Streamlining your Spring Break Road Trip

Road Trip Tips

As the weather is clearing up and the winter months are ending, spring break will be here quicker than you can expect. For us in Washington, we are starting to get a taste of some dry pavement again! This has CorkSport itching to head out on a road trip to enjoy the spring weather, and for some of us, that Mazda that has spent most of the winter in a garage. I thought I’d share some tips to ensure that your first road trip this spring goes smoothly.

PIC: Alejandro Romero

Prepare (at least a little) before you go

Preparation will ensure that you don’t end up lost or stranded somewhere on the side of the road with no help in sight.

1. Check the obvious things.

  • Tire Pressure
  • Tire Tread,
  • Oil Level

All basic checks that should be at the top of your list before heading out. This is especially true if your Mazdaspeed has been in a garage for the winter and this is your first long trip of the year.

2. Check the not-so-obvious things.

Road trips tend to highlight any little issues that may not show up in your day-to-day commute simply because you’re driving for a lot longer. This means ensuring your belts, coolant hoses, and battery are all in good condition. Double checking your coolant level will ensure your Mazdaspeed stays cool during long drives, especially if you’re pushing it in the twisties.

Lastly, for you automatic transmission folks, check your transmission fluid level and ensure it has been changed according to manufacturer specifications. Long mountain passes can be killer on AT cars, especially if they are low on fluid or desperately need fresh ATF.

3. Where ?!

Research where you are going before you go. A quick google search will ensure you won’t miss anything interesting on your way or at your destination. Google maps is your friend, especially for scouting out potential good driving roads. At CorkSport, we have even found good locations to film cars and test parts using google maps alone. Researching your route will also let you know if there are any road closures or construction that can spoil your drive.

 

Be ready for the inevitable

While preparation is nice, having a backup plan for if things do go south is best.

How’s your spare tire doing?

When’s the last time you checked if your spare tire was even inflated? Flat tires are unfortunately common on road trips, and having a spare in good condition is a lot cheaper than having to call a tow truck. While on the subject, ensure you have all the tools needed to change a tire in your car. From my own experience, the OEM scissor jacks may not fit if your car is lowered and you have a flat. Additionally, it’s really difficult to change a tire when the OEM lug wrench is a different size than your wheel locks. I was lucky enough to have a friend close by to help me out, but on a road trip, you likely won’t be so lucky.

Tools

If you’ve got the space, pack extra tools. If you do break down, having a decent assortment of tools to help you fix what is wrong can help you get back on the road faster. Even though parts stores have tools for sale, they are always way more expensive than they should be, plus, who’s to say you were lucky enough to break down near a parts store anyways?

Emergency Kit

Keep a basic emergency kit in your Mazda. Jumper cables, a small first aid kit, flashlight, even some extra oil will keep you moving toward your destination. There are quite a few inexpensive emergency kits out there that can really save your bacon in a pinch. Who knows, you may be able to help out someone else stuck on the side of the road.

 

Spare Key?

Come up with a plan for a lockout. Having a spare key is invaluable, especially while far away from home. Whether it’s a hide-a-key somewhere under the Mazda, or just a spare key that is given to someone you’re traveling with, having a way to get back in your car after losing your key will keep you moving.

Last and most important, stay safe. Don’t go all out on the street, especially on unfamiliar roads, and be patient with other drivers, more so during busy travel days. After all, what good is a road trip, if you or your car don’t come back in one piece?

Hopefully, a few of these tips will help some of you have a great road trip, and be sure to tell us about it! We love finding new driving roads and scenic locations. If you share your spots, who knows you may just see some CorkSport Mazdas around once in a while!

 

-Daniel

CorkSport Coolant Temperature Gauge

Another Gauge added to the CorkSport Lineup!

We are proud to announce the new CorkSport Coolant Temperature Gauge. It uses the same components and materials as all our other gauges so you can be sure that it will look good. Matching your existing CorkSport Mazda gauges, and most importantly, clearly and accurately provide you with the engine monitoring you want.

As with our other gauges, the CS Coolant Temp Gauge is designed to be good looking and easy to read. By using a simple and clear design, a quick glance at the gauge is all you need to know exactly what temperature your engine’s coolant is at. The gauge face is backlit with two color options to match your OE gauges, interior, and any other aftermarket gauges you may have. You can even wire the gauge to have a “night mode” where the backlighting changes to a different color once you turn your headlights on.

