Ford Says It Is Officially the Future!

By harbinautomotive | Posted in News on Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 at 8:27 PM
Future Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California.

Have you ever seen I, Robot or Total Recall or Minority Report? Remember those self-driving cars that zip around with no steering wheel while the protagonist sips a coffee or reads the morning newspaper? You might think that is all Hollywood glamour and special effects, a crazy interpretation of the future of transportation.

Ford Motor Company says otherwise.

You see, Ford has been investing time and money in their Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California for the past ten years, shoulder to shoulder with America’s tech sphere in Silicon Valley. And, if your mom ever told you to find new friends because your old ones always got you in trouble, the small business, tech wonks in Silicon Valley would be the people she would want you to cozy up to—the so-called, ‘people who are going places.’

In 2016, former Ford president and CEO Mark Fields said, “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago.”

That’s a tall order.

But, the idea of the best minds in Silicon Valley—the home of the world’s fastest growing and smartest industry—teaming up with the company that practically invented modern manufacturing is certainly worth some serious attention.

Ford claims that they will deliver a functioning autonomous vehicle fleet by 2021. That might seem like another lofty goal. But, consider the lightning fast turnaround for the software engineers that get in, make an App, then run to the bank with their millions. Coupled with Ford’s longtime ability to wow, it would appear the self-driving cars of the future are becoming more of a reality by the moment.

And that future is great for America specifically.

Implementing a wave of autonomous, electric vehicles over the coming decades will reduce commuter accidents, lessen the detrimental impact of our transportation infrastructure on the environment, and will increase our standing in the world at large.

One of the defining industries of modern America is our technology industry. Ford represents a golden age in American economic and innovative power, and Silicon Valley is the shining city on the hill that beckons us into another golden era of human transportation. We are, as a nation, set up for success in this quickly burgeoning, hybrid industry.

As Ford takes advantage of this key moment in autonomous vehicle development, they seem poised to usher us into the actual future. To check out what offerings Ford has available today, be sure to stop by our lot in Scottsboro, Alabama!

Tire Truths: How to Get the Most Out of Your Tires

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Auto Maintenance on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 at 3:37 PM
Tire Maintenance

Tires: the feet of your car. When was the last time you thought about your feet while you were walking? Unless you have neuropathy or an ingrown toenail or a shard of glass stuck in your heel, you probably don’t actively think about your feet at all. The same thing happens when we drive our cars. We don’t think about the health of our tires until there is something wrong. Now, a random nail is going to plague all of us at one point or another in our driving careers, but there are some crucial, preventative measures you can take to make your tires last as long as possible.

Tire pressure should be monitored frequently. In an ideal world where everyone has all of this free time to do responsible things like checking tire pressure, this would be done before and after every driving session. In the real world, though, once a week would be pretty spectacular. The proper pressure for your car’s tires can be found inside the driver’s side door frame or in the owner’s manual of the vehicle. Maintaining correct tire pressure is important because it allows the car to move with as little resistance from the friction between the tire and the road as possible, in turn taking unnecessary stress off of the engine. In addition, properly inflated tires can save up to 11 cents per gallon of fuel. It might not seem like it, but the pressure of your tires can change dramatically, even on a relatively short ride. A pot hole or a significant change in temperature outside could affect the pressure in your tires in a very negative way.

The next thing you should monitor is the tread on your tires. If your tires are aligned properly and have optimal pressure, the tread should wear evenly across the entire face of your tires—front and back. Any deviation in that wear pattern could mean your alignment is off. A good way to check your alignment is by taking your hands off the wheel while the vehicle is moving on a straight road; if the vehicle drifts left or right, then you probably have alignment issues.

Also, rotating your tires every six months helps spread the wear and tear your tires incur over time.

The last thing you might want to consider is driving safer. Not only will safe driving increase your chances of survival out on the rough-and-tumble destructo-derby that is the American road system, it can also preserve the life of your tires. Going around curves like Mario Andretti, or Dale Jr. or some other awesome leadfoot from history is not okay for your tires. Running up on curbs and sidewalks like a James Bond car chase also wreaks havoc on your tires. Taking your passenger vehicle off-roading over the giant rock boulders in the Badlands of the Dakotas is also certainly not recommended.

Just keep it at the speed limit and between the lines.

For more information on your vehicle’s tires or for any of your tire needs call Harbin Automotive’s tire experts at 256-574-1819.

Vehicle Spotlight: 2017 Ford Fusion SE

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Ford Fusion on Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 1:54 PM
2017 Ford Fusion

Since when did stock become rock and roll in the auto world?

