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Vehicle insurance is one of those things that you love it when you need it and hate paying the premium when you never use it. Nonetheless, it is required all around the world. And it makes sense to protect yourself from liability and from the extreme costs if you do wreck your vehicle. Let’s compare what’s required in the USA and UK and then identify characteristics of companies you may want to do business with.

Car Insurance in USA

Vehicle insurance in the USA differs by each state. The minimum in most states is liability insurance. Using three numbers such as 20/40/10, identifies three specific policy limits – bodily injury per person/bodily injury per accident/property damage limit…in that order in thousand dollars. Other types of insurance includes collision and comprehensive; medical payment; personal injury and no-fault; uninsured and underinsured; umbrella insurance; and, rental, towing, and total replacement insurance. To find out what’s required in each specific state, check with the state’s insurance regulator. Some states, like Missouri, have informative videos to list the requirements.

Car Insurance in the UK

Third party insurance as it is called in the UK is the bare minimum. When you have the minimum amount of insurance, you are protecting your liability if you cause damage to a another car, person, animal, or property. But don’t think about getting your car’s costs reimbursed…you will need additional insurance to protect your investment. Something very important to note is that if you own a vehicle you are responsible for providing insurance on it EVEN if you are not the driver. You own it, you insure it. For more information about motor vehicle insurance in England, Wales, and Scotland, check out the Gov.UK guide to vehicle insurance. If you need information specific to Northern Ireland, check out NIDirect.Gov.UK.

Finding an Insurance Company

What characteristics should you look for when shopping for auto insurance? You have lots of choices. Find an agent or broker that takes the time to explain the policy, complete annual reviews of your needs, and suggests ways that you can save money. One characteristic that I feel is important is to be able to talk to a person. In today’s age of technology and cost saving measures by some companies it seems that talking to a live person is becoming scarce. In the UK, one company – Sky Insurance – makes their mission statement about actually listening to customers to make personalized recommendations for their customers. Getting recommendations from friends and colleagues is also a great idea. Learn about each insurers’ services and then make a decision.

About the Blogger

Michael Gray is co-author of Auto Upkeep – a basic car care curriculum used by over 500 schools and thousands of homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. You can become a “Fan” of Auto Upkeep at Facebook.com/AutoUpkeep.

Categories : Insurance
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Aug
26

9 Essentials for the Ultimate Garage

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Growing up in Northern Minnesota our garage at home consisted of a floor jack and an air compressor. Today many car enthusiasts are building the “Ultimate Garage”. But what should be included? Here’s my list!

1. Automotive Lift

This may sound crazy to the average person, but to the automotive enthusiast an automotive lift should be on the must have list. When designing your garage make sure you install vaulted trusses or have enough headroom to accommodate a lift. In reality, a lift is not that expensive. For $2,500 to $5,000 (£1606 to £3212) you can install an above ground model. Check out certified lifts by the Automotive Lift Institute.

2. Master Tool Set

I’m not talking about just a simple wrench and ratchet set here…get a master tool set so you are prepared and enjoy your work. A master set includes wrenches, ratchets, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, pry bars, tire tools, measuring tools, electrical tools, cutting tools, oil change tools, inspection tools, and diagnostic tools. Nothing is more frustrating than looking for a tool and wasting time doing it…so keep your tools organized!

3. Tool Chest

To keep your tools organized, look for a tool chest that has slip mats in the drawers, swivel castors, security lock, and ball bearings sliders for the drawers.

4. Air Compressor and Tools

Pneumatic tools can make a difficult job easy…and considerably faster. Consider how long pit stops would be in a race if the pit crew had to use manual tools. Air ratchets, impact wrenches, cut-off tools, blower nozzles, and other air powered tools need a high quality air compressor to handle this job.

5. Car Creeper

If you can’t afford an auto lift or your garage isn’t conducive to one, invest into a quality creeper. It sure beats lying on your back on a cold concrete floor.

6. Wheel Dollies

Restoring a classic car can take years. Consider purchasing wheel dollies so you can maneuver your car around the shop while the engine is being rebuilt.

7. Engine Cranes and Engine Stands

And to get your engine out, a quality engine crane will be needed. Don’t trust an engine being lifted out and supported by a substandard device. SGS Engineering manufactures engine cranes and engine stands for professionals and Do-It-Yourselves.

