Toyota teams up with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL)
Toyota is a brand that is known for building reliable vehicles that last a long time, but did you know that it is also focused on building important community programs as well? In fact, the automaker has been teaming up with the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) to help foster stronger communities for 20 years! Now, the Toyota Family Learning program has announced that it will be giving out its second round of grants. Keep reading for details from Gray-Daniels Toyota.
The Toyota Family Learning program is designed to provide opportunities for children and parents so that they may learn and grow together. It does this by providing $175,000 grants to mentoring and service learning programs. The first round of grants proved incredibly successful with a total of $875,000 that went to support Lincoln Public Schools, the Houston Public Library, and other community programs across the country.
The success of the grants was undeniable. 17,000 hours of additional family learning was conducted, gains in the organizational and leadership skills of parents were reported, an increase of involvement by fathers was reported, and much more.
Toyota Vice President of External Affairs Mike Goss commented on how the new round of grants fits in with Toyota’s goal of creating sustainable and healthy communities: “Toyota’s more than 20 years of partnership with the NCFL has taught us that bringing parents and children together to learn works,” he said, adding that Toyota is “proud to support programs across the country that extend learning beyond the four walls of the classroom and into homes and communities.”
The team here at Gray-Daniels Toyota cannot wait to see what the next round of grant winners do with their funds. While you’re waiting to find out, why not stop by our dealership or contact us online to find out what other exciting community events we have around the corner.
Another minute, another happy Camry owner. On average during the month of May, a new Toyota Camry was sold to an American buyer every minute of every day. Nearly 50,000 new Camry sales in May contribute to the 10.3 million Camry models sold in the US in the past 31 years, 6.7 million of which are still on the road today.
For decades, the Camry has been reliably reliable. It’s been awarded top honors in the JD Power and Associates IQS and VDS studies, 5-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and named one of the “Best Midsize Cars for the Money” by US News and World Report as well as one of the “Most Popular” vehicles by Edmunds.com.
Record breaking sales and accolades aside, however, the Toyota Camry’s true value lies in its ability to consistently bring you and your family from point A to point B safely, securely, and in style. And it’s only getting better. The updated 2015 Camry is set to arrive later this year and it’s sure to continue the Camry’s positive legacy.
Toyota has long been championing hybrid vehicles. From the popular Prius liftback to the nimble Prius c, Toyota has become synonymous with hybrid fuel efficiency over the years thanks to the brand’s commitment to various hybrid technologies and its litany of appealing hybrid models.
Not content with resting on its laurels, the Japanese automaker recently announced plans to increase efficiency in its hybrid vehicles by a further 10 percent, thanks to the development of new silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors for use in power control units (PCUs).
The new PCU, which will begin testing on Japanese roads sometime next year, utilize a new silicon carbide compound and suffer less electrical resistance, which improves efficiency when passing electrical current between the vehicle’s battery and electric motor. Additionally, the new PCU units lose less power once shutting off, and can operate at a higher frequency than existing models.
Toyota says that the net power loss of the new PCU measures in at one-tenth of the current silicone versions, which equates to a roughly five-percent increase in fuel economy, with the potential of a further ten-percent increase once the new silicon carbide models actually come to market.
Additionally, the new PCU is smaller (roughly 80 percent smaller), which when coupled with improvements to other key areas such as enhanced engine technology, aerodynamics, and lighter materials, should prove a boon to overall MPG in future Toyota hybrids.
Toyota says it aims to have the technology up, running, and implemented by 2020. And while the future looks bright (and green) for Toyota, potential owners don't have to wait years to drive an incredibly fuel-efficient hybrid. for more information, or to test drive a Toyota hybrid, be sure to contact your local Toyota dealer and schedule a test drive today.
Keep your car rolling safely and efficiently with Gray-Daniels Toyota
One major cause of accidents, and financial distress, is not maintaining your vehicle properly. When it comes to driving, your vehicle’s tires are one of the most important parts to maintain. If you are looking to save money and increase your car’s safety, then you should consider regular tire balancing and rotation as well as alignment checkups. Gray-Daniels Toyota has the reasons why.
