Archive for August 2015

Fall vehicle maintenance checklist:

Fall checklist

Get your car ready for fall and winter.

Fall vehicle maintenance checklist: help your vehicle adjust to seasonal changes by completing this preventative maintenance checklist.

You may not associate fall as a prime time to complete a seasonal preventative maintenance checklist. But, while most of the items on this checklist are geared toward winter driving, it’s much smarter and easier to do them during fall when the weather is milder and less threatening. That’s especially true if you live in the northern half of the country or in higher elevations.

So, let’s get started!

Fall Vehicle Maintenance Checklist: be prepared!

  1. Check your oil level, and add oil if necessary; it’s even better if you perform an oil and lube job. Be sure to use a multi-grade viscosity oil for winter driving.
  2. Test your battery for free at any of our auto parts stores. If it needs to be replaced, Advance Auto Parts will install the new battery for no extra fee.
  3. Inspect your windshield wipers. Bitter cold, snow and ice are hard on their rubber blades. You can find blades designed for winter at Advance Auto Parts stores. We’ll install those for free, too.
  4. Fill your windshield wiper reservoir with the proper type of windshield fluid for your climate.
  5. Look at the level and condition of your engine coolant. If the level is low, add antifreeze. If the condition looks poor, do a flush-and-fill.
  6. Evaluate your belts and hoses. If you see any evidence of fraying, cracking or leaking, get a new belt or hose immediately.
  7. Consider getting a tune-up, especially if it’s been 30,000 miles or so since your last one. At the least, perform a visual inspection of your spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor.
  8. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. When dealing with sloppy or icy road conditions, you’ll need the best traction your tires can deliver. If your tires are worn, replace them before winter arrives.
  9. Apply high-grade car wax to your vehicle’s exterior to help protect it from the possible onslaught of snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain.
  10. Put together a winter car survival kit. Jumper cables, flares, ice scrapers, road salt, flashlights, flares, blankets, first aid materials and snacks are all good to include in your kit.

2015 Volkswagen Golf is the 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year

2015-mt-car-of-the-year-volkswagen-golf-promo

2015 Volkswagen Golf is the 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year

Car for the Course: Our Champion is a Jackrabbit of All Trades

By | Photos By | From the January 2015 issue of Motor Trend  |

It might be hard to believe, but in a four-decade lifespan, Volkswagen’s Golf has only run away with our Golden Calipers once before, in 1985. Also interesting is the fact that the GTI that won our Car of the Year award 30 years ago was deemed our “domestic” COTY at a time when we still categorized imported cars into their own award. The domestic tag was because the 1985 GTI was constructed at Volkswagen’s now-defunct Pennsylvania plant, which was shuttered three years later. A lot has changed in the intervening years. Volkswagen is once again producing cars in the U.S., and the Volkswagen Golf, including the GTI, is once again our Car of the Year. For 2015, the Golf was a near-unanimous choice among our judges by virtue of its strong performance in each of our six Car of the Year criteria.

More on Motortrend.com:

Advancement in Design

While we admit that the 2015 Golf won’t make the average freeway-goer take much notice, the devil’s in the details. With crisply sculpted bodywork that’s nearly an inch lower, two inches longer, and a half-inch wider than its predecessor’s, the new Golf looks sleeker and sportier than the car it replaces. There are no superfluous lines, no gimmicky details; this makes the Golf one of the few cars in its segment that is able to appeal visually to both younger and more mature demographics. “Exquisite execution of lines and surface,” said our guest judge in design, Tom Gale. The interior is equally impressive, with refinement and attention to detail apparent everywhere — from the revamped 5.8-inch touchscreen display, to the supportive seats and clear instrumentation, to the cloth-lined door pockets normally found only in higher-end vehicles. We also appreciated classic touches such as the golf-ball-styled shift knob and available tartan upholstery in the GTI. Read about 2015 Car of the Year Contenders and Finalists here.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Front Rear Three Quarters


Efficiency

Weight reduction and improved engine efficiency have resulted in fuel economy gains for both the TSI and GTI models with their respective 1.8- and 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 gas engines. Even more impressive, Volkswagen has also included room in the lineup for diesel and electric versions of the Golf. The Golf TDI and its 2.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-four return an EPA combined rating of 36 mpg, while the e-Golf has an EPA-estimated range of 83 miles. The best part is that neither car is a penalty box to drive. What the TDI lacks in horsepower it mostly makes up for in torque. While it didn’t feel quite as quick as the TSI, it was no slouch for a C-segment car.