8. Vehicle Service Manuals

Whether you have a classic car or modern sports car, invest in a vehicle service manual to assist with the task. You can purchase online service manuals, consumer service manuals (like Haynes or Chilton), or professional dealership manuals.

9. Safety Equipment

Even if you act safely, you will eventually get a cut or bruise. First Aid Kits are inexpensive and a must for every shop. Who should you trust for your safety needs – the Red Cross. Get an all purpose fire extinguisher – ABC rated – for your garage. An ABC rated fire extinguisher will put out A fires (trash, wood, paper), B fires (gasoline/petro, oil, grease), and C fires (electrical). Learn more about how fire extinguishers work at “How Stuff Works”. Safety glasses, goggles, face shields, disposable gloves, earmuffs, and earplugs are also must. Keep them handy and get in the habit of using them.

About the Blogger

Michael Gray is co-author of Auto Upkeep – a basic car care curriculum used by over 500 schools and thousands of homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. You can become a “Fan” of Auto Upkeep at Facebook.com/AutoUpkeep.

Categories : Tech Tips
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Aug
23

Automotive Manufacturers – Old and New

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How many automotive manufacturers can stand the test of time? I love attending old car shows and swap meets, perusing old cars and car parts of yesteryear. Being at old car shows make one understand that auto manufacturing is a rough business. Think of the following antique car clubs: Plymouth, Pontiac, Studebaker, Tucker, Oldsmobile, Nash, Edsel, DeSoto, Austin-Healey, etc. The list of defunct automobile manufacturers is quite long – USA List and UK List.

New Car Companies

Some recent new car companies still need time to determine their viability. Companies like Fisker and Coda had struggles. While another startup, Tesla Motors, is on fire right now with their new Model S. But what will this 10 year old company look like in 20 years…50 years…or 100 years?

Car Companies with History

Let’s look at two car companies that have stood the test of time. Ford in the USA and Vauxhall in the UK. Incidentally, both car companies started in 1903.

Ford Motor Company

One hundred ten years is a lot of history.  Ford, in the US, has had quite an interesting history. Did you know at the first stockholder meeting Henry Ford wasn’t actually elected as President? He was the Vice-President. Before Ford Motor Company was formed, Henry Ford creating two previous auto manufacturing companies – the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899 and the Henry Ford Company (which was reorganized as Cadillac) in 1902.

Vauxhall Motors (General Motors UK Limited)

Like many early developers of the automobile, Vauxhall actually started as a different type of manufacturer – marine pumps and engines as the Alex Wilson and Company in 1857 and then later as Vauxhall Iron Works in 1897. But with the massive paradigm shift from horse drawn carriages to the automobile in the early 1900s, many companies couldn’t resist testing this new market. In 1903 Vauxhall produced their first automobile. In 1925, General Motors acquired Vauxhall.

Purchasing Cars

When you reach the point when you need to purchase a new or used auto, you can check out the numerous auto manufacturers’ direct websites, dealer websites, or an online exchange & mart. Either way, compare models and ask yourself…will this auto manufacturer be around in 50 or 100 years? Something to ponder!

About the Blogger

Michael Gray is co-author of Auto Upkeep – a basic car care curriculum used by over 500 schools and thousands of homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. You can become a “Fan” of Auto Upkeep at Facebook.com/AutoUpkeep.

Categories : Car Buying
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Aug
22

How Do You Prepare for Your Driving Test?

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I remember counting down the years, months, and days until I was 16. This obsession was for one reason – so I could have the freedom of driving my own car. My Uncle Ed would take my siblings and me out and let us practice. He would find a desolate country road (or sometimes a field) and put us behind the wheel. I remember saying to him, “Uncle…what if I put the car in the ditch?” His response was, “We’ll pull you out!” And off we went. Now if you don’t have an Uncle Ed like I did, you may need to find alternative ways to prepare for your written and practical test.

