Having a clean car has many advantages – and that’s why here at Morrie’s, we offer lifetime unlimited car washes as one of our Buy Happy Promises. There are many suggestions on how, when, and why you should wash your car…and there isn’t really a correct answer, but rather, a few things to consider:
Any Minnesotan worth their salt knows that Murphy’s Law is in full effect during the winter months: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Frequently, this manifests itself in the form of automotive issues, which can range from something as simple as your car not starting for your evening commute, all the way to hitting a patch of black ice and sliding into the ditch during your evening commute. Both of these things will probably make you late for dinner (Although you have a better chance of avoiding the latter if your vehicle is outfitted with winter tires. Read more on that here).
A surgeon’s scalpel is the perfect tool for performing surgeries but you wouldn’t use it for cutting down a tree or cutting the crust off of your sandwich. Similarly, you wouldn’t use a chainsaw in the operating room. You need the right tools for the job, just like you need the right kind of tires for the season.
It seem like a no-brainer, but the key to any successful endeavor is being prepared. When going out in the winter you should always be prepared for cold, for snow and for ice. If you don’t have a winter car kit assembled you should definitely put one together. This video outlines what should be included in your winter car kit.
Weather you like it or not, winter is coming. Driving in winter conditions is the bane of many peoples’ existence, but odds are that you are going to have to go out in the cold and snow no matter how much you want to avoid it. When you do finally brave the outdoors, you probably prepare with a jacket, boots, gloves and a hat – but it’s just as important to take some time to prepare your car for the long winter ahead. These tips will not only make the winter more tolerable, but ensure your car is tip-top shape through the frigid months.
In a word, it’s tough. It’s grueling. It’s dirty. The rally will come to an end and you’ll wonder what you actually just saw and why you’re covered in an inch-thick layer of dust and you feel like you’d been wading through a swamp. But wow, what an experience. There’s nothing else like it.
Go to spectate or shoot any road race on a conventional circuit and it’s a walk in the park. To get from one corner of the track to another, it might be a 5 or 10 minute walk. Everything is paved, well marked. Go up in the grandstands and you can probably see the majority of the track. The same cars go by lap after lap for hours on end. Whichever car or team you’re focused on, you know exactly where they are in the standings each time they pass because you can see the rest of the field go by at roughly the same time. If all else fails, there’s usually a big scoreboard or an app for whatever series you’re following that shows the timing and scoring for the race.
Now try to follow the action in a rally. You’re often driving 20+ miles in between stages on poorly marked roads trying to find the lone spectator area for each stage. You can go hours on end without seeing any rally cars whizzing by. And unless you have a teleportation device or a time machine, chances are you’ll only get a chance to watch the cars fly by two or three times all day. And every time you do see one of the cars fly by at breakneck speed, you’re choking on dust clouds and getting pelted by rocks left in their wake. At least checking the standings throughout the weekend is as easy as checking Rally America’s website on your phone… As long as you can get signal in any of the remote areas where the stages are held.
It’s not all bad though. Sure shooting at a circuit is easier, but with rally, you’re experiencing the great outdoors. You get to drive on a lot of the same (or very similar) roads that the rally uses for stages. Fellow rally spectators are some of the kindest and most enthusiastic fans I’ve ever met, often because they’ve put in the work to get to the same remote area as you, for the same reasons. And because the cars aren’t really racing head to head, wheel to wheel, like they would at the track, the viewing experience is much more relaxed. You’ve got time in between cars to have conversations with people, to grab a drink, move around a little. All with beautiful, scenic landscapes all around you.
As a photographer though, this presents a significant number of challenges. What sort of gear do I bring? How do I want to capture the car in a way that shows both the speed and spectacle in which it goes by while also showing the natural beauty of the surroundings? None of the stages feature much by way of protection between the fans and the cars ripping by, hanging on by a mere thread of control, so often times the crowds are pushed further and further back, far away from the action. Being out in the elements has its perks, but you and your camera will also be exposed to uncontrollable rain, massive clouds of dust, the blazing sun, and frigid winds. It tests your character, forcing you to endure.
