “Yes” to confirm.

  4. You will now need to enter in your unique customer identification and authentication code.  This is printed on the packaging for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Navigation DVD so make sure you don’t lose it.

  5. Once your serial number has been entered, the navigation system will start to install the latest software update.  Typically this could take between fifteen and twenty minutes as there’s a lot of data that it needs to load.

  6. When the new Mercedes-Benz maps are all loaded to your system it should read “Update Complete.”  You now have the latest maps on the device and are ready to drive again.


Important Note: One important aspect to consider is that you should never turn the Mercedes-Benz Navigation System off during this install and upgrade process.  If you do so, then the install could become corrupted meaning you need to start again from scratch, or in a worst-case-scenario will need to seek assistance from an official Mercedes-Benz engineer to fix any problems or issues.

More Information on Mercedes-Benz Navigation System Updates

If you have found this “how to” article interesting and want to know more then please visit the team at GPSNavigationDVD.net.  They offer comprehensive and independent advice on all things related to GPS map updates and have a specialist section dedicated simply to Mercedes-Benz map updates.  For full details please click to visit on: Mercedes-Benz Navigation DVD Updates.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Courtesy's 'Car of the Month' July: 2012 Chrysler 300

What goes 0-60 in just six seconds, has a 31 highway mpg and a five-star safety rating? That would be the 2012 Chrysler 300, giving new meaning to the old saying ‘affordable luxury.’

Motor City luxury is seen in full force with the 300’s signature grille, LED-accented headlamps, and available dual-pane sunroof. Being the most technologically advanced car in its class, the 300 incorporates intuitive technology with the Chrysler UConnect infotainment system and offers the peerless Beats by Dre audio system in the S model.

While dramatic design touches lend a level of refinement to the sedan, the 300's cabin has also been designed with your comfort in mind, including its laminated acoustic windshield and fiber acoustic wheel liners built to mute out distracting road noise.

With a winning combination of 31 highway mpg, and the choice of award-winning Pentastar V6 and HEMI V8 engines, the 300 is a great example of a car that refuses to sacrifice power for fuel efficiency. The 300 has also received numerous awards touting everything from its interior to its five-star safety rating, and is named one of the Best Family Cars by Kelley Blue Book. View the full list of awards on Chrysler.com. 

To discover for yourself Chrysler’s leading luxury vehicle, visit www.Courtesy.com or give us a call at (616) 452-2143 to learn what options are available for you.

2012 Chrysler 300:

  • 19 city, 31 hwy mpg

  • Pentastar V6, Hemi V8 engines

  • 292 horsepower

  • Five-Star Safety Rating

  • UConnect Tough System

  • ParkSense Rear Park Assist

  • Blind Spot Monitoring

  • Beats by Dre Audio System - S model


Download the Chrysler 300 mobile app.

More from ‘Car of the Month’:
2012 Dodge Grand Caravan - June
2012 Jeep Wrangler – May
2012 Chrysler Town & Country – April
2012 Dodge Charger – March
2012 Jeep Compass – February
2012 Chrysler 200 – January

2012 Ram 1500 – December
2012 Dodge Journey – November
 

2012 Jeep Liberty – October

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Dodge Viper is Back and Ready to Bite

2013 Dodge Viper

The Dodge Viper has become one of those modern legends, a true great. Now in its 20th year, the Detroit bruiser is back after a long absence for a fifth evolution.

The story started back in 1989 with the prototype, before Dodge unveiled two pre-production models at the infamous Indy 500 in 1991, with both being used as pace cars during the race.

Less than 12 months later and the ‘RT/10’, as it was known, was available for purchase sporting Dodge’s own V10 that had been fettled with by Italian supercar manufacturer Lamborghini and made 400 bhp available at the touch of the right pedal.

Thanks to that surge of power and a massive 630 Nm of torque pushing the car along, the RT/10 managed 0-60 in just 4.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 164 mph.

However, the ‘genesis’ of the Vipers was far from perfect and its body design had flaws that came about by using cheaper truck parts instead of bespoke pieces that would have made for a much more capable motor.

The car was also particularly tricky to handle, had no roof, no exterior door-handles or side windows, so needed to be stored indoors at all times it wasn’t in use, but it did gain a US Environmental Protection Agency rated fuel economy of 12 mpg.

