Category Archives: Articles

How to Prepare Your Car for Long Road Trips

Long road trips can be both exciting and fun. With proper preparation, you can avoid boredom and delays. Download a good playlist and make sure you have a few games for the kids. Packing a small cooler with drinks and snacks means fewer stops. Also, your car needs to be in tip-top shape for a long journey.

A long road trip is a serious test for your vehicle. Even small problems such as out-of-balance tires or worn windshield wipers can cause trouble. Here is a basic checklist that you can work through before setting off on your trip:

  1. Check the Fluid Levels in Your Car
  2. Examine Your Car’s Battery
  3. Replace the Air Filter
  4. Check Tires & Tire Pressure
  5. Pack Owner’s Manual & Tools

 Check the Fluid Levels in Your Car

There are several different fluids in your car that keep it running smoothly. All of them should be topped off before taking any long trips. It’s also a good idea to carry extra oil and coolant in your car for emergencies. A list of fluid levels to check in your car include:

  1. Brake Fluid
  2. Coolant
  3. Oil
  4. Power Steering Fluid
  5. Transmission Fluid
  6. Windshield Wiper Fluid

Check the Engine Oil

Engine oil should always be checked while the engine is cold. To check the engine oil, pull out the dipstick, wipe it with a paper towel or a clean rag, and then insert it back into the reservoir. Pull out the dipstick again to check the level, make sure it’s close to the “FULL” mark. Change the engine oil if it appears too black or if it is getting close to the time for an oil change. Many modern vehicles have electronic oil level gauges which can simplify this process but it is always good to double check.

How to Check the Transmission Fluid

Unlike oil, transmission fluid has to be checked while the engine is warm and idling. Make sure the car is parked on a level surface. Set the hand brake and pull out the transmission fluid with the engine idling in neutral. Wipe off the dipstick with a cloth or and insert it back.

To check the fluid condition and level, pull out the dipstick again. Clean transmission fluid is a pinkish-red or red color. Under high load and temperature, the transmission fluid oxidizes and becomes brown. Change the transmission fluid if it appears too dark, especially if you will be towing a trailer. Be careful not to overfill the transmission fluid. Too much is just as bad as not enough.

Examine Your Car’s Battery

Check the condition of the battery visually. Replace it if you find any cracks, acid leaks, or any other damage. It is important to ensure that the battery terminals aren’t corroded as that invites trouble.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any simple way to figure out the exact life of a battery (unless you search through manufacturer’s battery manuals). Sometimes, the battery will die unexpectedly without any prior signs. The best way to check your battery’s life is to put the car in auxiliary mode. Turn the key to the “on” position but don’t turn on the engine. Look at the volt gauge on the dashboard. A car battery needs to be around 12 volts to effectively start the engine. A battery usually lasts from two to six years, depending on the manufacturer and model. Most auto parts stores will test your battery for free.

Replace the Air Filter

Replace an old air filter in your vehicle before a long road trip. A dirty air filter reduces power and increases fuel consumption. There are many of YouTube videos showing how to change an air filter, or you can take it to the shop. Air filter replacement is easy and inexpensive.

 Check the Tires & Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is one of the most important things that you need to check before a road trip. The recommended tire pressure is located inside the driver door, on the sidewall of the tire, or in the Owner’s Manual.  Have your tires balanced if you feel a vibration at high speeds. Check the tire tread and replace them if it seems worn. Patched tires may be able to handle a long road trip but there is never a guarantee.

Pack Owner’s Manual & Tools

Don’t forget to keep the owner’s manual of your vehicle in the glove box. From how to change a flat tire to the location of the jack and how a trailer is towed, the manual contains pieces of highly useful information which could be of great help on the trip.

It also includes instructions and information about how to top off the engine oil, how to jump-start the vehicle in case the battery dies, how to change the bulb of the headlight, and more. Most manuals can be downloaded if you no longer have the original. Alternatively, you can get one from your local dealer.

Besides the owner’s manual, you need to pack a few basic safety items. Every car should have a good spare tire, an emergency warning triangle, flare, jack, and lug wrench. If you don’t know how to change a tire, you need to learn before your trip. You never know when you will need to change a tire. The other option is to pay a road assistance business for the job but this usually includes a wait time of up to an hour or more.

You also need jumper cables, duct tape, a gas can, and a basic set of tools. Having these on hand can keep you from getting stranded on the side of the road. Don’t count on your cell phone. There are many places that don’t have service. Plan in advance and your trip should go off without a hitch.

Other Tips and Warnings

  • Familiarize yourself with the vehicle and its equipment, especially if you plan to drive a rental car.
  • Minimize sudden starts/stops and don’t carry unnecessary weight. The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it will consume for the drive.
  • Don’t wait for the gas gauge to sit on “empty” before refueling. As soon as the pointer falls to a quarter of a tank, start looking for a gas station, especially if your trip involves traveling on unfamiliar roads.
  • It is highly important to ensure every person seated in the car buckles his/her seat belt. It will not only keep you safe, but some places have strict laws concerning seat belts.
  • Consider using a GPS for navigation. It can help keep you from getting lost.

 

References

http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/car-travel/top-20-safe-driving-tips

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/everything-you-need-to-prepare-for-a-long-car-journey-or-road-trip/

http://www.samarins.com/longtrip/index2.html

 

EuroPrestige Motors: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

EuroPrestige Motors: 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

EuroPrestige Motors

Are you a fan of the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C? If so, EuroPrestige Motors is right for you! EuroPrestige Motors, a European automotive rental company located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C for daily and weekly rentals. For $500 per day, the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C can be driven around the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States with 100 miles of included mileage. Additional miles may be purchased at the time of scheduling. Services, such as drop-off and pick-up of the vehicle, are free up to 25 miles from Philadelphia.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C - Turn - EuroPrestige Motors - EuroDrift

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C – Turn – EuroPrestige Motors – EuroDrift

Alfa Romeo 4C

The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is a true Italian sports car with a rumbling 1.7-liter 4-cylinder engine pushing 237 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The sleek styling of the car leaves a lasting impression. Inside, carbon fiber is displayed beautifully on the floor sidings as well as behind the seats. The carbon fiber is complemented by the red stitched black leather located on the dashboard and sport seats. The rear-view window allows the driver and passenger to see into the engine bay at any time. On the outside, the large wheels provide the car with a sporty, mean look. The manual steering allows the driver to feel the bumps and curves of the road at all moments. Lastly, although it has a 4-cylinder engine, the car aggressively purrs down the road. In the event of rain, the 4C has an all-weather mode meant to ensure traction in poor conditions.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C - Drive - EuroPrestige Motors - EuroDrift

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C – Drive – EuroPrestige Motors – EuroDrift

Great Acceleration!

