Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The 5 Best Engineered Cars

While the cars we drive to work and to the shops are themselves fine examples of automotive engineering, for the pinnacle of technical excellence you need to turn to racing and sports cars in their many forms. Check out five examples of the very best.

The Red Bull RB7 racing car. In the 2011 Formula One season, this was the dominant car, by far the best racing car on the circuit, winning both the individual driver's title and also the constructor's championship.

The RB7's achievements were the result of continual development and innovation such as the introduction of its exhaust-blown diffuser, the addition of floor holes and special electronic engine maps that squeezed every ounce of power from the car's 2.4 litre engine. Often these technical improvements had to be refined in the one to two week window between races.

The Bugatti Veyron Supersport. In just a few short years, with its stunning styling and awesome performance, this magnificent road car has become a legend. For those brave enough and with the space to do so, the Veyron can unleash a top speed of no less than 267mph, reaching the 60 mile an hour mark in just 2.4 seconds from a standing start. Recognised as the fastest road car ever made, to buy one of these phenomenal vehicles you would have to part with £1.6 million!

The McClaren F1 road car is widely regarded as the ultimate super car, eclipsing the likes of legendary names such as Ferrari and Lamborghini. It first went into production some twenty years ago and some say it is still the most beautiful car ever built. With a top speed of just 241mph it may not match the Veyron for pace, but with a price tag as high as £2.5 million, when it comes to cost it leaves the Veyron standing.

The Audi R18 e-tron Quattro is the first of a new breed of hybrid that is making inroads into the world of motor sport, this year winning the world's most famous endurance car race - the Le Mans 24 Hour. To achieve success in a race that can last for over 3,000 miles, Audi engineers and drivers have to balance the quest for speed with the careful management of fuel, tyres, engine, transmission and brakes.

The Citroen DS3 WRC may be the nearest amongst this list to the vehicle that you and I drive, but in the hands of its driver, eight time world rally champion, S├ębastien Loeb, it's anything but. Unlike the other cars, which are designed to be driven on the road or flat race circuits, the DS3 has to combine speed, endurance and robustness to withstand the battering it gets from hurtling along narrow unmade forest tracks, being flung round hairpin bends, and the impact of landing after taking off over hump-back bridges!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do Car Ads Create Distracted Drivers?

When out driving, the most important topic is safety. We leave in our vehicles with intentions of making it to or from without any harm to ourselves or others. Unfortunately, this not always the case. One of the top factors today that compromise safety are distracted drivers. But, does this include reading ads on cars?

The government agency distractiondotcom have set out on a crusade to limit the number of traffic crashes related to avoidable distractions. The source lists the following as the most common risk factors:
  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
It also states that "sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind."

How does this relate to car ads? Well, think about what looking at an ad on someone's vehicle entails. Your looking at something designed specifically to entice you into contacting them about a product or service. The time it may take you to read the entire ad may take longer that 4.6 seconds. Not to mention, your going to probably try to save the contact information some kind of way so you can contact them about the product or service. Even if you don't write or type the information, whatever other means of recording it will still make you a distracted driver. So, you become a candidate for traffic crashes every time you read a car ad while drive.

News Flash, car ads are not meant to be read by drivers! Just as all the other things on the above list can be performed while the car is sitting still, so can reading car ads. Don't get me wrong, just because your operating a vehicle doesn't mean your not being targeted by the ad. Just keep safety as a priority and read them when your vehicle is parked or stopped. Avoid traffic crashes by driving responsible.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Understanding the California Red Tag Law and How It Affects Auto Loans

Last year the government officials in California passed the "red tag law" which has had a significant affect on the used cars market that consumers can benefit from. For those who are familiar with the logistics of this new law I'll explain it simply. In its basic understanding the California red tag law requires dealers to place a red sticker on any vehicle that has been salvaged, in a junk yard, or sustained any flood damage.