Teens Waiting Longer

In the United States, teens in recent years have been waiting longer to get behind the wheel. According to the University of Michigan News Service, in 1983 about 69% of 17 year olds possessed a driver’s license, but in 2010 only 46% teens aged 17 had one. In the USA most states require that you are 16 to hold an unrestricted license…but it is up to each individual state. Did you know that if you live in South Dakota you could be driving unsupervised at 14 years/3months! The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compiled an informative map listing minimum age for unsupervised driving throughout the United States. In the United Kingdom, you need to find out if you are old enough to drive the vehicle (e.g., car, motorbike, moped, bus, etc.) that you want. Gov.uk has a handy only tool to find out what vehicle you can drive.

Know the Risks

Driving is risky business. Did you know that during the first months after obtaining a driver’s license teens have an especially high risk of crashing? What are the characteristics that cause teens to crash? According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the contributing factors include: driver error, speeding, being distracted by passengers, driving while intoxicated, and driving at night. It is simple to infer that if you prepare better, slow down, don’t allow passengers in the beginning, don’t drink and drive, and drive when it is light out you will reduce your chances of getting in a crash.

Preparing for “The Test”

In the USA, since each state handles testing procedures differently it is best to go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and check out the requirements. In the United Kingdom, you can research information at the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) or use a third party to book your practical test online. The best advice I have for you, as a former tow truck driver that has seen lots of accidents, is to prepare extensively…your life could depend on it.

About the Blogger

Michael Gray is co-author of Auto Upkeep – a basic car care curriculum used by over 500 schools and thousands of homeschoolers in the United States and Canada. You can become a “Fan” of Auto Upkeep at Facebook.com/AutoUpkeep.

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Aug
20

Self-Driving Cars

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self-driving infographic
Courtesy of: Autoinsurance.us

Categories : Insurance
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Assembly Line

Hybrid cars are bought for a number of reasons, the most prominent of those being saving on fuel expenses and being kinder to nature.

While hybrid cars do give a better mileage and are gentler on the environment than the non-hybrid ones, they also require proper upkeep to consistently deliver an efficient performance. It is not unusual for electric vehicle (EV) buyers to cry foul not long after their purchase. “My battery just died!” being the most common refrain.

The best way to avoid disappointment is not to buy an EV based on exaggerated expectations and to look after it well. This post points out some ways you can ensure your hybrid car stays in good health and serves you to the best of its ability.

Fully realize the potential of your car’s battery

Batteries of hybrid cars are expensive so replacement is costly. Luckily, their maintenance is neither costly nor difficult.

Batteries need to stay at a certain temperature for optimum performance. Severe weather is bad news for an EV which is why some of the hybrid models have in place a system that regulates the battery’s temperature. In cold weather, when the battery also turns cold, this system kicks in to keep it warm. Similarly, in hot weather the system cools down the battery to help it charge efficiently.

This, naturally, consumes power and has an effect on the longevity of the battery’s life. Therefore, always keep in mind that a hybrid car’s battery needs to be charged to the right degree at the right temperature for a longer-lasting performance.

Not all EVs come equipped with such weather or outside temperature-responsive systems, so ideally this is something you should consider before purchasing a hybrid. For best results, make it a habit to park your hybrid car in shade if you live some place that receives copious amount of sunshine all day, and park it somewhere warm when it’s freezing. This alone will extend your hybrid’s battery life.

Improve your driving style

The smoother you drive, the better your EV will serve you. Avoid accelerate fast-brake hard techniques. This is advisable not just for hybrid cars, but also for the non-hybrid ones. Keep a consistent pace and to slow down just take the pressure off the accelerator instead of turning to the brakes. A smooth drive always extracts a better fuel economy and prolongs your car’s battery life. At higher speeds, switch to cruise control.

Some models utilize the energy produced during braking to recharge the battery (a technique known as regenerative braking), thus plugging a leak of energy which otherwise would have been lost as heat. Even if your hybrid car contains the most evolved form of this technology, we’d still advise you to avoid the brake-accelerate or start-stop style of driving.

Don’t leave the vehicle unused for long

We are talking about leaving your EV unused for days on end. Chances are the battery may get discharged considerably, recharging which will require a lot of power. It’s best not to let such a situation come to pass, much less let it be a regular occurrence.

Don’t attempt DIY on your hybrid

Seriously, don’t even think about it. Getting your car serviced at regular intervals should be a part of your contract with your dealership entered into at the time of the purchase. These visits will take care of all the components that ought to be functioning well in your hybrid.