At first, the 4C can be intimidating to drive due to the low suspension and manual steering. But, once you hop into the vehicle, you are in for a true surprise. As you cruise the roads, whether the farm land of Lancaster, PA or the backroads to Atlantic City’s casinos, you will experience the true meaning of a down to earth sports car. The acceleration is phenomenal reaching 60 mph from dead stop in only 4.2 seconds, or 4.1 seconds with a rollout start. In the 4C, you can complete a quarter mile in 12.7 seconds at 106.4 mph. The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is as fast as a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette from 0-60. It may not be able to keep up with the V8 on the quarter mile but at 0.5 seconds less and 9.9 mph difference, it is not too far off.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C - Rear - EuroPrestige Motors - EuroDrift

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C – Rear – EuroPrestige Motors – EuroDrift

The Alfa Romeo 4C is a Head Turner

In Italy, the Alfa Romeo 4C is a popular sports car used to drive the coast, tour cities, or just show off. In America, the 4C is a rare vehicle with dealerships only selling a handful per year. This makes the 4C a rare sight and people love to see the vehicle on the road. The 4C is the type of car that draws everyone’s attention as it is a true head turner. Whether you’re just taking a cruise or going out on a date, this is the vehicle to drive. You will be sure to impress your date.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C - Side - EuroPrestige Motors - EuroDrift

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C – Side – EuroPrestige Motors – EuroDrift

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C - Nose - EuroPrestige Motors - EuroDrift

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C – Nose – EuroPrestige Motors – EuroDrift

If you’re in the Philadelphia area, whether living nearby or on vacation, the 2015 Alfa 4C is the vehicle to rent. For any special occasion, use the 4C can to impress all, including yourself. The 4C is a true sports car at less than half the rental price of a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Contact EuroPrestige Motors today to obtain a quote and setup your reservation!

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EuroPrestige Motors

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EuroPrestigeMotors

Twitter: https://twitter.com/epmotorsllc

Website: https://www.epmotorsllc.com/

How to Handle a Traffic Stop: Common on Public Roadways

How to Handle a Traffic Stop: Common on Public Roadways

Traffic Stops are Common on Public Roadways

Traffic stops are common on public roadways worldwide. A driver usually gets stopped at one point or another in their lifetime. Most of the time, it’s for speeding or a minor traffic violation. Police officers are required to pull you over by law, but they have the leeway to issue a warning instead of a ticket. Obviously, if you were going 100 mph through a school zone – you are definitely getting a ticket, possibly arrested, and probably losing your license. But, for others, if you act reasonably and politely, you might just avoid a fine.

Keep Calm

Pull over safely and quickly, letting the officer know that you are complying with his commands. Under no circumstances should you try to “lose” the officer. That will land you in jail. If you question whether or not the car behind you is an actual officer, call 911. They can immediately ascertain whether the patrolman is legitimate. You can also request to see their badge and photo ID. If you still aren’t comfortable, you can request that they follow you to a police station.

Turn Off Your Car

After you pull over, turn off the engine. By turning off your car, you show that you are complying. It also decreases the likelihood of accidental injury.

 Turn On the Overhead Lamp

If it is dark out, you should turn on the interior light so that the police officer can see into your car. This not only ensures your safety but also keeps the officer at ease, as he will have some knowledge of what you are doing. It’s also a good idea to keep your hands where he can see them. Don’t let a misunderstanding result in tragedy.

 Roll Down Your Window

Don’t get out of the car! Instead, roll down the window. If for some reason your window doesn’t work, roll down the back one or crack your door and ask the officer for permission to exit  the vehicle. They will be on guard as you exit, but as long as they know ahead of time what you plan to do, things will go smoothly. If for any reason they tell you “no”, you need to follow their direction.

If you have tinted windows, especially at an illegal percentage, it is a recommended to roll down all of the car’s windows including front and rear sides. This will allow the officer to see into the vehicle which will make them feel more comfortable during the traffic stop. From personal experience, the traffic stop will go very smoothly if you oblige to this courtesy rather than attempting to hide the interior of the vehicle. At worst, the officer may write a ticket for window tint which may be as simple as a fine or it may be a requirement to remove the tint and present it at the police station. Always perform research or contact an attorney before fully obliging to the requirements.

Immediately Declare the Presence of Firearms

One of the first things you should do (with your hands in plain view) is declare the presence of any firearms in the car. If you have a valid concealed carry permit, this will not be a problem. If you do not have a concealed carry permit, all registered firearms must be locked away and out of the driver’s reach. An officer may look at the weapon, but as long as you have followed the law, there won’t be a problem.

A Typical Traffic Stop

Most traffic stops follow a predictable pattern. An example of a pattern is as follows:

  1. The officer decides to engage a traffic stop due to suspicion or a violation.
  2. The officer turns on his lights and waits for the driver to pull over.
  3. If the driver doesn’t, the officer beeps the siren.
  4. The driver pulls over in a parking lot, on a side street, or on the shoulder of the road.
  5. The driver sits and waits. (This is a good time to fish out the driver’s insurance card, license, and registration – which should be kept within an arm’s length distance of the driver – if not, wait until the officer approaches to ask permission to avoid suspicion)
  6. The driver rolls down the driver and passenger side windows.
  7. The officer walks up to the window and says something such as: “Good evening sir. Do you know why I pulled you over?”
  8. Before the driver even answers the officer’s question – the driver should declare the presence of any firearms, if any. The driver should say something such as: “I just want to let you know that I have a concealed carry permit and there is a firearm in the glove box.” The officer will handle the situation from there.
  9. If you don’t have any firearms, you say something nice back, “No, I was unaware that I committed any violations. If I did something wrong, I apologize.” (It’s probably not a good idea to say “I was speeding” in case they only pulled you over for an expired plate – wait and see.)
  10. The officer tells the driver the violation and asks for the insurance card, license, and registration.
  11. Then, the officer goes back to their squad car and runs the driver’s license through the database. If the driver has warrants out for their arrest, they’re looking at a ride to the police station. However, if the driver comes back without any violations, and they get lucky, the officer may only issue a warning.
  12. Regardless, when the officer comes back to the vehicle, the officer will either hand the driver a ticket or give a stern warning. The driver should thank the officer for the warning (the officer did the driver a favor) . If a ticket is served, it is best for the driver to be polite as arguing with the officer usually doesn’t work out in the driver’s favor.