One of the biggest reasons that you should make sure your vehicle’s tires are aligned is safety. Misaligned tires can cause a number of problems including pulling to one side, less control over your vehicle, and an increased rate of wear on your tires’ tread. Not only is this dangerous, but you will have to replace your tires much more frequently if the alignment is off, which will put a big hole in your wallet. Another thing to consider is that misaligned tires will negatively affect your vehicle’s fuel economy.
Balancing and rotating your vehicle’s tires is also very important. Think about everything your tires encounter on a day-to-day basis. Whether it is potholes, sticks, or rocks, your tires go through a beating every day. Sometimes, certain tires will wear more than others, creating an imbalance in your vehicle. The result is often a slight shaking of the car, which will get worse with speed.
Even the slightest imbalance can cause big problems, which is why it is important to take your car into the shop and have its tires balanced every so often. Together with regular tire rotation, the result is that no one tire will be worn to an exaggerated amount, and wear will occur more evenly on all four tires.
If you need your tires balanced, rotated, and/or aligned, then don’t hesitate to contact the Gray-Daniels Toyota service department for friendly assistance. You won't regret it and your car will thank you by running better than ever!
More than a decade atop the sales charts means the Toyota Camry has become pretty much ubiquitous on our nation's roads, and no wonder. Good fuel economy, strong residual values, and a reputation for reliability make this four-door sedan a logical choice among family cars. But let's take a closer look.
Redesigned for the 2012 model year, the Camry offers conservative styling that succeeds in attracting attention without being polarizing. Headlights integrate neatly into the grille for a clean, unfussy look that continues along the flanks to the rear where horizontal lines create the impression of a larger, more expensive car.
It's a similar story inside, with horizontal lines dominating along the instrument panel and a prominent center stack presenting a 6.1-inch touchscreen between two columns of buttons. Seats are comfortable and large windows with relatively small "A" pillars create good visibility. Generous rear legroom, a 15.4 cubic feet trunk, and a 60/40 split folding rear seat ensure this sedan is a practical hauler of people and their gear.
The Camry comes in four trim levels, L, LE, SE, and XLE, and for 2014 the SE is also available as an SE Sport. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the standard engine, although the SE and XLE can be ordered with a 3.5 liter V6. The four-cylinder delivers 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels while the six outputs 268 and 248. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission and EPA mileage numbers are an impressive 25/35 for the smaller engine and a respectable 21/31 for the larger.
Those seeking to do even better in the fuel consumption stakes could look at the hybrid Camry. Available in LE and XLE trims, this marries an electric motor to a 2.5 liter four and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), for a total output of 200 horsepower. Gas mileage is 43 City, 39 Highway, in LE trim, dropping to 40/38 in XLE.
The L trim includes air conditioning, 16-inch rims, cruise control, and a four spoke steering wheel with controls for audio and Bluetooth. Stepping up to LE adds power locks and keyless entry, plus a bolder grille.
The sports-flavored SE is distinguished externally by 17-inch alloys, a chrome-tipped exhaust, and a discrete trunk-lid spoiler. Fog lights with additional chrome trim pieces and a sport mesh front grille also help set this trim apart from the rest. Inside, seats are trimmed with SofTex sport fabric, trim is silver-finish, and the driver holds a paddle shifter-equipped leather-trimmed sport steering wheel. To this the SE Sport brings 18-inch alloys and a moonroof.
The more luxury-oriented Camry XLE is the LE with wood grain-style interior trim, automatic air conditioning, a moonroof, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-trimmed four spoke steering wheel. Wheels are 17-inch alloys.
Hybrid equipment levels are essentially the same, other than the Hybrid LE getting automatic air conditioning.
The LE can be ordered with a power-adjustable driver's seat and the moonroof while the SE and XLE are available with those plus navigation, the Convenience Package, the Leather Package, and the Blind Spot monitor. The SE V6 can also have an upgraded JBL audio system.
With prices starting at around $23,000, including delivery, the Camry presents a great value proposition. It's comfortable, reliable and inexpensive to own, and it's conservative styling will look good for years to come. Continued dominance of the sales charts seems assured.
When it comes to planning family day-trips, unlimited funds would be ideal. Unfortunately, realistic budgets often prevent us from enjoying some of the pricier summer activities, but that doesn't mean this year's vacation can't be great. Here are some ideas to help you keep the kids entertained for less on summer day-trips.
