Plan Your Spring in Plano

Although winter in Plano, Texas, is relatively mild, there’s something about the warmer temperatures, fun activities, and exciting times that come with spring. During this time, the Plano community comes alive with tons of events that are perfect for all ages and interests. From fairs to concerts to kids’ activities, there’s no shortage of things to do. If you’re searching for a few ideas, here are some plans to add to your spring calendar in Plano.

Toyota Texas Music Revolution 2017

Spring in Plano
Image via Flickr by DerekSchwartzPhotography

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So That’s What Those Dots on My Windshield Are

Like most drivers, you probably don’t think too much about your car’s windshield unless you’re having trouble seeing out of it due to bad weather or it’s just gotten cracked by hailstones. However, while thoroughly looking over your car, either before its annual inspection or because you’re giving your vehicle a good cleaning, you’ve probably noticed a curious pattern of black dots on the borders of your windshield. Keep reading to learn about their purpose.

A Visually Pleasing Element

Before understanding more about the black dots on your windshield and why they’re there, it’s important to also notice the black band at the outer edges of your windshield. This portion is called the frit and it plays a role in helping the windshield glass bind to the frame of your car by acting as a contact point.

Now, back to the black dots. They provide a dissolving or shrinking effect so that the visual transition between the windshield glass and the frame is not so drastic. Additionally, the black dots help conceal the adhesive used to put the windshield glass in place, which results in a more cohesive look.

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4 Great Cars for College Students in Dallas

Going off to college can be an expensive change of life. After all, there are a lot of fees and preparations that need to be made for students to successfully transition into a college environment. Fortunately, there are a lot of new cars that are sensible, affordable, and long lasting. If you are heading off to school soon, here are four cars to consider that are great for college students in Dallas.

Nissan Versa

Used Cars for College Students - Lone Star Cars
Image via Flickr by Stradablog

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How to Cope With That Big, Ugly Auto Loan

Most people need a loan when they go to buy a new car because of the high costs associated with getting one. Sometimes we get carried away and agree to spend more than we originally planned. Here’s how to cope with that big, ugly auto loan and come out ahead financially.

Pay More Than the Minimum Monthly Payment

Coping with Big Auto Loans - Lone Star Cars
Image Via Flickr by Tax Credits

The easiest and best way to tackle a large auto loan is to pay more than the minimum monthly payment each month. This may mean increasing how much you pay toward your auto loan by a fixed amount or putting any extra money you get, such as tax returns and Christmas bonuses, toward paying off the loan. Make sure that whatever extra payments are made go to the principal and not just the next payment amount due. You’ll save the most money in interest this way.

Implement a Debt Repayment Plan

Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman both advocate debt repayment plans that many people have followed to get out of debt and create a more financially healthy lifestyle. Many of the people that have followed these plans have found success. If you pay off the smaller debts in the other areas of your life, you may find yourself with more money to pay off your larger auto loan.

Brown Bag Your Lunch and Reinvest Savings

Think about how you spend money in your daily routine. Do you get a latte every day from a coffee shop, buy lunch with your coworkers, or pick up dinner on the way home? Finding less expensive replacements for these common expenses, at least most of the time, makes it easier to save money. Whatever money you save from bringing your lunch to work instead of buying it from a nearby restaurant can be applied to the principal balance of your car loan.

Refinance Your Car Loan

In most instances, it isn’t smart to refinance your car loan. After all, you want to pay off your car loan sooner and for less money. Refinancing your car loan doesn’t make sense if it increases the amount of time you’ll be paying for the loan. If you can reasonably refinance your car loan for a lower interest rate or move up your payoff date to pay the loan off faster, it might make sense to use refinancing as a strategy to help get rid of the car loan.

Own Your Car Longer

The longer you own your car, the most cost effective owning a car will be. This means that you should invest in preventive maintenance such as oil and filter changes as recommended by the dealership. You should drive safely to prevent accidents. When your car loan is paid off, consider investing some money each month into a savings fund to help put a bigger down payment toward your next car so you’ll have lower monthly payments from the beginning.