What to Do If the Traffic Stop Goes Bad

Despite what the media might say, very few traffic stops go poorly. If for some reason the officer is acting odd or “out of line”, do the best to defuse the situation. Always be polite and comply. Do this even if you are completely innocent of any accusations. Remember, the patrol vehicles have dashcams and, nowadays, officers often wear body cameras. If you appear rational and calm, it will be very hard to misinterpret your actions. Deal with the incident later, in a court of law with an attorney – not during the traffic stop.

  • An officer cannot search your car without your permission unless they see or smell alcohol or drugs. If the officer has a search warrant, they may search the vehicle legally.
  • They can “pat you down” to search for illegal items or weapons.
  • You must agree to a field sobriety check if requested or take a trip to the station for a blood test.
  • Legally, you don’t have to answer questions, but if there is no reason not to, then be cooperative.

Police officers are only doing their job. Given the chance, most will happily let you off with simply a warning. If the infraction is bad enough to warrant a ticket, just accept that you made a mistake. It happens to everyone at some point. From there, perform research or consult an attorney to find the best possible solution.

How Does a Radar Detector Work: Technical Perspective

How Does a Radar Detector Work: Technical Perspective

Radar Detector Basics

Radar is frequently used by police to identify how fast a vehicle is moving. Police will often use radar detectors to identify speeding vehicles. In return, drivers can purchase radar detectors to let them know when radar is being used on the roadways.

One of the main jobs of radar detectors is to warn drivers that there is a radar device in the vicinity. When the radar detector alerts a driver of a radar presence, the driver will usually inspect their speed and adjust it accordingly to avoid the risk of a ticket. To better understand all of the benefits of using a radar detector, it is helpful to know their functionality.

The Internal Workings of a Radar Detector

A radar speed gun incorporates both a radio receiver and a radio transmitter. The transmitter’s job is to oscillate an electrical current that enables the voltage to go up and down. The electromagnetic energy generated by this travels as an electromagnetic wave through the air. The transmitter includes an amplifier that works to increase the electromagnetic intensity. The transmitter also includes an antenna which broadcasts the energy into the air. Meanwhile, the radio receiver finds electromagnetic waves in the air with an antenna in order to convert them into an electrical current.

A radio wave emitted by a radar device moves at the speed of light, and when it hits an object it bounces back to the device. The time taken by the radar device to measure the speed of a moving vehicle depends on the distance of the vehicle but the difference of time is miniscule.

Wave Frequencies

When a radar gun is used to detect the speed of the moving vehicle, the wave frequency of the signal returned is changed because the vehicle is moving. If the vehicle is moving towards the radar device, the distance and time for the return signal to travel is reduced, while the frequency of the radio wave increases. The radar device used for determining the speed of the car uses that change in frequency to determine speed.

Usually, radar detectors identify the radio wave bandwidth of any radar device used by police and inform the driver. Essentially, the detectors pick up the specific frequencies of the radar devices used to identify speeding cars. Often, radar guns pick up radar radio waves before the vehicle comes within visual range.

Factors Affecting the Range of the Radar Detector

According to a Car and Driver study, loss in detection range significantly occurs when the car has a windshield embedded with metallic or commercial tint films. The range of radar detection depends on these two treatments. You find these films in high-end imported products, Everclear windshields, Instaclear windshields, and GM products. The radar detection capability of vehicles with these products drops by 95 percent.

GPS Radar Detectors

The recent developments in GPS technology have given radar detectors an increased functionality. A radar detector with GPS calculates the location and speed of the vehicle by using a GPS satellite network. The GPS system also allows for companies to provide additional services such as decreased false alerts and high-risk zone alerts. These comprise some of the biggest advantages of GPS radar detectors. Radar detectors without GPS strictly rely on the radio receiver to signal the driver of any incoming radar waves.

Some GPS detectors can adjust their sensitivity according to the speed of the vehicle. This means that users do not need to manually switch between city and highway modes. Moreover, radar detectors with GPS can also alert the users when they are traveling over the standard speed limit. Some of them provide alerts for speed cameras, speed trap locations, and traffic lights. The GPS radar detector will usually warn the driver of a radar signal with enough time to adjust the vehicle’s speed. Some of the radar detectors allow the user to access a downloadable database of known enforcement and camera locations.

Radar Detectors with Smartphone Compatibility

The advancement of technology has created a number of ways to integrate the radar detector with a smartphone. Users can find apps for Android and iOS platforms that enable the radar detectors to send mobile alerts when approaching a known enforcement area. Some of the apps even allow the users to highlight enforcement areas on a map in order to alert other drivers nearby. You can also find radar detectors with Bluetooth on the market for an easy smartphone connection.

Summing Up How a Radar Detector Works

Essentially, radar detectors are radios programmed to pick-up the wave frequencies used by radar guns. The detector allows the driver to stay informed of a speed trap location as well as allows for the driver to adjust their speed if required. Radar detectors are legal in almost every state, however, in the District of Columbia and Virginia, it is illegal to use radar detectors.