Search for national parks and other areas of natural beauty near where you live. Many local parks and scenic places are completely free to visit. You can even enhance your experience by packing food for a picnic.
Though adults may need to pay an entry fee to museums or art galleries, kids can enjoy the surroundings without charge or for a much lower ticket price. Many venues even offer free tours and activities for children. You can also choose museums or galleries that feature exhibits of interest to your children.
Many towns and cities have guided tours that you can download online or pick up at certain local venues. These tours enable you to spend the day exploring on foot, keeping car use to a minimum, which means less gas money. Kids will also love learning more about their hometown. Search online for a list of attractions in your area.
Of course, the beach is always a hit with the kids. If you live relatively close to the sea, then you will never be short of cheap day trips. Load up the car with towels, toys, food and drinks and head to the beach for some sun and surf. Beach boardwalks often provide economical entertainment, too.
Before you decide to experience one of the best rivers for whitewater rafting, try and match your destination with your budget, interests, and skill-level. Don’t let your enthusiasm put you at risk for an extreme rafting experience that you really aren’t ready for and that might sour you on this exciting sport. Here are some of the best North and South American rivers for whitewater rafting for different skill levels, both in the United States and abroad.
Whitewater rafting in the United States
- Alaska: Where the borders of Alaska and Canada meet on the Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers, glaciers and icebergs add an added thrill to this superb whitewater rafting adventure. Rafters often spot an abundance of wildlife like grizzly bears, moose, and wild salmon in this untouched world of the great outdoors.
- Colorado: The Arkansas River Valley area, from Pine Creek down through Royal Gorge, offers renowned whitewater rafting opportunities. While a variety of rafting tour activities are available, it’s the Upper Animas out of Silverton where serious whitewater rafters seek out miles of nonstop Class IV and V rapids.
- Idaho: The Middle Fork and Salmon Rivers in Idaho are some of the most popular whitewater rafting expeditions in the lower 48 states. You’ll find Class IV rapids, lush alpine scenery, and all the wildlife surprises one might expect when rafting through a true wilderness area.
- Utah: The Colorado River offers several outstanding whitewater experiences, but one of the best is a 46-mile cluster of rapids called Cataract Canyon Big Drop Falls located in Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah. When the river is high, the rapids unite to form one massive whitewater rapid.
- West Virginia: There are a variety of whitewater activities to be found in West Virginia, but it’s the Upper Gauley River that is known as one of the most difficult rivers to raft in the world. With narrow chutes and high–speed rapids, the Upper Gauley has earned a legendary reputation because of its “Big Five” individual Class V, hair-raising rapids.
Whitewater rafting in North and South America
- Canada: You’ll need a float plane to access the Magpie River for a whitewater rafting trip you’ll never forget. Winding through deep wilderness forests of Quebec province, the rapids grow increasingly difficult until you reach a Class V challenge downriver from the amazing Magpie Falls. Expect to camp on river islands and maybe even spot the Northern Lights.
- Chile: The Futaleufú River in Chile is formed by glacier-fed lakes high in the Andes of Patagonia. Alpine grandeur and outstanding whitewater rafting in Chile offers something for everyone. Parts of the river are appropriate for novice rafters, while experts seek the challenges of Class V rapids for an exhilarating challenge.
- Ecuador: Visualize a rain forest, colorful toucan birds, and palm-thatched roofs of the Shuar people’s village. All share space along the Rio Upano River. Whitewater adventures begin on the far western fringe of the Amazon Basin. Rafters meander along gentle rapids that culminate into turbulent rides through areas like the Namangosa Gorge, which features Class IV rapids and countless waterfalls.
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No matter how big your car is, there will always be a time when it feels as though there isn't enough room for all the cargo you want to carry. Modern cars are increasingly versatile when it comes to making the best use of your luggage space, but it also requires some sensible planning by the driver. The next time you are planning a road trip or vacation and you need to take a lot of luggage with you, consider these five tips that will help you organize your car's interior space.
