Sunday, December 31, 2006

Electric Vehicles

By Arindam Chattopadhyaya

SUMMARY: These days electric vehicle is designed in two ways those are Battery Electric Vehicles and Hybrid vehicles. Battery Electric Vehicles covert chemical energy to electrical energy in batteries; whereas Hybrid vehicles, which convert chemical energy to electrical energy via an internal combustion engine and a generator. In this article you will learn plug-in-hybrid.

Nowadays people have more varied choices in buying vehicles and cars. As now they have the option of electric vehicles. But what exactly electric vehicle is? In simple words an electric vehicle, or EV, is a vehicle with one or more electric motors for propulsion. Thus, the motion may be provided either by wheels or propellers driven by rotary motors, or in the case of tracked vehicles, by linear motors.

The energy used to propel these kind of can be obtained from various sources such as:
1. From chemical energy stored on the vehicle in on-board batteries: Battery electric vehicle
2. From both an on-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) and fueled propulsion power source: hybrid vehicle
3. Generated on-board using a combustion engine, as in a diesel-electric locomotive
4. Generated on-board using a fuel cell: fuel cell vehicle
5. Generated on-board using nuclear energy, on nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers
6. From more esoteric sources such as flywheels, wind and solar
7. From a direct connection to land-based generation plants, as is common in electric trains and trolley buses

Electric vehicles generally use electric motors used to drive vehicles because they can be finely controlled, they deliver power efficiently and they are mechanically very simple. Moreover these electric motors often achieve 90% conversion efficiency over the full range of speeds and power output and can be precisely controlled. Thus it won’t be wrong to say that these electric motors can provide high torque while an electric vehicle is stopped, unlike internal combustion engines, and do not need gears to match power curves.

These days electric vehicle is designed in two ways those are Battery Electric Vehicles and Hybrid vehicles. Battery Electric Vehicles covert chemical energy to electrical energy in batteries; whereas Hybrid vehicles, which convert chemical energy to electrical energy via an internal combustion engine and a generator. However, there is another less established form of electric vehicle which is the 'plug-in hybrid'. This 'plug-in hybrid' attempts to combine the benefits of both these designs and allows the moderate capacity batteries of a hybrid vehicle to be recharged not only from the internal combustion engine and generator.

Electric Vehicles include electric wheelchairs, the Segway HT, electric motorcycles and scooters, motorized bicycles, golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles. Furthermore some working electric vehicles include heavy work equipment, fork lifts, and numerous other service and support vehicles. Thus, if you are an environment conscious then electric vehicle is best for you.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Review On Hybrid Car Technology

By Arindam Chattopadhyaya

SUMMARY: There is a serious doubt on the future of current auto industry. Hi tech environment friendly car is the big thing in auto industry. This article discuses some subtle aspects of hybrid car industry.

The biggest question popping these days is that, what sort of vehicles are we actually going to be driving in the future? This question has stirred many minds and brains as world oil reserves are dwindling to such a worrying degree that the tip is we could actually run out of that black gooey stuff in about 50 years time. So what is the alternative left with us considering that there will be no black gold after few years? The answer is Hybrid Cars which will run on alternative fuel i.e. solar battery without emission of toxic substances in nature. But are reliable, will they perform well in future? These kinds of questions are just common these days.

Car is now part of daily life and culture, so it's difficult to imagine getting from one place to another without it, irrespective of distance. The future of the car, as we know, is doomed because of emission of large chunk of our greenhouse emissions, and fossil fuels set to become more costly before eventually running out. Thus this has resulted car manufactures to give a deep thought and are serious about alternative ways to produce engine power.

In other words we can say that it is all about developing the car of the future, a vehicle that will be both greener and more efficient. This is when hybrid car makes its entry. Hybrid car these days is gaining popularity as it is not only cheap but also easily affordable. This means owing this car won’t create any environment hazards and also won’t burn hole in your pocket. But is hybrid car reliable and bankable option? The answer is somehow yes, considering current trend of auto industry

A car with Hybrid technology has two engines, side by side, under the bonnet. This means an electric engine here and a petrol engine there. Seeing today’s cars we come to know that majority cars driven by one or the other engine. This means not that cost effective. Thus, for better mileage and maximum performance, you get them both chiming in together, so you get more power. This can only be found in hybrid cars. That’s why people prefer them over others.

In hybrid car the electric engine also charges the batteries, and that neatly gets you around the old problem of electric cars of having to plug it into the mains overnight. This means no need to worry about recharging too. But one of the biggest disadvantages attached with hybrid cars is that they needed big, heavy battery packs which took up all of the back seat. But this is also now rectified as now you get a full four-seater capacity and enough room in the luggage space for two or three small dogs or maybe even one really big one.

Thus, we can now say that hybrid car is the best and safe option to go for. Visit Author's site to learn more on hybrid car technology.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shakes, Rattles, Squeaks & Thunks...(Electrical) Part 1

By Gordon Ficke

SUMMARY: Self-help automotive tips for the motorist who likes to save money on expensive automotive service bills. This article is designed for the average car owner who can perform some simple maintenance tasks to keep their vehicle running optimally.

Knowledge is everything, and ignorance is not always bliss. That is pretty much good advice, right? When it comes to driving old reliable why do you see some cars passing you on the highway belching blue smoke, or chugging past you like a steam locomotive on a mountain pass? Are these drivers oblivious to the fact that something is wrong with their vehicle or are they thinking that the problem may just disappear?

Let's face it, maintaining our car's health may not be our favourite pastime, but if driving is a daily part of our lives, then it is imperative and our obligation to ensure that we keep an ongoing check on those normal wear and tear items. A little sage advice is in order here.

Today let's take a look at some electrical problems you may encounter from time to time. Are you experiencing starting problems, vehicle stalling, your lights going dim or don't go on? For the most part, electrical problems like these occur from neglect.

There are some simple checks you can do starting with inspecting the acid level in your battery. If your battery is of the non-serviceable type, there may be eye or dot on top of the battery, which indicates battery charge. Note, that this dot only indicates the charge on one of the battery's six cells, and should be only relied upon as a reference point only for your battery's condition. Battery experts will tell you that it is possible for any of the other battery cells to be completely discharged. For the most part, if the dot is green in colour, then the battery should be fully charged. Yellow indicates a partially discharged battery and black means the battery is discharged and needs to be recharged.

Check the sticker on top of your battery to determine the battery's age. The year and month the battery was purchased will be punched out. Today's batteries can last from three to seven years, depending on the vehicle they are installed in, the situations and conditions they are used in, etc. If the battery has exceeded it's normal lifespan, then replace it.

Older serviceable batteries can be topped up have a lifespan of up to ten years, and that is simply because of maintenance. Most important of all is to keep the battery tops dry as water conducts electricity. A damp battery top means that electricity can travel from one terminal to another, resulting in a fully discharged battery.

While you are checking the battery level check to see if there is excessive corrosion on the battery terminals. Corrosion on the terminals will reduce current flow throughout the vehicle's electrical system, especially during startup, when there is a huge current and voltage demand by the starter.

