Paper or plastic? Those are your choices at the supermarket check out. Disposable or recyclable? Those are your choices when it comes to purchasing your car's next air filter. Please read on to learn about the differences between the two and how your decision can impact your car's performance, the environment, and your wallet.

Weather and Car Cover Fundamentals

Weather and Car Cover FundamentalsSelecting a car cover for your truck, van, SUV, or passenger car is a matter of finding one that fits your car and going with that one, right? Well, there is a lot more to it than simply purchasing a car cover. Size does matter, but so do quality, durability, and price. Lets examine some of the fundamentals in selecting a car cover for vehicle.Car covers -- or weather covers as some prefer to call them -- have been successfully covering vehicles for several generations now thanks to the ingenious and persistent work of designers who properly measure each new model to make sure that every cover is custom fitted. One of the first companies to get started in the business was Covercraft, founded in 1965 in Southern California. Covercraft, like so many American success stories, was a two man operation that outfitted car covers for street rods, import makes including Porsche, and for the aftermarket supply network. The company boasts of having produced 55,000 styles of "car covers" for just about every make and model of vehicle on the road. There are other brands on the market; however Covercraft is dominant and favored by automobile wholesalers such as the Auto Parts Warehouse.When selecting your car cover, you will learn that a manufacturer can make several different car covers for one model. Basic covers offer limited protection from such hazards as bird excrement and flying debris while premium car covers offer extensive protection from the following:
  • Harmful and penetrating solar rays.
  • Moisture, including rain, snow, sleet, hail, and ice.
  • Flying debris and/or small impacts to the vehicles body: dings, scratches.
  • Pollution, dirt, and dust.
  • Bird excrement, tree sap, etc.The top of the line car covers typically come with mirror pockets to give your vehicle the best fit. Most car covers are generally made of 1, 2, 3, or 4 layers of durable polypropylene [a thermoplastic polymer that is highly resistant to acid and chemical solvents]; more layers mean better protection for your vehicle from the above mentioned hazards.So, arent "weather covers" for people who park their vehicles outside, hence the name? No, garaged vehicles are also subject to pollution and dirt; if you are interested in keeping your car looking showroom new than a car cover makes perfect sense.Prices can range from approximately $45 to just over $200 for a top of the line model. You can save money by purchasing from an online wholesaler who will obtain the car cover directly from the manufacturer, bypassing the middleman. Most car covers come with a warranty and should give your car years of protection for a small amount of money.
  • NASCAR And CCC: Attending To Rising Fuel Prices

    NASCAR And CCC: Attending To Rising Fuel Prices

    Car owners and drivers, as well, certainly have felt the effects of the upward movement of gas prices. In fact, many people have opted to use public transportation rather than use their cars and vehicles because of the high amount you have to pay in exchange for a liter or so of gas. Now, it seems like everybody else is affected. Even the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, or much commonly known as NASCAR, have given approval for its arm, the NASCAR Performance Automotive Licensing Program, to join forces with the CCC, or the Car Care Council. Together, the two organizations has done brainstorming sessions and just recently launched a consumer education campaign which they dubbed as the Be An Angel, Maintain Your Car And Save Some Gas.NASCAR and the CCC both maintain that this new campaign of theirs would also work as a call to action for all consumers. The campaign, in fact, even encourages car owners to maintain their vehicles regularly. This is because NASCAR and CCC believe that it is one of the best ways to achieve a better fuel mileage and in the process decreases expenses on gas. A public service announcement that lasted for thirty seconds was produced by NASCAR. The organization is positing to run the mentioned announcement come the NASCAR programming which will actually launch and run throughout the whole month of July. Aside from this, all the local television stations scattered around the United States would also be receiving a copy of this public service announcement which they would have to run during their air time. On the end of the Car Care Council, Rich White, its executive director, informs the public, Higher gas prices are here to stay. But fortunately consumers can take greater control of how much gas their vehicles use by performing simple and inexpensive maintenance. NASCARs automotive licensing managing director, Odis Lloyd, explains, The opportunity to help consumers with their car care needs has never been more significant. By using NASCARs extensive media assets and partnering with our manufacturing and installer partners, we can help consumers combat rising fuel costs by getting them the necessary vehicle repair information they need to get better fuel economy.

