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.


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.