Kids and Kars: After-School Activities
Football and baseball and soccer, oh my! The path back to school is also paved with those after-school activities that our kids love. But with so many things to squeeze in a 24-hour period, parents can begin to feel like underpaid, overworked chauffeurs shuttling their kids from place to place. How do you make the most of the afternoon hustle? A little preparation can go a long way. The first action that can make your load a little lighter is getting to know the other parents from your child’s class. Undoubtedly, at least one of them is headed to the… Read More

State Fair of Texas: A taste of corny dogs; a feast of trucks and cars
For many, the State Fair of Texas is all about the food. That means corny dogs, at least. Others go for the midway and carnival games, livestock show, Texas Star Ferris wheel or cotton candy. But many go for the new-model cars and trucks. This year, approximately 400 of them are on display over three-plus weeks across 350,000 square feet of exhibit space in two buildings and an outdoor area. The list of manufacturers participating in this year’s show runs long and deep. But not all vehicles are created equal, according to Terry Box of The Dallas Morning News. Five… Read More

What a concept: A new Honda sports car for 2014
Almost a year after the Tokyo Motor Show that introduced the Honda Small Sports EV concept car, details have emerged on a virtual look-alike, gas powered sports car expected to go on sale in Japan in 2014. And it’s Honda that has broken the ice. Honda CEO Takanobu Ito has confirmed “development of a new open-top sports car,” writes Viknesh Vijayenthiran of High Gear Media in an article titled “Honda working on new convertible sports car” at The new model “will have a focus on ‘strong vehicle dynamics,’” Vijayenthiran writes, quoting Ito from a speech addressing his company’s future… Read More

Sound advice for Santander customers
Keep it simple. We’ve all gotten that advice at some time or another. But it usually is easier said than done, especially when we’re chasing down information we need from some large company or other organization. But Santander Consumer USA Inc. lives by the phrase, “Auto Loans Simplified.” And that includes communicating with our customers. Start with the Santander customer service phone number 1-888-222-4227 (which also is printed on monthly statements). You might be surprised how far it gets you with Santander. Account managers are ready to answer a variety of financing questions in English or Spanish, 7 a.m. to… Read More

Putting a charge into electric car technology
Tesla Motors put a supercharge into the news media coverage of electric cars this week when the company’s co-founder announced that it had set up six solar-powered “supercharger” stations in California with plans to expand nationwide in 3-5 years. Within hours of the announcement the media was abuzz with coverage by every outlet from Christian Science Monitor to NBC News, Bloomberg Businessweek and PC Week. The Tesla Model S is the only vehicle right now that can take advantage of the proprietary technology involved, and it costs more than most car buyers will want to or can spend – starting… Read More

Watch the Signals: Your Road to a Smooth Financial Ride
Run a red light and you may be stopped by the police and ticketed. If I speed on the thruway, there’s a chance I’ll be pulled over. Drive unfamiliar roads or streets without a map and we do so at our peril and are liable to get lost. Even when we carefully check a roadmap, we can make a wrong turn, but the chances are a lot less. A similar outcome is possible with our car and other finances. It is important to read and understand contractual obligations before signing a loan or retail installment contract, just as we would… Read More

On the road again; I just can’t wait …
On the road again; I just can't wait... Road trip.There’s just something magical about putting those two words together. Really, who doesn’t need to take a road trip now and then just to maintain some perspective? Road trips are poetry in motion, literally, with calming and deeply restorative effects.The phrase conjures different things for different people, but usually evokes images of traveling companions – family or friends – rolling down a scenic highway to an interesting destination. I’ve taken road trips with my family for vacations and father-son bonding road trips.Among my all-time favorite road trip destinations – along with… Read More

These stylish new cars may be worth the wait
Automobile styling apparently is in again. After years of emphasis on economy (read: miles per gallon), soon-to-be-released models show a distinct turn for the better for car lovers who want a dash of style with their mpg. “Fuel efficiency is still important, but style is back for the new cars sporting 2013 and 2014 model years,” writes Michael Frank for Popular Mechanics online article and slide show “12 More New Cars Worth Waiting For,” a follow-up on a similar article posted online earlier. “Sportiness is taking center stage once more,” Frank writes, “and a fierce competition is about to happen… Read More

Kids and Kars: Child Safety Seats
Kids and Kars: Child Safety Seats This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Now in its 15th year, the annual event got me thinking about our annual family trip. Every year, I take the kiddos to Galveston, Texas, for Labor Day weekend. A day before the trip, and sometimes the morning of, I take the car in for a once-over to make sure everything is working correctly. Tires…check. Oil…check. We’re good to go. Yet, while my attention is focused on the external factors of traveling, I will be the first to admit I sometimes overlook the internal…namely, my children’s… Read More

Average fuel economy increases for new cars, TrueCar reports’s latest report on average fuel economy for new cars sold provides some otherwise hard-to-find good news in higher gasoline prices, which were running near their peak average nationally on Sept. 11. Fuel economy increased to 23.2 mpg in August “after four months of decline,” according to TrueCar. That “TrueMPG” represents an increase from 23.1 mpg in July and 21.7 mpg in August 2011. “Just four years ago, in August 2008, TruMPG was 20.3 mpg,” reported TrueCar describes itself as the authority on new car pricing information, trends and forecasting. "Relatively higher gas prices and attractive incentives helped improve… Read More