    Fuel Economy: What You Should Know if You're in the Market for a New Vehicle

    Fuel Economy:  What You Should Know if You

    If you've been kicking around the idea of buying or leasing a new SUV and upgrading to a more fuel-efficient model, it's important to know that you may not be comparing apples and apples. This year marked a change in how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines how the fuel economy of brand new 2008 cars, pick uppickup trucks, and SUVs is calculated. Prior to 2008, the EPA, along with automobile manufacturers, used a method of testing a vehicle's ratings that let's just say, didn't adequately recreate real-world conditions. The vehicle was placed on a set of rollers called a 'dynamometer' that allowed the car to sit in place while turning the wheels of the vehicle. Although the drag on the rollers was adjusted to better simulate various driving conditions, the vehicles were never tested in environments where wind resistance could influence the amount of fuel being burned, and the accessories were never running. Hence, the test created a level playing field for all vehicles of the same class to be compared, but the results never depicted the fuel economy you could expect in the real world. In addition, the simulated speeds prior to 2008 were considerably slower than what the average driver actually drives only 48 miles per hour for highway tests and 20 miles per hour for tests in the city. Starting this year, the EPA has begun to use an adjusted system of testing requirements to account for all the things that affect fuel economy: faster acceleration, higher speeds in both the city and on the highway, colder external temperatures, and vehicles are now tested with accessories (like the air conditioning) on. The result? While the new method of testing gives potential buyers a better idea of what they can expect when the vehicle is driven off the lot, overall mileage projections have been reduced. While most people would probably prefer a more accurate method of testing, and therefore more accurate results, the problems arise when we throw another ingredient into the mix. Many automobile manufacturers have upgraded their 2008 lines to be more fuel-efficient as a response to increased gas prices over the past two years. Unfortunately, on paper, these vehicles now appear to be less fuel fuel-efficient than their predecessors. Without an understanding of the new testing system, comparing one's older model to a new 2008 could suggest you're better off keeping the car or pick up "pickup truck" you have. Chances are, you're not. Even the "non-green" models (models that still operate solely on unleaded gasoline without the assistance of an electrical power source) are becoming increasingly economical. For example, the popular 2008 Isuzu Ascender advertises a fuel economy of 14 miles per hour gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. At first glance, that might seem lower than the ratings you're used to seeing. In reality, it's right in line with other 2008 midsize SUVs in the Ascender's class; the Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, GMC Envoy, and Chevy Trailblazer all share the same rating. The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Hummer H3 both rate slightly lower than the Ascender under the new, more accurate tests. Although the numbers will say that this year's Ascender get fewer miles per gallon than last year's, that's not true. The 2008 4.2-liter, six-cylinder engine has actually been recalibrated for efficiency and according to Consumer Guide, accelerated to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds.The moral of the story? Comparing '08 models to previous years won't tell you much in terms of fuel economy, so stick to comparisons between the newest models to gauge if the SUV or car you've got your eye on stands up to others in its class.

    Police Auctions- Caught, cleaned and sold

    Police Auctions- Caught, cleaned and sold

    Police Auctions are not places where one goes to buy a cop; it is where you go to purchase cars that have been confiscated by the police. Many people don't realize it, but police have within their custody hundred of cars, trucks and other vehicles that are towed in almost everyday. And in most cases, since no one claims them, they simply lie there rotting away. A simple solution that was discovered was to hold police auctions and give a chance to the public to buy the cars at a cheaper price. The local police departments, county zones, and the federal law enforcement agencies along with the state agencies find themselves stuck with a lot of seized, abandoned or lost products. Police forces across United States of America collect all kinds of items and hold auctions for them to be sold on a periodical basis.Absolutely anything and everything can be found in Police auctions, - from Cars, jewelry, electronic items to boats, and even houses. All of which were used in committing a crime or bought using money earned through illegal ways. What makes these auctions better than other kinds of auctions is that here you can get things at a cheap rate. Cars and other automobiles, if they have been abandoned, are auctioned off for nothing more than a couple of hundred dollars, anywhere from $500 and above.If you have just got your drivers license and wish to buy a car, but cant afford a brand new one, you need to visit one of the police auctions to see what is in store. You could spend the money you can afford and drive home a Porsche or a Honda. Not only will it help boost your self-esteem but you would turn heads wherever you go. An easy way of making your dream come true and having something classy and stylish for your first car.All these police auctions are conducted either at a specified venue or online, depending on the amount of stuff they have accumulated. And anyone who is interested, and aware of this, can participate to try their hand at purchasing a top class car. Most people assume that the cars auctioned here were owned by people with a bad track record and they might end up in trouble. But this is not true, the cars are here because someone could not afford to make their monthly payment or they were bought by a person selling drugs. This does not make the car bad or the person buying it tainted, in fact it is as legal as it can get, since it comes with the relevant documents proving ownership and stating that the car belongs to the new buyer. At Police auctions, the only thing you need to cautious off is the amount of money you are ready to bid. The car related worries need to be kept at bay and the interested people make bids on that dream car to try winning it.

