Toyota Alabama takes the lead in vehicle production plant sustainability
What do you think when you hear the name Toyota? For many, it is an incredibly affordable car that’s fun to drive. For others, it’s unbeatable safety every time you get behind the wheel. Toyota is also a brand that is synonymous with efficiency, and the Toyota Alabama plant is a perfect example. The plant recently received five environmental awards for its outstanding efforts to reduce energy and water usage.
The Toyota Alabama manufacturing plant is unique because it is a model Sustainable Plant. That means that it does not send any waste to landfills, and it has also made some incredible advancements in energy savings. The results speak for themselves.
For starters, the plant won the EPA ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry by reducing its energy use by a stunning 14 percent in just one year. It also received three Toyota North America Environmental Awards because of its ability to conserve energy and water and effectively implement an efficiency improvement plan. It has already saved roughly 75 million bottles of water as a result! Thanks to conservation efforts, it has been able to save enough energy to power 400 households a year on average. This has garnered it the City of Huntsville Air Pollution Control Achievement award.
As a result of these efforts, Toyota has been awarded the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for the 10th year in a row! It is a perfect example of the automaker’s commitment to tackling the reduction of energy usage in this country and around the world.
So, what do these awards and accomplishments really mean? Try $500 million in savings over the last 11 years and a 22 percent decrease in energy usage for every vehicle Toyota produces. The reductions alone could power 400,000 households for an entire year!
Our team at Gray-Daniels Toyota would like to congratulate the workers and managers at the Toyota Alabama plant for their incredible efforts. To join the family and help us work towards a more sustainable future, please contact us right now! Let us help you do your part by finding you a fun and efficient new Toyota today.
No matter how much horsepower your engine is capable of cranking out, your car would be useless without a functioning steering, suspension, and alignment system. Power steering, suspension, and wheel alignment team up to help you harness your engine power and handle your vehicle safely, especially if you're expecting to face severe weather this fall and winter. Here’s a breakdown of these systems and the proper maintenance required to maintain control on the road.
Steering your car might not be quite as simple a process as you might imagine. When you turn, the front wheels will actually point in slightly different directions to provide optimum turning performance. There are also two different forms of steering employed in modern cars. Rack and pinion steering converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into a linear motion, often a choice for high-performance vehicles. It also provides a gear reduction, which makes the wheels easier to turn. Re-circulating ball steering is more commonly used on trucks and SUVs, as the system improves the efficiency of the gearbox on larger vehicles, which may be required for off-road driving.
Proper maintenance for your steering system includes regular flushing and replacement of power steering fluid every 15,000-30,000 miles, depending on your car’s make and model. Our certified technicians will take a look and make sure your fluid is uncontaminated, which will extend the life of your power steering system and avoid costly repair costs due to damaging particles in your fluid.
Your car's suspension carries out a number of important roles. It minimizes the effects of road imperfections and bumps, which in turn keeps the vehicle's tires in constant contact with the road, leading to a comfortable ride and higher performance. This ensures that the steering is as stable as possible, which makes sure the car handles well. Your car's suspension also transfers the weight of the car when cornering to maintain stability. The suspension system is part of the car's chassis and works in tandem with the steering to carry out its job.
Suspension systems are prone to damage, particularly on roads that are damaged or where the surface condition is poor. Symptoms of problems with the suspension can be varied. The car may bounce or sway excessively, even at low speeds. You may find that the car does not sit level, either when stationary or when driven. Problems with the handling may also point to a problem with the suspension, and you may hear knocking or other unusual noises. When taking your car in for an alignment and steering check, our technicians will take a look at your vehicle’s suspension as well to make sure all parts are working properly.
Wheel alignment is also a critical part of maintaining your car's performance. Alignment is a process by which the angles of the wheels are adjusted so that they are perpendicular to the ground. This improves handling by ensuring the car drives perfectly on a straight, level road. This also maintains the life of the tires by preventing uneven wear.