If the battery registers below 12 volts, then repercussions can occur throughout the electrical systems of your car or truck. Starting the vehicle becomes more laboured. The operation of electrical motors, such as those used in door windows, seats, windshield wipers, fans, etc., slow down. Lighting systems go dim and peculiar things can happen when you use your turn signals, such as certain dash lights come on that shouldn't. All these systems start from a 12 volt source and your car or truck's battery is the heart of the whole electrical system.

Which battery lasts longer? As a rule, the lifetime non-serviceable battery should outlast the serviceable type because it is sealed. However, Murphy's Law applies here and sometimes this is just not the case. Good advice is to buy the best battery you can afford.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Vehicle Security and Tracking

By Jeffrey Stoker

SUMMARY: A GPS tracking unit is the latest in personal vehicle locating and tracking that will give the end user the ability to locate and track their vehicle with any Internet connected computer, or now their cell phone.

It’s ten o’clock; do you know where your children are…and how fast they’re traveling? Since its inception, the driver’s license has been a rite of passage from the teenage into the adult years and has always struck terror in the hearts of parents. There is a way to help parent through these times. Seems impossible? Imagine if you had the ability to instantly know the location of your car and child and how fast she traveled to get where she was going.

This is exactly what a GPS tracking system will do for you and your peace of mind. Technology that was developed for the United States Military is now available for families; offering a comfort and tranquility uncommon in parents of teenage drivers. The system follows vehicle movement – anywhere in North America, at any time – and generates an online location report of the vehicle’s last known position, including the street address if available. The printable report includes the amount of time the vehicle was at a location, the speeds en route and the direction in which the vehicle was traveling.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, “Teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group. Per mile traveled, they have the highest involvement rates in all types of crashes, from those involving only property damage to those that are fatal.” Many of these crashes result from inexperienced drivers operating vehicles under dangerously excessive speeds. With statistics like these parents owe it to themselves to know how fast their children are driving, especially if high rates of speed are often the reason for serious accidents. With a tracking unit installed, it doesn’t just give parents crucial information; it puts parents in the car with their child -- at all times. The next time 16 year old Johnny considers testing the maximum speed of the family mini van, he may think twice and decide he’s not ready to pay the consequences once he pulls into the driveway for the night. It would be nice if we as parents could always be with our children when they are driving.

Careless driving is only one of the aspects that cause parents undue distress. The other is not knowing where our children are once they have left our house. Safety Track takes this wondering out of your day and night. At any time, parents can log on to a secure website and access a detailed map showing exactly where their car is located, providing their child has not left the North American continent. Try visualizing the feeling you will experience when you can see for yourself, from the comfort of your home computer, that Susie is at the high school basketball game and not out at the local fraternity party. Not only that, but you will be informed of the time she left the game as well.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Free Vehicle History Report - Is There Such a Thing

SUMMARY: Used car buyers are always searching for a free vehicle history report...but does it really exist? Well, yes and no. You can get free history reports from some dealers online and off, but you can't just enter the VIN of a vehicle you have found on your own and expect to get a full report of that particular vehicle...for that you're going to have to pay.

Used car buyers are always searching for a free vehicle history report...but does it really exist? Well, yes and no. You can get free history reports from some dealers online and off, but you can't just enter the VIN of a vehicle you have found on your own and expect to get a full report of that particular vehicle...for that you're going to have to pay.

The confusion lies in the fact that there is a "free" element to the research process. If you have the 17-character Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, there are a few sites where you can enter that number and learn some information about the car for free. Each letter and number stands for something, and what is often advertised as a free car history report is actually a VIN decoder.

The decoder will usually tell you the make, model, year, type of restraint system, body style, engine and the assembly plant. This information is useful, as it provides important information about the vehicle. As an example, the seller might tell you that it's a 2004 Ford Taurus. But the VIN check might tell you that it is in fact a 2003 model. So you'll know right away that this is not a deal you should proceed with, as the seller is not being truthful about the vehicle. If they are not being honest about the model itself, you can bet they won't be revealing any hidden problems.

So the free vehicle history report is in essence the free decoding of the VIN to tell you exactly what type of car you are considering. If you want to find out more information, as most buyers do, such as hidden mechanical issues, odometer problems, mileage, fire damage, etc. then you need to order a complete report.

After your free car history check, you are given the option to purchase one complete vehicle history report or unlimited reports. If you just want to research one car, then you should opt for the single. If, like most buyers, you are looking at a number of different vehicles, you should opt for the unlimited reports, which in most cases allow you to research as many autos as you want within a certain period of time, usually 60 days.

The cost of these reports varies, but it is usually around $19.99 and $24.99 for the single and unlimited options, respectively. Although they are not free vehicle history reports, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. If you think about it, paying $20 to avoid a vehicle that would have ended up costing you thousands of dollars in mechanical issues is definitely worth it in our opinion. Oftentimes a seller won't tell you about a serious underlying problem, or he or she may not be aware of it. Even after test driving the car, you may not pick up on something...even trained mechanics miss things now and then. That's why a car history report is so important.

So we learned that the free vehicle history report is not really free, at least the full report isn't. But at only $20 to learn about the vehicle from the time it was first registered up until the last DMV transaction, it is well worth it. So if you're in the market for a used car, make sure you get a history report before you'll be glad you did!

By Scott LeRoy

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Car Accidents Advice

By Peter Basset

SUMMARY: If you have been involved in a car accident then there are some important things to remember to avoid further complications. Hopefully this article will give you a couple of important pointers to help you out.

Car accidents can happen to anyone, anytime, and it is important to remember certain things if you are involved in an accident. You need to learn the vital tips that will maximize how many benefits you can get as an accident victim. The first critical thing you must do when you are in a car accident is to call the police immediately and wait for their arrival. You are better off not discussing any details of the accident with the other drivers involved. However, you must seek immediate medical help first if you or anyone else has suffered any injuries.

Usually, out of whatever emotion, you may want to talk about your injuries and the accident with the other drivers involved or someone who represents and insurance company. Don’t do it because it can impede your case. Remember you are not obliged to discuss or disclose any information. By doing so you could unwittingly give out information or details that appear irrelevant to you, but could greatly hinder your case or worse, leave you liable for all the costs incurred in the accident.

Next, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as you can after the event. These types of attorneys are easy to find on the Internet. Be aware that physical injury is not the only reason for getting compensation – mental stress and trauma are also included. So, once you have been assessed for injury, get a reliable lawyer to work on your case immediately and assess the treatment (s) you received or are receiving as a result of the accident. This way you can maximize your compensation for personal damages.

You should also be conscious that most accidents are assessed as being a result of negligence. This means that any accident is immediately assessed as having been the result of negligent driving by one of the drivers involved. Courts consider all factors and conditions that may have caused the accident. Liability can also include a driver’s reckless or intentional behavior. Most importantly having car insurance will help cover some of the immediate damages to your vehicle. Whatever the case, all these things are imperative to know to get the right amount of compensation and to avoid extensive litigation.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Helmets - Why Do You Need It When Riding?

By Alan Ross

SUMMARY: Helmet is a French derivative of the word 'helm' from 15th century. Although helmets are available in countless designs for different utilities, they all serve just one purpose, which is head protection. The earlier helmets used to be manufactured in leather till the 10th century AD when metals with inner cloth lining for cushioning and comfort of wearing on the head became the norm. Helmet wearing is mandatory in northern America, barring a few states, for all bikers, whereas Sikhs are demanding a waiver from this mandate.

