Cars

Giving Car Costs An Overhaul


For many consumers, the costs associated with owning and operating a car continue to rise. Fuel prices, insurance rates and car maintenance expenses have all gone up in recent years. Thankfully, you don't have to alter your driving habits or buy a new car to get some relief. Here are some quick, inexpensive, easy ways to save money:

Mind the air to save money on fuel--The U.S. Energy Department reports that underinflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 3 percent. One study estimates that 50 to 80 percent of the tires rolling on U.S. roads are underinflated. Astonishingly, Americans could save up to two billion gallons of gas each year simply by properly inflating their tires.

Secondly, a clogged air filter can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. Air filters keep impurities from damaging the interior of the engine, so replacing dirty filters will save gas and protect your engine. More tips to save money on fuel are available at www.fueleconomy. gov.

Get slick to reduce maintenance costs--There are high-performance motor oils that can make meaningful improvements to a car's fuel economy and engine life. For instance, numerous independent studies have found that Royal Purple motor oil can improve fuel economy by 5 percent or more. Find out more at their Web site, .

Using a high-performance synthetic motor oil, as opposed to conventional oil, also allows for more miles between oil changes. This reduces maintenance costs and the amount of time spent on maintenance. You'll pay a little more for premium motor oil, but the savings in fuel and reduced maintenance costs more than make up for the higher price.

Reduce your insurance costs by doing your homework--One of the simplest ways to reduce insurance costs is to shop around. Get at least three price quotes. You can call companies directly or access information on the Internet. The state insurance regulator may also provide price comparisons. Other ways to reduce insurance costs can be found by visiting the U.S. Insurance Information Institute's Web site at

An astute consumer can save hundreds of dollars a year on automotive expenses without buying a new car or changing lifestyle. All it takes is a little time, research and the choice of better-performing products.

There are a number of ways to reduce the costs associated with owning a car.

Autoparts, Cars

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles – The Next Step In Hybrid Evolution


Hybrid vehicles are selling like hot cakes and everyone is wondering where this will lead. Will hybrid technology evolve as fast as computers did, so that every 18 months the latest model is twice as efficient as the old model?

Unlike computer evolution, there is a road map of sorts for the journey ahead for hybrid car and truck owners. The current hybrids available from Toyota, Ford, Chevy, GMC, Honda and others are designated HEV vehicles, which stands for ?Hybrid Electric Vehicle.? This technology employs an internal combustion engine and an electric drive train. At city speeds the HEV runs on mostly electric power, reserving the expensive gasoline power for highway speeds. The electric batteries are recharged by capturing the energy that is normally wasted during braking and idling. So what could be better than that?

Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEVs) will do everything that their predecessors do, but they will be able to travel farther on electric-only power, and will be equipped with a plug-in battery charger for use at night when electric rates are lower. It has been estimated that if all U.S. vehicles were replaced with PHEVs today, national consumption of oil would go down by 70 to 90 percent by tomorrow. This happy scenario would make the U.S. completely self-sufficient for supplying its own oil needs.

The other good news about PHEVs is that even if every one was recharged at night by a coal-fired electric plant, the CO2 emissions involved would be half what they are today for standard gasoline and diesel powered engines.

After-market conversion kits now are in the works for do-it-yourself types who can?t wait for the factory version.

The automakers are already working on this next step and DaimlerChrysler has built a PHEV prototype of its Dodge Sprinter cargo van.

How much gasoline will you save with your new hybrid vehicle? If you drive 18,000 miles per year, you might use 600 gallons with a conventional vehicle, 400 gallons with an HEV and 80 gallons with a PHEV.

But the evolution of the automobile does not stop here. Eventually the PHEV will give way to the PHEV with batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. This will then give way to the PHEV with fuel cells that do almost all the work, no longer drawing much from the batteries. This will be eclipsed by the plug-in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that no longer has a gasoline engine.
HEV: Hybrid Electric Vehicle PHEV: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle PHEV-RFC: PHEV with regenerative hydrogen fuel cells RFCV: Regenerative hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will not have a gas motor

PHEV-RFC and RFCV systems will be plugged in for nighttime recharging, which will use grid electric power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen fuel cell will be recharged with this home-made hydrogen, eliminating the need for hydrogen fuel stations. At this point in the evolution of the automobile, the vehicle itself will no longer pollute.