References

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/radar-detector.htm

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-eSM7U2Uw24j/learn/learningcenter/car/radar.html

http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/instruments-controls/how-radar-detectors-work

http://www.valentine1.com/V1Info/whatyoushouldknowradar.asp

 

Keep Track of Automotive Supplies with Expiration

Keep Track of Automotive Supplies with Expiration

Expiration on Android & iOS

Do you have brake fluid, cleaning supplies, coolant, oil, windshield washer fluid, or any other automotive related product in your garage? If so, did you know over time that some of those may expire or lose functionality? Yes, it is true. Now, there is an easy and efficient way to keep track of these expiration dates.

Expiration, an expiration date management application, is a great app for taking control of managing automotive supplies in your garage or home. Expiration is available on Android and iOS across most devices for only $0.99 for unlimited use. The free version, Expiration Free, can be downloaded on Android or iOS as well, to test it out for free with ads and limitations.

The purpose of this article is to provide examples of how Expiration can be used to help you keep track of items in your home. The following products can be tracked in the app:

  1. Brake Fluid
  2. Cleaning Supplies
  3. Coolant
  4. Diesel/Gasoline
  5. Inflator/Sealer
  6. Oil
  7. Windshield Washer Fluid

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is not a product you may worry about regarding it expiring, but brake fluid can go bad. If you have your auto serviced by a dealership or routine shop, the brake fluid change and inspection may be performed by a mechanic after a certain distance or time interval, such as 20,000 miles or 2 years (varies by manufacturer/shop).

It’s not easy to tell if brake fluid goes bad but if it is exposed to humidity, it will absorb water into itself degrading the quality. This can happen while stored at home or while used in the brake lines. It is best to keep track of brake fluid and review manufacturer recommendations for when to replace it. Expiration can help you keep track of your brake fluid.

Cleaning Supplies

Although cleaning supplies such as leather cleaners, liquid soap, and windshield washer fluid may not have visible expiration dates, their effectiveness and quality will degrade over time. If a product doesn’t have an expiration date, it’s optimal use period may be for 1-2 years.

Usually after 2 years, it is recommended to replace cleaning supply products. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer any information on expiration or replacement, simply set the “expiration” date to 2 years or sooner, if preferred, from the purchase date to keep track. Once the time is marked “expired”, you’ll know it’s time to replace it.

Coolant

Coolant tells a different story from other cleaning supplies. An opened bottle of coolant can last for upwards of 8 plus years while a sealed bottle may last for an indefinite amount of time. Regardless, we recommend you keep track of it, especially if opened.

Although the concern of coolant expiring seems minimal, an opened container may need replacing after a decade. This is a long time to wait but there’s always the chance it could sit around the garage, aging. Keeping track of coolant willitso ensure it’s availability in the event you need to refill or top off.

Diesel/Gasoline

Diesel and gasoline, two different types of motor fuel, may not seem like products that will expire or go bad. The truth remains that both diesel and gasoline can go bad or “expire”. Most gasoline used in cars today contains an ethanol blend. Surprising to most, ethanol gasoline actually, has a short shelf life compared to other automotive products. In ideal environmental conditions, ethanol gasoline will last up to 3 months before it may degrade.

On the other hand, Exxon claims that diesel fuel will not degrade over a 6 to a 12-month period if stored properly. Beyond 12 months, the diesel fuel may experience significant degradation and you should not use it in an engine.

Overall, both products can be tracked in Expiration by simply adding the diesel or gasoline to the app. On the day you purchase it, set the “expiration” date as a 3-month period for gasoline and a 6 to 12-month period for diesel.

Inflator/Sealer

Replace tire inflator and sealer spray alongside cleaning supplies every 2 years. The sealer contains a liquid that can dry out over an extended period of time.

On top of that, the inhibitors in the sealant for corrosion and rust prevention break down chemically over time. Manufacturers recommend that you replace inflator and sealer products after 2 years to ensure the effectiveness of the product. Simply add the product to Expiration with a 2-year “expiration” date based on the day of purchase.

Oil

Oil is another automotive product that has a longer shelf life but still requires management. If oil remains unopened in the original container, it will remain stable for several years before it may begin to lose quality. When oil degrades, deposits will gather on the bottom of the container signaling a replacement.

Regardless of this, it states that oil’s quality is best within 2 years of opening and degrades afterward. Manufacturers will not guarantee their oil to perform the same 2 years after you open it. It is best to buy the amount required for the job rather than buying excess oil that may sit around for an extended period of time.

Overall, Expiration can be used to keep track of oil, especially if you keep an opened container around for oil changes or top offs.

Windshield Washer Fluid

You should replace windshield washer fluid on a regular basis. New and unopened windshield washer fluid may last for a few years. However, once opened, windshield washer fluid may only last for 6-12 months. The manufacturer may not provide an expiration date, but the quality of the product will degrade over time just as most other products related to cleaning.

To keep track of windshield washer fluid, simply add it to the Expiration app for a 2-year expectation period if new or a period of 6 months once opened.

Overall, Expiration is a great application for keeping track of your automotive related supplies. Simply add the products to the application using the recommended expiration date or use period. From there, the app will inform you when it is time to replace a product. You should keep track of your automotive supplies as waiting too long could jeopardize effectiveness or even cause damage.

Expiration

Expiration Android ($0.99): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jagiunta.expiration

Expiration Free Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jagiunta.expirationfree

Expiration iOS ($0.99): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/expiration/id1109866075?mt=8

Expiration Free iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/expiration-free/id1116782572?mt=8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Expiration-205481713149321/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/expirationapp

Website: https://www.expiration-app.com/

References

https://www.cars.com/articles/can-brake-fluid-go-bad-1420676929212/

http://www.elf.com/en/advice-corner/engine-oil-faq/does-motor-oil-expire.html

http://www.fuel-testers.com/expiration_of_ethanol_gas.html

https://www.goldeagle.com/tips-tools/how-long-does-diesel-fuel-last-storage

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/institute/a24648/cleaning-products-expiration-date/

https://mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/11972/how-long-does-coolant-last-in-storage

https://www.slime.com/us/faq-details.php?id=4

 

How to Drift Race: A Guide to Drifting Cars

How to Drift Race: A Guide to Drifting Cars

An Overview of Drifting

Over the years, drifting has gained popularity across the entire globe as an extreme motorsport. In drift racing, the drivers intentionally oversteer their car which causes a loss of traction in the rear wheels. The trick (and what makes it so exciting) is that the drivers must maintain control of their cars as they enter those skids. Skill is a major requirement to being great at drifting, period.