Helmet is a French derivative of the word ‘helm’ from 15th century. Although helmets are available in countless designs for different utilities, they all serve just one purpose, which is head protection. The earlier helmets used to be manufactured in leather till the 10th century AD when metals with inner cloth lining for cushioning and comfort of wearing on the head became the norm. Helmet wearing is mandatory in northern America, barring a few states, for all bikers, whereas Sikhs are demanding a waiver from this mandate.

Functional Utility and Symbolism

Till the early 20th century, helmets were basically the protective head gears of soldiers and used to be a part of combat uniform. With industrialization, helmets reinvented themselves and undergone a lot of changes, both in terms of strengths and weights and became a ‘must wear’ for certain industrial workers in sectors such as mining, construction and manufacturing etc. Surely, the popularity of helmets shot-up, thanks to the symbolic protection they offered.

Typical Classification

Helmets can be classified based on their utility and construction. The simplest for of helmets worn by construction workers and bicycle riders are nothing more than ‘hard hats’ as they are required to protect blunt impacts, whereas a soldier’s helmets are designed for ballistic impact protection. These are made by Kevlar©, which has excellent bullet proofing qualities and fragmentation powers.

Helmets match particular needs also. Military helmets identify the ranks of the wearers with symbolic visors and bars therein, whereas ‘hard hats’ of bicycle riders sport large ventilation slots.

Quality Standards

Bikers and parents of small children are in dilemma concerning the sudden fall in children’s helmet prices. One must keep in mind that price is not a good quality indicator. In the US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires all helmets be certified. The certification is issued after stringent quality tests are carried out. There is another quality standard for helmets, too. Snell Memorial Foundation standards or ‘Snells’ as they are known are a bit extra stringent, albeit not compulsory by all types of helmet manufacturers to conform to. This fact should try to put at rest the apprehensions of consumers when they don’t see Snells’ label on helmets.

It is hard to think of a modern and adventurous sport without helmets being mandatory. Although helmets aren’t absolutely safe, you can’t think of cross country biking without them, especially if the riders are your little ones, helmets are a must!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tire Pressure Monitoring Is Not Just For Show

By Sarah McBride

SUMMARY: The tire pressure monitoring system is made up of just four little sensors that you can find on your vehicle. When one of your vehicle's tires suddenly starts to lose air, the system would actually alert you while you are driving so that you would know about your tire's situation.

The tire pressure monitoring system is an electronic system and what it does is it monitors the level of air pressure or your vehicle’s tires. That way, you would not have to park your car somewhere, get out of your car, and go around just to check if all your car’s tires are still inflated just right.

However, unlike your vehicle’s external Mitsubishi OEM parts, your vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system has been actually created not just for you to boast about it but to actually help you save your life.

Come to think of it, the tire pressure monitoring system is made up of just four little sensors that you can find on your vehicle. When one of your vehicle’s tires suddenly starts to lose air, the system would actually alert you while you are driving so that you would know about your tire’s situation. You see, if you drive with under inflated tires or over inflated tires, you and your passengers have a great chance of meeting accidents and being in a very dangerous driving condition. On the other hand, if you do have your tires inflated just right, you benefit a lot out of it. Not only are you safe, but you also get pluses. Your vehicle gets to perform at its best and in different aspects – from steering to comfort, to noise, to fuel economy to braking, and even to cornering.

Jim Gutting, the director of General Motors’ Tire Wheel Center, shares, “Tire pressure monitoring is wonderful technology that has the potential to help make our roads safer. But it’s no substitute for being conscientious about tire maintenance. All vehicle owners should familiarize themselves with TPMS, how it works and what it can tell them about basic tire maintenance.”

If you think that the amount of air pressure your tires have inside it are no big deal, then perhaps you should let the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) change that thought for you. You see, according to the mentioned group’s data, there are about 660 fatalities each year which are actually caused by vehicles with low tire pressure. However, that is just the one part of the whole picture. There are also some 33,000 injuries per year to add to that.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let It Snow – Winter Vehicle Preparation Made Easy

By Michael Cosentino

SUMMARY: Whether we like it or not, winter is just around the corner. Unless you plan to hibernate, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready for the inevitable snowy, icy, slippery driving conditions ahead.

Whether we like it or not, winter is just around the corner. Unless you plan to hibernate, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready for the inevitable snowy, icy, slippery driving conditions ahead.

The first step in any winter vehicle preparation is the tires. You wouldn’t go out in a snowstorm without your winter coat so why consider driving without the right tires? Regardless of how skilled a driver you may be, you can’t improve the traction of your tires with driving technique. Only winter tires are designed to perform better in colder temperatures, snow and ice and can save you from being part of the next winter driving collision.

Consumers in the market for winter tires this year should start by looking for a snowflake symbol on the sidewall of the tire, which indicates the tire has been tested and passes current winter safety standards. When shopping for winter tires, price alone shouldn’t govern the purchase decision; what’s behind the tire — a reputable manufacturer and a good warranty — is also very important.

A couple of new winter entries in the market for drivers this year are the Goodyear Ultra Grip 7 and Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D. Ultra Grip 7’s are the newest generation of the celebrated Ultra Grip lineup, featuring a new waffle blade technology that provides maximum grip on slippery surfaces, as well as double "v" grooving that provides the best possible water draining and snow grip, even at high speed. Goodyear has also incorporated an advanced silica tread compound technology into the Ultra Grip 7 that enables the tire to remain more flexible at low temperatures - providing markedly better traction in wet and cold.

The new Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D’s earned their stripes in the harsh proving grounds of European winters. Available in Canada for the first time, the Dunlop 3D is a well balanced, high performance winter tire that excels at cornering and handling in icy, snowy, wet and dry winter driving conditions.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Simple Car Maintenance Tips That Will Keep Your Car Running Properly

By Gregg Hall

SUMMARY: If you want to ruin your day, never take the time to property maintain your car's engine. This is a sure fire way to have your car breakdown in the most remote of areas. Instead of tempting fate, why not learn how to keep your car well maintained and working properly.

If you want to ruin your day, never take the time to property maintain your car's engine. This is a sure fire way to have your car breakdown in the most remote of areas. Instead of tempting fate, why not learn how to keep your car well maintained and working properly.

Check your oil levels every week. Engines run at extremely high temperatures and some models will burn through oil at an alarming rate. You do not want to run dry on oil. This will damage the engine to cease. Once this has happened, you either need a new engine or a new car. Both of these issues are extremely costly. Can you afford to be without your car for a lengthy amount of time?

Change your oil every 3,000 miles. After driving for a certain amount of time, oil becomes dirty and sluggish. Keeping the oil changed regularly reduces dirt circulating in the engine.

Another troublesome issue is the belts. With every oil change, you should have the fan belts and air hoses checked for wear and tear.

Antifreeze should be changed every year. Have a professional flush out the cooling system and replace the tanks with new coolant. This can keep a radiator from developing leaks.

Transmission fluid should be checked regularly. The fluid should be changed every 36,000 miles. If the head gasket leaks, your coolant will leak into the oil system. This is an extremely costly repair, so have them checked regularly to prevent this issue. Always stop first before shifting into drive.

