Snow and ice are just around the corner. Whether you like it or not, winter weather will be here before you know it. How can you get better traction in the snow and ice? The folks at McGee Company has a solution for you. Instead of putting heavy and cumbersome chains on your tires, just put on the easy to install AutoSock.
The AutoSock is a textile cover that is installed over tires when snow and ice are encountered. It increases traction and installation is a breeze. This alternative traction device even works on vehicles with very little space around the wheel well.
Since the AutoSock is soft, it does not damage road surfaces. And unlike chains, it emits virtually no noise when driving. Another significant benefit is that the AutoSock weighs significantly less than chains, resulting in lower fuel consumption and less carbon dioxide emissions. If you do ever wear them out, they are also recyclable.
How to Use the AutoSock
- Before purchasing the AutoSock, you will need to know your tire size. Tire dimensions are on the sidewall of the tire. An example tire size is P205/55R16.
- When using the AutoSock, don’t put the “pedal to the metal”. Use a light foot so the tire doesn’t spin and avoid using excessive speeds.
- Once you get out of the snow or ice, remove the AutoSock to increase its longevity.
- Before parking your vehicle at night, remove the AutoSock so it doesn’t freeze.
Written by a Guest Blogger – Allan Ory – Allan loves writing about cars even more than he loves driving them. He found the best of both worlds when he pursued a journalism degree.
The 2012 Nissan LEAF averages an 80 mile driving range, but according to SankeiBiz, a Japanese business website, that number could increase by 25 percent in next year’s model. Though Nissan has yet to confirm or deny reports, the company’s 2013 electric car could feature a cheaper base model with a smaller battery pack.
When the LEAF was first introduced, it faced no real competition among pure EVs, according to Plug In Cars, but with the ever-increasing technology and sales of other electric vehicles, Nissan needed to act fast to maintain their position as EV leader. With a possible boost in range set to come out next year, Nissan dealers and the industry at large are wondering if LEAF sales, which have struggled in 2012, will see an increase.
The Range Boost
According to the Japanese report, the LEAF could increase its maximum driving range from 200 kilometers to 250. Conversion rates put this estimate at 124 miles—a range that surpasses the LEAF’s current 24 kilowatt-hour pack, according to Plug In Cars. Because car testing methods in Japan are different from those in the U.S., this can be misleading.
In EPA-rated standards, the LEAF has a range of 73 miles, with drivers commonly averaging 80 miles of range in everyday driving. More realistically, the presumed 2013 model could offer an extra 20-30 miles due to a more efficient motor and upgraded lithium-ion batteries. This would bring the total range up to 100-plus miles, meeting Nissan’s original target for the LEAF.
Gas-powered cars are created in a variety of trim levels. If smaller battery options can provide reasonable range, Stephen Edelstein from Digital Trends says choosing between battery packs could be the EV equivalent of choosing between a four-cylinder or a V6 in conventional cars. But could this possible boost in range really boost LEAF sales?
According to Mark Perry, Nissan’s director of product planning, in an interview with The Detroit News, expectations are for LEAF volume to hit 2,000 units per month in the U.S. by late summer. With July’s 395 sales and June’s 535, that’s quite the jump in numbers. Last month, 685 LEAF units were sold in the U.S., a 50 percent decline compared to August 2011, according to Time Business. Perhaps the 2012 Motor Trend Auto Show could improve LEAF sales with Phoenix Nissan in Arizona’s capital and all across the country from Anaheim to Long Island.
With all the chatter about increased range in the 2013 model, and the decrease in numbers this year, it will only make it more difficult for Nissan dealers to sell the remaining 2012 models. But Nissan isn’t discouraged, nor is the company backing down from its original goal of selling 20,000 LEAFs in 2012. The prediction was somewhat modified recently, when Bill Krueger, the vice chairman of Nissan Americas, told Bloomberg that the goal runs through the company’s fiscal year, which ends in March 2013, not this upcoming December.
