Author Archive for jordandmv

How to Install a PA System in Your Car

Having a Public Address system in their cars is something that many car owners want, so that they can play music from their smartphones or car stereos through it. But, not everyone knows how to install one, as it can be a little complicated, and many people are wondering how to connect all the wires and the numerous parts to their cars. However, a few simple tips can help you install a PA system in your car, even if you are not an electronics technician. All you need to do is purchase the necessary supplies, and know how to make some simple wire connections.

1. What Supplies You Need

A typical PA system consists of several parts, including a CB radio, a microphone, an external speaker, an amplifier, and some cables. Additionally, you will need an RCA cable, some duct tape, and a few connectors.

2. Connecting the Components

Once you have gathered all the necessary supplies, you can start connecting the various components to each other.

Hook the CB radio to the amp – this is the first task you have to do. You can connect the CB radio and the amp using an RCA cable, by plugging one end of the cable into the radio’s PA output, and the other into the amp’s RCA plug.
Connect the amp to the speaker – to do this, you just need to plug the speaker wires into the speaker ports of your amp, which is a pretty simple and straightforward task.
Plug in your microphone – if you want to use your PA system to speak through it, you
should get an amp that has a microphone port, and simply plug the microphone’s cable into the amp’s dynamic port.

3. Powering the PA System

This is the tougher part of the installation process. You need to figure out a way to get supply to the amp and to the radio. There are several possible ways to do it, but they all involve connecting the components of your PA system to your car’s battery.

You start by connecting your amp to your battery, which you will need a few cables for. You can buy an amp power kit, which usually includes three wires. Take the red wire and connect the positive port on your amp the the battery’s positive terminal. One end of the black wire goes into the negative port of your amp, and the other end should be attached to some metal section near the engine, that is not painted.

The next step is to connect the amp to a power switch, to be able to turn the amp on and off. Grab a wire and connect one end to the positive port of your amp, and the other end to the port of the switch that’s marked with “in”. Take another wire to connect the “out” port of the switch to a port on your amp that says “remote”.

At first glance, installing a PA system in your car might seem like a daunting process, but if you just follow these step-by-step instructions, you will be able to get it right in no time.

Author bio:
Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “car tech” specialist. He is running futumoto.com, a news hub for car innovation.

Critical Marketing Strategies for Auto Repair Shops

Since competition in the auto repair industry is incredibly fierce, marketing can be a very important tool that can give your business the edge that you need in order to make sure you keep your current customers and attract new ones. Every car repair shop has its own business model and has a specific positioning on its market, so each approach has its own specifics. It’s notable that many auto repair shops lack innovation and creativity when it comes to promoting their business, so a couple of marketing ideas might come in handy.

Try and get as many referrals as possible

For businesses in the auto service industry, word of mouth is arguably the most effective way for expanding your customer base. You can partner up with businesses that share your target audience, but offer different types of services than you, try and convince them to refer their clients to you, and for each customer they refer to you, they receive a commission. Also, you can try and have your customers recommend you to their friends, and you can achieve that by providing timely and quality service, and offering competitive prices. You can ask them to post a status on their Facebook profile or tweet about your shop, and in return, offer a reward of some sort, such as a discount the next time they come to you, or mount and balance their tires or change their oil for free.

Improve brand perception by holding various events

There are a couple of ways to make people in your community aware of your businesses. For example, you can hold regular events focusing on vehicle maintenance, where you demonstrate drivers how to properly maintain their cars, and explaining the consequences of failing to change the oil or the air filter, or other similar maintenance tasks that every car owner can do on their own. In addition, you can sponsor a youth sports team, or a local kart race, or donate to a charity.

Radio and TV advertising

If you are an established auto repair shop, you can probably afford to pay a radio or TV add that will be aired over and over again, which is bound to get the attention of car owners needing a repair. This is an expensive marketing strategy, but it’s also one of the most effective ones, as it gives you a chance to reach a wider audience.

Exploit the Web and Social Networking

No business in the world at this moment can exist without an online presence. A business-oriented web site and social media engagement is a must even for old-school businesses like auto repair shops as well. Establishing a well-positioned Facebook page and pro-actively engaging with the interested audience would definitely bring fruits. Also using services like Twitter to get local customers interested and engaged. Businesses of this type should serve funny content combined with some useful repair tips and tricks to get the sympathy and attention of the target market. The goal here is to provide genuine support, or likeability and maintain positive image in the eyes of the audience.

List made by Jordan Perch, car sales expert and regular contributor to numerous drivers communities.

Car Sales Reached Records in November [Summary]

The auto industry was hit pretty hard by the recession, and today, more than 5 years after it started, it is still struggling to get out of it, but there are signs that it is on the road to a complete recovery. Car sales have been going strong over the past couple of months, with the strongest figures recorded in November, when many car makers reported that sales have exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. Enticing discounts and promotions over the holiday weekend, along with plenty of new models, as well as a good labor market, are among the most significant factors that made November an excellent month for almost all car makers.