No doubt about it, shooting rally racing is an endless struggle, but get things right – or at least a bit lucky – and the results can be well worth it. You can snap away until the memory cards are full and the batteries are drained and only go home with a handful of shots you’re proud of but on the long drive home, there’s a sense of accomplishment, of camaraderie, of witnessing something special. There’s something magical about rallying that makes it unlike any other form of motorsports. It’s the way the wind laps at your face. The way crisp country air, untamed brush, and speckled wildflowers mix with the hazy clouds of dust and race gas. The way the serene stillness of an untouched forest is broken so abruptly by the staccato engine notes of highly-strung race cars hammering between gears. There’s something about that dichotomy between the tranquility of nature and the wild frenzy of motorsports that created a unimaginable combination that will keep you coming back for more.
It’s that time of year again, folks.
The holiday season is upon us once again, and that means gifts. Fresh out of ideas? Worry not – we’ve got you covered.
Cinema Driver Movie Car Prints
Cinema Driver by Mainger is a ridiculously cool series of prints featuring the cars, bikes, vans, motorcycles and other forms of transportation that famous cinematic characters were known for. Perfect for the automotive movie buff!
Despite what your father-in-law tells you every time he’s over and there’s something broken in your house, not every guy carries a full set of tools around at all times – but with this handy set of key tools, there’s no need to! These heat-treated, blackened steel keys will help you rub it in his smug face the next time he calls you “unprepared”.
GuardsRed Design Watches
Be careful if you purchase one of these GuardsRed Design Watches for a friend or loved one – they have a tendency to give passerby whiplash with their eye-catching design and meticulous craftsmanship. Personal injury lawsuits are nothing to sniff at..
Leather Works Minnesota
Purveyor of fine, handcrafted, leather goods Leather Works Minnesota is more than just a local company – they’re the vendor of choice for our leather needs. Wallets, belts, travel accessories and much, much more are lovingly crafted by this Saint Paul-based establishment. It’s worth noting that due to their huge popularity and the fact that everything is made by hand, they recommend you allow 2 weeks for shipping during the holiday season.
Triumph Street Twin – 900cc
For those who can’t get enough classic styling, but perhaps prefer modern reliability. The 2016 Triumph Street Twin replaces the existing base Bonneville model, with the welcome addition of an upgraded 900cc eight-valve, high torque motor. Updated from the ground up, this Bonnie gets a new chassis, new suspension, ride-by-wire throttle with traction control, slip assisted clutch, ABS, and LED lighting. Triumph were also so kind as to release a few custom ‘inspiration kits’ you can purchase as a package!
Liveried Egg Chairs
The perfect gift for the racing enthusiast in your life, these ‘egg chairs’ combine retro modern form with iconic styles to create functional automotive art. Using mid-century modern furniture as a canvas, Anthony Jannarelly and Benoit Fraylon create intricate designs that call back to the famous liveries of the legendary race cars of yesteryear.
Whether you’re giving a gift or simply indulging for yourself, these subscription boxes are sure to please. And the best part? You don’t have to leave your house to buy them. One of our favorites is DetailBox – every month you’ll receive 3 to 4 new sample products, which include polishes, waxes, tires polishes, etc. If you like the product they often have exclusive, member-only coupons for the full product! For the ladies in your life, we recommend Stitch Fix - clothing and accessories selected by a personal stylist and hand-delivered to her door.
Why water down your whiskey with ice? These stainless steel cubes (or balls, take your pick) will actually keep your drink colder than ice, for longer than ice – and they won’t dilute that heavenly flavor. If that’s not enough to sway you, they’re also completely non-porous, ensuring you’ll be able to use them over and over with no risk of cross-contamination.
BIR Track Day
Tired of watching races from the comfort of your couch? Want to hop in the drivers seat and take the bull by the horns? A BIR Track Day is an immersive racing experience unlike any other – and with the option to either track your personal car or take the wheel of a spec racer, there’s something for everyone!
Smartphone Garage Opener
This neat piece of tech from Chamberlain installs to your existing setup in minutes, and allows you to open and close your garage door from anywhere with your smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection! Never worry about having left your garage door open again – you can’t buy peace of mind like that.