A problem with your wheel alignment can also cause problems if not set correctly. If you notice your car tends to drift in a particular direction, or your control seems to be wavering, consider taking your vehicle in for an alignment check. It’s better to be safe, than to lose control and panic when you’re driving on the highway.
Our qualified technicians at Gray-Daniels Toyota will run a series of diagnostic tests to analyze the root cause of any problems with your steering, suspension, or alignment. Schedule an appointment or come by our service department with any questions. With steering, suspension, and alignment repair, we’ll ease your worries and help you stay in control in the driver’s seat.
Perhaps the closest thing we’ll ever have to a real crystal ball is the concept car. These unique and often mind-blowing specimens typically feature bold designs and even bolder features. The Toyota C-HR Concept is no different. It recently debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show and instantly went about turning heads thanks to some out-of-this-world styling and innovative features.
Of course, Toyota is no stranger to innovation. This is the brand that brought us the Prius, RAV4, and GT86 (Scion FR-S, after all. And the C-HR is just one more example in a long line of wholly unique models from Toyota built to inspire.
The C-HR rides on its own purpose-built platform and sports an emotionally charged exterior. Your typical Toyota this is not. From the front, the car’s fascia is similar to Toyota’s current design theme; however things deviate quickly when viewed from the sides and back.
Easily one of the most interesting design elements, the rear LED taillamps form a floating 3D-shape cluster and jet outward to meet the eye. The combination of large tires and squat stance lend the C-HR an incredibly athletic look, while a low center of gravity provides greater structural rigidity and improved driving dynamics.
In addition to one outrageously designed exterior, the C-HR adds to its eye-popping veneer with a new full hybrid powertrain that Toyota says will deliver significantly improved fuel efficiency. A sporty crossover hybrid with a delicious design and unrivaled driving dynamics? Yes, please.
For now, the C-HR remains a case study, albeit a decidedly gorgeous one. But don’t discount this futuristic-looking concept from becoming a reality someday. In fact, Toyota says its latest concept could hint at a new crossover hybrid model to be released down the road.
Whether that turns out to be the case or not we suspect we’ll at least see some elements from the C-HR make its way to production.
For more information, or to learn more about this and other Toyota models, be sure to contact or visit our dealership today.
New for 2015
For the 2015 model year, the Yaris is redesigned inside and out with a plusher interior, more stylish exterior, and new standard Entune Audio system. Navigation is also available as an option for the first time.
Bigger Isn't Always Better
You know what they say about big things coming in small packages. The 2015 Toyota Yaris proves that saying still holds true. Redesigned for the coming model year, the Yaris features exterior styling and interior trim that defies the stereotype of the cheap subcompact hatchback.
While it delivers more than what you’d expect from a car in its class, the Yaris also comes with the benefits of a small car, including a low price and high fuel efficiency, all in a car that’s quite easy to park.
Powertrain and Performance
The 2015 Toyota Yaris is offered with a single powertrain that emphasizes efficiency, but won’t leave you bored out on the road.
The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque, and features Toyota’s variable valve timing (VVT-i) system for added responsiveness. It drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
Not surprisingly, a small engine in a small car leads to big fuel economy. The Yaris is EPA-rated at 33 mpg combined (30 mpg city, 37 mpg highway) with the manual transmission,* and 32 mpg combined (30 mpg city, 36 mpg highway) with the automatic.*
Features and Trims
The 2015 Yaris is a subcompact hatchback available in both three- or five-door body styles and multiple trim levels, starting at $14,845. There are enough options to build whatever Yaris you want, from basic and thrifty to stylish and connected.
The base Yaris L comes standard with multi-reflector halogen headlights, Entune Audio with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a tilt three-spoke steering wheel, and 60/40 split-folding rear seat.
In addition to the applicable features from the Yaris L, the LE model includes 15-inch alloy wheels, a black grille with chrome accent, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, and cruise control, among other features.
Building on the features available in the Yaris L and LE, the Yaris SE adds LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, sport fabric-trimmed front seats, and an LCD driver-information display.
Finally, the 2015 Yaris is also available with navigation. A first for the model, the system can be had as a port- or dealer-installed option.
