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A pothole can be your car’s worst enemy. These holes or pits on a road’s surface can seriously damage a vehicle’s ride-control system.
If you do drive over a pothole, the Car Care Council recommends that you have your car’s shocks or struts checked to make sure they aren’t damaged.
Shocks and struts control how vehicles ride and handle. According to the Car Care Council, the shock absorbers, or struts as they are referred to on late-model vehicles, act as a cushion to dampen the bouncing action of a car’s springs. The springs absorb the road bumps; without them, the vehicle would continually bounce and bound down the road, making driving extremely difficult.
Shocks and struts also control spring and suspension movement to keep the tires in contact with the road. This affects steering, stability and braking. A broken shock or strut could alter the steering and handling of a vehicle and create driving dangers.
It’s important to be aware of the warning signs that your vehicle’s shocks or struts may need to be replaced.
* The vehicle rolls or sways on turns.
* The vehicle’s front-end dives when braking.
* The vehicle’s rear end squats when accelerating. Read the rest of this entry »
Lots of folks are speculating about GM’s future. If you take all the press reports at heart, you would think that General Motors is on life support. Quite frankly, the opposite is true especially when you look at the global picture. In 2005, “the General” sold more than 9 million cars worldwide, the first time the automaker reached that figure since 1978. Yes, U.S. auto sales are down and some are calling for GM to reduce its many brands, currently numbering 8. Who should GM let go? Or, should General Motors stick with the game plan and maintain all 8 brands?
For the record, GM’s 8 brands are: Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Saturn, GMC, Hummer, and Saab. You could take Saab out of that pack as the Swedish automaker (although fully owned by GM) builds few cars in North America. Still, GM includes Saab in its marketing schema so we’ll keep them in for argument’s sake.
Clearly, Cadillac is GM’s luxury division; Chevrolet is it’s budget or “All American” division; while GMC is the truck division. Beyond that, there is much muddling of divisions, but Buick is a maker of “near luxury” vehicles (Cadillac lite) while Hummer is GM’s specialty truck division. The Saab line is a bit confusing as it once was a true European division. Now, the make is chiefly featuring rebadged GM and Subaru vehicles with little original models to show for it. Finally, Pontiac and Saturn duplicate much of what the other divisions do, although the Saturn mystique of “no haggle pricing” gives the make a certain aura to it. That leaves Pontiac.
Pontiac, like the recently killed off Oldsmobile name, is probably one of the most vulnerable of the true “American” makes. Saturn will survive because its dealer network is tops and consumer satisfaction ranks up there with Lexus.
Ultimately, the Saab name will likely die first. Outside of the U.S., particularly in Europe, Opel is a known name and an important GM make. Word has it that some of Saab’s production will shift to Germany and certain rebadged Opels will begin to sport the Saab name. Let’s just say Read the rest of this entry »
You lovingly wash and wax your vehicle on most sunny weekends, spending time detailing every single blotch, nick, scrape, or other damaging mark on your car’s exterior. Part of the deal with owning any vehicle is making certain that it looks its best week in and week out. Still, you may not be doing all that you can to protect the finish. Other enemies including bird excrement, acid rain, and even harmful UV rays can thwart the best efforts of even the most diligent car owner. Fortunately, there is one automotive accessory that can help keep your car clean, provided you use it when your car is parked for an extended length of time. What am I talking about? Car covers! Read on for seven helpful tips to help you choose the right cover for your truck, van, SUV, or car.
When shopping for a custom car cover you must give consideration to what it does besides simply covering your car. Among some important points to know:
Will the car cover protect from damaging UV rays? If you live in an area of intense sunshine, such as Arizona, you need a car cover that offers the maximum protection from the sun.
Is the material durable? Does it breath? Will it tear if loaded down with snow or ice?
Will the car cover resist or completely repel rain?
Can the product survive weather extremes, i.e. intense heat or severe cold?
Will the car cover resist dust? Some car covers prevent even the finest dust from accumulating, dust that can mar your garaged car too. Read the rest of this entry »
1. Know a little about pricing before you buy a used car. Franchise dealers that sell used cars add a certain percentage on the original value of the used car in the market. Markup is also added to the price of the used car at dealerships, which will make the price higher.