Cars

How To Choose Good Floor Mats For Your Car


If you are in the market for good floor mats for your car, consider the after market options instead of those available for purchase through your automobile dealership. In most instances, these after market additions are much cheaper than those items sold directly through your automobile dealership and they have more options for quality products. Typically, there are many different manufacturers of after market accessories for cars, including floor mats that make products specific for different makes and models of cars. For this reason, you are sure to find a floor mat the best fits the exact dimension of your car without having to go through the dealership.

For starters, look to a well constructed floor mat that properly fits into your vehicle. Choosing a floor mat that is too small will not properly protect the floorboard, while choosing a floor mat too large can potentially cause a slipping hazard when entering or exiting the vehicle, or even cause the driver to have an accident if the mat becomes bunched underneath the pedals. Be sure to know the make and model of your car and look to a manufacturer that uses this information in their product development.

Next, choose a floor mat out of an appropriate material. Generally, the choices range between floor mats made of carpet and those made of rubber. If you are looking for style, then choose a carpeted floor mat, but ensure the mat has a stain resistant coating like StainMaster or a similar protective product. Also, choose a carpet color that matches or coordinates well with the interior of your vehicle. Choose a rubber floor mat for hauling or for easy clean up. Especially for truck beds and trunks, having a rubber floor mat can prevent your load from moving when the car breaks or accelerates.

Finally, choose a floor mat that best goes with the interior of your car. The car customization field has grown to dramatic proportions, so consider choosing a mat that is customized to fit your style. These customized mats can include everything from your name to the number of your favorite race car driver so that your car is unique and individual. For example, have a carpeted floor mat embroidered with a specific design or some other customized element to make your vehicle stand out from the rest of the crowd. Also along this customizable line, most manufacturers produce floor mats in a wide variety of colors that can match or coordinate well with the interior of your car and allow you to create a specific look. Whatever your needs and desired look, be sure to first ensure your floor mats are made of high quality materials that will hold up to the wear and tear of constant use and periodical cleaning.

Autoparts, Cars

Maserati Mc12 A Winner


Designed to win races, the Maserati MC12 is actually sold as a road car, albeit it a very impractical one. Still what do you expect with a 620 bhp exotic car? The car looks just like the sports racing car that it is. To be fair, it is a real two-seater while the cars that race at Le Mans are more like single-seaters.

Only 25 MC12s were built initially, and quite a few were used for racing. Actually, when they heard about Maserati building the MC12 for the GTA championship (ooops, sorry for sale as a road car, was the official line, I think) some of the other companies threatened to withdraw as they thought the presence of the MC12 on the starting grid would make a farce of the whole series.

Although the Maserati MC12, is a true exotic car, it is based on the Ferrari Enzo. The whole idea was to upgrade Maserati's image following a checkered history. The glory of the 50s, when Maserati was a regular winner of Grand Prix, got lost in the mire of an economic downturn, when the company took the wrong turn more than once.

As Ferrari and Maserati are both part of the Fiat Group, and were in fact in the same sub-group, it made sense to modify the Enzo to get Maserati back as a winner. Now, Ferrari and Maserati have been put in different sub-groups, so this sort of collaboration is not expected in the future.

V-12 from Ferrari with 622 bhp

The Maserati MC12 looks completeley different from the Enzo, though,, with a long nose and very long tail. Where the Enzo is angular, the MC12 is curved. It has a carbon fiber body structure with steel sub-frames front and rear. Power comes from a 6.0 liter V-12 developing 622 bhp @ 7,500 rpm, and 480 lb ft (652 Nm) torque @ 5,500 rpm. A semi-racing engine to be sure. It is coupled to a semi-automatic six-speed sequential gearbox, developed by Ferrari in racing.

Suspension is by double wishbones, with inboard spring and damper units acting through pushrods. These are mounted horizontally as on the Enzo. The dampers have variable rates. Quite a car, but not as extreme as the Bugatti Veyron or the latest Saleen S7.