This past month, car sales were so strong, that they led to a 16.5 million annualized selling rate, which is much higher than last year’s rate of 15.3 million, and the fastest rate since February 2007, when it got to 16.8 million. This was the best November in history, when it comes to monthly car sales in the U.S. Virtually all major manufacturers reported substantial gains in November, with General Motors and Chrysler leading the way.

GM saw a 14% increase compared to the same month last year, with 212,060 vehicles sold, resulting in the best November for the company in six years. Cadillac and Buick were its best-selling brands, with 16,172 and 15,072 units sold, respectively. Chrysler sold 16% more cars than last year’s November, or exactly 142,275 vehicles, with Jeep and Ram as the brands that were demanded the most. GM redesigned some of its more in-demand models, improving their efficiency and updating their exterior, which was a major factor that helped boost sales.

Although Ford had the best November in 9 years, it didn’t stop its market share from dropping 0.3 percent, unlike the other two major American car makers, whose market share improved significantly. Be that as it may, Ford’s sales were up, as well, with a 7% increase. They were able to sell 190,449 vehicles, with the majority of them being F-Series trucks, whose sales rose 16 percent. As far as projections for next year are concerned, Ford plans to build almost 15,000 less units than 2013, due to decreased demand.

Japanese giant Toyota also reported favorable November sales numbers, albeit not as good as the American Big Three. They saw a 10% increase, with the Avalon and RAV4 as the biggest gainers. In total, Toyota sold 178,044 vehicles, 19,477 of which were RAV4, which is a 56% improvement over November 2012. Their Japanese counterparts, Honda, on the other hand, were not as successful, and were one of the few companies that didn’t post such significant gains. Their sales were down 0.1% over last year’s November, which was their best November ever.

If you take into account that the average price for a new car grew when compared to the same period last year, these highly favorable sales numbers are a bit of surprise, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you add the generous incentives car makers offered for Black Friday, reduced unemployment rates, somewhat stable gas prices, and the fact that auto loans have become more affordable, with significantly lower interest rates.

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “safe sales” specialist. He is a regular contributor to DMV.com, a collaborative community designed to help US drivers.

Connecticut Distracted Driving Laws Getting Stricter

Connecticut put distracted driving laws into effect in 2006, which made it one of the first states to do that. Back then, the state banned all drivers from using hand-held cell phones and texting while driving. Since then, several changes to the distracted driving laws have been made, making them tougher and proposing more severe penalties for those violating them. However, since these changes haven’t done much to help reduce distracted driving accidents and improve traffic safety, legislators have continued working on improving and toughening the laws in order to make drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel and avoid distractions.

As of October 1st, 2013, distracted driving laws in Connecticut became even stricter, adding demerit points and higher fines to the set of penalties. Distracted driving has now become a moving violation, which makes it a serious traffic violation. Prior to October 1st, driver’s weren’t getting demerit points to their licenses for violating distracted driving laws, but now, everyone who is convicted of distracted driving will receive one or two points, depending on where they have committed the violation.

If you get convicted for distracted driving in a highway work zone, two points will be added to your license. You receive one point for distracted driving in areas other than highway work zones. These points will stay on your license for two years, and if you receive more than 10 points within 2 years, your license will be suspended.

Furthermore, if you are convicted of driving over 75 mph in a work zone, you will have to complete an operator retraining program. This applies to commercial drivers convicted of driving over 65 mph, as well. In addition to that, every knowledge test will include questions on highway work zone safety and driver responsibility, as well as a question on cell phone use bans, which should raise drivers’ awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and make them drive more carefully.

As far as fines are concerned, they have been increased, bringing the texting and hand-held cell phone use ban for first time offenders to $150. Second-time offenders will have to pay $300, and the fine for third-time offenders has been increased to $500. These are pretty severe fines and should help deter drivers from driving while doing other activities that reduce their attention. High fines have always been one of the most effective measures for preventing people from violating the laws. Before these changes were made, the fine for all offenses used to be $100.

One of the most significant changes to the Connecticut distracted driving laws is that car insurance companies will now be able to take distracted driving violations and demerit points into consideration when determining insurance premiums.

Lastly, the new laws make it illegal for drivers to use their cell phones while their vehicles are not moving, meaning that you can’t compose, send, or read a text message you are at a red light. These new laws have made Connecticut one of the harshest states when it comes to the enforcement of distracted driving laws, and legislators are hoping that they will contribute to reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Highlights of The 2013 L.A. Auto Show

The 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show started on November 22 and will end on December 1, with a total of 56 production models having their world première there, along with several concept cars. There are many highlights from the show that are worth mentioning, including some luxury SUVs, such as the Porsche Macan, high-performance sports cars, such as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, but some alternative fuel vehicles, as well, such as the Hyundai Tucson FCEV.

