Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Got A Need For Speed? Easy Ways To Gain More Horsepower

By Levi Quinn

SUMMARY: Does the purring of a suped-up engine make you smile? Have you ever rolled down your window at a stop light to listen to the muscle car sitting beside you? If so, you've got horsepower fever.

While we all don't own a tricked out, 1966 Chevelle with a candy apple red paint rob and a custom interior, you can feed your need for speed, even in the family minivan. Here are few easy tips to get you stated.

Lubricants are your engine's best friend

Transmission fluid and motor oil are not just necessary for your engine to run, they can affect the power performance of your vehicle. Heat and friction steal away precious horsepower from your engine by slowing down moving parts and causing the engine to work harder. Choosing a newer synthetic, high grade lubricant can greatly reduce friction and keep your engine cooler, resulting in increased horsepower.

Upgrade your ignition system

When changing your spark plugs and wires, invest in a more expensive set. Increasing your spark allows for a more complete combustion of your fuel, giving you more horsepower and better gas mileage. Changing out your spark plugs, wires and coil can be a quick and easy way to boost your horsepower.

Give your engine some breathing room

Your air filter is vital to your engine's performance. Fresh air allows your engine to breathe, giving you better horsepower. A clogged, dirty air filter not only blocks the fresh airflow to your engine, it allows dirt and debris to get sucked in as well, clogging your moving parts and turning your fluids to sludge. Clean your air filter regularly and replace it like clockwork. Consider installing an oil soaked filter like one from K&N, they are guaranteed for life and help provide peak performance from your engine.

Keep it cool, baby

The hotter your engine runs, the harder it has to work. Installing a cold air kit infuses your air filter with fresh, denser, cool air, instead of allowing it to suck the warm air from under the hood back into the engine. Cold air kits are easy to obtain and install. Most do-it-yourselfers will have no trouble installing a cold air kit.

Pay more at the pump for better performance

While the 87 octane may look enticing with today's high gas prices, the cheap stuff will not do your engine any favors. It's a lot like hospital food, it will keep you alive, but it's not recommended for long term sustenance. More octane equals more power, period. Splurge for the higher grade gasoline or add a bottle of octane booster for an instant increase in horsepower. Of course, the bigger your engine, the more noticeable the difference will be.

Keep in mind that these tips won't make your minivan Nascar ready, but it will give you a little more pep off the starting line the next time you race that turquoise Topaz at the stoplight.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

BRAKING MOMENTS: How to Avoid a Costly Mistake

By Vance Talmadge

Brakes are an essential component of the car. The brakes are used to slow down or stop the car. This is one of the most important parts of the car. Any brake failures can cause accident which may lead to serious property damage. A proper maintenance of the brakes is a must to avoid any accidents.

Everyday before using your car it is important to check your brakes especially the level of the fluid. It is necessary to clean your brakes weekly and check also the brake pads if they are still in good condition. Try also checking those hoses and other linings of your brakes for leaks. When driving always bring a bottle of brake fluid just in case of emergency and try to check your gauge panel to see if the brake warning light is lit. Always test your brakes when driving once in a while.

The first thing to consider while driving especially at high speed is your brakes; since brakes are mechanical it is prone to any failures especially when it is not maintained. If everything is too complicated especially brake repairs or adjustments try consulting your trusted mechanic to fix those problems, these may prevent you from spending too much for repairs.

If your brakes are malfunctioning like sudden loss of pressure on the pedal while driving, try to pull over and don't hesitate to continue driving, try to pull your parking brake slowly; this may help reduce the speed of the vehicle. Use engine brake to slow you down. It may damage the gears in the transmission but you're safe. Never turn off your engine instead try to pump the pedal because it might build some pressure. If you don't have any choice try to hit the bushes or sacrifice your vehicle by letting the side of the vehicle hit the wall to stop.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thigs to consider when buying a used car

by Guido Nussbaum

You are ready to buy a used car? Make sure you know certain things about cars because there are dealers or even private people who try to sell cars overpriced or even damaged ones. This article deals with several details that you want to consider before buying a used car.

Always have a closer look at the car before buying it. This includes several parts of the car that we will discuss right here.

1. The mileage

An older car will have a higher mileage but sometimes you can find cars that were driven for less than 5000 miles a year. An average consumer will drive between 12,000 and 16,000 miles a year. Those cars with a high usage are usually those that won't make you happy.

2. Inspect the engine

Have somebody with you who knows a lot about cars because the engine of a car is the most important thing to look at before buying the vehicle. A good clean looking engine is not always an indicator for a good working engine. The owner might have washed it just to achieve a higher price for the car.

Always test drive the car, this way you might find a technical problem. People who know a lot about cars can sometimes tell, just from hearing the engine sound, if the engine is alright or not.