No matter which Golf variant we jumped into, we emerged with smiles on our faces.

With several electric vehicles present at this year’s COTY event, the e-Golf was lauded for driving and feeling most like a “normal” car. Indeed, it’s tough to distinguish the e-Golf visually from its internal-combustion counterparts, inside or out. We also enjoyed the driving experience. The chassis feels as willing and playful as the other variants, while the electric motor provides an instantaneous 199 lb-ft of torque, rocketing the e-Golf forward. Best of all, interior and cargo room appear to suffer little thanks to clever battery packaging.


Engineering Excellence

To preface, a selection of lines from editors’ notebooks: “Feels so incredibly well-built.” “A remarkable degree of refinement for a mainstream, C-segment car.” “Light feeling chassis with tons of grip.” “Rides and feels like a segment above.” The basis for these comments lies in Volkswagen’s new MQB modular front-engine, front-wheel-drive vehicle architecture—a platform that will underpin dozens of new vehicles. All told, MQB is said to save around 200 pounds over the previous-generation Golf, reductions coming from such a range of places as the body (made of 80 percent high-strength steel for a 51-pound savings), to the seats (15 pounds lighter), to the air-conditioning system (6 pounds lighter). All this despite a larger body that pays dividends in cabin space, especially in the rear seat and cargo areas.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Tdi Front Three Quarter In Motion

No matter which Golf variant we jumped into, we emerged with smiles on our faces. And while each obviously catered to different priorities, they all share the same solid build quality, taut structure, and remarkable ride that make them feel like a premium vehicle in an entry-level segment. In-cabin noise was minimal in every variant, and even the sportiest Golf, the GTI, refused to beat us up over days of hammering Hyundai Proving Grounds’ unforgiving special surfaces loop. We were also impressed with the powertrains in our Golf variants — from the TDI’s torquey low-end surge to the GTI’s rev-happy rush, there wasn’t a dud in the group. While the throws could have been a little shorter on the TDI’s six-speed manual gearbox, we adored the GTI’s six-speed action, which really connects driver to car. The TSI’s 1.8-liter turbocharged I-4 must vie for the title of best standard engine in its segment, sharing the same EA888 series design as its GTI sibling. Moreover, its six-speed torque-converter automatic shifted quick enough to have more than one editor wondering if it were actually a snazzy twin-clutch auto.

Performance of Intended Function

Every Golf we had on hand was made for a different customer with different priorities. From eco-friendly tech lovers, to fuel misers, to canyon road carvers, to A-to-B commuters, our four variants excelled in their individual ways while still feeling similar. Better yet, each did this at a price point that belies its premium feel, a major Volkswagen brand goal.

More on Motortrend.com:

A key point of the hatchback is practicality. Such a design maximizes available space in any vehicle, but especially so in smaller ones. Volkswagen’s experience with hatchbacks has benefited the latest Golf with more cargo space than the outgoing model, according to VW, and a real rear seat that fit even our tallest testers comfortably. We’d venture to say that there’s more apparent cabin space in the Golf than in some midsize sedans.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Tsi Front Three Quarter In Motion

In recent months, we had the opportunity to subject two different 2015 Golf models to in-depth comparison tests. To that end, the 2015 Golf TSI won our entry-level four-door hatchback Big Test, ahead of four of its competitors, including the beloved Mazda3. And the 2015 GTI won our four-way small, sporty car shootout, which included the stout Subaru WRX. Of course, we haven’t even seen the end of the Mk7 Golf line yet. In 2015, would-be racers will be able to buy a new Golf R with all-wheel drive, a dual-clutch transmission, and nearly 300 horsepower. Luckily, we already tested a European-spec R whose 0-60 run of 4.9 seconds and average lateral acceleration of 0.97 g were reminders of this car’s lofty capabilities. More interested in hauling stuff around? VW will also be launching the longer Golf SportWagen, offering 10 percent more cargo room than the outgoing Jetta SportWagen, giving it the kind of versatility that will rival that of compact crossovers. A Golf for every driver? Sure seems that way.