For 2015, the diminutive Yaris makes a big impression with new exterior styling. It gets the new grille that’s proliferating across the Toyota model lineup, and keeps the same compact proportions as the previous model despite some slight growth to increase interior space. All of those changes also make for a slightly more aerodynamic model, to boot.
Those looks only improve with the visual enhancements of the SE model, which include piano-black grille trim, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and a rear diffuser.
The Yaris’ interior also gets a makeover for 2015, with soft-touch material on the dashboard and front doors (in five-door models). The seats get upgraded fabrics as well, and a new cushion shape to make them more comfortable on long drives. Toyota has also made reducing noise, vibration, and harshness a priority, creating a quieter cabin.
Safety was a priority for the Toyota engineers as well. The 2015 Yaris comes standard with the Star Safety System, which includes stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and a brake override system.
Other standard features include nine airbags and an Advanced Whiplash Injury-Lessening front-seat structure that helps to ensure that the region from the head to lower back are equally supported, helping to reduce injuries during certain rear-end collisions, according to Toyota.
The 2015 Toyota Yaris proves that downsizing doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Buyers will save money and fuel by choosing this subcompact hatchback, but without sacrificing style, comfort, or safety. For technophiles, the Yaris even offers impressive entertainment and connectivity features one would normally expect to find on a more expensive model.
In short, the Yaris has all of the benefits of a small car, with almost none of the drawbacks. Those needing to haul a load of Ikea boxes are still out of luck.
For more information on the 2015 Yaris or any other Toyota model, contact or visit our dealership today.
*2015 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary
**Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, excludes the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee of $825 for Cars, $885 for Small/Light Trucks (Sienna, RAV4, RAV4 EV, Highlander Gas, Highlander HV, FJ Cruiser, 4Runner, Tacoma and Venza), $1100 for Large Trucks (Tundra), and $925 for Large SUVs (Sequoia and Land Cruiser). (Historically, vehicle manufacturers and distributors have charged a separate fee for processing, handling and delivering vehicles to dealerships. Toyota's charge for these services is called the "Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee" and is based on the value of the processing, handling and delivery services Toyota provides as well as Toyota's overall pricing structure. Toyota may make a profit on the Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee.) Excludes taxes, license, title and available or regionally required equipment. The Delivery, Processing and Handling Fee in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC and TX will be higher.
Image: Toyota (Vehicle shown with optional equipment)
Tire health is easily overlooked until there’s an emergency, but don’t wait for a blowout to get them checked out. Tired tires result in unsafe driving conditions and limited control, and just because your tires aren’t 10 years old doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Tire health depends heavily on factors that vary greatly driver to driver, so it’s important to check your tires regularly to stay on the safe track.
Tires are only as effective as their ability to grip the road, which all depends on tread. Regularly rotated tires last longer because their wear is evenly distributed. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration sets the cutoff at 2/32 inches for the minimum safe tread depth.
Check your tread depth by inserting a penny, facing you, into one of the treads, Lincoln’s head first. If all you can see is Lincoln’s forehead, your tread is at a safe level. If you can see his hair, it’s almost new tire time, and if you can see the top of his head or any space above his head, you need new tires stat!
If your tires display any of these symptoms, it’s time for replacement
Wear bars are visual signals built into U.S. tires that only show when your tire tread is wearing. If you can see these bars, which look like bridges across treads, that tire has reached its expiration date.
Bulging tires are also a sign of wear. If your tire looks like it’s gained a bit of weight around the middle, it may need replacing.
Visible wires on your tire are bad news. These wires come from metal belts that are meant to strengthen the tire, but are not meant to contact the road. If your tire is showing its wires, it has done its time.
Age plays a part, especially for spare tires that sit in your trunk without use. If you know you’ve had a spare for a long time, it could be worthwhile to get it checked out before a long road trip to approve it for use.
Regularly checking your tires is a small step to help avoid a big headache later on. Stop by our service department for a tire tune-up, and roll out worry-free.
