We wanted to share this really cool video of our tech Chris Albright showing off his skateboarding skills! (He’s great at fixing cars too!)
Winter is never easy on your vehicle. If you’ve hit potholes in the road, your tires may have lost pressure, CAA South Central Ontario says.
And your brakes may have accumulated road salt; your wheel alignment may not be right after driving on slick roads; and your car may be covered in a mixture of leftover snow, grime and salt.
That said, the snow has melted (hopefully), and the temperatures are finally nice again. April is National Car Care Month, making it the ideal time to give your vehicle a good inspection. Here’s a 25-point car care checklist so you know you didn’t miss anything.
Replace Your Windshield Wiper Blades
You may not have used your windshield wipers much in the winter, except maybe to sweep away light flurries. However, rainy weather typically accompanies spring. Affordable Auto Service in Hopkins, Minnesota, recommends changing out windshield wipers now before getting caught in the rain.
Speaking of windshields, you better watch your wiper fluid. The experts at Be Car Care Aware in Ottawa, Canada, suggest taking a look at coolant, transmission, brake and power steering fluid levels. “Keep in mind that your power steering, brake and coolant systems are closed, so low fluid levels may indicate a leak,” they say.
Replace Plugs and Batteries
Nathan Duke at AAA Northeast says that a car’s plugs and batteries can be depleted up to 60% faster than when the weather is warmer. The colder it gets, the more these components strain to keep the vehicle going. You can take a look at the parts yourself if you feel comfortable doing so; otherwise, call a mechanic to do the job.
Schedule an Oil Change
Now that you’re out of the house more, make sure to schedule an oil change at your dealership or nearby mechanic, Auto Stop Limited, Inc. in Baltimore reminds. Besides keeping the car running smoothly, “oil also prevents contaminants from accumulating in the engine, and helps draw heat away from the combustion chamber. It can only do this for so long before it breaks down.”
Wash the Car
The warmer the weather gets, the more you’ll see neighborhood kids offering car washes. If your vehicle is covered in road salt and grime, you should prioritize this job for more than just aesthetic reasons. As Ashley at Embracing Homemaking notes, leaving that road salt on the exterior for too long can deplete the color and corrode the metal.
Don’t Forget Underneath Your Car
While you’ve got your bucket, soap and sponge handy, John Goreham at BestRide writes you should give your car’s undercarriage a good cleaning. Just like the exterior of the vehicle, the undercarriage can get a gunky accumulation of grime and road salt. If you don’t want to get down on all fours during cleaning, Goreham says a hose will get the job done.
Give the Car a Good Waxing
Everyone loves that shiny, picture-perfect look of a car after it’s freshly cleaned and buffed. As Precision Tune Auto Care notes though, just like cleaning your car, you should wax it for more than just that glimmering finish. A good wax will protect your vehicle from spring weather that may loosen branches or pelt the car with rain. You should continue to wax every few weeks or so to keep your car safe.
Inspect for Paint Damage
Once your car’s exterior is grime-free, give it a thorough look, Jil McIntosh at Autofocus advises. Do you see any scratches, chips or other damage? These are dangerous for the long-term health of the vehicle’s paint, McIntosh says. Like road salt and other debris, this damage can also corrode the paint, so don’t wait to fix any scratches if you find them.
Replace Your Cabin Filter
Spring is prime allergy season, and the cabin filter could contribute to that sneezy and sniffly feeling, according to YourMechanic. This filter can prevent allergens from getting trapped in the car. If you haven’t changed out your cabin filter in a while, you could be breathing in pollen, dirt and dust each time you hop in for a drive.
Check Tire Pressure
Above, we mentioned how potholes and wintry roads can deplete tire pressure. Kix Brooks Radio spoke to the team at O’Reilly Auto Parts, and they mentioned that even though tires may look fine, they could be running out of air. “Tires lose 1 to 2 pounds of air pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops outside,” the O’Reilly team explains. Spring temperatures can sometimes fluctuate, so make sure to check tire pressure regularly.
Change Air Filters Now for When You Use Your Air Conditioner Later
Mobile car detailing company Spiffy recommends replacing the vehicle’s air filters. Also, if you live in an area where spring weather can quickly switch from warm and temperate to hot and summer-like, don’t wait until June to check whether your car’s air conditioner is working. Test it now so you have plenty of time for AC repairs if needed.
Gut the Inside of Your Car
The frigid winter temperatures may make you less inclined to make a ton of trips to and from your car. In the interim, stuff accumulates in the backseat and the trunk. On a sunny warm day, go through everything and decide what you should throw out and what should go in the house, Infiniti of Grand Rapids writes.
Clean the Inside of the Car, Too
Now that your backseats and trunk are mostly empty, repair company CARite recommends that you clean any items in there you can. Vacuum the seats and the floors, wash the back windows and dust off your dashboard.
Don’t Forget Your Interior Air Vents
Alliance Auto Sales in Wauconda, Illinois, warns against putting that vacuum away just yet: “You want to get into the habit of vacuuming while you are dusting the interior to prevent dust from floating to parts of the car that were just cleaned,” they say. They also suggest using the bristles of a paintbrush to dust off the air vents.
Finish with a Leather Cleaner
If you have any leather surfaces inside the car, including seats, Eric Weiner at Automobile Magazine suggests sprucing these up with leather cleaner. After applying the cleaner and lathering in it, Weiner recommends using a cotton towel to gently remove any leftover traces of the cleaner.
Remove Debris from the Engine
Whether your winter was snowy or dry, VIP Tires & Service in Lewiston, Maine, suggests looking under the hood for unwanted debris that can slow down the car. Acorns, pine needles, road salt and crunchy leaves can all prevent rubber gaskets, drainage holes, vents and the engine from working optimally.
Realign All Tires
As mentioned above, driving on slick snowy roads littered with leftover road salt can wreak havoc on tire alignment. D&S Automotive Collision and Restyling in Mentor, Ohio, notes that now is the time to look at your wheels and tires. Swap out your winter tires for all-season ones, and give the tires a look to see whether the tread is too worn. You’ll also likely want to rotate and align them now.
Test Your Lights
Although the days are longer and the sun sets later, you still don’t want to be in a situation where you’re on the road and your bulbs, blinkers or lights go out. Not only does this make driving dangerous, but you could get ticketed. Jim Sigel Automotive in Grants Pass, Oregon, recommends testing all lights now. If these go out, most of the time you can change the bulb yourself.
Do an Exhaust System Analysis
Honda of Kirkland in Washington recommends taking a good look at the car’s hangers and supports. Check them for any signs of wear and tear. Exhaust leaks are no good, so if you see one contact your mechanic, stat.
Revisit Your Insurance Policy
As Desjardins Insurance says: “Spring is the perfect time to take a look at your car insurance policy and make any necessary updates.” Of course, your policy may be fine as it is, but if you want to reduce your coverage or add a new plan, you might as well take care of this now.
Test All Belts for Slackness
If any of your belts are too slack, you will need to contact a mechanic to get these tightened or replaced. “Cold winter weather often weakens your vehicle’s belts, and if they snap or break while you’re cruising around this spring, a tow truck will be the only way to get your vehicle moving again,” Austin’s Automotive Specialists in Texas says.
Renew Black Surfaces
If you’ve never touched your car’s mirror housings, bumpers, sidewalls and other black surfaces because you’re not sure how to clean them, Bob Weber at the Chicago Tribune recommends buying a cleaning gloss intended just for those surfaces. If using an aerosol can, spritz some on a cleaning cloth and then gently rub these surfaces, Weber advises. Avoid getting the cleaner on brake rotors and wheels.
Don’t Wait on an Engine That Stalls
If your car stalls or idles roughly when driving, or if it takes multiple attempts to get your vehicle started, it’s time to go to the mechanic, Christensen Automotive in Reno, Nevada, says. While this can seem like a serious issue, it isn’t always. Ignition wires may have burned out, the air filter may be too grimy or the spark plugs may need to be replaced. By regularly doing some of those repairs yourself, you can prevent a rough-idling engine in the future.
Make Sure Drains Aren’t Clogged
The drains in the car, particularly near the doors and the front cowling, allow fluids to naturally move. However, if these get clogged with debris, they’ll stop working properly, Midwest Performance Cars in Chicago says. Water and other fluids can then spill on the dashboard or floors, making for quite a messy trip.
Get an Inspection
If some of these jobs seem a little out of your comfort zone, or if you think your car may have been damaged during any winter drives, always go to the pros. Nancy Yang at MPR News spoke to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence’s vice president, Tony Molla, and he says that scheduling an inspection should be at the top of your spring car care to-do list.
Whether you’re a classic car fanatic or you prefer the newer models coming down the pike, there’s nothing like an auto show. If you can’t get enough of these events, now is the time to start buying your tickets — and maybe cashing in any airlines miles you’ve saved up.
Here are 25 awesome upcoming auto shows around the world to keep an eye on this year. Industry insiders might be the only people who will catch most of these — unless you’re also planning trips to Zagreb and Bangkok this year — but anyone can (and should) follow coverage of these shows.
Bangkok International Motor Show, Thailand
The Bangkok International Motor Show has been around for 37 years, yet its popularity keeps growing. In 2012, nearly two million people attended; last year’s attendance records estimated that the event received over 1.7 million visitors. From March 23 through April 3, you can see what the hype is about.
Tulsa Auto Show, Oklahoma
The Tulsa Expo Center is home to the Tulsa Auto Show on the weekend of April 15. Prepare to see the newest vehicles from Maserati, Audi, Subaru, Lexus, Jaguar, Fiat, Volvo and more.
State Fair of Texas
The State Fair of Texas auto show runs from September 30 until October 23 at Fair Park in Dallas, so you have plenty of time to check out the event. If you’ve been to this fair before, the car show is a new addition, but it’s also a hefty one: There will be at least 400 cars from all the major manufacturers.