Following the racing success of the MC12, Maserati is now to build a more extreme version - the MC12 Corsa. The MC12 Corsa has a massively uprated Enzo V-12 engine giving about 750bhp. You can get this for about $1.3 million - or ?700,000 or Euros 1 million depending where you live.

But this is not a road car, nor will you be able to race it in any official categories ? so this is a trackday special at a huge price. Maserati plans to build about 12 MC12 Corsas a year.

Cars, Tires

Hurry: Save Up To ?1000?s Off A Used Seat In The Hotspot Sale ? Must End 30th April!


Frosts Hotspot Sale ? news article:

Head to your local Frosts Seat today for a great deal on a used car in the Seat Hotspot Sale! All used cars are reduced with fantastic savings of up to ?1000?s off the price. But this April madness must end on 30th April and is sure to be popular so hurry to your local Frosts Seat for a hot deal on an approved used Seat today.

Whether you?re after a used Seat Ibiza, a Seat Leon, a sporty Seat Ibiza Cupra, a spacious Alhambra or a stylish used Seat Exeo ? we have the car for you at a price that?s simply hot, hot, hot!

Your local Frosts 4 Cars Seat dealers are located throughout West Sussex with branches in Haywards Heath and Shoreham-by-Sea. Contact us online or pop in and visit us today and join in - remember the Hotspot Seat Sale ends 30th April so you?d best be quick!

Autoparts

Navistar To Continue Shipping Super Duty Diesel Engines


The Navistar International Corporation, the parent company of International Truck and Engine Corporation, earlier entered into a consent injunction with Ford Motor Co. in which it resumes the production and shipment of the 6.4L Power Stroke? diesel engines which are intended for the automaker?s Super Duty pickup trucks. The automaker, in the said injunction, is expected to pay without deductions.

The International Truck and Engine Corporation has been Ford?s exclusive diesel engine supplier for Super Duty pickup trucks since 1979. In February, the automaker launched the new 6.4L Power Stroke for the new Super Duty. In addition, Navistar produces 225,000 to 300,000 diesel engines for Ford trucks each year.

Ford said that they had spent $1.05 billion in warranty and repairs on the previous Navistar diesel engine in Ford's Super Duty pickup trucks. Navistar said that the automaker's warranty claim is false. Ford debited Navistar about $125 million early this year. Ford said the contract allows debiting however Navistar disagreed. The two companies also have a dispute about the appropriate price for the new engine. That makes up a disagreement amounting to over $300 million a year.

On 26 February, Navistar suspended the production of the diesel engine. According to the engine supplier, the suspension is resorted to because the automaker had stopped honoring the terms under which the engines were manufactured. The suspension made Ford seek a temporary restraining order from Judge John J. McDonald of the Circuit Court of Oakland County, Michigan.

On 28 February, Judge McDonald issued an order requiring the supplier to resume production of the engine and Ford to pay with no withholding until a hearing was held. After the scheduled hearing the judge asked the companies to continue discussion to settle whether an agreement can be reached before the trial is commenced. The companies met and the judge issued consent injunction that supersedes the temporary restraining order. The said order from the judge also requires both companies to meet and resolve the contract dispute regarding warranty claims and pricing.

"I think this (consent injunction) represents a new spirit of cooperation between the two companies," Navistar spokesman Roy Wiley said. The consent injunction assuages concerns of the derailment for one of Ford's most important launches of the year.

Ford's Louisville, Kentucky plant stopped production last week and was shut down Friday after Navistar suspended shipments of the engines. The pickup truck also serves as the one of the vital keys to make Ford recover from billions of dollars of losses in recent years.

The halt of engine production threatened to disrupt production of the Super Duty, one of the most profitable product lines of Ford. In the past, a shortage of engines also has disrupted production at a Ford plant in Kentucky. That situation is now avoided by the automaker. Super Duty trucks are the most popular vehicles in their class, averaging 50 percent market share in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment during the past years. Hence, to allow production to be disrupted is perilous to the automaker.

Ford acknowledged the agreement with Navistar and said in a statement it was pleased there would be no further disruptions to the production of the F-Series Super Duty. The automaker said its Kentucky plant began ramping production back up early this week and will be back at full speed on Monday.

