Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Crash test ratings

Posted on July 15, 2014

Before deciding on a vehicle, you should look into the vehicles crash test ratings.  Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration perform extensive testing on popular passenger vehicles.  

Founded by auto insurance companies, The Institute uses color coding and quantitative scale of Good, Acceptable, Marginal and Poor when rating vehicles. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration uses a five star system in which vehicles are rated with between 1 and 5 stars.   Both agencies subject vehicles to a series of front, side and rear crash tests, examining how well the vehicle protects its occupants. Similarly, roof strength tests determine the safety of vehicles during a rollover.

As automotive technology advances, vehicles tend to become safer for passengers and pedestrians.  But, be conscious about the type of vehicles you wish to compare. Take note of the disclaimers available on crash test reports.  Only compare vehicles of the same class and style. They must also have been subjected to the same type of tests during a reasonable period of time. Family sedans and SUVs tend to fare better than roadster and convertibles in side crash tests.



The agencies provide crash test results on their respective websites making them readily available to the public. So be sure to Carefully consider crash test reports as well as consumer reviews before deciding on your next vehicle vehicle.


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Don’t text while driving

Posted on July 15, 2014

Texting while driving puts you and others in serious danger. Many experts consider texting and driving to be as dangerous or more dangerous than drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that were 5,800 people were killed due to distracted drivers in 2008. Similarly, the American Automobile Association report that 50% of teens admit to texting while driving.  As clearly seen from the statistics, texting and driving can cost more than just your license; it can cost you your life. 

When you text and drive, you spend an average of 5 seconds looking at your cell phone instead of the road. Texting while going 55 miles per hour is the same as driving the length of a football field without looking.

While laws vary from state to state, there are 39 states that prohibit all drivers from text messaging.  If you need to send an important message, consider pulling off the road or have a responsible passenger send the message for you. It might seem like you’re saving time when texting and driving, but your chances of an accident will increase exponentially.


Be smart and carefully consider your driving decisions. It only takes one simple mistake to cause a major catastrophe.


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Dual Stage 'smart' airbags

Posted on July 15, 2014

Providing advanced vehicle safety, dual stage or “smart” airbags provide exceptional protection for drivers and passengers alike.


‘Smart’ airbags adjust their deployment speed depending on the force of the crash and the size of occupants in the vehicle.  In a minor collision, airbags will deploy with the right amount of force to simply slow the occupant's motion. During a severe impact, airbags deploy at much higher speeds; keeping drivers safely inside the vehicle while limiting body contact inside the cabin.


A system of sensors determines the size and stature of the individual in each seat.  Sophisticated computer technology helps the vehicle determine if a child or adult is sitting in a specific area and adjust the force and speed of the airbag based on individual needs. If the seat is vacant, the airbag will not deploy.


Compared to traditional airbags, which usually deploy around 200 miles per hour, dual stage airbags offer impressive comfort and well as peace of mind. They reduce the chance of death and serious injury    that can be sustained by older airbag designs.  Some manufacturers have even improved the concept of 'smart' airbags by offering dual depth airbags. To ensure that the airbag properly cushions the vehicle's occupants, dual depth airbags can deploy at different sizes, offering optimal protection at all times. 



So if safety and peace of mind are important to you, take some time to research different vehicles and that offer dual stage 'smart' airbags or come in today to learn more.


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Frame strength

Posted on July 15, 2014

Frame strength is essential to vehicle safety.   As the main structure of a vehicle’s chassis, all other components connect directly or indirectly to the frame.

Today most passenger cars use unibody construction. This results in a lightweight and fuel efficient vehicle. Normally made of aluminum, stiff unibody frames allow for more responsive handling as the frame and chassis are essentially one piece. During a collision, frames absorb energy through the use of crumple zones.  These crumples reduce the chance of injury and provide valuable protection to the vehicle’s occupants.  Because of their intricate design unibody frames may experience extensive damage during serious collision. Conduct extensive research when buying a used unibody vehicle. If the vehicle has been in an accident, have a certified professional examine the repairs.  A misaligned frame cannot offer optimal protection during a collision.