The release of the 2017 Ford Fusion marked a new age of the 4-door sedan. This is one of Ford’s most improved models in their 2017 fleet. The Fusion SE comes with several packaging options starting at $23,250 and moving up to $36,000 with the Fusion Platinum model.

At first glance, you might mistake the 2017 Ford Fusion for an Aston Martin, straight out of a James Bond flick. The stylish chrome mesh grille and the aerodynamic folds in the hood convey the elegance of a high-end luxury sedan while suggesting a frenetic wild side.

Overall, it is a responsible choice. The 2017 Ford Fusion delivers on all of the necessary features one would expect in a twenty-first century automobile. The Fusion SE has more cubic feet of room in the trunk than both the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry and has wide aperture fold-down seats that give superior load space.

The on-board infotainment system is powered by Ford SYNC technology, hailed as the upgrade of all upgrades from the MyFordTouch system of bygone models. Along with the SYNC technology, Ford is also offering a complimentary five-year subscription to their new smartphone app, FordPass, which allows you to turn the car on remotely and even set up a scheduled, independent start time for your car. Want your car cooled off by the time you schlep all the way to the twelfth floor of the parking deck in the middle of June? Done.

Along with these technological improvements come the staples of all new cars these days—the 2017 Fusion SE comes with a 10-way power driver’s seat with two memory settings for families that share a car, and the driver’s seat also offers four different lumbar support settings for those long stints on the road. The Fusion SE comes with a touch-start button, rotary gear shift dial, CD player, MP3 capabilities, and six booming speakers, all of which make this model the total package.

And, if the environment is on your mind, check out the Energi Model, which offers an impressive 610-mile range on a single charge and still retains around 180 horsepower to shred the asphalt.

For more information on the 2017 Ford Fusion SE and other Ford Models, stop by Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro, Alabama, or call (256) 574-1819.

The South’s Ultimate Road Trip Snacks

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at 2:35 PM
Zapps Chips Snacks

For those of you migrating to the Gulf this summer, you’ll have to come through some part of what’s fondly known as ‘The South.’ The states that comprise this region all have their own unique cuisines: the peaches in Georgia, Mud Pies in Mississippi, Key Lime Pie in Florida, fried-anything in Alabama. However, there are some staple items you’ll find in those mom-and-pop rest stops on those two-lane, backwoods highways.

So, if you find yourself in The South this travel season, here are some killer down-home comfort treats to fuel your journey:

  • Zapp’s Chips

A relative newcomer to the Southern snack scene, this Louisiana-based company whips up a mean kettle cooked, crunchy potato chip to warm the cockles of your wandering heart.

  • Pickled Eggs

Anything can be pickled in the South. And, no doubt, you’ve probably seen one of these giant jars of submerged edibles near the checkout counter of a convenient store down here. Sure, it might look like a science experiment. Maybe it is. But, it’s a tasty one for sure. If you’re not brave enough to try a pickled pig’s foot, the pickled egg is a great way to acquaint yourself with this Southern tradition.

  • Krispy Kreme Donuts

The Krispy Kreme Donut Empire is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but their donuts are on display in nearly every gas station in the South. These glazed beauties will give you a little sugar rush to get you where you’re going.

  • Cheese Straws

Made from a batter of cheese, flour, butter and a blend of mild spices (is there any better combination in life?), then pushed through a cookie press, these crunchy little tidbits will have you turning the bag up to get every last crumb.

  • Peanuts in a Glass Bottle Coca-Cola

No road trip through our neck of the woods is complete without this classic combo. Take a bag of salted peanuts and an ice cold Coke, put the peanuts in the Coke, and boom—you’ve got the best two-in-one snack created. Ever. A little protein and a lot of sugar will keep those wheels rolling for miles.

While you’re in the South during your summer road trip, try seeking out mom-and-pop pit stops to find these and other tasty Southern traditions. If you’re adventuring, why not be adventurous?

And if you need a vehicle to do all that open road exploration, Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro is certain to have exactly the make and model perfect for facilitating every summer memory you look forward to making. Test drive your road-trip machine today!

It’s a Sunroof Kind of Summer

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Four Favorite Features on Monday, June 12th, 2017 at 2:10 PM
2017 Ford Edge Sunroof

With the rise of the on-board infotainment systems in most modern vehicles, the sunroof has become a commonly overlooked feature when prospective car buyers are on the dealership lot. All those fancy knobs and digital displays have distracted us from what it really means to “go on a ride.”

