Category Archives: Automotive

Pick one of the best rated cars in cold weather and find bags at Vera Bradley

Driving in winter weather doesn’t have to be a challenge.Be ready  for winter and find the best car or SUV.

For a car that tackles winter weather conditions flawlessly consider  a Chevrolet Volt. The four cylinder gas engine to help with the challenging weather. Roomy interior plenty of amenities for a comfortable ride and forget about the cold weather. Start your car from inside your home and heat it up. Chevrolet Volt won’t let you down and keep you driving comfortably for miles.

Visit Vera Bradley to get a bag to have everything it with you while you drive your Chevrolet Volt. Consider a roomy bag with plenty of room and pockets on the inside and opt for Get Carried Away Tote. Keep everything organized and easy to find. Now you won’t forget your phone at home this bag has exterior pockets to slip in and zip. Use a pocket to store your oversized sunglasses to have them handy when the sun comes out.The stylish paisley pattern will make you wear often.

If you prefer an SUV opt for a Jeep Patriot. This SUV offers great performance and features to tackle the cold weather. Jeep Patriot has great  handling for  rough roads and gets you safely to your destination. Get through snow at ease by using the transmission’s AutoStick system. Jeep Patriot’s Hill Descent Control system prevents slipping and helps stabilize SUV when driving on steep roads. No need to adjust temperature this Jeep Patriot has automatic climate control system.

Head to Vera Bradley and get a sleek and water repellant bag and opt for a Midtown Tote. Bag has an exterior hidden slip pocket to keep your phone safe and secured. There is also an exterior padded compartment to place your laptop. The interior has many pockets for placing chargers and beauty necessities.

For a car that goes above and beyond in winter weather consider a Chrysler 200. Sleek looking and well-equipped with nine speed automatic transmission for a smooth drive. Chrysler 200 has an active electronic stability control system to detect slipping and turns wheels around to avoid car veering off the road. Count on a pleasant and warm drive Chrysler 200 has heated seats and automatic control system. Leather seats keep the heat even if you make a stop at the store.

Time to visit Vera Bradley and get a bag. Go for a versatile The Change It Up Tote. A bag in a classic style with modern functionality that adapts to your day. Lightweight with lots of room to pack everything you need. There are two interior and exterior pockets  to fit plenty. Light and comfortable with great support to carry on the shoulder or as a tote.

It’s time to get simply the best and consider a Ford Escape SUV. Your best option for making it safely and driving at ease on slick roads. In case you get stuck in snow or mud, Ford Escape has a good ground clearance to get you out. A powerful Duratec 3.0L V6 engine will keep you driving non-stop. This SUV has an additional electric heater for extra comfort and warmth on long drives. For driving in a snow or rain storm Ford Escape has rain-sensing wipers and bi-xenon HID headlights for clearer road view.

Visit Vera Bradley once again for another bag. Go for a feminine and full of accents bag and opt for a Hadley Tote. Stay connected and don’t let your phone die this bag has a built-in charger pocket. Lightweight with plenty of pockets to carry your day essentials. You can also place a quick snack meal to eat once you make a stop. The hidden pocket will fit iPhone 8 or Note 8.

Drive in comfort and safely on winter weather and get a bag from Vera Bradley.

Dealing With a Car Accident

If you are one that wants to be safe on the road and avoid accidents then you might take to the following ways that will help you to do so.

  • Safety

The first priority that you should be looking forward to is ensuring that both you and your passengers are safe and not hurt on the way. If you see such things are going to happen then it is better to call the emergency services. Giving them the exact location can help you save from troubling situations. Knowing a trained medical professional can be of great help at this moment.

  • Witnesses

Take the help of the people who might have stopped for you. Ask them what they can recollect from the situation. You can ask their phone numbers and addresses. If they are having a vehicle it will be better to note down those numbers. Even if they give wrong phone numbers you will be able to locate them.

  • Photographs

Take photographs of the damage conditions, even if it is not your car. A picture of the location will also be helpful while dealing with the police later and the insurance company. Street locations signage several things that indicate the weather and other factors that might have caused the accident. If you have a car CCTV, be sure that the footage is locked. If there are any injuries, and if they are in proper conditions of taking pictures then click them. Make sure you have all the information because that will help you prevent having scammers.

  • Report the Accident

Damage to your property or others property may be reported to the local authorities that are concerned to handle these cases. Not doing so at the right time might render you in severe consequences. If you suspect that the other person was at fault then you might get saved providing the authorities as evidence.