Central Illinois Auto Show
A staple in Peoria, the Central Illinois Auto Show will celebrate its 26th year in 2016. The event, presented by the Peoria Metro New Car Dealers Association, will take place on the weekend of April 4. Nearly 40,000 people will gather at the Peoria Civic Center to see cars from more than 30 automakers. There’s even a No. 38 M&M’s Ford Fusion NASCAR racing simulator.
New Mexico International Auto Show
Test drive the newest Toyotas, Fiats, Rams, Dodges, Jeeps, Chryslers and Fords at the New Mexico International Auto Show. The Albuquerque Convention Center will have plenty of brand new trucks and cars on display from April 15–17. There will also be alternative fuel vehicles, crossovers and SUVs from major automakers.
Alabama Auto Show
Check out the coolest 2016 models at the Alabama Auto Show and give back while doing so: money from ticket sales goes toward charities for children that the Birmingham Automobile Dealers Association supports. The show runs from April 7–10, giving you four days to get to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, California
A Father’s Day tradition in Beverly Hills, the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance blends automobiles with entertainment, design and fashion for one unforgettable day. Brand new motorcycles and cars will be on display. Frommer’s Travel Guide calls this auto show “one of the 300 unmissable events in the world.” Do visit to see what the ever-changing theme will be for 2016.
New York International Auto Show
Established in 1900, the New York International Auto Show is one of the oldest car shows in the world. You can check out 1,000 brand new trucks and cars across four floors, including “the newest vehicles and the latest futuristic concept cars.” Get to New York between March 25 and April 3.
Kiawah Island Motoring Retreat, South Carolina
Beach town Kiawah Island, which hosted the PGA Championships in 2012, is the home of the Kiawah Island Motoring Retreat. On the weekend of April 15, venture to the Ocean Course to see “world-class concours cars in a judged event and several other activities designed to thrill car enthusiasts and celebrate the Lowcountry.” With race cars and vintage vehicles on display, this isn’t your average auto show.
Auto China 2016 — The 14th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition
The Auto China show only happens on a two-year basis. If you can get to the China International Exhibition Centre in Beijing from April 25 through May 4, it’s worth visiting. There will be a large roster of vehicles and parts to see, including commercial cars, car accessories, energy-efficient vehicles, new car technology, safety testing equipment and car design systems.
Zagreb Auto Show, Croatia
The Zagreb Auto Show at the Zagreb Fair takes place April 6–10. This is quite a big show, boasting 14 pavilions of vehicles. With karts, motorcycles and trucks, no matter your favorite type of vehicle, it’s represented here. You can even win a Volkswagen Up.
Austin Auto Show, Texas
Bring the whole family to the Austin Auto Show April 8–10. There will be a bounce house, balloon animals, costumed characters, face-painting and even a Batmobile for kids. Adults will appreciate the opportunity to test drive Mazdas, Dodges, Fords and more while viewing the newest models of practically every car you can think of.
Edmonton Motorshow, Canada
The Edmonton Motorshow will return to the Edmonton Expo Center this year from April 7–10. A variety of auto part manufacturers, repair companies and local dealerships will be on the exhibitor floor. If you can, arrive a day early. On April 6, the Edmonton Motorshow will present the Precious Metal Gala, where you can enjoy entertainment, food, and “gain exclusive access to some of the most elegant and striking vehicles available.”
AltCar Expo, California
Since 2005, the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica has introduced curious car lovers to the world of sustainable driving. Last year, the event celebrated its 10th anniversary. While you can see plenty of energy-saving smart cars, there will also be speakers on hand who will discuss the environmental benefits of using alternative fuel sources. This year’s expo will be at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on September 16–17.
Los Angeles Auto Show
Over in LA, the Los Angeles Auto Show is quite a spectacle. You can test drive new models and see brand new cars unveiled for the first time and. This is one of the most anticipated shows of the year, so make sure to get to the Los Angeles Convention Center on November 18–27.
Memphis International Auto Show, Tennessee
With new SUVs, trucks, cars and more, the Memphis Cook Convention Center is the place to be on October 28-30 for the Memphis International Auto Show. Just a few manufacturers with brand new models that you can expect to see are Buick, Nissan, Lexus, GMC, Acura, Kia and Audi. Parking is free, so you can spend your extra cash on snacks and merch.
Autoexpo Africa, Kenya
In its 19th year, Kenya’s Autoexpo Africa has more than just cars. You can also buy car parts if you’re into modifying, restoring or repairing your own vehicles. The event is sponsored by Expogroup, a company that was founded in 1996 and serves such parts of the world as India, Latin America, Australia, Africa and more. The show runs from June 10–12.
Manila International Auto Show, Philippines
The Philippine Trade Training Center and the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City will host the 11th Manila International Auto Show on April 9–12. These buildings have more than 30,000 square feet of outdoor and indoor space between them that will include exhibitions from top vehicle manufacturers. With stunt shows and safety seminars, you’ll want to stick around all day.
SEMA Show, Nevada
The show hosted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA Show, takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 1–4. “The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place…” the event organizers write. “In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.”
Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, Ohio
The beautiful Ault Park in Cincinnati was founded in 1978 and has been used for art shows and health awareness events. It’s also the site of the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, where cars are divided by classes for easy viewing. You can find antiques produced before 1924, pre-war classics, sports classics produced through 1959 and even future classics made 2000 and later. With competitions, a 100 Years of BMW exhibit and a variety of Ferraris on display, the event runs from June 10–12.
Moscow International Automobile Salon, Russia
Between August 24 and September 4, you can catch the Moscow International Automobile Salon. Organized by the Nonprofit Partnership Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre and the Association of Russian Automakers, this expo takes place every other year, so see the hottest rides here while you still can.
Sacramento International Auto Show, California
Whether you prefer everyday vehicles such as Jeeps, Kias and Scions, or you gravitate toward luxurious automakers such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Bentley, you will find many cars for your viewing pleasure at the Sacramento International Auto Show. There will be special attractions at the Cal Expo on October 14–16, including a kids zone, classic cars, an auto museum, test drive zones and old motorcycles.
Kyiv International Motor Show, Ukraine
Another auto show to check out is the Kyiv International Motor Show. In its 12th year, this expo focuses on commercial vehicles and trucks. The event takes place at the International Exhibition Center on October 26–28. Here’s your chance to get a better look at Ukrainian passenger vehicles, specialized cars, cargo vehicles and more.
Sao Paulo International Motor Show, Brazil
As one of the biggest auto shows on the planet, the Sao Paulo International Motor Show is a proven hit. For nearly 60 years, car fanatics from Latin America have gathered to see beautiful cars and enjoy other entertainment. This year’s event, on November 10–20, is heavily promoting the hashtag “nada sera como antes,” which roughly translates to “nothing will be as before.”
Motor Show Bologna, Italy
As the home of Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini and more, Italy is a major player when it comes to luxury cars. The Motor Show Bologna (December 4–13) is your exclusive chance to see these and other carmakers. The event organizers call this show “a six-sense digital experience” because the event features live entertainment, digital platforms, multimedia, virtual reality booths, test drives and more.
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If you love all things motorsports, delve into the long history of racing by taking a trip to any of these museums dedicated to roaring engines and cheering crowds. You can see vintage and beloved cars up close while discovering more about worldwide racetracks and organizations.
We’ve found 25 international motorsports museums that will make you want to plan a road trip, stat.
Barber Motorsports Museum, Alabama
Racer George Barber opened the Barber Motorsports Museum in 1988. Although he preferred Porsches, that museum had already been done, so he decided to open a motorcycle museum instead. At least 650 motorcycles, some vintage and some modern, are on display. The bikes are regularly switched out so you can eventually see Barber’s whole collection of 1,400 bikes.
Eastern Museum of Motor Racing, Pennsylvania
A group of motorsports fans called the Williams Grove Old Timers would spend a lot of time together talking shop, so in 1975 they decided to take their collective passion and make a museum dedicated to racing. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing has 40 acres of space that includes a racetrack. Sometimes, you can even see the display cars being driven.
National Motor Museum, England
In the village of Beaulieu, you can find the National Motor Museum, which mixes motorcycles with other vehicles on display. Some exhibits that you may see include World War I cars, a chronology of the British Land Speed record, an auto garage from the 1930s, the history of the Formula One and more. More than 250 cars and other vehicles comprise these displays.
Grand Prix Museum, Macau
The Macau Grand Prix is a beloved racing event. For the race’s 40th anniversary in 1993, the Grand Prix Museum became a public attraction. Celebrating a motorsports history that dates back to 1954, the museum has since undergone renovations to celebrate later anniversaries.
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Florida
Daytona Beach is a famed racing destination, but beyond the track you can also find the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. No matter what kind of racing you enjoy, nearly 50 vehicles are on display at any given time. You can also check out about 100 exhibits chock full of memorabilia. Play driving simulation games and watch videos highlighting the history of racing to close out your day.
Musee des 24 Heures du Mans, France
A museum established in honor of the 24 Hours of Le Mans event, the Musee des 24 Heures du Mans was actually called the Automobile Museo de la Sarthe when it was built in 1961. It wasn’t until 1991 that it changed focus to the Le Mans race. When you visit, you can see car pictures and videos, race collectibles, and more than 100 vehicles that have participated in Le Mans races over the years.
Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, California
Wally Parks himself opened the NHRA Motorsports Museum in association with the Automobile Club of Southern California. Since 1998, race lovers have been able to stroll across 28,500 square feet of motorsports history. There’s a “Chrisman, Brinker Gallery of Speed” exhibit that opened in 2014 and also artwork, driving uniforms, helmets, race trophies, and almost 50 vehicles from various generations.
Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Team Store, North Carolina
Another major racing city is Charlotte, North Carolina, which is home to the Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Team Store. NASCAR fans should not miss this one, as you can learn more about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, discovering the technology and thinking that makes these races possible. The museum is free to visit.
Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum, Belgium
Another famous European motorsports museum, the Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum celebrates Belgium’s rich racing history. You can see beloved vehicles such as Coopers, Porsches, Chevrons, Marches and Ferraris across the ages. As you walk through the museum’s cellar, you’ll feel like you took a step back through time when you look at documents and other old memorabilia.
