10 Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance

Let’s face it. We all like to save money, especially when it comes to auto insurance. But does lowering your insurance premiums mean less-than-adequate coverage or working with a provider whose customer service leaves a lot to be desired? Not at all. We’ve put together a variety of suggestions to help you save money on auto insurance without sacrificing quality in the process.

Consider car insurance costs before you buy

When it comes to buying a new or used car, many people overlook insurance expense as part of the total cost of owning a vehicle. It’s better to consider the cost of insurance before you buy since auto insurance premiums vary widely depending on a vehicle’s specific characteristics, including its price, average repair costs, safety record and whether or not it’s a target among thieves.

Combine insurance policies with one carrier

Many insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts, such as buying a homeowners policy and auto coverage from the same carrier. You might also be able to save money if you insure all of the vehicles in your household on one policy or if you insure all of your driving-age family members on the same plan. Be sure to do your homework though, since there’s a chance you could save more money buying policies from multiple carriers.

Compare auto insurance carriers

Because auto insurance companies and rates vary widely, it helps to shop around when selecting an insurer. As a general rule, it’s wise to obtain auto insurance quotes and information from at least three separate companies. Calling insurance carriers directly, asking family and friends about their insurance providers and getting an auto insurance quote online are just some of the steps you can take in helping to ensure you choose the right auto insurance company.

Another helpful resource is your state’s department of insurance, which typically offers information such as rate comparisons, customer ratings and complaint ratios, as well as contact information for a variety of major carriers.

Don’t forget you’ll be dealing with your auto insurer in the event of an accident or emergency, so be sure to select a company that’s committed to customer service. Do your homework ahead of time by comparing ratings and researching complaints to ensure a company handles claims — and answers questions — honestly and promptly.

Drive less, save more

The more you drive, the higher the likelihood of an accident or emergency. That’s why many auto insurance companies offer low mileage discounts for people who drive less than the average number of miles per year, or for people who carpool on a regular basis. Be sure to ask your carrier if you qualify.

Drive safer, save more

The better you are as a driver, the more money you stand to save in coverage costs. People with clean driving records who haven’t had any accidents or moving violations for a certain number of years can qualify for safe driver discounts. What’s more, you may be able to take advantage of additional savings if you’ve recently taken a defensive driving course.

Increase your deductible

Sure, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident, but if you increase your deductible by just several hundred dollars, for example, you could save anywhere from 15 to 40 percent or more in collision and comprehensive coverage costs. It’s always good practice to set aside a portion of your monthly car insurance premium savings to ensure you can actually afford a higher deductible in the event of a claim.

Inquire about other car insurance discounts

There are a variety of additional car insurance savings you might be able to take advantage of, including discounts for teens who have good grades or who have taken an approved drivers’ education course, for college-age drivers who go to school more than 100 miles away, for people who are over the age of 50/55 or those who are retired, or for people who belong to business groups, alumni groups or other professional associations. You can also save money on auto insurance if a group plan is offered at your place of employment. When it comes to discounts, be careful. An insurance company that offers huge discounts might charge the highest rates to begin with, so be sure to do your homework thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.

Maintain good credit

In the eyes of auto insurance carriers, drivers with established and stable credit records have fewer accidents. That’s why an increasing number of auto insurance companies consider credit scores when calculating rates. Since your credit score can impact the amount of money you pay in auto insurance, be sure to maintain a good credit rating and check your credit report periodically to ensure the items in your history actually belong to you. There are a variety of online services that allow you to check your credit as well as those that offer advice about how to improve it.

Opt for safety features

You can qualify for a car insurance discount from many carriers if your vehicle is equipped with safety equipment designed to reduce the risk of injury or theft, such as antilock brakes, automatic seatbelts, running lights or an alarm system.

Reduce insurance coverage on older cars

If you own an older vehicle, check its Kelley Blue Book value. If your annual comprehensive/collision insurance premiums are more than 10 percent of the current value of your car, consider dropping the coverage. Claims only occur an average of every 11 years, so there’s a good chance any claim payment you might receive down the road could be less than the comprehensive/collision premiums you’d paid.

While not exhaustive, this list gives you a good start in saving money on auto insurance. Keep in mind that the key to saving on auto insurance is about finding the best final price, not the biggest discounts. You may find that a company offering the least amount of discounts still offers the lowest auto insurance rates.

Automotive Paint

In 1909, Model T Fords were painted with solvent-based varnish paint that had a relatively short service life. The paint was glossy, but it had such indistinguishable colors that greens, blues, and blacks all appeared the same color. When exposed to the weather and the environment, varnish paint quickly broke down and cracked, allowing rust and corrosion to set in.

In contrast, the paint used on late-model vehicles is vibrant, fade-resistant, and extremely corrosion-resistant. Today’s vehicle finishes are also multi-layered, water-based, and refined with a durable clearcoat.

How does the factory paint my car?
Modern automotive paint is a sophisticated blend of resins, binders, fillers, additives, and carrying agents (solvents or water). Some paint mixes offer high gloss, but at the expense of durability. Other paints are extremely durable, but lack the vibrant color of their glossy counterparts. Each manufacturer chooses a custom paint mixture for the vehicles they manufacture.

While the original Model Ts were painted entirely by hand, nearly every modern vehicle is painted using an automated process on a vehicle assembly line, which produces a consistent, high-quality paint job. Hand painting is still done today, but since it is very labor intensive, this type of painting is limited to only very expensive or limited-production vehicles.

At the factory, automotive paint is applied with an electrostatic process that uses an electrical current to precisely deposit paint on the metal. The process uses less paint and offers more uniform paint coverage. Manufacturers can use this process with high-tech water-based paints to yield a high-quality paint job that is environmentally friendly.

What are the different painting steps?
Putting a showroom finish on a vehicle is a multi-step process that involves detailed surface preparation, followed by several layers of paint. The process begins by degreasing the metal to remove contaminants left over from the manufacturing process. The metal is then treated and coated with zinc for superior corrosion resistance and better adhesion of the subsequent paint layers.

Primer is the first layer of paint. It is formulated to fill tiny scratches and imperfections in the body and give the subsequent color coats something to adhere to. Unlike the drab gray primer of yesteryear, manufacturers have begun to use colored primers to hide future damage from rock or stone chips.

The basecoat, or color layer, is next in the process. In the past, this was the final layer of paint, which was directly exposed to the environment. Over time, sunlight and environmental pollutants damaged the surface and eventually faded the color. However, in the 1980s, manufacturers began applying clearcoat paint over the final color layers. Clearcoat is a layer of paint without color pigment added-it is simply clear paint. The clearcoat adds high gloss while protecting the colored basecoat from scratching, chipping, and the effects of the environment.

Do I still have to wax my car?
Even though clearcoat paint finishes on today’s vehicles are much more durable than the paint on vehicles just 20 years ago, it is a popular misconception that clearcoat finishes are maintenance-free. In truth, the paint must be cared for in a traditional manner, which includes frequent cleanings and waxing to preserve the finish.

Compared to the varnish paint on Model T Fords nearly a century ago, today’s environmentally friendly clearcoat paint finishes are vastly superior in application, color, and durability. With simple care, a clearcoat paint finish can provide a new-vehicle shine for many years.

Car Dent Repair Made Easy

If side-swiping a telephone pole left a large dent in the side panel of your car or accidentally backing up into your friend’s truck made a large indention in your trunk, you’re probably wondering what you’re going to do to fix it and if you could possible do your own car dent repair fix. If you don’t have the money to spend for a car body shop to redo the cars entire damaged panel, you can fix a minor car dent on your own. It takes a lot of patience and attention to detail, but it leaves the dents out of your wallet. All you have to have is the right tools, and you can save yourself a lot of money and time worrying about how to fix it.

To fix a car dent, you must have the right materials and tools, which includes a ball-pein hammer and one with a claw, as well as a block of wood, HSS drill bits, an electric drill, self-taping screws, self-locking grips, a wire brush or sanding disc, body filler kit, sanding paper, clean rags, cellulose body stopper, and a hair-dryer.

When it comes to doing it yourself on dents, first thing to do is try to push out the dent with your hands. If this doesn’t make the dent budge, use the wooden block and a ball-pein hammer to knock the dent out from the inside. You want it to be just below the other parts of the panel. If pushing out the dent is not an option, you can mark the center of it and drill a small hole with an HSS bit, followed by screwing in a long self-taping screw until about half an inch is sticking out. Then use your hammer’s claw or self-locking grips to grab the end of the screw. Another tool to do this would be a car dent repair pooper tool that you screw into the dent the rest of the tool to the screw and move the weighted handle back with some force pulling out the dent slowly with repeated turns.

Next, sand the area with an electric drill that has a sanding disc or wire brush, and remove all the paint from the dented area. Use a plastic spatula to apply filler to the dent and then let it harden. After the filler is solid, reshape the surface using a rasp, moving to sandpaper first with a coarse grain then use fine grained sandpaper. Before going any further, you’ll want to use your fingertips to inspect the area for any imperfections; fill the bumps with cellulose stopper and give it a final rubdown with fine sandpaper.

When you are ready to paint the area, cover all of the surrounding areas with masking tape and newspapers or brown paper bags. First spray an aerosol primer onto the area, standing about eight inches away and moving the can back and forth. Start with a thin coat and then apply two more coats, rubbing it over with fine sandpaper when it’s dried completely. The top coat comes next. Spray from the top to bottom in horizontal lines, two coats, and use the same steps you did with the primer. Apply two more additional coats, letting the area dry completely and then use fine sandpaper to rub down the area. Finally, apply the final coat about an hour later.

 

 

How to Read Your Tire

Tire Sidewall Markings - Tire Guides, Inc.

Width in millimeters – The first of the tire size numbers gives you the width of the tire from sidewall to sidewall in millimeters. If the number begins with a “P” the tire is called “P-Metric” and is built in the US.

If not, the tire is a European metric tire. The only difference between the two is a very slight one in terms of how load rating are calculated for the size, but the two are essentially interchangeable.

Aspect Ratio – The aspect ratio designates the height of the tire, measured from the top edge of the rim to the top of the tire, as a percentage of the width.

Diameter – This number indicates the inside diameter of the tire in inches, which is also the outside diameter of the rim. If this number is preceded by an “R”, the tire is radial rather than bias-ply.

Load Index – This is an assigned number corresponding to the maximum allowed load the tire can carry. For the tire above, a load index of 96 means the tire can carry 1,565 pounds, for a total of 6260 pounds on all four tires. A tire with a load index of 100 could carry 1,764 pounds.

Very few tires have a load index higher than 100.

Speed Rating – Another assigned number corresponding to the maximum speed the tire is expected to be able to sustain for prolonged periods. A speed rating of V indicates a speed of 149 miles per hour.

Tire Identification Number – The letters DOT preceding the number indicate that the tire meets all Federal standards as regulated by the Department of Transportation.

The first two numbers or letters after the DOT indicate the plant where the tire was manufactured. The next four numbers indicate the date the tire was built, i.e., the number 1210 indicates that the tire was manufactured in the 12th week of 2010. These are the most important numbers in the TIN, as they are what the NHTSA uses to identify tires under recall for consumers. Any numbers after that are marketing codes used by the manufacturer.

Treadwear Indicators – These markings on the outer sidewall show when the tire has become legally bald.

Tire Ply Composition – The number of layers of rubber and fabric used in the tire. The more plies, the higher the load the tire can take. Also indicated are the materials used in the tire; steel, nylon, polyester, etc.

Treadwear Grade – In theory, the higher the number here, the longer the tread should last. In practice, the tire is tested for 8,000 miles and the manufacturer extrapolates tire wear compared to a baseline government test tire using whatever formula they prefer.

Traction Grade – Indicates the tire’s ability to stop on wet roads. AA is the highest grade, followed by A, B and C.

Temperature Grade – Indicates the tire’s resistance to heat buildup under proper inflation. Graded as A, B and C.

The treadwear, traction and temperature grades collectively make up the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) standards, established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Max Cold Inflation Limit – The maximum amount of air pressure that should ever be put into the tire under any circumstances. This is an extremely misleading piece of data, as this number is not what you should be putting in your tire. The proper inflation will be found on a plaque, usually inside the driver’s doorjamb.Inflation is measured in PSI (Pounds per square inch) and should always be measured when the tire is cold.

ECE Type Approval Mark – This indicates that the tire meets the rather strict standards of the Economic Commission for Europe.

There are also several markings which do not appear on this image, including:

M+S – Indicates that the tire tread is optimized for both mud and snow.

Severe Service Emblem – Also known as the ‘Mountain Snowflake Symbol’ because, well, it’s a picture of a snowflake superimposed on a mountain, this emblem indicates that the tire meets US and Canadian winter traction standards.

Knowing how to read the coded information on tire sidewalls can give you a big advantage when it comes time to compare tires to see which ones are right for you!

Avoid Car Battery Failure

CAUSES OF CAR BATTERY FAILURE

In this article:

  • Infrequently used vehicles
  • Sulphation
  • Recovery
  • Other reasons for battery failure
  • Electrolye starvation (low water level)
  • Vibration
  • Overcharging
  • Undercharging
  • Battery Corrosion
  • Open Circuit Failure
  • Short Circuit Failure
  • Selecting the right battery
  • Preventing battery failure

Infrequently used vehicles

When our battery experts are asked about batteries that fail, the most common answer is the vehicle was not used for some time.

Typical cases are the hobby car, motorcycle or jet ski, boat etc.

Not all are big boy’s toys – Rural Fire Brigades have trucks on standby but if the battery fails, lives could be lost!

Sulphation is the enemy to a battery

When a battery is allowed to discharge below the nominal 12.5V a process called sulphation starts to damage your battery. Effectively the chemicals from the electrolyte start to separate; the sulphur from the battery acid begins to form lead sulphate crystals on the battery plate.

Within a month the battery will be seriously damaged with a build-up of crystals causing the plate to harden and resist charge, or fail to hold charge. Eventually the lead sulphate crystals will short out the cells rendering the battery totally useless.

Recovery

Once sulphation has attacked the battery there will always be some permanent damage but there are some chargers available that use multi-stage charging that can recover a partially sulphated battery.

There are chargers with a ripple or pulse charge stage. In the initial stages the charger uses a pulse or ripple to dislodge lead sulphate from the plates – this will then recombine with the sulphuric acid electrolyte.

Talk to the Battery World Battery Experts for more information about a charger that suits your needs.

Other reasons for battery failure

A flat or discharged battery is not necessarily a failure!

Continual charge and discharge of a normal automotive battery is highly detrimental to the life of the battery – however, some batteries are specifically designed with thicker plates to withstand heavy cycling.

Every time you leave the lights on and flatten the battery, you take about 6 months off the life of your battery – recharging that battery from flat can rarely be done in the vehicle.

Electrolye starvation (low water level)

Australia’s harsh climates create enormous demands on your automotive battery.

High ambient temperature and extreme under bonnet temperatures cause high rates of water evaporation. If the water is not visible at the top of each cell then sulphation can occur and accelerate corrosion.

Water loss also causes an increased concentration of acid within the body of the battery and can cause acceleration of the plate corrosion.

Failure to maintain the battery’s water level does void the warrant – so it’s well worth checking the battery at every service or, if living in tropical climates, possibly every week!

Some batteries have a magic eye or visual hydrometer which monitors one cell as an indicator if the battery needs service.

If you are unsure, bring your battery into your nearest Battery World store for a free battery health check.

Vibration

Serious vibration will cause the battery damage by shaking the lead paste that makes the battery plates. Batteries should be properly held down and, in the case of some trucks, an under battery rubber mat should be installed to prolong the life of your battery.

Overcharging

If the vehicles charge system is not properly regulated the battery may receive an excessive voltage or continuous charge. When the vehicle alternator continues to charge the battery past the “full” charge it can result in water loss and cause the plates to grow – in turn causing damage.

Visual indicators that the battery is being overcharged are:

  • Splatter of electrolyte across the top of the battery.
  • Heavy black sooty deposits under the vent caps.
  • Bulging of the battery (plate growth pushes the ends outwards).

Undercharging

Low charge voltage or insufficient recovery, i.e. stop/start, very short run motoring or only using the vehicle once a week may cause the gradual discharge of the battery – this can lead to sulphation and the ultimate destruction of the battery.

Vehicle alternators should be checked regularly for the correct operation and ensure it is charging your battery correctly.

 

Battery Corrosion

High temperatures can cause “mushy” plates and rapidly increasing plate corrosion.

High antimony content in the lead alloy helps to reduce corrosion, unlike softer calcium alloy lead plates.

A battery has a normal operating life of 3 – 5 years after which the chemical reaction will deteriorate until the battery will no longer start the vehicle.

Open Circuit Failure

Sometimes the battery just seizes. It started the car in the morning but at lunchtime would not even bring up the dash lights.

This usually means there is an open circuit or no voltage output – broken or corroded cell to cell connection or broken / corroded busbar.

Both of these will break the circuit so that there is no voltage output from the battery.

Short Circuit Failure

Vibration can cause plates to distort and touch each other. Should a positive plate make direct contact with a negative plate a short will occur and the battery will fail.

High quality batteries have envelope separators which encase one value plate to prevent contact with one another.

Shorts can also be caused by impure water top up, such as water with heavy iron deposits. Zinc and other metals present in the water can also cause the plates to fail.

Always use demineralised or distilled water to top up your battery!

Right battery for the application

There are many batteries on the Australian market ranging from cheap to very expensive. How long the battery lasts depends very much on the usage, almost no two applications are the same.

Even with the same model vehicle, one may have high power accessories, one may use only air-conditioning.

We can make generalisations but there is no substitute for experience. The battery has to perform to meet the needs of the application you require – fitting a light weight battery into a heavy duty vehicle with high power demands is only a short term solution. In the long run, this is a far more expensive option than just buying the right battery first.

Prevention is the best cure

If possible, keep batteries fully charged either with regular daily use, ensuring that your alternator and charging systems are fully functional and set to appropriate charging voltage.

If this isn’t possible we recommend the use of a maintenance charger. Depending on the size of the battery – maintenance chargers are available from 0.75 amps upwards.

These products are designed to top up the battery after use, and then switch to a floating mode with enough power to keep the battery at optimum charge.

In some cases the charger may be permanently installed in the vehicle. There are many chargers at a variety of price levels.

If the battery is in a remote location, a solar module can be used – depending on the size of the battery or battery bank, solar panels are suitable to assist in keeping a battery at peak charge.

The Most Expensive Cars Ever Auctioned

Records are meant to be broken, and the amazing figures shown in this article may not last forever, but right now they are pretty impressive!

Big Auctions

When there’s news about these vehicles, classic cars will always have the enthusiasts react with great excitement. This is especially relating to news about new owners and prices achieved when these beauties change hands.  Most of these exceptional prices have been fetched at big auctions such as the Bonhams Sale at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, the RM Auctions in Maranello, headquarters of Ferrari in Northern Italy near Modena and at the Monterey Car Week in the US.