The second generation, the RT/10 GTS, is one we all know for its famous double-striped dressing and ran for six years as both a coupe and a roadster and boasted a power increase of 15 bhp for the base model, whilst the full-out GTS model offered 450 bhp on tap.

The latter made for an improved 0-60 time of 4 secs and a sturdier, more rigid suspension made the Viper 25% stiffer for better handling and the revised chassis made for a 60 lbs weight loss.

Dodge released the SRT/10 in 2003 as its third evolution and offered much sharper styling and another power increase to bring a total power output of 500 bhp that could challenge some of the top supercars of the time.

Initially released strictly as a roadster, the coupe was again added to the range in its final year of production and had 10 more bhp from its 8.3 V10 and a truly monumental 725 Nm of torque to get a sub 4 secs 0-60 time.

Simple styling changes were made in 2008 for the fourth incarnation, but the engine again was uprated to an 8.4 liter 600 bhp goliath that was faster than its rivals at the time that included Detroit local the Corvette Z06, Ford GT, Porsche 911 Turbo and the new boy Audi R8.

A brand new engine management system, aptly named VENOM, was also included, as well as completely revised electrics and an updated exhaust structure.

The CEO of Dodge announced that the Viper would end production in 2010 with a planned ‘Final Edition’ to be the brand’s swansong, with 50 examples to be produced, including the fearsome ACR model that was a true street-legal racer.

However, the Viper is now back from the dead with the now branded SRT Viper to go into production at the end of the year and promises to be quite the car.

It also looks to be a completely new beast from Dodge’s prospective, with an interior bordering on being described as plush and even some stability control for the very first time on a Viper in its two decades.

Even the CEO of the brand wants the new car to be a “more forgiving car to drive and accessible to people.”

The fifth installment was revealed at the New York Auto Show in April of this year and immediately impressed with its aggressive styling and staying true to its 20-year history, will feature a 640 bhp version of their 8.4 V10.

It was also announced that the Viper would be going back into racing and have a GTS-R model ready for the 2012 American Le Mans series, making for a true return for the legend.

About the author: Sam Bisby writes for chooseafuelcard.com fuel cards.     

More Guest Blog Posts from GRAutoBlog:
How to Get the Most Money for Your Trade-in
Tips for Driving in Unsafe Conditions
How to Get More MPG with Your Car
6 Steps to Carefully Buying a Used Car
6 Things to Consider When Selecting Tires
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced 
Top 5 Gifts for Car Enthusiasts 
 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

VW Beetle Fender Edition,TDI Versions Coming This Fall

VW Beetle Fender Edition

Volkswagen Meets Fender - A Bug for Music Lovers



Rock n’ roll is here to stay and so is the VW Beetle Fender Edition. Originally introduced as a concept last year at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Fender Edition of the redesigned Beetle caused such a buzz, Volkswagen will now produce the vehicle and bring it to the U.S. starting this fall.

Based around the high ‘Design’ trim level, the Fender Beetle packs the ultimate vehicle audio system, designed by, you guessed it, the experts at Fender. Controlled by the standard RCD 510 touchscreen, the sound system includes two high-end tweeters in each side mirror and rear side panel, and woofers with double voice coils in the front doors. The system’s subwoofer is located in the trunk and the center of the sound system is a 10-channel amplifier with class A/B power amps and an output of 400 watts. Follow along with us on Twitter and Facebook to keep posted on when a Fender Edition Beetle will be in a dealership near you.

 VW Beetle TDI Starts at $23,295


The 2013 VW Beetle TDI is the latest addition to the Beetle family with an estimated fuel economy of 32 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway. The TDI is powered by a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged clean diesel with direct injection. With a starting price of $23,295, the diesel-powered bug will have a six-speed transmission, 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.


The Clean Diesel model is scheduled to hit showrooms this August and will come available in three trim levels: TDI, TDI with sunroof and TDI with sunroof, sound and navigation. Have questions or want to learn more about the TDI Beetle? Give our VW team a call at (616) 301-2100.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to: Chrysler UConnect System Video Tutorial

Whether it be navigation, Bluetooth for your phone or MP3 connectivity, the latest technology found in just about any new car's dashboard  is essentially meant to simply our lives, not complicate it.  Unfortunately, most people on the roads today are either confused by their infotainment systems or simply not getting the most out of them.