Safety

All 2015 Golf models come standard with six airbags, stability control, and Volkswagen’s automatic post-collision braking system, which activates the brakes after a crash is detected by the airbag sensors to help minimize further damage. Of course, that may not be needed at all if buyers choose the optional Driver Assistance Package, which includes a forward-collision warning system. That system’s availability, along with ratings of Good in each of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s five crash evals (including the newly standardized small-overlap frontal test), earned it an IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating — the highest possible. The Golf hasn’t been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it is expected to earn another impressive score.

2015 Volkswagen E Golf Front Three Quarter In Motion

Value

With a base price of $19,815 for the standard Golf S (a limited-offer Launch Edition is $1,000 less), it’s true that the Golf isn’t the cheapest C-segment vehicle available in the U.S. But for that price, buyers get the kind of ride and build quality, engineering proficiency, and design details that go beyond the norm for the entry-level segment. Further, the starting prices of the other variants on hand — $22,815 for a TDI, $25,215 for a GTI, and $36,265 for an e-Golf — represent big bang for the buck. The overall look and feel of the Golf rivals premium competitors that cost thousands — even tens of thousands — more. We found this to be true even while driving other 2015 Car of the Year contenders. Volkswagen Group probably doesn’t want to hear it, but few of our editors would pay the price premium for an Audi A3 1.8 over a Golf TSI given the relatively small difference in quality and driving experience. Some would even prefer the Golf’s interior design and roomy cabin to the A3’s if cost were no object. If a trend toward smaller vehicles has shown anything, it’s that buyers want the same tech-laden features, the same build quality, and the same upscale design and feel of their larger cars in their smaller ones. The 2015 Volkswagen Golf is a quality car, a fun car, a grown-up car — a C-segment vehicle that can instill pride of ownership without breaking the bank. And that’s why it’s the 2015 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

