cars

Increased Old Car Thefts in Missouri

Each year a new “most stolen” list of cars preferred by thieves is released and in years back most that made the unfortunate list were very new or close to new models. That list however is changing. Nationally, the most stolen car is the 1998 Honda Civic followed closely by the 1997 Honda Accord. According to Forbes, there’s a simple explanation, these cars are easier to steal because they don’t have smart key technology. Following the Hondas are a list of newer vehicles such as 2006 F-150 at #3 and the 2017 Toyota Camry at #4.

Kansas City police arrest a woman in a stolen Cadillac Escalade. Car thefts in Missouri have skyrocketed following a change in scrap yard laws in 2012. Photo Credit: SAM ZEFF / KCUR 89.3.

Kansas City police arrest a woman in a stolen Cadillac Escalade. Car thefts in Missouri have skyrocketed following a change in scrap yard laws in 2012. Photo Credit: SAM ZEFF / KCUR 89.3.

Here in Missouri however, older cars have seen an unusual increase in being stolen. This oddity is considered to be directly related to a 2012 Missouri Law allowing for anyone to sell a vehicle over ten years old for scrap even without a title. The law was originally passed to help rural farmers and land owners who needed to remove abandoned vehicles without titles from their property. Since this law went into effect auto thefts are up by one third in Kansas City while St. Louis has seen a 37% increase of old cars stolen since 2012. Even the state of Kansas has experienced a 24% increase in car thefts. To curb the increase cities and legislators are looking for ways to ensure the scrapyards that accept vehicles are enforcing the rule that these vehicles are not operable. Some municipalities are also working to create ordinances that require scrapyards to collect identification information from the seller of the vehicle. Many scrapyards have already voluntarily applied these suggestions and work with law enforcement to help curb theft for scrap. Although most vehicles only provide $200 - $500 in scrap value, the amounts are enough to keep the bad apples out looking for the next car to cash in on.

How can you protect your older vehicle from being stolen? Here are a few tips:

  • Be wary of unmarked (no company name or logo) tow vehicles. This is the most common way older vehicles are stolen.

  • Don’t leave a broken-down vehicle in an area that it could be easily towed away and when possible make the necessary repairs to the vehicle quickly to avoid the temptation. Even a flat tire can be regarded as making a car inoperable at a scrapyard that doesn’t thoroughly check what is brought in.

  • Install a GPS system to track your vehicle in the case it is stolen.

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight.

Blog by: Allison Green

Distracted Driving Awareness Month!

With as much attention having been raised in regards to distracted driving over the past several years one would think this top cause of preventable accidents and deaths would be on the decline. Since 2015 vehicle deaths are up 6%, killing over 40,000 people this last year. Unfortunately, it is on the rise.  The National Safety Council  (NSC) has an entire page devoted to tools, information and statistics dedicated to educate drivers about the severity of this crisis.  So what will it take to reprogram our brains to ignore every little beep, buzz and ring from our cell phones? Well, for starters here’s a few of those NSC statistics for some terrifying motivation:

  • Drivers talking on handheld or hands free devices don’t see 50% of their surroundings
  • 1.6 Million crashes per year are attributed to drivers using their cell phone
  • 1 out of every 4 accidents is caused by texting and driving
  • Using voice to text is actually more distracting than texting
  • 7% of all drivers of cars on the road are on their phone

So why are we seemingly incapable of turning off that need to immediately respond? For many smart phone owners, the answer is addiction. In CNN’s article, “Smartphone Addiction Could be Changing Your Brain” study after study reveals just how addicted many of us are to that digital rectangle in our pockets and purses.  Per a 2010 Pew Research Study half of American adults send or read texts while driving. For 16 to 17 year olds that number increases to one in three. Even walking while distracted has been blamed for putting the walker at ten times the risk of being injured. Distracted drivers combined with distracted walkers simply can’t have a good outcome.

But wait, the term distracted driving isn’t anything new. We’re simply more distracted than ever before. The hashtag #JustDrive has been created to make the point that the only way to keep ourselves and others safe on the road is to do just that…drive. Lest we forget, our cell phones, texts, calls, and social media updates are only one aspect of the driving behaviors that keep us from being focused on…driving. NSC has several links on information to remind us of all those other preventable causes of accidents still exist such as driving drunk, under the influence of drugs and driving while drowsy, not to mention the simple things that take our eyes off the road just long enough to miss a swerving car or a darting bicyclist.  Eating, applying makeup, flipping through a folder, even just changing the radio station are all seemingly benign activities until one day, one second without focus becomes one accident that never should have happened.

We hope that each and every one of you will take this year’s pledge to #JustDrive.  Share your commitment to that pledge on social media with the #JustDrive hashtag. Spread a life-saving message! 

Blog by: Allison Green

Our Love of the First Car!

Cars and trucks may come and go over our adult life, and yet there’s just something about that first (and sometimes second) car that remains a point of attachment for all. Ask anyone what their first car was and you’ll receive no hesitation and no difficulty in remembering. Instead a literal off the cuff automatic response of a year, a model, make and color. If you’re lucky…a story and there’s no better place to find a few of those than in a coffee shop on a Thursday morning.

Cliff’s first car was a Mercury four door painted black metallic, which didn’t exist at the time so he had to make it out of aluminum paint. His second car however (as turned out to be the case for many I talked to) was his favorite. A black 1953 Mercury of which he pulled the motor and replaced it with an Oldsmobile motor to make it run fast. In 1959 Cliff and his car could be found speeding down a quarter mile drag race strip at Front Street and 435 in Kansas City. Though the original was replaced he still has the car to this day.