Body on frame construction is mainly found on pickup trucks and some SUVs.   By mounting a separate body on a rigid frame, a vehicle can perform heavy duty work without added stress on the vehicle’s chassis.  These vehicles are typically used for hauling, towing and off road excursions. Body on frame vehicles can be easier modified for commercial use and normally easier to repair after an accident.



Whether you choose to buy a unibody or body on frame vehicle, a strong frame provides piece of mind and safety for you and your family.   


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | How to check safety ratings

Posted on July 15, 2014

When looking at vehicles, pay close attention to safety. Safety ratings measure your chance of injury during a collision and help you to make an educated decision of which vehicle may be right for you. The NHTSA and IIHS research crashworthiness of popular vehicles in the U.S.  Results are free to the general public on their respective web sites and Each agency conducts its own tests using different rating system.

The IIHS’s top safety picks are the vehicles they deem the safest during all types of collisions. Tests include front, side, rear and roof impact tests. Safer vehicles normally receive lower premium and insurance discounts.

Vehicles receiving 5-star safety ratings from the NHTSA offer exceptional protection for occupants in front, side and rollover crashes. Both agencies constantly analyze and monitor yearly injury report and trends occurring on U.S. highway. As they find patterns between injuries and certain collisions, tests will be added to properly rate the safety of these vehicles.


 Think practically and consider all aspects of safety when buying your next vehicle to determine which vehicle may be right for you and your family


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Safety features for your teen driver

Posted on July 15, 2014

When buying a vehicle, pay close attention to the needs of your teen driver.  Due to their lack of experience and money, teen drivers need a vehicle that' both reliable and safe.

Think about advanced safety features such as front and side curtain airbags and electronic stability control.  Electronic stability control uses innovative technology to prevent a vehicle from skidding during high-speed maneuvers. Front and side curtain airbags offer valuable protection during a collision.


These options are normally found in vehicles with the highest safety ratings. Bigger and heavier vehicles normally perform better in safety tests. On the other hand, these vehicles tend to have poor handling and fuel economy. You might also want to try to avoid large pickups and SUVs. Their ability to hold more passengers causes more distractions for your teen driver; while High performance sports cars and expensive luxury vehicles can urge teens to drive even faster. 

Consider vehicles with average acceleration times and good braking distances, and Try to purchase the most dependable vehicle that fits in your budget. 


The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conduct extensive reports on the most popular consumer vehicles.  Take some time to do extensive research before buying your next vehicle. Try to find a balance that is going to fit the personality and style of your teen, while keeping their safety in mind as the top priority.




Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Airbags

Posted on July 15, 2014

Airbags have saved countless lives since its mainstream adoption in many passenger vehicles. Made of inflatable fabric, airbags can immediately expand and cushion occupants during an auto accident.


When traveling in a vehicle, your body and the vehicle are traveling at the same speed. If the vehicle collides with an object, it loses speed more quickly than the occupants inside the vehicle. To slow down occupants safely, airbags deploy based on information detected from crash sensors located in the vehicle.


Statistics have shown that airbags reduce the chance of death by at least 30 percent in the majority of head on collisions. As a result, all new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. must come equipped with driver and passenger airbags.


Even though airbags are designed to save lives, precautions must be taken to prevent damage from the bag itself. Airbags usually deploy at speed at 200 miles per hour in less than 6 milliseconds.


Drivers should try to sit at least 10 inches away from the airbag.  Children 12 years and under should be safely buckled in the backseat.  Never place a rear-facing child seat in the front of a vehicle.  If the airbag deploys, the child can be killed or seriously injured. If a child one year or older must sit in the front, make sure that they're facing forward. Place them as far as possible from the airbag. Consult your owner's manual if you decide on disabling the airbag before making the trip.


Many airbags work in conjunction with seat belts to deploy effectively, while seat pressure monitors are being used to automatically enable or disable passenger airbags accordingly.



Remember, to ensure that you and your family are traveling as safely as possible, wear your seat belts at all times and drive safely.


