Outdoor Adventures on the Great Allegheny Passage

As summer draws nearer, people start to get restless for outdoor activity in the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite like enjoying nature in the warm, carefree atmosphere of summertime. If you’re looking for something fun and outdoorsy to do near Pittsburgh, why don’t you take the opportunity to explore the Great Allegheny Passage? With 335 miles of outdoor adventure stretching across Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., there is much to be explored on this massive, famous trail.

The main GAP trail is 150 miles long and joins with the 185-mile C&O Canal Towpath in order to form the full length of the entire passage; however, the trails themselves are mostly flat and level, making them ideal for hiking and bicycling. Acclaimed as one of the best and longest trails on the eastern half of the United States, the Great Allegheny Passage provides the experience of a lifetime for anyone who takes the time to take in the entire trail.

The Great Allegheny Passage isn’t just trees and wilderness, either. The trail takes explorers past a variety of trail towns, local restaurants, as well as landmarks that include Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright. Some towns along the trail will even have local events and festivals that occur annually, so be sure to check event calendars before embarking on your journey.

There is no experience in the United States quite like that of the Great Allegheny Passage. With bike rentals for those casual explorers interested in new experiences, or plenty of room for hikers and cyclists to share the road, the GAP trail is a great place for people looking to have fun and spend time in the beautiful wilderness of the East Coast.

Great Allegheny Passage

The 2017 Escape – The First Ford Vehicle with Apple CarPlay

We at Shults Ford of Harmarville know how important it is to stay connected when on the road. Technology can be used for navigation assistance, hands-free calling, and many other convenient features.

Ford has recently announced the first Ford vehicle with Apple CarPlay, the iPhone-connected CarPlay system. This vehicle will be the 2017 Ford Escape, which goes on sale this May. We have known since January that Ford was working on this connective technology, but now we have a first official release vehicle.

Ford stated that this technology will make the ownership experience easier, through features such as remote door lock and remote start. These vehicle features are available with the new FordPass platform. The Escape will also be the first vehicle to offer SYNC3, which features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The SYNC Connect option will also help with “driver-assist” technology, such as parking, and lane control. With CarPlay, drivers with iPhones can use iOS features through the dashboard display.

If you recently bought a Ford though, do not worry. Several of the 2016 models will be able to update the technology to use CarPlay through an upcoming software update.

If you are interested to see all the great connected options found on Ford vehicles, stop by Shults Ford of Harmarville!

First Ford Vehicle with Apple Car Play

Ford Improving Police Vehicles and Police Safety

Ford is working hard to protect those who serve us. Ford is the leading maker of police vehicles, and has been testing new technologies and materials to make improvements to its vehicles.

Police vehicles need strong protection, especially in the doors. During a high-risk stop, police will often crouch behind their car doors. Therefore, the material in the door needs to be strong enough to protect officers from bullets and even high-powered assault weapons.

Safety has been increased, thanks to engineering work done by Ford. The doors have been upgraded, despite the challenge of finding a light, yet durable material. This project has been in the works for over a year, as Ford was determined to make the vehicles safer.

Now, the doors have two layers of protection. One layer is a Kevlar-type material, and the second layer is ceramic tiles. These two materials combined create a strong door able to stop bullets. The doors were tested by machines, performing over 100,000 slams to make sure the hinges can support the extra weight.

The new doors are successful, and the upgraded police vehicles will be going on sale soon. There are already many orders by police departments for these safer vehicles. We at Shults Ford of Harmarville are appreciative of the commitment made to keeping police squads safe on the job by Ford improving police vehicles.

Ford Improving Police Vehicles

Ford Teams Up with Texas FFA Association to Promote Teen Driving Safety in Driving Skills for Life Program

Ford Trucks and Ford Motor Company Fund will team up with the Texas FFA Association to sponsor Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program in order to teach Texas teenagers safe driving habits through free courses including driving lessons, classroom materials, and an interactive website.

Over 1,000 students will participate in an online program, and after completing it they’ll be invited to a driving clinic at the 88th Texas FFA State Convention in July.

Ford has partnered with FFA before, awarding over $8M in scholarships to FFA students, and today Ford and FFA are “furthering our commitment by together striving to combat the leading cause of death for young people in the US,” according to James Graham, the global manager of Driving Skills for Life.

Students in the program will learn about handling their vehicle, how to recognize hazards, managing their speed, and maintaining a safe distance from other drivers. Driving Skills for Life was first established in 2003 and has since been implemented around the world, bringing safe driving skills and knowledge to over 800,000 drivers.

Driving Skills for Life program

Tips for Driving in Spring Weather

As the old saying goes, April showers bring May flowers—and while we aren’t quite there yet, soon the snow and ice will turn into endless rain, and we’ll have a whole new list of driving hazards to look out for. Here are some easy tips for driving in spring weather.

First of all, you’re going to want tires that are in good shape. It won’t be quite as slippery as winter, but wet roads are wet roads, and you need good traction. If your tread is getting low, get new tires! It’s also important to make sure your headlights and taillights are working properly—you’ll have them on a lot in the coming months.

Wiper blades are also very important in spring, for obvious reasons. If you find your blades are squeaking or leaving streaks, it’s time to replace them. Make sure your windows are clean—winter leads to all kinds of residue, and when it’s raining, you want a clear view.

When you’re driving in rain, do not use cruise control! In bad weather, you need all the control of your speed you can get, and you need to be able to slow down without touching the brakes.