Look regularly in your driveway for leaks. If you spot any, take not of the color of the fluid and then take the car in for servicing. Transmission fluid is pinkish, antifreeze is green, oil is golden brown, and brake fluid is reddish. Knowing which fluid is leaking can help a garage determine the severity of your problem. They can fit you into a busy schedule if the leak is potentially hazardous.

To keep your air conditioning system working properly, run the system every month, even in the winter. The same is true with the heating system. It should be run in the summer to prevent any seizing.

Try to brake in advance. Sudden stops wear down brake pads far more quickly. Have your brakes checked regularly for wear and tear.

Tires should be rotated every 7,000 miles. Inspect them visually every month for tire wear, punctures, and bulges.

Pay attention to your battery. If you see white deposits forming on the terminals, clean them with a wire brush and then clean the battery with a mixture of baking soda and water.

Keep your car rust free by keeping it waxed once per season. Have the undercarriage washed at least twice a year.

Use WD40 to keep door hinges well lubricated. This keeps doors opening and closing properly.

Follow your car manual's recommended maintenance schedule. This guarantees the warranty will cover costly repairs, but also prevents unexpected breakdowns.

All it takes is a few simple checks every month, and you can protect yourself from breaking down in an unfamiliar or remote area. Your safety is that important isn't it?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Commercial Auto Repair

By Ken Marlborough

SUMMARY: When a car breaks down or does not perform up to par, if it makes strange sounds while running or comes away from the scene of an accident with dents and scratches, a responsible owner will perform a thorough check of its parts and systems. If the vehicle is beyond the simplest troubleshooting techniques, it is best that you seek advice from the experts. Visit an auto shop that you trust so professionals can examine your car, identify the problem and fix it.

When a car breaks down or does not perform up to par, if it makes strange sounds while running or comes away from the scene of an accident with dents and scratches, a responsible owner will perform a thorough check of its parts and systems. If the vehicle is beyond the simplest troubleshooting techniques, it is best that you seek advice from the experts. Visit an auto shop that you trust so professionals can examine your car, identify the problem and fix it.

Commercial auto repairs can be defined as the kind of auto repair services that an auto shop offers. This kind of auto repair helps keep your vehicle in tiptop shape. Experts who provide auto repair services commercially have mastered the automotive sciences' they know what is best for your car.

When you bring in your vehicle to the auto shop or when you use the services of a mechanic, the first thing that your car will receive is a look-over. Much like a consultation at the doctor's, a look-over allows the mechanic to examine your vehicle extensively. A good mechanic will ask you some questions regarding your experiences with the car. He will most likely get your opinion on what you think is wrong with it. He will then conduct a series of tests to identify the damaged or malfunctioning parts. When he has completed his evaluation of your car, he will explain what exactly needs to be done. After he gets your approval, he will undertake the necessary repairs.

Of course, there is always a price to pay when you bring your vehicle in for commercial auto repairs. You have to pay a premium to get all the necessary work done, along with the additional charges for the auto parts or auto body parts that need to be replaced. For most owners, it can be well worth their money if their vehicles look and perform better in the end.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Some Easy To Implement Ideas To Help You Conserve Gas

By Gregg Hall

SUMMARY: Looking for ways to save money at the pump in light of the climbing costs of gasoline? It's surprisingly easy to do so. Check out these simple things you can do to make your car's gas last longer.

Looking for ways to save money at the pump in light of the climbing costs of gasoline? It's surprisingly easy to do so. Check out these simple things you can do to make your car's gas last longer.

Stop driving your sport utility vehicle. These vehicles, and others similar in size (including trucks), require quite a bit more fuel than smaller cars do to operate. Unless a larger car is a necessity for your lifestyle,(you have big family or you tend to carry large items), driving a smaller one can help you save big at the pump.

Look for discounts on gas. Don't just stop at the first station you see when your fuel gage is low. Pricing varies and you should pick the station that gives you the best price possible. Use the Internet to check for deals, like web sites that provide current gas prices by zip code.

Be efficient in your daily routine. Know where you need to go and what you need to do before heading out to accomplish your tasks. Planning more carefully and eliminating unnecessary, additional trips can help you save on how much gas you use when making multiple stops.

Exercise or try public transportation. Are there places you need to go that are close enough to walk instead of drive? Will your bike suffice for slightly longer distances? Can your children ride the bus to school rather than be chauffeured twice a day, (to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon)? These alternatives are great ways to save money on the cost of gas.

Cash is key at the pump. It may not be quite as convenient as the popular paying at the pump option is, but using cash makes the most sense to use when fueling up your car. If you use a credit card, and don't pay it off every month, interest charges will ultimately make your gas more expensive than what it would have been had you paid in cash.

Fill up early or wait until late. Gas pumps measure volume, not weight. Since it tends to be cooler early in the morning or later in the evening, gas is actually heavier then that it is during other times in the day. The colder it is outside, the more gas you'll get for your money.

Empty the gas nozzle before returning it to the cradle. Often, there is still gas in the pump's nozzle when the automatic shut off, indicating your tank is full, occurs. Turn the nozzle after the stop occurs to add more gas (sometimes up to half a cup) to your car.

Use a lower grade of gas. Does your car really need that pricey high octane gas? Most vehicles will function just as well with a lower level fuel and at a cost that's significantly less.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Car Radio Installation Accessories -- What You Need To Know

By Chimezirim Chinecherem Odimba

SUMARY: Useful information on accessories you need for the proper installation of your car radio.

Car radio installation accessories comprise of harness adapters leads, fascia adapters, stalk/steering wheel control adapters (also known as SMART leads) and aerial adapters.

One or more of the above adaptors may be needed when you are installing an in-dash CD or MP3 player or a complete CD changer package. Car radio installation accessories enable you to install your new radio/head unit seamlessly without the need to cut any wires and so will not invalidate your car warranty.

Harness Lead

Simply connect the harness adapter (by push fit) in between your car radio wiring and your new radio/head unit. This will enable you to connect them together safely and seamlessly. This means that you will not have to cut any of your cars existing wiring, therefore not invalidating the warranty.

Fascia Adaptor

Many factory-fitted radios are now a unique shape, design and are integrated into the dash. Removing your factory-fitted radio in order to fit a standard sized radio (i.e. Alpine, Kenwood, Sony, etc), will alter your dashboard appearance by leaving a large hole. A fascia adapter will reduce this hole enabling your new radio to fit perfectly into the dash reproducing the original look.

Aerial Adapters

You may require an aerial adapter, as some cars use a female socket instead of the conventional male plug. The adaptor simply pushes into your cars female socket and the result is a male plug that fits into the rear of your new radio. Conveniently, one is included with all new radios.

Stalk/Steering Wheel Control Adapter

Steering control adapters, commonly known as stalk control leads, enable your car's steering wheel radio controls to remain fully functional when you are adding an aftermarket in-dash radio/head unit on it's own or as part of a CD changer package.

These connect by push fit to your existing wiring at the rear of your radio that is linked to the steering wheel control.

Stalk control leads are available for all car makes and models and for Sony, Kenwood and Panasonic radios. In order for the stalk control lead to be compatible with each brand of radio there must be a specific socket or lead present on the radio that will accept the stalk control lead connection, linking the two together seamlessly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How To Use The Internet To Help You Save On Fuel

By Gregg Hall

SUMMARY: Okay, so you already know all the ways to help save on gas, However, I bet you have never thought of going online! There is tons of data on local and international gas prices and the closest gas stations online.