Russ Darrow | Automotive Tips | Vehicle Accessories

Posted on May 14, 2014

Installing vehicle accessories is a stylish and practical way to customize your vehicle, and they can also dramatically increase the value of your vehicle. Accessories can be obtained from either the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or from aftermarket providers.  Dealer installed features such as tinted windows and GPS navigation systems maximize resale value and add personal style to your vehicle. Similarly, all aftermarket products improve appearance and performance; making your vehicle more appealing to future buyers.


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | Cabin Filters

Posted on May 2, 2014

Cabin Air filters are an important component to your vehicle.  If your cabin air filter becomes dirty, or even clogged, the amount of air flowing through the cabin vents could be greatly reduced, and can also lead to allergens being pushed into the cabin. Old filters may even cause a musty smell when entering the vehicle. Restricted filters can impede your cooling and heating systems and eventually cause corrosion damage. Over time, old filters may become so contaminated that occupants will actually breathe in hazardous fumes. Most filters require basic hand tools to remove and can be easily be accessed from under the hood or inside the cabin. Filters are designed to be replaced so never attempt to clean and reinstall a used filter.


Come in to our certified service center today and let us make sure your cabin air filters are clean and running properly!


Russ Darrow Automotive Tips | OEM auto parts

Posted on April 21, 2014

When you take your vehicle to the dealer, you can rest assured that you'll be getting Original Engine Manufacturer parts for your vehicle. Aftermarket components may be incompatible with manufacturer specific standards, as well as other parts in the vehicle. With OEM parts, you can get the part you want without having to worry about the quality or performance of different choices.  OEM Parts are designed to operate just as if they came from the factory, and usually offer generous warranties.  OEM components generally cost more than aftermarket alternatives, but they can often avoid having more frequent or costly repairs in the future. To ensure your safety, use only OEM parts to repair or alter your vehicle.. For all of your vehicle needs, visit your local certified auto dealership.  Our exceptional customer service puts you and your vehicle first; allowing you to drive away with a smile.


Russ Darrow | Automotive Tips

Posted on April 14, 2014

Getting a regularly schedule tune up can dramatically increase the life expectancy of your vehicle.  This preventative maintenance can also include repairing, cleaning or even replacing several parts of your vehicle that may be damaged or worn. Regularly scheduled tune ups help to protect your vehicle’s performance and longevity.  Though relatively simple, the minimal cost of a tune up can prevent an expense repair bill in the future. Simple items such as a clogged air filter can worsen over time, causing other parts to fail. Modern vehicles tend to use parts requiring less frequent replacement. Nevertheless, it’s still important to adhere to your owner’s manual and consider the recommendations of a trusted automotive professional. So let us help you Keep your vehicle and its parts functioning properly, come in today and let our certified and trained service technicians give your vehicle the tune up it needs.


Buy vs. Lease

Posted on March 19, 2014

If you’re shopping for your next vehicle, you’re probably deciding whether you want to buy or lease. Reasons for buying a new car include lower finance rates and the comfort of being the first owner of the vehicle.  New car buyers tend to have more freedom when choosing luxury and convenience features. For example, they can upgrade from cloth to leather seating and even add a premium entertainment system, while still keeping monthly costs manageable. After completing payments on the vehicle, new car buyers will have something of value that they can either sell for a profit or keep for years to come.

Likewise, leasing a vehicle offers substantial benefits.  One of the most attractive benefits is being able to get into a more luxurious vehicle for a lower price. Lessees need not worry about expensive repairs or costly depreciation associated with new car purchases. Once you have kept the car in good condition and obeyed the terms of the lease, you can simply hand over the keys and walk away at the end of your lease. Many lease contracts offer a buyout option allowing you to pay cash for the vehicle or continue making payments until you own it if you decide you do in fact want to keep it. Self-employed individuals can even write off their lease payments as a business expense if it is used for business purposes.



Call, click or visit your local Russ Darrow dealership today to learn more!


How The Engine Control Unit Increases the Performance of Your Car

Posted on February 19, 2014

Engine control unit (ECU) is an important part of electronic fuel injection system (FIS). Also known as engine management system (EMS) or powertrain control module (PCM), it is like the brain of the fuel injection system.

