Tips To Increase Fuel Efficiency

Posted by PBTemplates on Wednesday, July 07, 2010 27 comments

Fuel economy is the new buzzword, because an optimum fuel economy directly relates to lesser pressure on the environment and the green cover of the earth.

You will find so many tips on increasing fuel economy that there is a chance that you will be overwhelmed. Well, given down below are some of the most significant tips that can help conserve fuel and enhance fuel economy.

1) Pressure in tyres - Having correct tyre pressure is one of the simplest things that can increase the fuel efficiency. Every vehicle has an optimum tyre pressure limit and you can find this in the manual or handbook of your vehicle. If you are consistent in maintaining the right tyre pressure, you can save up to 10% on fuel and increase the life of tyres by 13%.

2) Right pedal pressure - Long-term Drivers tend to develop habits over a period of time and one of the intricate ones is that they push the pedal too hard for acceleration or braking. This tends to eat up fuel and increases consumption by about 30%. It is not a bad idea for fleet managers to try and educate the drivers to go soft on the pedals.

3) Driving with open windows & Aircon - These are very common sense items. If you drive with open windows or Aircon then your fuel consumption is definitely higher. So, you would be better off in ensuring that the windows are closed and Aircon is off and the vents are open for ventilation.

4) Speed - interestingly if you drive at 80mph instead of 70mph you will use around 10% more fuel so stick to the 70mph mark on motorways rather than speeding along at 80mph it will save you a lot (oh yeah and it's illegal)

5) Get in Gear - you can also save a lot on fuel by changing gear at the right time, staying in a lower gear too long will use up fuel, change up as soon as possible (as long as it's safe to do so) doing this can give you an extra 15% fuel economy.

Well, if you give these steps a try you can have a better and happier period between the fuel fills. Good luck and happy saving on your fleet expenses.

Can You Prove Seat Belts Save Lives?

Posted by PBTemplates on Friday, May 07, 2010 18 comments

Any literature from the typical car insurance company emphasizes the importance of road safety. The executives at such companies realize that use of seat belts needs to be seen as an important component of such safety issues.

Still, a number of adults drive around without the added safety of seat belts. They simply refuse to "buckle up." That fact explains the thinking behind a promotional campaign, a campaign conducted by one car insurer.

The most important details about that promotional campaign have appeared in a magazine published by one insurance company-Geico. Their Fall/Winter 2009 issue invites young people to win an added bit of cash. That cash goes to the winners of a planned contest.

The article referred to in the above paragraph offers information about an ongoing poster and video contest. Each of the contest entries is supposed to highlight the insurance of safety that a driver enjoys, whenever he or she uses a seat belt. The same article includes pictures of the winning posters in past contests.

During an earlier contest, judges had been impressed with the entry from Brandon Kim. He had used his artistic skills to create a caricature, the depiction of a family riding in a car. Moreover, he had put that family in the safe embrace of two arms.

In large letters above that car, he printed these words: "Buckle Up." A phrase placed below that car said, "Be Safe." The thin publication with his winning entry shows Kim's smiling visage as well.

Another picture in the same publication offers a glimpse at one of the top computer generated posters. However, not a single picture reveals just what the judges hope to see in a video presentation. After all, the year 2009 is the first year for inclusion of that category.

While contestants lack the example of a winning video, those contestants can still win praise from many car insurance agents. The entries submitted by those contestants can demonstrate their growing appreciation for seat belt safety.

Examining The Various Corolla Cars

Posted by PBTemplates on Friday, May 07, 2010 23 comments

The largest selling vehicle globally, the Toyota Corolla, has a considerable number of models in Pakistan with various options to cater to a broad range of budgets. The Corolla is generally recognized for Toyota's triumph as the number one auto producer and ever since its premier in 1966, the Corolla has sold in substantially more numbers than any other vehicle, with around about thirty five million units sold a few years ago. The Corolla has maintained considerable ardor for several decades and in spite of its run-of-the-mill appearance compared to heaps of other automobiles by different producers, car buyers who purchase a Corolla almost never switch over to any other vehicle.