Okay, so you already know all the ways to help save on gas, However, I bet you have never thought of going online! There is tons of data on local and international gas prices and the closest gas stations online.

The internet can help you research gas station options, and allows you to compare gas stations for the best prices. There are tons of sites that can give you the current prices at the pumps in your area. Google "fuel prices" and find the site you want to use. In most cases, all you have to do is enter your 5 digit zip code, and Voila! You have the prices for the gas stations in your area. Your buddies at advises that you should stay away from high income neighborhoods and highways where the gas stations hike the prices based on the demand and the price people are willing to pay. Try more out of the way gas stations; they are more likely to have the least amount of gas inflation.

Triple A can also help you find the lowest prices on gas in your neighborhood. All you have to do is enter in the necessary information into the "Fuel Price Finder" and you will be given a list of all the stations in your area and the price of the gas. This particular service gets its data from the OPIS which gathers data from pumps around the country.

Since this service is offered online just go to Triple A's site ( and enter in your zip code and you will be taken to the Triple A chapter in your area. This device is a wonder if you are planning on taking a road trip or just a trip to the store. You can use this tool to calculate your gas costs based on the address information you provide, and the make, model, and year of your vehicle.

Fuel maximizing devices are in great want for trucking companies and truck drivers. The demand for the maximizing devices has risen to over 450% in the past year. The main reason for this increase is that people are buying them online. Fuel routing devices were once exclusively used by trucking fleets, but now that they are available online, everyone is clamoring to get one.

With all the sites offering the everyday person fuel saving advice, its no wonder that the internet is the driving force behind the battle against the monster of fuel inflation. You can research gas saving tips, alternative means of transportation, or even cars with better gas mileage. You can poke around the internet and find sites that can give you a list of reasons why your gas competency is less than desirable. If you are completely clueless about how to save money on gas, then the internet is your brain food! Everything you need to know is right there at your fingertips. It's a tool that few use for gas saving purposes, so tell someone about it and maybe they'll let you carpool with them.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How to Install Car Audio Wires and Cables

SUMMARY: Learn how and why the professionals install their wires for car audio systems!

How to install your wiring, and make it a.) Invisible, or b.) Nice to look at:

Alrightee! So, you're off to installing all of the big-time components to your stereo system. I know you really really really want to skip the boring parts (like running wires), and go straight to installing the components, and turning on your system. Nnnnnno!

Like I have said countless times before, we're here to do a QUALITY stereo install. Not some janky, lame-o quickie job. We're installing a stereo for the life of your vehicle, and as such, we spend a little extra time to do things properly. Sooooo, when it comes to wiring, we need to think about how we want to do things first.

To re-cap. Do you know what components you'll be installing? Even if you don't have all of the components now, hopefully you know what your plans are. This allows you to run all of the wires, so when you finally get your components, you can just mount them, and hook up the wires, and you're ready to rock.

Don't be stupid like most people, and think of components first, THEN think about how to install them. Think of how to install components, get the install parts, THEN install the components. DUH!!! By the way, you'll save time and money with this approach.

Was that a long enough introduction? OK, let's get into what you should know about wiring!

First, buy all of the wiring that you think you'll need, and some extra just for safety. Don't worry, your money won't be wasted!

Next, disassemble your vehicle in the places where the wiring will be run. When I say disassemble, I mean it! Pull out seats, carpet, panels, everything! Trust me, this will make running wires easier and safer.

If you plan to use any sort of sound insulation or damping material, now is the time to lay it. If you don't plan on using it, why not? This will make your system sound better by lowering noise, and by eliminating vibrations. Just do it!

Now, you get to run wires. Run them everywhere they'll be needed. Run power wires, RCA wires, speaker wires, interface wires, remote turn on wires. EVERYTHING.

Now that they're laid out how you want and need them, it's time to secure them. Vehicle manufacturers use ties everywhere to keep wires organized and out of the way. Now it's your turn! Many many many people skip this step, and I don't think it's too smart.


Because when wires are subjected to vibrations, stress, weather, and other things that are constantly present in vehicles, they tend to wear away. When wires wear away, you get...

Short circuits!
Vehicle fires!
Ruined components!

Don't risk it, just secure your wires!

If you have amp racks or other items that your wiring will go through, it's time to mount those items, and secure the wiring to them.

OK, OK. Those are the basic steps you'll go through to run wires. But, how do you actually do it? Let's break it down:

1.) Measure distances between where components will be mounted, and what they connect to. For example, measure from the battery to where you'll mount your amp. Also, don't be stupid. Buy a few extra feet at each end, so you'll have room for error. Also, you'll want to make sure none of the wires are stretched. You want to have some slack at each end. This will make your life much easier.

Other distances to measure:

  • Head unit to amp
  • Amp to speakers
  • Head unit to cd/dvd changer, mp3 player, navigation system, etc.
Also, before you buy your wires, be sure you know what will work best with your planned components. If you're planning to install a 500 watt amp, and you know that amp will be 17' from the battery, use a chart to figure out what wire guage to use. People like to get all loco in the cabeza with power wire, and spend $5 a foot on 0 guage wire. WHY??? If you don't need it, don't buy it!

2.) OK, so you have all of your wiring in hand, and ready to go. Now is the time to take apart parts of your vehicle. First, figure out where your wires will be run. I usually run my power wire on the same side of the vehicle as the battery. I also usually run my RCA cables down the center of the vehicle. Knowing this information will tell you where you need to remove parts from your vehicle. If you're not going to be running wires in a certain part of your vehicle, then it won't be necessary to take anything apart. UNLESS!! UNLESS!!! UNLESS!!!! You plan to put some sound damping material down. I always recommend this!

So, here we go. Time for the fun part. First things first. Disconnect the ground (aka negative) wire from the battery.

Pull up panels! I highly recommend some sort of panel removal tool to remove panels. This will help protect your panels from breaking.

3.) Time to run wires!

First, we'll run the power cable: Find a hole in the firewall of your vehicle. If you can't find a hole, you might be able to squeeze a power cable through the far corner of your hood, by the windshield and into your vehicle that way. If you can't do that, then you'll have to drill. Every car is different, but one piece of advice is always true: Plan ahead, and be careful! Inspect where you plan to drill the hole, and be sure you won't damage anything in the process. Take it slow, or if you're feeling really nervous, drive your vehicle to a stereo shop, and have them run your power wire through the firewall. Next, run the cable wherever it will fit nicely, and not be visible once you put the carpet back in place. Run it all the way to your trunk (or wherever you plan to have your amp or distribution blocks mounted). Next, secure the cable. Use zip ties, or glue, or even velcro to make sure your power cable stays where it should. Be sure it is not near any moving parts, or rubbing on anything that will strip the insulation. Also, be sure it will not get in the way of anything once you re-install all of the panels, carpet, etc.