Driving isn’t always about getting from A to B. But you knew that already.

It’s about rolling the windows down so the person next to you at the red light can hear—and hopefully appreciate—your taste in music. Maybe they’ll even join you in a little, ten-second red light dance party.

Driving is about stopping at obscure locations along the way, just because you can. It is having the wind blowing through your hair and the scent of salt water permeating the air as you get closer to the ocean.

Driving is a symbol of freedom: being able to go anywhere, anytime.

If you are looking for an all-inclusive package for your summer vehicle, make sure you head to Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro, Alabama, to check out one of these models with available sunroof/moonroof features:

2017 Ford Fiesta—Starting around $15,000, this feisty little sedan is the perfect, low-cost summer vacation vehicle.

2017 Ford Edge—Carrying a small army? You and your platoon of little ones, animals, and the equipment that comes along with them can all fit in this stylish SUV.

2017 Ford Mustang—What needs to be said here? Classic power and style meets the digital age. Throw a sunroof on it and you have the ultimate balance of leisure and ferocity.

2017 Chevy Cruze—Comparable to the Ford Fiesta, this is Chevy’s low-cost, fuel-efficient model that comes in both sedan and hatchback body shapes.

2017 Chevy Malibu—One of the most improved vehicles in Chevy’s 2017 lineup, the Malibu looks more like a high-end foreign automobile than a reasonably priced American sedan.

If you want more information on these, or other models with available sunroof/moonroof features, head to Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro, Alabama, or call (256) 574-1819 today!

Motor Oil Made Simple – Your Oil Buying Guide

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Auto Maintenance on Friday, June 9th, 2017 at 6:42 PM
Motor Oil

Motor oil is a lubricant at its most basic functional level. It coats the moving metal parts of the engine to ensure no direct contact between parts, preserving the overall health and functionality of the engine over time. Oil also serves as a cooling element for the engine, carrying heat from the combustion process away from the engine block. Modern motor oil products can include a wide variety of additives that offer different benefits to engine health. Detergents are used to clean the internal components of an older, high mileage engine. Adding dispersants to the oil can help gather soot from the combustion process, ensuring that it does not stick to the innards of the vehicle and form clots. Dispersants can also gather small metal fragments in the event of repeated metal on metal interactions within the engine. All of this aside, the viscosity of the oil, or its fluidity (thick or thin), is the most important element to consider when buying oil for your car or truck.

The viscosity index is the number or combination of numbers you will find on the front of the product container. Now, there are several different combinations of these numbers and the labeling system can be confusing if you don’t know what the numbers mean. And, purchasing the wrong oil can lead to major problems for your vehicle, like wearing out the bearings on your crankshaft, spinning bearings, bending or throwing rods, and wearing out the drive-train in your cam.

So, let’s imagine we are looking at a bottle with 10W-30 oil. The first number with the accompanying ‘W’ is the viscosity index of the oil in a ‘winter’ setting, or cold weather. The lower this number is the more fluid it will be in extreme cold conditions. The second number is the viscosity index of the oil in hot conditions. The higher this number is the thicker the oil will be in high temperature conditions. However, it must be noted that you should always consult your vehicle’s driver manual before buying any type of oil. There will be a guide that will give the optimal oil for different driving conditions.

There are four basic categories of oil: Premium Conventional, Full Synthetic, Synthetic Blend, and High Mileage. Choosing the right one is important as well.

Premium Conventional oil should only be used in light-duty cars or trucks that were made before synthetic oils became widely used.

Synthetic Blend oils should be used in vehicles that carry heavier loads at moderately high temperature environments—think SUVs, passenger vans, pick-up trucks.

Full Synthetic oil is for the sporty types with Turbo engines like Corvettes, Mustangs, Cobras, high performance models of Mercedes and BMW, and so on, vehicles that will be going to the limit, all day, every day.

High Mileage oil will usually have a higher viscosity index to compensate for the wear and tear of engine usage over time. Many high mileage oils will have seal conditioners that seep into the cracks and pores of the seals to restore their shape and increase their flexibility.

Again, always consult your car’s owner’s manual first before changing any oil in your vehicle, or talk to a certified mechanic about what you want to get out of your next oil change. Are you looking for wear protection? Cleaner engine? Durability?

The professional automotive mechanics at Harbin Automotive’s Service Center are a great resource for your local oil knowledge. So, come to Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro, Alabama, or call (256) 574-1819 to speak with a knowledgeable and friendly representative about the optimal oil for your vehicle.