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Florida
Whether you know him as the “King of the Dragsters” or “Big Daddy,” Don Garlits is one of the most popular drag racers in the history of the sport. The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is his creation, and it includes 17 of his own World Championship titles and a slew of classic cars from the beginning of Garlits’ racing career in the 1950s to his retirement.
Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum and the Motorsports Hall of Fame, Arizona
You can keep yourself entertained all day when visiting the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum, which shares a building with the Motorsports Hall of Fame. Steve Stroud opened the museum after customers at his Phoenix Parker Store would inquire about his memorabilia. With 16,000 square feet of space, there’s plenty of room for exhibits featuring cars from the Phoenix International Speedway, the Copper World Classic and more.
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Museum, North Carolina
Richard Childress Racing has won 15 championships in nearly 50 years. Celebrate that heritage at the RCR Museum, which is 47,000 square feet. Any vehicle that Childress or his team drove is on display, including the Monte Carlo that won the 1998 Daytona 500, All Star vehicles driven by Dale Earnhardt between 1995 and 2000, Earnhardt’s No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet, and more.
Hajek Motorsports Museum, Oklahoma
Heavily featuring cars and memorabilia from Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Bob Glidden, Don Nicholson and other racing legends, the Hajek Motorsports Museum was founded by racer Brent Hajek. The museum is a repurposed school that includes the Hajek Motorsports Racing Car Collection. Don’t miss other gear from the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joe Amato, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Bernstein and more.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Indiana
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is yet another revered US destination for motorsports fanatics. If you’re here to see a race, make sure to book some time for a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Founded in 1956 by Karl Kizer and Anton Hulman Jr., the museum expanded in 1975 and is now 30,000 square feet. The Hall of Fame is still active, while the museum itself features vehicles of all kinds, including drag racers, motorcycles, midget cars, NASCARs and INDYCARs.
Donington Grand Prix Exhibition, England
The Donington Grand Prix Exhibition is also a must-see. You can visit any of its 130 exhibits, full of antique Williams and McLarens. The Wheatcroft Collection, created by Kevin Wheatcroft, features motorcycles and cars driven during World War II. “The time is right to open the doors to some of these treasures,” Wheatcroft said. “I have been badgered for many years to show these vehicles to the public and very much look forward to adding more vehicles as each month goes by.”
Hockenheimring Motor-Sport-Museum, Germany
The Hockenheimring track Baden-Wurttemberg hosts the German Grand Prix. Nearby is the Hockenheimring Motor-Sport-Museum, which was founded in 1986 and has more than 300 exhibits showcasing touring cars, bikes and Formula 1 winners. With 23,680 square feet of space, the cars that you see in the exhibits are switched out regularly. Guided tours are available.
Museu do Automobilismo Brasileiro, Brazil
If you’re ever traveling in Brazil, particularly Passo Fundo, don’t miss the Museu do Automobilismo Brasileiro, which translates to the Museum of Brazilian Auto Racing. The Prix Hotel, erected in 2012, is nearby. The museum opened in 1996 but expanded in later years. Learn more about the history of Brazilian auto racing with more than 100 cars produced in various eras.
World of Speed Museum, Oregon
A nonprofit, the World of Speed Museum encompasses all racing, including hydroplanes, NASCAR, open wheels, motorcycles, land speed racing and drag racing. Any time you visit, you can see nearly 100 cars in changing exhibits, including the 1979 Oldsmobile 442 driven by Cale Yarborough, the 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Terry Labonte, the 1974 Dodge Charger driven by Jim Vandiver, the 2000 Chevy Impala driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and more.
Museo Ferrari, Italy
The Museo Ferrari in Maranello is a Mecca for many and a testament to the history of this luxury car manufacturer. Test your own sharp driving instincts with interactive pit stop walls at the World Championship and Formula One exhibits. Other exhibits are changed out often, so no two experiences are alike. Watch clips of Grand Prix races through the years, take souvenir photos and drive in a Formula One virtual simulator while you check out some seriously impressive vehicles.
New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Mobile Hall of Fame Museum, Connecticut
Dig deep into New England racing history at the NEAR Mobile Hall of Fame Museum. This nonprofit relies on work from volunteer car lovers and donations from Connecticut patrons to keep running. Unlike the other museums on this list, this NEAR establishment is mobile and travels with the organization. You’ll have to check the NEAR calendar to see when the museum is coming to a town near you.
Museo Juan Manuel Fangio, Argentina
The Museo Juan Manuel Fangio honors Argentinian racing great Juan Manuel Fangio and is just a short stroll from his childhood home. A Formula One champion five times over, Fangio’s prizes are all on display, as are the 27 vehicles that he raced to achieve victory, like his 1939 Chevrolet and 1929 Ford A. Cars that belonged to other popular racers, including Edward House and Juan Galvez, are also proudly shown off.
National Motor Racing Museum, Australia
Expand your horizons as you take in the thrill of Australian motorsports at the National Motor Racing Museum. The Bathurst Light Car Club opened the museum in 1988, and the Bathurst Regional Council became owners in 1997. With 60 motorcycles and 50 cars on the museum’s grounds, it’s a good thing the building is open seven days a week.
Miller Motorsports Park Museum, Utah
Housed inside the Comfort Inn & Suites in Tooele, Utah, is the Miller Motorsports Park Museum. Created by car fanatic Larry H. Miller, the museum began as a place for Miller to teach others about Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. His collection grew to include Shelby Mustangs, Ford GT40s and more. Some of his vehicles have competed in races, like the 1966 MKII Ford GT40, the 1964 Cobra Daytona Coupe and more.
National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, Iowa
Can’t get enough of sprint cars? The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, should be your next road trip destination. This nonprofit was established in 1992 and has four stories. The 8,000-square-foot Donald Lamberti National Sprint Car Museum is on the first floor. With 25 vehicles plus various memorabilia such as helmets and trophies, there’s a lot to take in.
NASCAR Hall of Fame, North Carolina
Immerse yourself in all things NASCAR at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. When you walk in, there’s a huge video screen with a looping video introducing you to the history of this racing giant. The exhibits change during any given month, but some permanent fixtures include race memorabilia such as drivers’ uniforms, photos and original vehicles. You can learn what it’s like to be in a real NASCAR race with a virtual simulator. After you practice, climb into a NASCAR replica vehicle on a recreated track to digitally compete with others.
Cars, bikes, racing — these aren’t men’s worlds anymore.
We’ve already written about some great women’s motorcycle clubs (twice, in fact), but now let’s shine a spotlight on some women’s car clubs and racing organizations. Ours is a world full of female gearheads and great female racers. These 25 groups below are proof of that.
Horsepower & Heels, Nationwide
Erica Ortiz, a drag racer and the founder of Horsepower & Heels, liked racing with the men, but she wanted the respect that they so effortlessly received. So, she decided to band with other women and start her own racing organization. Together with photographer Eddie Maloney and contributors Taylor Hyatt and Kelly Morris, the team at Horsepower & Heels promote women’s racing. Ortiz still races and is a multi-time champion.
Women in Motorsports, Inc., Nationwide
Women in Motorsports, Inc. supports female racers with professional aspirations. You can link up with other racers and learn more about training, bike parts, equipment and more. If you want to become a data technician, suspension technician, chassis mechanic, crew chief or work in a similar field, this group has the connections to help you get there.
FIA Women in Motorsport, International
As a worldwide motorsports group, the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) also happens to have its own branch devoted to women’s racers called FIA Women in Motorsport. Founded in 2009, the group “aims to create a sports culture which facilitates and values the full participation of women in all aspects of motor sport.” Former rally driver Michele Mouton is the group’s president.
Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports (WAM Inc.), North Carolina
WAM is the fusion of two NASCAR organizations, the Busch Series Ladies Association and the Winston Cup Racing Wives Auxiliary. Established in 2004, the group is involved in North Carolina charities such as Royal Oaks Elementary, Jeffrey’s Toy Closet (which gives to people affected by disasters and sick children) and Mooresville Soup Kitchen.
Car Chix, Nationwide
Car Chix is a motorsports organization for women that promotes and advertises women in all aspects of racing at any skill level. Jeanette DesJardins established the group in 2010. Make sure not to miss the Drag Racing for Life Breast Cancer Fundraiser, which the Car Chix have hosted since their formation. People have donated more than $50,000 since the event’s inception. The women support other charities, including those for multiple sclerosis, children’s health and more.
Grace Autosport, Georgia
As “the first racing team driven by women,” the team at Grace Autosport in Atlanta does more than just drive. Off the track, they “promote and inspire young women to pursue their dreams within the field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).” You can pick up some cool T-shirts, hoodies, hats or rubber bracelets to show your support.
British Women Racing Drivers Club (BWRDC), UK
Mary Wheeler founded the BWRDC back in 1962, making it one of the oldest women’s motorsports organizations around. Members participate in races of all kinds, including karting and rallying; some even join championship races. As long as you have a National or International A MSA license, you’re welcome to become a full club member.
Chassis Lassies, Colorado
Founded in 1995, the Chassis Lassies was formed from original members of the Colorado Camaro Club, another all-women organization. The members typically spend their time participating in parades and cruises and attending car shows. Their big annual event is the Weekend Mystery Trip, a yearly staple on the Chassis Lassies’ calendar.
Diesel Dolls, Georgia
In the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, the women of Diesel Dolls are proving that they rule the roost. This newer group, established in 2013, lives by the slogan of “beautiful women and beautiful diesels.” They’re always welcoming interested new members who love racing and giving back to their community.
Lady Luck CC, West Coast
If you have a car from before 1969, you’re welcome in the Lady Luck CC. This group is led by its president, Betty, who owns a 1949 Kaiser Traveler. If you can’t attend any of the group’s drives, you can always check out the Lady Luck Car Care merchandize on its website; all items are environmentally friendly.