  • Check the Vehicle

It will be better to move the vehicle to a safe position after the accident causes. Check if it is still in a driving condition. Do not attempt to drive if it is in a bad condition.

Engine Air Filter’s To Blame

Wait a minute. The author meant to say, ‘oil filter’ you’re probably telling yourself. No, we really meant ‘engine air filter.’ If your car’s engine air filter is torn or clogged, your engine is probably running on dirty oil. Think about it. A vehicle ingests about 10,000 gallons of air to burn a single gallon of fuel. And if you add to it all the contaminants that the air along roads and highways contains – soot, dust, debris, leaves, straw, tiny bits of rubber – imagine the amount of dirt that can enter the engine compartment each time you take your vehicle out. When considering an engine air filter replacement for your vehicle, the two most important criteria to consider are ‘capacity’ and ‘efficiency.’ Capacity is the amount of dirt the filter can hold before it begins to restrict the flow of air and efficiency describes how well it captures the dirt before it can enter the engine’s combustion chambers.

That is why ‘capacity’ and ‘efficiency’ are two of the most important criteria in determining the quality of an engine air filter. For instance, Purolator’s PureONE engine air filter’s oil-wetted, high-capacity media offers up to twice the capacity of conventional filters to trap contaminants smaller than the size of a grain of sand and is 99.5 percent efficient. This means it traps 99.5 percent of particles 200 microns in size or larger. To clarify, one micron is a millionth of a meter. Likewise, Purolator Classic air filter’s multi-fiber, high-density media traps 96.5 percent of such contaminants. Also important to consider is the design and construction of the filter. The media in a panel-type filter is attached to a binding so it can hold its shape. If the adhesive used to attach the media to the binding framework is of inferior quality, it may melt or soften due to high under-hood temperatures. This may cause the media to pull away leaving a gap that will allow unfiltered air to enter the engine and do damage. Or, if the air filter begins to get clogged, the engine vacuum can suck in the media, causing it to rupture and once again allow unfiltered air to bypass and enter the engine.

Changing your car’s engine air filter is quick, easy and inexpensive. Older cars often had a round air filter resting in a round housing under a lid held in place by a wing nut. Today’s more advanced fuel-injected engines normally use a flat, rectangular panel-type air filter that resides in black plastic duct work in the engine compartment. Usually, all you need to do is release several clamps, separate the housing halves, lift out the old filter, and install the new one. It’s usually that simple, O’Dowd said. And your local mechanic or parts store counterman should be happy to show you where your air filter is located. Most people should change their vehicle’s engine air filter once a year or every 12,000 miles unless you’re driving in unusually dirty or dusty conditions, said O’Dowd. Because of the long intervals between changes it’s important to install the best filter possible for reliable and efficient filtering.

Automotive Technicians

Car owners know they should keep their vehicles in good operating condition, but often they do not know where to turn for dependable service or what to look for in a repair shop. ASE tests and certifies automotive professionals in all major technical areas of repair and service. With more than 360,000 currently certified professionals, the ASE program is national in scope and has industry-wide acceptance and recognition. ASE-certified technicians and parts specialists can be found at every type of repair facility, from dealerships, service stations, and franchises to parts stores, independent garages, and even municipal fleet yards.

Certification Benefits Motorists

ASE certifies the technical competence of individual technicians, not repair facilities where they work. Before taking ASE certification tests, many technicians attend training classes or study on their own in order to update their knowledge. By passing difficult, national tests, ASE-certified technicians prove their technical competence not only to themselves, but to their employers and their customers. ASE does not certify repair shops or monitor individual business practices, but it stands to reason that those shop owners and managers who support their employees’ efforts to become ASE-certified often will be just as proactively involved in the other aspects of their businesses as well, says Molla.

How Certification Works

There are specialty exams covering all major areas of repair. There are nine tests for auto technicians alone: Engine Repair, Engine Performance, Diesel Engine, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Brakes, Heating and Air Conditioning, Suspension and Steering, Manual Drive Train and Axles, and Automatic Transmissions. There are also exams for collision repair, school bus and transit bus technicians, damage estimators, parts specialists, and others. ASE certification is not a designation for life, however. All ASE credentials have expiration dates, and ASE requires automotive service professionals to retest every five years to demonstrate a commitment to continuing education and stay abreast of continually changing technologies in order to retain certification.