To ensure that you fully understand your vehicle's technology and can utilize it to its fullest, we've been making how-to videos over on our Youtube Channel. In this edition, Scott Baumgard, New Car Sales at Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, demonstrates how to set up and use the Chrysler UConnect system in your new vehicle.

For Chrysler owners, the UConnect system is your technological gateway to everything from navigation and weather, to music and seat adjustment. Virtually all vehicle controls are now literally at your fingertips, with a simple press of your dashboard screen, or even better yet, at your voice's command. That's right: With UConnect, you can call up your friends, queue up your favorite songs and more, all with the convenience of hands-free voice control.

Chrysler UConnect:

  • Navigation: Directions, Traffic updates, Alternative routes

  • Interior Comfort: Seat adjustment, Cabin temperature and more

  • Music: Voice command for song requests, Sirius XM stations

  • Phone: Hands-free access to contacts

  • Media: Provides passengers with movies, games, weather and more


Learn even more about what Chrysler's UConnect system has to offer: http://www.driveuconnect.com/

For more helpful how-to videos, visit our Youtube Channel: Youtube.com/courtesycjd. Want to request a video tutorial? Send us a Tweet to @Courtesygr or comment on our Facebook.

More on Chrysler from GRAutoBlog:
2013 Dodge Dart to Feature In-Car Wireless Charging
Courtesy Celebrates 46 Years of Business in West Michigan
"60 Minutes" with Sergio Marchionne: Resurrecting Chrysler
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced
Best of 2011 from GRAutoBlog: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Edition
2012 Special Editions: Dodge Charger Super Bee, Yellow Jacket Dodge Challenger

Courtesy's 'Car of the Month' June: 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan

When you buy a minivan, you’re buying the whole package: A vehicle that is bursting with storage space, comfort, and above all, versatility.
The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is the whole package and then some, with best-in-class towing stacked on top of best-in-class horsepower. With a 3.6L Pentastar  V6 engine under the hood, the Caravan gets 25 mpg, or 500 miles per tank and features a Fuel Economizer Mode that helps enhance your fuel economy.


The Caravan's sporty exterior and extremely versatile interior makes for a minivan that stands apart from the competition. The Grand Caravan boasts class-exclusive Stow 'N Go Seating and storage system with a one-touch fold-down feature, making it easier than ever before to customize your van's interior into various combinations for the ultimate way to transport people and cargo.


 
2012 Dodge Grand Caravan:



  • 81 different seating configurations

  • 25 mpg, 500 miles per tank

  • Up to 3,000 lbs towing capacity

  • Dual power-sliding doors

  • Power liftgate

  • Available UConnect System




As we get into the summer season here at Courtesy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in West Michigan, there are several great opportunities for new car buyers:



  • 46th Anniversary Sale - Help us celebrate 46 years of our family business, serving West Michigan!

  • Summer Tent Sale - Come see us under the tent on July 11th for amazing deals on amazing vehicles!



More Dodge Grand Caravan Walkaround Videos:
Scott Baumgard
Dave Neubauer

More from ‘Car of the Month’:
2012 Chrysler 300 – July

2012 Jeep Wrangler - May
2012 Chrysler Town & Country - April
2012 Dodge Charger – March
2012 Jeep Compass – February
2012 Chrysler 200 – January

2012 Ram 1500 – December
2012 Dodge Journey – November
 

2012 Jeep Liberty – October

More on Dodge from GRAutoBlog:
How to: Chrysler UConnect System Tutorial
2013 Dodge Dart Series: Part One - Interior
2012 Special Editions: Dodge Charger Super Bee, Yellow Jacket Dodge Challenger  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Get the Most Money for Your Trade-In

Many people dread the prospect of trading in their car when they go shopping for a newer model. They fret over whether or not they’ll be given a fair value for the car without really taking any steps to help the dealership give them as much money as possible. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do during ownership and during the trade-in process that can help you get every penny that your car is worth.

