Gadgets and Gifts for Car Geeks

Buying gifts for a car geek may be quite a daunting experience for the unenlightened – the partners who undoubtedly spend many hours alone in the house with banging, clattering, revving engines and dodgy smells coming out of the garage. What do you buy a car geek for his birthday once you’ve exhausted the socks and driving gloves?
Here are a few ideas about gadgets and gifts that every car geek would love to receive – even though the appeal may be lost on the rest of the world.
Portable Jump Starter Battery Pack – say what? Surely that can’t be classed as a gift! You’d be surprised, just try it and see the smile on his face when he opens it up on his birthday. You see, not only can you start your car with this piece of ingenious equipment when the battery has gone flat but you can also inflate your tires with the air compressor, and there’s a powerful flashlight on the top to see in the dark. They are great for starting other things like boats and RV’s too. Worrying about flat batteries will be a thing of the past.


Digital tire pressure gauge – never before has a $15 gift given so much delight on opening. Bear it in mind for stocking filler next Christmas if you’ve missed his birthday. Tire pressures should be checked every month for safer handling, better fuel economy and to protect the longevity of the tires – buy him one and watch him smile.
Professional Racing Driver Shoes – on second thoughts it may be too tempting. He’d love them but I’m not sure how safe he would be on the public highways. Scratch that unless you can be sure that he’ll behave on the open road.


Cordless Drill / Impact Driver – every car geeks dream for loosening and cracking even the tightest of lug nuts – just tell him that’s what it’s for and you can’t fail to impress him. You could also tell him about the torque measurements and how many impacts per minute it generates if you really want to sound like you know your stuff.
Glass polishing kit – give a woman cleaning products for her birthday and she’s likely to get the message and give you your marching orders – give a car geek a glass polishing kit and he’ll probably love you forever. They are great for getting even the tiniest, minute scratches out of the windshield to return it to its former glory. I know, it’s a man thing!
Drinks cup holder – some motors are fitted with these as standard so do check out his motor before you waste your money, they don’t cost a lot but you’ll look pretty silly and like you haven’t been paying attention if you buy something which is already fitted in the car. Anyway, in the absence of a cup holder these are terrific and will attach to just about any make or model and stop him from spilling coffee in his beloved car.
Portable back-up camera – not only will he love this but it’ll also help you to reverse park when you borrow his car. Some of these fabulous little gadgets attach magnetically to the tailgate and show the driver exactly what’s happening behind the car – particularly useful for hooking up the trailer on his own without having to call you out to direct him (or you having to heave the trailer into position when he’s missed).


At Fullerton Dodge they know all about car geeks and have got a spectacular selection of motors for them to choose from – check out and see for yourself.”

Bidding Summer Goodbye Means Going Back To Autumn Car Care


September. Already. Inside our household, that translates into a whirlwind of activities. Receiving the kids ready for back to college and school, creating new menus that reflect the fall harvest bounty for our catering business, flushing out our house’s gutters in anticipation of the weather change, setting the DVR to catch the brand new season of TV shows (everything from DIY repair to zooming away from zombies are viewing musts), and plunging into seasonal car care: focus on headlights, replace shocks, etc. Give me your best advice regarding how to juggle all this.

This season is our car care Big Projects Month. Lucky for us DIY repair devotees, we can trust Advance Auto Parts for timely savings on countless key components and accessories.

Summertime travels put our SUV on more than a few semi-rugged county roads (we are fans of the road less traveled and love discovering new places and paths – no doubt the fuel for turning us into DIY repair advocates! ), leaving it with a newly noticeable rough ride that meant merely one thing: time and energy to replace shocks. Though the kids enjoyed this different type of bounce as we drove through our smooth, paved neighborhood streets, the final thing I needed was because of it to escalate into “drift” mode (fine for racing tuners, but not for family SUVs). Being in a “Must Replace Shocks” frame of mind, I found Advance’s Shocktober DIY repair specials – their “Buy 4 shocks or struts for the price of 3” sale has become a budget-saver. Had to replace shocks on your own? How did it go? Use the Comments box below to confess how you long it really took you the first time you had to exchange shocks!