Finding ASE-Certified Technicians

Repair establishments with at least one ASE technician are permitted to display the blue and white ASE sign and often do outside and inside their facilities. Each ASE professional is issued personalized credentials listing his or her exact area of certification and an appropriate shoulder insignia. Technicians are also issued certificates that employers often post in the customer-service area. Businesses with a high level of commitment to the ASE program (75 percent of service personnel certified) are entitled to a special “Blue Seal of Excellence” recognition from ASE, with distinctive yellow and blue signage. These elite facilities are among the best in the national. More than 1,500 businesses participate in this growing program.

Careers in Auto Repair

An indisputable fact of American life: our enduring love affair with our vehicles, some defining this as our freedom of mobility. Freedom becomes the active word. Another fact of American life is our shortage of people to repair these 233 million vehicles. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ forecasts that repair shops nationwide face an annual shortage of about 35,000 auto technicians through 2010.

While the shortage is serious and could become increasingly so, the good news is that this situation identifies an excellent field of opportunity for young people looking for a satisfying career. That old label of an auto mechanic as a “grease monkey,” fortunately has gone out with high button shoes. “The reality is,” says Mark Boswell of Goodyear Gemini Automotive Care, “that auto technicians are highly trained specialists typically holding well-paying jobs in comfortable surroundings.” Addressing this issue, the industry emphasizes that opportunities present themselves to women in positions ranging from repair technicians to service advisors to parts and accessory sales. The industry is actively soliciting women who might be seeking careers with excellent benefits, opportunities seldom found in many fields.

ASE (National Institute For Automotive Service Excellence) for years has certified women for positions in the automotive service and parts industry, further underscoring the fact that automotive repair no longer is gender specific. The Car Care Council now has a Women’s Board consisting of women who are active in the industry in positions ranging from public relations to shop ownership to parts and equipment sales. Women often are found to be adept in computer technology, less inclined to be intimidated by computers than men. Regardless of gender, the pay scale is good. The national average salary for an auto technician is $41,588, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

“Now, good technicians can make $70,000 with a little experience and the highest-paid can make $120,000,” according to John Dodson of the NASCAR Technical Institute, a division of Universal Technical Institute. “Because of the electronics and computers that are component parts, working with cars is tantamount to working with computers. High tech training is indispensable and, therefore, valuable.”

It’s a challenging field. Being an automotive technician is a job that requires detective skills because you have to keep digging at it until you figure it out. It’s not unusual for some technicians to take specialized courses five or six times a year. They also are encouraged to become ASE certified, which increases their value to the workplace and significantly can increase hourly wages. In addition to independent service facilities, including specialty stores, the ever-expanding motorsports sector may be the magnet to attract people. It’s an exciting field and can be lucrative for bright, energetic young technicians.

For some automotive enthusiasts, many of whom are NACSAR fans, the idea of working with a race team could be a dream come true. A head start could result from the specialized training offered by NASCAR Technical Institute, the exclusive educational partner of NASCAR. Located in Mooresville, North Carolina, at the heart of racing country, this is the country’s first technical training school to combine a complete automotive technology program and a NASCAR-specific motor sports program. In addition to general training programs and those related to racing, NTI offers manufacturer-specific advanced training for several makes of vehicles.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission is a pretty incredible device when you get a chance to look inside of it.  The technology that is needed to eliminate manual shift transmission needs to have electronics and hydraulics to work in unity.  The transmission fluid flows throughout the whole transmission like oil in an engine.  It cleans, lubricates, cools and actuates the different assemblies that cause the automatic shifting to occur for thousands of miles. Rubber seals, gaskets, shift valves and clutches all must perform their jobs flawlessly or the automatic transmission is useless.

Automatic transmission fluid change intervals are much longer than that of engine oil since the fluid is not exposed to the high heat and combustion gases that engine oil is constantly dealing with.  The transmission fluid does break down due to the physical stress placed on it during normal operation.  As it wears it can no longer protect the seals, clutches and such that it is supposed to protect.  The detergents will weaken, allowing a varnish type material to start coating the hard metal parts and cylinders inside the unit.  Seals that are in place to control the flow of the fluid or lock up clutches start to harden with age, allowing fluid to leak by not applying the proper forces needed for good shifts.

When the transmission is serviced in many of today’s vehicles, the main transmission pan is dropped, allowing for some of the transmission fluid to come out of the unit.  This can amount to four or six quarts of fluid leaving another four or more quarts still remaining in the transmission.  So only about half of the fluid may really be changed normally during this service. If an automatic transmission exhibits any symptoms such as soft and sloppy shifts, shifts that are very firm and harsh, or slow engagement when placed in drive or reverse these can all be the result of a transmission’s normal wear.   Because of the construction of the automatic transmission out of many individual parts, leaks can also occur at many different locations.  Many seals and gaskets are used in the building of the transmission.  As they wear and age, leaking can occur.  If the leakage is great enough to lower the fluid level substantially, erratic transmission operation will occur with major internal damage to follow.