The Technique of Drifting

Several things need to happen to control a slide (or drift). A driver needs to coordinate each of these elements simultaneously.

  • Brakes
  • Clutch
  • Gear Shifting
  • Steering Input
  • Throttle

In most situations, the drivers are racing as they drift around the track. Knowledge of speeds, slip angles, and braking is what keeps drifters safe and at the head of the pack.

Drifting Competitions

The birthplace of drifting is thought to be Japan. The motorcycling legend ‘Kunimitsu Takahashi’ was the creator of the present day’s drifting techniques. Outside Japan, the earliest recorded drifting event occurred in the year 1996 at ‘Willow Springs Raceway’ in California. There, this driving technique evolved as a competitive motorsport in which the drivers competed exclusively in rear wheel drive cars.

Each of the cars was judged on several factors.

  • Angle
  • Racing Line
  • Showmanship
  • Speed

Today, the most popular drifting event in the United States is Formula D Racing.

The Best Cars for Drifting

First, you need a rear wheel drive car with a limited slip differential. Also, it would be great if you have the following features in your rear wheel drive car:

  • Coil-Over Suspension
  • Functioning Handbrake
  • Manual Gearbox
  • Resilient Clutch
  • Supportive Bucket Seat

While not imperative, the above-mentioned things will help you attack the turns with more confidence and power.

Gaining the Competitive Edge in a Drift Race

To win a drift race, one must remember few important things. Before the race, the judges will announce the line to be taken through the corners. You will be judged on your ability to do so. Also, showmanship plays a big part. Play up to the crowds by paying attention to these factors.

  • Amount of Smoke
  • Crowd’s Reaction
  • Distance from Clipping Board or Walls

All drifting competitors should remember that the judging takes place on only a small part of the circuit along with some linking corners that offer unobstructed viewing, and chances for drifting.

Passing rules in Formula D don’t encourage drivers to overtake their competitors. Only in certain circumstances are cars allowed to change positions. These circumstances include:

  • Lead car is spinning or going off the track
  • Lead car has stopped drifting or gone off the line far enough that another car could complete the pass without impeding the lead car or any other

Tips and Tricks to Help You Win a Drifting Competition

There are several ways to initiate a drift.

  • Accelerate into a corner and at the same time tap the brake. This action forces the rear of the motorcar to lose grip and begin to slide. Immediately steer to the opposite direction (counter-steer) to initiate a drift.
  • Activate the handbrake before entering a corner to stop the rear wheels of the motorcar and begin the slide.
  • A driver could let off on the accelerator at any point in the drift and re-engage it while turning in the opposite direction. This allows you to continue a drift around another corner.
  • The driver could break the tail of the motorcar on a straight road. This way the driver can be able to link the two drifts together.

Legal Regulations for Drifting in the United States

In Formula D racing, Formula D staff review the cars and their modifications. As mentioned earlier, they do not allow front wheel drive cars to take part in Formula D racing. However, you can transform all-wheel drive cars  into rear wheel drive cars for drifting.

For instance, the Scion tC is being sold as a front wheel drive car in the United States, but it shares the same chassis as the Toyota Avensis, an all-wheel drive car. Therefore, the Scion tC can be transformed into a rear-wheel drive car through modification for Formula Ds. This is accomplished by swapping the Scion tC’s FWD system with the Toyota Avensis’s AWD system due to chassis compatibility.

Another point of interest is that Formula D allows the engines of one manufacturer to be incorporated into the racing cars of another. Furthermore, suspension modifications are allowed as long as the stock pickup regions are utilized. To keep the racing cars in check, the competition applies a maximum tire size according to the total weight of the car.

As a sport, drifting is becoming more and more popular in the United States. It’s less about racing and more about showmanship. Spectators love to see the skill of the drivers as they slide through those fast turns.

How to Drag Race

Do you want to experience the thrill of street racing – without breaking the law? Consider entering a drag race. Drag racing is a sport where two cars race side-by-side on a designated track. The one who crosses the finish line first wins the race. Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? It’s not. The cars usually have a lot of modifications and the drivers are usually very skilled at driving. To win a drag race, you need both a fast vehicle AND a good driver.

 The Basic Rules for Drag Racing

All of the racers participating in a drag racing competition leave the starting line upon the green signal. The driver who reaches the finish line first is declared the winner. Each lane has a series of infrared beams that measure the incremental times as well as the top speed of the cars during the race.

The total time of the drag race per vehicle is termed as the elapsed time. The elapsed time is usually displayed with up to 3 digits after the decimal point for close calls on the scoreboard. The top speed of the vehicle is displayed on the board as well with a similar accuracy. The accuracy of the board is based on the technology implemented to record the data.

The top speed of each car and the elapsed time are taken into consideration when deciding the winner. The clock starts when the competing vehicles leave the start line upon a green signal. The recorded reaction time shows how long it took a car to leave the start line while the elapsed time shows the total time taken by the vehicle to complete the race. The total sum of these numbers shows the mathematical winner. Note that the time taken for giving the green signal is not taken into consideration (i.e. during red and yellow lights).

At the End of the Race

After the driver crosses the finish line, he applies the brakes in the deceleration area while letting off the accelerator. The drivers need to stay in their own lane at all times. To eliminate the possibility of a collision, the left lane driver takes a left turn exit, and the right lane driver takes a right turn exit. This ensures a safe exit for the duo.

The return road is for letting the vehicles return to their pit area after they exit from the track. Racers can stop at the time slips station along the return road. There, a track official gives the driver a printed slip with speed and time highlights of the run.

All Drivers Must Drive Approved Vehicles

Each drag racing event has its own requirements which ranges from power levels to vehicle types. First, the driver’s vehicle must meet the basic requirements of the drag race. Drivers must use a street legal vehicle or a racing legal vehicle, depending on what is allowed. If your car is not street legal but racing legal, you will need to transport the vehicle to the strip by tow.