In that same interview, Krueger announced a new plant in Smyrna, Tenn. will be ready to produce the cars in December, helping relieve the plant in Japan and boost supply before the fiscal year is over. “We’ve had to fulfill demand from one plant globally,” Krueger told Bloomberg. “Once we localize it in December, the second half of the fiscal year is when we’ll see most of the supply, demand be available.”
Auto Upkeep 3rd Edition (c) 2013 Debut!
Auto Upkeep 3rd Edition will debut at the NACAT conference tomorrow, Wednesday July 18th – 2012! We are pleased to announce that this edition is in FULL Color and has been updated. Proud to have over 500 secondary and post-secondary schools already using previous editions…we are optimistic that this edition is sure to WOW!
QR Codes Link to Dedicated Resource Site
Unique to this edition are QR (Quick Reference) Codes at the beginning of each chapter. With a smartphone app, you can quickly scan the code and will be directed to handy resources at our dedicated accompanying site – 3rd.AutoUpkeep.com.
Multiple Formats – Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
We have always worked to meet the needs of teachers, students, and consumers. In an effort to meet all budgets and preferred learning methods, Auto Upkeep 3rd Edition textbook is available in hardcover, paperback, and eBook. The workbook is available in paperback or eBook. Access on your Kindle, iPad, tablet, laptop, smartphone, or desktop computer, the eBook is for those that want to go paperless and learn in a more interactive way. Currently available at Chegg.com, Auto Upkeep 3rd Editon using the Chegg eTextbook Reader has hundreds of clickable weblinks and is easily navigated using bookmarks in the table of contents and index. (Note: The Auto Upkeep eBooks just went live and cover images are still being updated – look for “Edition 3″ next to the “eTextbook” option in the “Auto Upkeep” search.) Check out how the Chegg eTextbook Reader works:
Free Review Copies to Auto Instructors and Administrators
To ensure that all automotive teachers have an opportunity to review Auto Upkeep, we have packaged up 500 sets to give away at the NACAT Trade Show and during seminars (Presentation Titles: Blogging Your Automotive Program and Developing a First Course in the New NATEF Model). Be sure to stop by our booth, attend one of the seminars, pick up a free copy, and meet all three of us – Mike, Linda, and Aiden!
Written by a Guest Blogger – Rob James is a blogger that specialises within the travel and motor industry. He is currently collaborating with http://www.cooperbmw.co.uk/ providing online advice and guidance to drivers and car owners.
Getting the most out of your car tyres is vital to ensuring that you don’t suffer any long term problems in terms of breakdowns and dangerous driving. A run down tyre can lead to serious imbalances when driving, and can put strain on a car’s suspension. Maintaining car tyres is fairly straightforward, and there are a few routines that you follow to make sure that they are in a working condition. At the same time, it is important to think carefully about how your tyres are affected by your driving, and about what should be avoided when dealing with your tyres.
1 – Improving Pressure
Check the pressure of your tyres on a regular basis, and look for under and over inflation. An over inflated tyre is particularly vulnerable to heat during the summer, and can stretch, tear and burst if put under the wrong amount of pressure. The correct tyre pressure is located on the tyre placard on the driver’s door jamb of the car.
2 – Tyre Balancing
You might find that the balance of weight and tread between your tyres if slightly off, a problem that is usually caused by rear and front wheel suspensions. A computerised four wheel imbalance program can make it easier to ensure that too much strain is not being placed on a particular set of tyres.
3 – Rotating Tyres
Another way to improve the balance and the distribution of weight between your tyres is to have them rotated on a regular basis at a garage. This procedure should be carried out every 5,000 miles, and simply makes sure that your tyres are rotated to prevent imbalances.
4 – Things to Avoid When Driving
When driving, try to avoid being too close to the curb, as this can result in tyre grazing and damage. Similarly, try to reduce fast turns on corners that can lead to wear and tear, and undue strain on tyres.
5 – Check for the Wrong Inflation
You should check tyre gauges to see if tyres have been incorrectly inflated, which can occur when you first buy a car, or when work is done to them. Although it is rare for professionals to wrongly inflate your tyres, it is worth checking if you feel there is a problem with your suspension and handling.