2015 Volkswagen Golf Gti Front Three Quarter In Motion
2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf
BASE PRICE $21,515 $22,815 $25,215 $36,265
PRICE AS TESTED $28,810 $27,010 $28,215 $36,265
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 2-door hatchback Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback
ENGINE 1.8L/170-hp/200-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 2.0L/150-hp/236-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4/6M 2.0L/210-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/6M 115-hp/199-lb-ft AC permanent-magnet electric motor/1A
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic 6-speed manual 6-speed manual 1-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,122 lb (60/40%) 3,184 lb (61/39%) 3,101 lb (60/40%) 3,412 lb (55/45%)
WHEELBASE 103.8 in 103.8 in 103.6 in 103.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in 167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in 168.0 x 70.5 x 56.8 in 168.1 x 70.8 x 57.1 in
0-60 MPH 7.8 sec 9.0 sec 5.9 sec 9.1 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.9 sec @ 88.3 mph 17.0 sec @ 83.6 mph 14.5 sec @ 98.3 mph 16.9 sec @ 80.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft 117 ft 107 ft 122 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.86 g (avg) 0.80 g (avg) 0.91 g (avg) 0.83 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.2 sec @ 0.65 g (avg) 28.3 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) 26.1 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 25/36/29 mpg 30/45/36 mpg 25/34/28 mpg 116 mpg-e (comb)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 135/94 kW-hrs/100 miles 126/84 kW-hrs/100 miles 135/99 kW-hrs/100 miles 27/32 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.67 lb/mile 0.63 lb/mile 0.68 lb/mile 0.00 lb/mi (at vehicle)
2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD Front-engine, FWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, iron block/alum head Turbodiesel I-4, iron block/alum head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 109.7 cu in/1798cc 120.1 cu in/1968cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.6:1 16.2:1
POWER (SAE NET) 170 hp @ 4500 rpm 150 hp @ 3500 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 200 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm 236 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
REDLINE 6,000 rpm 5,000 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 18.4 lb/hp 21.2 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic 6-speed manual
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.87:1/2.59:1 3.45:1(1,2,3,4); 2.76:1 (5,6,R)/1.99:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs
STEERING RATIO 13.6:1 13.6:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.7 2.8
BRAKES, F;R 11.3-in vented disc; 10.7-in disc, ABS 11.3-in vented disc; 10.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum 7.0 x 17-in, cast aluminum
TIRES 225/40R18 92H M+S Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season 225/45R17 91H M+S Continental ContiProContact
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 103.8 in 103.8 in
TRACK, F/R 61.0/59.8 in 61.0/59.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in 167.5 x 70.8 x 57.2 in
TURNING CIRCLE 35.8 ft 35.8 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3122 lb 3184 lb
WEIGHT DIST., F/R 60/40 % 61/39 %
SEATING CAPACITY 5 5
HEADROOM, F/R 38.4/38.1 in 38.4/38.1 in
LEGROOM, F/R 41.2/35.6 in 41.2/35.6 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 55.9/53.9 in 55.9/53.9 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R 22.8/52.7 cu ft 22.8/52.7 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 2.7 sec 3.3 sec
0-40 4.1 4.7
0-50 5.7 6.9
0-60 7.8 9.0
0-70 10.1 12.1
0-80 12.9 15.5
0-90 16.6 19.9
0-100 20.9
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 4.1 4.5
QUARTER MILE 15.9 sec @ 88.3 mph 17.0 sec @ 83.6 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft 117 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.86 g (avg) 0.80 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.2 sec @ 0.65 g (avg) 28.3 sec @ 0.59 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1800 rpm 1650 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $21,515 $22,815
PRICE AS TESTED $28,810 $27,010
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 13.2 gal 13.2 gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 25/36/29 mpg 30/45/36 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 135/94 kW-hrs/100 miles 126/84 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.67 lb/mile 0.63 lb/mile
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 23/34/27 34/47/39
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Diesel
2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD Front-motor, FWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, iron block/alum head AC permanent-magnet electric motor
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 121.1 cu in/1984cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.6:1
POWER (SAE NET) 210 hp @ 4500 rpm 115 hp
TORQUE (SAE NET) 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm 199 lb-ft @ 0 rpm
REDLINE 6000 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 14.8 lb/hp 29.7 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual 1-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.24:1 (1,2,3,4); 2.62:1 (5,6 R)/2.38:1 3.61:1/9.75:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 9.5:1-14.1:1 13.6:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.2 2.8
BRAKES, F;R 12.3-in vented disc; 10.7-in disc, ABS 11.3-in vented disc; 10.7-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum 6.5 x 16-in, cast aluminum
TIRES 225/40R18 92Y Bridgestone Potenza S001 205/55R16 91H M+S Continental ProContact TX
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 103.6 in 103.6 in
TRACK, F/R 60.6/59.7 in 60.8/59.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 168.0 x 70.5 x 56.8 in 168.1 x 70.8 x 57.1 in
TURNING CIRCLE 35.8 ft 35.8 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3101 lb 3412 lb
WEIGHT DIST., F/R 60/40 % 55/45 %
SEATING CAPACITY 5 5
HEADROOM, F/R 38.4/38.1 in 38.4/38.1 in
LEGROOM, F/R 41.2/35.6 in 41.2/35.6 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 55.9/53.9 in 55.9/53.9 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/R 22.8/52.7 cu ft 22.8/52.7 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 2.3 sec 2.8 sec
0-40 3.5 4.3
0-50 4.6 6.4
0-60 5.9 9.1
0-70 7.8 12.5
0-80 9.7 16.8
0-90 11.9
0-100 15.0
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.7 5.4
QUARTER MILE 14.5 sec @ 98.3 mph 16.9 sec @ 80.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 107 ft 122 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.91 g (avg) 0.83 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.1 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) 27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2050 rpm 8,200 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $25,215 $36,265
PRICE AS TESTED $28,215 $36,265
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 13.2 gal 0.7 gallon equivalent (24.2 kW-hr)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 25/34/28 mpg 116 mpg-e (comb)
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 135/99 kW-hrs/100 miles 29 kW-hrs/100 mi (comb)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.68 lb/mile 0.00 lb/mi (at vehicle)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium 220-volt electricity, 110-volt electricity

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YELP can make or break a local business… this is a must read for business owners

Review Grahams on YELP

This restaurant’s response to bad Yelp review is the toast of Instagram

When Jeff Brown’s restaurant received an online review he thought was particularly unfair this summer, he went big with his response. Really big.