Octane Angels Car Club, California
Another group that prefers older cars is the Octane Angels Car Club. This Southern California group writes, “We love our cars, family and our friends.” If you have your own classic car, bring it around and join the club.
TBSS Ladies, Nationwide
At TBSS Ladies, it’s go big or go home. These women drive trucks instead of cars and call themselves “the most badass truck driving women out there!” This relatively new group is gaining members all the time.
Hell’s Belles Car Club, Nationwide
With branches also in Seattle and Los Angeles, Hell’s Belles Car Club originated in San Francisco, where founders Andrea “Crafty” DeHart and Mary Mack decided to start an organization for women who are passionate about classic cars. “The founders reckoned it was pretty special for a gal to own a classic car, but a testament of true love to own a sled in San Francisco,” they explain. As members relocated, other branches were founded that still exist today.
Miss Shifters, Washington
Yet another club for classic car lovers, Spokane, Washington’s Miss Shifters is for women whos rides are pre-1979. The group hosts monthly meetings where you can learn more about the organization’s objectives and planned activities. You can also pick up some Miss Shifters merch on the group’s website.
Heart Wrenchers Auto Club, California
A few women enrolled in the automotive program at Skyline College in San Bruno, California, decided to start their own organization in 2010. They called it the Heart Wrenchers Auto Club. Even though the members are still full-time students, they have developed a mentor program at area high schools and host fundraisers and other events.
Velo Girls, California
Velo Girls have members of all ages that gather from Half Moon Bay to Mendocino to Morgan Hill and beyond. Established in 2002, this group was awarded the Club of the Year title by USA Cycling in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. Riders enjoy cruising on cyclocrossers, mountain bikes and more.
Little Bellas, Vermont
In 2007, Sabra and Lea Davison started Little Bellas, an organization in Jericho, Vermont, that teaches young girls ages 7 to 16 years old how to ride mountain bikes and eat healthily. The organization has become so popular that it’s grown beyond Vermont to other chapters across the country. Girls can join day camps or enroll in summer programs.
Women’s Cycling Association (WCA), nationwide
You don’t necessarily have to ride to be a part of WCA; as long as you care about women riders, you’re welcome here. “The WCA seeks to unify and represent women cyclists and advocate on their behalf; to sporting governing bodies, race organizers, and team management…the WCA will work towards meeting our platform goals by lobbying for equal rights for women cyclists, reviewing existing policies and advocating for changes, and networking with grassroots programs that provide support and guidance to cyclists,” the organization says.
The Amy D. Foundation, Colorado
Amy Alison Dombroski was a professional cyclist and U23 National Championship winner before her life was sadly cut short. The Amy D. Foundation was established to memorialize her. This Colorado nonprofit supports the development of female cyclists by providing equipment and mentoring to up-and-coming competitive athletes, and working with Little Bellas to inspire young riders.
PA Women’s Cycling, Pennsylvania
Established in 2007, PA Women’s Cycling seeks to unite women riders in the state and inform them about events in their area. No matter where you live in Pennsylvania, this group only communicates digitally, so you’re never too far away. Some of the teams that are part of this organization include Alliance Environmental in Southeastern, Bikeline/LWA in Lehigh Valley and CCV/Iron Hill in Chester County.
Nonprofit organization Mountain2Mountain seeks “to amplify the voices of women and girls through access to education, the power of street art, the solidarity of activism, and the freedom of the bicycle.”
Established in 2006, the group became a nonprofit several years later. The Global Solidarity Ride, in association with JustGiving, takes place in multiple countries. The organization also has an Afghan Cycling Program, which lets women cyclists ride in Afghanistan (Mountain2Mountain’s riders were the first to do so) to promote gender equality.
Bikefit Sunflowers, Ontario, Canada
In Canada, nonprofit Bikefit Sunflowers host bike events between May and September, going out weekly. Your skill level shouldn’t deter you from putting on your helmet and getting out there, especially considering the group always has a ride leader who has cycled for years and can help those who are less experienced. Riders are divided into two groups: the Sport Rider is more athletic and skilled while the Recreational Rider is in it for fun and to learn more.
The women at CycloFemme have a mantra: “Honor the past, celebrate the present, empower the future.” The group is planning a big ride in May 2016, and you’re welcome to bike along with them. Do watch the short video that the members put together called “CycloFemme: One of Many.”
Wisconsin Women’s Cycling, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Women’s Cycling welcomes any woman in the state with a bicycle. Just be prepared to ride almost any time of year because the members of this group are known to bike in both the winter coldness and summer heat. In July 2016, the group will hold its annual Wisconsin Bike Festival and Women’s Century Ride Supporting the Wisconsin Women’s Fund in Cedarburg, which is known for its picturesque riding paths.
Black Girls Do Bike, Nationwide
With chapters across the US, Black Girls Do Ride’s mission statement is to prove just that. If you find that there are no chapters near you, the group encourages you to start one. You only need a lead rider (known as a “Shero” in this club), and then you can set up a Facebook page and events for your chapter.
Car manufacturers have evolved their safety measures as new technology is introduced. While airbags are a given, many newer vehicles come with high-tech safety features such as auto-braking, forward collision detection, blind-spot warnings, parking assistance, backup sensors, and front and rear cameras, as Mark Vallet writes at Insurance.com.
Even with this new technology and more always on the horizon, companies exist that extensively test cars for their safety, doing crash tests and influencing safety ratings. These companies work to ensure that all cars sold are reliable and ready to hit the road.
Here are 40 of those companies, each working to improve the safety of the vehicles we all rely on.
While the crash test dummy is a common tool for testing for vehicular safety now, Humanetics was the first company to check ejection seats in spacecraft and aircraft with the dummies back in the 1950s. These dummies were so popular that companies began using them to test cars. Responsible for the Hybrid I, Hybrid II and Hybrid III crash test dummies, Humanetics absorbed European dummy manufacturer TNO Automotive in the late 1990s.
With an annual promise to preserve the lives of 30,000 drivers and passengers, Autoliv has produced safety equipment for more than 60 years. Some of these products include child restraints, night vision systems, airbags, dynamic spotlights, radar systems and more. The company does its safety testing in the United States, China, Sweden, Japan, Germany, France and other countries on various tracks.
Collision Safety Consultants
Billy Walkowiak of Collision Safety Experts offers more than just vehicular repairs post-accident. He and his team of car inspectors will test the vehicle to make sure it’s ready to get back on the road. He reviews the parts used, driving specifications by car manufacturer and more to make an honest assessment. If the car needs more work, Walkowiak and his team will take care of it.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
The IIHS works to prevent vehicular accidents to make US streets safer. This nonprofit organization works in association with the Highway Loss Data Institute, which releases “scientific studies of insurance data representing the human and economic losses resulting from the ownership and operation of different types of vehicles and by publishing insurance loss results by vehicle make and model.”
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
The NHTSA has a Vehicle Crash Test Database that includes the results of crash tests according to a car’s year, make and model. The organization also produces reports and data like the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, traffic records, state data programs, Special Crash Investigations, the National Driver Register and the National Automotive Sampling System.
For more than 30 years, IAV has worked with auto manufacturers to produce vehicular software, alternative drive systems, combustion engines and more. The company does crash tests in Gifhorn, Germany, on a 427-foot track, including pole crash tests, side crash tests, and rear-end and head-on collision tests.
Rating a car’s safety on a scale of one to five stars, Euro NCAP explains what these stars mean:
- One star — “Marginal crash protection”
- Two stars — “Nominal crash protection” but needs more technology to be a safer car
- Three stars — “Average to good occupant protection” but also needs more technology to be a safer car
- Four stars — Has crash avoidance technology and an “overall good performance in crash protection”
- Five stars — Has the best crash test technology available
Euro NCAP does warn that ratings can change and that you should always use the most recent star rating for any particular car.
Producing driver assistance systems, Mobileye is especially known for the EyeQ chip, which can “perform detailed interpretations of the visual field in order to anticipate possible collisions with other licensed vehicles, pedestrians, animals, debris and other obstacles.” This chip can quickly scan traffic lights, traffic signs, barriers, boundaries and more to alert you of potential dangers.
ZF Friedrichshafen AG and TRW Automotive merged into ZF TRW, which combines the expertise of those two companies. This company, with its headquarters now just outside Detroit, has buildings worldwide with 13 test tracks and 22 technical centers, focusing on areas such as occupant safety, braking, steering, vehicle electronics and more.
Once a seat belt manufacturer, Takata has since expanded its product line to include child restraint systems and steering wheel systems. Evolving the seat belt even further, Takata has a motorized version that includes servo-motors that can pull tighter to prevent a motorist from being ejected during an accident.
With 900 employees who specialize in nearly 100 scientific areas and work in 25 offices worldwide, Exponent is a good choice for consulting. Its engineers have a Test and Engineering Center where each month they test nearly 30 cars. These engineers perform sled tests and rollover tests; sled tests can determine the safety of cars and even aircraft while rollover tests determine how cars react to lateral slides.
In Spain, CTAG works “to provide automotive companies with an efficient service to meet their present and future needs.” The company has paired with global organizations such as IDIADA Automotive Technology to expand its crash testing and safety services.
Honeycomb core is Plascore’s specialty; these cores can be customized to a customer’s needs. The company has formed a partnership with Euro NCAP to produce barriers that can be used during crash tests. Most of these can be compressed and adjust back to their natural shape after use. Some are intended for side impact tests and others for front impact tests.
Working with major brands in motorsports, automotive and aerospace, Calspan offers testing and engineering services. The company, which has been in business for more than 70 years, works closely with the NHTSA. Its test laboratory determines a car’s crash avoidance rating and its passive safety rating (“when a crash is inevitable and the automobile’s structure and restraint systems are called upon to protect occupants from injury”).
Testing railcars, aerospace and automotive vehicles since 1946, HORIBA MIRA has nearly 40 testing buildings. These are equipped with a pit area, a microcell full-frontal crash wall, and load cell walls. The company’s goal: “By 2020 every journey in the world will be positively influenced by us.”