Some of the most important reasons for its achievement include superb fuel efficiency, dependability and a significant resale price. The 2009 Corolla has been altered extensively in appearance and with a huge amount of rear leg area and a somewhat wider trunk than prior models, the Toyota Corolla is a genuine family vehicle that can undoubtedly contain bags for many individuals. There are four main models including the Corolla GLi, Altis, XLi and 2.0D, the latter being a diesel version of the automobile.

Prospective buyers can get the Corolla Altis in a manual shift or automatic transmission while the XLi and GLi are solely obtainable in five-speed manual shift transmission. The irresistible options of a sunroof, shiny wood finish interior and telescopic steering are obtainable in either the manual shift or automatic variations of the Altis unlike the XLi and GLi. The Corolla GLi like the Altis does however, contain back seat armrests with mug holders and power windows.

There are many differences in engine output and safety between the Altis and the XLi and GLi. The Altis has an EFI engine with VVTI and capability of roughly 1800cc, whereas the GLi and XLi are found with a 1299cc engine utilizing related concept. The Altis moreover has seat belts using Pretensioner and Force Limiter on the passenger side as well and a more complex fuel cut mechanism. For prospective customers expressly concerned with the automobile exterior the Altis has a high mount stop-light and side protection molding which is sold in the body color. The XLi is not sold with ABS or Electronic Brake Force Distribution a substantially worthwhile quality acquirable in the other range.

The Corolla 2.0D is accessible in three types with the Saloon being reasonably comparable to the GLi and the sunroof model comparable to the Altis. The 2.0D has the clear benefit of a diesel engine, but with compressed gas conversions so conveniently accessible, it is no more a chief aspect in finalizing which automobile to purchase.

In terms of the range of models, the Toyota Corolla has a much broader line-up than the Honda Civic, which is restricted to two to three models with minute variations. The Xli however is more directly linked with the Honda City with the Altis being on the whole comparable to the Civic. Toyota has been smart to make available so many types as it empowers potential buyers to decide on a model that matches their requirements completely.

How to Maintain a New Car

Posted by PBTemplates on Friday, May 07, 2010 39 comments

In this article we will look at some general service hints that apply to any car whether you buy it new or used. In most cases, these maintenance costs are not covered by your factory and extended warranty, but are important considerations in getting the best and most reliable service from your car.

The first consideration is where you take it for service. Many people simply take it back to the dealer where they bought it. The advantage there is that if they discover anything that needs fixing under the warranty, they will fix it for you when you take it in for service. But be aware that you pay a premium for dealer service in most things, and you can often cut the cost of that routine maintenance by 30% or more by using a good independent repair shop. And the independent shop may be a bit more observant in pointing out other problems with your car that you can have fixed under warranty back at the dealership.

Check with friends or business associates to see where they get their car serviced. Many shops offer free shuttle transportation when you drop off or pick up your car. If you have a more exotic car, be sure they specialize in that kind of car. Since the cost of parts can often be more than the cost of labor, you should realize that OEM parts from a dealer usually cost 50% more than the same parts from a good after market supplier, when available. But your dealer always uses OEM factory parts. And items like tires, brakes, filters and routine maintenance parts are inevitably a good bit more expensive from the dealership.

Once you decide where you want to have your car serviced, stick with them if they do a good job for you. There's no substitute for a good relationship with a repair shop when it comes time for major work or diagnostics. And many a shop will take a one time customer for a "ride", and take the easy route to fixing your problem rather than the most cost effective one. A little story...

I had a girlfriend once with an old Ford Mustang. Her turn signals were not working and she took it into the Ford dealership for repair. They wanted to charge her $220 to replace the whole turn sign mechanism and wiring harness, a big job as it involves dismantling the whole steering column. She couldn't afford it and came to me asking what she should do.

I had a hunch and picked up a new blinker relay from the auto parts store for $3. I reached under the dash, popped out the old one and stuck the new one in there.

Presto... the problem was fixed. I was outraged that the dealer was going to charge her $220 when a simple $3 part fixed the problem. I went down there and complained bitterly and they refunded her diagnostic charges anyhow.

In general, car repair shops are notorious for fixing things that don't need fixing, and not always because they are completely dishonest... but because it's faster than trying to figure out where the exact cause of the problem really lies. It's the old analogy of fixing a loose nail with a sledgehammer. So finding a good reliable service shop can save you a lot of money over the years.