Value

Who establishes what these collectible vehicles are worth? Of course it’s hard to attach real value, but they are worth what people will pay for them. And yes, they are meant for an exclusive market where money talks. Sellers often benefit from the auction as opposed to private sales, since the auction lends itself to emotional decisions: Bidders push themselves much harder to walk away with the prize, the exotic car!

Ferrari

Very recently, on February 5th 2016, the highest price ever achieved at an auction was fetched for a 1957 335 Sport Scaglietti Ferrari that once raced and set a lap record at Le Mans. The new world record now stands at a staggering €32,075 million or £25,800 million. Ferrari is doing well in the high stakes: In 2014 a 1962 model 250 GTO Berlinetta fetched €28,5 million or £22,928 million, which was also a world record at the time. In 2009 yet another 1957 Ferrari, a Testa Rossa, was sold for around £8.5 million by Sotheby’s (a famous auction house and a great way to sell my car in london). That was 7 years ago and ensures it the 20th spot on the current list.

It seems that Ferrari, with every spot in the Top 10 but one, is the uncontested leader when it comes to setting the pulses racing at auctions. Some reasons include Ferrari’s ability as a great race car; its timeless design; the status attached to owning a model of a brand which has consistently outclassed most others, and the hype that comes with having achieved 9 out of the top 10 positions for the highest auction prices achieved.

The Exceptions

It goes beyond that. In the top 20 only no. 3, no. 15, no.16 and no.18 go to a brand other than Ferrari. Those spots are filled by a Mercedes-Benz W196 (at no.3), a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato (no.15), a 1998 McLaren F1 (no.16) and a 1953 Jaguar E-Type at no.18.

For the Special Few

Paying such high, almost outlandish, prices for cars confirm what car enthusiasts with money understand: Owning an exotic car with a special history can never be measured in monetary terms – the value lies in knowing that nobody else owns it.

Mississauga auto glass

If you are in the Mississauga auto glass area, it is important to remain aware of the many stone chips that can be displayed in your vehicle’s windshield. If you are able to catch a chip very soon, it is much easier to repair. Many auto glass store owners inform their customer of the four basic small crack shapes. You can look for a star break (a small break with radiating small cracks), a bulls-eye break (a circular rock chip with a center), a half-moon break (a bulls-eye break with an incomplete circle), or a combination break (a circular shape like the bulls-eye but with radiating cracks like the star). Auto glass technicians are presented with these chips on a daily basis. If you know what to look for, you will see it as an issue that needs to be fixed right away at an auto glass shop. Stone chips are normally very small in size and may also appear to be non-threatening. However, it is imperative to remember that a stone chip can turn into a much bigger problem quite easily. Many industry experts say that the longer you leave a stone chip on your windshield, the more it weakens it, and this results in the possibility of injury. Over 90% of stone chips located near the edges of windshields turn into cracks, according to the experts in the Mississauga auto glass area. Recognizing and acting on a stone chip in its early stages has its advantages. You can surely get it fixed for a great price if you take it into the Auto Glass Changers shop within a week. Residents who repair their windshields early are easily out of the Auto Glass Changers shop within 15-30 minutes depending on the type of repair that is needed. Your insurance company has a higher chance of paying for a stone chip compared to covering the cost of a full windshield replacement. As a result, it is in your best interest to visit a reputable auto glass shop right away. A minor windshield repair job may not even affect your insurance deductible. Some auto glass repair professionals have said, if a chip or crack can be covered by a five dollar bill then it is not fixable and if it is smaller than a quarter, you may not need a full windshield replacement. By visiting a popular auto glass repair shop right away, you can save yourself from requiring the replacement of your entire windshield. A small crack can cost you around $30 whereas windshield replacement can cost a couple hundred at many auto glass shops. Another important reason as to why you should fix a stone chip right away is safety. If you are driving with a stone chip in your window you are more likely to become distracted as it can distort your vision.

http://www.autoglasspro.ca/images/auto-glass-replacement/auto-glass-replacement-mississauga.jpg

Mississauga auto glass shops have seen it happen many times. In the summer time, refusing to fix a stone chip right away increases the possibility of your windshield cracking due to the heat rays given off by the sun. In the Mississauga area, extremely high and low temperatures have been to blame for some stone chips turning into cracks. If you’re looking for a reputable auto glass shop, consider the professional team at Auto Glass Changers. They promise reliable and affordable services that will suite your needs. In addition to this, they offer a convenient mobile service so that they can come to you. If you have an extensively damaged windshield, you are required to take advantage of their mobile services.

How Bad is Bad: Knowing When to Get Your Car Towed

Most car owners make it a point to know a thing or two about basic car maintenance. Knowing the basics of car maintenance can save you hundreds of dollars a year in trips to the mechanic and can save you the hassle of having to go to places without your own car. DIY car maintenance, however, can only get you so far. As your car ages, the risk that parts break down increases and requires you more frequent visits to the repair will be. It is important that as a car owner, you know when to have your car brought to the shop for repairs.

When to Get your Car Towed?

Here are some instances where you should get your car towed to the shop.

  • Car accidents.

Obviously, if you end up in a car accident, you should get your car towed to the shop. Even if there is minimal damage to your car, it’s best to have it checked by professionals. It just might be a scratch but you don’t know the damage on the inside mechanisms unless you have it tested and diagnosed by mechanics.

  • When you can’t figure out what’s wrong.

It can be tempting to go online and look for quick fixes to your car problems; however, when you don’t know what’s causing your car problems, it’s probably best to have the professionals take a look at your car. A misdiagnosis can lead to a fix that can possibly do more damage to your car and puts you in harm’s way.

  • Small problem car maintenance.

Car enthusiasts and experts advice that if you notice small problems with your car and you don’t know what’s causing it, you should have it brought to the shop. Small car problems lead to bigger headaches, and having small repairs are better and less expensive than a major one.

  • Regular car maintenance.

You should always bring your car in for regular tune ups and scheduled oil changes. Having your car tuned-up and checked for damages will help you keep it running efficiently. Regular car maintenance also lowers the risk of expensive repairs that could have been avoided by regular performance checks.

Although cars are common, it’s important to remember that these are pieces of heavy machinery. It is important to have regular car maintenance to keep your car in top shape and running efficiently. Visiting the mechanic regularly to get small repairs done can help you avoid major expensive repairs in the future.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited has the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.

 

Things You Need To Know About Ductless Systems

Ancient houses experience more challenges with regards to heating and cooling their domicile in comparison to modern homes. However, each home can gain a lot by optimizing their cooling and heating strategies.

The conventional HVAC units force cool or warm air through an array of ducts for maintaining appropriate temperature inside the house. Today, ductless mini-split unit, are considered to be a smart choice for climate control within the house. If you are determined to have a ductless mini-split installed then below are some things you need to know.

Ductless mini-splits

  • Saves money – With escalating energy prices, it becomes necessary to try and reduce utility bills. Upgrading from boiler or furnace to energy efficient ductless mini-splits can shrink your energy bills to almost 1/3rd.

Homeowners can install ductless system as primary source of cooling and heating, while keeping their regular system for backup because central HVAC system is needed in extreme climatic conditions only. Thus energy bills cut down significantly.

  • Avoids inefficiencies – In central HVAC system, more energy gets lost in ducts because air escapes through tears or cracks in ducts. Alternatively, a ductless system supplies conditioned air directly within the house.
  • Creates temperature zones – Home use patterns differ because an elderly member may need warm temperature in their bedrooms or if you work from home then you need to condition it like an office. In addition, there are some rooms like workshops or guestrooms that need infrequent temperature changes. Therefore, multi-split ductless system in every room with multiple air handlers inside is appropriate.
  • Means less maintenance – Traditional duct system needs regular cleaning for maintaining air quality inside the home. For this, you need to hire professional help but ductless system saves this expense. You just need to clean the coils and filters, which is easy. The outdoor unit needs to be tuned annually. This simple maintenance chore extends the life of the ductless system unit for more than two decades.
  • Can replace AC and heater – Heat pumps in the ductless system don’t produce heat but move it from one zone to another. Therefore in summer, it gets rid of extra heat and in winter it brings warmth within the house.
  • Are unobtrusive – Indoor head unit includes several unobtrusive mounting options and can blend well with the room interiors.

How ductless AC works?

Ductless mini-split system is designed to redistribute the heat energy existing in the air instead of creating warmth through combustion. There is abundant of heat energy, even in cool air. Technically, heat energy is absent, when temperature is minus 459.67°F or zero.

The compressor is installed outdoors, which exhausts and draws heat energy, as needed. In cooling mode, when air is drawn in the heat energy gets exhausted outside, while cool air gets circulated around the room. In heating mode, heat energy gets drawn within the indoor head unit and distributed around with the help of fans.

If you are ready to give ductless system a try then there are many options. To know more about the ductless mini-split system, how it works and is they best for your home, just visit http://www.cariniair.com/mitsubishi-mini-split-ductless-systems/ or email your queries.

Tips For Performing Front of A Crowd

 

Whether you’re a vocalist, piano player, or part of an orchestra, performing in front of a large crowd for the first time can be intimidating and stressful.  Follow these tips to make your first public music performance a success.  Once you conquer stage fright, your showmanship will emerge and you’ll actually begin to really enjoy yourself.

The most important thing you can wear to your first performance is a balanced amount of self-confidence and a genuine smile.  After a few performances, this will come naturally.  Depending on the venue of the performance, you’ll want to make sure you’ve presented yourself in the best light possible.  If true showmanship is part of your performance, by all means select your attire with that in mind.  One of the basic steps to take is to make sure your hair style is polished and up to date, your hands are freshly manicured, and if necessary paid a visit to a quality laser hair removal salon.

Either the director of the performance or the manager of the venue can give you guidance on appropriate attire. Determine if you’ll have a dressing room or if you’ll need to arrive at the event dressed to perform.  Either way, be sure to have a ‘safety kit that includes safety pins, bobby pins and anything else you might need should a misstep occur prior to your performance. Avoid overly long dresses or exceptionally high heels that might cause a tumble. You’ll be under bright stage lights which will radiate heat.  Consider this when selecting your stage apparel – you don’t the distraction of excess perspiration during your first performance.

Experiment with makeup prior to the evening of the performance.  Generally, if a professional makeup artist is not available to assist you, make up should be applied somewhat brighter and stronger than typical.  The objective is to showcase your facial features under the bright lights on the large stage.  Do a dry run with makeup under the lights and have a friend or fellow performer give you feed back.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a successful first performance!  Good luck to you and your fellow performers.

The Best Diesel Exhaust Fluid on the Market: BlueDEF

Whether you drive a vehicle that uses diesel fuel or you own a business that has a fleet of diesel vehicles, you know how important diesel exhaust fluid is.

While there are many different types of diesel exhaust fluid on the market, if you’re looking for a product that you can really rely on, then look no further. There honestly is no other diesel exhaust product on the market that can compare. Why is it the best? Keep on reading to find out.

Why BlueDef is the Best

There are several reasons why BlueDef diesel exhaust fluid is the best product of its kind on the market. Here’s a look at just a handful of those reasons:

·         It’s a nontoxic solution, which consists of 67.5% water and 32.5% ultra pure automotive grade urea.

·         It’s not a fuel or a fuel additive, but rather it converts NOx into nitrogen gas and water vapor when it is passed over a catalyst. Nitrogen gas and water vapor are harmless, natural components that are found in the air that we breathe.

·         It meets all quality and safety standards that have been set by the American Petroleum Institute. It is a certified diesel exhaust fluid.

·         It’s easy to use. All you have to do is watch the DEF gauge to keep track of the amount of BlueDEF you have in your tank. If you’re running low, just place the DEF fill nozzle into the tank, fill it up and you’re ready to go.

·         It helps to reduce emissions while improving the mileage that you get on your vehicles. It has the ability to increase fuel economy by as much as 5% and it reduces exhaust emissions at the same time.

All About Paint

Paint is a very important area of knowledge when it comes to cars, but unfortunately many if not most car guys don’t really know a whole lot about world of paint and what goes into making a car look so good and last so long when exposed to the elements. Here are some aspects of car paint that may go a long way to helping your knowledge and therefore keeping your car in great shape.

Paint components

A car’s paint job consists of multiple layers of different materials. First you start with the base metal which is prepared to receive paint by being thoroughly cleaned and sanded if necessary. The next layer is the primer coat which will serve to protect the metal from rusting in addition to creating a surface to which the paint itself can very securely bond. At this point we arrived at the actual paint itself, which is where the color and texture presented to be viewing public. This paint can be applied in a number of layers ranging from just two or three coats to sometimes up to 8 or 10 on show cars. Finally there are applied a number of protectant layer, the most common of which being a clear coat which can also take a number of layers. On top of that you will also often find a polish layer which is meant as a wet layer.

Paint types

When it comes to custom paint jobs there are literally endless possibilities for what you can do, and you can learn more about paint types on this website. Although most new cars come with a gloss paint job that is nice and shiny you can also opt for a matte job which will be for more subdued. One must also consider the impact of metallic flakes in the paint which will add shimmer and sparkle as light hits them. These flakes can be very small or very large to give different effects as the owner prefers. Then there are color changing paints that will actually vary their shade based on the viewing angle so it looks like the car is changing color as it drives by. Naturally there are a wide range of costs for custom paint work depending on all of these factors.

Paint care tips

It is always surprising to see how many car guys take meticulous care of their vehicle from a mechanical standpoint but do not do the same when it comes to your vehicle’s paint. It is not enough so just wash your car every now and then, because this alone will take away layers of polish and start eating into your clear coat if that polish is not rejuvenated. We recommend applying fresh coat of wax or sealant at least twice a year but more often if you live in a harsh climate or wash your car a lot. This will ensure that all of the care you put into your car is returned with a glossy, attention-grabbing paint job that will last the test of time.

5 questions for choosing car garages Brockley

Trust is one of the main issues with car garages Brockley. Everyone who owns a car goes to a garage for car service Brockley, but almost everyone is wary of these garages. This is largely because some of the garages across the country are known to rip their customers off wherever they can. While this is not true for all the garages in Brockley, one can never be entirely sure. However, when you research properly online and know where to go, this headache of choosing a professional garage is gone. You can leave your car at your chosen garage and forget about it till the time the servicing or repair is not done. Your car will come back in mint condition.

If you are the owner of a car manufactured by one of the top car companies, you will, in almost all cases, go to a company owned garage for servicing and repairing. This arrangement works wonderfully well till the time your car is covered under the service and repair scheme. However, the moment you need to pay from your pocket for servicing and repairing your car, these garages can seem to be prohibitively expensive. Moreover, you may not have a company owned garage near you and driving miles to reach one such garage may not be the proposition you would find attractive. These car manufacturers make life easier for you by tying up with local garages or nationwide garage chains, but the cost element of car service Brockley continues to bother you. What you can do is look at the other reliable car garages Brockley where you can take your car.

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When you are about to choose one of the car garages Brockley, there are some questions that you should ask yourself.

1.    Is the garage located close to you? This would ensure you don’t need to travel much for your car service Brockley.
2.    Does your car manufacturer warranty get impacted when you take your car to a local garage? This is an element you don’t want to take a chance with.
3.    Does your insurance company have any issues with the garage you chose for your car service Brockley? Your insurance company will pay for the repair (in certain cases) and you want to be in their good books.
4.    Are you looking at those car garages Brockley that also do MOT? If this is the case, you can be safe because a MOT recommended garage is usually a great garage.
5.    Does the garage you have chosen offer you additional benefits like replacement car and breakdown service? Both of these services are important for you.

Get the answers to these five questions and you can forget about any hassles related to your car service Brockley. There are plenty of car garages Brockley to choose from, both offline and online, and you shouldn’t hurry. It is best to choose your garage when there is nothing wrong with your car so that you don’t make a wrong decision in the event of an emergency.

Importance of Regular Car Servicing

We often believe that the grease and the change of oil is enough maintenance of your vehicle. However, this grease and oil is no longer enough for the new cars as they have more sophisticated systems employed that need regular checking.

If you go to a professional and experienced car servicing company like Penrith Car Service, the regular service can involve up to 50 or more system checks and adjustments. From checking of vital fluids to performance check of the engine, it is worth the time and money in the longer run. Full service includes checking of cooling system problems including any leaks in the radiator, cylinder head, gasket, water pump, or the cap. Battery condition, steering alignment and brake pads are also checked among several other parts of your vehicle.

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Following these extensive full services, a regularly maintained and properly serviced engine will have a longer and even a economical service life as it will consume less fuel. Not only it saves money but car servicing also helps the technician identify issues that can turn into major (and often times, dangerous) problems if not detected early.

Complete and regular car service helps you own a safe car with less risks associated at the road. In the meanwhile it also increases the value of your car as it will have a full service history when you sell it as a used vehicle.

If you are worried about the cost of a regular car service, choose a professional team of Mobile Mechanics in Penrith that gives you full service at affordable prices. Penrith Car Service has become the prefered choice for vehicle owners who want to invest in reliable, quality but affordable car services. We have become popular for using only the very best quality car parts and lubricants making sure that your car and its engine runs longer and more economically.

Following an extensive recruitment process, Penrith Car Service is proud of having a talented and extremely experienced team of technicians who have years of car servicing experience under their names. Why to risk something expensive and precious like a car with amateurs when you can have professionals take care of it at affordable price tags?

How to Deal with Windshield Chip or Crack

It’s one of those days when a stone hurtling out of nowhere goes straight onto your windshield and leaves a chip or a crack. Or, after you got back to your car parked under a tree, you find out that a branch has fallen and slightly damaged the windshield. Since you are very busy to take care of it today or in the next few days, you ask yourself, “Is it safe to dive around with a crack in your windshield, or should you immediately schedule an appointment with your local car repair to work on your windshield in Atascadero?”

The simple answer is YES, you need to schedule an appointment to your local repair shop as soon as possible. Whether it is a crack, chip or anything that obstructs the driver’s field of view, it is unsafe and may also put you in trouble with traffic enforcers. In almost every state in the country, a person caught driving with a windshield or window (with or without damage) that impairs one’s line of vision will be rendered a ticket and required to pay a fine.

Your windshield is a very essential part of the vehicle that protects you from several elements. In fact, it is one of the most important safety features in the list of many auto experts, including seatbelts and airbags. Therefore, you cannot afford to have its structural integrity compromised in any way. So, it is but your responsibility to have your windshield repaired whenever it acquires a damage, no matter how small it is.

You were able to schedule an appointment for a repair, but that would still be in a day or two, and you need the car to go to work. Or, you will have to drive the car to the local repair shop. What do you do about the damage for the meantime? Prevent it from getting worse!

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Here are some easy tips:

 

1. Do not Wash the Windshield – Or at least, not the affected area. Dirt can create a huge complication for an otherwise easy repair, but never attempt to wash the area. If water or any cleaning solution makes its way inside and into the inner safety layer of the glass, it gets stuck inside and prevents the resin from adhering properly, or it mixes with the resin and cause discoloration. Thus, your windshield might not pass for just a repair but a costlier replacement.