In 2006, Ford sold 796,000 units of the F-series trucks and 40 percent of the figure is owned by the Super Duty. The redesigned Super Duty include a new grille that blends well with Ford bumper, factory installed trailer brake controller, upfitter switches, and new interior. The Powerstroke Diesel, which is the now the subject of the controversy, was also modified to generate torque from 560ft/lb to 570ft/lb - nonetheless, the peak power output is maintained at 325 horsepower.

Autoparts

Purchase Good Quality Car Audio To Enjoy Stress Free Driving


When you invest in a car it means that you are making a great investment. You will look out for every possibility by means of which you make your car wonderful, luxurious and comfortable. In that case, the car stereos or any other car audios are a great option.

To get the comfort of a stress-free driving, car audios are a great option. Whenever you consider the purchase of some sound system for your car, you should always think of some exclusive and a good quality piece. Be it any kind of car or any kind of road, you will just be relaxed with the sounds coming out from the car stereos.

Good quality car stereos will amplify the sound and also help you get rid of any kind of distortion in the sound. Make sure that the audio system which you buy for your car does not get overheated frequently or even at times. This can pose a risk to their life.

When you buy the car audios, consider your budget as well. You should also think from before the kind of sound system that you want to install in your car. This will help you in a better approach. The size of your car is also an important factor that you should deal with. This is because all kinds of car stereos do not fit well in all sizes of car.

Car audios generally have various components like head units, amplifiers, speakers and many other input devices. They all work together to provide a great quality sound. However, be careful to take a note of the instructions which are mentioned in the sets of the stereo systems.

It is better not to go for the cheaper ones. This is because the cheaper ones will have poor sound quality and perhaps they would also not last long. Poor quality sound systems can also cause a threat to your car. If you love your car, you should never try out these. Instead make an investment which will be worth its value.

After the investment comes the maintenance. It is up to you to maintain the car stereos properly. Proper maintenance of the stereos would ensure good quality sound.

Do not let the traffic jam outside be a cause of your headache. Make sure to purchase good car audio for your car so that they can provide you the ultimate relief that you are looking for.

Cars, Tires

North America?s Ford Contour


The Ford Mondeo sedan was for the European market. Travel to the lands of the United States and North American and you would find the Ford Contour. The Ford Contour would be the Ford Mondeo?s American counterpart. This sedan was actually sold by the Ford Motor Company starting from 1995 up until 2000. Fact is, this vehicle actually was the basis for building a version of this under the Mercury brand. And the result came to be the Mercury Mystique and later on became the Mercury Cougar. The Ford Contour was found in the Ford Motor Company?s line up filling the niche between the Ford Escort and the Ford Taurus.

The Ford Contour has a DOHC V6 engine with 24 valves. It has an aluminum block and aluminum heads. This has a displacement of 155 cubic inches. It can produce some 170 units of bhp at 6250 rpm, and 165 pound feet at 4250 rpm. It has also been equipped with a five speed manual transmission system. The wheelbase of the Ford Contour measures 106.5 inches, 183.9 inches in length and has a curb weight of 2910 pounds.

From 1995 to 1996, the Ford Contour came to be body colored. The front seats were recessed to the back so as to improve rear seat leg room. This is compared to the first wave of Ford Contours that entered the American automobile market. After a year, changes were still done. Traction control no longer was given as an option. The remote fuel door release feature was deleted and the fuel door that this batch held had a flanged opening. Made available were an interior trunk light, a tilt steering wheel, and a power antenna. In 1997 to 1998, the Ford Contours that entered the streets sported front and rear end designs that were new. There were new alloy wheel designs. The sail panels on the rear door windows were now smooth and held the word ?Contour? emblazoned on it.

As per the last years of the Ford Contour, it still continually received changes. In 1998 to 1999, the Ford Contour deleted one of its trim levels. There was a clock in radio available. There were also some color revisions. The rear window and the brake light designs had changed. For Canada, this was the last year of the Ford Contour. In the United States, 2000 was the last year for the vehicle.

