sun as seen through carr fire smoke

Morning Sun as see through the smoke of the Carr Fire

Welcome to the mountains and fresh air of the upper part of Northern California!. Well, normally… If you’ve been in the Shasta county area since the Carr Fire started you know the air is anything but clean and fresh. Besides just impeding our view of Mnt Shasta and the surrounding beauty of Northern California this smoke can present a significant health risk.

One solution that is often presented to help with his problem while driving is to set your air conditioner on recirculate. This does help, instead of continually pulling in contaminated outside air you recirculate the air that is already in the cabin. However unless you got in your car in an area where the air is clean you still have that same contamination in your car.

There is a solution, but before I get into that lets consider why this is even a problem.

Contamination from the Carr fire

While you might think that breathing the smoke from this fire is no worse than breathing smoke from a campfire that is not really true. True some of that smoke is from the burning forest, but in addition over 1000 homes and other structures were also consumed by the fire. Some of these homes were older. Many toxic materials are now floating around as ash. These materials may include asbestos fibers, ash from lead paint, plastics, as well as pesticides and other products that are commonly found around the house.

How bad is it? The local air particulate monitoring location on Breslauer Way has measure a high enough particulate count for much of this morning (Aug 7 2018) to be Very unhealthy. That is one step below hazardous levels. Calfire and other official agencies have stated that for health reasons people should consider wearing N95 or higher rated masks while outdoors.

Automotive Cabin Air Filters

Most vehicles now use cabin air filters. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to change. In fact they should be changed every 12 months or so depending on driving conditions. Standard cabin air filters are meant to trap larger dust particles and pollen. However they are not very effective for filtering smoke and other fine contaminants that are currently found in our air. For this you need a filter with a higher efficiency rating. (more…)

When choosing a sedan you no doubt have a number of different criterion that you are looking for. Price, reliability, and style all play an important part of choosing a new car. If you are working within a budget it is even a good idea to check with your insurance agent to see how the price for insurance for the car rates with other cars. However if you have a family, likely one of the highest considerations goes to vehicle safety. This is where reliable third party test play an important role.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

2012 Volkswagen Passat

Among the most important of the vehicle safety tests comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (more…)

Back in June of 2012 there was quite a bit on the news about the 2010 Lexus RX and the gas pedal getting stuck due to the drivers side floor mats sliding up and wedging into the pedal. It was announced today that Toyota has agreed to a $17.35 million settlement due to to speed that Toyota handled the problem.

The problem could occur in both the 2012 Lexus RX 350 and the 2010 Lexus RX 450h. While Toyota hasn’t admitted to any violations, they decided to settle in order to avoid a time consuming dispute. For specification and more information on Lexus car check out our Lexus section of the NorCalCars reviews.

I just read an interesting article from CBC news in Canada. Apparently, brake pads containing asbestos a material known to car lung cancer (mesothelioma) can still be purchased and the label doesn’t necessarily tell you that asbestos was added to the pad. Being that Canada is a close neighbor and cars are frequently driven from country to country this puts both backyard and professional mechanics in the US at risk also.

TORRANCE, Calif., March 7, 2012 – Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS), today announced that it will conduct a safety recall involving certain 2009 Camry and 2009 to certain 2011 Venza vehicles to replace the stop lamp switch. Approximately 70,500 Camry and 116,000 Venza vehicles are covered by this recall.

During installation of the contact-type stop lamp switch on one of the North American assembly lines, silicon grease may have reached the inside of the switch and caused an increase in electrical resistance. If this occurs, warning lamps on the instrument panel may be illuminated, the vehicle may not start, or the shift lever may not shift from the “Park” position. In some cases, the vehicle stop lamps may become inoperative. (more…)

Winter is quickly approaching the North State and it’s about time to think about winterizing your car. Preparing your car for winter is a little different if you are living in the warmer Redding and Red Bluff area then is you are in Mount Shasta or Yreka or near the coastal towns of Crescent City or Eureka but many things remain the same.

Winter Tires

Winter means bad weather, wherever you live in Northern California. For the more temperate areas like Redding or along the coast that likely means making sure you have sufficient tread on your tires to keep you from hydroplaning when it starts to rain. If you are in the mountain areas then it’s time to check the snow tires and see if they need to be replaced.

Don’t forget to check your snow chains also. This is a good time to make sure they are clean, have a light coat of oil to keep them from rusting and have fresh rubbers if you need to use bands to keep the chain tight on the tire. (more…)

Compact pickup trucks are among the top choices for those in the market for a versatile vehicle. Why? Because, for those that need a decent work truck, they can carry and tow loads. They provide interior space and comfort for long rides with multiple passengers. And, for the rugged and adventurous of heart, they can handle almost any on or off-road conditions.

The Chevy Colorado is a compact pickup that is among the most reasonable in its class for hauling capability, economic price, comfort, and best gas mileage. This makes it particularly appealing to buyers in the market for a new truck.     (more…)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $16.375 million against Toyota Motor Corporation for failing to notify the auto safety agency of the dangerous “sticky pedal” defect for at least four months, despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers. Approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. were recalled in late January for the sticky pedal defect. The penalty being sought against Toyota would be the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an auto manufacturer by NHTSA.

Auto manufacturers are legally obligated to notify NHTSA within five business days if they determine that a safety defect exists. NHTSA learned through documents obtained from Toyota that the company knew of the sticky pedal defect since at least September 29, 2009. That day, Toyota issued repair procedures to their distributors in 31 European countries and Canada to address complaints of sticky accelerator pedals, sudden increases in engine RPM, and sudden vehicle acceleration. The documents also show that Toyota was aware that consumers in the United States were experiencing the same problems. (more…)

This Year’s (2009) IIHS Booster Seat Evaluation

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety has made an evaluation for this year’s round of booster seats. This is very good for you parents with children from 4-8 years old. Why you might ask? They may have grown out of their car seat but that does not necessarily mean they are ready to go to a straight seat belt.

While seatbelt work great for full-grown adults they are not meant for anyone under 4’ 9” and your 4 year probably isn’t quite there yet. So what do you do then? Use a booster seat. Now if you are looking to give your kid the best safety possible, which I’m guessing you are because you are buying a booster seat in the first place and reading this article, You need to search carefully for the proper booster seat for your child. Not all of them do quite as good of a job as the manufacturers would like you to think they do.

You might say well that’s easy, I’ll just look for the most expensive or a name brand booster seat. Sorry, to tell you that won’t work either. The best rated booster seats range from anywhere from $20-$250 and guess what, so do the booster seats that were given a bad rating. So if price and looks don’t tell you how good a booster seat is, how do you pick a good one. This article will tell you how to pick a booster seat that works best for your child and also show you some of the best rated booster seats. (more…)

2010 Lincoln MKZ

I’ve been looking over some of the safety features offered on some of the newest lines of cars. One car that seems to stand out with an innovative list of features is the 2010 Lincoln MKZ. While it may be a little early to start looking for one in the NorCalCars showroom, today’s new cars will soon be tomorrows used cars!

Expect to get a little more kick out of this model than the previous years. A few of the performance features include sport tuned suspension and optional all wheel drive. The improvement in powertrain performance shaves the Lincolns 0-60 mph time down by .6 seconds from 7.7 to 7.1. This boost helped by the Six-Speed “SelectShift” automatic transmission that comes standard.

The new safety features are what have really caught our eye though. Starting with the “BLIS” or Blind Spot Information System. The BLIS uses two multiple beam radar modules behind the rear fender and indicator lights in the outside rear-view mirrors to warn the driver when someone enters into the defined blind spot.

Another feature called the CTA uses the same radar system from the BLIS to (more…)

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