2. Protect the Damage – If you want to prevent dirt or water from entering into the crack or chip, then cover it with clear packing tape. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the same as scotch tape, painter’s tape, masking tape, duct tape or electrical tape which not only further obstructs your view but is also not capable of keeping dirt or moisture out.

3. Do Not Put Off the Repair – You may have protected the damage from dirt and moisture, but this is not a solution. As mentioned earlier, it is essential to have the damage repaired as soon as possible, so never put off the repair.

Windshield damages are every common, especially that it is simply “displayed” out there. It catches anything that would otherwise land straight at you. So, whenever you have a chip, crack or break on your windshield in Atascadero, have it repaired immediately to prevent the problem from becoming worse and requiring a complete replacement.

Why is my windshield important?

Many people believe when a crack or chip occurs it is not a big deal and is simply a cosmetic issue. The fact is, your windshield does much more than shield you and your passengers from the wind and flying debris. It protects you and serves important safety purposes. According to the North York auto glass industry, a well-maintained windshield prevents your roof from caving in during the common rollover accident. An intact windshield also keeps the passenger side airbag directed towards the passenger during a collision. A windshield that has been weakened by a crack can be blown out by the airbag, putting you and your passenger at risk. Bumps in the road and also extreme temperatures can cause small chips to turn into cracks, which will endanger both you and your passengers. The condition of your windshield is important. Cracks or scrapes can cause light to become distorted at night and the road can be hard to see all oncoming traffic.

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You can normally prevent most scratches on your windshield by ensuring you use wiper fluid each time you use your wipers. Using wipers on dry glass is very bad for the windshield. If you get a stone chip, you should take it to an auto glass shop for repair right away. Stone chips can easily spread into long cracks and will then be beyond repair. If you act fast you may be able to get your windshield repaired as opposed to having the whole thing replaced completely. If you allow a chip to spread into cracks it will become a focal point for you when you are driving. For the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other residents, your eyes should be on the road. Windshield cracks are distracting to the driver and can cause an accident simply because the driver’s full attention is not on the road. Windshield replacement can sometimes have adverse effects on the safety of your vehicle. It can compromise the factory seal that safeguards your car against leakage and climate. Without the factory seal you may experience things such as the airbags failing to deploy or poor roof structure that may not provide much protection during an accident. It is best to protect and take care of your windshield as it serves the important function of keeping the roof sturdy and helping the airbags to function properly. Repairs often only take about 20-30 minutes to complete and are much more affordable than a full windshield replacement. 90% of all crack chip damage is repairable as long as you seek repair assistance immediately. You should never delay when your safety is at risk. You are better off having to pay a bit of money to have a repair job done as opposed to waiting and resulting in the cause for further damage to the windshield, or even worse, cause an accident. Your windshield can also help to keep road noise to a minimum. Keeping it in a good state of repair will minimize the amount of noise that gets in. If you happen to get a chip or a crack and aren’t sure if it can be repaired, be sure to visit a local Auto Glass Changers for assistance. We will give you an estimate free of charge.

Dynamometer: How They Work

Every racer realises that, without horsepower, that kart goes nowhere. As dynamometers are the only tool precisely designed to measure engine horsepower, it is no wonder that top racers want their own. Let us examine the things to contemplate before selecting and using this costly tool.

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Like most test equipment, a dynamometer helps isolate and enumerate a specific parameter (in other words the engines maximum output) from overall vehicle performance. Why do you need to do that? Racers (that do not dyno) often vindicate “I only experiment on the track and that is where it counts”! They conclude that power output is good if lap times are low. But, that fails to segregate the influence of a sharp driver from a strong engine. Want to doctor that, instead of checking blood pressure with tools, the doctor determines that patients are ok if they survive amid visits? This obviously makes no sense as such the comparison with vehicles and lap times.

Many performance boosting alterations only help at high rpm, truly plummeting power down low. Even with days of track testing you might condemn some new high rpm pipe lest you test a gang of sprocket variations too. What if you need to match the fuel mixture too? Add up those exponentially cumulative combinations, and thoroughly testing track stretches to years. Dynamometer owners get pointed in the right way with just a few 20-second pulls.

Using a dynamometer also helps you evade disregarding minor 1% increases from modifications. Just because you cannot feel a single 1% power increase does not mean you want to sacrifice ten such tricks. Merging small improvements is how pros win cups.

I will adopt that you are a serious engine builder and want to start in-house dynamometer testing? What do you require? First, to measure engine torque, your dynamometer system must deliver a load. Automotive engineers refer to this loading device as an absorber or a brake (since early dynamometer absorbers used a drum and band brake to load the engine). Absorbers do not really absorb the power. They somewhat, they alter it to another form of energy, similar to heating water or air.

If you are interested in adopting in Dynamometer testing then please do visit C&J Earthmoving Repairs, for nothing less than the best quality in testing and results that will leave you utterly satisfied. C&J Earthmoving Repairs has an experienced team of engineers that will ensure you are satisfied with their work before leaving.

Finding the company that offers quality hubcentric wheel spacers

There are various things that are needed to make the car look beautiful one such are the wheel spacers and there at the same time number of these available in the market. The best part of owning these wheel spacers are that you can create a considerable space between the wheel and the axle making the car comfortable enough. Now, it is essential on the part of the individual to get hold of the company that provides the best when comes to the wheel spacers for the car that are hubcentric.

Finding the best company:

There are several companies that offer such hubcentric wheel spacers for the customers. Now, if you have least idea about the hubcentric wheel spacers is important that you get in touch with a company that functions in the internet and offers the same to the customers. To make sure that you find the company that offers quality wheel spacers of hubcentric one needs to consider some important points.

The first thing that you need to do is get hold of the need of your car. You need to decide whether you want to go for the company that car is or want to choose from the other varieties that are available. If you are sure about the brand or company then only settle down on choosing the company. After you have down the choice now comes the main part of deciding on which company to go with. There are hundreds of company in the internet and deciding on which company to go with can be daunting task. So, it is best on the part of the individual to first make sure that the companies that they are going with in the internet have a reputation to maintain. The company that has a reputation makes sure that whatever they offer especially the wheel spacers that are hubcentric are of the best quality.

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The next stage of deciding on the company comes down to the reviews that are left by the previous customers about the company. Such reviews you will get in the website of the company. Go through the website that the company has put forward as that contains the testimonial section. This is one such section that will help in understanding whether this is the right company or not.

The comparison that you do before deciding on the company has helped various customers before and can come to a large help for you also. So, it is essential that you do such comparative analysis when it comes deciding on the company. Your car needs the best look and maintenance and everything depends on you after you buy it. So, if for long you have been thinking of getting wheel spacers that are hubcentric then the above consideration will come to a great help so that you find the right company that are available in the internet and the quality product that all such companies offer.

Tata Zica summary: a report by Autoportal.com

1Entry-level hatchbacks, small cars costing below 7 lakhs, are very popular in India, and the demand for such hatchbacks is increasing. The first hatchback to be introduced in India, three decades ago was the phased-out Maruti 800. Many manufacturers have brought in hatchbacks and the latest hatchback to join the list is the Zica, from Tata motors, which will be launched in February 2016.

Price

As is expected from Tata, the cost of the Zica is a very reasonable, 4-6 lakhs, which means that Zica would be a serious competitor to the Figo, Grand i10, Swift, Celerio and Beat.

Also check about Mahindra KUV100 Price in India, Specification, Features, Reviews, Photos, Mileage.

 

Engine, transmission, mileage

Zica is expected to be launched in both diesel and petrol variants, with the diesel trims housing 1.05 liter, three-cylinder Revotorq motor, producing power and torque of 64 bhp and 140 Nm, respectively. The mileage from the diesel variants is expected to be an excellent 25 km/l. Beneath the bonnet of the petrol variant, is expected, the 1.2 liter, Revotron petrol engine, delivering power of 80-85 bhp and torque of   110-120 Nm. The mileage of the petrol variants is thought to be between 16-18 km/l. Both the diesel and petrol variants, at the time of launch will be attached to 5-speed manual transmission, though the Zica is expected to be brought out with AMT, a little later.

Interiors

The cabin of the Zica bears a strong resemblance to the Zest and Bolt, though a new aspect of the cabin is the black-grey color theme, for the upholstery and dashboard, showing that Tata have ditched, for good, the black-beige color theme of its earlier cars. The seats look very comfortable, with adequate shoulder room and more than enough leg space. The dashboard is made of the highest quality plastic and the piano-black, surrounding the center console, looks enigmatic. The hexagonal theme of the exterior is used in the cabin, with the center console, housing the AC vents and music system, also being hexagonal. Storage space, in the form of cubby holes is given a lot of importance and it is evident from all sorts of pockets seen throughout the cabin, near gear stick and on all four doors. There also is seen a small hook, for hanging bags, just below the dashboard.

Exteriors

The car looks classy, with its hexagonal grille, on the body colored bumper, in the front. It is built on the same XO platform, like the Indica and the wheelbase also is the same. HORIZONEXT design language is used for the styling of Zica. Tail-lamp cluster is re-designed and the signature ‘Humanity Line’ of Tata, is seen between the powerful, swept-back, smoked headlights in the front. The 14-inch wheels have been fitted snugly into the wheel arches.

Also check about Mahindra Gusto and Hyundai Elite i20

Get the best wheel spacers at attractive prices!

Presently, there are several online companies who offer different types of car wheel spacers to their customers.  If you have a car and you are facing different types of car problem, then it’s forever better to buy certain significant wheel spacers for your car. Currently, there are numerous online industries, who designed their professional web portal in a way, so that every car owner receives all the car parts they need from their cars. They have a wide range of car wheel spacers and you can select a product after deep research through the online. It’s a simple and easy technique through which you receive your desired product.

Benefits of wheel spacers

If you want wheel spacers for trucks, then you have to search the internet appropriately. Basically spacers are round shape or circle types and it will fit between a track’s hub and car. Car Spacers place the wheel extra away from the car body and are operated for a variety of reasons including fitment, performance, and appearance. Presently, if you search the market, you can get two types of wheel spacers. First one is bolt-on-kind, which attached bolt on the cars center point and another is easy design that slides over the accessible lug bolts and studs bolts.

Car wheel spacers are most typically used to assure that an exact agreement of wheels will fit legally on a car if the wheels have the imprecise counterbalance. So, if you are a truck owner and want to avoid truck wheel related problem, then you should buy wheel spacers for trucks.  It’s a best and easy way to protect the car wheel properly.  There are several online companies who offer different types of car wheel spacers at reasonable rate. Due to the tough competition in the market, each and every company offer some extra discounts on different car wheel spacers. But choose a product as per your requirement. Each and every car brands need different kinds of dimension for car spacers. So, you have to choose a car adapter or spacer as per your car wheel dimension.

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First, search the internet properly to get the best company. Then visit the website and their customer review section properly. Customer review section is a place through which you can aware about the company’s service or product related genuine comments. And through those comments you can aware about the company and their services. Now, after choosing company, call their customer care and verify about the product quality. A reputed company always delivers strong customer care service. So, their expert employees will solve your all the queries easily.

Always ensure about the product quality, price details, delivery schedule and packaging details etc.

Another reason for using wheel spacers is to develop the preserving of your car. Wheel spacers are fixed between the hub and the wheel and push the wheel extra away from the structure widening the track. So, if you are a truck owner, then invest some money for wheel spacers and secure your truck’s future.

All You Need To Know About Reconditioned Audi Engines

It goes without saying that owning an Audi car is a matter of great pride. Thus, we can understand you how much you love our car. You must be taking utmost care of your car in order to avoid any kind glitches. God forbid, if a major engine-related issue befalls your car, you would have to look for the best solution. In this case, you should consider buying a reconditioned Audi engine.

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If you have mouthed “What on earth the term a reconditioned engine is”, you are reading an apt article. This write-up is written to make you understand what a reconditioned engine all about is and why you should select one.

Lets start with the definition.

As the name suggests, reconditioned Audi engines are engines that have been serviced or repaired. These are primarily used to transform your car’s overall performance. The reconditioned engines are generally installed in older cars or second-hand that require some fine-tuning.

As far as process is concerned, the engine undergoes a full-fledged reconditioning process. During the process, the engine is stripped down to its last component to be built again. Here is the step-by-step process:

  • Cleaning through latest technologies such as dry ice, lasers and enzymes
  • Disassembling of engine parts
  • Inspection of all parts to know their working capability
  • Measuring applicable components
  • Replacing worn out with for new ones
  • Restoration of worn out parts using restored using thermal spray and laser deposition.
  • Reassembling engine parts to make a whole unit

Here, what you need to consider is despite the fact that the engine is repaired or serviced; it has all new internal components that are certified by the manufacturer.

Although, a reconditioned offers performance as good as new one, you have to little careful while choosing such engines. While selecting, you have to check out a few general factors including the engine’s make, its mileage and its condition. You ask your dealer to provide information about it.

Here are the benefits of reconditioned Audi engines:

Affordability: A reconditioned Audi engine would not let you spend a small fortune. Simply put it is less expensive than new one.

Performance: A faulty engine is precisely serviced in order to restore its performance. You do not have to compromise on the performance aspect if you choose a reconditioned engine.

You can approach a reputed automotive shop to get more information about reconditioned Audi engines and to buy a ready-to-install engine.

Electrical Repairs Can Be Offered Everywhere

Electrical problem in a vehicle can sometime be very dangerous and may lead you to a repair shop to recover from the problem. The problem sometime can be very severe if not diagnosed during the initial stage. Hence if you encounter any problem in terms of turbo chargers or electric repair then visit the nearest shop to get your work done easily at affordable price.

Internet can help you to search the shop easily

Yes with the outreach of internet, you can easily get the best shop which can undertake repair and maintenance for you. You can just get into the search engine and type the key word as Automotive Electrical Repairs Auckland and you can get a list of shops with address and reviews on their services.

Dealers and agents can guide you

The problems with respect to electrical and diesel engines can be easily guided by the local dealers in the market place. In the case of vehicle you can just peep into the dealer from whom you have purchased the car and they can help you out in finding the best people. But some time the dealers itself might have a mechanic setup with which they can solve any electrical or mechanic problem in your vehicle. Basically these car dealers can offer you best services at affordable price.

Specialist can always serve you better

Automotive Electrical Repairs Auckland vendors are specialized in the area of automotive services catering to the vast need of customer requirements. The engineers are well trained with subject matter knowledge covering a vast area of subjects such as magnetism, ohms law, and circuit, automotive electrical and other subjects. The experts involved in repair and maintenance are skilled with latest technologies that can use computerized tools, machine, and equipment’s in solving a problem. The Automotive Electrical Repairs Auckland technicians comprehend the complex working parts of any electrical system, counting the ignition, engine, chassis and other accessories covering various sectors of industry.

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The services provided by the Automotive Electrical Repairs vendors are as follows:

•    Trouble shooting methods and knowledge of equipment maintenance and repair
•    Problem solving and expert advice on diagnostic
•    Ability to work in onsite and offsite locations irrespective of space
•    Customer service skills with feedback and timely update

Turbochargers New Zealand

Besides automotive electrical services there are also specialized repair and maintenance services for turbocharges. Turbochargers New Zealand offers vendors who can provide the following services.

•    Repair and sales of turbo charges for marine, agriculture, car and construction
•    Turbochargers and associated spare components.
•    Services with respect to Common Rail Diesel fuel filtration and so on
•    Servicing for all models of turbocharger with parts

If you have any more questions or doubts with respect to Automotive Electrical Repairs, please contact the nearby Auckland vendor and get your doubt clarified instantly. Most of the companies offer services by experts who are well trained with certifications from recognized body in automotive repair services and hence, have the ability deal with even the most complex problems with utmost ease.

7 Tips for Buying Auto Insurance

 

1. Raise your deductibles

The easiest way to save is by increasing both the collision and comprehensive (damage due to vandalism, fire, flood) deductibles for damage to your auto. As a practical matter, if you have a $500 deductible and $700 of damage to your car, would you even put in a claim? Many folks wouldn’t for fear it would raise their rates. That’s one reason it makes more sense to have a $1,000 deductible, says Mark McConnell, a claims officer in Roanoke, Va. with ACE Private Risk Services. Consider “full glass” coverage if you’re worried about a ding to your windshield; it’s cheaper than a lower comprehensive deductible.

2. Get uninsured motorist coverage

This protects you and family members living with you should you be hit by a negligent driver who is uninsured or “underinsured,” even if you’re walking, bicycling or skateboarding at the time. According to the Insurance Research Council, at least 16% of drivers, and about a quarter of those in New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Florida, are uninsured. Underinsured? In California an “insured” motorist in the assigned risk pool can carry as little as $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $30,000 per accident.

In many states uninsured motorist protection isn’t mandatory coverage, warns Diane Giles, a vice president at Marsh, a broker representing several high-end insurance carriers. That means you could have a policy without it, particularly if you shopped on price. The amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage you carry should match your auto policy’s primary liability limits–meaning the maximum amount your insurer will pay the other guy if you cause an accident. Typically, that amount is $100,000 per individual and $300,000 per accident on a primary auto policy. That limit, in turn, should be where your umbrella kicks in. (Some umbrellas require your auto policy to cover as much as $500,000 per accident. Make sure there’s no gap in coverage between the two policies.)

3. Carry a big umbrella

An umbrella, or “excess,” policy kicks in where your liability coverage for your auto and home ends and is a necessity if you have any assets to protect. A $1 million umbrella is common, but $2 million is more realistic these days. “The more assets a person has, the bigger target they are” for lawsuits, says ACE’s McConnell. Recent jury verdict data show that 14% of personal injury liability cases result in awards in excess of $1 million, he notes. If you have teenagers driving, consider increasing your umbrella. The second million is cheaper than the first.

Warning: Although uninsured motorist coverage was included in the Dreyers’ old umbrella policy, many insurers now either don’t offer it or charge extra for it. Expect to pay $125 to $250 a year extra for $1 million of such coverage. “You need it,” insists Kornblum, who personally carries a $10 million Chubb umbrella with $5 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

You can often save on an umbrella by buying it through the same insurer you get your auto policy from; go to an independent agent and ask for combined quotes from several carriers. Be sure to compare what each umbrella covers.

4. Hunt out obscure discounts

Certain discounts–say, for a good driving record–are usually applied automatically. But other credits require action on your part. For example, as you age, taking a defensive driving course (even one online) could earn you a credit. If you start telecommuting two days a week, call your insurer and ask for a discount. You may also be able to save by buying through a workplace discount program. If you have a teen driver, ask for the good student discount. (If the kid’s grades aren’t high enough, make him take the bus.)

5. Don’t buy a teen his own car

It’s usually cheaper not to add a third car when you’re adding a teen driver to a two-parent, two-car family, because insurers rightly assume the kid will drive less without his own car. (Even without a third car the average annual premium goes up 58% with a teen added, according to a recent Insurance.com study.)

The exception: If you and your spouse both drive new luxury cars with collision coverage, then you might reduce both premiums and family conflict by getting your kid a clunker without collision insurance. Warning: Some insurers charge as if the kid is driving the fanciest car in the garage, even if you swear he won’t. So you may have to sell your midlife-crisis Corvette or get a different insurer.