Discover a new way to spend Thanksgiving this year
Sitting around the house watching football and stuffing yourself silly has its appeal. But maybe it's time for a new Thanksgiving tradition. Maybe it's time to hop in your vehicle for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and check out these unique Thanksgiving celebrations.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Get a taste of natural beauty along with the taste of a delicious Thanksgiving feast. The area west of Philadelphia offers numerous Amish-themed family style restaurants ready to serve a bountiful feast. Since you're already in the area, you might as well head to the Landis Valley Museum, which recreates country style celebrations from ages past. If you want to get a nice start on the Christmas season, you can't go wrong with a visit to Bethlehem—Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that is.
Plymouth, Massachusetts. What could be better this Thanksgiving than visiting the home of the original Thanksgiving? Take a boat tour on a replica of the original Mayflower. While you're there, take in a concert, food festival, and the town's annual Thanksgiving parade. Plymouth brings history to life over the holiday weekend with pilgrims, soldiers, patriots, and pioneers milling about town.
San Diego. Thanksgiving is associated with leaves turning color, football, and the onset of cold weather. Why be in such a hurry to be cold? Instead, take advantage of the four-day weekend and take the kids on a road trip to beautiful Southern California, where you can be thankful for Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and some of the nicest beaches on the West Coast. Don't worry. There are plenty of restaurants that will gladly serve up a feast and you can still watch football on TV—or you can listen to the game while enjoying a ride up the Pacific Coast Highway.
Arizona. If you're out west, you don't need to travel to New England to appreciate the Thanksgiving legacy of Native Americans. Arizona, home to dozens of reservations, is a great place to learn about Native American culture. Arizona's mild fall and winter climate allows you to enjoy a scenic drive on the Apache Trail near Phoenix. This well-traveled road offers scenic views of canyons, geologic formations, desert plants and trees, and desert and lake views. In Northern Arizona, there's also this little hole in the ground known as the Grand Canyon, not a bad spot for a Thanksgiving picnic or scenic drive.
New York. Other than Pilgrims and Natives feasting on a beautiful fall day in New England, nothing brings forth memories of Thanksgiving like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Instead of watching it on TV this year, hop in the car and head to the Big Apple to see it in person. Afterwards, there'll be plenty of shops to help you get a head start on your Christmas shopping.
St. Augustine, Florida. The oldest permanent settlement in the United States also claims to have held the first Thanksgiving-like celebration on Sept. 8, 1565, 56 years ahead of the pilgrims. According to legend, Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles celebrated the establishment of the St. Augustine Church by feasting with the Timucuan Indians.
Sign up today to receive your monthly newsletter.
Drivers face danger every time they venture onto roads and highways, but drivers face the toughest challenges during the winter months. Cold weather can make cars difficult to start, freeze coolant and fuel lines, and cause slick roadways. Precipitation like freezing rain, sleet, and snow limits visibility and makes controlling your car difficult. Take some time now to prepare yourself and your car for the harsh conditions that you will face as the seasons change.
Prepare Your Car
Work, family, errands, recreation, and travel place demands on modern auto owners that take precedence over routine car maintenance. Regardless of how well you have followed your dealer’s recommended service regimen, you should take some basic steps to prepare your car for cold weather. Thoroughly check the electrical system in your car. This includes the battery, distributor cap, wires, and other components. You should also test your headlights, turn signals, side indicator lights, brake lights, and four-way flashers to ensure maximum visibility. Brakes and tires affect the way your car steers and grips the road, so get them checked before cold weather sets in. Finally, check the cooling system in your car to make sure it has a proper mixture of antifreeze and that the radiator and hoses are free of leaks.
Freezing rain rates high among top cold-weather driving hazards, so avoid it when possible. If you must drive during freezing rain, drive slowly and brake gently to stay in control over your vehicle. Safe driving distances, fresh windshield wipers and anti-freeze windshield wash solution can help.