All Drivers Must Hold a Valid Driver’s License

The participants must have an approved Competition License or a valid driver’s license. Also, the drivers are usually required to sign a Waiver and Release form before participating in the competition. Licensed minors must have a signed Waiver and Release of Indemnity and Liability Agreement form before the competition. If you are under 18, you will need parental approval to gain access to the drag racing grounds. Tracks may also have an age restriction for drivers.

Tips on How to Win a Drag Race

If drag racing appeals to you, consider these tips on how to get the best possible times at the race track.

Tip #1 – Choose the Right Car

The “win” in a drag race depends on both the vehicle and the driver. First, let’s take a look at the right kind of vehicle.

Obviously, the best vehicle is a fast one. However, your setup is just as important as the car’s stock speed and performance. Make sure that your vehicle has a good balance between the horsepower, grip, and weight.

Top Priority Modifications:

  • Exhaust & Intake Systems
  • Nitrous Upgrades
  • Racing Tires
  • Supercharges & Turbochargers
  • Weight Reduction Kits

These are just some of the top ways you can modify your car to make it faster. These mods are typically used in drag racing vehicles where legal. To be competitive, consider the options on this list as well as any other performance parts available for your specific vehicle.

Drag Racing as an Alternative to Illegal Street Racing

To help combat illegal street racing, organizers usually form an alliance with local public officials, civic leaders, and law enforcement agencies. Typically, the track may charge an entry fee for the drag racing event. Sometimes, the track may allow for free entry. This is done to encourage more and more people to participate in this “safe alternative” to illegal street racing. A drag race serves as an opportunity for racers to compete in an organized and safe environment.

References

http://www.androidgamesreview.com/2011/12/drag-racing-upgrade-tips-creative-mobile-android-games

http://www.houstonmotorsportspark.com/dhowto.htm

http://www.irwindalespeedway.com/dragstrip/ticket.html

http://www.irwindalespeedway.com/dragstrip/whorace.html

http://www.modernracer.com/tips/dragracinglaunchtechniques.html

 

 

 

 

How the Parts of an Automobile Work in Harmony

How the Parts of an Automobile Work in Harmony

The Parts of the Automobile

Have you ever wondered about all of the different components of a vehicle? What do they do? How do the parts of an automobile work together? To give you a better understanding of how it all works, let’s take a look at the basic parts of your automobile. Some basic components of a typical automobile include:

  • Automatic Transmission
  • Battery
  • Distributor and Timer
  • Engine
  • Engine Starter
  • External and Internal Brakes
  • Gasoline Carburetor
  • Hydraulic Jack
  • Steering Gear
  • Vacuum Tank

 Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission is the most intricate mechanical component on modern automobiles. It contains hydraulic systems, mechanical systems, computer controls, and electrical systems. The transmission is connected to the automobile’s engine. The automatic transmission works with various gear combinations to operate the vehicle at different speeds. The transmission transmits the power from the engine to the wheels. When an engine runs at a certain RPM range, the job of the transmission is to ensure that the power is supplied to all the wheels as efficiently and effectively as possible.

 Battery

The automotive battery, also known as the lead-acid storage battery, is a device that generates current and voltage in the vehicle. The purpose of this electrochemical device is to provide current to the starter motor and the ignition system while cranking the engine. The automotive battery can also supply additional current to the system if the alternator is unable to meet the demand. It also acts as an electrical reservoir. Electrochemical action can be reversed in an automotive battery which allows the battery to recharge while the engine is in use.

 Distributor and Timer

It is very important that in an internal combustion engine that the igniting sparks occur at the right time in the cylinder. The distributor and timer are the two devices that are responsible for regulating this action. The engine’s camshaft rotates a revolving arm allowing the auto distributor and timer to close contact with the terminals to fire the spark plugs. As the revolving arm moves against the camshaft, the breaker arm stops the flow of current at the contact points.

Engine

The engine of a car looks like a big jumble of tubes, wires, and metal to a typical person. An engine includes a block, heads, pistons, valves, and other components. A gasoline car engine uses a mixture of air and gasoline to function. The job of the internal combustion gasoline engine is to enable the car to move by converting the gasoline into motion. As the air enters through the intake in the engine bay, it proceeds towards the throttle plate. This air is then distributed to each cylinder through the intake manifold – which is nothing but a series of passages.

Then depending on the type of engine, fuel is added either by a fuel injection system or by the carburetor to the air-stream. The mixture is drawn into the cylinders where the fuel vaporizes into the air stream. The intake valve closes when the piston reaches its lowest point in the cylinder. Next, the piston moves up in the cylinder compressing the charge. The spark plug ignites the mixture of fuel and air when the piston reaches the top which leads to expansion of the gas. As a result, the piston is pushed downwards with great force providing rotation to the crankshaft. This action is similar to pushing bicycle pedals to generate motion on a bike.

Engine Starter

The automobile engine starter is popularly known as the “Bendix drive”. It works to start the motor in the vehicle. When a driver turns the ignition of a car, the starter initiates the motion of the shaft as well as the motion of the small gear on the flywheel. The starting shock is absorbed by a spring. The spring’s push action starts the car’s engine enabling the flywheel to revolve. This causes the small gear in mesh to rotate on the shaft’s threads while bringing it back out of mesh into its initial position.

External and Internal Brakes

The job of emergency and foot brakes is to stop the vehicle as well as to keep its speed in control. Brake systems include a disk, a drum, Anti-lock brake technology (if installed), and a master cylinder. When a driver presses down the brake pedal, it tightens the brake bands via a toggle action. The brake lever slows the brake bands according to the amount of pressure exerted on the pedal. Using the emergency brake expands the brake band of the drum bearing the same result.

Gasoline Carburetor

The job of the carburetor is to mix air and fuel in proportion before supplying it to the engine. The main supply tank supplies gasoline to the carburetor through the vacuum tank. The carburetor mixes the gasoline with air in order to convert it into vapor.

Hydraulic Jack

The hydraulic jack system attaches to the rear and the front part of the automobile’s frame and chassis. This inbuilt system includes a front suspension hydraulic jack, which centrally mounts between the automobile’s front wheels to the front suspension. It also features a rear suspension hydraulic jack, which is mounted on the rear wheels of the automobile to the rear suspension.