6. Avoid limited tort insurance

In some states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you can buy “limited tort” coverage at a discount, but be wary of what you’re giving up. Limited tort means that, even if the other guy is at fault, you generally cannot collect payment for your “pain and suffering”–extra money that may be needed, say to get help around the house if you’re laid up. “We recommend clients select full tort,” says Giles.

7. Insure for a total wreck

If you’ve got a paid-up car older than five years or so (depending on the model) it may make sense to drop collision and comprehensive. That’s because if you wreck your car or it’s stolen, most insurers will pay out the depreciated value, which could be less than it takes to replace your older car. That’s also true if it would cost more to repair your car than it’s worth.

On the other hand, if you have a car loan outstanding or are leasing a car, consider topping up your coverage. MetLife Auto & Home, for example, offers “gap” insurance, which pays the difference between the depreciated value and the amount needed to pay off the loan or lease, and raises comprehensive/collision costs an average of 7%.

High-end carriers like Chubb and ACE offer the option of setting an “agreed value” at the start of each premium year for the amount you’ll receive if your car is totaled. It paid off for one of Giles’ adult daughters, whose VW Jetta was destroyed in a flood. The payout covered the remaining lease and left her with $4,000 for a deposit on a new lease.

7 Car Maintance Myths

Here are seven widespread myths on auto upkeep you shouldn’t blindly follow:

Myth: Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. Wrong. Follow the advice in the owner’s manual and ignore the self-serving pleas from oil companies and quick-lube shops. Under normal driving conditions, most vehicles can travel 7,500 miles or more between oil changes. Changing oil more often certainly won’t harm an engine, just waste money. But if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving, trailer-towing, or traveling through mountainous or dusty areas, 3,000 miles between oil changes is a good idea.

Myth: Flush the coolant with every oil change. Most owner manuals recommend changing the coolant every five years or 60,000 miles. But check for a leak if the coolant reservoir is low despite repeatedly topping it off.

Myth: Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tire’s sidewall. The psi figure on the side of the tire is the maximum pressure the tire will hold safely. If you’re looking for the automaker’s recommended pressure that balances braking, handling, gas mileage, and ride comfort, it’s usually on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb, in the glove box, or on the fuel-filler door.

Myth: If regular-grade fuel is good, premium must be better. Another expensive mistake. Most vehicles run fine on regular-grade fuel (87 octane). Filling these cars with premium won’t cause damage, but it won’t improve performance, either. Higher-octane fuels are less likely to create pre-ignition problems, so they’re usually used in hotter-running, high-compression engines.

Myth: Warm up your car for several minutes before driving. Outdated advice. Driving the car is the fastest way to warm up a modern engine, and the sooner it warms up, the sooner it delivers the best mileage and performance. And don’t rev the engine during the first few miles.

Myth: Wash your car with dishwashing or laundry detergent. No, not really. Detergents strip off a car’s wax finish. Pay a little extra and stick with the car-wash liquid, which cleans without removing wax.

Myth: A battery will recharge after a jump start in only a few minutes of driving. Not even close. It can take hours of driving to give the battery a full charge, especially in the winter. Heated seats, music systems, and other accessories draw so much power that the alternator has little left to recharge the battery. You can check to see if the battery will still hold a charge by having a load test at a gas station. If it can, several hours may be needed on a battery charger to give the battery a full charge.

Spray painting from a rattle can.

  1.   Read the information and instructions on the can first.
  2.   Shake the can for at least two minutes.
  3.   Ensure the body, or other parts, you want to paint are securely attached to the handle.
  4.   Ensure your spraying area is well ventilated and you will not breath in paint spray, were a protective mask.
  5.   Hold the can, approx 12inches from the model and sweep the spray across.
  6. Sweep back and forth, up and down, while turning the body to build up an equal coating.
  7. Build up a series of thin coats inspecting the finish between coats and sanding and attending to faults as they might occur.

Be careful not to sand through the paint on raised edges.

  1.  Give the model around two weeks for the paint to fully harden, use this time to work on the other areas of the model.
  2.  Lightly sand and then ‘T’ cut the paint to a smooth finish if your using automotive paints. Use a polishing kit and model wax if

your using model or other paints.

  1. Apply decals and use a good quality clear coat to seal the decals. Repeat step 9 as appropriate.

To elaborate a little on the subject. Knowing all the information and instructions for a spray can will give you more confidence to use it. Remember to invert a can and clear the feed tube and nozzle after use or they will block and you won’t be able to use the rest of the paint.

Some people suggest warming the can in warm water before spraying, the idea is that the paint will flow more easily as the internal pressure is raised. Any spray paint can is a pressurised container and raising that pressure in an uncontrolled way is dangerous. Should you choose to do this you must take responsibility for the consequences.

The distance between the spray can and object being painted is a matter of feel and adjusting for circumstances. If you are too close the paint pools and runs, Halfords paint does contract as it dries but this doesn’t get rid of runs. If you are too far away the paint starts drying before it gets to the subject and you end up with the “orange peel” effect, thus if it’s a hot day you may need to be a little closer to the subject than on a cold day.

When you are building up coats start with several thin “mist” coats. You need to achieve equal coverage all over, not to fill in recessed panel lines or swamp raised details. Once you have a good base level coat then you can start to use “wet” coats. A wet coat is a heavier coat where you can see the “wet look” of the paint. Do not over do these coats, and do not be tempted to take short cuts and go straight to the wet coats.

Please do let the body paint harden off. If you try to handle it too soon you run the risk of pressing fingerprints into the paintwork. I don’t mean just greasy marks but literally fingerprints indented into the paint. These are very hard to get rid of.

Depending on the quality of your paint finish you may be able to go straight to the cutting and polishing of the paint. If you do need to lightly sand the finish before “T” cutting use worn fine grade wet and dry abrasive paper, or a polishing kit, and avoid sanding through any raised areas. If you are going to apply decals do not use any polish on top of the “T” cut. These will repulse the water activated adhesive and stop the decal settling down properly. Polish comes after the decals, but be careful that the polish doesn’t attack the decals.

If you are going to overcoat the decals with any clear coating be sure to test this on some spare decal. Sometimes decals do not take well to clear coats. We have used Halfords Acrylic clear over many decals now, applied in very thin mist coats and this technique of gently coating decals will work for most clear varnish mediums. There are several advantages to covering the decals with clear. Decals often dry out and lift over time, cracking and flaking off. Sealing them down prevents this and helps slow down any discolouration. It also helps hide the carrier film so the decals look more like they are painted on.

Most clear acrylic paints can be treated the same way as pigmented paint and carefully treated with a polishing kit to bring up a high quality shine.

Where we have mentioned “T” cut we should say cutting compound. There are many colour restorers for automotive paints, they all have similar effects though some are stronger than others. They cannot be used with all modelling paints so if you’re not using automotive paint don’t used automotive colour restorers. you’l need a model polishing kit instead.

It is much easier to spray dark colours over light colours than the other way around. You can see on the Matra above that the primer was white followed by coats of gloss appliance white, then the main blue body colour then the darkest colour, the green. This means you have to mask the colour areas you want to protect.

For those of you wondering about airbrushes and acrylic modelling paints please don’t think we are in anyway inferring these are inferior. They are not. At this point we are simply suggesting that the easiest way for a new modeller to achieve a good standard without excessive initial expenditure is by using automotive products.

Model Car Painting

Here we continue the build process, focusing on painting and highlighting the details that bring a model to life. You can find examples of the processes described in our articles. 

The way you paint your car is as individual as you are, it becomes a style other modellers can recognise. To start with we will give you the benefit of our experience but you will soon find the methods you feel confident with and that provide the results that please you.

Beauty being in the eye of the beholder means we all like slightly different effects on our models. Some car modellers like block painted pristinely clean models, some like to add light and shade (which is common in military modelling) and others want the full on weathered and worn look. To a certain degree this will depend on the area of car modelling that interests you the most. For instance rally cars seem to be habitually dirty while F1 machinery is usually sparklingly! Historic cars are not as highly polished as modern cars but often have more metal parts. What ever your main interest we all have to start some where and more or less follow the same processes to achieve the paint job we want.

We have mentioned on the preceding pages the initial washing of model parts, and washing sub-assemblies prior to painting. It is recommended but often omitted by modellers. I suppose it will depend on your available time and patience.

The seats and cabin of the car above are neatly painted in one colour. This is what we call block painted. i.e. One block of colour.

The seats and interior of the car below were block painted then washed and dry-brushed to give a more realistic, worn effect.

This is all a matter of individual taste.This car is block painted, although it is nicely done it doesn’t show off the detail.

In contrast the Bugatti below has been washed with dark and earthy inks which help pick out the details.

Painting the body

The first step in the painting process is too give the body a gentle, very fine sanding (note the word fine, and use the finest grade you have, you don’t want to create new scratch marks and make more work for yourself).

The reason for this light sanding is to help highlight any dips or sink marks as well as helping the primer to take to the plastic. If there are any defects you will need to deal with them now, then re-sand the area to blend it in.

This is then followed by priming. The point of priming is to provide a good surface for the paint to adhere to so it doesn’t flake or rub of. It also helps show up any defects that were missed before, or were not visible, but still need attending to. Once again attend to any defects straight away and sand down and prime again.

This process may have several repeats as you deal with all the defects. The aim is to get a smooth paint job where all the body is evenly coated with primer and all the unwanted join lines are gone. As we have mentioned several times the end result is directly linked to the quality of the preparation.

The picture above show the priming and painting stage. The Jaguar body is in the middle of repeated sanding and re-spraying to achieve the required finish. Patience and preparation do pay off. See our article on the restoration of this car.

Also on show below are methods of supporting a model for spraying. This can require some lateral thinking to find a way to get full paint coverage and no contact patches that could spoil the finish.

The interior shot of the Matra shows that the wire frame had been taped to the body to hold it in the frame, and the white primer coat which was under the final blue body colour. Later it was mounted on a spray can cap, using double sided tape, to aid handling without touching the finish.

We use Halfords plastic primer which is very smooth compared to metal primer and thus reduces your sanding and preparation time. It is also hard wearing, easy to use and as an acrylic based paint won’t attack the plastic, or resin. You can apply any kind of paint over the acrylic primer. Similar products are available from Games workshop in their Citadel paints range and other automotive and model manufacturers. Take time to read the instructions with any paint products you use and follow the safety advice.

Note that some colours have a recommended primer colour, usually white, red or grey. If you use a colour like red over grey primer it will appear a little darker than over red primer. Likewise if you spray it over white primer it will appear a little lighter. This can be useful at times when you want to vary shades on cars represent ageing or differences between years of production.

Coolest Police Cars

Ever wonder about cop cars in faraway lands? Ever think about the police cars flashing lights and sirens on international streets? This list of police cars from all over the globe is for you, then. Take a global tour of the vehicles used by police forces here and abroad, each one matched to the country where it patrols the roads. Then vote up the coolest ones so we can settle once and for all just which countries have the slickest cop cars.

5. Russia: Ford Focus

  • Because who won the Cold War again? Oh, that’s right. If Russian cops driving Fords doesn’t fill you with a bit of patriotic pride, then we don’t know what will.

    4. Austria: Smart ForTwo

  • Fun Fact: Also from Austria… Adolph Hitler. In terms of popularity, this Smart ForTwo might is an improvement. As a police car, it lacks that crucial intimidation factor, though.

    3. Argentina: Police Street Chaser

  • Laugh if you want, but these glorified electric golf carts are pretty much perfect for the tight, twisty, crowded streets of Buenos Aires.

    2. Spain: Citroen Hatch

  1. Beautiful beaches, beautiful weather, beautiful architecture, and beautiful women – can you imagine Spain’s police driving anything but a slick French hatchback?

    1.Vietnam: Nissan Maxima

Now protecting the former “Hanoi Hilton” area.

The Best Road Trip Cars

Where did the tradition of the “road trip” come from? Back in the 1600s, it was common in Europe for young men and women of means to travel the continent, learning what there was to learn and experiencing everything they could before settling down later. The “Grand Tour” was an important rite of passage back then – and it still is today.

  1. Tesla Model S

Possibly one of the greatest cars ever built, the Tesla Model S adds to its cred by being an almost ideal road tripper. It’s big, somewhat heavy and has a long wheelbase. That makes for a smooth ride and high-speed cruising. It’s got up to 650 horsepower, 80 miles to the gallon fuel efficiency, all-wheel drive, massive storage space, and easy seating for five. Of course, it’s electric, so you’ll have to stop and recharge – but Tesla’s Supercharger stations are everywhere now, so range almost isn’t a factor.

2. BMW 5-Series Sportwagon

  • Bavaria’s take on the station wagon is practically a Lear Jet on wheels. It’s engineered to cover vast stretches of Europe at triple-digit speeds, so interstate capability is a given. It’s a 5-Series, so of course it’s got every luxury amenity available that you’ve ever heard of. The diesel version even gets upward of 40 mpg, so the 5-Series is pretty frugal in terms of fuel economy. Granted, that’s the only frugal thing about it, since you can easily option one into the six figures. Still, if you’ve got the money, there are few better choices out there.

    3. Audi A8

  • Audis are to long-distance road trips what a good suit is to male fashion: timeless, versatile, and perfect for every occasion. Granted, Audis might be a little understated for some, but that’s exactly the point. The last thing you want to do while hammering along at Autobahn speeds is to attract attention from the local PD. And even if you do, they’ll probably leave you alone because you’ll seems like either a diplomat or an international crime lord. They come with everything from a fuel-sipping diesel to a 512-horsepower W12 engine.

    4. Dodge Charger

  • It’s the fastest sedan in the world – did you really think Dodge’s Charger wouldn’t be on the list? Granted, you might not opt for the 207-mph Hellcat version, nor go cruising around at those velocities. But the fact that the Charger chassis can safely run that fast at all says loads about its high-speed stability and cruising manners. True, the “Vanishing Point” Challenger might be the more legendary road tripper, but Chargers have four doors, a decent back seat, plenty of storage space, and are rated at 31 mpg on the highway in base form. Kowalski you might not be happy, but you will be.

    5. Dodge Magnum SRT-8

Of all the modern American station wagons that ever came close to being cool, Dodge’s now-extinct Magnum sits at the top of the list. All right, it’s also the only car on that list. But it’s still at the top. It’s essentially a wagon version of a Chrysler 300C, and the SRT-8 is reasonably comfortable. With 425 horsepower worth of Hemi, don’t expect better than 20 miles to the gallon. But otherwise, this Mopar seems almost custom-built for cross-country, high-speed cruises. 

The Ultimate Dream Cars

Everyone has dream cars, whether they’re wildly impractical souped-up supercars or classic testaments to automotive engineering. Imagine you wake up in the morning with a new car in your driveway. What would it be? Don’t worry about gas, insurance, practicality, even availability. The Car Fairy will take care of every bit of it. What do you want more than anything else?
  1. McLaren P1

The McLaren P1 is often credited as being the car that incited today’s hybrid hypercar boom. Technically, it started production the same year as Porsche 918, but McLaren beat Porsche to market and around the race track. With 903 horses, the McLAren hits 60 mph in 2.9 seconds on the way to a 233 mph top speed.

2. Aston Martin One-77

  • Probably the worst name of any Aston Martin ever, but maybe that’s what you get for letting your engineers go no-holds-barred designing the fastest, most expensive Aston Martin in history. The name is a reference to it’s one-to-one (kg to horsepower) power-to-weight ratio and the 77 units produced. The One-77 would run right with a Carrera GT, McLaren SLR, or Reventon in any acceleration contest.

    3. Lamborghini Reventon

  • Only 20 cars were produced during the Reventon’s production run in 2008, making this one of the rarest dream cars out there. At $1.3 million, it was the most expensive Lamborghini ever produced when it was new, a title it held until the all-carbon Sesto Elemento came along three years later.

    4. Ferrari LaFerrari

  • The top offering in Ferrari’s stable right now. The LaFerrari’s hybrid drivetrain puts out 949 horsepower, and will slingshot the car to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. It’ll probably hit 100 mph in less time than it takes you to read this sentence. If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it – assuming Ferrari will even sell you one.

    5. Koenigsegg Regera

With a unique 1,500-horsepower hybrid drivetrain, the Regera is currently the world’s most powerful production car, by far its most powerful hybrid, probably the hardest accelerating vehicle of all time from 60 to 200 mph, and should actually get better gas mileage than your average family car. It’s going to take a lot of savings on gas to offset the Koni’s $1.8 million price tag, but nobody said hypercars had to make sense.

Best Off-Road Trucks on Four Wheels

  1. Land Rover Discovery
  • If the Defender is Britain’s Jeep YJ, then the Discovery is its Cherokee. True, the Disco catches a lot of flak in America for being an expensive luxo-cruiser with chrome dubs, but the Discovery is no Escalade. It’s got a two-speed transfer case, locking differentials, cross-linked air suspension, and sophisticated electronic controls that make the Disco a legitimate rock crawler… even with those stupid-big, city boy rims.

    2. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

  • This might be Jeep’s hardest-core off-roader to date, including the old CJ. In an odd departure from the “bigger is better” evolution of most models, the current JK is actually 2.5 inches shorter in overall length than the TJ it replaced. Much as it might pain some to admit, the JK is everything the CJ was, plus 40 years of development, electronic controls, and a lot more power. About the only bad thing you can say about the JK is that it’s much more complicated than the CJ, and electronic-everything isn’t exactly ideal off road. But, that’s just how it is these days. If you can deal with that, the JK is no joke at all.

    3. Ford SVT Raptor

  • Forty years from now, when Ranker publishes a list of the best classic off-road trucks, Ford’s Raptor may well end up at the top. True, some might bemoan the loss of the last generation’s 411-horse 6.2-liter V-8, and it’s crazy awesome exhaust note — but the 2017 model’s EcoBoost V-6 isn’t likely to disappoint in the power department. Keep an eye out for the inevitable 1,000-horsepower VelociRaptor from Hennessey.

    4. Mercedes-Benz G-Class

  • Imagine a German-engineered Jeep YJ with four doors, a luxury interior, and enough cachet to stay cool on Hollywood Boulevard. That’s the G-Class. And if none of that is quite enough to sway you, there’s always a 500-horsepower mill courtesy of AMG. Torpedoes not included.

5. Chevrolet Silverado Z71

To be completely honest, I haven’t really liked any GM truck since the C/K badge died out in 1998. And “Silverado” was the name that killed it. To fans of older trucks, these newfangled Silverados are too complicated, too heavy, too civilized, and just too damned pretty to be called “real” trucks. That said, it would be an absolute lie not to say that the GMT900 chassis is objectively in a different league than anything the C/K sat on. So are the drivetrains and suspension systems on offer now. Like it or not, if you’re going to call any GM truck (that isn’t a Hummer) a good off-roader, you can’t not mention later model Z71s.