Auto Floor Guard
Protect that sweet, sweet garage floor from salt, snow, and other other miscellaneous nastiness with Auto Floor Guard - mildew and rot resistant fabric that has been tested to -40 degrees. Available in multiple sizes, the fabric has a unique ultraviolet treatment that resists fading and material breakdown. The perfect gift for those who love to keep everything in their life immaculately clean and well-ordered.
911 Speedometer Cufflinks
What more can be said about these cufflinks that the title doesn’t say already? They look like the speedo from a freakin’ Porsche 911! For the air-cooled enthusiast in your life.
Morrie’s Teen Driving School
This comprehensive course gives young drivers the hands-on experience they need to avoid accidents. Through a combination of classroom activities and engaging, hands-on exercises, this program teaches young drivers skills they simply cannot obtain in traditional driver’s ed programs. Each student is paired with a dedicated instructor who coaches them in his or her own car throughout the entire day. At the end of the program each student will have a vastly improved grasp of their car, vehicle dynamics, car control and lifesaving, proactive driving techniques.
Lego Creator Car Kits
The Great Sleeping Bear
Who among us hasn’t wished we could hibernate through the winter winter months, waking up as the last of the salt is cleared off the roads? With this hand-made bear sleeping bag by Dutch Artist Eiko Ishizawa, the idea seems a little less far-fetched! These individually numbered sleeping bags cost a mere $2,350 – a small price to pay for supreme comfort when the weather gets to be simply unBEARable (Yes, that pun happened. We regret nothing).
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Getting behind the wheel is an easy thing to do but, sometimes knowing what to do when you get there might be a bit challenging. When you flip on the local traffic report in the morning, you are usually guaranteed to see at least five crashes before you can even finish your oatmeal. We don’t want this to happen to you, so with the help of “Thrillist” we compiled a list of 10 things that can make you a better driver.
1. Maintaining control when a tire blows out
There are a few steps you should take if you have a sudden and violent deflation of a tire, but essentially your goal is to keep the car pointed in a straight line while you slow it down. Read up on the full procedure here.
2. Recovering from a slide
If, mid-spin, all you see is a menacing guardrail, it’s a near certainty that you’re going to hit it. Keeping your eyes on the road, focused on where you want to be rather than on the object toward which you’re going, is paramount.
Turn the steering wheel toward where your eyes are, and keep it there. Don’t worry about how far to turn the wheel; thanks to the magic of hand-eye coordination, if your eyes are in the right place, you’ll steer to the right place.
Provided you’re not getting sideways because of an overenthusiastic use of throttle, what you need to do is accelerate carefully, which will force the car to rock back onto the rear wheels, and give the tires the added traction needed to regain control. As the car begins to straighten out, smoothly apply the brakes, and pat yourself on the back.
Also if you have a teen driver in the family or know of one who could benefit from learning the advantages of this make sure to check out our teen school: here
3. Adjust your focal point
If you think of your brain as a computer, you’ll understand that it needs time to process various pieces of information. If you’re only looking at the car in front of you, you’re not allowing your brain much time to process potential threats.
Look as far ahead as you can to give yourself as much time as possible to react. In busy traffic on a freeway, you should be focusing your eyes past the first few cars in front of you. Look between lanes if you can, and trust that your peripheral vision will alert you if the car in front slams on its brakes. That’s why you have it.
4. Braking with antilock brakes
It’s amazing that so many people don’t know what to do in an emergency while driving a car with ABS… which is nearly every modern car on the road. A lot of confusion comes from being taught how to drive by parents that grew up in a pre-antilock time, when things like modulating the pedal, pumping the brakes, and being unable to steer while braking was common. Now? Braking in an emergency involves one step: press the brake pedal down as hard as you can.
Again this is something we teach in our teen school and is a valuable lesson for all drivers to be aware of when driving. If you haven’t used your antilock brakes before it is something to try out before it is absolutely necessary that you use them.
5. Driving in the rain
In light rain, all the oil on the road from other cars will ensure that the road is at its most slick. Heavier rains wash that away, but then you deal with potential hydroplaning if there’s so much water that the tires don’t come into contact with the pavement. The secret is to keep your eyes peeled for any puddles that are potentially deeper than the rest. Note any abnormally large splashes from vehicles in front of you, so you have time to prepare by either slowing down or moving over.