An electronic fuel injection system consists of three subsystems - air induction system, fuel delivery system and electronic control system. The engine control unit (ECU) belongs to third subsystem of the FIS.

The ECU gathers information on various factors like air temperature, air pressure, throttle angle, fuel temperature, air density, fuel pressure, oil pressure, timing, engine rpm, speed of vehicle etc., with the help of various sensors like oxygen sensor, airflow sensor, coolant-temperature sensor, speed sensor, etc.

Based on the information collected by sensors, the ECU increases the performance of the car by performing various functions as discussed below.

Controls air/fuel mixture: The ECU accurately measures the amount of air and fuel that has to be injected into the combustion chamber based on various parameters collected by sensors. This avoids wastage of fuel, caused by injecting more than the required amount of fuel and reduces the toxic emissions caused by injecting less than the required amount of fuel. Thus, increases the fuel efficiency and performance of the car.

Controls variable valve timing: After measuring the optimum amount of air and fuel mixture, it is also important that it is sprayed into the combustion chambers at right times.

Variable valve timing is the process of lifting the valves and spraying the air and fuel mixture at different times. The time depends on various factors like speed of the car, internal and external temperature, etc. that are identified by different sensors of the ECU. Valves usually need to be lifted sooner at higher speeds and little later during low speeds. The ECU controls these valves' lifting times ensuring better performance of the car.

Controls ignition timing: Producing a spark at the right time (neither early nor late) to ignite the engine is called ignition timing. It is crucial for the performance of the car. Too late or too early ignition results in vibration and major issues in car engine. Spark is required to ignite the engine. The ECU identifies the right time to produce spark in the combustion chamber in order to start the engine.

Controls idle speed: Idle speed is the speed at which engine generates maximum power and runs smoothly besides operating other accessories such as AC, power steering, etc. Throttle control system of the ECU controls the idle speed of the vehicle. Idle speed also depends on the load on the vehicle and this idle load varies with the engine temperature, transmission status and camshaft duration. All these are monitored and regulated by the ECU.

Therefore, efficient functioning of the ECU of an electronic fuel injection system not only improves the fuel efficiency and power, but also the overall performance of your car.



Congratulations to Russ Darrow Honda! 2013 Honda Presidents Award winners

Posted on February 17, 2014

The Honda President’s Award for its exceptional performance in 2012.  This annual award is presented to Honda’s top-ranking dealerships that achieved excellence in all areas of operation – customer service and sales satisfaction, sales, training, and facility. More than 1,000 Honda automobile dealerships from across the country competed for the President’s Award title, with only 112 dealerships earning the award


Leasing vs. Financing Which option is for you?

Posted on February 12, 2014

Leasing is becoming a popular choice amoung consumers. As a matter of fact , more than one-fourth of new vehicle purchases in 2013 have been leases. Lower monthly lease payments available to consumers are playing a big role in this shift. recognizes the importance of not only finding the right vehicle for you but also the right way to purchase that vehicle. We have available to you a Finance department and sales staff that is trained to consult you by asking you the right questions. By providing you with a well rounded consultation we are better able to help you find the vehicle you want at the price you need. 


When You Lease

Monthly Payments

Monthly lease payments are usually lower than monthly finance payments because you are paying only for the vehicle's depreciation rather than the full purchase price during the lease term, plus rent charges (like interest). Alternatively, you can lease a more expensive vehicle for the same monthly payment as financing.

Vehicle Return

You may return the vehicle at lease end, pay any end-of-lease costs and "walk away."


Future Value

The lessor has the risk of the future market value of the vehicle. You generally have the opportunity to gain any vehicle equity.


Up Front Costs

Up-front costs of leasing a vehicle are usually less than up-front financing costs. They typically include the first month's payment, a refundable security deposit, registration fees and sometimes local taxes. Up-front costs can include:

  • Capitalized cost reduction
  • Taxes
  • Other government or lessor charges
  • Optional insurance and services
  • First monthly payment
  • Refundable security deposit
  • Prior lease balance
  • Prior credit balance

total Costs

The total costs of leasing a vehicle for a fixed period aregenerally less than for financing because of lease savings on depreciation and gap coverage; reduced sales tax; and the time value of money benefits.