5 Great Cars You Can Still Buy with a Manual Transmission

  1. Dodge Challenger
    Is it even possible to build a retro pony car without a manual transmission? Dodge offers a stick shift on all trim levels of the Challenger, including the awesome 707-horsepower Hellcat. In fact, six-speed manual tranny Hellcats are handily outselling automatic versions – there aren’t many other cars on Earth that can claim that stat.

2.Chevrolet Corvette

Gone is the old Tremec 6060 for Corvette’s C7 iteration. Here to stay is the bespoke TR-6070. It’s just like the old transmission, but with a new and improved number. That’s not all that’s new and improved, either. While the last generation was panned by some Eurotrash types as being cheap, flimsy, and untamable, the (far better looking) C7 has proven well on par with many Italians that cost two to three times as much.

  • 3.Lamborghini Reventon

    Yes, Lamborghini still offers a real DIY box. I know. Weird, right? It’s almost like Lamborghini still cares more about driver enjoyment and involvement than setting lap times on the Nurburgring. Pssht. Losers.

    4.Ford Mustang It’s a Mustang. That should pretty much sum it up. At no point in the car’s history has it not come with a manual, and that certainly isn’t changing now. Especially since the Mustang’s latest generation leans so heavily on Ford’s huge base of younger 5.0 fanboys. Six-speeds are on offer for all trim levels; V-6 engines get the Tremec 3160, while 5.0- and 5.2-liters get a Getrag Ford MT82.

    5. Porsche

 

Count on it, bet on it, put your soul on the line, take it to the bank, take it to heart, and take it to the house: it’ll be a cold day in hell before Porsche stops offering manual transmissions. Porsche is the only non-Korean manufacturer on Earth to offer a manual transmission in every single vehicle in its line-up.

The Best Cars for the Wasteland

Have you ever wondered about the best cars to drive in a post-apocalyptic situation? Then this list is exactly what you need. Just imagine: Northwest of Las Vegas, a right-wing Nazi “patriot” group claims a big chunk of the Nevada as their own – a Holy Fourth Reich. The public demands action, but federal forces fear endangering civilian hostages caught in the Reichland’s borders. Targeted drone strikes send the Nazis to take shelter in the overrun Yucca Mountain Nuclear Storage facility. Realizing they’re doomed, they decide they aren’t going to be taken by the socialist Illuminati lizard men alive.

  • If you had to sit through the last Transformers movie, you’re probably thinking the world was about due for destruction anyway. Especially after watching a car literally punch a guy in the head. But you might have appreciated the rest of that scene, featuring as it did these beasts from Los Angeles-based Local Motors.

    The fact that it looks like it just pulled in from the harshest stretch of Fury Road is almost good enough in itself, but this LS7-powered monster is no silver screen poser. It is absolutely as bad as it looks, thanks in no small part to a mid-mounted 6.2-liter GM E-ROD engine. It’s an LS-series V-8, so spare parts shouldn’t be too hard to come by if you ditch it while hammering through the badlands. Not that that will matter, since the Rally Fighter is so tough, it would probably survive another nuclear holocaust.

    2.

 

  • Now that every podunk police force in the country has decided it needs a military surplus armored personnel carrier, you should be able to find these things parked anywhere there are two squad cars and a speed trap. Built to resist RPGs, IEDs, and SOBs of all kinds, this behemoth will instantly turn the tables on those guzzoline-raiding cannibal mutants. Which is a good thing, since you’ll probably have to steal all their gas just to keep it running.

    Bonus: You’ll probably also find a bunch of military surplus M-16s and grenade launchers inside, since Podunk, Nevada police apparently need those too.

    3.

  • Of course an old pickup truck would be a solid choice. At the very least, it’s a stable firing platform for a big gun mounted to the roof. But look for a Chevy with a small block, since it shares parts with any of a million other vehicles you might find scattered along the way. It might be a good idea to stick with 1987 and earlier models, since anything newer is bound to have electronic fuel injection. Not a deal-breaker, but no sense worrying about a TPS sensor going out while you’re being chased by hordes of face-eating mutant cannibals.

    4.

 

  • This one’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. Think about it: The P1 is a plug-in hybrid, which means it gets 34 mpg in steady cruising and does even better with an electric charge. Of course, being a hybrid, solar power is always an option if the undead hordes do steal all of your guzzoline, and zombies are ironically eating hipster brains around the nearest supercharger station. The P1’s got magnetic suspension that can immediately adapt to any road surface, whether it’s post-apocalyptic or even as bad as Detroit today. And if you let the chainsaw-arm Nazi zombies catch you in this thing, you deserve to get eaten.

    5.

  • Two words: Rolling. Fortress. If you haven’t seen it before, meet the biggest truck in the world. With a curb weight of just a hair over 1.3 million pounds, a payload capacity of 690,000 pounds, and a towing capacity of “everything,” the 797 is just the vehicle you need if your survival strategy involves relocating the remainder of humanity in a mobile castle and crushing everything in your way at 42 mph. You’ll want the 797B model instead of the newer “F” model. It’s got wider tires and an 1,800 diesel fuel tank – almost double the capacity of the “F.” Which you’ll probably need, seeing as how its fuel economy is best measured in barrels per mile.

    That said, the 797B does have a trick up its sleeve: it’s a diesel-electric hybrid, which means you could hypothetically mount every solar cell in the world to it and never run out of juice. And you might as well load up with a half-million pounds of lithium-ion batteries while you’re at it. You can find these trucks and those batteries around the Nevada-California border, where several large mines are conveniently located near Tesla’s brand-new lithium battery manufacturing plant.

Model Car Painting with Real Automotive Paints

This text is not a complete course on model car painting. The object is to pass on to car modellers the procedures on how to airbrush with automotive paints. The guidelines apply primarily to scale car models, but should be equally applicable elsewhere.

Why use automotive paint?

These paints show lots of advantages over the ones made specifically for modelling. One of the most important is their ability to produce very thin coats,  which can leave all body details crisp even after many applications. Aside from their excellent coverage and thickness, they dry to the touch almost immediately and can be polished after 24 hours. This fast drying time decreases to almost zero the chances of dust adhesion to the painted surface.

The colour palette is almost unlimited. Car manufacturers add new colours every year and also old colours are always available through the new mixing machines.

The thinner issue

How to apply automotive paint over styrene plastic if its thinner contains toluene? Toluene is one of the components of plastic glue because it melts the plastic. In this application special care should be taken. There are kinds of model plastic that are mostly unaffected by these solvents (AMT, Revell, Tamiya and Monogram). Others like Gunze Sangyo react badly.

In our surveys we found a thinner that is least likely to affect plastic. The trick here is to find a thinner that has less toluene in its formula — the less toluene, the less harm to plastic. There are also many grades of thinners, faster and slower ones, in relation to drying time. The faster the drying time, the less chance that it will affect the plastic. The slower the drying time, the more chance of plastic attack.

Since thinner brands will vary from country to country, you will need some tests and visits to a good automotive paint store. Ask as many questions as possible of a local technician with the above information to find out which brand will do the best for you. It’s better to pay more for a higher quality thinner (with less toluene) that will be better for your plastic models. Remember also that you will have thinners for thinning base paints and others for better final result, more on this later.

You can start with a thinning of one part of paint to 2-3 parts of thinner. This is a starting point, experience will show what’s better for you. Don’t worry about coverage due to this thinning rate– with more coats it will cover the plastic in the desired colour and, even after many coats, all surface detail will still be visible. Important: Thorough surface preparation is a must! Due to the very thin paint film, no surface scratches will be hidden by paint.

TipYou will do better with high grade thinners containing less toluene and better materials– they are more expensive but usually less harmful to styrene. Always run a test on a tree from the model you will paint.

Applying the base paint

Automotive paints can be divided in two families: nitrocellulose-based and acrylic. Note that due to environmental restrictions, nitrocellulose paints may not be available anymore in most countries.

Our experience with automotive paints shows that nitrocellulose based ones do not have a good adhesion to styrene.  What do you do if you want to use this kind of paint? Easy. Always start with a base coat of automotive acrylic and then apply this paint on top.

Automotive acrylics adhere very well to plastic. To be sure that the paint is dry – it will be dry to the touch in seconds, but what about the paint under the surface? – smell the model. If you still can smell the paint it needs more drying time. When you can’t smell the paint anymore, it means the paint is dry and the thinner has evaporated.

Small particles and dust that get stuck on the surface can be eliminated (after paint is completely dry!) by sanding with a wet used 600 grit sandpaper. After this, leave your model to dry and you can continue your work.

The base paint does not only help with paint adhesion. If you have a red plastic body and you paint it with red it becomes very difficult to tell if you have painted enough coats. So the best way is to use an acrylic paint as a base in a contrasting colour. White and silver are the best here with some advantages. White is better if final colour is light or transparent  – automotive reds, pearls and some blues are in this category.

Silver has another important advantage. The metallic parts in the paint (aluminium is used in different grades to add the metallic look to paints) will help protect plastic on the first paint coat, forming a kind of barrier between plastic and the paint. Also, silver covers better than white, which means less coats.

After the base is completely dry, you can start applying other coats without any problem, just like you perhaps used to do with your traditional model paints.

TipA thin coat of Tamiya acrylic paint, left to dry overnight, can act as a protective barrier against automotive solvents.

Paint application

This part must be read very carefully and as with anything in modelling, the procedures should be tested until mastered. Don’t worry if on the first try it doesn’t turn out as expected. This paint can be removed without damaging the plastic as we will see later.

Before you start painting, all parts must be washed with water and detergent, the same type as used for dishes. This removes all traces of molding agents used in the plastic injection process. Do not use anything to dry the parts — leave them to dry naturally with air contact.

The automotive paints must be applied with an airbrush. Do not use a brush because it dries so fast that the brush will be hard and unusable after only a few seconds. When spraying with an airbrush, it’s better to use a compressor that has a pressure regulator and a moisture and oil filter. The pressure to be used in the airbrush must be enough to spray all paint. Paint should come out as a spray– not like rain. Something between 20-25 PSI of pressure will be enough for good results. More on pressure later.

The first coat or base paint should be applied very carefully because as explained before some plastics are more affected by thinners. These first coats should be applied like a “dust of paint”, i.e., more air than paint. This way the paint will arrive at the plastic almost dry, giving the thinner less chance to damage the plastic. This technique should be used on all plastics but especially on the more affected ones (Gunze!). The driest spray is obtained with more air pressure (start with something like 25-30 PSI). Also airbrush tuning to use more air than paint is a must here, too.

Start spraying your model without any hurry. Never stop the spraying pattern over the plastic. This can lead to plastic “crazing”. A uniform, solid-coloured and even surface means that plastic is covered and your parts are protected for the next coats.

At this point all surface defects that passed before can be corrected with your favourite putty used before this base coat. After this base coating it’s good to wet-sand carefully the body with a used 600 grit or a new 1200 grit sandpaper, to even out the surface.

For the consecutive colour coats you should lower the pressure to something between 20-25 PSI. With less pressure and more paint/air proportion coming from the airbrush these coats will be more “wet” than previous ones, i.e., more paint – less air. Start with the corners and bumps just to deposit more paint in these places. The idea here is to avoid the polishing process to remove all paint from these places and reach the plastic.

For the final coats, lower the air pressure to 14-18 PSI and apply a wet coat, but without letting the paint drip. This will lead to a very smooth surface that will be very easy to polish. If your painted surface comes out with “orange peel”, stop immediately: something is wrong. Smoothing out this surface with polish will be way more difficult. If necessary, remove the paint. Probably you need to add more thinner to the paint or lower the air pressure.

TipLook for fine sandpaper at automotive paint stores– good ones carry very fine 1200 and 2000 grit types.

Final colours

These paints can be metallic, pearl or solid. The metallic colours have small aluminium particles that add the metallic look to the paint. The pearl ones have small particles of a mineral called mica that is responsible for the more subtle pearl look.

The effect of the pearl is different from the metallic. During the painting process the paint jar must be shaken frequently because the pearl particles go to the bottom of the jar very fast. Only pigments make the colour.

Both nitro and acrylic solid colour paints can receive a clear coat to obtain a deep shine like a mirror. This depends largely on your taste, but the metallics and pearls need a clear coat. That’s why they are called double-coat paints by some paint manufacturers. Do not paint with metallic or pearls without a final clear coat. We will return to this later.

Problem correction

If, after you have finished your paint job, your painted surface has problems, sand them with a used 600 grit sandpaper — used wet — or better, with 1200 grit ones. The sanded spot will get flat, but don’t worry, the polishing process will get the shine back and will take the sanding marks out.

If your paint job leads to a result you don’t like and you want to remove the paint to start over, just get a recipient that has a cover filled with ethanol alcohol (that you get at drugstores). Put the parts inside for 2-3 days. Afterwards, brush them with a used toothbrush. All the paint will come out without any damage to the parts themselves.

Another way to remove automotive paints that’s faster but more expensive is to use automotive brake fluid instead of alcohol. It works in about 8 hours. Use the lowest grade of brake fluid, it works better than the good grade.

Polishing

Even the perfectly applied automotive paint needs polishing. This is a very important step — it is your final job. There are two polishing methods at your disposal:

Method 1. Use of materials found in automotive paint stores. 24 hours after the last coat, you can use a polishing cream like T-cut. Its function is to even out the surface. It must get even and smooth — at this point shine is secondary. After this, your model should be washed with water and soap and a used soft toothbrush, especially on the lower surfaces, in order to take out all residues.

Now, it’s time for the thin polishers like Kaol or carnauba wax. They remove the “fogging” left by the strong polisher. The model should be washed again as before.

Next you can use one of those polishing liquids like 3M High Shine or Meguiar’s (needs some survey at a good auto store for its name in your country). The 3M liquid has a light brown colour and contains no silicone. Apply it to the surface with a piece of cotton and let dry. Then with a new piece of cotton, polish the surface. Cotton is almost non-abrasive. After that you can use the Tamiya Modeling Wax to protect your paint job from fingerprints.

Method 2. Use of a model polishing kit. Here the technique is different, but with excellent results too. You can use those polishing kits like Millenium 2000 or Micromesh. They are made up of polishing cloths of different grades like: 1800, 2400, 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12000 grit. The process here is to use the coarser ones to even out the surface and then the finer ones — without skipping any to remove the scratches from the previous one. After this you can use the carnauba wax and 3M as before.

Clear coat

The clear coat gives a deep colour impression. This coat must be generous. A thin coat can be removed in the polishing process and if colour shows up it can be slightly different in shine at this spot.

Application of the clear coat over solid colours is optional, but is a must in metallics or pearls. In older car models where you want to duplicate the original paint job, clear coats should be avoided.

Clear coat over decals

Here a test is always necessary, because different decals react differently. Always run a test first. Every decal sheet has a decal that will not be used, use it to perform a test with you paint. Basic experience with decals and the following tricks will help you to clear-coat your decals.

The test procedure and the clear coating process is the following: apply the decals as usual after the last coat of paint. Leave the body with decals drying at least for a week. This way all humidity will dry up. This is very useful in humid places and when decal setting solutions are used.

After this period of time airbrush the decal with clear paint in a light mist coat of automotive acrylic clear.  Apply more air than clear. Let dry for 24 hours. Repeat this process two more times in 24-hour intervals. Now apply two more wet coats in 12-hour intervals. Now apply final  two “wet” coats.

From this point on you can apply those wet coats for that bright shine wanted, decals are sealed and protected from thinner and clear coat.

A few final words

Learning how to use automotive paint to its best advantage may take some experimenting. Don’t worry if on the first try it doesn’t turn out as expected. If you used to work with model paints, your initial results will probably improve over time as you adjust to the different characteristics of the new medium (viscosity, drying time, etc). In time you will find the ideal pressure and spray pattern for each situation. As soon as you master these paints, chances are you will never return to model ones.

An important note: Automotive paints and thinners are more toxic than model paints. Always use them in a well ventilated area and use protection equipment. Never leave paints jars without a cap and store them away from children and pets.

10 Tips for Automotive Modeling

Automotive modeling can be extremely challenging, but the results can be just as rewarding as the challenges you’ll overcome to reach your modeling goals.  Your model could be found in anything from games and movies to TV and more.  Who wouldn’t want to create their favorite sports car or a maybe a brand new concept vehicle for a futuristic universe?

Whether you’re working on recreating an actual vehicle or working from a unique concept, it’s up to talented modelers like yourself to sell the realism of the model and do so quickly and efficiently.  So when you’re tackling your next masterpiece try implementing some of these tips in your workflow to help speed up the process.

Start off simple

There’s no need to over-complicate your model right away by trying too much too soon.  Instead, find places on your vehicle that can be modeled with very simple primitive shapes before worrying about the little details.  For example, wheel wells can be a great place to start because they can be modeled with a simple shape.

01

Block out shapes with an edge modeling technique 

An edge modeling technique allows you to block out those oddly-shaped pieces that might be tough to create from simple primitives by allowing you to extrude out pieces of your car piece by piece.  This technique is great for automotive modeling because cars are made up of a lot of curved shapes that can be quickly traced with an edge modeling technique.  Once your shape is blocked out, you’ll have a great starting point for adding details.

02

Think outside the cube 

Since NURBS (or splines, depending on what your preferred 3D program is) can  achieve a much smoother shape than polygons, let NURBS do their work by using them for the pieces of your car that lend themselves to them.  For example, the windows of your car are going to be smooth surfaces that most likely have a single shader on it and probably won’t even need UVs, so they’ll be a perfect fit for NURBS.

03

Use NURBS and polygons together

Regardless of what your end model needs to be, take advantage of the wide range of NURBS and polygonal modeling tools you have available regardless of the type of geometry they create.  Combining the two you can really help speed up your workflow and you can always convert to your final geometry type later on if you really need to.

04

Bridge pieces together

The bridge tool is huge time-saver for connecting pieces together and at the same time creating large chunks of geometry between those pieces very fast!  An area you could try this out is between the two wheel wells.  By bridging them together you can quickly create the entire side panel for your vehicle in a matter of seconds so you can focus your time on making it look right instead of spending it on just creating the initial geometry.

05

Crease only as much as you need to

When it comes to automotive modeling, creasing the right lines can really make or break the realism of your model.  It can also be a quick way to add way too much resolution that isn’t really needed.  Instead, try adding a single edge loop on either side of an existing edge.  Move those surrounding edge loops closer to the original edge to increase the effectiveness of your crease or move the loops further away from the original edge to decrease the effectiveness.  In most cases, these two edges should be plenty to sell the crease but even if you need to add more you’ll know its actually needed instead of adding edge loops in places that will really have no benefit to your model.

06

Punch clean holes in your model

Adding holes to your hard surfaces without affecting the surrounding geometry is a common challenge to overcome with automotive modeling.  A great way to do this is by applying a chamfer to the nearest vertex to where you need the hole.  This will create a new polygon that you can extrude inward to get your hole.  Add in some resolution to crease the hole and you’re done!