These vehicles also have to be registered into a federal database that is also open to the public. With this type of law in affect it helps make people who are looking to buy a pre-owned vehicle much more comfortable about acquiring a reliable automobile. There are also people who can get bad credit car loans with the California red tag law as they will be more confident that the vehicle will last throughout the duration of the loan.

Applying for Used Car Loans in California

Most people can still qualify for auto financing in California even with a poor credit score, but very few dealers would be up for the task as they had too much to lose. Before this law if a used car dealer allowed someone to buy and finance a vehicle that had flood damage, and it broke down after a month they would be out of an investment as most lemon laws don't require you to continue making payments.

Now that dealers can provide more reliable vehicles it will be easier to qualify for used car loans with bad credit, since more credit lenders will be more relaxed. It also helps that another part of this new California law allows dealerships to charge the same fees for leases and actual sold vehicles applications. Originally car lots would only charge $45 for leases and add another $10 if you were going to make a full purchase; however, bother prices have shot up to $80 which has made many dealers happy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

From Brand New to Pre Owned Nissan - Common Car Choices

Some people say the car you drive says a lot about who you are. These days, that may still hold true, although for entirely different reasons. Most car buyers now go for the vehicle they think would give them more car for less costs. The costs usually include the price of the vehicle and its fuel needs. Many shoppers prefer pre owned Nissan and other used vehicles over brand new ones because they typically cost much less. Whether you are in the market for a brand new or a used car, take into account if the vehicle you want fits your budget, way of life, and personality. Here are some of the modern types of automobiles you can choose from.

Sedans

The most obvious advantage of a regular sedan is its four doors. There is enough space for at least four people to enter, exit, and ride in comfort, plus a trunk to carry their luggage. Buy a sedan especially if you have one or two children. They can sit comfortably in the back and you do not have to climb over the front seats to tend to them.

Coupes or Convertibles

This type is usually a good choice for single people who want to make a statement about their personality. Convertibles usually have more stylish exteriors. Some have backseats but it can be a burden accessing them often, as the car has only two doors.

Hatchbacks and Station Wagons
Hatchbacks are not big sellers in the American market. They have four doors for passengers, and a fifth at the back for the luggage space. They are like a cross between a sedan and an SUV, only that they have lower ground clearance, allowing them to drive like a sedan. They also consume less gas than SUVs and crossovers. These days, many car shoppers are giving hatchbacks a second look, primarily because SUVs and crossovers are pricier and less fuel efficient.

Station wagons are perhaps even a little less desirable than hatchbacks in the U.S., although that trend is also beginning to change. They have more room than hatchbacks and are still more affordable to own than SUVs. Station wagons are second only to minivans if you are shopping for a large family.

Minivans

Minivans are probably your best option if you have a large family. They are much more comfortable than sedans and other cars if you haul about eight passengers. There is ample boot space for luggage, and good value for money when it comes to fuel.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Lower Price For The Nissan Leaf In 2013

The Nissan Leaf hasn't been exactly a top-seller in the States so far. Nissan is planning to jump start sales by introducing a more affordable trim level to the market in 2013. It will be a more basic model and forego the high-tech features that current Leaf's offer such as a navigation system. The current model is priced at around $36k for the SV model while the SL is priced at $38k.

Let's take a look at the current Leaf. It's powered by a lithium ion battery with an output of 107 hp and 207 lb feet of torque. Owners can opt to have a home charging station installed which makes charging a whole lot faster; it only takes 30 minutes to charge the battery to almost full capacity while it can take almost 20 hours using a traditional household outlet.

The interior is spacious with enough room to accommodate 5 individuals. Step inside and you'll notice the high tech features such as a navigation system and the ability to play music from mp3 players. Drivers are also able connect their Smartphone to the Leaf through the Carwings system. Cargo space is 14.5 cubic feet; a tad than that of traditional cars because of the battery pack. Nissan's EV achieved scores of "Good" on crash tests performed by the IIHS. Standard safety features include air bags, electronic stability control, ABS, traction control and child safety locks.