    Hybrid Car Technology

    Copyright 2006 Donovan BaldwinLEADING UP TO THE NEED FOR A HYBRID VEHICLEFor most of the lifetime of automobiles, propulsion has been provided by the gasoline or diesel powered internal combustion type of engine. There have been brief flirtations with steam, electricity, and vehicles that could use a variety of fuels, but most of these have fallen by the wayside as the gasoline engine pushed billions of vehicles down the road.However, this single-minded dependence on petroleum-based fuels, and lubricants too, has placed the planet on the edge of a new future...a future without petroleum or, at best, with limited petroleum resources. Government, business, and designers have combined efforts to come up with some sort of solution to at least part of the problem of maintaining our present way of life with the fact of decreasing petroleum supplies.In previous incarnations of the personal vehicle, steam did not prove suitable for simple, daily operations, and electricity was limited by the speed with which battery charges dissipated, the length of time required for recharging, and the need to redesign and create an infrastructure for electric cars.The recent solution has been the hybrid vehicle. The hybrid car combines gasoline engine technology, already fairly highly advanced, with a battery/electric motor combination, which also uses technology that is well known.WHAT A HYBRID VEHICLE DOESThe gasoline powered engine can provide higher, sustained speeds for long periods of time and recharge the battery as needed by means of a generator (more on this in a moment). The battery/electric motor can provide the power to begin moving the hybrid vehicle, continue moving it at lower speeds and can power systems such as lights, radio, and air conditioner when the vehicle is at a stop. This simple step of having the vehicle turn the engine off during idle times such as at stop signs, stop lights, drive-thrus, and stop-and-go traffic can result in quite a fuel savings by itself.The forward movement of the vehicle itself can help store power in the battery by turning the electric generator. One interesting aspect of this is that the electric generator which recharges the battery when turning in one direction is also the electric motor which draws power from the battery to move the car at lower speeds. This, in its most basic form, is done by reversing the spin of the central rotor of the generator/motor. This use of the same device to power the car and recharge the battery also allows for a unique feature - regenerative braking.REGENERATIVE BRAKING IN A HYBRID VEHICLERegenerative braking is very simple in concept and turns a frequent and unavoidable expense into an asset in more than one way. In an ordinary vehicle, brake pads or shoes press against a rotor or drum to slow and stop the vehicle. This generates a lot of heat. Brake pads, shoes, rotors, and drums wear out due to the friction and heat and have to be replaced regularly. This can be expensive.Stop-and-go city driving, tends to be the place where a large amount of braking occurs, so this is where most of the wear on brake parts occurs as well. With a "regenerative braking" system, such as that in the Toyota Prius hybrid, most braking will actually be provided by the electric motor itself at slower speeds. As you apply the brake, the electric motor which was propelling the car now reverses itself and becomes a generator recharging the battery as you slow and stop. The reversed motor creates torque which slows the vehicle and brings it to a stop, so the regular brake parts receive a lot less wear and need to be replaced less often.FUEL ECONOMY AND "PLAYING THE LIGHTS" WITH A HYBRID VEHICLEAdd into the mix that stop-and-go city driving burns a lot of fuel. In a gasoline or diesel powered automobile, it takes much larger amounts of fuel to start a vehicle from a stop than to keep it moving. It requires less fuel to pick your speed back up when you have slowed down than to come to a complete stop and have to start from that point. Some truck drivers (and trucks burn a lot of fuel), have been taught to view events ahead and take their foot off the accelerator if they feel they may have to stop at a light that is red or "stale" green, or if there is congestion ahead which will slow them down anyway. This is called "playing the lights" and can result in significant fuel savings in any vehicle. A hybrid vehicle with regenerative braking is going to be saving wear and tear on brake parts, and taking it a little easier on the "go pedal" will help save even more in fuel costs if the driver is "playing the lights".A hybrid vehicle commonly improves fuel economy by using the electric motor to start the vehicle moving and by letting the battery take care of times that the car would normally be idling. A well designed hybrid car also sometimes allows the electric motor to assist the gasoline engine as well, thus adding to the "fuel economy" of a hybrid vehicle over a standard petroleum fuel car.NOT ALL HYBRIDS ARE CREATED EQUALThere are hybrid SUV's and trucks, but these will not get the fuel economy of a smaller, lighter hybrid vehicle such as the Toyota Prius. Just to give an idea of the range, among hybrid cars, according to the federal government's Fuel Economy website at , the 2006 Honda Accord got an average of 28 MPG, while the Honda Insight got an average of 56 MPG, and the Toyota Prius got an average of 55 MPG. To illustrate how the difference in model can make a difference in fuel economy even among hybrid vehicles, hardly any SUV listed on the government's website got over 34 MPG combined, and neither of the two hybrid trucks listed on my visit to the website, averaged over 20 MPG combined city and highway.NOTE: I recently bought a Toyota Prius, and have been averaging almost exactly 55 MPG. I went on a trip, of over 2,000 miles, and 55 MPG was the fuel average for almost the entire trip. However, to emphasize how driving habits affect fuel economy, for over 1700 miles, I usually drove between 60 and 64 miles per hour on the highway, but during the last leg of my trip, I was in a hurry to get home and drove at 70 miles per hour. Driving at that speed cut my fuel economy down to under 50 MPG for that last portion of my trip.