This seasonal transition also brings on shorter days and this means it gets darker sooner. That’s the car care cue to view to your car’s headlights. Some simple DIY repair from you will be a snap. Seriously, when was the very last time these were replaced? Or cleaned properly? That milky, filmy layer on the lens can actually be cleared off easily with all the right products. We’ve placed our confidence in Advance to deliver the goods to help headlights do their job right.

That’s my short list on car care. I was able to go on, but I’ll save those for one more time. I want to ask, before I go: are you feeling lucky? I really entered for a chance to win the Moog Sweepstakes. I never pass up any opportunity to win something nor should you! If you’re experiencing any steering or suspension problems, they are the go-to brand we trust, specially when, a few years back, our minivan’s steering did start to pull, talking about Moog. Meantime, keep me posted on your Autumn car care tips and DIY repair jobs (especially that first time you experienced to replace shocks on your own). I adore new advice; head to the Comments box below.

The Greatest Car Ever? Why We Love the Fiat 500

OCFiat -1-1

The small Fiat 500 was recently nominated as the finalists in the “Greatest Car Ever” contest on the incredibly popular British TV car show, Top Gear. This was high praise indeed for a tiny sub-compact car. Most of the other nominees were legendary cult classic sports cars like the McLaren F1 and Ford Jaguar and Mustang E-Type. What could cause such praise to become heaped upon such a humble and tiny-commuter car? Before heading over to fiat Los Angeles to look into its modern successor, let’s take a look at a few reasons the first 500 is considered one of the all-time great designs.

Ingenious Design

Some would suppose it is quicker to design a tiny car than to design a large car. Designers tell us this isn’t so. With less room for everything, despite the fact that a small car has to try everything the larger car does. (Beneath the hood, in the passenger compartment, etc.) The Fiat 500 has among the best interior to exterior proportion ratios ever. In other words, it possesses a relatively large interior given its tiny overall dimensions. This managed to make it the right car at the best time. After World War II Italy needed a car to the masses that had been small, and affordable, and most of all supremely size efficient. Italian families were large, so they needed a “small, big” car. The Fiat 500 ticked all those boxes superbly.

An X-Factor: Charisma

Most compact cars hold the sex appeal of a wet noodle. Not the Italian Fiat 500. It had an undeniable charisma or X-Factor that managed to get fun. The canvas sun roof might be put as a result of let in a little air-which made the 15bhp-powered car seem almost fast. They are saying all Italian guys fantasize they are race car drivers (and whoever has driven in Rome has to agree with that sentiment). The sexy little 500 made that fantasy a little easier to drag off. Today, its fans are still legion. Modern owners include celebrities like Gordon Murray (designer of the McLaren F1) and racing legend Michael Schumacher.


The first Fiat 500 didn’t sell three million units from 1957 to 1975 by simply being charming. These people were robust workhorses with minimal to go wrong-a significant advantage based on their utter simplicity. As soon as 1958, three Fiat 500s showed what they could do on a grueling cross country race. They won the 3,330 kilometer Liége-Brescia Rally for cars up to 500cc. All seven 500s that started reached the finish line, though only 13 of the 29 competing cars finished the race. Inside the years since, the sturdy little car has continued to build on that good reputation for robust reliability. Add all of it up, and it’s easy to understand why the Fiat 500 is the Italian Ford Model T. It got Italy on the road and earned its spot as a contender for Greatest Car Ever the tough way-through its ingenious design and proven track record.

OCFiat -1-2

You can find a great variety of modern, updated Fiat 500s that continue the proud tradition of your original, all at great prices, simply by visiting

Toyota Prius Hybrid Remains The Most Popular Car Line in California

CARPHOTO-5The automobile business is a cauldron of change, although certain items remain consistent.

One of those particular things is Californians’ appetite for Toyota Prius hybrids. The Prius range was the most popular vehicle line within the Golden State for 2013, the second year in a row it came out on the top.