National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC)
Developed by George Washington University, the NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration, NCAC uses computer simulation tools to digitally predict crash test results. The organization has several laboratories, including a high-performance computing lab and a vehicle modeling lab.
AOS Technologies AG
A high-speed imaging company that produces cameras, AOS Technologies AG also has its own crash test facility where those cameras are put to use. Combining fiber optic connections and board crash test equipment with the cameras allows vehicle manufacturers to review all aspects of a crash test, even those that are over in the blink of an eye.
Receiving the 2015 Crash Test Facility of the Year title at the Automotive Testing Technology Invitational Awards, Messring in Krailling, Germany, is a highly-rated producer of crash test parts. The company sells rollover equipment; attachments; and block systems for use as barriers, moving barriers, control components, MicroTrack rails, propulsion equipment, AEB testing equipment, decelerators and accelerators.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)
Research and development nonprofit SwRI in San Antonio has nearly 3,000 employees who apply their scientific and engineering knowledge toward mechanical engineering and automotive engineering. The facility does vehicle crash tests using devices such as channelizers, work zone attenuation, support structures, crash cushions, terminals and longitudinal barriers.
Engineering company TASS International has been in business for more than 30 years but has recently turned its attention to greener measures, attempting to reduce nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions. The company’s Safety Center can test vehicles weighing up to 22 tons, including large trucks and buses. The Safety Center also offers aircraft testing, safety barrier testing, sign post testing, pedestrian head-impact testing and whiplash testing.
Producing sensors, process instruments and testing equipment, RDP Corporation has offices in various states. The company has produced automotive testing equipment for:
- Equilam N.A.
- ARIES Test Systems & Instrumentation
- Cincinnati Sub-Zero
- Eye Lighting International
- Data Physics Corporation
- Endevco Corporation
Some of the products from RDP Corporation that these companies have used include crash barrier facilities, crash simulation systems, high-speed photography lighting and automotive crash test sensors.
Penn State Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute
Penn State College of Engineering’s Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute has its own Crash Safety Research Facility at the LTI Test Track Facility. “A focal point for research pertaining to vehicle accidents, the facility provides researchers with the means to examine crash-related injuries and occupant safety issues; vehicle and highway apparatus design, testing, and analysis; and crash-related data and literature,” the Institute writes.
KARCO Engineering works to improve the safety of motor vehicles for drivers and passengers. Cars are inspected for durability, handling, braking, support structures, crash cushions and accident reconstruction. The engineers at this company routinely perform rollover testing, pole-impact testing, front-impact testing and more.
MGA Research Corporation
New York’s MGA Research Corporation has multiple testing facilities that it sometimes commissions to other companies as needed. The vehicle crash facility tests car safety, the accelerator sled facility (which has been in operation for more than 20 years) tests safety equipment in action, and the strong floor facility base is the home of laboratory experiments. This floor has T-slots that are adjustable for various projects.
Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC)
In East Liberty, Ohio, TRC has a facility for durability testing. Its building boasts 4,500 acres of space that house an eight-mile gravel hill course, a 50-acre vehicle dynamics facility and a 7.5-mile high-speed test track. The company also offers brake testing, heavy-duty vehicle testing, fuel economy testing, corrosion testing, bus and RV testing, mileage accumulation data and fuel additive data.
Indiana Mills and Manufacturing, Inc. (IMMI)
IMMI has expanded from Westfield, Indiana, with facilities across the world in China, Italy, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Slovakia. The company, established in 1961, calls its Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE) “the only crash test facility of its kind in the world” because of its large barrier blocks. While cars are often tested here, so too are ambulances, fire trucks, commercial trucks, buses, motor coaches and military vehicles.
ARIES Test Systems and Instrumentation
With full crash facilities in Shanghai; Miami and Madrid, ARIES Test Systems and Instrumentation has received Automotive Testing Technology International’s Crash Test Facility of the Year award in the past decade. The company uses double propulsion systems, including hydraulic and electric systems, to more precisely gauge impacts at certain speeds. The hydraulic propulsion cuts back on energy costs from using too much electricity and has closed loop control and valves. Electric propulsion uses Speed-Pro_FC software and direct torque control for fast testing.
Millbrook Proving Ground
In the Bedford, UK, area, Millbrook Proving Ground calls itself “one of Europe’s leading independent technology centers for the design, engineering, testing and development of automotive and propulsion systems, and a pioneer of low carbon technologies.” The company offers safety systems, sleds and full-scale crash tests.
Accurex Dimensional Measurement
A 3D dimensional measurement company, Accurex offers optical metrology systems for crash testing. These can capture the test from all angles since they use various cameras. Some of the company’s other services include motion head testing, crash dummy positioning and crash deformation analyses.
Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)
In association with the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises in India, ARAI’s passive safety laboratory tests commercial vehicles, side door intrusions, airbag deployments, seat belt dependability, vehicle rear impact, steering impact and more. There’s even a low-speed crash testing facility.
TÜV SÜD America
With goals of embracing renewable energy, promoting better energy efficiency and being more sustainable overall, TÜV SÜD America offers training, knowledge services, system certifications, auditing, inspections and testing. The company is responsible for the Munich CRASHTEST facility, which was founded in 1996. Annually, more than 1,000 vehicles pass through.
Manufacturing sleds for better crash test results, Seattle Safety in Washington also produces crash test barriers, lighting systems and decelerator sleds. The Seattle Safety Dynamic Pitch Upgrade goes with the company’s ServoSled and can be adjusted for various pitches. The ServoSled itself “performs seat, child seat, seatbelt, and battery regulatory pulses as well as more complex frontal vehicle pulses.”
Jacobs Engineering Group
Joseph J. Jacobs, the namesake of the Jacobs Engineering Group, started his company in 1947. Today, the company develops crash test facilities. The design of these facilities starts with a virtual simulation before any work begins. Jacobs Engineering also offers maintenance services for pre-existing testing facilities.
PMG Technologies works with Transport Canada and the Canadian Ministry of Transport to keep Canadian motorists and passengers safer. The company has test tracks (with dynamic tests that measure sound levels, fuel consumption, durability, and braking), environmental chambers, vehicle test structures (which use hydraulic controllers) and a crash area (which tests for side impact and front impact for one or two cars at a time).
ADAC Technology Centre
Dutch company ADAC Technology Centre tests car parts, tires and child safety equipment. ADAC also publishes accident research and data. This crash test facility has received Euro NCAP accreditation.
As a test resource for retail, trade and government, healthcare, food, energy, engineering, construction, chemicals and transportation fields (including railways, marine vehicles, automotive and aerospace), Intertek has nearly 150 years of experience. Automotive engineers perform battery testing, thermal shocks, altitude simulation, noise measurements and environmental exposure.
A “global designer and manufacturer of sensors and sensor-based systems offering custom designs for OEM applications,” Measurement Specialties also offers automotive safety testing. Choose from pedestrian safety testing, sled testing, on-vehicle testing (which detects functionality of position sensors, force sensors and accelerometers) and in-dummy testing.
Parts manufacturer Magna International has facilities in 29 countries with more than 125,000 employees. Its Advanced Car Technology Systems (ACTS) test “has earned an excellent reputation as a reliable and flexible development partner, particularly in the field of passive vehicle safety,” Magna writes. “ACTS combines competence in all areas of passive safety with Magna’s detailed component and module-based know-how and with Magna Steyr’s engineering experience.”
APV Tech Center
In Australia, the APV Tech Center, once known as the Autoliv Test Facility, was renamed in 2011, but with the facility’s past, this building has been used for automotive testing for nearly 50 years. It’s 230-foot test track allows cars to accelerate to nearly 50 miles per hour. Digital video cameras capture footage of the test.
Since 1932, the Allianz Center for Technology in Germany has provided technical training, posted car accident research and repair research, provided information on road safety, and performed crash tests. The facility doesn’t test for severe accident damage, but rather smaller crashes. However, Allianz can determine how much it would cost to fix the car.
Maintaining a car requires your attention, commitment and cash. There will always be tires to rotate, timing belts to change and filters to replace. After running an auto repair shop in Boulder Colorado for decades we have seen many things change.
But putting off or trying to skip that maintenance will cost you plenty more in the end.
“The true cost of not maintaining your vehicle,” writes Margarette Burnette at Bankrate, “can include hefty repair bills for bad brakes, failed emissions tests and maybe even a failed engine.”
As Philip Reed, the senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com, tells Burnette: “If you don’t maintain your car, you’re taking a vehicle that might have been driven for 200,000 miles over its life, and you’re knocking it down to maybe 150,000 miles.”
While you should always follow the instructions in your ownership manual, the following infographic gives you a general idea of when to perform which task, and provides tips for mountain vehicle maintenance.
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Additional Maintenance for High Altitude Drivers
For those of us who live in mountain towns like Boulder, higher elevations and snowfall amounts mean drivers must perform a little extra scheduled maintenance.
There’s a definite correlation between high altitude driving and engine efficiency.
“Altitude affects the way an engine produces power because of the available oxygen,” Laura Wheeler at High Altitude Living writes. “Usually, a quick tune-up will solve any problems.”
In addition to using high-grade gasoline, or an octane booster, you might have to adjust your carburetor and will want to do the following:
- check your O2 sensor
- check that your power steering is tight
- check the front end suspension
- check tire air pressure if changing altitude
High altitudes bring cold weather, and driving in freezing temperatures means you’ll need to remember to change over to anti-freeze windshield washer fluid when it starts to get colder. Other points to remember for the winter:
- use lighter weight motor oil
- check level power steering fluid
- check level clutch fluid
- check level radiator antifreeze in radiator
Keeping Track of Your Car Maintenance Schedule
Whatever system you have of tracking your vehicle maintenance schedule — a logbook, spreadsheet or app — it needs to be followed and updated. In fact, an up-to-date maintenance log, showing the car’s maintenance history, can be a valuable selling point when it comes time to sell your vehicle.