The critique, on Facebook, came from David Yow, a retired civil engineering technician in Virginia Beach who wasn’t happy with his breakfast at Cotton Southern Bistro in Virginia Beach one morning in June.

Yow ordered country ham, but got only “a sliver of meat.” And “a single slice of toast. One slice? Really?” Yow sent back the ham and got corned beef hash as a replacement. “Couldn’t eat that either,” he said. And the grits “were a long, long, long ways off from being a true Southern offering,”

Overall, “it had to be the WORST breakfast I have ever, ever had,” he concluded.

Brown said he recalled Yow eating plenty of his food. The ham was a high-grade substitute that Yow had requested for the bacon, he said. And the toast was a slice of “big, thick country bread.”

Brown was struck by the intensity of the review: “The worst breakfast he ever had? That’s setting a high bar.”

The restaurant owner tried to one-up the critic. The next day, the marquee outside the restaurant read: “COME TRY THE WORST BREAKFAST DAVID YOW HAS EVER HAD.”

“It went all over Instagram,” Brown said. “People rallied behind it. We were slammed.”

Yow’s reaction to Brown’s counterattack?

“I thought it was kind of humorous,” he said this month. “I wasn’t offended.”

Yow stands by his critique, “but I’m sorry it got to the point it did. I didn’t mean for it to go there. If I met him on the street today, I would apologize.”

Aftermarket Versus Manufacturer Car Parts

After Market Parts

Aftermarket Versus Manufacturer Car Parts

Is the Extra Cost Worth It?


Cut Down Your Car Repair Bill With Free Fixes

Car repairs

Cut Down Your Car Repair Bill With Free Fixes

When the Chen family of Silver Spring, Maryland, took their 2011 Toyota Sienna in for new brake pads, they found themselves facing a decision no family wants to make: Christmas present or car repairs.

“We love it and we’ve driven it on many family road trips, but it is just out of warranty and it’s starting to need repairs,” Sandie Chen said.

Save big on your car-repair bills

Avoid being taking for a ride by your mechanic

What to know before you go to a mechanic’s garage

The “Real Money” team brought in auto expert Charlie Romero, founder of Roadfly.com, to help the family’s repair bills from spinning out of control.

Romero shared the following tips with the family of five and help save them more than $1,000.

1. Find free fixes. In addition to safety recalls, carmakers occasionally publish service bulletins to fix problems found in their cars.

“The dealers and manufacturers might not necessarily want you to know because it’s not a safety issue,” he said. “It will cost them but it’ll save you a lot of money.”

The “Real Money” team found that certain Honda Civics qualified for free paint repair and some Chrysler minivans might receive improved front wheel bearings, which dealerships would install for free.

For the Chens’ Toyota Sienna, the team found they could save up to $450 in free fixes by plugging their car’s VIN in SaferCar.gov. Under the vehicle owner tab, a car owner can put in the make and model of a vehicle and find out about pending recalls as well as service bulletins.

A device called CarMd also uses the same basic technology that a mechanic’s large, expensive scanner uses, but costs around $100.

2. Skip the garage. You may be able to use yourmechanic, in which a repair man comes right to your driveway.

3. Shop around without leaving your home. Use apps like OpenBay and RepairPal to compare repair prices before you take your car into the shop.

Man Drives Car Around the World

Man Drives around the world

Man Drives around the world

Man Drives Car Around the World

One day about a year ago, a Roy Locock jumped in his convertible sports car, started driving and didn’t stop, according to a story by CBCNews.ca. The greying Brit had no route in mind, he just closed up his life in England and hit the road, ending up traveling through Europe and India by car, and then to Australia and South America by boat. He recently landed in Regina, Canada. “It’s very much an adventure,” he told CBCNews.ca. “That’s really what I was looking for and it’s certainly lived up to that.”
 