6 – Check for Wear and Tear
A simple tip, but one that should be followed in the summer when tyres can receive damage from road debris and heat, checking tyres for wear and tear means that you will be able to identify a problem before it becomes more serious.
7 – Check Wheel Alignment
A wrong wheel alignment can result in a poor tyre fitting. This problem is often created when alloy wheels are fitted, and can be easily avoided by checking wheel and tyre gauges beforehand.
8 – Have Spare Tyres
Another straightforward tip for getting the most out of your tyres, but one that should be followed, it is worth having a spare tyre in place if you are going for a long drive. A drive abroad can be made particularly difficult if you aren’t able to find the right tyre.
10 – Make Sure You Don’t Waste Old Tyres
It is possible to save some money on throwing out old tyres by looking into local waste collection schemes, with many companies able to strip and re-use or recycle tyres, rather than sending them to landfills.
Written by a Guest Blogger – This post was written and contributed by Edson Farnell. Edson writes about various automotive topics. Many of Edson’s friends refer to him as the Auto Parts Geek.
Working on your own car is a great way to save money on costly labor fees. Many malfunctions that a car has can be prevented with regular maintenance. You can even fix many of the glitches on your own, to cut down on mechanic costs. The most important aspect, though, is making sure that you stay safe while working your car. There are electrical circuits, gas lines and various fluids that can easily create an unsafe situation if not treated with the proper respect and care.
A general across-the-board tip for basic car safety is to never work on your car while the engine is hot. Even after your car has been running for only a few minutes, parts of it can be hot enough to cause a serious burn.
Information is the most important tool that you’ll require. Working on your car is something where you must know exactly what you’re doing beforehand. It’s not like building a birdhouse where you can wing it and probably be all right. Your safety depends on having the right information and nothing else.
Before you start any job, acquire precise technical information about the procedure you are about to attempt. Read through step-by-step instructions absolutely, before you start doing anything.
You can find this information at plenty of auto repair shops. You will be able to easily find complete owner’s manuals that detail how to perform any sort of maintenance or repair that your car will need. You can also find a large portion of this information online, too. If you are unsure about how to do something, ask a professional. Humbling yourself and seeking help is far less painful than a third degree burn on your forehead.
Once you have the know-how, you’ll need the right tools! The tools that you’ll require will depend on the job you are about to start. The information you already acquired will outline the tools needed for the job. As you’ve seen when you visit your mechanic, they have a full garage full of various tools. Chances are, if you don’t, you’ll be spending a pretty penny on building a tool collection.
There are some generic pieces of equipment that are worth investing in if you will be regularly working on your car.
• Jack stands – Quality jack stands create a solid foundation for your car. Ensure that the stands you purchase are capable of holding the entire weight of your car; they will list their weight capacity.
• Lighting – A few quality flood lamps will save your eyes and your temper. Nothing is more frustrating than having to stop a complicated procedure because your lighting is being blocked.
• Another person – While they may be insulted to be considered “equipment,” having someone else to work with is essential. There are many hazards that cannot be planned for when working on your car. Having another person present means they can seek help should you be rendered unable to.
Proper State of Mind
Work sober: plain and simple. You may end up attempting a procedure you are unprepared for, having hands that aren’t as steady as they should be or simply being unable to handle the equipment required.
Be Smart, Be Prepared, Be Sober
Staying safe while working on your car largely boils down to common sense. Know what you’re doing and have the right tools for the project. Be in the correct state of mind to focus on the task at hand. Make sure that all the parts you are using are handled safely and correctly, you can trust a website like PartsGeek to assure your parts are reliable.
Written by Guest Blogger – Steven Weinberg
Many are surprised to find that business auto insurance is actually very similar to regular private auto insurance. There’s actually not a lot of differences between the two when it comes to coverage and function, although there are some reasons that a car should definitely be insured with business car insurance versus private auto insurance. Business auto insurance is mainly comprised of liability coverage: bodily injury and property damage, just like a private auto insurance policy. There are other types of coverage available on a commercial auto policy.