    Information On Tonneau Covers

    Tonneau covers are attached to your truck bed to create space which is protected from theft and bad weather. They will also improve the conservation of oil within your vehicle, and will make it much more aerodynamic. Tonneau covers are typically made out of molds which are specifically designed for the type of truck you have. They will fit around your truck in such a way that they will give it a sleek look.Tonneau covers can be expensive. High quality hard covers could cost as much as $1000. They can be custom painted to match the color of your truck, and you will want to give the instructions for this prior to purchasing them. Aluminum covers are cheaper, and will cost around $400. They don't fit along the contours of your truck, and you only have a few colors to choose from. Before you purchase a cover, it is important to remember that they are heavy, are are not easy to remove frequently.It generally takes two or more people to remove a cover from a truck. Despite this, some truck owners have developed methods for handling the tonneau covers themselves. You should make sure you understand the lift system which comes with the cover. Many truck beds are not designed to withstand the pressure of 200 pounds pushing down on them constantly. This is why you should know more about the lift system. Some use gas props which will add more pressure to the truck bed than just the cover itself.Some companies have added systems to their covers which reduce the amount of weight added to the truck bed, and will reduce the pressure of the gas props as well. By reducing the pressure, the life of the truck bed will be extended. You will also want to figure out which features you want to add to your tonneau cover. There are a large number of options, including third brake lights, safety glass, paint finish, power locks, or a windshield wiper. The list goes on, and you will want to get options that fit within your budget.There are a large variety of "tonneau covers" available, and it is important to pick the one which suits you best. They are an expensive investment, but will keep your cargo from being damaged by rain or stolen by thieves. If you don't plan on removing the cover often, you may want to invest money on a hard cover. If you are on a budget and one something that is easy to remove, a soft cover may be the best option.


    Paper or plastic? Those are your choices at the supermarket check out. Disposable or recyclable? Those are your choices when it comes to purchasing your car's next air filter. Please read on to learn about the differences between the two and how your decision can impact your car's performance, the environment, and your wallet.