Next, let's run your RCA cable(s), interface cables and Remote turn on wire. Again, be sure the negative cable is disconnected from the battery. Disassemble any and all of the panels surrounding your head unit. Pull your head unit out. Next, pull up all of the panels, consoles and carpet around where you'll be running your RCA cable and interface cable. Connect the remote turn-on wire to your head unit's wiring harness. If you are planning to connect more than one or two devices to your head unit's remote turn-on, you will want to look into installing a relay. Next, run the RCA cables, interface cable and remote turn-on. All of the stuff I said earlier about power cables is also true of RCA and interface cables. Be sure your cable is not near any moving parts, it is not rubbing against anything that will strip the insulation, and it is mounted in such a way that it will not show once the panels and carpet are put back in place. Connect the RCA cables to the pre-outs on your head unit, and be sure you know which RCA cable goes to which channel on your amp. Many RCA cables use color-coding, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Plug in your interface cable. Now, re-install your head unit. Make sure everything is all hooked up before you put everything back together!!

OK, last step. Let's run speaker wire! This is exactly like running all of the other wires above. Pull up the panels. Run the wires. Be mindful of where you plan to run them. Secure them. Make sure you have a few extra feet at each end of the speaker cable. I know this sounds stupid, but trust me. It's more stupid to spend all of this time running wire only to discover that it's too short. Then, you have to pull the wire up, throw it away, then run it all over again. DUMB!

4.) Secure wires!

Now that your wires are run, it's time to secure them. There are many ways to secure wires, and not all of them will work at all times. In fact, you'll probably need to use a variety of methods to secure your wires throughout your vehicle. Soooooo....

1.) Secure wires with zip ties to other bundles of wires.

2.) Secure wires with zip ties to small holes (or create small holes)

3.) Use glue to secure zip ties to your vehicle, then secure the wires with them.

4.) Run wires behind objects that they can be secured to.

5.) Use velcro to secure wires

6.) Secure wires to mounting locations (amp racks, speaker pods, etc)

If you have any sort of custom enclosure or rack for your stereo components, you'll want to find a way to secure your wires to the rack or enclosure. If these racks or enclosures are designed to be seen, you might want to take some time making the wires visible, and looking good.

In the example of amp racks, you can drill holes where all of the electrical connections go into the amp. Run the wires through these holes, and to your amp. This trick will make your wires look nice and clean, and keep your wires organized.

For speaker enclosures, there are a variety of things you can do to make the wires look good. For plexiglass subwoofer enclosures, people often choose wire that looks good. In addition, top installers will choose wire hardware (terminals) that are of high quality, and look good. If you want your enclosure to be removable, you can install speaker terminals on the outside of the enclosure, or even install a custom quick-release wiring harness.

By Alan Bayer

Car Stereo Cookbook (TAB Electronics Technician Library S.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fix It Yourself Automotive - Remember The Safety Rules

By Tyrone O. Lindsay

SUMMARY: Fix It Yourself Automotive people are basically common sense people. They don't mind the dirt and the grime that comes with fixing their own automobile. As a matter of fact, they enjoy a sense of pride and accomplishment when they have fixed their vehicle and it’s purring down the highway with no problems.

Fix It Yourself Automotive people are basically common sense people. They don’t mind the dirt and the grime that comes with fixing their own automobile.

As a matter of fact, they enjoy a sense of pride and accomplishment when they have fixed their vehicle and it’s purring down the highway with no problems.

They always take a common sense approach because you can get seriously hurt working on your vehicle, especially if you don’t obey the safety rules. These are some of the work-on-your-own-car safety rules.

• The exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide. A poisonous gas. Your working space must be well ventilated.

• Working on your car battery? It contains sulfuric acid. It burns and can explode. Please, no smoking around car batteries. Disconnect them also, you can get a nasty shock. Remove the ground cable to disconnect (-).

• Watch out for the hot parts. Know them well. Exhaust pipes, manifolds and mufflers will burn you badly.

• Absolutely no loose clothing around moving parts. Take your jewelry off. Do you have long hair? Tie it up. Do not work in sandals, they’re for the beach. Put your work boots on.

• Use proper equipment for hoisting and for holding up the car. Are you going under the car? Use the appropriate equipment to stabilize the car while in an upright position. The equipment must be able to support the weight of your car.

• Wipe up oil spills immediately. You’ll avoid slipping and hurting yourself later.

These are a few of the safety rules. There are so many more to observe. If you’re going to fix it yourself, let’s be sensible about it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Speakers For Our Car Audio System - Is Bigger Better

By Allison Thompson

SUMMARY: An article which explains why choosing the right speakers for your car audio system is important.

You are now considering purchasing new speakers for your car and there are a number of things that should be thought about in order that you make the best choice possible. It is crucial that when looking to purchase speakers for your car you go with a clear idea and plan of what it is you intend to buy. It does not naturally follow that the bigger the speakers the better they are.

In fact you may find that when purchasing your speakers they may cost more than you intended and it is wise not to purchase ones which have numerous features which you won’t actually use. It is sensible to remember that the highest quality audio speakers available for your car will cost more than a lot of others, but in general these are worth the extra cost. However, if you do decide that big speakers are what you want then make sure the ones you purchase have a brand name that can be depended upon and ensure that they will provide you with crystal clear sound at all times.

Today there are 2 kinds of basic car stereo speakers available on the market and these are component or full range speakers. Both have their own pros and cons. However, if you are looking to replace the factory installed speakers already in your car with the minimum of fuss then you should no look no further than full range speakers (consisting of a tweeter and woofer, you may even find some come equipped with a midrange or super tweeter as well). These styles of speakers also come in a varying range of sizes and prices.

But then again as previously discussed if you are looking for bigger car speakers to install then you should be considering a component speaker set. Not only do component speakers give you the best possible sound quality for your money because of their superior design and each component has been specifically designed to complement each other. Certainly big speakers can be a part of any component system as long as you make sure that you have all the necessary components for their installation.

A component system is especially good for those people looking for a serious stereo speaker system for their car. This sound system will not only provide you with greater depth of sound but also a much realistic one as well. The exceptional dynamics and detailed sound provided by such a system is because of the higher standard of materials that have been used which will not normally be found in a full range speaker system.

However, when it comes to which are better, small or big car speakers, this cannot be easily answered. Even if you prefer to install big speakers in your car they will not always provide you with the best sound and you will soon see just how many different shapes and sizes of speakers there are now available. But rather than deciding on big or small speakers for your car it is much wiser to invest in a good quality car audio system instead.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Checking Your Car

By Kum Martin

Here’s the low down on checking out the used car that you have finally set your eyes on. Take a look at the following points before you decide to take it out on a test drive.

Lean down and look down the side of the car – check for dents and dimples.
Check the bumper cars for scratches and look at the wheel hubs for dents and scratches.

Is the car too shiny? This may mean that the car dealer or seller or trying to hide something. This also implies to the engine bay, an engine bay should be slightly dusty and have grime on it. If the engine is sparkling clean you can be sure that the car has oil or coolant leaks.

Take your hand and run it under every door panel, under the wheel-arches and check the bumper edges. These are the likely areas where rust will first appear.

Check the tires on the car. Check not only the thread, also check to see if the tires are original or retreads. Uneven wear is a telltale sign of suspension problems.

Does the interior smell? Smoke smell will have smoke stains on the fabrics and the smell will be embedded in the ventilation filters. A musty smell may indicate water leakage.