When one is attempting to buy auto insurance, often the insurance agency will ask whether the vehicle is used as a private auto or if the auto is used in any kind business or if the auto belongs to a business. Most of all, business car insurance is absolute necessary for cars that belong to a company and that are used for commercial purposes (such as a real estate agent driving clients from property to property, a pizza delivery driver, contractors, and other professions), often including the self employed.
The main aim of business auto insurance versus private auto insurance is so that the company car is being used for is freed of financial obligations that could be presented if an accident should occur and the driver who owns the vehicle causes an accident. Additionally, it helps alleviate the responsibility associated with a company being sued over an accident, and certainly helps to alleviate the stress of an individual being sued for an at-fault accident that happened with a commercial vehicle, making the individual responsible for everything instead of the company.
Who needs business auto insurance and why?
Not every company is required to have commercial car insurance, nor does every insurance company require that all ‘commercial’ related cars be insured with commercial car insurance, and this can also be determined by the insured’s local laws and regulations. For example, companies that have telecommute or work at home jobs don’t always require that the employee carry business auto insurance, largely because the worker is at a minimum risk since the car isn’t being driven as much as well as not being used in the course of business, so the number of accidents, claims, and violations are at a much lesser rate and risk. Additionally, not all insurers will require that a person carry a commercial auto policy.
Deciding what kind of policy one needs is largely dependent not only on whether a company requires commercial insurance, but also on other factors that one should ask themselves if they think they may need to have commercial auto insurance.
Here are some of the things that should be taken into consideration when trying to figure out what kind of policy to buy:
*What do I use the vehicle for the majority of the time?
*Do I own the vehicle outright or does an employer or other company own it as well?
*How do I use the vehicle the majority of the time? For personal reasons or for commercial reasons?
*Do I ever have clients or customers in the vehicle with me?
*Do I carry valuable company property with me in the vehicle?
*Would the company I work for hold me legally liable for any expenses should I cause an accident?
If most of the answers to those questions were yes or if you use a vehicle the majority of the time for work purposes, then business auto insurance is most likely the right answer.
Types of Coverage
After you’ve decided whether or not you need commercial auto insurance, you’ll be able to figure out the details of the policy with the insurance company, and they’ll let you know what coverage would be best for you with your line of work in mind. As previously mentioned, most insurance companies offer a very similar policy for business auto insurance as they do private auto insurance, including liability coverage, full coverage, and other types of coverage, such as:
*Bodily Injury Liability: pays for another person’s medical expenses if you caused an accident. This coverage also helps cover the amounts of any lawsuits brought by the other party.
*Property Damage Liability: pays for the property damage caused if you caused an accident, and is for repairing or replacing any kind of property you’ve done damage to, including cars, homes, fences, and more types of personal property.
*Comprehensive Coverage: Pays for damage to your vehicle for repairing or replacing something from damage from something you have no control over, such as theft, vandalism, broken glass, or damage from animals.
*Collision Coverage: Pays for damage to your auto if you collide with another vehicle or object.
*Medical Payments: Helps pay for your medical expenses if injured in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
*Rental coverage: Helps cover the costs of a rental car if you have an accident and the car is in the shop being repaired, regardless of who is at fault.
*Coverage for valuable property inside the vehicle: Such as if you worked for a surveying company and carried around surveying equipment so if it were damaged in an accident, there would be coverage to repair or replace it.
While it may be of your best interest, or even required by an employer or by your insurance company, having business auto insurance is typically more expensive than private auto insurance. However, spending the extra money for coverage is well worth it since the risks of being sued or being held liable for costs, either by your company or by the other person if a lawsuit starts, is much higher than when you drive with private auto insurance.
One perk though is that most businesses can deduct their insurance from their taxes if they have to have commercial auto insurance. Additionally, it’s important to remember though that while it is usually more expensive, always make sure you’re carrying adequate coverage that you feel is enough to protect your business and ultimately your investments.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Services like CarInsuranceQuotes.net are constantly reviewing some of the worst driving habits in order to assess the risk we’re putting ourselves in by getting behind the wheel. We all like to think we are good drivers and have habits that are conducive to avoiding accidents and staying healthy, but often our riskiest behaviors are the ones we do without even thinking about them. Here are 10 driving habits that put your life in danger and that you may not even know you have.