Staying Cool on the Road

Temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity can challenge your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Here are some easy tips to keep you and your passengers cool on the road.

  1. If possible, leave the windows down slightly on hot days to reduce heat build-up. An A/C system works by removing heat, so the cooler the interior is to start with, the easier and faster the A/C will do its job.
  2. When you get in the car, open all the windows completely, or even open the doors, for a moment to vent the hot interior air quickly.
  3. When you first turn the A/C on, set the controls to MAX or REC and use highest blower speed. This moves the greatest volume of air and re-circulates it for even faster cool-down. As soon as you are comfortable, switch the system to NORM or OUTSIDE or FRESH, and select a lower fan speed. The lower blower speed produces colder the air from the system.
  4. Does your cool air have a bad odor, perhaps like “dirty socks” or a gym locker? Remember to set the system to the OUTSIDE air mode (not REC) frequently to help prevent or lessen this problem.
  5. Automatic Temperature Control systems operate differently than manual systems. Read your owner’s manual to gain understanding of exactly how your system works. With most automatic systems, the quickest cool-down comes by setting the temperature as low as it will go at first, then adjusting it later to occupant comfort.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide wants everyone to get the most comfort from their vehicle’s air conditioning system and be able to recognize problems when they occur.

Air conditioning problems should diagnosed by a professional service facility with the proper tools, training, and certified technicians.

Fill Your Car’s Tires With Nitrogen

The Get Nitrogen Institute Web site says that with nitrogen tire inflation, drivers will note improvements in a vehicle’s handling, fuel efficiency and tire life. This sounds great in theory but let’s take a closer look at each of those claims.

  • Better tire-pressure retention: Over time, a tire will gradually lose pressure. Changes in temperature will accelerate this. The general rule of thumb is a loss of 1 psi for every 10-degree rise or fall in temperature. The institute says that nitrogen has a more stable pressure, since it has larger molecules than oxygen that are less likely to seep through the permeable tire walls.
  • Improved fuel economy: The EPA says that under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. The theory is that since nitrogen loses pressure at a slower rate than air, you are more likely to be at the correct psi and therefore get better fuel economy. If you are proactive and check your tire pressure at least once a month, you can offset this difference with free air, and you won’t need expensive nitrogen. We think this invalidates the “better fuel economy with nitrogen” argument.
  • Cooler running temperatures: When air is pressurized, the humidity in it condenses to a liquid and collects in the air storage tank you use at the local gas station. When you add compressed air to the tire, the water comes along for the ride. As the tire heats up during driving, that water changes to a gas, which then expands, increasing tire pressure. Because nitrogen is dry, there is no water in the tire to contribute to pressure fluctuations.
  • Prevent wheel rot: Nitrogen proponents will also point out that water in a tire can lead to wheel rot. A tire engineer who anonymously maintains Barry’s Tire Tech, a blog on a number of tire issues, says this isn’t really a problem with modern cars.

Cost and Convenience 
Let’s say a person bought a set of tires at Costco, a place that uses nitrogen to fill all the tires they sell. If he needs to top off the tires with more nitrogen, he won’t be able to go to just any gas station. He can use regular air if there is nothing else available, but that would dilute the nitrogen in the tires. He’ll have to go back to Costco and wait until the tire technicians can attend to the car. On a busy day, he could be there awhile.

Is Nitrogen Worth It? 
The air we breathe is made up of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and a few other elements. To get the desired benefits for tires, nitrogen needs to be at least 93 percent pure, according to nitrogen service equipment providers quoted on Tirerack.com. So we’re basically talking about adding an extra 15 percent of nitrogen and getting rid of as much oxygen as possible. Based on cost, convenience and actual performance benefit, we don’t think nitrogen is worth it. A much better use of your money would be to buy a good tire-pressure gauge and check your tires frequently. This is a good idea even if you have a tire-pressure monitoring system in your vehicle. The warning lights aren’t required to come on until you have less than 25 percent of the recommended tire pressure. Having the correct tire pressure will get you many of the benefits of using nitrogen and will ensure that your tires last longer.