3. Check the body of the car

Look for rusty areas and damages, check the whole body of the car. Look at areas near the bottom, these are the places where the rust spreads first.

4. Frame damages

Make sure that the car did not have an accident. Some car dealers try to sell a damaged cars, sometimes even with frame damages. These can be very dangerous for the new owner, so check the car carefully.

5. The Tires

Make sure all 4 tires are in a good condition. Look at the profile and check if the material is in a smooth condition. Make sure there aren't any damages at the tires, they are your life insurance!

6. Safety Features

Some old cars don't meet today's safety standards. It is up to you what level of safety standard you choose with your used car, just make sure the ones that are included work.

7. The price

Before buying a car, you want to compare the prices for the car model that you desire. You can use the internet for this issue. This way you can protect yourself from overpriced car deals. Take your time to research the whole topic, don't be in a hurry when buying a car. If you take the time to compare different offers you will certainly get a better deal and a better time with you car.

If you don't know much about cars, it is strongly adviced to a companion who is an expert in this topic. There are just too many people out there who try to fool you so be prepared for it. Once you are sure that the car of your desire is in a good condition you can start to negotiate about the price. Find the right price for the right car and you can enjoy your new used car!

Friday, May 18, 2007

How To Buy A Leather Motorcycle Jacket

By James Gunaseelan

Bikers have traditionally worn leather jackets not because of their dude value; but because leather provides protection against wind, rain and snow. Further, when fortified with protective armor, leather jackets also provide a fair degree of safety. This is why it is important that you should know how to buy a leather motorcycle jacket.

You should never make the mistake of looking at a motorcycle jacket as a fashion accessory. Instead, you should look upon it as important protective gear. Among the things that you should look for when buying a leather motorcycle jacket are:

1. Thickness: The first thing that you should look for in a leather jacket is thickness. Jackets that are made of one millimeter thick leather last longer and are more comfortable.

2. Protection: The classically styled motorcycle jackets don't usually have protective armor. When they do offer it, there is minimal protection around the elbows and the shoulders. However, your chest and back are the really vulnerable areas, prone to injuries. So try and get yourself a jacket that has semi-rigid armor around these areas.

3. Waterproof: Most leather jackets are waterproof to a degree. However, they fall short when it comes to medium to heavy rains. It is therefore advisable to go for BMC and Harley jackets that are made from waterproof leather.

4. Length: How long should your jacket be? If you have a belly to match the beer you drink, a longish coat might be more comfortable. Long coats also have extra pockets, better weather protection and adjustability. Whatever the type of jacket you buy, remember to check if it has a slightly dropped back. This way if you bend forward, wind will not creep in.

5. Sleeves: Some jackets have sleeves designed to mimic a riding position. These are very comfortable. Sleeves should not ride up when your arms are stretched. Tapered sleeves that amply cover your wrist are a good option. Zips at the cuff are convenient. See that the sleeves are not tight and have ample space for the layers you may wear within. When trying on a jacket try and wear an electric vest and a sweatshirt to simulate a real life situation.

6. Collars: Adjustable flap-style closures are better than snap-closed mandarin-style necklines. The latter can be constricting at high speed. The neck should feel comfortable even when you pull on the back of the collar.

7. Lining: A detachable lining is a great feature. Liners that have insulators such as Thinsulate or Thermolite are the most versatile.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Look At Car Audio Components

By Matt Brooks

In the realm of car audio, the possibilities are endless. There are hundreds of brands and thousands of products out there. Majestic Modifications would like to help restore some order to the chaos of building your system. Lets look at some of the components that make up a car audio system.

The Head Unit

The Head Unit is the brains of the operation. Without this component, your car audio system can't and won't work. The head unit is the central processing device in the system. The head unit controls all the functions in your car audio system. Music too loud? Turn down the volume. Too soft? Turn it up. Want more bass? Add bass input. In addition to volume, bass, etc., the head unit may contain other systems within its casing. These include: tuner, cassette, equalizer, CD or amplifier.

You see, in a home music system, where you have much more room, many stereo setups will include a separate box for each one of these components -- CD, cassette, etc. You may have a home system like that yourself. In a car, with its space limitations, these components are often crammed into one box -- the head unit. This depends upon a number of factors, such as heat, space, cosmetic design and other concerns, and every car is different.

The Amplifier

All car audio systems have an amplifier, even if it's a small one. Occasionally the amplifier will be attached to the rear of the head unit; however, in most systems it is hidden elsewhere in the car to better dissipate heat. Signal amplification is actually a two-stage process, handled by two separate components. These are the preamplifier and the power amplifier.