1. Talking on the phone
We all know this one – answering or making a cellular call while driving. You can become immersed in a conversation and, if your mouth is engaged, your brain is not. As much as is written about this, it remains a primary cause of many accidents.
Okay, this one should be 1A, but it is even more insidious than talking on your phone while driving. If you are tapping out a text on your phone, where are your eyes fixed? How many hands do you have on the steering wheel? Your eyes definitely aren’t on the road and you cannot possibly have more than one hand on the steering wheel. This one activity has proven to be as dangerous as drinking and driving.
We are all people, and it never fails: some of us have bad days occasionally – that’s life. Just because the driver in front of or behind you is using suggestive hand gestures to let you know about it, don’t reciprocate. Road rage is very real and even an innocent can get involved in an escalating situation you cannot control or win.
4. Rolling through stops
Stop signs don’t mean stop-then-go as rapidly as possible. Take a look around on all sides – even look up and down. The car you think is going to stop as he approaches a 4-way stop sign is the one that collides with yours.
5. Rushing at green
Green does mean go – but it doesn’t mean you light the liquid fuel rockets. It means “proceed with caution.” Take a look both ways and make sure someone isn’t in a rush, and running the red light going the opposite direction. Pause for a second before entering the intersection – even on green. Just because you are paying attention doesn’t mean the other guy is.
6. Following to closely
This is akin to the rule of maintaining at least one car length of distance from the car in front of you for each 10 miles-per-hour of speed. Why not make it one-and-one-half car lengths? This safety measure is even simpler – if you can read the license plate – you are too close. Maintaining distance allows you to be able to take control of 2 tons of steel and react, stop, and avoid conditions that can cause harm.
7. Panic braking
You know who you are – the ones that brake for ants crossing the road. This is never a good idea, especially with people’s tendency to multitask while driving. Give yourself lots of room to brake steadily and slowly. This preventative step in accident avoidance is for the “other guy” that likes reading license plates.
8. Taking medications
Know the drugs you are taking and ALL of the side effects. Virtually every medication you can take may affect your performance behind the wheel – this even includes aspirin. The best cure for this is not to take any medications while driving. When this isn’t possible, ask your doctor and pharmacist if there are any concerns about driving while taking that OTC allergy medication that calls itself a non-drowsy formula.
9. Forgoing your seatbelt
Most states have very good laws that make seat belt use mandatory. Don’t buckle-up because you will get a ticket if you don’t. Do it because it can save your life if you are in an accident.
10. Paying attention to passengers
Pay extra attention when you are the driver with one or more passengers in the car. Having a deeply engrossing conversation about the fiber content of the chicken fried rice you just had for lunch is better discussed once you get to your destination. Distractions in any form can be deadly.
Written by Guest Blogger – Anthony Schwaller, www.streetrod101.com
Question: Some street rod owners have vehicles that are supercharged. What is the definition of supercharging and how is an engine supercharged?
Answer: Most street rod engines are called naturally aspirated. On a naturally aspirated engine, as the piston moves downward on the intake stroke, a vacuum is created inside the cylinder. This vacuum draws air and fuel into the engine. The amount of air and fuel entering the engine is based on the atmospheric pressure. In most cases the amount of horsepower and torque is sufficient for most driving conditions. However, in some cases, especially for high performance and racing conditions, engines are supercharged to get more power.
Supercharging a gasoline engine is accomplished by forcing a greater volume of air and fuel into the cylinders. This means that the engine is not naturally aspirated, it is supercharged. By supercharging an engine, horsepower and torque can be increased from 50%-100%, depending upon the exact design.