How To Tell if Body Shop Did the Job Correctly

When you last saw your car, it was a twisted mess being towed away from the scene of the accident. Now it’s weeks later and the car is parked in the driveway of a body shop. All you have to do is write a check and the car is yours again. But how do you know that everything under the surface has really been fixed correctly?

One key to getting your car fixed right is choosing a reliable shop in the first place. But you should still inspect the work performed before you drive away. To better understand what to look for, here are some insider tips from several knowledgeable veterans of the body shop business.

Have a Clear Understanding Up Front
The process of having your car fixed right starts when you drop it off, says Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists. Be clear on what the shop is going to fix and how it will do the repair. Get everything in writing. Ask about the shop’s warranty on its work. When you return, review the paperwork to confirm that the shop did the repairs correctly.

Clean Car Is a Must
Appearances matter. When you pick up your car, it should have been washed, cleaned and vacuumed, says John Mallette, owner of Burke Auto Body and Paint, in Long Beach, California. There should be no dirt or dust in the car and definitely no old parts in the trunk. Mallette says he even tries to wash down the engine compartment before he hands over the keys.

Closer Inspection
If the car’s general appearance passes muster, take a close look at the area that was repaired. Mallette recommends looking for gaps between body panels first. If the gaps are obviously uneven, that’s a telltale sign of panels not being aligned correctly. Schulenburg says owners should make sure the doors open and close properly with good alignment. If there was extensive front-end damage to the car, it can be difficult for a body shop to repair perfectly, Mallette says. One way to spot a problem is to look at the distance between the tire and fender. If it is wide on one side and narrow on the other, something wasn’t fixed properly.

Paint Jobs: Matching Colors and Consistency 
One of the most challenging jobs in a body shop is paint matching. Most factory paint jobs have an “orange peel” texture to the finish to a greater or lesser degree. Whether you like that effect or not, most factory paint jobs have this texture, and it can be tricky for body shops to duplicate. Mallette advises that you arrange to pick up a car from the body shop during the day. If possible, look at the car in the sunlight to make sure that the new paint matches the car’s original shade and finish. Also, if the shop repainted several panels, sight along the side of the car to look for color consistency. And finally, examine the paint for runs or imperfections such as hair or specks of dirt trapped in the finish.

Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage

There are a number of times when people need to store a vehicle for an extended period of time. Maybe you have a convertible that you love to drive in the summer, but winter is on the way. Or perhaps you’re going to leave town for a job or an extended vacation. Maybe you are in the military and are being deployed overseas. Here are important steps to take before you store a vehicle. They will preserve the life of the engine and ensure that your car starts when you return to it.

Keep It Covered
A garage is the ideal place to store a vehicle. This will protect it from the elements and keep it at a temperature that’s relatively stable. If you don’t have a garage and you can find accommodation at a reasonable price, consider putting the car in a public storage facility.

Clean It Up
It may seem counterintuitive to get the car washed when you’re putting it away for months, but it is an easy step and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Water stains or bird droppings left on the car can damage the paint. Make sure to clean the wheels and undersides of the fenders to get rid of mud, grease or tar. For added protection, give the car a coat of wax.

Change the Oil
Skip this step if you’re only storing the car for a week or two. Consider getting the oil changed if you will be storing the vehicle for longer than 30 days. Ford recommends this in its owner’s manuals, saying that used engine oil has contaminants that could damage the engine.

Top Off the Tank
This is another long-term car storage tip. Fill the tank with gas if you expect the car to be in storage for more than 30 days. This will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out. You should also purchase a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-bil, to prevent ethanol buildup and protect the engine from gum, varnish and rust. The fuel stabilizer will prevent the gas from deteriorating for up to 12 months.

Keep It Charged
An unattended battery will eventually lose its charge. Get someone to start the car every two weeks and drive it for about 15 minutes, if possible. Driving the car periodically has several benefits. It will maintain the battery’s charge, help the car “stretch its legs” and keep the engine and other components properly lubricated. It is also a good idea to run the air-conditioner to keep the parts in working order and the air quality fresh.

Don’t Use the Parking Brake
It’s usually a good idea to use the parking brake, but don’t do it when you leave a car in storage. If the brake pads make contact with the rotors for too long, there is a chance that they might fuse. Instead, purchase a tire stopper, also called a chock, to prevent the car from moving.

Prevent Flat Spots
Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure. If a vehicle is left stationary for too long, the tires could develop flat spots as the weight of the vehicle presses down on the tires’ footprints. This process occurs at a faster rate in colder temperatures and with vehicles equipped with performance tires or low-profile tires.