The technology is still relatively new and while there may be a number of tutorials online about how to take care of this or that on your own, leave the problem solving of hybrids to the professionals.

Conclusion

As always do your homework before purchasing a hybrid car since for most of us it represents quite an investment. The battery life, the warranty extended, and the mileage promised should be paid particular attention to. Fortunately for us, we have a number of options in this regard to choose from. Research well and talk to other EV owners before settling on a model yourself.

Author Bio

Tracy Vides is associated with The Hartford, an insurance and financial services company, which specializes in AARP insurance. You can catch her on Twitter @TracyVides.

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Aug
14

How to Buy a Used Car

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infographic

Used Cars Infographic: How To Buy a Used Car – An infographic by the team at Toyota Certified Used Cars

Categories : Car Buying
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Aug
13

Why Are There No Hovercars?

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Written by a Guest Blogger

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t scuttle the morning traffic jam and sail through the skies to work like George Jetson does, you’re not alone.  There are really a lot of everyday gadgets we take for granted now that seem to be inspired from watching The Jetsons cartoons on TV, leaving many people wondering why are there no hovercars like George’s available today.  Apparently, real life is a lot more complicated than cartoon living.

Garage-Top Garage

HPad

How do you envision a successful hovercar?  What does it look like?  Does it have wheels for use on the ground or is up, up, and away its only option?  Where will you keep it when you’re not cruising the friendly skies and how will it get there?

Maybe garages of the future will have a garage-top garage specially built for the hovercar.  Just drop down and call it a done deal, no need to land on terra firma and maneuver into a closed building with a roof.  Of course, a hover car, especially the first one, will be a toy to be babied.  Hover cars will surely require hover car covers to keep them pretty, especially in a garage with no roof.  But where will you store the hover car covers when you’re flying like an eagle?

The Wayward Wind

tornado

A strong wind can make driving difficult, even when the wind is coming in mere strong gusts.  Think tornado or hurricane and a lighter-than-air machine may get hurled all the way to the merry old land of Oz.  It could take a lot more than a pair of magic ruby slippers to return you safely to the farm.

Insurance

FlockofBirds

If you’re one of those people who has to have the first of every new gadget that comes along, you already know the first model is the most expensive.  With a whole new technology, a hovercar will be quite pricey in the beginning and probably for a long time afterward.  It will need to be insured.  It doesn’t take more than filing a claim or two to discover the insurance industry is not one for thinking outside the box.  Things don’t move very quickly there and new, inventive claim applications seem to get pigeon-holed into old claim codes.

Speaking of pigeons, just imagine the delay in processing that would be caused when you say your vehicle got totaled because you sucked up a pigeon into your exhaust system.  Or drove into the 13th floor of a very tall building.  Or you dropped your purse and gave a man on the street a concussion.

The 3D Danger Zone

3d

Traffic fatalities are considered a preventable form of death and yet there were 45,800 people killed on America’s roadways in the year 2000 alone.  Another 2.4 million people suffered injury.  If traffic accidents already claim the #6 spot in cause of preventable death in the US and we’re only traveling in two dimensions (left and right, forward and reverse), are we ready to add another dimension — up and down — to the equation?

The injuries would skyrocket, too, and change in nature as falling out of the sky became more common — ouch!  The more safety features built into an aircraft, the heavier it gets.  The heavier it is, the more fuel it consumes and steering becomes sluggish.  All those crazy drivers on the road make a jaunt across town treacherous enough without expecting them to make room for incoming flying machines, too.

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):  Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000

The Gas Tank

There are lots of grumpy people pumping gas these days and that’s just to travel in two dimensions.  Add a third, gravity-defying dimension to the fuel load and you break the bank.  A hovercar might also need a gas tank so big it defeats the anti-gravity mechanisms that got you shopping for a hover car in the first place.  If you don’t like traffic jams now, imagine the commuter nightmare you’ll be facing when you have to juggle multi-jobs to keep your hovercraft’s tank full.

ABC News:  Jetson-Like Flying Car in Production

Dust Bunnies from Hell

Ecologically minded technologies have cleaned up the air around our landlocked vehicles and, for that, many people are grateful.  When we take clean air for granted, all it takes is one look at footage from Beijing on a smog-filled day to be thankful for unleaded gasoline.