Autoparts

Aftermarket Adjustable Rear Control Arms for MINIs and BMWs


The main difference between aftermarket rear control arms and stock rear control arms is the difference in the amount of adjustability. Many of the later BMW and MINI models come with non-adjustable rear arms that don't allow you to change the camber. Some of the newer models do come with adjustable rear arms, but only allow for a camber adjustment between 0 and 0.5 degrees. This is better than no adjustment at all, but usually is not enough to reach a desirable degree of camber upon suspension alterations. Since stock rear control arms in MINIs and BMWs offer little to no camber adjustability, if you choose to lower your vehicle with a performance spring set, you should strongly consider investing in aftermarket adjustable rear control arms. Anytime you add a drop to your vehicle with performance springs, a considerable amount of negative camber is added to the rear tires. Excessive negative camber in the rear can negatively affect manueverabiliy and control. Additionally, the inside of rear tires wear out quicker. The general consensus on acceptable rear camber ranges from 0 to -1.5 degrees. When aftermarket spring sets are added and used to drop the vehicle, the amount of negative camber increases. Say for instance you decide to drop your BMW or MINI 1.5 inches. This amount of drop equates to about -3 degrees of camber on the rear wheels - 100% more than the aforementioned acceptable amount! Even if your BMW or MINI stock arms are adjustable, they will probably only be able to reduce camber to -2.5 degrees due to limited extension. With aftermarket rear control arms, you can make camber adjustments from anywhere between 0 and 4 degrees. Aftermarket arms for BMWs and MINIs from reputable designers can reduce negative camber and increase handling. If you're thinking about dropping your car a few inches and already have a rear sway bar installed, performance-grade adjustable arms are a must. Too much negative camber in the rear disrupts the benefits of your swaybar. If you've installed a swaybar, especially on your MINI, you've installed it because you want to reduce understeering. Negative camber in the rear will increase understeering and, consequently, decrease the effectiveness of your swaybar. When extenable rear arms are taken advantage of, you're able to retain the benefits of your swaybar and lower your vehicle to a desirable level. Lastly, BMWs and MINIs have four rear control arms - two upper and two lower. It's only necessary to replace lower ones with performance-grade extendable arms to effectively decrease camber. Upper arms may remain stock, adjustable or not. After replacing your stock rear arms with aftermarket ones, expect a huge difference in handling and easier camber adjustments.

Tires

Zastava To Produce Opel Vehicles


Reuters report, General Motors has contracted a deal with Zastava automaker for the production of Opel vehicles. Production will transpire at Zastava?s complex in Kragujevac in central Serbia.

According to the source familiar with the agreement, "They will sign on Thursday. The production of the first Opel Astra vehicles is expected to start in 2008."

Another source familiar with the negotiation has also confirmed the deal. Last year the state-owned Zastava, exporter of Yugi cars to the United States was only able to produce 15,000 cars which is less than its annual capacity of 60,000 vehicles. Zastava also caters to Italy?s Fiat producing the Punto cars.

These Punto cars are marketed in Serbia and the rest of the neighboring Balkan countries under the brand ?Zastava 10?. Zastava was also given by Fiat the authority to distribute the cars on the Russian market.

Reuters has quoted a government source saying, "The deal with General Motors will enable Zastava to work with modern technology, raising its chances of fully benefiting in the coming privatization process."

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said that the Serbian automaker is aiming to produce around 10,000 vehicles by 2010. He also said, "This contract is good for Kragujevac and domestic car industry, because we thus join the trends of technology and business operation of the international automotive industry."

And the latest development on this issue is that the Serbian government has already approved the import of around 8,300 duty-free Opel Astra cars of which 3,300 are to be imported by the end of this year while the remaining 5,000 by 2008. These imported Opel Astra cars will cost 10,800 euros or $14,900 for the basic version which was previously sold at 12,800 euros or $17,700.

Opel Expands Antara Range
Speaking of Opel, it has recently announced the expansion of the engine range of its Antara Sports Utility Vehicle with a diesel version that will come equipped with a particulate filter and an Opel catalytic converter. The two liter motor produces 110kW/150hp and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in a matter of 10.3 seconds.

The fuel consumption is at 7.5 liters per 100 kilometers while carbon dioxide emission level is at 198 grams per kilometer. The integrated Flex-Fix bicycle carrier is currently the optional offering for the Antara. This special feature can be pulled out just like a cupboard and can accommodate two bicycles. It is priced at 650 euros or $900.

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