How does the seat upholstery, pedals and console wear look? Does it look appropriate to the car’s mileage?

Press every button on the console and make sure the function works. Listen for any rattles in the console and ventilation fans. Turn off the engine then switch it to AC to check the engine and onboard computer warning lamps are working properly.

Turn on the hazard lamps, headlamps and press the brake pedal. Ask your friend to inspect the exterior lighting to ensure that all are working properly – especially the brake lamps.

Now take the car on a test drive. Listen intently, look at the warning lamps, feel the steering and handling, sniff for any smells – open the window and listen for engines ticks, rattles or fluid smells that may come for the warming engine bay.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Classics of world tuning: Dodge Challenger

Classics of world tuning. Dodge Challenger it is the car a legend. Car is very similar on Ford Mustang, it and is not surprising, they have started to be made approximately in one time. Here it is concrete at this car there is an engine in volume of 6 litres and capacity of 425 horsepowers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

How to Pay for Emergency Car Repairs

By Andrew Dillan

Your car has broken down, and now you need to pay for towing, and repairs. Sometimes these repairs cost unexpected hundreds or thousands of dollars. What are your options?

1. Be Prepared

The best way to avoid an emergency is to be prepared for an emergency. If you can set aside a little bit of money each month in case of any emergency (be it medical, automotive, or accident), then you will be able to manage any unexpected situations. However, if the time has come and you haven’t planned ahead, there are still some ways that you can get money.

2. Stay Calm

One of the most common mistakes that is made during emergencies is to lose your cool. If you lose your cool, you might forget to use common sense. Use your common sense to shop around. Even if you need a tow right now, consider calling a few places for quotes before having them send someone over. The ten minutes that it takes you to make some comparisons might save you twenty dollars or more. That makes the use of time well worth your money. Remember, you will be late anyway, so take your time in getting there.

When the tow truck driver arrives, be sure that you know where you want to have your car towed. You should also do some comparison shopping for this. You can even call a friend and have them make some of your phone calls for you. If you don’t know what is wrong with your car, have it taken to a mechanic or dealership that you trust. They will tell you what’s wrong, and you then be able to decide how much (it might be all) of the work you want to have done.

3. Review your Options

When you buy a car, you often get a warranty. You might be signed up for AAA or CAA. Your insurance company might cover some of the repairs needed for your car. Before you go about paying for all of the repairs out of pocket, find out what repairs are covered. Then get approval from the institution that will help you pay. It is easier to get them to pay upfront than to get them to reimburse you.

Consider keeping a membership for CAA or AAA. This means that you will have free towing if you are ever in an accident or if you ever have a breakdown. There is an annual fee, so you would have to weigh the pros and cons of membership. I, personally, find that I have gotten a lot back from my membership, including a peace of mind knowing that I am covered while I travel.

4. What NOT to do

If you need to pay for your emergency repairs, do not get a pay day loan. Pay day loans have exorbitant interest rates and will make it hard for you to get back on top of your debt.

5. Get the best interest

Find out where you will be able to get the best interest rates for the money that you will have to spend. If you take out a loan, then you will be able to pay it back in small pieces throughout the year, rather than taking an upfront loss. This also works if you cannot pay for your car.

If you put the car repairs on your credit card, remember that you will probably be paying a higher interest rate than if you got a car repair loan, or if you went to a bank or credit union. Check the interest rates that varying places offer, including at the dealership if you are having your car repaired there.

6. In the meantime

While your car is in the shop, be smart about how you get around. Don’t take taxis everywhere if you can’t afford them! Ask friends for lifts; they will understand if you are in need because of unexpected car repairs for a few days. Take the bus for a few days. Walk or bike, if possible. Set up a temporary carpool with a co-worker (this could even work for you when you get your car back!). Don’t let the expense of car repairs get larger because you don’t have your car.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why a Harley Davidson Motorcycle

By Low Jeremy

There are several manufacturers of motorcycles around the world. The BMW for one, builds performance driven motorcycles for years. Japan-made Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha also have race winning motorcycles. Ducati is another motorcycle brand that is very popular around the world. But why a Harley Davidson?

Why is Harley-Davidson so popular around the world? Why is that when a Harley rolls on the road, everyone will turn their heads for a glance? Why is it that when one talks about motorcycle, the very first brand in mind is the Harley-Davidson?

Finding answers to these questions will give us 3 words: name, quality, and pride.

Name – When you hear the word “Harley-Davidson”, the first thing that might pop out from your mind is a “one hell of a machine”. Hearing the name “Harley-Davidson” would also easily gives you the impression of a great motorcycle company that set a great legacy throughout history. The name can be synonymous with toughness, quality, speed, and versatility. The name itself will set itself on the top of your mind.

Quality– Whether it is a CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations), Dyna, Sportster, Softail, Touring, or VRSC model, it is a Harley-Davidson. And when we say Harley-Davidson, we mean quality that is built over the years. Each Harley-Davidson motorcycle is made in superiority from the engine parts to the decals and finishing touches. Harley-Davidson motorcycles are made not only to sell but to live for a lifetime as well.

Pride – Harley-Davidson has been manufacturing motorcycles for over a century. And with a company that survived this long, owning one is like owning a piece of history of the company. Harley-Davidson motorcycles have gained so much respect over the years and it has set the trend for the motorcycle industry in the United States. Any Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner would say that they are proud to have at least one great motorcycle in their possession.

What would you feel if you are riding a motorcycle with the name “Harley-Davidson”? Surely, you feel proud. Proud as if you have your first baby; proud as if you have owned a brand-new house; and proud as if you have realized your dream. Indeed, owning a Harley-Davidson can be a dream come true for most. As the price of a Harley motorcycle does not come cheap, owning one can be hard. But if you do, you feel fulfilled and you somehow feel you have your life complete.

How about you? Why are you dying to have a Harley-Davidson motorcycle? The answer is in you…

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Advent of Car LCD Screens

By Peter Vermeeren

The advent of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens has resulted in an amazing number of applications, which were simply not viable because of the size of CRT display monitors. Car LCD screens have proven to be one of the biggest bonanzas for the consumer market. Because of smaller, lighter and thinner LCD monitors, we can use computers in the car or hook up TV, DVD players and even video game consoles. Just imagine, to be able to watch your favorite TV shows or a movie while traveling long distance is a great source of entertainment for everyone; except for the driver of course! Even the kids can remain busy playing their much-loved video games. You can practically convert your car or SUV into a mobile home theater and enjoy just about all the amenities that you normally would in your household.

Car LCD screens have been instrumental in the growth of so called "in-vehicle computer manufacturers" offering low cost, low end "car pc systems" or "carputers". You can use a car PC or carputer to send or receive e-mails or do any of business related work. These revolutionary conveniences are the result of car LCD screens in conjunction with many other innovative technologies like hand held computers, wireless communications or satellite communications and others.

Car LCD screens come in many sizes and formats (regular or wide screen), ranging from about 7 inches to 12 inches and more to suit the various car types available in the market. You can go with base mounted LCD monitor if there is enough room in the vehicle or you can opt for smaller and compact in-dash screen. You can even get car LCD screens that also offer USB touch screen capabilities. The working of touch screens is based upon emulation of mouse. Consequently, any software designed to work with a mouse will work with the touch screen monitors mounted in the car. Besides the space saving design and size of the car LCD monitors, they also offer an extraordinary bright and high-resolution picture quality that is a treat to watch.

