10 Awesome Car Features for Fluffy and Fido

Whether you take your furry friend along in the car for local excursions, extended road trips or needed visits to the vet, these ten features can make the ride smoother, safer and less stressful.

1. Ample Cargo Space

Separate cargo space located behind the last row of passenger seats in a car is ideal for cat carriers and medium or large dogs. This feature provides pets with a secure and roomy space to relax in their carrier during travel.

2. Leather Seating

Leather seats are more convenient than cloth seats in terms of cleaning stray pet fur or wiping down any unfortunate messes that may occur during a car ride. Vehicles with waterproof seats have an extra touch of pet friendliness.

3. Low/Wide Access Points

Dogs in particular benefit from cars that sit low enough to enter and exit without jumping. Vehicles with wide doors, such as the Ford Flex, or sliding rear doors, such as the Mazda5 Sport, offer additional ease of access.

4. Fold-Over Seats

Rear seats that fold flat are a great feature to consider if you regularly travel with multiple pets but no other people. With folding or removable seats, even the largest dog carriers fit safely within the vehicle during car trips.

5. Climate Control

Vehicles with all-around climate control give you the peace of mind in knowing that your pet is riding in a safe temperature range at all times.

6. Privacy Windows

Car windows designed with privacy glass help to keep your pet comfortable while on day trips as these windows block the sun’s strong heat rays from bearing down on your fur-covered friend.

7. Hands-Free Liftgate

Vehicles such as the newer-model Ford Escape and Ford Kuga are equipped with a foot-activated lift gate that allows you to open your rear hatch for pet access while holding cat carriers or leashed dogs.

8. Anchors and Tethers

The Mazda5 is an example of a car that provides extra security for pet seats and carriers through the availability of anchors and tethers in the rear passenger area. Your pet should be buckled in just like you.

9. Built-In Storage Bins

If you need to take extra food, water, toys or other pet supplies along on your excursion, then vehicles equipped with space-saving in-dash or in-floor storage compartments are a good buy for pet owners.

10. All-Wheel Drive

Cars designed with all-wheel drive not only offer your pet a more gentle ride in general but also help to reduce turbulence on road trips with bumpy terrains. Bottom line: A calmer pet makes for a happier journey.

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Maintenance Musts to Keep Your Car Healthy

Outside of a house, vehicles are the next largest investment that most individuals make. They take the time to choose the right manufacturer, the right model, and even the right color. After making a down payment, they drive away, expecting the car to last for many years to come.

This is not an unreasonable expectation. Today’s cars are built to last. However, it is possible to increase the life of a car by taking care of regular maintenance and service as suggested by the manufacturer. These recommendations are laid out so that a vehicle can be kept in the best working order possible. But maintenance doesn’t just happen by itself. Vehicle owners must make it a priority to care for the vehicle at standard intervals.

An oil change is one of the most frequent reasons for a visit to the dealership. The old oil needs to be removed from the vehicle and new oil needs to be added. Oil works to lubricate the different pieces of the power-train. Without lubrication, metal on metal grinding could take place, which typically results in costly repairs. By investing in the small cost of an oil change, drivers avoid long-term problems in the future.

As an engine works, it heats up. Drivers want to avoid overheating the engine at all costs. It leads to damage and could create problems in other parts of the vehicle. The cooling system in the engine should also be checked and serviced at different intervals. This is typically a yearly service that removes all of the existing coolant, cleans everything out, and then refills the vehicle with the necessary coolant.

Tires also need to be checked regularly. Tire rotations are good for the tires themselves as well as the vehicle. Tires tend to wear differently. Tires in the front tend to handle all of the steering and provide most of the pull for the vehicle. By rotating these tires, moving the front tires to the back and vice versa, the tires should wear evenly, ensuring that all four need to be replaced at the same time. Rotated tires ensure that the brake system functions properly and the vehicle drives well.

Each manufacturer sets its own maintenance schedule for various vehicles. With continued research, these intervals are set to change. For example, back in 2007, Ford decided to increase its oil change schedule to every 7,500 miles. This is just one reason why it is important to take the vehicle back to the dealership to handle all the maintenance and service.

In order to keep that brand new car running well, it is necessary to learn more about the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and adhere to it. By making these appointments and investing a small amount in the cost of maintenance, drivers could be saving themselves lots of money down the road.

Ford Unveils New Lightweight Concept Car

This year, Ford has created a concept car unlike any other and it’s an idea that is innovative and sure to catch on.

It’s no secret that the average vehicle is very heavy. After all, they are loaded with huge amounts of metal, plastic and rubber that combine to weigh more than a ton in many cases. Some experts feel that the heft of a car contributes to its safety, but the other side of the coin says otherwise.

Now, Ford has created a new concept car that is much lighter in weight than even the vehicles that top the list of lightest in weight. The creators of the Ford vehicle worked to pare down the materials used to create the car so that it weighs less and performs better. The body of the car is constructed of steel and aluminum while the interior of the car replaces steel with a carbon composite material, according to the experts at Motor Trend magazine. In addition, many of the under-the-hood elements have been refined so they weigh less and work better. The chassis has also been overhauled so that it doesn’t weigh the vehicle down.

Choosing a lighter weight vehicle, such as this Ford concept car, is beneficial for drivers for many reasons. For one, the lighter pound load maximizes the fuel efficiency of the car so that less fuel is needed to operate it. This can save buyers a lot of money in the cost of gas over the years that they drive the car. In addition, lighter weight cars seem to perform better on some road tests. Those reasons combined create a car that is more affordable and reliable for the average driver, and the Ford name makes buyers confident in the product they are getting.

Ford isn’t the only car manufacturer working to create lighter weight cars. Jaguar, Honda, Toyota, Acura, Nissan, BMW and Subaru are among the manufacturers with the lightest weight cars on the market, according to the experts. While they do rank well on the list, the new Ford concept model is one that is even lighter in weight than these top ranked cars. It is not available for road driving at the current time, but it’s probably a concept that will be hitting the market in the near future, as the entire idea is exciting to car experts and drivers alike.

Likewise, Ford isn’t the only company introducing concept cars on a yearly basis. That list includes Lincoln, Chevrolet, Porsche and Aston Martin in 2014. While some of them are slated for release in coming years, many are simply ideas that need more work before they can be sold on the new car market. That means that car buyers might have to wait several years before Ford’s new lightweight concept will be available for purchase. But once it hits the market, it’s sure to be a popular idea that will entice many buyers to purchase.