A Phoenix Thanksgiving Tradition

It is hard to believe that we have lived in Phoenix for over four years and that the International Auto Show has become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. We sleep late into the morning and have a hearty breakfast before heading out the door to the show. Traffic is light and crowds are sparse during the early afternoon hours primarily due to football games and cooking duties.

Technology was all around the building from interactive driving games to IPads and videos. Many of the manufacturers featured configurators that allowed potential customers to pick the colors and features of the car. The Honda CR-Z stand even allowed you to email yourself a photo inside the virtual car to help persuade your decision.

In the last couple of years, Jeep has gone overboard to create a great display that engages the potential customer through an actual driving course inside the building–along with a kids area and a climbing wall. This year they featured the newly redesigned Cherokee, the Call of Duty Jeep and even a Jeep Wrangler inspired pop-up camper.

Phoenix International Car Show

Nissan was pushing the new Leaf at the show and heavily promoting a driving event in the upcoming weeks where you could take the all electric car out for test drives to get a feel for the new technology. It was getting some attention, but I am unsure how it will fair in such a large metropolitan area. Most people think nothing of a 40-60 mile one way commute filled with 100 plus degree temperatures and stop and go traffic. Nissan’s range estimates are 62-138 miles on a single charge. I can just imagine fighting to get close to an outlet once you get to the office in the hopes of making it home at night.

Phoenix International Car Show

Of course the Scottsdale dealerships had some Ferrari’s and Bentley‘s at the show. As always they were safely tucked behind the velvet ropes. Look but don’t touch.

Phoenix International Car Show

Audi was showing the Audi R8-V10 Spyder at the show. You couldn’t climb in it, but it was a real eye catcher–the V10 engine was not all that shabby either. It even featured “Please Pull me over Red” for those times you just can’t wait to get to 60 mph in more than 3.7 seconds.

Phoenix International Car Show

Mini had the brand new Countryman S AWD on the floor to entice new customers. The car is a lot taller and more formidable when compared to a regular Mini. We would definitely want to take this car out for a test drive to see how much different it is from the other Minis we have had in the past.

Phoenix International Car Show

You can check out photos from the event in the Photo Gallery. Perhaps next year if you find yourself in Phoenix over Thanksgiving you can pass on the football games and make the trek down to the auto show.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Uncensored Driving and the Results

Hyundai again made a pass through the Phoenix area this year to let the potential customers drive and experience the features and technology that have helped the brand grow and improve in recent years.  The event gave people the opportunity to drive the all new Sonata (Uncensored) on a course with its main competitors (Toyota and Honda) in a series of challenges(tight turns, slaloms and slick road simulation).  The course favored the Hyundai and its newer technology, but overall it was just fun to race around a simple autocross course and let off some steam.

Sonata Uncensored

When going to these events it is always fun to see the mix of people and cars that show up.  Last year at the Genesis event there were a lot more sports cars.  This year it was a more tame crowd but a few people stood out as they hot footed it around the course with squeals and racing engines.

The Hyundai Sonata Confessional–the last stop on your visit after driving your laps.  This was your chance to talk to the cameras in a quiet car and hopefully get into a future Hyundai commercial.  I passed on it because the guy in front of me was super-animated and must have been in there at least 15 minutes when we walked away.

Sonata Uncensored

In the end, Hyundai gave every participant a nice insulated shopping bag, blanket, 512MB flash drive and a gripper pad for your dash.  Not too bad for a no nonsense, no sales pitch afternoon of driving.  I would definitely keep your eyes open for these types of opportunities in your area by all of the car manufacturers.

Sonata Uncensored

Check out some of the photos from the  event in this photo gallery.

Tags: , , , ,

A Breath of Fresh Air

I completely understand the importance of basic maintenance (auto, home, etc.).

  • I change the fluids and filters
  • I have changed the brakes and rotors
  • I have fixed the master and slave cylinders
  • I have replaced springs and shocks
  • I have even fixed the gears in the front seat when it froze in the permanent reclined position
  • I can go on…

I have never personally changed the cabin filter in the 1999 M3. The dealer changed it under warranty on a few occasions but I have always dreaded taking apart the dash with its many screws, tight spaces and FRAGILE plastic clips and multiple wiring harnesses.   I finally bought a filter and set to the task of changing it after five or more years.

“Behold the filthy beast!”

M3 Cabin Filter

As with every BMW repair job you should search the Internet (thank you Google and other enthusiasts that share your experiences) and check your BMW 3 Series (E36) Service Manual: 1992-1998.  The job entails taking the glove box and associated dash panels out along with the unbolting of the electronics main panel.  The job itself is not difficult but it is that fear of the BMW plastic clips and pieces that never survive the second use or 1/4 turn too much of a screw.  I often wonder if there is a technical term for those mechanics that fear the thousands of plastic pieces on the modern automobile.

The clutter below illustrates the mass of wires and components that end up in the footwell before you actually get to the filter panel.  A simple turn of a dial on the filter panel and you are ready to swap the filter.  Now all that remains is to get it all back together with no spare parts or rattling.

M3 Disassembled Dash

All I can say is that I am glad that the 1997 Z3 did not come with a cabin filter. I am betting the next cabin filter change won’t be five years from now and I am positive that I will not be so apprehensive about the task.

I highly recommend you purchase a Bentley manual for your BMW or other car make to help with all of the repair and maintenance projects.

Tags: , , , , ,

The 8′s have it!

Our 1997 BMW Z3, VeggieZ,  just hit a milestone after more than 13 years.  The odometer rolled over 88,888.8 miles.

Enjoy the obligatory photo of the event–I did stop the car just for the photo.

BMW Z3 Odomoter

Tags: , , ,