A hovercar may never use gasoline to get up and go but, whatever the fuel, lift-off will likely require a down draft that will stir up the dust and the dirt in all directions.  Not so bad when you soar above it all but the people on the ground will not be happy.  If you dread housework now, you’ll absolutely loathe the litter of dust bunnies from hell your family hovercar will create.

Johnny Law

To get a license to drive a hovercar, would you need to take driving lessons or flying lessons?  Get a driver’s license or a pilot’s license?  Whether a license from the state department of motor vehicles or the FAA, you can be sure Johnny Law will be up there, too.  It would be nice to leave road rage on the ground but we’ll need a whole new rulebook so we can keep the friendly skies friendly.

It’s Not Lonely at the Top

Here on the ground we’ve got crowds to deal with when we drive.  Some of the crowd drives cars or trucks but there are trains and buses, too.  And motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, vans, SUVs, even boats in tow, and pedestrians, too.  It’s not lonely at the top, either.

The skies are filled with really, really big machines that travel much, much faster than a personal hover car likely ever will.  Some of us are pretty stubborn about yielding the right of way on land but these giant flying machines coming at us at hundreds of miles an hour will make history out of our cute little hovercraft long before we can even think ‘blinker.”

UFO meets plane at Denver airport

So why are there no hovercars flitting through the skies?  We’re just not ready for them.  The technology is in constant study and the ability to make and use a hovercar is an almost-undeniable thing of the future but all technology needs people.  Are we humans really ready for hovercars yet?

We may not be there yet but do keep CarCovers.com in mind for when we are.  You’ll want a cover for your hovercar and CarCovers.com will have exactly the hover cover you need to protect the hovercar in your life.  Betcha that’s where George Jetson gets his.

Author Bio: Jonathan Volk runs CarCovers.com, a leading online retailer of Car Covers, Jeep Covers, Truck Covers, and Ford F-150 Truck Cover. With tens of thousands of satisfied customers and an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, he constantly strives to sell top quality car covers at the lowest prices.

Categories : Auto Accessories
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Often, when you see a nice looking car, you possibly don’t miss to look at its number plate just to understand what it says about the owner or which message does it bear?   These days, almost all the vehicle owners want to have the number plates that would represent their relation to their cars, their professions or for something they’re passionate about.  Thus, having personalised number plates have become a huge fad and designing them is really a creative process. It’s further a high approach to express one’s individuality in way that the onlookers would also enjoy.

LicensePlate

But the question is why do people bother getting their own plates if they can get regular plates? Well, there must be something good on getting such plates.  This is the reason why we regularly see beautifully designed personalised number plates in television series and films that show certain traits of the characters. Thus, these plates are just in a massive trend and that’s why last year Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of UK raised £67m from the sale of personalised number plates. And if you do remember, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge drove the car during their wedding with its number plate read JU5T WED.

Thus, for those who’re thinking of getting such personalised number plates, needn’t give much thoughts as it’s certainly going to be exciting and personal on having such plates. Let’s check out some clear and concise reasons to go for your own personalised plates.

Personalises Your Car

Among the most common reasons to get such plates is to personalise a car. For all the owners, their vehicles are very important and they do give significant attention to them. Thus, they employ many personalisation options such as changing the colour, alloying wheels, tinted windows and many other modifications. This has, further led many owners wishing to put more personal touch on their vehicles by putting an array of personalised number plates that either indicates any messages or display their personality.

Promotes Your Business

You can also make the most of promotion with the help of personalised number plates. For example, if you run any business that you’d want to promote and it might require some travel, then personalised number plates are great ways to denote your business title and similarly marketing your company even though you’re out driving.

Moreover, even if your car is parked up somewhere, the passer-bys are more likely to drive their attention towards your number plate if it’s made   uniquely. Thus, you never know how it could all advertise your business so effectively.

It’s an Investment

There is yet another amazing reason to think about having your vehicle personalised number plate is that it can be truly a good investment.  If you get the plates that are highly looked for or probably to be desired by a whole lot of people, you can surely ascertain the value of your unique number plates goes up over the years. And in the upcoming days, if you want to sell out your number plate, it’ll surely fetch you thousands of pounds beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Thus, when it comes to get your personalised number plates, you should do a good research so that you can find out best plate that will surely add up to the value. Along with this, a personalised number plate can hide the age of your car and can give stunning appearance as well. So, opt for your very personal yet unique number plate and let your car go extra miles!