When you use an app such as Fuelly’s aCar to track maintenance schedules, fuel economy and general expenses for your vehicle, you can better understand how your vehicle is performing and discover the best way to drive it more fuel-efficiently.
The weather’s frosty, the ice is thick and while most people just want to stay inside as much as possible it’s prime season for winter motorsports athletes.
Across the world, these inventive racers have hopped on almost anything on two or four wheels and taken it for a spin across the ice and snow. We’ve found 25 winter motorsports groups and organizations dedicated to ice karting, snowmobile racing and ice driving that prove that racing has no off-season.
Ice Karting Organizations
Xtreme International Ice Racing (XiiR)
Although the Speedway bikes that XiiR racers favor may look small, these can achieve blistering speeds due to their four-valve engine (which racers fill with nitromethane). This organization calls its brand of ice karting “one of the fastest sports in the world.”
In icy Finland is Ruka Adventures, a rental agency that is your guide to the outdoors in winter or summer. While there’s ice fishing, snowshoeing, husky- and reindeer-sledding and snowmobile safaris, few activities are comparable in terms of heart-pounding thrills as ice karting. The organization reminds you that “technical skill beats speed.” And if that snowmobile safari sounds too good to pass up, you can opt for a package that bundles a short safari with a race on the ice.
Aspen Ice Karting
Colorado’s Aspen Ice Karting invites you to “get sideways” in the snow. All karts are CRG USA brand with Kold Kutter screws and Heidenau tires designed for slippery ice riding. If you happen to own your own kart, you can get it fitted with these screws and tires and then go racing.
As AccessLapland way up in Rovaniemi proves, Finland truly embraces its below-freezing temperatures. Go for the gold in an open race on a 1,800-foot track where you can compete with anyone. Bring your friends and family (up to 10 people) for a private race where there’s no one on the ice but your group. Staff will take video and images of your race, and snacks are even included.
A frosty ski resort in France, Val Thorens has been declared the best ski resort in Europe for years by the World Ski Awards. While you can get active with traditional activities such as skiing, you can also go ice buggying, ice driving and ice karting. The resort’s track at the Alain Prost driving circuit is a lengthy 980 feet.
Ice Driving Organizations
Lapland Ice Driving
Spaced out across 1,250 acres is Lapland Ice Driving in Ipswich, England. All that space means the organization can offer 12 different courses. There’s a two-day Maserati ice driving package where you get to drive up to five times each day in the Ghibli S Q4 and the Granturismo MC Stradale. There’s even a couple’s package ideal for anniversaries or birthdays.
Below Zero Ice Driving
Since 2005, Below Zero Ice Driving has provided car lovers the chance to experience the challenge of driving on slippery terrain. The organization moved to Sweden in 2012 and now often gets traffic from Are, which has a large ski resort in the vicinity. The Porsche 911s are designed for wintry driving, as they include studded tires, an FIA integral roll cage and a 300-brake horsepower 3.0-liter engine.
Bridgestone Winter Driving School
A renowned producer of car parts and tires, Bridgestone’s Winter Driving School in Colorado has appeared in Men’s Health and Parade Magazine, and on MSNBC, HDTV, CNN and more. For everyday driving, enroll in a safety class where you can become an expert on switching gears and braking in cold weather. The performance classes are for the true speed lover, particularly the Fifth Gear Fastest Ride on Ice class. For two days, you’ll learn the same tricks that rally drivers use when racing. This class is small, with only room for eight so you get plenty of one-on-one attention.
Ice Driver Ltd
Make a whole vacation out of your ice driving experience at Norway’s Ice Driver Ltd. The Vestlia Ski Resort is nearby, and although you could ski, you’ll be down on the nearby icy lake, learning from pros in the motorsports industry. After a few hours on the ice, a hot meal will be provided before you hop back on the snowy path.
Ice Driving Canada
Another country that delights in the cold is Canada. Quebec’s Ice Driving Canada puts you behind the wheel of a Porsche Boxster as you choose from a variety of packages. The Discovery program instructs you on weight transfer impact and how to adjust your position to handle sliding. The Hot Laps program lets you see what the Boxster can do as a professional motocross driver takes you three laps around an icy track.
Kall Auto Lodge
Jamtland, Sweden, is home of the Kall Auto Lodge, which boasts a hunting cabin, fishing, and spa and health services. There’s rally racing, circuit racing and the Ice Driving Xperience, where you cruise in a Porsche 911 and learn how to drive like a pro on the ice. Once you get the hang of that, move on to the Below Zero program, where professional rally racers will guide you as you blitz past snowbanks and icy terrain. Wrap up your afternoon with a fresh meal and drink.
Evolution 2 Val d’Isere
As an adventure and skiing school that never closes down, Evolution 2 Val d’Isere is part of a ski resort in France. Learn how to drift, turn and slam on your brakes in an emergency, then prepare to feel the snow and ice under your tires as you drive a Porsche Boxster for 10 laps (Subarus are also available).
Ice Driving Center
The Ice Driving Center in Kuusamo, Finland, asks customers a specific question upfront: Sporty or classy? Depending on your choice, you can participate in a tailored ice-racing experience. The Sporty Driving School has “conditions for experienced drivers” as you select from a vehicle arsenal that includes a Lamborghini Gallardo. At the Classy Driving School, which focuses on “safety performance driving and enjoyable moments,” you can ride in an Impreza, Evolution or an xDrive.
Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds Ice Drive
Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds in Cardrona, New Zealand, began hosting ice racing on a test basis before discovering that it was an incredibly popular pastime. The Premium Ice Driving Experience blends “luxury accommodation, exquisite cuisine, and true New Zealand hospitality in a spectacular and private alpine setting.” Don’t forget, winter in New Zealand is summertime in the US, so plan your visit for July or August.
Hotel St. Michael’s Ice Driving School
Looking at the Hotel St. Michael in picturesque Livigno, Italy, you wouldn’t believe that there was an ice driving school hidden on its grounds. However, this school is a 20-year mainstay. Practice drives and races take place at the nearby Livigno Ice Arena. Choose from four different programs: the safe driving class, the sporting class for a bigger challenge, the super sporting class and the extreme class, which is the most advanced of all and welcomes those who have raced before.
Snowmobile Racing Organizations
The New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA)
While the other racing organizations on this list are all about high-octane fun, NHSA wants to present snowmobiling in a different light, one that can be “a safe family recreation.” This organization has existed since 1969 and teaches safety classes, has monthly group meetings to promote the organization’s objectives, and rides in the picturesque New Hampshire snow.
United States X-Country Snowmobile Racing (USXC)
Every year since 2012, USXC in Spicer, Minnesota, has transformed ice racing, blending it with racing in the woods and ditches to make the events even more challenging. The season runs from December until March, and new members are welcome to join each year.
Utah Snowmobile Association
As a resource for trails, clubs and snowmobiling events in Utah, the Utah Snowmobile Association underscores all this fun by promoting safety above all else. The nearly 30-year-old organization is your gateway to every snowmobile ride in the state.
Wisconsin Kids Snowmobile Racing Association (WKSRA)
Who says only adults get to have fun? The WKSRA is all about the kids. Children ages 4 through 15 are welcome to race during the organization’s season, which runs from December through March. Whether a child is a beginner or they’ve practiced for years, they can join three classes: the Juniors, the 120’s and the Kitty Cats. After some training, they’ll race against others who match their age and skillset.
The Saints Snowmobile Club
In Saint Charles, Michigan, the weather gets especially frigid. That’s when the Saints Snowmobile Club comes out to play. If you want to hang with these racers, you need a vintage snowmobile.
Rock Maple Racing Cross Country (RMR XC)
New Hampshire group RMR XC calls itself the “most widely-recognized and respected sanctioning body for snowmobile cross country racing in the northeastern United States.” Learn the ropes with classes that some of its own racers teach, which are organized for kids and adults.
Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA)
More than 100,000 racers outside of Michigan and more than 380,000 snowy faithful within the state are part of the MSA. They receive the publication Michigan Snowmobile News and can enroll in safety classes. Link up with other smaller Michigan snowmobiling organizations as a part of the MSA’s Adopt-A-Trail program, where you set up events for groups like the Pere Marquette Snowmobile Club, the Snow Drifters of Hamilton Co. and Wayland Snowmobile Club.
Oval Racers Alliance (OVA)
Nonprofit organization OVA is passionate about ice oval racing on snowmobiles and other vehicles. The group has aligned with other key organizations in Minnesota (the OVA itself is based in Anoka) so its riders can participate in the best events that the state has to offer. Some races on the calendar include Eddy’s Resort race in Onamia and the Winter Spectacular Alexandria.
Lucky Thumb Motorcycle Club
Although a motorcycle club by name, Lucky Thumb is based in Deford, so its riders are certainly accustomed to the bitter cold. It’s no wonder then that the group has snowmobile racing in the winter. Throughout the season, riders of various ages compete, earning points. Once the weather begins to warm up, Lucky Thumb determines a winner.
National Straightline Snowmobile Racing (NSSR)
Whether you enjoy watching snowmobile races or gliding along the snow and ice yourself, the NSSR welcomes all fans of the sport. Speed runs on tracks measuring 1,000 feet are the norm for this organization, which was established in 1986 (the same year that it held its World Record Series). This group’s racers often venture out to Canada, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and other chilly states.
There are few better feelings than giving back to a charity organization that’s doing its part to make the world a better place.
Although many associate the holidays with giving, any time of the year is a good one to donate to your favorite charity. Sometimes, these organizations even make it easier by hosting events where you can mingle and raise money for a great cause.
Here are 21 winter charity events in Colorado that are all worth checking out.
Spay-Ghetti & No Balls in Lakewood
When and where: Thursday, February 25, at the Lakeview Wellness & Event Center
The coyly-named Spay-Ghetti & No Balls dinner is hosted by SpayToday, Neuter Now!, a group that promotes low-cost sterilization services so animals don’t end up unwanted in shelters. This is the group’s first dinner and coincides with World Spay Day Week. Nicolo’s Chicago Style Pizza is one sponsor, but other restaurants will serve food.