07

Not all ngons are worth your time

The reason you typically stay away from ngons is when your model will be deforming or if your model will be exported to something like a game engine.  Unlike a character, automotive models don’t normally need to be nearly as flexible as some other models may need to be.  And if you’re not going to be exporting your car into a game engine if you come across ngons, before investing the time to quadrangulate them try running some quick tests to see if removing them would be time well-spent.  For example, try doing a smooth preview or a test render.  If you’re not seeing any negative effects then there’s no reason to lose any more precious time over trying to fix what isn’t broken!

08

Think ahead

You don’t always need to make every piece a separate object, but not everything in your automotive model should be faked.  For example, is the door going to need to be animated?  Then take the time now to make separate it from the surrounding pieces.  Even though you’re not animating the car, making sure you know the purpose of each piece now can save you from having to tweak it later once the animation team kicks it back to you for a door that is actually attached to the rest of the car.

09

Smooth your ride

Many 3D applications can let you do a smooth preview without actually having to permanently apply a smoothing operation, so take advantage of that to check your progress often by previewing how your car looks with a smooth.  This way you can focus your time on the parts of the model that need more work and leave those areas that don’t.  As an added bonus, you’ll get to ease your mind by double-checking on any ngons you might have to make sure your tweaking hasn’t made them start causing issues.
So now you’ve heard some of our favorite tips for automotive modeling.  If you can’t wait to get more, check out the Automotive Modeling in Maya course to learn some more great tips and tricks.  Or if you’ve got some of your own automotive modeling tips and tricks that you want to share with is, swing over to our community forum and let us know!

10

With new automotive modeling tips and tricks in hand, it’s time to fire up your creative engine.

Why Are Our Cars Painted Such Boring Colors?

But as you move around this imaginary car, you’ll notice something else: The paint shimmers and sparkles, and its hue seems to change as you look at it from different angles. That iridescent quality is the result of the other major technological change that came about in the early 1980s: the development of mica-based effect paint. Metallics were available before the 1980s, but they were made by adding aluminum flakes to paint. These first-generation metallics gave a very flat and reflective surface. (For a good example, look at this 1957 Corvette convertible in Aztec Copper). “Mica,” says Jane Harrington, the manager of color styling at PPG, “gave colors a more of a luster or gem quality”—a pearlescence that is difficult to describe but obvious when you see it (check out this Toyota Highlander  for a good example). According to Harrington, these days a lot of colors are blended with aluminums and micas, with variously-sized flakes that add to the dimensional quality of the paint. These effect paints are applied over the pigmented base coat, and below the glossy clear coat. They add depth to the paint, but they also tend to diffuse color. In some form or another, they have become nearly omnipresent in modern paint jobs.

Why are we so into sparkly, iridescent cars? Michelle Killen, the lead exterior paint designer for GM North America, thinks it’s simple: These effect paints look expensive, and you can get them without paying more. “Especially today,” she says, “with the investment we’re putting into vehicles—less leasing, keeping them five to 10 years—we want a car that maintains a quality that looks expensive.” Effect paints, she maintains, are also better at highlighting the less-boxy, more-aerodynamic swoops of modern car shapes; the more high-tech cars look, the more high-tech their paint jobs must look as well.

With the exception of an early ‘90s flirtation with the color purple, and a late ‘90s love affair with forest green, the past 20 to 30 years have represented a demure era in the world of automotive colors. Since the late-1990s, the best-selling paint colors have been black, gray, white, and silver (silver, in fact, was the best-selling color for a decade, until it was recently overtaken by white). George Iannuzzi, a board member of the Color Marketing Group (an international color-forecasting group that meets regularly to discuss the colors of the future) says that concerns about resale value have a tendency to conservatively shape buyer’s inclinations.* “If you’re going to buy a car, what you’re thinking is that in five to six years I’m going to sell my car. The buyer is more likely to buy a black, silver or white car.” This point hit home for me on a recent drive down Route 17 in northern New Jersey, where the road is lined on either side with car dealerships that stock only black, silver, and white models.

These days there is a tiny corner of the market reserved for flat, bright, uncomplicated hues. Killen says that GM is more likely to use a retro color on a small car or a performance car.  The smaller the car, in fact, the more likely a major manufacturer is to put a bright color on it. “When I think of a Volkswagen beetle,” says Harrington, “I can’t think of a color that wouldn’t look good on that car.” When it comes to paint jobs that don’t use effect paint, Harrington says you’re more likely to see whites, blacks, reds and yellows. “We have done some developments on the idea of a non-effect blue or green, but they only get so far in an automotive program before people say, we need something with a metal flake in it.” Nevertheless, there are some niche market vehicles that come in flat blues:  the 2010 Ford Mustang in Grabber Blue or the Toyota Scion in Voo Doo Blue, for example.

Even that ubiquitous high-gloss finish we’re so used to may one day lose its luster. Recent developments in clear coat technology allow for a clear-coat layer with a matte finish. “I can take any paint color I have,” says Killen, “and turn it low gloss with the clear coat. We’ve seen paints in high gloss for so long, the market wants something new.” The matte look, which you can see on this Mercedes Benz S Class, has become popular in the luxury market in Europe, and may eventually gain traction in North America. Let’s hope it does soon.

Why Are Our Cars Painted Such Boring Colors?

Cool Green Car

A few months ago, I came across a very cool-looking car. It was a 1970s-era Jeep Cherokee and it looked something like this. I’ve always been a fan of vintage Cherokees—their military-issue ruggedness appeals to the wannabe outdoorswoman in me. But this Cherokee charmed me more than most; its color was a deep, rich, super-saturated blood orange. It stood in bright contrast to the modern cars around it, whose paint jobs—pearlescent white, iridescent silver, high-gloss black—suddenly seemed to be variations on the same boring theme.

Why are cars today painted such lame colors? If you look at the cars of the 1970s and ‘80s—like this apple green BMW, or this sky blue Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60, or this tangerine Volvo 140, or this pea green Mercedes diesel station wagon—you find dazzlingly whimsical colors, bold hues that put a block’s worth of conservative modern rides to shame. Car colors today are often black, white, gray, or silver. And even when they are a color—say, red or blue—those colors tend to be murky and muted rather than bold. What happened?

1970s era Cherokee

The answer has something to do with our tastes, and a lot more to do with paint technology. Cars of yesteryear (if we accept yesteryear to mean the 1960s through the early 1980s) were often painted in bright, popping colors—supersaturated pigments in hues that don’t appear on most modern vehicles. But the appeal of these paint jobs has to do as much with the way the paint looks on the car as it does the color of the paint. Older paints sat flat on the surface of the car; there was no swirling iridescence to give an illusion of movement below the surface. And the finish, though not quite matte, was a lot less glossy than the finish on modern cars.

These vintage paint jobs were almost certainly the result of either acrylic lacquer or enamel paint technology. Acrylic lacquers dominated from the late 1940s until the 1960s. Lacquers were high solvent paints that dried very quickly, to a hard and shiny finish (though not nearly as glossy as we’ve become accustomed to). Lacquers were often highly pigmented, allowing for rich colors. But that hard, shiny finish became brittle with age and exposure; lacquer didn’t play well with water or UV rays, which tended to fade its vibrant colors. And, although this wasn’t a prevailing concern at the time, lacquer’s high solvent composition meant that these paints gave off a ton of environmentally unfriendly volatile organic compounds. Acrylic enamels, developed in the 1960s, were a lower solvent alternative; these paints took a bit longer to dry, but they were more durable and weather-resistant, and they gave off fewer VOCs. Best of all, acrylic enamels looked very similar to lacquers.

Because factory testing standards in the 1970s were less stringent than they are today, car companies were able to get away with using highly pigmented paints that were brittle and not very durable. To make matters worse, acrylic lacquers and enamels were single-stage paints, meaning that these paint jobs weren’t even protected by a clear top coat. They didn’t wear well. According to Jerry Koenigsmark, who has worked at PPG, one of the main automotive paint companies, for 30 years, a lot of the colors that were used back then simply wouldn’t pass muster today. “The saturation and depth of color was a lot better,” said Koenigsmark, “because they didn’t have a lot of the specs that we have now—adhesion testing, gravel chip testing, engineering tests. If I had the exact same pigmentation of a highly saturated color from the ’60s … that paint would be brittle.”

Picture a modern car: If you look at one in the daylight, it almost certainly has a gloss on it so shiny that the paint seems to swim under the surface. What you’re looking at is a polyurethane based clear-coating technology that accounts for much of the difference in appearance between cars of the 1960s and 70s and cars of today. Modern technology uses a base coat, which carries all the pigments, and a clear coat, which adds a deeply glossy layer on top. It creates an effect a bit like looking at a bright color underwater—the experience of the color is interrupted, and sometimes dulled, by the reflection off the surface of the paint.

Automotive Paint: Urethane v. Acrylic

When deciding what kind of paint is best when re-finishing a car, there are lots of factors to consider.  Obviously, the aesthetic appeal is of utmost importance—no one wants a paint job to look sloppy— but other things to keep in mind include the application process, drying time, potential health hazards, and base-coat and finishing options.  Acrylic and urethane are both common automotive paints, but have distinct and significant differences.

Urethane Paint

Urethane paints are a industry standard forautomive paint, and for the past two decades have mostly replaced acrylic paints as automakers’ preferred choice.  Although it is difficult to replicate authentic factory paint nowadays, and neither acrylic nor urethane paint offers that option, many car restorers argue that urethane provides a nicer-looking finish. Urethane paints are extremely durable, and resist chipping—when properly maintained, a coat of urethane paint will outlast most acrylic paints.

In terms of application, urethane paints are easier to apply. Using a pressurized spray can, they provide better coverage than acrylic paints. Tinted primers can be applied to reduce the risk of the top coat appearing thin or light.  Additionally, urethane paints are activated by hardeners, meaning once mixed they must be used or the product is wasted.  The benefit, however, is that applied urethane dries quickly, cutting down on time spent waiting between coat applications.

It is common practice to follow a base-coat urethane with a clear coat, however some clear coats tint the color, especially if it is black or white.  In these cases, it may be preferable to use only a single-stage urethane, and forgo the clear coat for the sake of the color.  It is also possible to wet-sand urethane before applying a clear coat.

Urethane paints are toxic and should be used with caution.  Because they contain iscocyanantes, airborne compounds that enter the lungs or skin, investigating proper precautions and aerating techniques is important when working with urethane.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints differ from urethane in that they are water-based. This means the resin adheres to the product using water as its primary agent, whereas urethane depends on a solvent.  In this sense, acrylic paint is far less toxic than urethane. Hardeners and other added chemicals are unnecessary, so acrylic paint is ready to go: simply put in a spray-can and apply.  The application process, however, is slightly different than urethane, as acrylic paint tends to emerge in smaller droplets.

Acrylic lacquer paints can run high when it comes to cost, approximately 250 dollars a gallon—whereas acrylic enamel can be purchased for less, at about 100 to 150 dollars per gallon.  The drying process is much slower than urethane paints, and leaving a coat to sit for 24 to 48 hours before applying another coat is recommended.  Because acrylic paint is lighter than urethane, careful consideration should also be used when selecting a primer.  Acrylic enamel is more affordable than acrylic lacquer and urethane, making it a common choice for quick-fix jobs.  Additionally, acrylic enamel is much more affordable.

Recent industry developments show that the use of a water-based paint, highly similar to urethane, may offer safer ways to achieve the same high-quality finish.  Companies like Auto Air Colors are offering non-toxic and affordable alternatives—their paints’ performance is already just as good as urethane, and can withstand the same amount of wear and tear.

Want to Save on Car Rentals? Go Low-Tech

Want to save on your next car rental? You may have to tear yourself away from the Internet and do the unthinkable: make a few phone calls.

Sites like Kayak, Priceline and TripAdvisor have been a boon for frugal travelers. But they also foster a potentially costly illusion: that all bargains are a click or tap away. As I discovered after some obsessive searching for car rental deals, low-tech and no-tech strategies can sometimes be as helpful as the latest online innovations.

I started my hunt — for a two-day weekend rental on a trip to Vancouver scheduled two weeks away — with the usual suspects, the major aggregators and booking sites. Kayak, Expedia, Carrentals.com,Rentalcars.com and the blind-booking site Hotwire all turned up similar rates for an economy rental from the airport. I found that big variations in price on the low end of the market are rare — and it turns out there is a reason for that: industry consolidation.

“Hertz, Avis Budget Group and Enterprise now control 95 percent of the domestic market through their various brands,” said Neil Abrams, president of Abrams Consulting, which specializes in the car rental industry. “These companies are ultracompetitive among themselves.” Kayak found me the best deal by a slim margin, $13.15 a day from Enterprise, a price that included unlimited mileage, taxes and fees but not additional charges like insurance.

So I booked. Unlike a flight or hotel reservation, this was just the beginning. Car bookings can generally be canceled anytime up to the instant you step to the counter and pay. (Hotwire is one prominent exception.) “This is one of the biggest advantages consumers have,” Mr. Abrams said. “There’s really no downside to locking in a good price with a reservation.” (A quick aside for renters without a booking who have, say, just landed at the airport: Firing up a mobile app from Carrentals.com, Priceline or another aggregator will often turn up rates far lower than what you would get quoted just walking up to the counter.)

Now it was time to beat the rate I found in 30 seconds. Granted, it seemed pretty low already, but how hard could it be?

My first stop was Zalyn, a site that sorts through the bewildering array of coupons offered by rental car companies, as well as third-party discounts from credit cards, airlines, AAA and even Costco, showing you only the codes that work. At least that is what it is supposed to do. I put in my dates and location and listed all my memberships and 56 coupons came up, offering savings up to 25 percent. But the first coupon code I tried to apply to a rental didn’t work and neither did the second or the third. After 15 minutes of searching and nothing to show for it, I threw in the towel.

I had higher hopes for AutoSlash. The free site, which has been around since 2010, allows you to input your rental car confirmation code. It then continuously mines reservation channels for better deals on similar rentals, alerting users via email whenever one becomes available. “Rates are fluctuating all the time, especially in the last two weeks before you pick up the car,” said Jonathan Weinberg, AutoSlash founder and chief executive. “So it’s worth checking every few days or, of course, we can do the legwork for you.” (In the past, AutoSlash would even automatically rebook reservations, a feature it dropped under apparent pressure from car rental companies.) I plugged in my original Enterprise reservation code, clicked the track button and crossed my fingers.

In the meantime, I got to work exploring some less conventional rental options. Priceline allows you to name your price on rental cars, just like hotel rooms and flights. The hitch is that if your bid is accepted you have to pay up front and can’t cancel. With that caveat in mind, I put in some ridiculously lowball offers, starting at $1 a day (or about $7 with taxes). That was instantly rejected, as were subsequent offers of $2 and $3 a day. When I realized my rejected bids were approaching the original rate I got from Enterprise, which was for a fully cancelable reservation, I gave up on Priceline.

Maybe car sharing was the answer. Zipcar and similar services were great for getting around my home city, often cheaper than the price of a taxi. Would the same approach work on vacation? Nope. While Vancouver hourly rates for a Zipcar start at about $7, daily rates are around $65. “Zipcar can be convenient if you’re in an urban area, but once you get beyond a few hours it’s definitely cheaper to do a traditional rental,” said Chris Brown, executive editor of the trade publication Auto Rental News. “The car-sharing fleet is still small, and at airports it’s not yet a huge factor.”

I hoped to find better bargains in the growing peer-to-peer rental market, where ordinary people loan out their wheels. Unfortunately, neitherRelayRides nor Getaround, two of the most popular peer-to-peer sites, operate in Canada. A search in nearby Seattle turned up RelayRide cars starting at $25 a day, still no match for supercheap traditional rentals. Meanwhile, FlightCar, which allows outgoing fliers to rent out their cars, is available only in a handful of American airports (including Seattle-Tacoma, where I tracked down a compact for $19 a day: a price that included the all-important supplemental liability insurance — more on that below — but limited renters to 100 miles a day).

Bleary eyed, with my browser freezing up from too many open tabs, I was beginning to get discouraged when I got an email from AutoSlash with the subject line “Great News!” Their tireless bots had tracked down a reservation with Hertz for just $10.01 a day, nearly a 25 percent discount over my original rate. In this instance, that worked out to a measly $3 a day savings; but at peak times of the year when rates were higher, or for a longer-term rental, my savings could have been substantial. More important, I had something to show for a day of Internet sleuthing. I clicked through to the AutoSlash site and booked.

But I knew I was still missing a big piece of the puzzle: insurance. The loss-damage waiver alone at Hertz, indemnifying me in the event I smashed up the car, would cost $29 a day, about triple the price of the car rental. The frugal traveler in me was pretty sure I was already protected under my own auto insurance plan and maybe my credit card, as well. The responsible adult who would be on the hook wasn’t as confident.

“People wait until they get to the counter to think of these things, then they either buy too much insurance or none it all,” said Jeanne Salvatore, chief communications officer for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute. “Generally, whatever insurance you have on your personal car applies when you rent a car, provided the rental isn’t for business purposes. But the easiest way to find out is to make a few calls.”

So, I pried my fingers from the keyboard and did just that. To my surprise, and relief, I learned from my insurance agent that I was fully covered for car rentals: I could comfortably decline the loss-damage waiver, as well as any supplemental liability insurance (protecting me if I hurt other people and they sued me for more than the minimal liability coverage that often comes with the rental car), personal accident protection (should I get injured and have medical expenses) and personal effects coverage (in case my stuff gets stolen).

Out of curiosity, I also called the number on the back of my MasterCard and learned that I would be fully covered for collision damage if I charged the rental to the card. (The same is true for other cards, though note that liability is almost never covered. Even American Express’s popularPremium Car Rental Protection — available for a supplemental charge of $24.95 — does not include liability.)

Final tally: One five-minute phone call saved me at least $58 in insurance charges; a full day staring at search and discount sites saved about $6. For compulsively frugal travelers, there may be a lesson here: In an era when online bargain hunting is easier than ever, finding the best savings may require going offline.

More low- and no-tech tips from the pros:

Rent off-airport and save. “Not only are rates lower, but a lot of the fees and taxes associated with airport rentals don’t apply,” said Neil Abrams, the car rental consultant. “If you take a $10 taxi and save $25 a day on a weekly rental, that looks like a great investment.” (Assuming there isn’t already a shuttle available.)

Book a compact but hope for an upgrade. “Rental companies stock far more midsize cars than compacts,” wrote Anisha Sekar on Nerdwallet.com, a financial advisory website. “If they don’t have a compact on site they will often give you an automatic upgrade at no additional fee.”

Avoid additional driver fees. “Extra-driver fees vary from state to state and from company to company,” Jonathan Weinberg of AutoSlash said. “For example, Avis Budget Group will allow a spouse as an additional driver at no extra charge.”

Don’t forget the independents. “Carrentalexpress.com pulls up smaller, local companies that don’t show up on sites like Expedia,” said Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. “You get the same cars as the big boys, often at lower rates.”

Check your homeowner or renter’s policy. “If your luggage or holiday presents are stolen out of the car, you’re generally covered under your home or renter’s policy, less the deductible,” said Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute. “So you can waive the optional personal effects coverage at the car rental counter.”