What Dealerships Look For In A Trade-In:

It’s no mystery that a car dealership exists to make a profit, like any other business. They want to be able to buy cars and then sell them for more than they paid for them. They also want to treat their customers right, because they depend on repeat and referral customers to stay in business. They don’t want you to just be satisfied with the experience; they want you to have had a fantastic experience so you’ll tell all your friends and family how well they treated you. To that end, here’s how you can help a dealership give you more money for your trade-in.

#1 – Take care of your car – This should seem like common sense, but you may be amazed at how many people don’t change their oil on time, never rotate their tires, only wash their car by leaving it out in the rain, and in general, let their car slowly turn into a stinky, beat up mess. Starting from day one of ownership, take all the steps you need to keep your car looking and running smoothly. An advantage of buying from a dealership is that you can usually purchase maintenance plans at discounted rates to take care of your oil changes and regular maintenance. That can save you a lot of money over the course of ownership as well as make it very easy and convenient to make sure your car stays up to date on service, maintenance, and any recalls that need to be performed.

#2 – Keep accurate records – Only slightly less important than taking care of your car is keeping track of what you do. When an appraiser looks at a possible trade-in, he is figuring out what they would need to spend on a car to have it ready to sell. If you can show him that the maintenance is current that is one more thing he can check off his list of possible expenses. Again, an advantage of doing your maintenance at one spot, like a dealership service department, is that they will keep track of everything for you, and can give you a copy at your request.

#3 – Timing & Term – It is a cold hard fact that your car value drops as soon as you drive it off the lot, yet there still seems to be a group of people who think they can buy a car and try to trade it in two months later when they decide they need a car with the latest and greatest gadget. They are usually very disappointed in their trade evaluation, because only two months earlier they paid much more than they are being offered. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap! When you buy a car, buy one that you will enjoy driving and that will meet your needs, and then keep it for the next 3-4 years.

#4 – Know your car’s value – There are a lot of sources that will tell you what a car is supposed to be worth, and unfortunately, they very rarely agree with each other. Your bank or credit union will tell you one thing, blue books, black books, market reports, etc, all will put different figures on your car’s value. The best way to see exactly what your car is worth in your area is to see what similar models are selling for. Go to websites like Autotrader.com or Cars.com and search for cars like yours – come as close as you can in make, model, miles, package, and condition. See what they’re being sold for. That will give you an idea as to what retail value on your car may be.

Now that you’ve taken good care of your car, have your maintenance records, have an idea as to what similar cars are being sold for, and have found the new car you want, you have a few options. You can find a private buyer for your car – you will almost always get more money than you would in a trade, but there are downsides. You will have to negotiate with any interested party; they may want you to do some repairs or touch up work, or replace tires or other parts, and they may delay your next purchase if they have to line up financing. What you need to decide is how much your time is worth. Is your time, effort, and stress worth the difference between what you can sell the car for and what your trade-in value is?

If you decide that trading in your car is the way to go, there is one last step. Finding a dealership that you enjoy working with will not only save you headache and hassles, but they will also be more inclined to give you more money for your trade-in if they’ve gotten to know you as a repeat customer. Buying and trading a car can be a fun, easy, and win-win experience!

About the Author: Natalia Jenkins is a writer for Osseo Auto. She loves writing on cars, history and reading classic books. She also is secretly a car aficionado. Osseo Auto is a leading Wisconsin car dealership that sells new and used Ford and Chevy cars in Eau Claire and La Crosse.

More Guest Blog Posts from GRAutoBlog:
Tips for Driving in Unsafe Conditions
How to Get More MPG with Your Car
6 Steps to Carefully Buying a Used Car
6 Things to Consider When Selecting Tires
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced 
Top 5 Gifts for Car Enthusiasts 
 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Complete Guide to Volkswagen Camper Vans

Volkswagen Camper Van

Volkswagen's first camper van was widely sold in the United States. 

It looks like the popular European VW Transporter may be on its way back to the US. With the original Volkswagen Transporter only being released stateside for a brief period around 20 years ago, rumors have been circulating about the return of the Eurovan after the opening of a VW headquarters in Tennessee. We shall have a look at the legacy behind the Transporter line of vehicles.