The Denver Street School 2016 Shine Gala in Denver
When and where: Friday, February 26, at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (United Club Level)
Named such because the event lets attendees see the beautiful lights of Denver, the Denver Street School’s Shine Gala includes a dinner and a silent auction with items for bidding such as gift certificates, jewelry, purses, art and more. The Denver Street School, established in 1985 by Tom Tillapaugh, helps students who are at risk of getting into drugs and crime.
The State of the Town & 2nd Mayor’s Ball Gala and Silent Auction in Parker
When and where: Saturday, February 27, at the Pace Center
Those who are a part of the Rotary Club in Parker are all volunteers who are passionate about their community and want to make Parker the best town it can be. The first part of the group’s event will be the State of the Town, which includes a luncheon. Later in the day will be the 2nd Mayor’s Ball Gala and Silent Auction, where there will be food, dancing and excitement, and all for a good cause.
An Elegant Evening in Eolus in Durango
When and where: Saturday, February 27, at Eolus Bar & Dining
Eolus, a local restaurant, will honor iAM MUSIC, a nationwide nonprofit organization that introduces the beauty and power of music to students after school. Professional musicians act as teachers, instructing children how to play and enjoy music. This event will feature the music of Hello Dollface and includes a cocktail hour, wine pairing and a seven-course dinner.
The 2016 Denver Heart Ball in Denver
When and where: Saturday, February 27, at the Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center
The Denver Heart Ball calls this night “a celebration of caring and sharing.” In the past, the event earned $51 million in funds that were used to better neighborhoods in Colorado and other states. In its 17th year, the event has a theme called a Stroke of Red and will raise money to improve stroke awareness and treatments.
A Kick-Off Celebration to CKS Paddlefest in Buena Vista
When and where: Thursday, March 3, at Eddyline Restaurant at South Main
Colorado Kayak Supply, or CKS, founded in 1978, has been around longer than any other store of its kind in the state. The first CKS Paddlefest was in 2001, and since then the store’s purpose has grown to teach others about safety on the water while having a blast. Before bringing out the boats, make sure to attend this event, which includes a basket raffle, a live art raffle, a performance from Douglas Francisco and a four-course meal with Eddyline craft beer.
Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship & Awards Gala in Denver
When and where: Friday, March 4, at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Denver
Also known as TheEduCtr, the Education Center offers workshops and educational resources to save young students who might slip through the cracks and never obtain their GEDs. The nonprofit’s Salute to Excellence in Education Scholarship & Awards Gala will focus on black teachers and mentors in particular.
Invest in Kids 17th Annual Jane-A-Thon in Denver
When and where: Friday, March 4, at Mary Jane Mountain at Winter Park Resort
Aiming to provide a better way of life for kids in poverty, Invest in Kids has hosted its Jane-A-Thon for nearly 20 years. It blends snowboarding and skiing with prizes, raffles, food and entertainment. In 2015, Invest in Kids received $70,000 in donations.
The Fourth Annual Journey Event in Denver
When and where: Friday, March 4, at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center
The Junior League of Denver welcomes any and all Denver volunteers who want to improve literacy for those in the city and the state. Former first daughter Jenna Welch Bush Hager will be the keynote speaker at the organization’s event, the Journey. Hager’s speech will reflect “the Power of Compassion,” the thematic focus of the night’s festivities. With silent auctions, live auctions, dinner and drinks, there will be plenty going on that evening.
The Denver Jewish Day School’s 2016 Annual Dinner & Gala in Denver
When and where: Saturday, March 5, at the Grand Hyatt Denver
The Denver Jewish Day School is a K-12 school that teaches students all they need to know to prepare for college while including the importance of their Jewish heritage into some lessons. In March, the school will have been open for 40 years, and so its staff will host an Annual Dinner & Gala. This event is in honor of Bryan Hay, and Jocey and Jeff Kraus.
Saturday Night Alive to Benefit the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Denver
When and where: Saturday, March 5, at the Seawell Grand Ballroom
The Saturday Night Alive event in honor of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is always a big hit each year. Denver residents gather to connect with more than 800 prominent city figures who are involved in the arts. The proceeds from the event benefit up to 68,000 students who may receive a theater education program so that these kids can experience the fun and wonder of live theater.
Reach for the Stars Gala Presents a Spaghetti Western in Westminster
When and where: Saturday, March 5, at the Denver Marriott Westminster
Founded in 1985, the Five Star Education Foundation has expanded its reach to most Five Star education facilities in Westminster and beyond. The Reach for the Stars Gala will have live bluegrass music, a spaghetti meal (chicken is an optional alternative), and silent and live auctions.
Maverick Thinkers 2016 in Denver
When and where: Wednesday, March 9, at Grand Hyatt Denver
Helping prevent homelessness for young people in Colorado Springs and the greater Denver area, Urban Peak will host its yearly Maverick Thinkers event. Some kids and teens who have been supported by Urban Peak will be there, as will Project Helping and Snooze: AM Eatery. The event, organized by Bruce DeBoskey, will have a Q&A session and a dinner. You can reserve your own table.
The CBCA Annual Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon in Denver
When and where: Wednesday, March 9, at the Seawell Grand Ballroom
The Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, or CBCA, has a 30-year history of introducing the importance of art in young lives. This nonprofit’s Annual Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon will “salute exemplary business engagement with the arts through philanthropy, innovative programs, volunteerism, creative workspaces and personal leadership.” More than 700 businesspeople and artists are expected to attend.
The 17th Annual Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner in Denver
When and where: Wednesday, March 9, at the Mile High Ballroom at the Colorado Convention Center
Visit Denver is a tourism organization that offers information on the city’s restaurants, hotels, events, entertainment, travel, activities and more. For nearly 20 years, Denver residents have had the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner to look forward to. Joni Watkins is organizing this year’s festivities, which will include dinner and entertainment.
Great Chefs of the West Gala in Denver
When and where: Thursday, March 10, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center
Known for attendance numbers of more than 400 people in the Denver area alone, the Great Chefs of the West Gala, hosted by the National Kidney Foundation, continues to be a hit. Patrons have donated more than $112,000 in the past, and that all goes toward learning more about kidney conditions and cures.
Jokers, Jewels and Justice in Denver
When and where: Thursday, March 10, at Brown Palace Hotel
GLBT Community Center of Colorado is raising money for its Training and Legal Program with its Jokers, Jewels & Justice gambling fundraising event. Those who were involved in helping the U.S. Supreme Court rule in favor of Amendment 2 will be celebrated that night.
The Annual Circle of Light Photo Project & Reception in Denver
When and where: Thursday, March 10, at the Space Gallery
With its goal to preserve vision for residents across Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank will host its Annual Circle of Light Photo Project & Reception again this year. There’s a VIP reception an hour before the photo exhibit opens to the general public. There will also be a silent auction and reception with drinks and food after the exhibit. All art on display is from those who received corneal transplants and had their sight restored.
The Mental Health Art Benefit 2016 in Denver
When and where: Saturday, March 12, at R2 Studio & Gallery
A mental health organization staffed entirely by women, Empowered Partnerships is hosting its First Annual Mental Health Art Benefit. All proceeds received at the event go towards furthering Empowered Partnerships’ goals. Silent auctions will go off all night, each art piece created by someone involved in mental health services on a professional or personal level. Several speakers will also attend.
The 35th Boulder Distinguished Citizen and Eagle Scout Dinner in Boulder
When and where: Wednesday, March 16, at the CU Touchdown Club
The Indian Peaks District is a branch of the Longs Peak Council in association with the Boy Scouts of America. The organization invites children to become Boy Scouts and learn various life skills. The 35th Boulder Distinguished Citizen and Eagle Scout Dinner will reward Gina and Frank Day for their commitment to the organization. The Indian Peaks District will welcome donations at the event to keep the nonprofit running for another successful year.
Second Wind Fund’s Gift of Life Luncheon in Golden
When and where: Thursday, March 24, at the Applewood Golf Course
Named such because of its dedication towards preventing child and teenage suicide, the Second Wind Fund finds therapists for kids and can even cover the cost of some appointments if families are struggling to make ends meet. The Gift of Life Luncheon through the Colorado Trust will feature live music from the Green Mountain High School band and a speech from Colorado School Safety Resource director Christine Harms.
Last month, we highlighted some of the most impressive women’s motorcycle clubs in the United States and beyond.
However, we received a lot of feedback here at the auto repair shop and quickly learned that original list of 30 organizations was just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more groups that deserve some spotlight for their charity, toughness, community and dedication to their rides.
Here are 30 more women’s motorcycle clubs, from all around the world, that deserve praise.
Chicks in the Wind, Florida
A nonprofit established in 2012, Chicks in the Wind was founded after several women riders in the Hudson area decided that they could get more done in their neighborhood if they banded together. “We ride to raise awareness for the women and children who live in the abuse and homeless shelters,” Chicks in the Wind President Terri Kirchner tells us.
A variety of businesses have helped the Chicks host scavenger hunts, poker runs and other fundraisers. If you can’t necessarily join the Chicks (who have chapters in Hernando, Pinellas and Pasco), you can always buy a supporter patch and show your love that way.
Sisters Eternal Women’s Motorcycle Club
Sisters Eternal Women’s Motorcycle Club (WMC) is a neutrally chartered club with the American Motorcyclists Association and are recognized as professional, family-friendly, fair and legitimate by communities, participants and the motorcycling industry. Our Sisters come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels.
Furies MC, Illinois
Chicago’s own Furies MC are named after mythological creatures in Greek and Roman history: “These goddesses who made their home in the underworld would punish all crime, both personal and those made by society.” They further their objectives with meetings each month, where they outline their next riding plans while enjoying a laugh and a meal. The women participate in annual rides, including Ride to Work Day, International Female Ride Day and the Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade.