The Leaf isn't quite as popular as the Toyota Prius yet. However, they can be ideal for individuals who don't do a whole lot of driving and have short commutes. One of the main concerns when it comes to EV's is mileage range. The Leaf can travel for approximately 100 miles before it needs a recharge. This can be a concern since many states don't currently have enough charging stations in order to support a large number of users.

Once the infrastructure and electric grid is in order we can expect to see more EV's on the road as long as prices drop down. Electric cars are currently priced at the same level as luxury cars from Mercedes and BMW. Consumers who mainly want to save money are more likely to opt for traditional cars with excellent mpg while EV's are currently more likely to attract those who want to make an environmental or political statement. It will be interesting to see how the more affordable Leaf will affect prices. Nissan has not released official prices yet.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Makes a Great Auto Repair Technician?

Auto repair is not something most people want to think about, much less deal with. In fact, it is something many put off because they do not want to fork over the money to keep their car running at peak levels. Despite this reluctance, it is important to do so if you want you car to last a long time. When you do hand it over to a technician, be sure that the person there is not just going to do an okay job, but that they are going to do a great job. You need to know that when they place those keys in your hand, that you are getting your vehicle back in good working order.

Trust Is a Big Factor

When getting any type of auto repair done, many people focus on getting in and out of the shop fast, but trust should be a big part of this process. You likely need to know that this provider is going to offer you the type of care you need and do the best possible job. How can you trust in them? A good way to do so is simply to talk to others who have used the service to find out if the technicians do a great job. Do they provide honest information and use quality parts? Do they keep you in the loop about what is going on with your vehicle? Trust is very important.

Thoroughness

Another key thing that the best providers offer is an honest and fair assessment of how your vehicle is operating. In short, you need to know that they are looking for the problems that may put you and your family at risk before giving you a clean bill of health for that car. If you find out there is another problem within just a few days, you know the first person did not do a good job.

Look for a provider you can trust to inspect your vehicle for overall safety. Look for someone that will provide maintenance like oil changes, but who will also tell you how your engine is running or point out issues with your tires. This way, when you are pulling off the lot, you feel comfortable knowing the actual condition of the car.

Auto repair is about developing a relationship with a technician you feel comfortable going to. While factors like cost and timelines are also important, you need highly experienced professionals who use only the best quality products to make repairs to your car. You also need to know that this person is honest and responsible enough to give you the information you really need.

Friday, September 28, 2012

How to Winterize Your Car: 10 Helpful Tips to Prepare for Winter

When the weather starts to change and summer is coming to an end, the last thing on your mind is your car. With the possibility of snow and ice on the horizon though, making sure your car is in top shape is critical to avoid being stranded on the side of the road in the cold! Here are 10 helpful tips to winterize your car and make sure your ready for the harsh weather ahead.

1. Change your oil

If you're due for an oil change, now is the time to get one. Make sure your using the right kind of oil for your car and double-check the owner's manual to make sure there aren't any special considerations for winter time. Some engines use different viscosities of oil depending on the time of year. Oil tends to thicken as the temperature drops which could leave your engine under-lubricated if you use the wrong type of oil.

2. Get a tune up

Making sure your car is properly tuned up is important all year-long. In the winter time, this is especially important to prevent cold morning headaches. Your car's electrical system, including spark plugs, wires, etc., is crucial for making sure your engine fires right up on a cold winter morning. Take the time to make sure this is one headache you won't have to worry about this year.

3. Get your battery checked

Cold weather and batteries don't mix. When the temperature drops, a worn battery can quickly become a dead battery leaving you stranded. Stop by your local auto parts store and have them check your battery to make sure it will last through the winter. If there is any trouble, pick one up while you're there, most places will put it in for you free of charge. Keep the terminals free of corrosion and you should have no worries.

4. Check the radiator fluid

Have your cooling system checked for leaks, and make sure to fill it with the proper antifreeze type and mixture to protect your engine during the harsh winter months. Proper levels of antifreeze are needed for your heating system to work properly as well as to protect your engine from overheating and leaving you stuck on the side of the road. Replace worn hoses, fix small leaks, and make sure everything is in good working order.