Paying off debt can feel great and free up money each month. By using these strategies, you can pay off your car sooner. This will strongly reduce your family’s overall debt burden.

 

Performance Car-Buying Guide for Drivers in Dallas

Have you always dreamed of owning a performance car but think you need to put down six figures to own one? Think again. You’ll find plenty of great performance cars in Dallas, Texas, for cheaper prices than you realize. The following four cars offer power and excellent performance at under $50,000.

Ford Mustang GT

Image via Flickr by matheusswanson
Image via Flickr by matheusswanson

 

Car fanatics continue to drool over the iconic American-built Mustang — and for good reason. This Mustang has the looks everyone on the drag racing strip wants.

If it’s the brawny looks and a fun drive you’re looking for, the V6 and 2.3-liter EcoBoost models will earn you enough street cred. However, serious petrolheads will give the 5.0-liter V8 engine the nod as it pumps out 435 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Start it up, and that deep guttural rumble breaks out the goosebumps.

The Mustang features larger intake and exhaust valves, straighter intake ports, and an improved manifold. Electronic Line-Lock keeps the front brakes locked while releasing the rear brakes, letting you spin and warm up the rear wheels.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen created a winning recipe back in the 1970s when they launched the Golf GTI and gave birth to the hot hatch segment. This car soon became a wildly desirable car with its winning combination of compact size and lusty power under the hood. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission. You’ll get 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

With pricing that starts at only $25,595, this vehicle is still one of the most popular hot hatches around. Higher up the ladder, the 2017 model with autobahn-tuned suspension will cost you $34,095. For those seeking more of an edge, opt for the Golf R, which takes you from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds and still comes in under $40,000.

Subaru WRX

With a starting price of $26,695 for the base model, you get symmetrical all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring. In addition, you’ll discover a sport-tuned suspension, a 268-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine, and a six-speed manual transmission.

Up the stakes with the WRX STI model that churns out 305 horsepower with its 2.5-liter engine. The STI is stiffer, both in terms of the body structure and the suspension. Steering is quicker than the standard WRX, and the braking system is spot on.

This hot street-legal rally car deftly handles tight corners on the paved road while bouncing nimbly over uneven dirt roads.

Chevrolet Camaro SS

Adequately competing with the Ford Mustang is Chevy’s much-loved Camaro, which continues to be a popular choice in Texas. Both sport similar V8 engines, but the Camaro SS wins with its 6.2-liter engine paired with an eight-speed transmission. The Camaro generates 455 horsepower, making it just that bit faster.

If the price of $42,900 for the top-of-the-range V8 is too steep, the 1LT model with a modest turbocharged 2.0-liter engine comes in at a respectable $26,900. Introduced to the world in 1966, the Chevrolet Camaro comes with a 50-year history and pedigree. Hit the start button and revel in the ferocious roar.

As you can see, having an awesome performance car parked in your garage that will turn the neighbors green with envy is not as far out of reach as you once thought.

 

5 Cars That Are Being Discontinued

Vehicles are like friendships; they come, and they go. Unfortunately, it’s not until they disappear that one understands their purpose. The following automobiles are getting the boot, and some brand fanatics suffer a devastating loss, but only time will tell if the incoming fleet can ever compete with its fallen predecessors.

Chrysler Town & Country

As one of the oldest runs in vehicle history, it’s hard to lay this one to rest. Since the 1940s, this vehicle has transformed from a wagon, into a sedan, and now into a minivan with impressive options like stow away seating. After transporting thousands of families, this minivan will be replaced by the Chrysler Pacifica. For those brand loyal families who have owned several generations of Town & Country vehicles, this will be a hard hit, but the luxuries of the Pacifica will ease the burden.

Dodge Viper

A feline name would fit this vehicle more accurately since it has managed to sustain many deaths just to resurface stronger. Originally designed to be a modern-day Cobra, the Viper inception included a focus on innovation. In 2007, the Viper was sold to Cerberus Capital Management, causing a brief lapse in production.