Switch car insurer to snatch lower premiums

Switch car insurer to snatch lower premiums

That puts the typical premium at £420 – down from £448 in December. And that’s the biggest month-on-month decrease since this time last year.

The numbers come from our analysis of the quotes run on our car insurance channel. We don’t know whether the downward trend will continue, though. Prices actually rose during 2014 from their low point in February, when the average price was just £378.

Switch and save

What is clear, though, is that drivers shouldn’t expect to secure automatic savings simply by renewing with their current provider.

That’s because insurers tend to save their best prices for ‘new’ customers, not existing ones. So it’s crucial to act like a new customer and see who offers the best combination of price and quality when you run a quote – and switch to secure your saving.

There have been big fluctuations in premium prices recently, but January’s dip will be welcome relief for those looking for cover, even if it turns out to be a seasonal trend.

Is cheaper car insurance around the corner?

Is cheaper car insurance around the corner?

-a ban on agreements between certain price comparison websites and insurers which stop insurers from making their products available more cheaply elsewhere;

-better information for consumers on the costs and benefits of no-claims bonus protection;

-an examination by the  Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) into the sale of ‘add-ons’ on car insurance policies. It says limited information regarding add-on products such as legal expenses cover makes it difficult for consumers to compare the costs and benefits.

The agreements between certain price comparison websites and insurers – long criticised by MoneySuperMarket – have been deemed anti-competitive because they force insurers to charge the same price via every outlet.

If the insurer declines to enter the agreement, the comparison site in question refuses to sell its policies, reducing its access to market.

Free negotiations

Our view is that each site should be free to negotiate with insurance companies to achieve the lowest possible price for its customers.

Peter Plumb, MoneySuperMarket’s chief executive officer, said: “We welcome this move by the CMA, which will help bring car insurance prices down for consumers.

“The removal of clauses from some price comparison website contracts, which prevent insurers from offering a cheaper premium through another price comparison website, is a good thing.

“Unlike some other comparison websites, MoneySuperMarket does not use these clauses in its contracts. We can now work even harder with our motor insurance partners to bring even cheaper premiums to more of our customers.”

Post-claims costs

The CMA also looked at the way costs are amassed and paid following an accident.

There is broad concern that costs such as replacement hire car fees for the not-at-fault driver, which are paid by the at-fault driver’s insurer, are routinely exaggerated.

The CMA acknowledged ‘inefficiencies in the supply chain’, stating:

“The amount which at-fault insurers have to pay for temporary replacement cars provided to not-at-fault claimants is significantly more than the cost of providing these services.”

These inefficiencies inevitably feed into car insurance premiums.

No remedy

Surprisingly, the CMA has concluded that there is no effective and proportionate remedy to these problems.

It says it investigated several possible options, such as having the not-at-fault driver’s insurance cover the cost of the replacement car, or capping the amount which could be recovered from an at-fault insurer.

But it found that “these remedies would require a significant change in the law, which was not warranted since the problem caused an increase in the average premium of only £3 per year.”

Check Insurance Coverage When Renting a Car

BEFORE heading out on summer vacation in a rental car, it’s a good idea to check whatinsurance coverage you already have before opting to buy expensive protection at the car rental counter.

If you carry auto insurance to protect yourself and your own car, your policy probably covers you and a rental car. Still, it’s best to contact your insurance agent to clarify the specifics before you leave on a trip, said Arlene Lester, a spokeswoman for the State Farm insurance company.

You should also check your policy for possible limitations, she said, including any on coverage for car rentals abroad. “Most policies will cover a loss to a rental,” she said in an email, but she added that each claim must be reviewed individually.

If you have dropped certain coverage — like collision or comprehensive, which covers theft and other hazards — to save money on premiums, then you may not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group. Insurance rules vary by state, however, so it is best to check with your agent for specifics of your policy. In New York, for instance, coverage for short-term rentals is normally included in compulsory auto liability policies, and applies even if you don’t carry optional physical damage coverage on your own car, according to the state Department of Financial Services.

Also, some auto insurance policies do not cover “loss of use,” or revenue lost to the rental company while a rental car is being repaired, so be sure to ask about that.

If you use a credit card to pay for your rental car, you may have supplemental protection, since the major card brands often offer rental insurance. The benefit typically offers coverage for damage and theft, but it is usually secondary coverage — meaning it pays only for costs not covered by a driver’s main policy. (A few cards provide primary coverage or offer it for a fee.)

CardHub.com reviewed rental car insurance coverage offered as a free benefit by Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover, and found some caveats.

Certain countries are often excluded from coverage — most typically, Israel, Jamaica and Ireland, the review found.

American Express excludes many popular sport utility vehicles, the analysis found. Visa does not cover accidents on dirt or gravel roads. And MasterCard has a somewhat tougher claims process, requiring the filing of more documents than the others, said Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for CardHub.

Some insurance brokers aim to offer a cheaper alternative for travelers.Insuremyrentalcar.com offers short-term auto rental policies that provide coverage if a rental car is damaged or stolen. (The policies do not include liability coverage — protection for damages caused to other people, cars or property.) The coverage, underwritten by the Federal Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the Chubb Group, starts at about $18 for a single-trip policy.

Ernesto Suarez, the site’s chief executive, said it began operating in the United States in January 2014 and now offers policies to residents of most states, except Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont. With a stand-alone policy, Mr. Suarez said, a consumer does not have to make a claim under his or her own auto policy and risk an increase in premiums.

Here are some answers to other questions about rental car insurance:

Is coverage from my credit card automatic?

To obtain the coverage, you generally must charge the full amount of the rental on the card and decline the waiver offered by the car rental company. It’s best to call the card company to get the details. Better yet, the Insurance Information Institute advises, get a written copy of the credit card’s insurance policy before traveling.

What if I don’t own a car and don’t carry auto insurance?

In that case, Ms. Lester of State Farm said, you should buy insurance from the car rental agency. (Ms. Gonzalez of CardHub said that those who do not own a car but drive periodically could also consider buying a “nonowner” policy.)

Lower Your Car Insurance Bill, at the Price of Some Privacy

An increasing number of the nation’s auto insurance companies have a new proposition: Let them track every second of your driving in exchange for an annual discount that can reach into the hundreds of dollars if you behave yourself on the road.

In theory, everyone wins here. Progressive, Allstate and State Farm — among the most aggressive of the larger companies that are pursuing this strategy — attract better drivers who crash less often. Customers who sign up for the optional programs can pay premiums based more on how they drive and less on their age, gender or credit history.

But usage-based insurance, as the program is known, generates vast amounts of data. While insurance companies are pledging to keep it to themselves for now, some experts believe that we’re only a few years away from companies’ contributing complete driver histories into a central industry database. Then, we’d all have driver scores like the numbers that FICO helps creditors calculate, which would follow us around whenever we shopped for a new auto insurance policy.

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How quickly that day comes will depend on how many people allow insurance companies to ride shotgun in the near future, since they can’t create scores unless they can persuade us to share our driving data. To see how it felt, my wife and I let State Farm keep an eye on us this summer.

State Farm sent us a device that we plugged into a port under the steering wheel of our 2003 Toyota Highlander. That was all we had to do to begin; the machine wirelessly transmitted data about our movements to the company.

A few weeks later, we started getting feedback in the form of a report card that State Farm issues to customers participating in its Drive Safe and Save program. The company assesses drivers in five categories — acceleration, deceleration, turns, time of day and speed — with grades ranging from A to C. (The company didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by flunking them.) The grades are then plugged into a formula that determines discounts.

For now, the company’s interest in a customer’s speed extends only to whether you’re driving more than 80 miles per hour, and if so, for how long. We did just a bit while in a 65 m.p.h. zone on the Massachusetts Turnpike and ended up with an A-minus grade in that category. Our lead foot on the accelerator led to our worst grade, a B-plus, in the acceleration category. The company has data showing correlations between higher claims and repeated instances of increasing speed more than 5 m.p.h. in less than a second. Our A-minus on deceleration meant that we didn’t slow down by more than 10 m.p.h. in less than a second too often, an indication that we weren’t slamming on the brakes much and were probably paying decent attention to the road.

Our A-minus on turns was a pleasant surprise given the number of curves we encountered while driving on vacation, but the device can measure the G forces exerted from each turn and we mostly passed muster there. Our only perfect grade was in the time-of-day category, as we didn’t drive during rush hour and we stay off the roads from midnight to 4 a.m. when the drunk and exhausted are out in force.

For our above-average efforts, State Farm said we would have qualified for a 22 percent annual discount on a policy with generous coverage limits in New Jersey if we drove about 10,000 miles a year, reflecting a $190 discount off an initial $870 premium.

Over all, participants in the program get an average of 10 to 15 percent off their premium, and everyone gets at least something for playing along. At Progressive’s Snapshot program, people who do qualify for the discount tend to save an average of 10 to 15 percent. Some other companies require you to keep the in-vehicle device for continuous monitoring (and possible price adjustments later) and may make you pay a fee for it plus some ancillary services; others ask you to send it back after six months but allow for a retest later upon request.

At the moment, State Farm and Progressive are not raising rates on people who sign up for monitoring and prove to be terrible drivers. Participation is voluntary, and Progressive, the early adopter in usage-based insurance, says that close to 15 percent of its customers are already enrolled.

Still, as more people sign up, the standard rate will start to feel like a penalty for those who decline to participate. And if all of the good drivers pile into the programs and qualify for lower prices, the companies may eventually raise rates on the holdouts. One bonus for parents who are on the fence: You can often use an insurer’s usage-based insurance or related tracking programs to monitor your teenager’s driving. And Safeco Insurance has an interesting twist, in which people who have gotten speeding tickets or been in accidents can use a monitoring device to requalify for the rate they had before the black mark went on their records.

Given all these incentives, why might someone hold out?

First, not every company offers a usage-based insurance policy. Our insurance company, USAA, does not, although it has started a pilot programto gather data. Geico has no program either, and a spokeswoman declined to comment on the reason. Progressive, State Farm, Allstate and others have policies or pilot programs, but people in certain states or who drive vehicles that are incompatible with the companies’ hardware may not be able to sign up or may not be able to share as much driving data.

But privacy is the biggest concern. While the major players are not yet tracking exact latitude or longitude, they would like to, and Progressive is testing it. “A mile driven on a highway is safer than a mile on a city street with lots of intersections, but in today’s world we don’t know which road you’re on,” said Dave Pratt, general manager of usage-based insurance at Progressive. Some customers are already asking for the company to track them in this way.

The companies probably have little interest in who you’re visiting or patronizing on any given day, but divorce lawyers and others may one day subpoena the information if insurance companies store it. The data can work in drivers’ favor too, though; one Progressive customer used his driving data to prove that he did not kill his infant daughter, who died of asphyxiation at her home. The company can also pull the data if you think it might help you avoid fault when you’re making a claim; so far, it is not doing this unless customers ask it to, though it’s hard to imagine that insurance companies won’t eventually be grabbing for the information while examining future claims.

For those of us with no privacy concerns, it’s difficult to make a solid case against usage-based insurance. For me, it turned driving into a game that could yield real money through safer behavior. Progressive’s data already shows that people learn to brake more gently within weeks of signing up; unlike with State Farm, Progressive’s device beeps when you’re slowing down too fast. The companies are betting that by giving safer drivers better deals, they will retain them longer and make up for the discounts with fewer claims over time. Plus, the front-runners in the industry will undoubtedly attract good drivers from competitors that don’t offer the discounts, leaving the laggards with potentially higher costs from those who remain.

The one lingering worry is that possibility of a FICO-like driver score. The leading companies in usage-based insurance say they want nothing of the sort. After all, they have more data than their competitors, so why would they share it?

Unsurprisingly, the companies that could benefit from universal driver scores by helping insurers collect the data believe such a score is inevitable. “I don’t see how it doesn’t happen,” said David Lukens, director of vertical markets at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, which already helps auto insurers generate scores internally, ranging from 200 to 997. “There will be a tipping point where if most companies have this data, they’re going to weigh the costs and benefits of sharing it.”

While insurers currently promise to keep customer data to themselves, they could end that agreement starting on a certain date. In fact, it may be customers who ask them to do so when they inevitably go from feeling grateful for the discounts to feeling captive because no other company knows what a great driver they are. “People are going to want to say that the driving data is mine, and I want the ability to shop that around in the same way that they do with credit data,” said Brian Sullivan, editor of theAuto Insurance Report.

Which is fine, as long as the data is correct. It won’t be, because no system is perfect, though one hopes it will not be as error-strewn as credit reports are today. But that’s a concern for the future. For now, anyone with little to hide and a desire to drive better can help themselves to some free money while the insurance companies fight over the more careful drivers among us.

Buying Car Insurance for Teenagers Can Be a Balancing Act

Adding a teenager to a family’s auto insurance policy is a sure way to raise the premiums, but it’s usually less expensive than buying a separate policy, according to new research.

Eighteen-year-old drivers add an average of 77 percent to the cost of their parents’ auto insurance bills, a new analysis from insuranceQuotes.com found.

While that’s a big increase, buying an independent policy is even costlier, the analysis found. Eighteen-year-old drivers pay an average of 18 percent more if they buy an individual policy, instead of remaining on their parents’ policies.

In some states, the cost of individual coverage compared to family coverage can be even steeper. In Rhode Island, for instance, 18-year-olds pay an average of 53 percent more for a separate policy; other states with a high “penalty” include Connecticut and Oregon (47 percent), Nevada (41 percent) and Maine (40 percent). Illinois, Alaska and Florida charge an average of 7 percent more for individual coverage for 18-year-olds. In New York, the figure is 11 percent and in New Jersey 19 percent. (Hawaii bars auto insurers from considering age or length of driving experience when determining premiums.)

“It’s cheaper for young drivers to stay on a parent’s policy,” said Laura Adams, senior analyst with insuranceQuotes.

InsuranceQuotes commissioned Quadrant Information Services, which provides data and analysis to the insurance industry, to conduct the analysis, based on data from the largest auto insurance carriers in each state. The sample drivers had clean driving records and good credit.

The good news is that a teenager’s premiums should decrease gradually each year if he or she keeps a clean driving record. Nationally, individual policies cost 9 percent more than family coverage at age 19, and 4 percent more at age 24, according to insuranceQuotes’ analysis. So, parents can emphasize to their children that good driving habits not only prevent injuries, but also save money.

Young drivers cost more to insure largely because they are inexperienced and have higher accident rates than more seasoned drivers, said Arthur Goodwin, senior research associate at the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina.

To help make children better (and potentially less costly) drivers, expose them to a variety of driving experiences, Mr. Goodwin suggests. Simply letting a child drive from home to school and back probably will not provide much practice in negotiating more difficult situations. Parents should take them on the highway when they are ready, he suggests, and drive with them during bad weather, so they are not alone the first time they encounter more challenging conditions.

Here are the answers to some questions about insuring a teenage driver:

Does it help lower my rates if my teenager drives an older car?

In general, yes. But think hard before assigning your teenager to the family clunker, Mr. Goodwin said. While an older car may cost less to insure, newer cars are more likely to have the most up-to-date safety features, which could be lifesaving for inexperienced drivers. A wiser route may be to have your child drive the newest vehicle, even if you pay more in premiums, Mr. Goodwin said. Also, you can check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s list of safe cars for teenage drivers.

Are there other ways to keep costs in check when adding a teenage driver?

Some insurers offer discounts if a driver maintains good grades, so ask about student programs. If you carry collision and comprehensive coverage, consider raising the deductible — the amount you must pay out of pocket — to lower your premium. And, if you want to help your child understand the costs associated with car ownership, consider having him or her pay for all or part of the increased premium, Ms. Adams at insuranceQuotes suggests.

What if my teenager goes off to college, but the car stays at home?

If your student goes away to school but does not take a car along, ask your insurer whether you might qualify for a lower premium, since your child will not be driving the vehicle all year long, said Jeanne M. Salvatore, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.

Factors Unrelated to Driving Can Affect Car Insurance

ARE you married or single? Have you been widowed or divorced? Is your credit history less than stellar? Your answers to those questions can affect the rates you pay for car insurance.

Your driving record and habits factor into your premiums, of course. But many insurers also use a variety of other data, like your marital status and a version of your credit score, to set your rate.

An analysis by the Consumer Federation of America found that online quotes from most companies were almost always higher for single, separated and divorced drivers than for married drivers. Notably, the study found that quotes for annual premiums for a young woman were an average of 14 percent higher if she was a widow, rather than married.

Stephen Brobeck, the federation’s executive director, and another researcher examined quotes from six major insurers in 10 American cities based on a hypothetical 30-year-old single woman. (Differences in marital status probably hold for single men as well, Mr. Brobeck said.)

For the analysis, the researchers obtained premium quotes from the auto insurers’ websites for the minimum liability coverage required by states. (All states but New Hampshire require liability coverage.) In seeking quotes, the study varied the driver’s marital status while keeping other characteristics constant. The test driver had no accidents or moving violations, held a high school diploma, worked as a bank teller and rented in a ZIP code with median household income of $30,000.

Average quotes for a widowed driver obtained from five insurers — Geico, Farmers, Progressive, Nationwide and Liberty Mutual — were higher than for a married driver, ranging from 3 percent more (Nationwide) to 29 percent more (Geico). State Farm was the only insurer that did not quote higher premiums for a widow in any of the markets. The company’s quotes in a given city were the same, regardless of the driver’s marital status.

Eric Hardgrove, a spokesman for Nationwide, said in an email statement that a number of factors affected a customer’s price. “Nationwide doesn’t have different prices based solely on whether a driver is widowed or married,” he said.

He said that significant life events like a marriage or a death in the family “warrant a conversation with an insurance professional who can determine an individual’s specific insurance needs and advise on the appropriate coverage at the right price.”

Geico did not immediately return emails and a phone message seeking comment.

David Snyder, a spokesman for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said that rather than showing a penalty applied to widows or other unmarried people, the analysis reflected that many insurers gave a discounted premium to married couples, because they tended to be more responsible and had a lower rate of filing claims. So if drivers are not married, they will not receive a quote with that discount.

Also, Mr. Snyder said, punching information into a website to get a quote doesn’t reflect what occurs with actual customers. If a customer becomes widowed and later receives a premium increase, she can call her agent and explain that her spouse has died. “I don’t think there’s an agent out there that wouldn’t adjust the rate,” he said.

Consumer Reports recently published an analysis that examined two billion insurance price quotes from 700 insurers and concluded that factors that don’t have to do with driving — like your credit history and whether you use store or bank credit cards — are increasingly used as criteria in setting rates. A single New Yorker, for instance, with merely “good” credit would pay an average of $255 more in annual premiums than someone with “excellent” credit, the analysis found.

Mr. Snyder again said that insurers were basing their premium decisions on data that indicated higher risk: “It’s not people being judged,” he said. Rather, he said, “certain factors correlate to increased risk.”

Mr. Brobeck argues that because auto insurance is state-mandated, insurance companies should be more transparent about how they set rates and should stick primarily to driving-related factors to set premiums. He cited as an example California, which has mandated that driving-related factors must be the primary criteria used to set premiums. (Three states, California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, prohibit insurers from using credit scores to set insurance rates.)