The most popular way to supercharge an engine, especially in the street rod industry, is by using a blower. A blower is an air pump placed on top of the intake manifold to increase the volume of air and fuel going into the engine. The most common type of blower is called the Roots-type blower, named after its inventors, Philander and Francis Roots. Roots-type blowers are used by General Motors on their 2 cycle diesel engine design. Often referred to as the 4-71, 6-71 or 8V-71 engine, each had a gear driven Roots-type blower to force increased amounts of air into the diesel engines. A Roots-type blower is considered a positive displacement pump. It pumps a specific volume of air each revolution of its rotors.
Referring to the illustration above, the Roots-type blower used on street rods is placed on top of the intake manifold. There are two rotors, each having three lobes made from aluminum alloys. The rotors also have a slight angle to them from the front to the back to increase volumetric efficiency. Note that some designs use a two lobed rotor. The two rotors are connected by gears (not shown) in front of the blower. On street rods, the gears are driven by a cog belt which runs off a crankshaft pulley as shown above. As the rotors turn, they do not touch each other. There are small clearances between each rotor that keep them from touching. The left rotor turns counter clockwise while the right rotor turns clockwise in the drawing. As the rotors turn, they draw in huge amounts of air and fuel, pressurize it, send it to the intake manifold, and finally to the valves.
One of the disadvantages of a Roots-type blower is that it consumes a large amount of frictional horsepower from the crankshaft. However, the total increase in horsepower and torque is still very high. Operating a supercharged engine produces greater power, but not necessarily better fuel economy.
Also, if a blower is going to be installed on a street rod, many other components also have to be changed. Since there is a large amount of power increase, stronger pistons, gaskets, cylinder heads, valves, piston rings, fuel pump, carburetors, camshaft, etc. must be changed to allow for the increase in air/fuel volume as well as combustion pressures. For example, many supercharged engines have three, four barrel carburetors to handle the increase fuel requirements. Also, the intake manifold needs to be changed so that the blower will fit on top, and also allow lubrication for the rotor bearings.
Want to learn more about street rods, go to www.streetrod101.com.
Written by a Guest Blogger
How a NASCAR car is created
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, otherwise known as NASCAR, was formed in 1947 to give drivers a place in which to race autos that were built at the passenger car assembly lines. They developed rules and formulated a tournament type plan that took the drivers to various speedways to collect points for the season. The champion driver was the one who drove his car in enough events and gathered enough winning points to come out at the top of the point scale by season’s end.
The original stock cars weren’t tough enough to endure the beating they took operating at maximum speeds along bumpy tracks that often became rutted as the race went on. This led to modification rules that have changed over the life of the NASCAR organization. This has allowed for various changes to be made in the bodies and enhancements to the engines to make the races more competitive and exciting.
Today’s cars are built and modified within the strict guidelines set down by the organization, and each car is checked over thoroughly to ensure that all vehicles are in compliance with the rules. The cars are no longer true stock cars, as each component is hand made by racing specialists.
The frame provides the foundation for the car and must be light, yet strong enough to take the racetrack’s punishment. These unique frames are handmade and surround the driver with thick tubular steel, while the front clip is designed to push the engine down and away instead of into the driver, in case of a collision.
A NASCAR vehicle’s body takes at least 10 full days to create. The body is made using templates approved by the rules committee and is bent into shape by a large steel roller called an ‘English Wheel.’ Each part is then welded to the frame and painted. The roof is assembled to include an important safety feature – flaps that help hold the car down to keep it from flipping over in case of a spin out.
The engines that power NASCAR cars are quite similar to ordinary street cars, but with some vast modifications. They must be able to run for long periods at top speeds without failing. Most engines are based on a 1960 V-8 design. At 358 cubic inches and able to put out 750 horsepower or more, they are designed for maximum and unrestricted air and gas flow.
Radial racing tires contain nitrogen instead of air, as this is the NASCAR standard. Nitrogen contains less moisture than air, making it less likely to overheat the tires at high speeds. The tires are made up of compounds that may be different for each track according to the specific surface. Soft tires grip the track better, but don’t last as long as harder compounds. They are made with minimal tread so that the maximum amount of tire has contact with the ground. Visit the Official NASCAR Die-Cast Collectables Website to get a closer look at these amazing vehicles.