The hydraulic jack system operates in combination with the compressed fluid reservoir tank of the car which holds connections to the rear and front jack outlets. The user can include additional outlets to the compressed fluid reservoir tank for a tire inflating hose.

Steering Gears

Steering gears are one of the most important manual interface systems in an automobile. The job of steering gears is to convert the rotational movement that the user inputs with the steering wheel into straight-line motion. This makes it easy to maneuver the car whenever the user needs to change lanes or to make a turn. The steering system starts with the steering wheel which connects to the steering linkage. The steering linkage connects to the gear system. The basic function of the system is to turn the wheels through steering wheel operation. Most of the modern vehicles have electrically operated steering wheels which translate electrical signals to wheel direction.

Vacuum Tank

The job of an auto vacuum tank is to supply liquid fuel to the carburetor from the supply tank while the engine is running. As the carburetor is at a higher level than the supply tank, the vacuum tank does the job of supplying the fuel. The vacuum force results from the action of a piston which leads to gasoline forced up through the supply tank into the vacuum valve. The float rises, as the tank fills, causing the lever arms to operate. This action closes the vacuum valve while opening the air valve. This allows air to enter in from outside. The gasoline flows to the carburetor as the engine runs. This causes the float to fall with the gasoline level. As the level falls to a sufficient level, the little springs and float operate the valves automatically.

Why Knowing the Parts of the Car is Helpful

Knowledge of the various parts of an automobile is beneficial to anyone as it allows a better understanding of vehicle functionality. Moreover, you will have a better idea when speaking to your mechanic about an issue. Otherwise, there’s always the chance that a mechanic will try to take advantage of you – hopefully not.

References

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-parts-roundup.htm

http://www.carparts.com/transmission.htm

http://www.carparts.com/engine.htm

http://www.carparts.com/classroom/battery.htm

http://www.carparts.com/classroom.htm

http://ebooks.library.cornell.edu/k/kmoddl/pdf/047_section7.pdf

Dubai Police Cars: A Fleet of Amazing Vehicles

Dubai Police Cars: A Fleet of Amazing Vehicles

Dubai’s Amazing Police Force Auto Fleet

From its amazing skyline to its unique architecture, the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai has a reputation for extravagance. Consequently, it’s no surprise that Dubai owns an exotic collection of police cars. The police officers drive models such as Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis. The fleet is so amazing that one might just want to break the speed limit in Dubai in hopes of getting to ride in one of these most luxurious cars.

Here are some of the cars driven by the Dubai police:

  • Aston Martin One-77
  • BMW M6 Gran Coupe
  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Ferrari FF
  • Ford Shelby Mustang Roush Edition
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • McLaren MP4-12C
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
  • Nissan GT-R

Let’s take a closer look at these models and see why they are so special.

Aston Martin One-77

The Aston Martin One-77 is a special addition to the fleet of Dubai’s Police Cars as it comes from a legendary British maker. Only 77 of these luxury cars were released worldwide. The impressive handcrafted materials and beautiful details make the Aston Martin One-77 a thing of immense pride for the owner. With its V12 engine generating a staggering 705 Horsepower, this car hits a top speed of 220 mph. At a price tag of around $1,750,000, this car is an expensive addition, indeed.

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

This legendary car is the tamest of Dubai’s Police cars. However, the ‘M’ badge of the BMW M6 Gran Coupe signifies that it isn’t short on power. This super vehicle is equipped with a 4.4-Litre V8 engine that produces almost 552 Horsepower. It needs only 4.1 seconds to go from 0-62 mph. The limited top speed of the M6 Gran Coupe is 155 mph. Priced at only $117,500 MSRP, this BMW is also one of the least expensive in the fleet.

Bentley Continental GT

The Bentley Continental GT is another British car used by the Dubai Police Department. The superb quality and refinement of this car are the reason behind its worldwide popularity. This handmade vehicle is crafted at the famous Bentley Crewe factory.

The Bentley GT is equipped with a 6.0-Litre W12 that catapults the vehicle to a limited top speed of 200 miles per hour while dispatching the 0-62 miles per hour sprint in less than 5 seconds. This supercar accounts for $198,500, which makes it a relatively cheap addition to Dubai’s police cars.

Ferrari FF

The exceptional Ferrari FF is maybe the most practical of Dubai’s police cars. The shooting brake body design of this practical supercar offers occupancy for four individuals. Its 651 Horsepower 6.2 V12 engine allows the officers to transport criminals to the station very quickly.

Ferrari especially modified the FF in blue for inclusion in Dubai’s Police Department fleet. This all-wheel drive car can hit speeds of 208 miles per hour, and jet to 62 miles per hours in 3.7 seconds. The Ferrari FF is one of the many supercars used by the Police Department of Dubai, but only the female officers are allowed to drive it.

Ford Shelby Mustang Roush Edition

In comparison to the other models in the fleet, this addition is the least splashy. The design of this ‘pony car’ is more like a cobra, for the Shelby badge uniquely backs up like the cobra’s head. The Ford Mustang Roush is incredibly powerful. It is equipped with a 5.0-litre V8 that produces 575 Horsepower and can achieve 62 mph faster than the Bentley. However, the limited top speed of this car only averages about 147 mph.

Lamborghini Aventador

The Lamborghini Aventador ranks amongst the finest of Dubai’s Police cars. Its fighter jet physique and insane capabilities make it stand out of the crowd. Boasting a limited top speed of 217 mph, the Aventador can jump from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. Its aggressively flared arches and rakish lines give this Lamborghini a matchless presence. This bull produces 690 Horsepower from a 6.5-Litre V12. At a price of $399,500, it ranks as one of the more expensive models in the fleet.

McLaren MP4-12C

This latest addition to the fleet is state-of-the-art. After the Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin, and Ferrari, the McLarenMP4-12C is the next most expensive patrol car in Dubai.

Its carbon body only weighs 2,879 pounds. Even though this supercar weighs the same as a small Citroen, it can easily outrun any other patrol cars because it is three times more powerful comparatively. The MP4-12C is equipped with 3.8-Litre Twin-Turbocharged Engine that can accelerate to 62 miles per hour from zero in just 3.1 seconds.