I recommend you keep a log of your maintenance. It will help you do it regularly and that will prolong the life of your car. And it also looks good when it comes time to sell the car.

Here are some service issues that are critical and some hints that not everyone is aware of.

Oil Changes

The average new car recommends an oil change every 7500 miles. I like to change mine twice during that period. Motor oil is cheap and nothing wears an engine out faster than dirty motor oil. The simple process of combustion produces a lot of by-products, acid, carbon, and contamination from the air. And that contaminates your motor oil pretty quickly. I change it at 4000 but not the oil filter, and then again at 7500 and change the oil filter at that time. I maintain the same schedule through 7500, 15,000, 22,500, 30,000 and so on.

I use a high grade of motor oil... I have always liked Valvoline. But Quaker State, Pennzoil and other top brands are probably equally good. Stay away from the bargain brands. Quality lubrication is essential to your engine's longevity. In general you want it to look clear and green on the oil dipstick... when it starts getting dark, it's time to change it, and when it gets black it's way overdue.

The exception to this rule is that some synthetic oils which are black in appearance when new. And unlike foods, where "synthetic" is a dirty word, in motor oils, the synthetic variety offers better lubrication than the petroleum based "natural" oils and costs a good bit more as well. If you have an expensive car, it's probably well worth the extra cost for the higher quality motor oil.

People who ignore things like routine oil changes because they are too busy are very foolish. Dirty motor oil wears out an engine very quickly and failure to keep it clean may very likely void your warranty.

Transmission oil is another item. Factory service often doesn't require it be changed more than every 30,000 miles. But depending on how and where you drive it can get dirty and worn a lot quicker than than that. In general you want the fluid to appear cherry red and have almost no smell when you pull the transmission oil dipstick. When it is reddish brown and has a burnt smell, then your transmission is suffering. Many cars do not allow an easy change of the transmission fluid. It is often necessary to drop the pan of transmission to drain it, and then that usually holds 3-4 quarts and does not change the majority of the fluid which is in the torque converter.

Some cars like my Mercury Mountaineer, have a separate drain plug for the torque converter and allow a change of fluid to be relatively complete. But many others do not. My old Ford Explorer was that way. Changing the fluid by dropping the pan only changed 1/3 the transmission fluid, so if I waited til it was brown and burnt, one change did not do it. I installed a drain plug in my transmission pan, and changed it 5 times running it a few miles after each change, until I figured I had diluted the old burnt fluid adequately enough. So keep an eye on that fluid and change it often.

Manual transmissions don't use transmission fluid... they use a 90W gear oil which generally doesn't need to be changed very often. But keep your clutch adjusted properly with a little bit of freeplay at the top, and don't "ride the clutch". Be very careful about resting your foot on the clutch pedal as the weight of the foot can partially depress the pedal, and start to reach the edge of engagement, and this will wear out your clutch's throw-out bearing very quickly.

Older cars all used carburetors to mix gas and air and squirt it into the engine for combustion. Newer cars mostly use fuel injection, and while this often works really well and controls emissions, you need to keep those fuel injectors clean. Your local auto parts shop sells a number of brands of fuel injector cleaner and I recommend adding it to a full tank of gas at least with every oil change. It's a lot cheaper than having your fuel injection system overhauled. And change that air filter regularly or whenever it starts to appear dirty. Nothing slows performance more quickly and gunks up your carburetor or fuel injectors than a dirty air filter.

Tires, Brakes and Shock Absorbers

Other items like tires, brakes and shock absorbers are generally not covered by warranties... they are considered routine maintenance items. Choose your tires carefully... there are a wide range of tire grades, priced accordingly. Invariably those bargain prices you see advertised are junk tires and not worth your time unless you are just fixing the car up to sell. Many tires will offer long mileage warranties, but read the fine print... often that's "pro-rated" and applied to the "list" price of a new one, not the highly discounted price you bought them for. This is an old scam. Put 20,000 miles on those 50,000 mile tires and you may find the adjusted price of a new pair under warranty is higher than what you can buy them or a comparable set for outright.