Lost Girls MC, California
Having donated nearly $90,000 towards breast cancer treatment over the past 11 years, the Lost Girls MC are a mainstay in Visalia and always host their annual Lost Girls’ Breast Cancer Ride. Continue to support their valiant efforts by purchasing a patch on their website or by donating to the Girls.
Curve Unit, California
Want to join up with the ladies in Curve Unit? You just have to be there for the monthly Curve Unit Group Ride through the San Francisco Bay Area. You also need your own motorcycle, your own insurance and an active registration, but riders of any and all skill level are welcome.
Guilty Girlz RC, Michigan
With five chapters throughout the state — in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Tecumseh, Mt. Pleasant and Lansing — the Guilty Girlz RC truly live by their slogan, “be guilty of your passion.” The group, established in 2011, is a part of the Michigan Confederation of Clubs as the first of its kind. The women want their group to be a supportive environment that produces feelings of “trust, sisterhood, respect and empowerment to women who ride.”
Amazons WMC, Inc., North America
Named after the hardened Amazonian warriors, the Amazons WMC, Inc. members uphold six principles at all times, which the women also use as their code of conduct: commitment, loyalty, respect, truth, honor and love.
The group has chapters across the US and Canada. If you want to join the club, you must follow some ground rules such as always using common sense, having an open mind and a positive attitude, understanding the road, and never drinking alcohol before a ride.
The Bikerni, India
There weren’t any women’s motorcycle clubs in India until 2011, when Urvashi Patole had the idea to create the Bikerni. Patole, along with Chithra Priya and Sheetal Bidaye, act as the core committee that sets up events and spreads awareness of the club. The group has grown in popularity so much that most cities in the country have a chapter, and new members are always welcome.
Lady Biker, India
Since the Bikerni was founded, other groups such as Lady Biker in Kolkata have come into existence to further spread riding culture in India. These women are, simply put, very devoted to riding their motorcycles.
In the spring of 2015, one member of the group went on a multi-day trip through India, taking in its beauty. “Solo ride is always unique and challenging,” she wrote on the group’s blog. “No one is there to help you if anything goes wrong. But, at the same time, one can truly feel the ride if one is going solo. It’s a ride Nirvana for the rider.”
The Foxy Fuelers, Australia
If you’re a fan of classic or even customized motorcycles, then you have kindred spirits in the Foxy Fuelers. These Australian motorcyclists were inspired by another Sydney group, the Sydney Café Racers, and now ride with them and other women. They learned by doing, and they want to encourage other women who are interested in riding to do the same.
Ghetto Girlz MC, California
Since 2009, Ghetto Girlz MC has promoted a sense of family for women of all backgrounds. If you’re not in the Oakland area, you can always join the New Zealand, Ireland, UK, or Fort Wayne, Indiana branches. Make sure to check out the club’s website to see the women’s informative page on bike maintenance and safety.
Devil Dolls MC, California
Devil Dolls MC was established on Valentine’s Day in 1999. Initially, the group only allowed members to join if they owned a Harley-Davidson. Today, the rules are more relaxed, with bikes made in the USA and Europe welcome. T-Rexxx is one of the founders and the president, while vice president Kupkake has been with the group since 2010. Sid Sinister is the club’s sergeant at arms.
The VCMC has an easy philosophy: “More women on bikes & more women building.” The group is planning to announce their 2016 riding plans soon, so keep an eye out for that news if you are in the UK. In the meantime, feel free to support the club and look awesome at the same time by picking up a tank top, a t-shirt or a sticker with the VCMC logo on it.
Women’s International Motorcycle Association GB, worldwide
Sponsored by the Motorcycle Club for Women, the Women’s International Motorcycle Association was founded in 1958. The group hosts rallies and rides in Australia, Asia and the UK. If you happen to travel to meet up with the group, there’s always members around to get you acclimated. Members receive stickers, pins and badges, discounts on the online shop, up to 11 newsletters, and access to every ride or any other event the group is taking part in.
Tenacious Dames RC, Montana
A nonprofit that’s always welcoming new members, Tenacious Dames RC also has chapters in Bozeman, Miles City, Great Falls and Billings. Women in the group aren’t limited by age (some are in their 20s, some are in their 60s and still wild), skill level, or location (members live in Kalispell, Butte, Helena and elsewhere). The women in this group all obey this credo: “Women empowering women through the love of riding.”
Celtic Sisters WMC, Ohio
Lisa Thuning established the Celtic Sisters WMC in 2014 and serves as its president. She works alongside vice president Criket Jones and public relations professional Sallie Todd. The group is dedicated to helping children with cancer. If you want to tag along, you can apply to join right on the Celtic Sisters’ website. The women participate in various Ohio events throughout any given year.
Asphalt Angels MC, Utah
The Asphalt Angels MC always ride safely, insisting that you “never ride faster than your angels can fly.” This group, founded in 2013, supports organizations and charities in the St. George area, often volunteering and riding in fundraisers and other events.
Want to join? Asphalt Angels describe themselves as “women who are brave, loyal, trustworthy, accomplished, adventurous, and kindhearted, but also have a healthy appreciation for the perfect tattoo, a great set of pipes, a love of laughter, and the smell of leather.”
GLOW Motorcycle Club, Texas
Since 2006, the women in the GLOW Motorcycle Club (which is short for Gorgeous Ladies on Wheels), have made Houston a lot pinker, as that’s the group’s signature hue. The club only opens availability for new members on a limited basis, so make sure to jump in when you can. The women support local businesses and post flyers on their website to promote small companies.
Chrome Angelz RC, worldwide
Chrome Angelz RC started in 2012 with one chapter in New Jersey and actively recruited in 2014 to grow to over 65 chapters across the US, Canada, South Africa and Europe. They support women motorcycle riders, promote safety and encourage chapters to help their local communities.
Femme Fatales WMC, Ohio
Emerson and Hoops, two friends and riders, co-founded the Femme Fatales WMC in 2011. They recognized that there was a lack of women’s motorcycle clubs in Ohio, so they decided to give women riders in the state a chance to gather together.
Of course, they do more than just ride. Members also support nonprofit groups like Susan G. Komen 3-Day, Bright Pink, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition and the Heather J. Kwiate Foundation.
Xtreme Vixens MC, Nevada
Although Las Vegas is known for its crazy entertainment, the city didn’t have any sanctioned motorcycle groups with just women riders until Nina came along in 2006 and created the Xtreme Vixens MC. The club became such a beloved institution that it in 2008 it created a California chapter. While the group once only allowed for sports bikes, as of 2012, any and all motorcycles are welcome.
Las Marias MC, Mexico
They keep their description brief, but Las Marias MC is in the middle of producing a short film called On the Road to Sisterhood. There’s a slew of patches you can buy in support of the group, and make sure to check out their catchy riding playlist.
Iron Sirens WC, Canada
As long as you’re a woman with a motorcycle, the Iron Sirens WC wouldn’t mind if you joined them for a ride. No parts of Canada are off-limits — you’ll find chapters in Addington County, Alberta, Rose City, Port Dover, Halton Hills, Muskoka, Wasaga Beach and more. The club often participates in open events where anyone can ride. There are also member-only activities planned for every month in 2016, some of them rides and some of them social gatherings.
Free Spirit Chapter, Michigan
Boasting more than 70 members as of this writing, the Free Spirit Chapter has been a Michigan mainstay since 1995. Washtenaw, Wayne, Livingston, Macomb and Oakland County women riders all gather for monthly meetings and regular rides. The club will participate in an event in Warren in February, the 9th Annual Bowling for Camp Quality, so be sure to check it out.
GRIPsters, Oregon and Washington
The GRIPsters, or Girls Riding Independently Proud, are spread out between Oregon and Washington. They’re open to any woman motorcyclist joining as long as you can attend the Portland meetings, which occur monthly on Thursday nights at the Bradford’s Sports Lounge.
Steel Cowgirls, Tennessee
The Steel Cowgirls, also known as the Motorcycle Women of Tennessee, are based in Nashville, but the group has been known to venture far out for certain riding events. When you join, you get official access to the group’s locked Facebook page so you can keep abreast of club news and upcoming events.
Diva Angels, Inc., Florida
Nonprofit Diva Angels, Inc. has both local chapters and a national chapter. You can find branches near you in Tampa Bay, Pasco and more. You can either join by sending mail to the group or save time by applying online. The women request that you show up to one of their chapter meetings before applying, though, so you can get a feel for how you’ll fit in.
Smokin Curvz MC, Virginia
Inspired by another Virginia motorcycle club called Bloc Burnaz MC, Smokin Curvz MC was founded in 2010. The women are dedicated to making Fredericksburg a better place through charitable acts. “We believe actions speak louder than words, and are ready to prove that we can ride with the big boys, cook the meals, take care of the kids, uplift our community and still look fabulous!” the group pledges.
Chrome Divas, Worldwide
Whether you call Australia, Canada or the US home, with more than 45 chapters there’s undoubtedly a Chrome Divas branch near you. Founded in 2002, the group began in Tallahassee, Florida, before growing bigger and bigger into the powerhouse that it is today. Feel free to add to the club’s numbers, but be prepared to abide by the rules, which insist that you’re respectful of other members. The Chrome Divas Midwest Winter Retreat is coming up in February, so don’t miss that.
Missouri Women on Wheels (MO WOW)
Why is MO WOW such a huge hit in its home state? Women of all skill levels and ages are encouraged to participate, which has led to the development of chapters throughout Missouri, including Ladies of the Roubidoux, Golden Valley Girls, Lady Road Runners, Lady Cruisers of the Ozarks, the Heartland Chapter and the Show-Me Riders. The group is currently filling its 2016 calendar and is welcomes new members.
Caramel Curves, Louisiana
Caramel started the club to go toe-to-toe with the male riders in the city, and the group’s popularity grew quickly. That changed after Hurricane Katrina, when many group members left the state for good, but Caramel Curves has since regrouped and encouraged many others to join.