Do you have any spring driving tips to share? Add them in the comments below.

driving in spring

The Ford Focus RS: A High-Performance Hatchback

Ford is adding some kick to the new Focus design, adding the RS trim for those looking for added performance. This model comes with a sporty hatch design with a redesigned exterior, distinct badging, and a powerful new powertrain.

According to Ford, the Ford Focus RS recently came off the line at its manufacturing plant in Saarlouis, Germany, and is set to reach the US sometime this spring. The RS has a new 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine with an integrated all-wheel drive system and Dynamic Torque Control.

“The arrival of Focus RS in the United States this spring adds to a potent hot hatch lineup,” said Ford in a press release. “Ford’s Focus ST and Fiesta ST both have enjoyed critical acclaim and success. Sales of the Focus ST increased 9 percent last year while Fiesta ST saw a gain of 4 percent.”

The RS will also feature an innovative driver select mode, letting you choose the performance configurations of your liking. These include Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift mode. Customizing shock tuning, stability control, and engine and steering response, the new select mode features makes the RS incredibly fun to drive. We can’t wait to see this model hit the streets later this year.

Ford Focus RS

Valentine’s Day Auto Gifts for Any Car Lover

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you have to panic when it comes to finding the right gift for the auto lover in your life. There are tons of great presents to consider, from tools to fun road trips.

According to Safelite, one of the best Valentine Day auto gifts is a Bluetooth headset or adapter. Although most new cars come with this system integrated in, if someone doesn’t already have Bluetooth, it is a must-have item. It lets individuals drive and talk on the phone while keeping both hands on the wheel, perfect for someone who travels a lot.

Maintenance items also make great gifts. These include things like premium oil, washer fluids, car wash formula, and even tires or wipers. Providing a car lover with an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get to work is a perfect present.

High-tech presents include things like satellite radio and remote car starters. Many cars come with satellite radio capabilities, but the subscription runs out. You can either renew it, or opt for an entirely new system in general. Remote car starters are great for people that are always in a rush.

Other ideas include a road trip, whether it is for a day or a week, or even racecar driving experience. Many tracks offer ride-alongs, and some brands like Ferrari and BMW even offer driving lessons at certain times of the year if you are lucky enough to make it to one.

Valentine’s Day auto gifts

New Ford GT Snap Kit Showcases Model’s Sleek Styling

Kids visiting the 2016 North American International Auto Show can get a free, limited-edition Ford GT snap kit from the Ford Kiosk. This snap kit is a build-it-yourself model of the real thing, celebrating the high-performance model and its striking looks.

According to Ford, the brand is still partnering with Revell to build the snap kits for the GT. Revell helped Ford build Mustang and Raptor kits in previous years. The Ford GT snap kit will also be available to purchase through online stores and retailers in April.

“Our annual Revell Make ‘n Take model kit program has become a fun-filled auto show tradition,” said Mark Bentley, Ford Licensing manager. “Letting kids build their own Ford GT is a great way to introduce them to the Ford brand and create new enthusiasts.”

This auto show kit includes a 14-piece assembly with a limited-edition badge to certify it is from the auto show. The retail model will be a little more complex, with 28 parts, and it will sell for roughly $15. Kids who are excited about the new Ford GT will love these kits.

Ford GT Snap Kit

A New Year’s Resolution: Making Your Car Lighter

Many New Year’s resolutions are to shed some pounds during 2016, but maybe it is time to apply that attitude towards your vehicle. Making your car lighter is a great way to save some money on gas and to lower your emissions output. It is simple physics: a lighter car tends to have better performance.

According to eHow, there are several ways to make your car lighter. The first thing you can do is to clean it out and remove any unnecessary weight. Get rid of all the trash, and try not to use your vehicle as storage. Keeping your car spotless could make a serious difference.

For those looking to cut more weight, you can remove seats fairly simply by using a socket set and screwdriver. Power seats are especially heavy because they have an added electric motor. Rear seats are usually the first to go, and can help you shed as much as 140 lbs.

Does your car have added bodywork? If you know you don’t need it, take it off. This includes things like fiberglass aero-skirts and front air dams. While these may claim to increase aerodynamics, many added parts like these simply add pounds.

The best thing you can do, though expensive, it to replace steel body panels with carbon fiber and aluminum. This can drastically change the vehicle’s weight and characteristics. If you still have steel wheels, you should consider upgrading to aluminum wheels to shed hundreds of pounds.

For more info on how to safely remove weight from your car, visit the Shults Ford of Harmarville Service Center.

making your car lighter

Line of Ford Trailers and Campers Introduced

A line of licensed Ford trailers and campers have been introduced with the goal of letting Ford customers explore the nation. Ford officials say the new models are “for our adventurous customers” and are built from Ford’s top of the line towing technology.

The new trailers and campers are built in partnership with Livin Lite, an Indiana-based subsidiary of Thor Industries, a leader in the industry. Livin Lite will use its exclusive aluminum alloy to make the models stronger and more lightweight. Ford says licensing to Livin Lite was “an easy decision” given their use of advanced materials and bold design.

Ford will offer both slide-in campers and travel trailers and toy haulers, with the campers starting at 6 and 8 feet and the trailers starting at 22 and 24 feet. In the future Ford plans to add shorter campers and longer trailers as well. The models are inspired by the Ford F-Series and have a similar front end design.

Campers will be available in the first few months of 2016 with trailers and toy haulers following in the second quarter of the year.

Ford trailers and campers

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