The term vehicle line is key here, for the reason that total used to determine the top seller includes the combined sales of various models–the Prius Liftback, Prius C subcompact, Prius V wagon, and Prius Plug-In Hybrid–that make up what Toyota calls the Prius family.

According to the California Auto Outlook Report, 69,728 cars with the Prius nameplate were sold in California last year.

The company sold 234,228 Priuses during the entire U.S. this past year, meaning that just below 30 percent of the line’s sales were in that one state–that has just 12 percent from the country’s population.

Toyota says it sold more Priuses than that total of most other hybrids sold in California, accounting for six of every ten new-hybrid sales in California in 2013.

And the quintessential hybrid takes the crown for two years running: The Prius family was also the most common new-car line in California in 2012, with 61,893 sold.

The Prius’ continued popularity in California isn’t too surprising, given Californians’ enthusiasm for green cars.

About 9.3 percent of cars on California roads feature some kind of electrification, the car Outlook Report stated.

California is definitely a law unto itself when it comes to hybrids, electric cars, and other green vehicles. Consumer interest is mirrored by supportive government policies, including granting plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars use of carpool lanes without passengers.

The Prius has been able to maintain its sales dominance over an increasing number of competitors–including increasingly popular models from Ford despite receiving very few significant changes for a while now, however.

A redesigned Prius Liftback is expected being launched in 2015; it may be rated up to 55 mpg on the EPA combined cycle.

California buyers seem fairly content with the existing model… though for now.

If You Were a Car What Would You Be?

They do say that people grow to look like their pets but have you ever thought about what type of car you would be – or what type of car you would like to be.

Okay, we might all imagine ourselves as something sleek and sporty but realistically, if you weigh close to 300 pounds and spend more time on the sofa than in the gym you may be closer to a Hummer.

Mountain View Chevrolet-5-1

Let’s take a look at what you’d like to be:

How would you like to look – attractive and sleek, low slung and aerodynamic, large and luxurious, small and practical or small and agile?

Mountain View Chevrolet-5-2

What sorts of luxuries do you envisage having – Air conditioning, built in Sat Nav, radio, leather seats, racing computer, stuff to make you look posh, racing seats, racing harness?

What would be your best features – is it more important to you to be fast, or to have good handling, keep your driver in the lap of luxury or be something staid and practical. What are you really like?

Mountain View Chevrolet-5-3

If you were a car what would you be afraid of the most – cornering too fast, race tracks, carrying a large number of heavy passengers, being stuck in traffic queues forever and a day or the long, open roads?

What sort of car / driver do you idolize – do you love Herbie, are you more a Luigi from Cars kind of guy, what about a race car driver like Juan Pablo Montoya, perhaps the land speed record holder or even your morning bus driver.

Answering these questions can help you to decide whether you would be something like a Lotus, Ferrari or Corvette or more of a Chevy kind of driver. Actually, at Ontario Chevrolet they’ve got loads of them to choose from – lots of sizes, styles and models of car to suit you whatever type of car you are or would like to be. Check online at if you’re not in the area.

There are loads of quizzes and surveys around with endless lists of questions to enable you to decipher whether you’d be a truck or a sports car. Another line of thinking includes:

If you were an athlete what would you be – a tennis player, wrestler, basketball player, cyclist, footballer…

Which type of roads do you love to drive – dirt roads, coastal roads, twisty mountain roads, back streets or long, open roads…

How fast dare you go (be honest) – up to 100 miles per hour, maybe as fast as 110 or 120 miles per hour, would you dare drive faster than 130 miles per hour or do you prefer to stick to speeds below 70 miles per hour. It all helps to build up your car profile.

Which things are most important to you in a car – speed, power, sleek designs, fuel efficiency, lots of luxurious features or the “wow” factor…

How do you want people to think of you – as great fun, the life and soul of the party type of dude, perhaps brave and fearless, maybe stylish and classy or maybe you’d rather be described as ethical…

So, are you a sleek convertible, a practical sedan or a gas guzzling monster truck?

Maybe if you want a really honest opinion you should ask your friends what kind of car they think you would be – if you’ve got really good friends they might even tell you the truth instead of what you want to hear.