6. Driving in the snow
First things first: make sure your car has adequate tires for snow use. All-season tires will work for the lighter stuff, and in heavier stuff if you’re a little more careful, but if you live somewhere that has the kind of winter that traditionally involves shoveling driveways, you need to have winter tires.
The rest of snow driving is really a matter of common sense. Drive with plenty of caution, allow plenty of space for cars in front of you, and stay within your abilities.
If you try to turn and nothing happens, you’re going too fast for the conditions, and you need to straighten out the steering wheel and brake gently until you’re going slow enough to make the turn. If the car starts spinning on you mid-turn, refer to #2 on this list.
*Morrie’s is currently in the process of building up a Winter Teen Driving School so make sure to check back frequently for more information on that.
7. Be a defensive driver
Be aware of what’s going on around you, including types of vehicles and what each driver is doing (i.e. texting, driving erratically, etc.). The safest play is to assume someone is about to cause a wreck, so it’s your job to figure out where you would go once one starts to unfold. Can you duck onto the shoulder or is there a drop-off? Is there someone in the lane next to you, or can you swerve into it if need be?
8. Get a grip on road rage by taking the road less travelled
As with most other undesired behaviors, understanding road rage is the key to keeping it in check. It’s simply aggression as a means to assert dominance over strangers viewed more as large metallic objects rather than as people. And take a more decongested route—It’ll be a more relaxing drive since you’ll be worrying less about drivers, probably won’t add more than a couple of minutes to your journey, and might be a more interesting and enjoyable road anyway.
9. Operating a manual transmission
The fact that the vast majority of vehicles today are automatics doesn’t mean there will never be a time in your life when someone will count on you to drive his or her manual car. You don’t have to be a gearhead to drive a stick shift, and it’s a skill you’ll feel really good about having once you do.
We also have a separate video that can help you learn how to drive a manual: Here
10. Parallel Parking
Sure, more and more cars are capable of parking themselves with each passing year, but this is still a valuable skill to have, and it’s actually pretty easy. You just:
- 1. Pull up until you’re almost even with the car in front of you, but not quite.
- 2. Crank the steering wheel toward the curb, and start backing up.
- 3. Once the rear wheel of the curb-facing side of your car is even with the street-facing side of the first car, straighten the steering wheel and continue reversing.
- 4. When the rear wheel of the street-facing side of your car is even with the street-facing side of the other, crank the steering wheel in the opposite direction.
- 5. Reverse until you’re parallel.
- 6. If that doesn’t work, you’re at least close by this point, so a couple of adjustments and you should be good to go.
To check out the original Thrillist article click here. Also again make sure again to check back for more information about our upcoming teen schools.
You may or may not need a reason to get outside and enjoy the weather this fall but, if you do we are here to help. Check out this list we compiled of all the possible things you can do while the weather is still wonderful outside. Grab a sweater and whoever is next to you and head out on the open road with these Top 5 things to do.
5. Get out and drive up the north shore to see the leaves changing. The north shore is the perfect place to take in all the beautiful roads and enjoy the crisp air. Here is the North Shore Visitor Guide and Fall Color Report
4. Think about how bad that “Polar Vortex” was a couple years ago and just enjoy that there isn’t 4 feet of snow on the ground right now. Maybe this is the year that you look into getting some snow tires.
3. Drive to a pumpkin patch and grab a huge, “I shouldn’t have gotten one so big” pumpkin to carve with friends and family. Zombies are all the rage now so check out these zombie pumpkin outlines for your pumpkin.
2. Go for that final drive in a convertible. Don’t have a convertible? No problem. Call up that weird uncle or call that friend you haven’t talked to in a couple months now. The time is now or else wait until the snow melts.
1. Drink a Toasted Graham Latte – The years of the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are dead and gone. You’ll thank us later.
Make sure to let us know what other things you’ll be doing this fall season!
Safety Belts: not just for humans anymore.