In general, always buy tires at least in pairs. Never put one new tire on one wheel when the other has considerable wear. Generally, it's best to put your new tires on the front to take advantage of better steering and handling with a new tire. But if your car is rear wheel drive, be aware that badly worn tires in the back will cause your car to skid and lose control quickly in wet or slippery conditions. If you rotate your tires regularly, say every 7500 or 10,000 miles at least, then your tires should all wear out around the same time and it's best to replace all four as a set.

When putting on new tires, you should have them balanced and the front end aligned. Bad alignment or balance will wear out new tires much more quickly and can severely impact the handling and ride quality. Often, balancing tries when they are new, does not mean they will still be in balance after 5-10,000 miles. I like to buy my tires from a tire dealer that offers free rotation and rebalancing for the life of the tire. I look for tires which handle well in wet conditions and avoid aquaplaning. Those are usually high end steel belted all-weather radials which also work pretty well in snow as well.

Remember you life and that of your family is riding on your tires. Invest in good quality tires... it's a sound investment. And one more thing, these new "low profile" tires that look so cool on these sport sedans. The low profile means a short sidewall, which means little give and flex there which, while it can contribute to better handling, also means a stiffer less comfortable ride, and more wear on your suspension, since the tires are not absorbing the road irregularities as well, leaving it all up to the more expensive suspension parts.

Shock absorbers are another important and often overlooked component. Worn shocks mean faster tire and suspension wear, particularly the ball joints in the front end. It's relatively easy to check a shock's performance. Push down swiftly on the fender of your car over each of the four wheels. New shocks should be pretty stiff and recover from a hard shove with only a single rebound. If the car bounces up and down several times above the wheel, the shocks are worn and should be replaced. These are not expensive and a good tire dealer can stick in a quality set like Monroe Shocks for little more than $100 for all four on many models of cars.

Also not covered by most warranties, the brakes should be checked regularly (whenever you rotate your tires and replaced when they get low. Driving with worn brakes (typically they squeal badly when you come to a stop) will quickly score your brake rotors or drums and make replacing them essential as well as brake pads or brake shoes. Front brakes usually wear out first, and again depending on how you drive, you can probably expect to replace them every 30,000 miles or so. A good brake shop will turn the rotors or drums, replace the pads or brake shoes, and rebuilt the calipers or wheel cylinders as needed. If you replace them often and the rotors/drums look good, sometimes you can get away with just a new pair of shoes or pads.

Also keep an eye on your brake fluid under the hood. As the brakes pads or shoes wear, the fluid level will drop. That is normal, and you will need to add a bit of brake fluid from time to time. Be casrely not to spill any on the car's paint as it is highly corrosive and will eat through the paint in a matter of moments.

Car Paint and Interior

In order to preserve the value of your investment, you also want to maintain your car's finish and interior. Keep the car washed and clean. Be careful about automatic car washes. Many news ones do a fine job, but some of the older ones with stiff brushes can scratch your paint badly. If you can keep your car in a garage or under cover, do it. That old junk you have piled up in the garage while your $35,000 car sits out in weather is a poor investment decision. Remove bird droppings and tree

sap as quickly as you possibly can. I keep a plastic bottle with water and a soft rag in my trunk and wipe off bird droppings as soon as I notice them. The acid in there will eat into your paint very quickly and cause a blemish to that paint job. But blot don't rub. Bird droppings typically have sand in them and that can easily scratch your paint.

You can remove tree sap and road tar with turpentine or paint thinner from your hardware store. It won't hurt the paint and will quickly dissolve the sap or tar. But is also removes car wax so use it sparingly, and if you do it often, treat your car to a fresh turtle wax a few times a year. A freshly waxed car will cause water to bead up in little round beads on the surface. When those beads start to disappear it's time for another coat of wax. Wax will protect your car's paint, keep it from becoming porous and weathered and making the removal of things like bird droppings and sap much easier.

Remember factory paints are baked on and are in general much more durable than repaints. So it pays to keep up that factory paint job.

I like to use Armorall on the car's interior vinyl... it keeps it soft and pliable and prevents cracking and it looks sharp. I also highly recommend using some kind of a windshield protection screen in hot weather if you park out in the sun all day. It will keep the car's interior cooler and also protect the car's dash from cracking. And if your car has leather seats, treat them to a quality leather preservative on a regular basis. Nothing makes a car harder to sell than cracked worn leather seats.