  • Depreciation
  • Gap coverage
  • Sales/Use tax
  • Time value of money

When You Finance

Monthly Payments

Monthly finance payments are usually higher than monthly lease payments because you are paying for the entire purchase price of the vehicle, plus interest and other finance charges, and taxes. For the same monthly payment as leasing, you must finance a less expensive vehicle.


Vehicle Return

You have to sell or trade the vehicle when you decide you want a different vehicle.


Future Value

You have the risk of the vehicle's market value when you trade or sell it. You would also have any vehicle equity.


Up Front Costs

Up-front costs of buying a vehicle are typically greater than up-front leasing costs. They typically include the cash price or a down payment, sales taxes on the full price of the vehicle, registration fees and other government charges. Up-front costs can include:

  • Cash price or down payment
  • Sales tax
  • Other taxes
  • Other government or lender charges
  • Optional insurance and services
  • First monthly payment
  • No refundable security deposit
  • Prior lease balance
  • Prior credit balance

Total Costs

The total costs of financing a vehicle for a fixed period aregenerally more than for leasing because of higher costs of depreciation and gap liability, more sales tax and the time value of money differences.

  • Depreciation
  • Gap coverage
  • Sales tax
  • Time value of money

Russ Darrow Group to Present Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County with a New Toyota Sienna Mobility Van

Posted on February 10, 2014
Russ Darrow Toyota of West Bend will present a new 2014 Sienna mobility van on Wed., Feb. 12, at 4 p.m., to Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County. Interfaith Caregivers was voted a winner of Toyota Motor Sales, USA’s “100 Cars for Good” nationwide program. The van will be presented in the dealership’s showroom, located at 2700 W. Washington St. Russ Darrow, Russ Darrow Group Chairman; Mike Darrow, Russ Darrow Group President and COO; and Kevin Fletcher, Toyota Motor Sales, USA Chicago Region General Manager are expected to present the vehicle to Brydie Hill, Executive Director of Interfaith Caregivers. The Toyota Sienna mobility van is equipped with the industry’s first factory-installed power rotating lift-up Auto Access Seat. The seat rotates 90 degrees, then extends from the vehicle and lowers to a convenient transfer height, making for easy entry and exit. Toyota Financial Services is also donating a six-year, 100,000-mile Platinum maintenance and service policy. Interfaith Caregivers is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) network of volunteers who provide assistance to help maintain the independence of Washington County residents ages 60 and over. Interfaith Caregivers’ volunteers deliver meals on wheels; provide transportation to medical appointments, grocery stores, food pantries, and senior exercise groups; and more. Services are offered within and out of Washington County and at no cost to the individual. During the voting phase, which began Oct. 1, 2013, Toyota Motor Sales, USA’s 100 Cars for Good program profiled five nonprofit finalists at Members of the public were able to vote for which nonprofits they believed could do the most good with new vehicles. The two organizations with the most votes at the end of each day won one of five Toyota models. Runners-up each received a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota Motor Sales, USA. “We are thankful to Toyota, the Russ Darrow Group, and everyone who voted for us to win this Sienna,” says Hill. “On average, we transport 120 seniors to medical appointment monthly, and nearly all have said that the medical transport program in particular has been essential to maintaining their health. Receiving a new vehicle allows us to provide more rides and keep costs low – and seniors are able to stay home longer, eat nutritionally-balanced meals, and receive vital, life-sustaining care.” “Russ Darrow Group is proud to have a role in the 100 Cars for Good program and recognize Interfaith Caregivers for its dedication to greater Washington County,” says Darrow. “The 100 Cars for Good program allows us all to have a role in advancing charities’ work, and we couldn’t be happier to help this organization into the Sienna mobility van.”

Russ Darrow | Financing In Seconds

Posted on February 5, 2014

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