GPS (Geographical Positioning System) is probably one of the most outstanding applications made possible by the development of car LCD screens. This state of the art technology is simply amazing and very useful for every driver on the road. You will never make a wrong turn and never get lost again if your vehicle is equipped with GPS technology. GPS software packages are available for the USA, Canada and most of Europe. It offers the capability to receive turn-by-turn directions to any address nationwide. Because of the clarity of picture quality, the user interface is easy to read on nearly any small car mounted LCD monitor, with its contrasting colors, big icons and fonts. You can even plan your trip to optimize your route before you even leave home! It is a great system for long distance travel that enables traveling from point A to B safe, simple and efficient.

It may sound a little far fetched but the use of GPS technology in combination with the car LCD screens can be extended to achieve some incredible feats. You can probably envision, a lost child or a pet equipped with the GPS chip can be located and traced on your vehicle monitor. Thanks to LCD technology that has made all this feasible.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

10 Most Beautiful Cars of All Time

  • Jaguar E Type

  • 1930 Mercedes-Benz Count Trossi SSK

  • Bugatti Veyron 16.4

  • 1938 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS Teardrop Coupe

  • Pagani Zonda

  • 1967 Shelby Mustang Eleanor GT500

  • Ferrari Dino

  • 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe

  • Rolls-Royce Phantom

  • Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How to Change Your Car's Motor Oil

By Stephen Bucaro

First, let's answer the question; Why should you change your own oil? Because you can save time and money. You don't have to wait in line at the service garage or quick oil change shop. For ten bucks you can get the best oil and a brand new oil filter. And, it's so easy to do that you could train a monkey to do it.

Changing your cars motor oil is a very simple three-step process: 1. Drain the old oil. 2. Replace the oil filter. 3. Add the new oil. But before we go through the steps, lets answer a few basic questions.

When should I change my oil?

Look in your cars owners manual. Most auto manufacturers recommend changing the motor oil every 6,000 miles for normal service, or every 3,000 miles for severe service. I change my oil every 6,000 miles, and my engines run like new when I trade my vehicles in with well over 100,000 miles on them. One thing that I do is change a new cars oil after the first 300 mile break-in period. Then, after that, I change the oil every 6,000 miles.

What kind of oil should I use?

You are not going to save money by using an off-brand oil because your engine will wear out sooner. Use oil that meets the American Pertroleum Institute (API) classification SL. I use Valvoline, Quaker State, Pennzoil, or Havoline brand oil. These quality oils contain additives that make them work better and longer.

If you are changing your oil just before winter, use SAE 10W30 weight oil. This number means the oil will have a thin 10 weight viscosity when the engine is cold, helping the engine to start easier, and then the oil will thicken to 30 weight viscosity when the engine warms up, protecting the engine better. If you are changing oil just before summer, use SAE 10W40 weight oil. The extra 40 weight viscosity will protect your engine better when it's hot.

What's the First Step?

First let your engine cool off. Modern engines run at close to 300 degrees (F) and hot oil will definitely give you a severe burn. You shouldn't have to jack your car up unless you have some kind of ground hugging sports car or low rider. Almost all cars have enough space underneath to reach under and change the engine oil.

Step 1: Drain the old oil.

Locate the oil drain plug and place a pan under it to catch the oil. With a box wrench, remove the oil plug.

If you have a GM dual-overhead-cam EcoTec engine you may have a difficult time locating the drain plug on all that aluminum.

When the oil stops draining, reinstall the drain plug.

Note for newbies: To replace the drain plug turn it clockwise. Start the plug with your fingers. If it seems even slightly hard to turn, back it out! You are crossing the threads.

Step 2. Replace the oil filter.

Move your oil catch pan under the oil filter. Using an oil filter wrench to get it started, remove the oil filter. (newbies: counter-clockwise, and you will get some oil on your hand.)

Pictured above is a strap type oil filter wrench. This is the best kind to use.

Pictured above is a socket type oil filter tool. You use this type with a ratchet just like a regular socket. The problem with the socket type is that it tends to get stuck on the filter. Use the socket type tool if you don't have enough clearance around the oil filter to use the strap type.

With your finger put a thin coat of oil on the new filter's gasket to make it seal better.

!!! Now pay attention - here's were you can screw up royal!

With your hand, install the new oil filter. If it seems even slightly hard to turn, back it out! You are crossing the threads. Most filters have an instruction printed on them to give the filter one more turn after the gasket has made contact.

Here's what I recommend: screw the filter on until its "hand tight". Then use the oil filter wrench to snug it up another 1/8 to 1/4 turn. This is critical!

When the vehicle is running, the oil pump puts the oil under pressure. If you don't install the oil filter tight enough, the oil will come gushing out. If this happens Shut down the engine immediately! Without oil, an engine will lock up within seconds.

The first time I changed my oil, I used the filter wrench to tighten the filter as tight as I could get it. Wrong! The next time I went to change my oil, I couldn't get the filter off. Luckily I had plenty of room around the filer, so I hammered a screw driver through the body of the filter and used the handle of the screw driver to turn the filter off.

Warning! Don't over-tighten the filter. Follow the instructions above carefully!

The GM dual-overhead-cam EcoTec engine has an unusual oil filter located on top of the engine. This picture shows the engine with the air intake hose removed. That's the oil filter canister just to the right of, and below, the end of the open air intake tube. Use a proper size wrench to remove the canister lid.

The GM dual-overhead-cam EcoTec engine uses a filter cartridge. Shown above is the filter cartridge and the filter canister lid.

Step 3. Add the new oil.

Locate the oil filler cap on the valve cover. I've seen newbies pour motor oil in everything from the master brake cylinder to the radiator cap. Make sure you have located the the oil filler cap. Remove the oil filler cap.

When pouring the oil, hold the oil "can" as shown. You would be wise to use a funnel between the oil can and the valve cover oil filler hole.

How much oil should you add? Look in your cars owner manual. Most engines have a capacity of four or five quarts. Don't overfill the crank case. When you run the engine the extra oil will be blown out through the PCV value, possibly stalling your engine.

Tip: If you don't know the oil capacity of the engine, add four quarts, then check the oil level, if it's a quart low add another quart.

Replace the oil filler cap.

Step 4. Start the Engine.

Yes, I know, I said there where only three steps. You're finished, this is not really a "step".

Start the engine and make sure the oil warning light goes off. Look under the vehicle to make sure oil is not leaking out. Turn off the engine and let it set for a minute to let the oil drain down to the crank case. Then use the dip stick to check the oil level.

How to check the oil level: Remove the dip stick, wipe it clean with a rag, reinstall the dip stick. Make sure the dip stick is in all the way or you will get a false reading. After a few seconds remove the dip stick and examine how far up the stick is covered with oil. Most dip sticks have a “full” mark printed on them.

Note: I find the best way to dispose of the old oil is to use a funnel to pore it from the collection pan into the bottles from which the new oil came. When I get a big pile of used oil bottles I bring them to the oil recycling center. Be sure to mark the used oil bottles so you don't accidentally think they are new oil.