Melting snow can cause rivers and streams to overflow without notice and cause you to lose control of your car. Insurance industry sources say that as little as 12 inches of water on a road can sweep your car off the road. Therefore, you should avoid navigating flooded roads when possible. If you must drive through a flooded area, beware of floating objects that could collide with your car and electrical wires that can harm you if you attempt to exit your vehicle. When your car emerges from a flooded road, carefully test your brakes. You can dry wet brakes by using your left foot to lightly press the brake pedal while using your right foot to maintain speed.
Snow causes slick road conditions that can easily contribute to accidents, so reduce your speeds, increase your following distances, and be prepared to control skids. Snow can cause whiteout conditions that can reduce your visibility to mere inches in front of your car, so reduce your speed and keep your headlights on. Snow can also cause hazards such as fallen power lines and trees that can unexpectedly block your path, so always be prepared to take evasive action.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that speeding helps cause one-third of all fatal automobile accidents. During most of the year, speeding constitutes driving faster than posted speed limits. During cold weather, however, speeding also constitutes speeds that are unsafe for road conditions. Slow down to increase your chance for survival.
Some drivers seem oblivious to the dangers associated with winter driving and directly threaten your life and property. Authorities can only cite irresponsible drivers after an incident occurs that has damaged your car and your body. Therefore, you should always try to anticipate the behavior of other drivers and practice other defensive-driving tactics.
Falling temperatures and impending holiday feasts create the perfect storm to foil your fitness plans. You may find yourself tempted to store away your gym shoes in favor of your fleece blanket and flannel pajamas, and snuggle up for a long winter sleep. Are you a bear? If not, then don’t hibernate this season. Follow these tips to transition your fitness routine and avoid derailing during the holidays.
Don’t let your lack of appropriate attire keep you from tackling a cold weather workout. Stock up on light layers that wick away moisture, gloves, and a hat or ear covering for the coldest temperatures. Even if you don’t get frigid temperatures during the winter months, be wary of wind chill. Invest in a breathable, wind-resistant outer layer so your walk or run isn’t cut short because of biting winds.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
If you’re noticing you have less energy during your colder workouts, it could be because you’re not drinking enough water. Hydration is always important, but especially in colder months when you don’t realize just how much you’re sweating through extra layers of clothing. You may not realize how thirsty you are until you’re already dehydrated. As a general rule, drink as much water in the fall and winter as you would if it were a blazing hot summer day.
Take Advantage of Peer Pressure
Research group fitness classes, boot camps, or training groups in your area. Group fitness is a great way to meet people, and if you sign up for a regular meet-up, it’s more likely you’ll make it to your workout when other people are depending on you. You’re also more likely to attend if you’ve already paid the membership or program fee.
Make Fitness a Tradition
Yes, pie is delicious, but there are plenty of colder weather traditions that are actually good for you. Sign up for a turkey trot and make exercising on Thanksgiving a family tradition, or look for a corn maze in your area. Fall and early winter weather is also the perfect time for a brisk hike, if you’re in an area near trails. When winter chills roll around, take every opportunity to go ice skating, indoors or outdoors. It’s a great workout, but you won’t realize you’re burning calories while you’re enjoying all the winter ambiance.
Check the weather forecast and schedule your workout for the warmest part of the day, if you can. If you work all day, this is admittedly a harder feat, but take advantage of the weekends to time your workouts perfectly and get some time outside. Fresh air always amps up energy and gives workouts an extra boost.
Not interested in braving the cold or driving to a gym? No problem. There are plenty of interval bodyweight workouts that will provide a solid burn at home. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a massive calorie-torcher, and the workout circuits are completely adaptable for at-home workouts. Also try Tabata, a HIIT variation with shorter fast-paced intervals, or running stairs. Try some indoor workouts now, so you can have a favorite routine in your back pocket to fall back on when discouraging weather strikes.
When the holiday season hits, don’t panic. Armed with these tips, you’re sure to defeat the fitness freeze this year. Now get out there and conquer the cold.
Sales Dept. Hours
- Mon-Fri: 8:30am-8:00pm
- Sat: 8:30am-7:00pm
- Sun: Closed
Service Dept. Hours
- Mon-Fri: 7:30am-6:00pm
- Sat: 8:00am-4:00pm
- Sun: Closed