Don’t let the good looks fool you, it is still a very accurate gauge. A 270° stepper motor is used within the gauge to provide rapid response and precise readings. The stepper motor also allows for more of the gauge to be an actual dial for even more added clarity. Finally, the appropriate sensor and wiring you need to install the gauge are included to ensure the gauge is displaying the correct value.

Since the stepper motor needs a small logic board to control it, we are able to pack a few extra features in with the gauge. There is a programmable maximum limit that when reached, that has audio and visual warnings. This means no more risk of overheating while out on the track as your CorkSport Coolant Temp Gauge will be blinking and beeping up a storm. You can also keep track of the maximum temperature reached while out on the track or after a spirited drive using the gauge’s peak recall feature.

The CorkSport Coolant Temperature Gauge is a great mod to help you monitor your engine. Whether you are lacking a coolant gauge from the factory or simply want a number to go with your existing reading, the CS Temp Gauge has the accuracy, reliability, and looks you want.

Why no AWD?

Mazda has recently said they would like to have AWD in most models, but the current generation has some space/packaging constraints. I was scratching my head over this statement trying to figure out why the existing model Mazda 6 is offered in AWD in Europe with the Skyactiv diesel engine and Mazda is saying they cannot get it to fit.

I think I may have stumbled onto the answer after having a conversation with a friend recently. It is no secret Mazda is working on offering the diesel Cx5 to the US market, but it has been held up in government regulations with the EPA courtesy of VW and FIAT cheating on their engine mapping and emissions. Mazda has the setup which will pass and get the power they want to offer but here lies the problem.

Say you were going to offer a Mazda 6 diesel model that now meets the US emissions with the urea injection. Where are you going to put the tank to hold in the car? In the Cx5, which has more space to put something like a urea tank, it is not as much of a problem with packaging to find a spot. The Mazda 6 doesn’t sit off the ground as high and allow you a space to get everything to work out and be able to still fit the transfer case, drive shaft, and rear differential.

Why doesn’t Mazda offer both? This is a question I wish I could sort out. It wouldn’t be the first time Mazda would have models with different floor plans. Mazda has done this in the past with the 323s and Protégé, so I don’t think this is the reason why. This could be a possible play on the overall strategy with North America and only offer the AWD as a diesel model. This goes against what we have already with the Cx5 2.5 gas engine and the Cx9 gas 2.5 turbo motor, so I don’t think this is it which leaves this question for me to puzzle over a bit longer.

With the announcement of the Mazda/Toyota plant in Alabama and the statement by the chief of Mazda saying Mazda is going to build something different, this could be the queue that they will find a way to give us AWD turbo fun again. If anything the announcement of the new plant will finally get the EPA to give the green light to the Skyactiv diesel engine.

Overall Mazda desire to give us AWD still has me hopeful for the 2.5 Skyactiv gas turbo with all-wheel drive, but all the current signs say nope. Please Mazda, I don’t mind being wrong on this one.

-Derrick

CorkSport Versatune

We are excited to announce a powerful and unique release to the CorkSport Product catalog.

Starting off 2018 with a bang; CorkSport is now an official distributor and reseller of Versatune Tuning Software.

If you are unfamiliar with what Versatune is, then have a quick read and check out what it is, how it works, some of the unique features, and why you should consider purchasing it for your daily driven or high-performance Mazda.

Versatune is a powerful engine tuning solution featuring a modern and easy to use interface. With just a simple few mouse clicks, you can unlock the full potential of your Mazda using the intuitive wizard guided install and ECU flashing process.

Versatune software makes engine calibrations as easy as 1, 2, and 3. Backed by an online tune database that provides easy access to free pre-built tunes for typical configurations of performance parts VT makes it easy to get power from recent upgrades on your car. Installing of the pre-built tunes are as simple as selecting the desired tune from the online tune database and following the flashing wizard. No tuning skills or extensive knowledge is required.

If custom tuning is more your style or you need to get into the finer details of calibration maps, then the Versatune software will work for you as well. VT software also includes a powerful tune editor that exposes the critical performance and drivability related tables in the ECU. You can custom tune your car to accommodate your specific modifications and tuning goals. 3D visualizations, table descriptions, and data manipulation tools help speed up the custom tuning process.