Volkswagen VW campers (or Volkswagen Type 2) are a popular van model manufactured by Volkswagen. Volkswagen produces several types of camper vans and panel vans which often undergo aftermarket camper van conversions. Transporter vans are a popular choice for commercial and personal use due to their size and the many types of features available when purchasing a new van. These features range from functional – such as a van with removable seats and space for delivering cargo – to the fun and personal, such as a camper van with beds, an oven and a kitchen.

There have been several models of VW Transporter vans over the years. Some consumers prefer the older models featuring a rounded retro appearance and bulkier style, but the newer vans are still very popular, and often have a cult-like following in European countries.

T1 model

This was the very first generation of VW Type 2 car, which includes the Volkswagen camper van, produced from March 1950 through 1967. The original VW T1 van was often called the 'Barn Door' due to its large rear engine cover, although the 1960s T1 models featured a larger engine cover and a slightly sleeker design. Camper vans in this generation often featured fold up travel beds, fold up kitchen sets and (due to the time period) funky retro carpeting and d├ęcor. This model was known as the Split-screen due to its v-shaped front panel. Today, original T1 camper vans are highly desired by collectors and fully restored T1 camper vans fetch high price tags on the collector’s market.

T2 model

The second generation of VW Transporters began in 1967 and was produced in Germany until 1979. The second generation van was larger and heavier than the first generation, and featured a uniquely large engine with hydraulic valve lifters starting in 1978, which got rid of the need to periodically adjust the valve clearances, a requirement of the earlier models. Camper vans in this generation were able to feature customisations which were more complicated than its predecessors, including full beds with mattresses, kitchen sets, dining room sets and more luxurious amenities. This model was known as the Bay Window and only used a one-piece windshield instead of the split-screen of the original T1 camper van. This model featured pop-top roofs, which allowed for passengers to stand up in the van and for the addition of bunk beds and additional sleeping space in the camper van.

T3 model

The T3 (or Vanagon in the US) model began production in 1980 and was one of the last Volkswagen vehicles to use an air-cooled engine, which was replaced with a water-cooled boxer engine in 1984. The T3 was larger and heavier than the T2 model and had square corners rather than rounded edges on the frame. The camper vans of this generation, like the T2 model, were able to accommodate more features suited to traveling in campers or using vans for camping and trip outings. The T3 finally featured the option for high-top roofs, which allowed for standing room without having to pop up the car top! This VW camper van was the first to set the standard for what we consider “traditional” camper van layout today. The kitchen cupboards and storage ran along the driver’s side, a rear bench converted into a double bed, and there were swivel chair seats with swivel tables for a lounge/dining room area. Proper plumbing and climate control were also introduced in this model.

T4 model

The T4 model was produced from 1990 to 2003. The T4 models featured a more stylish appearance and water-cooled engines. The camper vans in this era, beginning in the late 1990s, offered more electronic amenities and features such as televisions, DVD players, microwaves and more.

T5 model

The newest model of VW van belongs to the Volkswagen Transporter T5 range. This newest range, which began production in 2003, features a wide range of customisation, optional accessories and additional features which allow camper van enthusiasts to fully customise their camping experience. Camper vans in the T5 range may be purchased using factory variants of the Transporter T5, however many consumers opt for third party conversions for a more traditional camper van appearance. The T5 Transporter is highly regarded amongst enthusiasts and has seen the birth of many customisations, and there are many custom VW T5s for sale.
Volkswagen Camper Van

Converting a VW van into a VW camper van

Before the VW T5 range, Volkswagen consumers would turn to Westphalia, a company that had an official relationship with Volkswagen, for their Volkswagen camper conversion needs. However, in 2003 this relationship was ended and Volkswagen produced their own line of camper conversion, the “California.” This camper conversion from Volkswagen has a minimalistic outward design, features a pop top roof which is operated via automatic controls, and features state-of-the-art interiors. You can buy the California camper conversion from Volkswagen or Volkswagen dealers.

However, VW camper conversion can be done by third parties. There are many companies that specialise in converting VW cans into camper vans due to the VW van’s popularity among camper van enthusiasts. These companies provide consumers with a range of options for their camper conversions. Many companies specialise in fully equipped camper conversions which can provide consumers with sleeping areas, work desks, electrical plugs, kitchen sets, plumbing and more.