Steve started off his driving years with a 1955 Rambler which he described the top as an “upside down bathtub” and the seats as capable of folding all the way down. His second car was a 1965 red Olds Cutlass. Hence a love for that car ever since. He’s owned five of them now.

Steve’s wife Sue’s first car was a 1958 Nash Rambler, and the second she verbalized this the room responded in awe and a few “Really’s ?!”.  Apparently the car only fit a few people comfortably though she once managed to fit 8 people in it. Oh to the days of high school car clowning. Sue’s next car was a 1964 Ford Thunderbird, and yes she still has it in the garage. The Silver exterior, black top and black interior remains in perfect condition although the engine and transmission have been removed.

Bob’s first car was a 1956 2 door Ford custom sedan. His second a 1954 pink and white two-door Ford Continental he picked up for $3000 in the 60’s. It actually had a glass top and power seats. The car managed to even survive running into a ditch when he let a friend drive it. Bob survived the potential backlash of his father seeing the damage.

mustang.first.classic.car.jpg

John’s first car was a 1967 Mustang 289 automatic with a center console that rolled open. This gem was painted Oldsmobile blue with blinkers in the hood and to this day still in his garage. His father brought it home for him in July of 1986 leaving him to only dream of driving it for a month and a half until he turned 16.

Gina’s first car was as she put it “Nothing to talk about”, however the young man who drove a 1974 Plymouth Satellite was. It was the car she fell in love with at the same time she fell in love with the driver. He bought this first car when he was 16 after finding it out in an old country field on a local farmers land. The front fender was rusted as well as the left passenger door, including a few dents. Keith worked hard to be able to restore the car himself. As for Gina, she became his wife.

My first car, a 1980 sun faded blue Dodge Challenger didn’t show up in my life until after I was married. We bought it for $300 in 1993 and drove it for six years including two trips back from a hospital with a new baby in the back seat. The clutch cable snapped one day in the middle of nowhere on I-70 in Western Colorado. My husband in quick action removed the lace from his boots, tied up the clutch and got it home. I truly wish I still had it.

Often a first car is whatever you can afford that will get you where you want to go. For many it’s the first taste of personal freedom and independence while saving up for the second car- the one you really want. What was your first/second car? Do you still have it? We would love to hear your story!

By: Audrey Elder - Past to Present Research

 

 

 

Dynamic New 2016 Vehicles!

Is a new vehicle on your Christmas list this year?  At Richards’ Collision Center we have researched the most dynamic vehicles of 2016 to narrow down your search.  Over the next several weeks we will show case some of our favorite choices.  

The Smart Fortwo vehicles top the charts as the most urban cool, and, cost saving.   Their tag line is: 

“From gas to electric, see which smart is right for you.”

 

Photo:  Smartusa.com

The starting price for the basic gas powered model is only $14,650.  If you are looking for an electric model with a sun roof you can race home with a convenient lease at $199 monthly, and, other options that fit any practical budget.   Click here to discover more about SmartUsa.com –  American compact cars packed with saving power. 

 

Photo: Yahoo.com/autos

Next on the list of great American vehicles is the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang. Yahoo.com declared this vehicle as the most “Epic Ride of the Year.”  It sports a 526 horsepower, 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V-8 showcasing all the power you will ever need.  “Other contenders for the Epic Ride of the Year were GM products—the 2016 Chevy Camaro and the 2016 Cadillac ATS-V and wild CTS-V (the other favorite being the Lexus RC-F).”

Another informative site that most people are well aware of and tend to respect is the Kelly Blue Book and they nominate and vote for their favorite new vehicles each year.  In the ranks of mid-size SUV’s the crown winner this year is:  2016 Honda Pilot!  It was a unanimous vote with a combination of utility, comfort, features, and price.  Learn more about this dynamic vehicle at KBB.com.

Whether you are looking to save gas expense, or, need the room for a large family, or simply want an attractive car that appeals to your sense of luxury - the new 2016 vehicles offer something special for everyone.  Happy shopping! 

 

 

 

Vehicle Hackers Breach Automakers Cyber Dashboard Technology

cyber.technology.jpg

Do you know that hackers are able to control vehicles through the latest online systems equipped with cyber technology?   This is very concerning for many people.  Recently viewed a video from Wire.com that demonstrated how hackers can literally take control of a vehicle from a distant location through a computer.  The driver of the Jeep Cherokee in this particular scenario had no control and he was nearly run off the road.  Fortunately, some hackers do care and are willing to assist auto makers by revealing the tricks of their dangerous trade. 

You may ask:  what is being done by major auto makers to resolve this very serious issue?  Can it be completely resolved?  With such major safety implications Chrysler has issued a patch to secure their vehicles.  Fortune.com reported this month:  That the AAM,  An alliance of twelve automakers including Ford and General Motors said it will create a center for sharing information and analysis to help make cars more secure.”  The new ISAC hub will make it efficient for major automakers to transmit and share new security threats specifically targeting vehicle cyber systems as they come into the new hub. 

Fortunately, the major auto makers are on top of the threats and doing everything that they can to make the online systems in vehicles more secure.   Only time will tell if the security breaches hamper new vehicle sales.   One of our Twitter followers tweeted:  “Note to self, do not buy a new vehicle with online technology.” 

We understand the concerns and will keep you updated as automakers, technology firms and other related auto industry teams work together to make us all feel more secure as we travel with our online world at our fingertips.