After a complete overhaul in 2008, the economy collapsed, and so did the desire for luxury cars. Dodge CEO Ralph Gilles stated 2010 would be the Viper’s last year, but Chrysler Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne brought the hot rod back three years later. If history repeats itself, this car might rise up once again.

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5 City Driving Tips for Your Next Trip to Dallas

Dallas is the ninth largest city, population-wise, in the United States. With that many people in such a small area, it’s sure to grow hectic at times. Those who aren’t used to big city driving might call local motorists aggressive, but when you’re trying to get somewhere in Dallas, the less assertive you are, the more likely you are to cause an accident. So how do visitors survive the cluttered roadways?

Know the Lay of the Land

driving_tips_in_dallas
Image via Flickr by Sejohnso1

 

Buy a map of Dallas or look one up on Google Maps before you venture into the city. Residents know where they’re going, and they’re in a hurry to get there. If you are heading up Central Expressway during peak traffic time and don’t know if you’re supposed to veer east or west on 635, no GPS in the world can help you get to the correct lane in time. You might as well take a deep breath and catch a U-turn after the next exit.

Check Out Closures Before Heading Into Town

On any given day, there is construction going on. Since ice and sleet aren’t a major factor, work on roadways can be completed any time of the year. Therefore, the best way to dodge traffic jams is to check closures in advance. Channel 5 offers a traffic map that they update frequently. Also, the Waze app utilizes the community to document problems on roadways, so a passenger in a vehicle 30 miles south can alert other motorists of a two-by-four in the middle of the Interstate 35E entrance ramp.

Avoid Traveling in Rush Hour

Even though the streets in this metropolis are normally bustling, they turn into parking lots from 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. People rush to arrive at work on time or eagerly dart home. So, avoid those hours when masses of vehicles fill the roadways.

Avoid the Freeways

Taking the side streets is beneficial, especially during the holiday season when festive decorations fill trees and courtyards. In addition to reminding you of all the beautiful sights in the area, avoiding the freeways makes for a more peaceful drive. Select a radio station to your liking (there are tons to choose from), and embrace a longer but less fierce travel to your destination. You might even get a whiff of the ham and cheese muffins coming from J.D.’s Chippery as you drive down Hillcrest and stop to delight in the most amazing cookies west of the Mississippi River.

Take the Dallas North Tollway

When all else fails, pay the fee to access the toll road. This is a cashless venture. Cameras take a picture of your plates if you don’t have a Texas toll tag, and you receive a bill in the mail. Keep in mind this thoroughfare might be just as crowded as the other freeways, especially if there are road closures or it’s a Friday afternoon.

Essentially, if you want to travel in Dallas, pack your patience. Although the people are lovely there, the traffic is something else. Still, don’t get too distressed about aggressive drivers that you forget to soak in all there is to offer in Texas’s third most populated city.

 

5 Best Auto and Car Museums Around Texas

For a car lover, overdosing on classic cars at car shows and museums is impossible. Texas has some fantastic car museums featuring unique collections that car enthusiasts will adore. Instead of visiting every museum with a certain make or era of car, take a trip around Texas and look at a different representation of automobiles in every city where you stop. These five museums will expand your car knowledge and deepen your zeal.

Horton Classic Car Museum

Horton Classic Car Museum - Lone Star Cars
Image via Flickr by chimichagua

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Car-to-Car Communication: How Vehicles Are Talking to Each Other

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 6 million car accidents occur each year. Car companies continue to take steps to make cars safer for consumers using the most sophisticated technology.

Although car-to-car communication may sound like something from “The Jetsons,” but this is not science fiction. Learn more about this futuristic technology and where you can soon find it.
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5 Auto Accessories Every Dog Owner Needs

Taking your furry friend along on car trips can be a hassle. By nature, dogs are frisky four-legged creatures that thrive on running wild and free. Traveling in a car is unnatural to dogs, but with the right pet accessories, you and Sparky can have a comfortable ride together. Check out five car accessories every dog owner needs in their arsenal.

Waterproof Seat Covers

5 Auto Accessories Every Dog Owner Needs - Lone Star Cars
Image via Flickr by jdnx

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