Make the most of versatile seating
Whether your car has one or two rows of passenger seating, there will normally be ways to split, fold down, or remove the seats entirely to make space for luggage. This is nearly always a more efficient way to use the space than trying to pile stuff onto the spare seats, and it will also protect your upholstery. Before you start packing, split, fold down, or remove any seats that won't be needed so that you are working with the largest cabin space possible.
Keep everything in its place
You'll be surprised how much a quick tidying up can do for your car. Piles of cleaning products, music CDs, bags, boots, shoes, and more can all eat up luggage space, and chances are that you just don't need them all. Stow small items in the glove compartment or in side pockets so that the main cabin is free from clutter. Make sure that the spare tire is stowed away properly and that tools are easily accessible. Get rid of anything that you don't need for the trip before you start packing.
Explore your car
Car manufacturers are growing increasingly creative when it comes to making space in your car. Before you start packing, make sure you spot all the hiding places, compartments, and gadgets that are there to make your life easier. For example, in larger cars (particularly SUVs), there may be an under-floor compartment. Your trunk may also have hidden side compartments that you might accidentally block with luggage. Identify what your real capacity is before you try and pack up the car.
There are lots of accessories that can extend or make the most of your available luggage space. Trunk organizers keep everything nicely maintained and can make it far easier to stack items to make the most of the available space. Think about external storage, too. A cargo box on your roof can be a great way to carry more, so think carefully about whether or not you need one. You may even want to consider a trailer. Don't leave it to the last minute to think about these additional accessories.
Perhaps the best way to make the most out of your luggage space is to be picky about what you take. Does every member of the family really need his or her own suitcase? Can you easily buy cheap items at the other end that otherwise take up a lot of space? Make sure that everything you pack is absolutely necessary. The more space you have, the less frugal you’ll need to be, but remember that any additional weight will decrease your fuel efficiency. Because of this, you should always aim to take the smallest load possible.
Underneath your car’s hood you will find an internal combustion engine. As the name suggests, internal combustion engines produce heat. While car manufacturers are increasingly making this process more and more efficient, the fact remains that this process still wastes and loses a lot of heat. Modern car engines remain somewhere between 22 and 38 percent efficient.
While this heat is an essential by-product of powering your car, the reality is that the materials used to manufacturer the engine and parts can only cope up to a certain temperature. As such, the engine cooling system ensures that the temperature of these parts does not exceed a certain level, maintaining effective operation of the engine. Although modern engines are made from materials that are generally more resistant to heat, they are still vulnerable to damage if things get too hot.
Overheating can cause serious damage to the engine parts in your car. In the event of excessive temperatures, the gasoline engine will start to deteriorate. The car will lose power, as the combination of heat and pressure will start to exceed the octane rating of the fuel. This can damage the rings, pistons, or rod bearings. Hot spots can also develop inside the combustion chamber that will ignite the fuel. This can also cause damage to the engine or run-on in older models (that have carburetors).
Other damage caused by an overheating engine can include burst hoses or radiators, pistons can seize and fail to operate, or a blown head gasket. If the head gasket is damaged, coolant and combustion leaks can occur when the head cools and the cost of repair can be significant.
Most modern cars now alert drivers to any problems with a hot warning lamp on the driver’s display. In the event that the lamp is illuminated, you should seek help from the service department at our dealership as soon as possible. While moderate overheating may not cause immediate damage, if the problem worsens then you risk much more serious damage and even complete mechanical failure. The sooner the problem is treated, the lower your repair cost is likely to be.
Overheating can result from a number of different things. Anything that decreases the cooling system’s capability to operate effectively can cause problems with overheating. This could include a coolant leak or low coolant, deposits inside the water jackets in the cooling system, a problem of fault with the thermostat, a problem with the radiator, a broken cooling fan and other mechanical failure, or damage to parts of the engine. In the event that you car shows signs of overheating, the service department at our dealership should be able to diagnose the problem for you.
In the event that your car overheats, stop as soon as it is safe to do so. Turn the engine off and allow the car to cool down. If you are mechanically-minded, you may be able to find the cause of the problem yourself, but take care as the engine parts are likely to be very hot. Unless you are very confident, it is always advisable to call us and ask for professional help. Your car might be fine to drive for a short distance once it cools, but if the damage is serious enough, you might need to get it towed. Stay safe out there!
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