Automobile History – Top 10 Interesting Facts

Henry Ford
Automobile History – Top 10 Interesting Facts

Automobile History – Top 10 Interesting Facts

Automobile History - Top 10 Interesting Facts

Automobiles have been around since as early as 1769, when the first steam engine powered automobiles were produced. In 1807, Francois Isaac de Rivaz designed the first car that was powered by an internal combustion engine running on fuel gas. The journey of modern automobiles began in 1886 when German inventor Karl Benz created an automobile that featured wire wheels with a four-stroke engine fitted between the rear wheels. Named as ‘Benz Patent Motorwagen’, it was the first automobile that generated its own power, which is the reason why Karl Benz was given its patent and is called the inventor of modern automobiles.

So we shortlisted ten things you probably did not know about the history of automobiles.

1. Adolf Hitler ordered Ferdinand Porsche to manufacture a Volkswagen, which literally means ‘People’s Car’ in German. This car went on to become the Volkswagen Beetle.

Volkswagen Beetle Prototype Sketch

What’s also interesting to know is that a surviving sketch from the 1930s – that was allegedly penciled by Hitler himself – looks similar to the production version of the first Beetle. The drawing was said to have been given to Daimler-Benz before being given to Porsche in Nuremberg.

2. In 1971, the cabinet of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi proposed the production of a ‘People’s Car’ for India – the contract of which was given to Sanjay Gandhi. Before contacting Suzuki, Sanjay Gandhi held talks with Volkswagen AG for a possible joint venture, encompassing transfer of technology and joint production of the Indian version of the ‘People’s car’, that would also mirror Volkswagen’s global success with the Beetle.

Maruti 800

However, it was Suzuki that won the final contract since it was quicker in providing a feasible design. The resulting car was based on Suzuki’s Model 796 and went on to rewrite automotive history in India as the Maruti 800.

3. Rolls-Royce Ltd. was essentially a car and airplane engine making company, established in 1906 by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce.

Rolls Royce First Car Sivler Ghost

The same year, Rolls-Royce rolled out its first car, the Silver Ghost. In 1907, the car set a record for traversing 24,000 kilometers during the Scottish reliability trials.

4. The most expensive car ever sold at a public auction was a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 race car, which went for a staggering $30 million at Bonhams in July 2013. The record was previously held by a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype, sold in California at an auction for $16.4 million.

5. As a young man, Henry Ford used to repair watches for his friends and family using tools he made himself. He used a corset stay as tweezers and a filed shingle nail as a screwdriver.

Henry Ford with Model T Ford

6. In the year 1916, 55 per cent of the cars in the world were Model T Ford, which is still an unbroken record.

7. Volkswagen named several of its cars after wind. Passat – a German word for trade wind; Golf – Gulf stream; Polo – polar winds; Jetta – jet stream.

8. British luxury car marque Aston Martin’s name came from one of the founders Lionel Martin who used to race at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton.

Aston Martin Logo

The company was owned by Ford Motor Company from 1994 till 2007. However, Ford still owns stakes in the company.

9. The first road-worthy cars used a lever instead of a steering wheel to steer. It had a design and functioning like that of a joy stick.

10. Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter and guitarist, Bob Marley owned a BMW, not for prestige but because of the coincidence of initials for Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Fastest train on the planet…

Fastest train

China tests 3,000-kph ‘super-Maglev’ train concept

Maglev train drives into terminal station in Shanghai (Reuters / Ming Ming)
Chinese researchers at the Applied Superconductivity Laboratory of Southwest Jiaotong University claim their fast transportation concept based on magnetic levitation (Maglev) technology could potentially be three times faster than an airplane.

Maglev technology was first proposed in the mid-20th century. Nowadays, the Shanghai Maglev Train can reach speeds of over 430 kilometers (260 miles) per hour and is the world’s fastest passenger-carrying train.

The “Super-Maglev” could, however, beat even that. Chinese researchers have been testing a concept train encapsulated in a vacuum tube, thus decreasing the speed limitations imposed by air resistance on regular Maglev trains.

Should the project be successful, the workable prototype will set the standard for the future evacuation tube transportation (ETT).