5. Adjust your tire pressure regularly

Keeping your tires properly inflated is important all year-long. Properly inflated tires reduce gas mileage and wear on your tires. In the winter months, properly inflated tires help maintain traction with the road. Snow, ice, and wet conditions all make traction difficult. Cold weather also hardens the rubber on your tires making slippery conditions all the more dangerous. Take the time once a month to inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. Use a tire gauge and check the owner's manual or the sticker on your car for proper pressure guidelines.

6. Considering changing to snow tires

If you live in an area with considerable snow fall or you're worried about the safety of inexperienced drivers, you may consider switching to snow tires. Designed for the harsh conditions of the winter months, these tires use softer rubber with special treads that keep the tires free of snow. This provides increased traction keeping your tires glued to the road. They are a considerable cost and would need switched back to all-season tires in the spring, but can offer significant traction improvements and may save your life.

7. Keep an emergency kit in the car

This is a good habit to get in to all times of the year but is especially important in the winter months. Make sure to have an emergency kit in your car. In the winter months, add some warm clothes and blankets, heat pouches, extra food (your body burns more calories when it's cold), and anything else that could make being stranded a little less miserable. You should always keep a first aid kit in the car as well in case of emergency.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brake Repair - Diagnosing Common Issues

Brake repair, perhaps because it typically isn't as expensive as some of the problems that unravel underneath the hood of a car, often doesn't get the due respect it deserves. It is, in many ways, the most important part of car maintenance. Failure on the part of the braking system can cause a major crash much faster than a problem with the engine or electrical system. Those accidents can be serious and sometimes fatal. That is why it's important to put your car in front of a mechanic whenever a problem develops. Here are some of the common issues experienced by drivers and what those symptoms could mean.

Pulling
If you press on the brake pedal and your car begins listing to one side or the other, the issue could require brake repair. Often this pulling is caused because of some kind of uneven wear on the rotors. Of course, it can also be a sign of problems with the wheel cylinder. On many occasions, it has nothing to do with the braking system at all and is instead a sign of a needed wheel alignment. Still, it is always better to rule out the more serious causes before moving on to secondary issues. Whatever the problem, it isn't something you should continue to drive on.

Pulsing


A pulsing braking system is often caused by worn rotors. Because the brakes don't make even contact with the rotors as the car begins to slow, it can create that pulsing effect that is often a sign of needed brake repair. This isn't necessarily an expensive fix. If your rotors are relatively new and untouched, the mechanic should be able to resurface them and provide you with a clean driving cylinder. If you've had that service done several times already, it may be time to replace the rotors altogether.

Dragging


Do you ever feel as though you are fighting some invisible force while driving down the road? In many cases, this is a sign of engine or transmission trouble, but don't discount the possibility of a problem from the braking system. When the retraction springs wear out or there is an issue with the cables, it could prevent your calipers from fully withdrawing when you step off the pedal. Your brakes remain at least partially engaged, causing your car to work much harder just to drive smoothly down the street. Get this fixed as soon as possible to avoid major failure of the braking system, as well as increased fuel consumption and engine wear.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Tyre Labelling

As demonstrated by a lot of motor vehicles failing their MoT Testing on worn out car tyres, quite a few car owners don't carry out the regular inspections required to make sure that they continue to be in a roadworthy condition. With this thought, it's no surprise that tyre retailers have stated that an identical cavalier attitude pervades when substitutes are needed, with a lot of owner-drivers apparently motivated by price only.

Being honest, a low cost tyre appears similar to some more costly high quality offerings, and from the eyes of many car owners it's nearly impossible to recognize by sight what type might last longer, provide you with the optimum grip amounts in a number of climate conditions, in addition to being probably the most energy efficient. It's no surprise then, that many people are motivated by their purses, not aware the saying 'buy low-cost, buy twice' (or possibly 3 or 4 times) is strongly related to car tyres.