Five Questions You Need To Ask When Buying a New Car

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Buying Tips on Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at 5:19 PM
Helpful Tips

There are several rules/myths we tell ourselves when we go to buy a new car:

“Go at the end of the month; they have quotas to fill.”

“Go at the end of the year when they are trying to get rid of all the old models.”

And the classic, “Do your research before you go to the dealership.”

All of these are great and useful in a general sense. But, if you are really looking to get the best price for your new car, here are some questions to arm yourself with that will help you feel more confident about making this major life purchase.

Harbin Automotive is proud to present you with four questions to ask when you make your way down to the lot:

  1. “What is the invoice price of this vehicle?”—When you are actually on the lot, most of the cars will have a big flashy number written on the windshield or neatly typed out on a little piece of paper on the side of the car. More often than not, this is going to be the MSRP price, the suggested selling price, which is good to know when stacked against the invoice price.
  1. “Has the car been damaged?”—Many people assume a ‘new’ car means ‘straight off the manufacturing floor.’ New cars are transported thousands of miles in some cases and sit on unprotected lots for long periods of time. It is possible that unnoticeable damage has been done to the vehicle, like a warped/bent frame.
  1. “What does my protection plan cover?”—You may find that the dealer will enhance the sale by offering an extended warranty or a protection plan through the dealership. Always ask what sort of maintenance these sorts of plans cover. Asking about the specifics of the plan will tell you whether you’ll have coverage for only minor repairs or if large systemic problems are included.
  1. “What is the average cost of maintenance on this model?”—Repair costs are something you never want to actively think about. But, it might come in handy if you could get a big picture of what your expense report is going to look like the first time something major happens to your brand new car. As a general rule, the more popular a car is, the cheaper the parts will be to repair it; and, the more luxurious outliers will have more expensive parts.

Green Giants: Trucks in the Bi-Fuel Era

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Bi-Fuel on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 at 2:48 PM
Bi-Fuel

Over the last eight years there has been a natural resource boom than many may have overlooked. The North American continent is replete with natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane. Because of the abundance of natural gas in our neck of the woods, the stuff is cheap—roughly $1.25 less per gallon on a national average than regular gasoline. To boot, natural gas emissions contain up to twenty percent less carbon dioxide, which is better for the environment, and friendlier to the innards of the engine.

Now, it must be said that the commercial infrastructure for new alternative fuel is relatively sparse; there are currently around 1,500 alternative fuel stations nationwide. However, because of the abundance of natural gas in United States territory, many employers looking for future cost-cutting measures are switching their fleets to CNG (compressed natural gas) or propane bi-fuel model trucks.

Earth Day is just around the corner. So, what better way is there to show your support for a cleaner world (and save a ton of overhead cost on fuel consumption) than upgrading to one of these alternative fuel model trucks?

  • The 2014 Ford F-150 with the CNG/propane prep kit wields a respectable 3.7L V-6 engine, with 302 horsepower and 278 lbs-ft of torque. This truck is excellent for mid-weight towing and hauling over long distances. Unlike some of its competitors, utilizing the 2014 F-150’s CNG fuel source does not degrade the engine’s power.
  • Recently, Ford has integrated this dual fuel technology into its new 2016 F-150 model as well. The 2016 model has a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 engine that has hardened valves and valve seats to handle the two fuel sources. The new 2016 models also sport the vastly superior Ford SYNC 3 technology in the onboard infotainment system, which, along with the alternative fuel capabilities, adds to that new-age, techy feel.
  • The 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models equipped with bi-fuel technology are clear choices for anyone interested in power and efficiency. These models tout an impressive 650-mile travelling range when using both CNG and regular gasoline fuel sources. Running on gasoline the Silverado churns out 360 horsepower and 380 lbs per ft of torque. Who ever said going ‘green’ meant you had to compromise strength? Use CNG to get you there, then switch back to gasoline to hulk out and get the heavy lifting done.

For the love of the planet (and your pocketbook), come on down to Harbin Automotive in Scottsboro, Alabama, to streamline your fleet of commercial vehicles today. Or, give us a call at (256) 574-1819.

Four-Wheeled Legends: The Most Iconic Cars from Pop Culture

By harbinautomotive | Posted in American Muscle Car on Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 3:10 PM
Iconic Muscle Cars

Ever since old Henry Ford made the automobile more affordable for the public, the car industry has become an integral part of the modern era. A sort of synthetic, symbiotic relationship has been forged between humans and cars.