Porsche showed off the 2014 Macan, their compact crossover SUV, that should go into production by the end of this year. The company decided to name it Macan, which is the Indonesian word for tiger, although it originally planned to name it Cajun. It comes with a 3.0-liter, V6 engine, delivering 340 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Even though details on its performance haven’t been released, you should expect a top speed of over 150 mph, and a 0 to 60 mph time of about 5 seconds.

Land Rover unveiled its incredibly luxury, incredibly expensive Range Rover Autobiography Black. It will only be offered in the U.S. market, and the company will only build 100 units, making it a pretty exclusive item to own. It comes with 18-way power-adjustable front seats, and climate and massage control for all seats. The seats are covered in high-quality leather, there is a panoramic sunroof, LED mood lamps, and 10-inch screens keeping the rear seat passengers entertained. All this luxury comes with a $185,000 pricetag.

South Korean car maker Hyundai was very busy at this year’s show, presenting a couple of models, including the Elantra, the Tucson FCEV, and the Genesis. The Genesis is a car that is targeted to the high-end consumer, but at a significantly lower price than the average luxury car. Its starting price is set at $35,200, which is pretty reasonable, considering the amenities and luxury features it has. It’s powered by a 3.8-liter, V6 engine, and delivers a 27-mpg fuel economy. It has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as a leather-wrapped shift knob, heated seats, a 7-inch touch screen navigation with DVD and text-to-speech feature, along with a Bluetooth hands-free phone system.

Another highlight of the show was the Maserati Ghibli, a full-size sedan, with a stylish, luxury interior, featuring leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry. The company has set an annual production target of 50,000 units, and each of them will be available for $65,000.

Lastly, there was the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept, a car that definitely stole the show. It’s a concept with an amazing design, featuring a raked roofline, a pretty long, wide hood, a sharp, aggressive rear end, and a front grille that is covered with LED lights. Its body is made of carbon fiber, with an aluminum chassis, and extra large wheels. Obviously, there are the gull-wing doors, a feature typical of many sports cars made by Mercedes, and a rear spoiler that raises and lowers automatically.

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “car tech” specialist. He is a writer for a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV”.

How Did The Federal Shutdown Affect State DMVs?

The Government shut-down became effective on October 1st  and the consequences of it were felt by just about anyone, such as federal workers, who weren’t able to receive their pay-checks in time, veterans and people with disabilities didn’t receive their benefits, as well as small business owners, who didn’t have access to financing provided by the Government. Various national museums and national parks were closed, and passport and gun permit applications were delayed. State DMVs were also affected by the shut-down, which closed for a certain period of time, or operated with delays, at the very least.

Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is a state-level government agency, and they are mainly funded by taxes, such as road, gas, and income taxes, and fees, including license plate, registration, and title transfer fees. Due to the fact that DMVs are operated at a state level, instead of a federal level, the Government shutdown shouldn’t affect their funding and operating hours, but there will be some exceptions. For example, the District of Columbia DMV is run by the city, and it closed on October 1st, which coincidently, was a Tuesday, the busiest day of the week for the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

This means that all services this DMV provides weren’t available, so you couldn’t be able to apply for a driver’s license, or renew your current one, register your vehicle, request a driving record, or apply for a title transfer. When the shutdown finally ended, the DMV were in a bit of a chaos situation, since all the people who couldn’t get their service during the shutdown, overwhelmed local offices when they opened. This resulted in incredibly long lines at all DMVs and people had to wait for hours to receive their license plates or get their driver’s licenses renewed.

However, the federal shutdown also had a few effects that people were probably happy about. For one thing, law enforcement were impacted, and drivers didn’t get as much tickets as they used to. Parking enforcement officers were not going to work, so no matter if you were double-parked, or parked in a restricted place, you couldn’t be cited for it. But, this had a negative effect in the long run, as the city gets a large portion of its funding through fines and fees, so it had less resources for further investments in the infrastructure and it might not be able to meet certain budget obligations.

Unlike the District of Columbia DMV, other DMVs across the country were open, and people were able to go to their local DMV office and do whatever it is you need to do there. They operated as usual, which was certainly a huge relief for every car owner. Fortunately, the shutdown lasted until 17th October, so both the public and the government sector were not hugely affected, and consequently, the general public, as well.

Special 150th Nevada License Plates

The state of Nevada celebrates its 150th anniversary next year, and a series of events will be held during the next 12 months to mark the occasion. Nevada was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864, becoming the 36th state, and each year on that date the state organizes special events to celebrate the admission to statehood. Since next year marks an important milestone in the state’s history, some pretty special and unique events will be organized that will celebrate its rich culture and heritage. The state’s DMV has decided to join the celebration, by issuing special license plates in honor of the 150th anniversary.