2. Determine the many factors that affect the used car prices. Used car pricings are affected by installed optional equipments or the location where you are buying the used car. There are areas that have a high market demand for a certain car. If that is the case, you may get a better deal if you travel outside of the zone to shop around for your car.
3. Find the used car’s true market value at NADA. National Automobile Dealer’s Association releases a copy of used car price guides every year. You may also check their web site to check the current prices of the used cars you are looking for.
4. Cheaper used cars may be found at government auctions. Government auctions happen every year and you may want to check out a checklist of the auction program. It may also offer you guidelines on finding quality used cars at lower prices. You may visit Federal Citizen Information to find out the guidelines in buying used cars from government auctions.
5. Check out the Internet. There are a lot of web sites that provide pricing guides on used cars and also guidelines in finding the right used car for you. You may compare prices; check out the features of the used car and the location where you can buy cheaper prices.
6. Determine if you have a fair deal with the price that is offered to you. Factors that affect used car prices include the age, market demand, overall condition, mileage, interior and exterior blemishes or if the car was maintained well. Read the rest of this entry »
When you next go on vacation the best way to explore a new country is by car. Renting a car allows you to sightsee at your own pace to tourist spots of your own choice. You can easily rent cars from car rental services, but there are certain things you should keep in mind when you are renting a car abroad.
* It is a good idea to make all arrangements from the USA itself before you embark on your vacation. If you rent directly in a foreign land the language and cultural barriers, the foreign currency conversion rates, unfamiliar rental rules and other differences may utterly confuse you. Instead if you rent right from your home country, you are more likely to catch the hidden costs such as late penalties, gas charges and others.
* Make sure your billing starts right from the time of the drop-off. Remember, there are agencies that charge on a full 24-hour basis, even if you use the car for lesser hours per day. Avoid these types of car rental agencies.
* There are various types of discounts that are available on car rentals internationally. For example, the frequent flyer discount, credit card discount, AAA discount or senior citizen discount etc. are the most common type of car rental discounts. Insist on getting the discounts if you qualify for them.
* When you are booking in advance, consider the prospective size of your luggage and the number of people traveling with you. In case the luggage and the size of your group are small you can consider a smaller car. But if you feel you are going to travel with a big group or have big or quite a few luggages, then book a roomier car.
* You should carry an international driving permit with you. It is recognized by some 150 countries. However you must be at least 18 years old to obtain an international driving permit. In the USA, two agencies are authorized to issue the document: the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance.
* Do not expect to rent a luxurious or automatic car in other countries as you would expect to rent back home. For example, if you rent a car of European make, there is a high possibly that you have to drive a manual stick shift car. However, since you are not familiar with your way Read the rest of this entry »
Just because your car is small, doesn’t mean that it has to be slow. In fact, some of the fastest cars on the road today are subcompacts. How so? Because their owners have modified them to the point where they can squeeze out additional horsepower and acceleration. Let’s take a look at six cars that qualify as genuine “pocket rockets.”
For the sake of argument, here are some ground rules for a pocket rocket:
- The car must be a compact or smaller.
- The engine must be normally aspirated; no turbo charged cars – four cylinders only.
- New versions of the car must all retail for less than $20,000.The following six cars all qualify as pocket rockets when each of the above stipulations has been met:
Dodge Neon; Ford Focus; Honda Civic; Scion tC; Subaru Impreza; and Volkswagen Golf.
Unfortunately, the Mitsubishi Eclipse retails for just above $20,000 so it does not qualify. Besides, it looks too much like a sports car; we are only examining those vehicles that are somewhat plain before being transformed by aftermarket parts.
Dodge Neon – Technically, the Neon is no longer in production as 2005 was its last model year. Still, with a 2.0L 132hp engine, the Neon remains an affordable favorite of the youth set who enjoy customizing their vehicles
Ford Focus – A lemon no more! Earlier models of the Focus were problem plagued, but the car has made significant strides in the past few years and has received Consumer Report’s recommended buy label too. The stubby ZX3 produces 136 horses with its 2.0L engine Read the rest of this entry »