All the while a penniless student, I made the decision to try things out by running my old decrepit Citroen BX on the least expensive new car tyres I possibly could find, only to discover the vehicle needed a replacement front set after only just 8,000 miles had passed. I changed to a premium tyre brand name and discovered that 30,000 miles was attained much more easily. The Michelins might have cost double the cost of the least expensive brand (a set of 4 had been really worth more than the entire vehicle) but mile-for-mile; I discovered interestingly, the more costly tyre seemed to be the most cost-effective option.

However, numerous tyre purchasers are not aware of various tyre qualities, and that's why the European Union has launched a labelling program, much like new household white-coloured items, which aspire to assist customers to make a much more informed choice. The process evaluates the car tyres based on their energy efficiency (rated by their running resistance), rainy grip capabilities and sound (or tyre roar) degrees. A number of businesses have given information on the way the labelling could be interpreted, such as this one http://www.national.co.uk/complete-guide-to-tyre-labelling/index.aspx, from one of several United Kingdom's top tyre retailers.

As the new labelling, which gets to be a lawful requirement from 1st November, should help customers to demystify the dark art of tyre-making, making a much more educated purchasing choice, additional factors ought to be taken into consideration how the new labelling will not incorporate matters.

As numerous mishaps happen on bends (The Technological University of Dresden evaluated 10,000 accidents over Ten years and deduced that this figure is up to 25%), dealing with characteristics ought to be taken into consideration. Even though the labels take into account wet grip amounts, dry traction is overlooked, using the Dresden Technological University's investigation showing that incidents on dry highways are as much as 70%. On top of that, as I found out as a college student, an extended tyre life is a vital economical (and environmental) thing to consider, in which the product labels ignore. My dilemma is that tyre makers may well make an effort to achieve 'A' rankings for the labelling, at the cost of other qualities the labels don't take into consideration.

Nevertheless, the product labels really are a good step, despite the fact that I perceive they over simplify the actual attributes of the tyre, by overlooking other important factors. With an unconfirmed source that would like to stay anonymous, it was pointed out to me that it's the tyre manufacturers that handle assessing their very own products and solutions for the product labels rather than independent testers. With this thought, I query the credibility of the labels, unless of course the European Union intends to carry out strict spot inspections, which may suggest incurring expenditure, that we doubt could be afforded at the moment.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Body Repair After an Accident

Body repair for your vehicle may be a big need right now, especially after you have been involved in an accident. No matter who is at fault in the incident, it is always a good idea to turn to a professional to help you to get your vehicle fixed and back up to top quality. However, this is more than just taking the dings out of the sides and replacing a windshield. You need a professional who can guide your decisions and give you honest advice about what you can and cannot do.

It's More Than the Surface Layer

With most body repair needs after an accident, one of the most important things to have done is a true estimation of the damage. This means looking beyond what is seen on the surface to determine the true extent of the problem. Was the fuel tank smashed? Did the under carriage become dislodged? You will need to know the extent of the damage, including all of these secondary problems, so that you can get an accurate estimate of how much it will cost to fix the problem.

Insurance Claim Help

It is up to you to determine if you should file an insurance claim or not for such incidents. If the incident is your fault, your insurance company does have the right to raise your rates after such a claim. However, this is why you have protection anyway, so it may be a necessary decision especially with larger-scale problems. Keep in mind that if there is another person at fault, it is often best to work with your insurance agent and his or hers to file a claim for the damage.

Who Should You Go To?

When it comes to getting estimates for the damage, some insurance providers do make you go to more than one provider so it can determine what the actual cost will be. However, you do not want to go to just anyone. Rather, you need a professional with ample experience in making these types of repairs. You may need to locate more than one specialist for the damage recovery to satisfy your insurance company, but you do not want to go just anyone out there.

When it comes to dealing with body repair, get the work done. You do not want to put it off. Putting it off may mean that the damage will get worse. The vehicle is also more prone to rusting when it is not in good condition. This can significantly hurt the value as well. Even if you do not want to file a claim with your insurance provider, you still need to invest in getting repairs through a responsible, reliable professional specializing in this area.