Nevada DMV will allow the state’s residents to be directly involved in the celebrations, by giving them the opportunity to obtain special license plates that will feature a design with raised white reflective letters on a dark blue background, along with the “Battle Born” emblem, which is the state motto. The design was picked by the governor’s office, Nevada Cultural Affairs Foundation, and the Nevada Sesquicentennial Planning Committee.

These commemorative plates became available at the end of July, and Nevada residents can obtain them for $33.50, along with a $20.00 annual fee. That is the fee for the standard plates, and if you want a personalized set of plates, you will have to pay $68.50, and a $30.00 annual fee. The Sesquicentennial license plates will be available for a limited time, and the DMV will stop issuing them on October 31, 2016.

Nevada Governor Sandoval said: “The 150th license plate is an important part of recognizing our state’s 150th anniversary. The proceeds from the plate will go towards supporting the year-long celebration, and I am thrilled that at the end of this month (July, 2013), motorists will be able to show their support for our great state.”

DMV Director Troy Dillard said in a press release: “The DMV is proud to help all Nevadans celebrate our 150th anniversary. These plates are one way nearly everyone can show pride in their state and celebrate an important milestone.”

As far as the production of the anniversary plates is concerned, DMV spokesman said that they won’t be made by prison inmates at a factory at the closed Nevada State Prison in Carson City. The DMV has decided to outsource the production to a company based in Oregon, instead. Irwin-Hodson Group of Portland, Oregon, will manufacture the plates, and will receive $7.50 for each pair of plates, and the DMV has ordered 8,500 sets of plates so far.

Nevada is not the only state that has issued commemorative license plates to celebrate an anniversary. The state of West Virgina celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and as part of the celebration, the state DMV offered a limited edition sesquicentennial license plates. West Virginia residents were able to get the special plates for free at an event that was held on June 22nd, and those who couldn’t make it that day, can apply for a commemorative license plate at any DMV office for a pro-rated fee.

Author bio:
Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “green cars” specialist. Currently he is a writer for DMV.com, a collaborative community designed to help ease the stress and annoyance of “dealing with the DMV”.

The most expensive and the cheapest cars to insure

There are a lot of things you can do to reduce your auto insurance premiums, such as increasing your deductibles, making sure you have a good credit score, keeping a clean driving record, and install an anti-theft system on your car, among other things. One of the most important factors that can help you get low insurance premiums is the type of car you drive. If you don’t want to pay $2,000 – $3,000 a year on auto insurance, you should buy a car that is not very expensive, and has lots of safety features, and you should not buy a sports car or a luxury sedan. The following is a list of the most and least expensive cars to insure.

The most expensive cars to insure

Mercedes Benz CL600 – $3,357

You can buy this beautiful, luxury, elegant coupe if you have $160,000 to spare. It will be money well spent, considering that it’s one of the best in its class. But, it costs a lot of money to insure all that luxury and elegance. Insurance for the Mercedes Benz CL600 costs $3,300 a year, which is a reasonable amount, considering that it has a lot of high-tech devices, high-quality, luxury materials, and some very expensive parts.

Porsche 911 Turbo – $2,958

This is another luxury car made by a German car manufacturer. It costs $148,300, and insurance for it costs $2,958 a year. It’s a fast, powerful car, that comes with a 3.8-liter engine, providing a whopping 520 hp, along with 487 lb-ft of torque. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.2 seconds, and it has a top speed of 195 mph. The fact that is so fast makes it so expensive to insure, because it’s a car that is highly likely to be involved in an accident.

The least expensive cars to insure

Ford Edge SE – $1,128

This is a midsize crossover SUV, that unlike the CL600 and the Porsche 911 Turbo, is a family vehicle, that is not intended for fast rides. That is why it is not so expensive to insure it, because people who own it, mostly use for commuting or for road trips. In addition, it is a very safe vehicle, and it doesn’t have the expensive, luxury features that Mercedes and Porsche vehicles have. Its purchase price is also quite affordable, as it costs $27,700.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Loredo – $1,148

Another SUV, that comes with lots of safety features, including supplemental side-curtain airbags, driver and passenger seat-mounted pelvic and thorax airbags, crush zones, a safety cage, and active front head restraints. It provides excellent protection for all occupants in case you get into an accident with a Jeep Grand Cherokee Loredo, which is insurance premiums for it are not too high. Also, it’s one of the most affordable SUVs on the market, with a $27,695 price tag.

In a word, if you want to save money on insurance, it’s recommended that you buy an SUV or a midsize sedan that doesn’t have too many luxury features and has a good safety rating.

Jordan Perch is an automotive fanatic and “safe driving” specialist. He is an author of many how-to articles related to car buying, auto insurance etc, green technologies etc. Currently blogging for DMV.com.