The best part is even if you are requiring a custom tune but don’t feel comfortable performing it yourself, Versatune has a growing network of professional tuners and e-tuners that can provide custom tuning services to help you meet your specific needs.

Over the past few months, CorkSport has had the opportunity to work closely with Versatune to further develop and grow the support for several vehicles in the Mazda lineup. Including but not limited to the 3rd gen Mazda 3, 2nd gen RX-8, and the new 4th gen ND chassis Miata.

With each of these Mazdas, we have spent countless hours on the dyno, street, and race track to fine tune calibrations and settings in this easy to use software. Each Mazda has shown consistent and reliable gains across the rev range all while still retaining OEM like drivability.

We are working on packages with the CorkSport parts you love, a custom tune to make the most of them, and a bit of a discount to get you rolling.

You can expect to see a few packages for 2016+ Mx5 in the next few weeks.

 

Keeping Your Mazda Clean During This Winter Season

CorkSport Recommendations for Keeping Your Mazda Clean During The Winter Season

How many of our CorkSport family members have more product for their paint jobs on their Mazda’s than their own bodies? I know that we at CorkSport have more product than we can count with all of our fingers and toes. We enjoy having that smooth paint job with no imperfections and a paint job that beads up water with ease.

So how do we keep our cars paint baby butt smooth with all of the Pacific Northwest rain, and snow?

We make sure to do preventative paint correction so when the weather breaks, and the sun shines, we know our cars will look above anyone else. I wanted to take a little bit of time to make sure that CorkSport family members could see what we do to make sure our cars stay clean during the nasty winter seasons.

Before working for CorkSport, I managed a full-service car wash/detail shop for about eight years. There is always a common misconception that at least keeping the car clean will keep the paint looking good for long periods of time.

However, that is not correct. A car’s paint has polymers which over time dry out and lead to fading of the paint. This is why I recommend that if you are going to use a self-serve car wash, or an auto car wash, to make sure you use triple foam polish. The triple foam will re-condition the paint, and it will also leave a nice shine behind after the car has been dried. Also, any person who uses triple foam polish on their car will notice that dirt and grime come off the car easier the next time you clean it. Keeping the clear coat nice and fresh will result in less time cleaning and a much cleaner car over time. If you love your Mazda, make sure to use triple foam when you can!

Adding triple foam to your car wash procedure is a start, but it doesn’t stop there. I recommend to at least hand-wax your car twice a year. Waxing the car will remove things like tree sap, bird poop, light water spotting, and any other imperfections that may be seen while daily driving. It is very important to remove those imperfections because the longer they sit on the paint, the faster the clear coat starts to break down. As you can imagine, the chemicals put down on the road during winter can have a dramatic effect on the luster of the car, and before you know it you have fading paint.

As most of you know, mud flaps are normally associated with a rally car. I think we can all agree that a lot of Mazda owners also use them. I decided to use mud flaps not because I wanted to go tear up the dirt, but because I knew that it would keep my side skirts, and rear hatch much cleaner. After having the mud flaps installed, and moving to Washington where it rains eight months out of the year, I realized that mud flaps do in fact make a huge difference in keeping the car clean.

Additionally, the side skirts will see less wear and tear from junk on the roads keeping the side of the car in much better condition. When looking at getting mud flaps, make sure you get ones made out of poly, so they don’t bend over time.

THE most important thing to have when owning a dope ride would be to have a garage to park her in. I know it might be a struggle, but get that garage organized, make some room, and fit your baby inside a closed building during the winter. The last thing you want is falling leaves, bird poop, tree sap, etc. to fall onto the car and sit on the paint for multiple months. Also, having that garage means you can now spend countless hours working on the car without having to go anywhere! Plus we all know that when you tell the significant other it will only take four hours to complete an install, we all know that it will take eight!

The cleaner you keep the car, the easier it is to correct the paint when the weather breaks. The end goal is to pull into the car wash, put the soap on the car, and watch the dirt melt off the car. If you have achieved this level of luster, then you have done a very good job at keeping the car well-kept during the nasty winter season!

Cheers,
Luke