“ETT systems might allow HTS Maglev trains to attain speeds in a new order of magnitude, such as super-high 3,000 km (1,800 miles) per hour, which could be applied to some military or space launch systems,” Dr. Deng Zigang, who’s been developing the technology for years, told The Daily Mail.

At the moment, the testing laboratory looks like a toy train track with the vehicle running inside a 6-meter diameter vacuum loop, reaching a speed of about 48 kilometers per hour. But the speed is only limited by the small radius of the ring, Dr. Deng Zigang says.

He says that if the speed exceeds 400 km per hour, more than 83 per cent of traction energy is wastefully dissipated in air resistance. But with a vacuum tube design, that speed could be surpassed in the future.

The researcher doesn’t limit his innovation to land-based transportation only, and hopes that similar vacuum tube technology would be used to launch space vehicles, or enable super-high speeds for military weapons.

Chinese authorities, on the other hand, could utilize the novelty in their grand scheme to link the country with Russia, Canada and the United States with a high-speed railway.

Tire pressure gauge buying guide

Tire Guage

Getting started

Keeping your car tires properly inflated is an easy maintenance chore that’s vital to your safety. Under-inflated tires build up excess heat as you drive, which can result in tire failure. With too little air pressure, tires can also wear faster and unevenly, waste fuel, and negatively impact the vehicle’s braking and handling. To help maintain tires in top condition, use a tire-pressure gauge to check the pressure of your tires at least once a month and before starting on any long trip. For an accurate read, make sure the car has been parked for three or more hours before checking the tire pressure.

Tire-pressure gauges are available at auto-parts stores, big-box stores, and other retailers, as well as online. We have found in our testing that good gauges for consumers typically cost $5 to $15. Keep the tire-pressure gauge in a protective sleeve, as cleanliness will ensure its longevity and accuracy. If a gauge is old, worn, or dirty, or it has been dropped, it may not be reliable and you should get a new one. For the nominal cost, it is a wise investment.

How to choose

There are three types of tire-pressure gauges: stick, digital, and dial. Stick-type gauges, which somewhat resemble a ballpoint pen, are simple, compact, and affordable, but they are a little harder to read than most digital gauges.

Digital gauges have an electronic LCD display, like a pocket calculator, making them easier to read. They’re also more resistant to damage from dust and dirt. Some digital readouts light up, making them handy for checking pressure in low-light conditions. On the down side, however, digital gauges are a little bulkier than stick gauges and they require batteries. While batteries can last for years, depending on use, they will run down eventually and need replacement.

Dial gauges have an analog dial, resembling a clock face, with a simple needle to indicate the pressure. Some dial gauges have more features than pocket-sized gauges–including an extension hose, bleeder valve, dual-scale dial, and shock-resistant dial cover–but we have found that they aren’t necessarily more accurate. Most dial gauges are easy to read, but models with an extension hose take two hands to operate. They can also be bulky and typically cost more money, running from $20 to $50.

Buy a gauge with a wide-enough range that it can measure the pressure in a temporary spare, which is typically 60 psi. Many gauges have a span of 5 to 99 psi.

If you need to check pressure in a darkened area, consider a digital gauge with an illuminated display.

If you buy online to save money, check shipping charges to see if the purchase is still a bargain.

Latest test findings

Our most recent test of tire-pressure gauges looked at 14 models: eight digital, two stick-type, and four dial-type. Those gauges came from five brands: Accutire, Intercomp, Gorilla, Milton, and Slime. We tested them for accuracy, ease of use, and durability, and also checked to see how they were affected by ambient temperatures spanning a range from just above freezing to 113-118 degrees F. Here’s what we found:

  • Two digital Accutire gauges topped the Ratings, the MS-4400B ($10.99) and MS-4021B ($9.99). The heavy-duty dial-type Intercomp 360060 ($55.95) was also very good but is limited to 60 psi.
  • Two of three samples of the Slime model 20074 ($8.99), a digital gauge, proved inaccurate at room temperatures.
  • The Slime 20048 ($5.99), a dial type, was hard to read, inaccurate when cold, and lost accuracy permanently when dropped onto a concrete floor from a height of 30 inches.

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