The Dubai custom-made MP4-12C carries a ‘2020’ number plate, which is in commemoration of Dubai’s World Expo 2020 bid. The MP4-12C has rather hefty price of $280,000 but it is not the most expensive car of the fleet, that’s for sure.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

This supercar is a work of art. The sweeping front end and its dramatic gull wing doors make the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG one of a kind. It produces around 600 Horsepower from a 6.2-Litre V8 engine. At top speeds, it can go an amazing 200 miles per hour. The SLS AMG goes from 0-62 mph in only 3.7 seconds. The cost of the Mercedes SLS AMG is slightly more than $200,000.

Nissan GT-R

The Nissan GT-R was added to the Dubai fleet in 2013. This venerable car features a handmade Twin-Turbo V6 engine that is capable of producing 545 Horsepower. The limited top speed of the Nissan GT-R averages 196 mph, making it one of the fastest-running cars in the fleet. The stylish design and stupendous details of this car make it a “wow” car. The base price of the GT-R is around $100,000 which makes it one of the lesser priced additions to the fleet.

Dubai’s Police Cars Make a Statement

There is not another country in the world that boasts a car collection comparable to the one held by the Dubai Police Department. Every car in the fleet can hit 150 mph comfortably. Ironically, though, the Dubai police officers are subject to the same speed limits as the citizens. It seems a shame to waste all of that power.

References

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/86952/incredible-dubai-police-cars

http://www.cheatsheet.com/automobiles/you-can-hide-but-you-cant-run-10-of-the-fastest-police-cars.html/?a=viewall

http://www.odditycentral.com/auto/just-try-to-outrun-the-worlds-fastest-most-expensive-police-car-fleet.html

 

Different Types of Tires

When you buy a new vehicle, tires are usually the last thing on your mind. However, tires are important. Nobody wants to become stranded, and they are not exactly cheap to replace. It’s a good idea to know what different types of tires you can purchase.

All-Weather Tires

All-weather tires are most commonly used by drivers who have four mild seasons each year. These types of tires handle torrential rains and slush but are not suitable for black ice or driving through heavy blizzards. These tires are designed to be useful in very low and high temperatures, but not extreme winter conditions. They can easily handle rain and grip well to bare asphalt, slush, and wet roads.

The tread is wider than an average tire but not as wide as winter tires. Their tread pattern increases traction, especially in the rain. All-weather tires feature rubber composites designed for long-term wear.

Unfortunately, during frigid weather, these tires can become as hard as plastic and can be easily damaged and destroyed. This type of tire is not a good choice if the region in which the driver lives drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

 Off-Road Tires

Tires created for off-road driving are some of the biggest and most aggressive tires available on the market today. They are made with the strength to drive through deep mud, over boulders, and through canyons. Their size supports heavier loads and tolerates high speeds over a longer duration than other types of tires.

Off-road tires sport deeper treads for rough terrain. The depth of the tread prevents sharp rocks from cutting the tire, and the tires usually have much less pressure than the other categories of tires. The unique knobby tread pattern increases traction, and the tires are built to be durable on any surface with a focus on off-road.

Seasonal Tires

Seasonal tires are best for areas with three seasons and warmer weather. In addition to warmer temperatures, these tires work best in dry conditions.

Seasonal tires contain a much harder compound than other types of tires, to give the tread on the tire longer life. Consequently, if the driver uses these tires in freezing temperatures, traction will be lost very quickly. It is possible to attach chains to seasonal tires and use them in winter weather. The tire chains provide the additional traction needed to get around safely.

The tread pattern on seasonal tires is designed to reduce noise and provide a smooth ride. If you drive through snow or slush, the grooves and channels become clogged.

 SUV Tires and Truck Tires

Both trucks and SUV’s require larger than normal tires. These larger tires provide greater ground clearance for the vehicle. The tread pattern is designed for some off-road driving, though not on the same scale as All-Terrain (Off-Road) Tires.

Another difference between these tires and regular tires is that the tread pattern extends all the way to the sidewalls. Plus, the tire pressure is set a little lower to increase traction. On the open highway, this design makes for a bit of a bumpy ride, but on rougher ground, it’s invaluable for smooth handling.

Though similar, there are a few differences between SUV tires and truck tires. Truck tires sport a taller sidewall and carry heavier loads than SUV tires. Lighter truck tires are usually more durable and made with a thicker rubber compound than other tires, but they cost more than passenger SUV tires. Manufacturers market SUV tires as long-lasting and a smoother ride than truck tires.

 Winter Tires (Both Studded and Non-Studded)

If you live in a region with wet, winter weather, you might want to keep an extra set of winter tires or snow tires on hand. Snow tires sport wider gaps between the treads for additional traction. They also boast a more flexible rubber. Regular tires and all-season tires become brittle in wet conditions, reducing the traction.

Non-Studded Winter Tires

Winter tires that don’t have studs are still used in harsh winter climates, but won’t perform as well as studded tires. The amount of precipitation and temperature range in your area will determine if studs are required.

The tread pattern on winter tires is called sniping. All winter tires, studded and those without, have an aggressive tread pattern. The only difference is whether or not you have studs.

Studded Winter Tires

Winter tires that are studded are for people who live in extreme winter conditions. Studded winter tires are made to resist deep snow, ice, and heavy amounts of slush. It’s also important to note that the material used to make these rates for temperatures lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular tires do not perform well in extreme cold and slide on ice and snow.

The surface of studded winter tires has openings with metal studs pushed deep into them. These studs help grip the icy roads. The metal studs are usually made out of tungsten carbide and should sit approximately one millimeter from the tire to ensure that they function properly.

On each tire, there are usually eighty to one hundred studs. Newer tires feature a design where the studs can retract at the push of a button.

Choosing the correct tires for your vehicle is important for safety. Understand which tires are meant for your weather conditions and plan accordingly. Being prepared for any weather conditions in your area will allow for easier access to roadways in the event of an emergency.

 

References

https://www.pepboys.com/tire_type

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/types/tiretype.jsp

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