The pricing of a VW camper van conversion can vary depending on what type of conversion you are looking for. Many companies would require you supply your own T5 van, however there are a few which can supply the van, customise the interior and styling to create your own bespoke T5 camper. Just be careful if you are thinking of importing a Transporter van into the US then you will be facing a 25 percent tariff, commonly known as the chicken tax.

About the Author: Jack Dunsworth - As the creator of MyTransporterVan.co.uk Jack likes to spend his time around cars, vans and all things Volkswagen. As a freelance writer you can follow Jacks articles and writing through his twitter account.

More on Volkswagen from GRAutoBlog:
Volkswagen in America: The Story Behind the Chattanooga Plant
The People's Champion: Volkswagen
2012 Passat Test Drive Event
2012 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn Packate at Betten Imports

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

2013 Dodge Dart Series: Part Two - Trim Levels

2013 Dodge Dart

The 2013 Dodge Dart: The new car on the block with an impressive amount of attitude, dynamic stylings and custom options. Poised to be the next big thing in the compact segment, the Dart will make its debut in Chrysler showrooms in June.

With a hint of Italian flair, provided by FIAT’s design contribution, the Dart has a dramatic exterior mixing clean lines and aggressive curves.  The Dart's distinctive split cross-hair grille, also adds to its sporty character. The Dart’s Charger-inspired racetrack style LED taillamp is another styling cue inspired from its Dodge heritage. The Dart may be a compact sedan, but there is nothing small about its bold engine choices, providing a level of affordable performance that packs a fuel-efficient punch. Take a look at the Dart’s roomy, feature-filled interior with Part One in our Dodge Dart Series.

The new Chrysler compact, the first in that crucial segment from the automaker in several years, is available with the choice of three engines, three gearboxes, five trim levels, and numerous amounts of custom options.
2013 Dodge Dart Trim Levels:


SE Model - MSRP starting at $15,995



  • 2.0L 160-hp Tigershark 4-cylinder

  • 6-speed manual transmission

  • 10 standard airbags

  • Projector headlamps & LED taillamps


SXT Model - MSRP starting at $17, 995



  • All SE features, plus:

  • 17-inch aluminum wheels

  • Power mirrors, locks, remote keyless entry

  • Available UConnect Touch Media Center 8.4 inch/RE2

  • Available 1.4L MultiAir Turbo


RALLYE Model - MSRP starting at $18,995



  • Builds off SXT model, plus:

  • Unique Black grille surround

  • Black headlamp bezels

  • Projector fog lamps

  • Integrated dual exhaust

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

  • Available Hyper Black aluminum wheels

  • Electronic Vehicle Information Center

  • Trip computer

  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls


Limited Model - MSRP starting at $19,995



  • Includes all SXT equipment, plus:

  • Bright grille and door handles

  • Projector fog lamps

  • Available UConnect Touch Media Center 8.4 inch/RE2

  • 7-inch reconfigurable display

  • Available polished aluminum wheels

  • Electronic Vehicle Information Center

  • Trip computer

  • Steering Wheel mounted audio controls


R/T Model - MSRP starting at $22,495



  • Builds off Limited with powertrain and sport suspension

  • 2.4L 184-hp Tigershark with MultiAir II

  • Hyper Black grille

  • Projector fog lamps

  • 18-inch aluminum wheels

  • Unique Black front fascia

  • Premium Nappa leather-trimmed interior

  • Integrated dual exhaust

  • Black headlamp bezels








Don't just take our word for it:



This is Part Two in our Dodge Dart Series, a three-part blog exploring the various aspects of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart.

2013 Dodge Dart Series:
Part One - Interior
Part Three - Dart Comes to West Michigan


More on Chrysler  and Dodge from GRAutoBlog:
2013 Dodge Dart to Feature In-Car Wireless Charging
Courtesy’s ‘Car of the Month’ March: 2012 Dodge Charger
The Importance of Having Your Car Serviced
Best of 2011 from GRAutoBlog: Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Edition
2012 Special Editions: Dodge Charger Super Bee, Yellow Jacket Dodge Challenger
Courtesy’s “Car of the Month” November: 2012 Dodge Journey
2011 Dodge Durango Named “Top Safety Pick” by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Michigan Legend to Auction Original General Lee Charger