The preamplifier (preamp, for short) is a very tiny signal coming directly from the head unit. Whether it's reproducing a cassette signal, a CD signal, or an FM broadcast, the preamp puts out a signal that the amplifier can use. This is where the power amplifier takes over. It's the power amp's job to take the signal from the preamp and boost it into the audible range. We'll cover this in more depth in our Amplifier column in this series. Again, because of heat, most amplifiers are located away from the head unit.

The Speakers

The speakers take the boosted signal from the power amp and create sound waves. Essentially, speakers transform electrical energy (the amplified signal) into mechanical energy (the motion of the speaker cone). For now, know that all sound is vibration, which is a chain of frequencies in the air that eventually vibrate the membranes in your eardrums. Sound energy is measured in wavelengths, known as hertz, with the audible range falling between 20 to 20,000 cycles. A cycle is the distance from the top of one wavelength to the top of the next.

There are three types of speakers that produce sounds across the audible spectrum: woofers, tweeters and midrange drivers. As the name implies, the woofer reproduces the lower frequencies. The tweeter, also aptly named, replicates the highest register. The midrange handles the frequencies in between.

Auxiliary Input Devices

Components such as CD changers and equalizers, not to mention cell phones, navigation systems, MP3 players and many of the newer technologies, interface with the head unit for amplification and signal processing.

With a little knowledge of car audio components, it's time to start searching for your own car audio system!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How To Replace Brake Pads

SUMMARY: A step by step guide to replacing brake pads.

There aren't many things as dangerous as a car with inefficient brakes, you know this. Regularly changing brake pads is really important. Your safety while driving depends on several factors but regarding brakes it all depends on equipment: saving few bucks on brake pads isn't worth!

There's no need to go to the mechanic to replace your brake pades, you can easily do it yourself.

If it's the firts time you do it allow it some hours, it's not difficult but it will require some time if you're not experienced.

Attention: after driving the car brake pads and brake discs are hot.

Avoid any possible risk working in a safe area.

  • Make sure your car will not move at all, set the handbrake and park in a plain area.
  • Loosen the lug nuts before jacking the car up.
  • Jack the car up so you can remove the wheel as if replacing the wheel. (Use two jack stands for your safety)
  • Remove the caliper bolts and make it slide away from the disc: brake pads are the black parts that were near the disc surface.
  • Remove them from the caliper: there are several kinds of calipers so you have to see how it works in your car but you should easily do it: it's just a matter of bolts or clips.
  • Take the occasion to check brake rotors condition, rotors must be the more smooth possible and must not have any asperities. If it's damaged you'll have to get a new one. Discs can also be reconditioned but it's not recommended.
  • Now, with the new thicker pads you need to push the caliper piston back to its original position in order to create enough space for the new pads, you might need an adjustable spanner or a C-Clamp.
  • Apply brake pad grease on the part that won't be in contact with the rotor and put them inside the caliper.
  • Reassemble everything as it was and proceed with the other side and the rear axle if your car has four disc brakes.
You're done, go out for a test and drive slow. Pay attention, the brake pedal might be softer and braking spaces longer. In few days the new pads should reach their final position and any noise should disappear.Make sure you reassemble everything carefully.

By J Stanton

Saturday, May 05, 2007

How to save gasoline

With the increase in prices of motor fuels by various organizations USA started publishing tips for motorists who want to save on gasoline.

American Petroleum Institute offers the following recommendations:
  1. Motor vehicle to operate normally. Well-regulated motor drive enables one additional mile to gallone fuel.
  2. Keep an eye on the pressure in a car tire (the same savings - 1 extra mile per gallon).
  3. The faster you go, the more money goes fuel (loss - 2 miles while increasing speed to 10 miles\h).
  4. Do not start sharply (eg, after stopping at the traffic light).
  5. Walk on the road, slide-stop, acceleration and braking resulted in the loss of two miles per gallon.
  6. Do not let the engine work wasted.
  7. The fair use air conditioning, which consumes a lot of energy.

In turn, Federal Trade Commission recommends:
  1. Observe the speed limit on the road.
  2. Avoid aggressive driving.
  3. It is reasonable to plan trips: one long trip better than the few short.
  4. Do not overload the car (extra 100 kg increase gasoline consumption by 2%).
  5. Avoid placing the goods in the luggage located on the roof of the car (economy car is reduced by 5%).
  6. Often, change oil and oil filters.
  7. Read the instruction to the car and use the grade of gasoline, which had been recommended by the manufacturer. Petrol with a higher octane offers no advantage while driving and does not have a positive impact on the engine.
  8. Do not buy devices, manufacturers are promising "dramatic improvements in efficiency car." Studies show that in the vast majority of cases, these products are useless or even harmful.