“Do you want to go for a ride in the car?” How many of us have said that to our dog(s)? With warmer weather ensuing, this phrase will be used more frequently, but are we and not to mention our pets really safe when we take our dog for a ride?
According to a AAA survey, nearly six in 10 (56 percent) respondents have driven with their dog at least once a month in the past year, however, many participate in behaviors that take their attention away from the road with the most common activity being petting their dog (52 percent). Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) have used their hands or arms to hold their dog in place while applying brakes, and 19 percent have used their hands or arms to keep their dog from climbing into the front seat—creating a situation where they remove at least one hand from the steering wheel.
Other distracting behaviors drivers admitted to include: reaching into the back seat to interact with their dog (18 percent), allowing their dog to sit in their lap or holding their dog (17 percent), giving food or treats (13 percent) and 3 percent have taken a photo of their dog while driving. These behaviors can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash. So what if there is a crash?
What about a safety belt?
In the same AAA study, eighty-three percent of respondents acknowledge that an unrestrained dog in a moving car can be dangerous, but only 16 percent currently use a pet safety belt. “Drivers should use a pet restraint system for your dog every time their pet is in the vehicle,” said Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager. A pet safety belt, will not only limit distractions, but also protect you, your pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop. Other benefits of a pet safety belt is that is keep your canine in the car. What many of us do not anticipate is that every dog likes to hang their head out the window on a warm summer day, however, not all know to stay in the vehicle. Many pets are treated by Veterinarians for road rash, de-gloving injuries and broken bones from leaping out the window of a moving vehicle.
What is the best safety belt?
To prevent driver distraction and unnecessary injury to our pets, all pets should wear a safety belt, however, according to Lindsey Wolko, founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety, “All dog seat belts are not created equal.” That is when Wolko started to look into safety options and that’s where Subaru came in.
Executives found that two-thirds of its drivers own dogs (AAA reports that nearly 90% of U.S. pet owners say they travel with their pets)–so canine safety is particularly important to the brand. And after seeing Wolko talk about the crash test failures on morning talk shows, the automaker commissioned a full CPS report that tested belts for small, medium and large dogs in simulated crashes.
“The thing people don’t think about is that [having a dog in the car] is like carrying an 80 pound sack of spuds behind your seat,” said Michael McHale, director of communications at Subaru of America. AAA says that a 10-pound unrestrained dog in a car traveling 30 miles an hour will exert 300 pounds of force during a crash.
The safety harness results weren’t great. The report revealed, that four of the seven brands tested had “catastrophic failure” during a crash, which CPS defines as allowing the dog to become a projectile or release from the restraint. Only Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility Harness consistently kept dogs from launching off the seat; it was the only restraint deemed to offer substantial protection to all passengers including the dog.
Subaru and CPS enlisted MGA Research Corporation, an independent lab often contracted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to study commonly available pet safety harnesses, to compile the report. CPS recreated the same crash tests used to rate child safety products.
Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility Harness similar in concept to the three-point seatbelt federally required in all vehicles. Straps enclosed in Clickit Utility’s broad, padded vest hug the upper torso of a dog to absorb forward movement, while belts anchor the lower torso and reduce forward and lateral movement. The three-point design that secures the dog in its space diminishes the opportunity for collision with parts of the vehicle and passengers, and reduces the chance for traumatic injuries that can be associated with one-point dog safety harness designs that can catapult a dog’s upper or lower torso forward into front seats, passengers and windows.
Walko stats, “It’s so intuitive for us to just reach over and strap a seat belt on, but people don’t think about using these products for their pets,” but “It’s incredibly important.”
Subaru will be donating three of the Sleepypod’s Clickit Safety Harnesses for a drawing at Vet Partners Pet Hospital Grand Opening Saturday, May 16th from 10 am-4 pm. (3505 Vicksburg Lane #300, Plymouth, MN 55447).
Come and check out the new Hospital, learn about Subaru’s pet friendly vehicles and enter your pet to win a Safety Harness, so there is no hesitation to go for, “a ride in the car” this summer!
Dog Safety with Subaru: Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility Harness by Dr. Angela Woodward Vet Partners Pet Hospital-Plymouth