It’s like a super armored suit that we can put on that allows us to go way faster than humans were ever meant to go. In return, we provide it with food in the form of high-compressed, decomposed fossil fuel and plant matter.

We name our cars like they are our children. We transport children in our cars. Some people even act like children when they are in cars.

The point is, everyone has had that car, the one that felt like part of the family—even if it had the disposition and appeal of a dull, disappointing cousin.

And, just like our real families, sometimes we wish we could trade our cars in for the perfectly dramatic versions we see on television and in movies.

So, here is a list of the most iconic cars from pop culture that you wish you could drive.

  1. 1968 Mustang GT—Quite possibly one of the coolest cars that Ford has ever made, this car instantly makes anyone driving it look more awesome than they really are, sort of like Aviator sunglasses.
  2. 1969 Dodge Charger— Getting its first real spotlight debut as the primary mode of transportation for the Dukes of Hazzard boys, the Charger has become a staple action-flick car. The ’69 Charger was also a main feature in the Quinton Tarantino’s tongue-in-cheek psycho-thriller, Deathproof, as Kurt Russell’s tooled-up, tormenting machine.
  3. 1958 Plymouth Fury—When you think of a car that epitomizes a ‘1950s automobile,’ this is the car that you are picturing. The Fury had those unmistakable shark-like fins over the taillights and the giant toothy grill with two sets of bug-eye headlights. It became the nightmare of many moviegoers when it appeared as the blood-thirsty monster in John Carpenter’s classic 1983 film
  4. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am—The popularity of the Trans Am is entirely due to Smokey and the Bandit. And, who could deny the panache of a mustachioed Burt Reynolds when he rumbles around in this beast? No wonder sales of the Trans Am doubled within two years of the film’s release.
  5. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California—No list of iconic cars would be complete without mentioning Ferris Bueller’s object of subversion. This one of a kind car was hailed as the sexiest convertible to have ever been conceived. A recent auction saw this unmistakable gem go for nearly $16 million.

Songs Sure to Make Your Road Trip Epic

By harbinautomotive | Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, June 2nd, 2017 at 2:39 PM
Road Trips

Road trip season is fast approaching. It’s time to toss that ‘Spring Break 2007’ CD with the Sharpie-doodled title in the trash and update your road trip playlist. Welcome to the twenty-first century, people, we put our music in the ‘cloud’ now. Push a couple of buttons on your on-board infotainment system and boom—it’s raining sweet tunes.

Here are a few songs to add to your digital playlist that will make your car the one to be in for that trip to the beach or across the country this spring:

  • “The Weight” by The Band

Has there ever been a more soulful, Southern grit in a voice than Leon Helm’s? Pair that with the innocence in Rick Danko’s complementary vocals and perfect rhythm-keeping bass notes, then top it all off with the swell of the piano as the chorus approaches and you have a song that inspires goose bumps every time. I dare you not to mock-harmonize along when that three-thump beat leads in to “And you put the load right on me.” Feel-good music at its finest, even almost fifty years later.

  • “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

There’s a reason Tom Cruise wails this one in Jerry Maguire. It’s got everything you need—young love gone weird, horses, and America too. Hit the open road with the windows rolled down and this song spilling out, and it’s likely you’ll experience your very own version of total freedom.

  • “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” by Neil Young

Neil Young’s unique falsetto may not be for everyone, but this song has a knee-slapping quality that reminds listeners of all those times spent longing for an escape from the day-to-day rat race. Rather than all that “runnin’ around,” let go of the monotony and hold on tight to the steering wheel as you traverse the highways that inspired the likes of Neil Young himself.

  • “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf

Clocking in nearly eight-and-a-half minutes, Meatloaf’s ’77 single swells and rages just like the teenage hormones it references. And with biting, clever lyrical gems like, “I swore that I would love you to the end of time, so now I’m praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive. ‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you I don’t think that I can really survive…” you’re certain to nod along. Because if there’s one thing travelers have in common, it’s a relationship (or two or three or four) gone sour.

  • “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Whistling. Harmonizing. Tambourines. A list of honey-sweet metaphors for love. This one’s meant for duos who dig each other as much as they do the thrill of a warm-weather road trip. Give your babe’s hand a squeeze, but be sure to keep your eyes on the road.

When it comes to leaving home for a spring time getaway, Harbin Automotive has everything you need. Check out our incredible selection of road-trip ready vehicles today!