Here are some questions to consider asking about auto insurance rates:

How can I increase my chances of getting a good auto rate?

Because information in your credit report can affect your premium, you should check your report for possible errors and seek to have them corrected, said Margot Gilman, money editor at Consumer Reports. Using national bank credit cards rather than store-specific cards may help, she said, because insurers rank bank cards more highly. And, she said, if you receive notice of a rate increase, push back by contacting your insurer and asking for a lower premium.

Do I have recourse if my credit score harmed my premium?

Many states allow consumers to ask their insurer for an “extraordinary life circumstances” exception, which would eliminate the use of their credit score as a factor in setting their premium if they are affected by a job loss, illness or other serious life event. Consumer Reports suggests seeking an exception, although it’s unclear how often such requests are granted.

Does it still make sense to shop around for insurance rates?

Yes, said Ms. Gilman. But checking one or two different insurers isn’t enough. Most consumers check three insurers at the most, she said, “and falsely convince themselves that they’ve shopped around.” To get the best premium, she said, you should check rates “broadly and frequently” — and that means up to a dozen quotes. “It’s a pain in the neck,” she said. “But it’s worth it.”

Car Repairs From Deer Collisions Will Cost More

The latest insurance data show that the risk of hitting a deer with your car has not changed much from a year ago. But the cost of repairing your car if you’re unlucky enough to strike one is on the rise.

State Farm reports that the chance of a driver hitting a deer is one in 169 nationally, about the same as in 2014.

There is, however, significant regional variation. Motorists should take special care when driving through West Virginia, for instance, where the chance of hitting a deer is one in 44 drivers. Odds are also high in Montana, Iowa, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. (New York ranks 28th in the country for the most deer collisions — a decline from last year.) Claims for deer strikes rose more than 21 percent in Indiana and more than 13 percent in Iowa.

How to Change a Car Fuse

Picture this. It’s a beautiful night and you and your sweetie are driving down a pretty country road. The bliss of the night is interrupted by a high-pitched scream. The scream wasn’t Sweetie; it was you because the car just lost all power to the headlights.

Since the car is running fine the only conclusion to make is there is a blown fuse. Luckily a few tips and tricks of the trade, not to mention knowing where to look, will fix the problem in a jiffy.

The first thing to do is be prepared. The Boy Scouts are on to something with that one. Being prepared means having the correct fuses for your vehicle on hand, not in the garage at home. They won’t help you there. Ten dollars or less spent at the auto store will provide your car with a spare set of fuses for any emergency.

It’s a good idea to store these in the glove compartment if your car isn’t equipped with a place in the fuse panel to store them. The glove compartment is an ideal location to keep the fuses clean and dry.

Newer model cars and trucks rely heavily on their electrical systems. Ask anyone who has worked on them. Some of these models have up to three different fuse boxes.

An easy way to determine which box to check and which fuse to change is using the owner’s manual. There should be a chart detailing those specifics included. If the chart is missing, the fastest way to find the faulty fuse is to test it with a test light or voltmeter.

Now, if the Boy Scouts’ rule has been forgotten, the option left for you is to check them by sight individually. To test if the fuse is blown, connect the ground wire of your test light or voltmeter to a chassis point, one with exposed metal is a good choice. Then touch the tool’s probe to the fuse’s conductor.

A working fuse will show voltage power on both sides. Obviously the faulty culprit fuse will be missing its charge on one side. Fortunately changing the fuse involves removing the bad one and plugging in a new fuse.

Pay attention here. Make sure the fuse you are using to replace the bad one is the correct amp. If you use a fuse with too high amperage it is possible to start an electrical fire in your vehicle and do more damage than a simple blown fuse is worth.

Fuses typically come in three sizes, mini, normal, and maxi. The fuses that are mini and normal are color-coded. The wrench thrown in is that the maxi sized fuses are color-coded differently.

This being the case it is imperative to check that the amperage on the fuse is correct for location. Don’t even trust a trained mechanic, they make mistakes too. Just because that was the last fuse put in doesn’t mean it was the right amperage.

Knowing how to change your car fuses and being prepared for the possibility is the perfect way to ensure that there won’t be any late night blackouts. Sweetie will thank you for it.

 

Car Rust Repair as Easy as Sand, Scrap and Paint

Once rust starts to eat away at your car, there is no turning back. The rust spots start to plague your vehicle, leaving spots that cannot be eliminated and that never slow down. Caused when mild steel comes into contact with water, which is slightly acidic, the wetter the weather is, the more rust your car will have.

To prevent car rust from ruining your vehicle, check your car regularly for rust spots. Carefully look over the places around the wheel well and on the bottom edge next to the ground, as well as around your door locks where any possible chips could have been made. Often, tiny rust spots are caused by stones being thrown up from the road that chip off the top coat of paint on your car; car keys can knock against the paint to cause scratches. That leaves only bare metal exposed to water, wind, and dirt, which can set in motion an even larger section of rust.

However, if you don’t catch a chipped spot before it starts to rust, you can fix it yourself. Treating a car’s rusty spot can be quite simple if it’s small. It’s the sizable sections that should be left to the professionals where patching may be required to repair the car rust. To treat a small rusted area, start by using a cloth dipped in alcohol to wipe down the rust spot on and about an inch around it, and then scrape off the loose paint. Next, rub the area down with coarse sandpaper until you reach an area of good paint and blow away the dust. Then, apply primer with a fine paint brush, going beyond the area just about a quarter-inch, and let it dry completely.

After this, you’ll want to use an old knife to apply a thin layer of cellulose stopper. Don’t leave any excess around the affected area. In the final step, use a medium-grade sandpaper to make the area smoothly flow into the area surrounding the old rust spot. To finish off the repair, use a can of touch up paint, applied quickly and smoothly, overlapping the paint into the car’s existing paint job. Apply the second coat after 24 hours and you’re done.

To find the exact color of paint to match your vehicle, look for the car’s paint color or trim code on the identification plate underneath the hood or inside the doors. You can take this number to an auto accessory shop, dealership, or auto repair shop to get an exact shade of paint so you can make the car rust repair job look professional. You can also look for the color code inside the frame of the driver’s side door near the door jamb.

To help protect your vehicle from being vulnerable to more rust spots a few hundred miles down the road, there are various rust prevention techniques that come in every form, like corrosion protection coating, corrosion control coating, rust prevention coatings, automotive undercoating, rust repair, and rust paint. There are a number of companies in the market that specialize in applying rust prevention and protection techniques that will provide free estimates and information to anyone who is interested in getting their car rust repaired.

Also using basic car care such as waxing the vehicle adds another protective coating that helps run off water and it adds an extra clear layer of protection on your car to prevent any need for future car rust repair

Car Scratch Repair Tips and Quick Fixes

You accidentally scratched your car door with your keys while you had your hands full and now you have an awful mark staring back at you every time you get into your car. Do you have to go to a professional who will charge you for labor? Or can you do it yourself for a fairly cheap price? Well, the answer is, an undersized scuff is something you can most likely fix at home by yourself. However, if you’re small scratch looks more like a tree branch than a stick; it’s time to consult the professionals.

Car scratch repair requires a couple of research steps before you can proceed on the actual scratch repairing. First you have to determine if your car has an enameled based paint, because some of the paint jobs on newer model vehicles won’t blend well with lacquer-based primer paint. Before you get started on the actual work, you can consult your local auto parts store to help you determine the exact color of your car. Take your VIN number so that you can match up the cover-up paint with the car’s original coat. You may be able to find the paint color code listed on the edging of the doorframe or in the glove compartment. A dealership would also be able to tell you the exact color paint you’ll need to repair the car scratch.

Next, buy primer paint labeled for automobile use in a lighter color and body compound that will go on easily in one coat. Then, wash the scuffed area with a laundry detergent to remove any wax or grit that might affect your recover paint. After that, take some fine-grained sandpaper and sand along the scratch, polishing away any rust you find. When sanding the scratched area, you may find that it is easier to buff out enamel with 1500-grit or 2000-grit sandpaper to avoid sanding marks. Be sure to blow or brush away any dust that accumulates and then use masking tape and newspaper to separate the scrape. Leave half an inch of room around the car scratch to work.

As you continue, you’ll need to use a plastic putty knife to apply body compound to any deep scratches; a metal one will cause more damage. Make sure to read the instructions on the label and follow them closely. After the body compound hardens, you can sand the spot flat and blow away all the dust again. Then, spray the primer onto the scratch and let it dry overnight. In the morning, use the brush from the touchup paint to paint the area, and then let it dry overnight. You may find that a finish polish is less abrasive than a regular compound.

It’s time to consult the professionals if the scratch on your car is stretched across a door or the hood, because you’ll find a better finished-product by having a body repair shop repaint the entire panel. If a scratch or scrape is left alone for a long time without repair, the area could start to rust, which is nearly impossible to stop once it has started. A small scratch, though, should be easy to tackle with the car scratch repair instructions given here.

 

Car Repairs and Preventative Maintenance

Did you know that every year in the US there are more than 10,000 car accidents and some 400 Americans die in them. The usual reason is failure to have routine maintenance done on cars.

The car is the most popular and usual means of transportation in the United States, and about 90% if adult Americans own one now or used to own one. By keeping your car in good condition you can reduce the risk of easy to fix problems causing an accident that could kill you, your passengers or people in other cars.

Before hitting the road, you should check the following items regularly.

1. Your Tires – Lots of American cars have all season tires on them. What ever the kind of tire you use it is important to regularly check them. Check for air levels, flats, leaks, worn spots, over use, low treads. Just inspect your tires weekly.

2. Your Wipers –You should change your windshield wipers at least twice a year. So that means just about every six months.

3. Your Brakes – You need your brakes to slow your car down when you press on them. If you press on your brake pedal and it goes all the way to the floor, you need to have them checked. They are way too low.

Newer cars may have a brake warning system in to automatically let you know when there is a problem with your cars brakes. It is usually found on your dashboard, and will light up if it finds a problem with the brakes.

This signal will let you know it is time to have a mechanic check out the brake system unless you are handy enough to fix it yourself. Check your owners manual to see what your specific problem may be.

4. Your Headlights – Can you believe that in the year 2005 more than 2300 pedestrians died because some drivers had problems with either their headlights or their vision. You should replace your headlights every year.

Here is my top 10 List for visits to the mechanic

1. Electronic/Ignition control
2. Electrical problem
3. Suspension/steering
4. Brake system
5. Oil change/filters/lube
6. Radiator problem
7. Exhaust system
8. Fuel system/carburetor
9. Clutch/transmission
10. Air conditioning system

Keeping up with routine check ups and car maintenance can be expensive. That is the most common reason that lots of people don’t keep up with the maintenance as suggested in their car owners manual. You can find ways to save money on auto repairs.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that $20 billion was spent on auto repairs that were not necessary due to fraud and incompetence. Here are some simple tips for you to show you how you can afford repairs when you need to have them done.

1. Preventive Maintenance – This can save you a lot of money during the life of your car. It will prevent serious damage that can be done to your car by letting little problems become big ones. Read your owners manual and follow the recommended servicing’s that will keep your car in good shape and keep it running longer.

2. Get An Estimate – Before you let the mechanic do the work your car needs get a written estimate. It is always good to know what you are being charged and what work will be done to your vehicle. If the price he gives you sounds to high, check other mechanics in your area. It is always smart to get at least three estimates before having any work done.

3. Car Pooling – You should give your car a rest once and awhile. You can try car pooling with co-workers to save your car some wear and tear, and you can save yourself money by sharing the cost of gas, tolls and parking.

4. Do The Repairs Yourself – If you read your car manual you will increase your understanding of the basic workings of the car, and how to fix them. There are some things you can do yourself without too much technical knowledge. You can change your own oil, and give your car a tune up.

Don’t try to undertake tasks which you have no knowledge of whatsoever, but routine maintenance should be easy for you to handle. You can take a beginner mechanic course at a local high school adult center to learn exactly how to do simple repairs.

You can often find the answer to your repair question in your owners manual, and it will let you see if it is something you can do yourself or if your car needs to go to the shop.

Small Car Repairs Now Can Save You Money And Time In The Future

As drivers hold on to cars longer, small repairs now can save money, time in the future

(ARA) – Drivers are holding on to their cars longer in these tough economic times, so AutoZone, the nation’s leading auto parts retailer, is offering tips to help motorists get the most out of their investment.

“Holding off on purchasing a new vehicle can be a smart financial decision, especially if drivers properly maintain their vehicles to ensure they’re running safely and efficiently,” said Steve Stoll, Merchandising Director of AutoZone. “Maintaining and replacing key components, such as brakes and batteries, can keep vehicles on the road and help prevent costly repairs in the future.”

The average length of time consumers hold on to their vehicles is more than five years, according to a recent automotive industry study. Older cars can be safe and dependable, but need ongoing maintenance to keep them running at their best. According to the National Car Council, 80 percent of vehicles on the road are in need of service or parts.

Motorists who know the signs of impending failure and understand the impact extreme weather conditions can have on various car components, can plan ahead for repairs and replacements instead of being hit by an unexpected bill down the road, Stoll said.

“The longer car maintenance is delayed, the more costly it can be,” said Stoll.

Two key components in any vehicle are the braking system and the battery. AutoZone experts offer the following tips to ensure these vital parts are properly maintained.

Give Brakes A Winter Check-up.

Excessive build-up of road salt and brine solutions in the winter on brake components is one cause of brake failure. These solutions can create contamination of exposed brake parts and can cause brake components to deteriorate prematurely. Hazardous road conditions can also lead to increased use of Antilock Braking Systems (ABS), which can cause premature wear of all brake system components.

As temperatures warm up, motorists should check their braking systems to uncover any damage that may have occurred during the winter months.

Check Brakes Quarterly To Ensure Proper Performance.

In general, brakes are the most important safety feature on any vehicle and should be checked quarterly to ensure proper performance. Brake pads and rotors should also be checked any time the tires are removed, such as during a tire rotation. Other brake components such as brake fluid should be checked at every oil change.

Extreme Temperatures Can Mean Battery Failure.

A battery’s biggest enemy is heat. High temperatures can cause the grids inside batteries to corrode and break down. The effects of the corrosion are usually seen when winter hits, when the car requires more electrical power to start. Drivers should have batteries tested up to twice a year in normal climates, and more frequently in extremely hot or cold climates.

Retailers Such As AutoZone Offer Free Battery Testing.

Replace the battery every three to four years.

While batteries can last more than five years in ideal driving conditions, factors such as temperature, the car’s age and nature of usage can impact the life of a battery. Many motorists are unaware that under the stress of normal city driving, the average life of a vehicle battery is about three years.

Automotive Engineering: A way to a successful career

One of the best courses nowadays is automotive engineering. It involves examining the operating standards of vehicles. It may also comprise of proficiency management, mechanical system, hydraulic system and electrical processes. Since the industry of automotive is quickly growing, there are several people who want to have a degree program in automotive courses.

Some of the degree programs of automotive engineering offer lots of courses in mechanical engineering and automotive design engineering. The colleges that offer this kind of course give direct application and hands-on training for an array of careers in the industry. This course specializes in the field of vehicle engineering and it can be divided into three main fields of study. The three main fields of this course are manufacturing, development and production.

Manufacturing engineers are those involved in making and building different automobiles, while development engineers are those who were involved on the different attributes of a sedan that includes speed, durability and performance. On the other hand, production engineers focus more on the design systems and components of a vehicle. It also involves designing and testing of the vehicles’ parts and includes coordinating tests to make sure that all automobiles meet the national standards set by the government.

Automotive engineers have several responsibilities and job description that they need to comply with after completing all their trainings. As they finished the degree program of this course, engineers can now design the car’s systems and components. They also need to determine the best attributes for a specific sedan or for a future vehicle.
They also need to develop codes and standards for a well-organized manufacturing. Automotive engineers must determine the costs and implement the procedures to lessen the production costs. They are also expected to introduce and develop new strategies and systems for the production of automotives. In addition, they also need to make sure that they follow the government regulations during the process of the making a vehicle.

Aside from developing and designing, they also need to determine the drive ability of the each vehicle. They also need to implement quality procedures and control strategies. When there is a problem, they also need to solve all the troubles in automotive engineering. Lastly, they must conduct statistical analysis as required. All the graduates from this course can have several career options like vehicle manufacturing engineer, operations research, systems engineer, vehicle dynamics controller, performance engineer, noise, vibration and harshness engineer (NVH), emissions controller or research and safety engineering.

Automotive Rapid Prototyping & Automotive Prototype Services

New product development and innovation is much more difficult and time consuming than most other business activities. Automotive rapid prototyping greatly enhances learning speed and reduces the risk of new automotive parts development.

Historically, the automotive industry has been using rapid prototyping as an important tool in the automotive parts design process. The extremely fast-paced automotive design cycles require an extremely fast prototyping system which can produce car parts fast and inexpensively.

The main objective of automotive prototyping is to learn quickly: how a new automotive product behaves in its natural working environment, before transferring the prototype to the production line. Many times, mistakes are learned only after a new automotive part is launched. This is the main explanation for poor automotive parts design, from product mismatch, poor engineering and function or finish, and overpriced production. In order to accelerate the learning curve, before these costly automotive prototyping mistakes are made, one must accelerate and facilitate feedback loops from tests in the lab and market trials.

Automotive Manufacturing Technologies

Working with an assortment of rapid prototyping equipment, automotive prototyping engineers utilize the most advanced 3D printers, in their quest for perfect form, function and utility. Working in advanced manufacturing centers, the automotive engineers use the technology to verify what they are doing, and, equally important, to save tremendous amounts of time, and money.

Automotive Rapid Prototyping Compresses Development Time

The advantages of using 3D rapid prototyping model creation versus viewing a cad/cam model on a computer screen are palpable. Automotive parts engineers get together discuss the pros and cons of a rapidly producedautomotive parts model and discuss the pros and cons of the design, as they pass it around, twisting and viewing the prototype, and decide if that is what they had in mind. This way, problems get solved up front, before going to the assembly line! Once determined that the automotive prototype design is a go, the model can then be sent to a die maker.

Automotive Prototyping and the Die Maker Process

The die maker cannot use model to make the die, but because they have it in their hand and can look at it and feel it, they can determine where the parting lines will be and exactly how much steel they will need to produce it. The timing of the die process is greatly compressed.

Examples of Automotive Rapid Prototype Parts

· Car Engine parts

· Engine castings and parts

· Auto Body Components

· Auto Mechanical parts

· Car Dashboards

· Car Handles and Knobs

· Car Trim parts

Fail first Paradox in Automotive Rapid Prototyping

The automotive rapid prototyping paradox is to fail earlier rather than later. By failing earlier, the design engineers surprisingly succeed in accelerating the project; this greatly reduces development cost risk. By considering all automotive prototype failures as learning experiments, the engineer has much less stress, knowing that they are practicing the old adage, that success comes from ninety-nine percent failure and introspection.