About The Author :

Ross Wright is a great car enthusiastic and he also has a huge collection of Private number plates in the UK. According to him having such number plates with unique National Numbers will surely make the most of any car as well as presenting special messages or persona.

Categories : Auto Accessories
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Jun
25

Maruti Swift—It’s time to Ride High!

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Written by a Guest Blogger

Advanced Design and Comfort

Maruti has bagged another milestone by producing Maruti Swift. This can be acutely put to terms if you see the performance of this car. Engineers at Maruti are very impressed from the outcome it has produced. Maruti Swift is the blend of advanced design and perfect comfort which provides the best for the driver as well as the passenger. You can enjoy wide space for comfortable seating and convenient leg rooms.

Two Engine Options

Maruti Swift is available in with two engine options – gas/petrol or diesel. The gas/petrol 16 valve 4 cylinder 1.2 liter K – series engine has VVT and multi point injection. At 6000 rpm it generates 87 Bhp. At 4500 rpm it has torque power of 113 NM. For power transfer, it has a 5 speed manual transmission with synchromesh in all gears. The FWD drivetrain is designed with Mac Pherson Struts/Coil Springs. To make the ride comfortable, the rear suspension has torsion beam and coil springs. Braking is easy with front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. It has a tight turning radius of 4.7 meters/metres. You won’t need to stop at the gas/petrol station often with a 43 liter/litre fuel tank. The Swift’s diesel engine option is interesting too. Its 1.3 liter/litre DDiS engine can accelerate up to 100 kmph in only 13.2 seconds. Now that sets you back in your seat!

Safety and Options

Well if you look at the Maruti Swift price, you will find that it does not compromise on either on beauty or comfort and has it all packed in one for a reasonable amount. It has fabric seat upholstery, latest instruments which shows distance to empty, average fuel consumption, digital clock, door ajar warning, seat belt warning. Entertainment modules such as integrated in dash music system with CD/MP3/DVD playback capabilities, Bluetooth compatibility, iPod, USB & Aux compatibility with four added speakers. Other features such as cup holders, leather wrapped steering wheels, illuminated dials, arm rest, sleek dashboard, A/C with heater, glove compartment, driver height adjustable seat, and lumbar support which you will find quite intriguing. Your safety is guarded with dual front air bags, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, traction control system, front row individual seat belts, middle rear three point seat belts, firm ceiling. You can also enjoy power window buttons, cruise control, child safety lock, engine immobilizer, power steering, tilt steering option for better driving, vanity mirror on sun visors, accessory/cigarette lighter, paddle shift, rear parking sensors,  and headlight off and ignition Key Off reminder.

If you need a little luxury, you can get the Swift with colored/coloured bumpers and a stylish sunroof. The physical specifications of the Swift are: ground clearance of 170 mm, length is 3850 mm, width is 1695 mm, and height is 1530 mm. To help you see where you are going, it has conventional headlamps (with headlight height adjusters) and fog lamps. For style, the LED tail lamps and alloy wheels add a nice touch of design. Safety features include a rear defogger, adjustable ORVM, outside rear view mirrors, rain sensing wipers, and headlight washer.

If you are looking for a compact car with options to make you smile, check out the Maruti Swift.

Categories : Car Buying
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Jun
17

The Five Best Ways to Choose a Tire

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Written by a Guest Blogger

In spite of what you might believe, you can’t simply choose a tire based on outside appearances. A tire might be a dud when you can’t even tell, especially if you’re unfamiliar with tire selection in general. There are ways to determine which types of tires will fit your car, and how durable they are. Sometimes you may even want to consider purchasing tires based on the season, depending on how drastically the climate can change.

Here are some tips to help increase your shrewdness when tire shopping.

Maintain Your Tires

Never forget to rotate your tires. Some will tell you to rotate them every 3,000 to 7,000 miles, while others might recommend it every 5,000 to 10,000. Ideally, your owner’s manual will tell you when you should rotate your tires. You can also rotate them every time you go in for an oil change, if you want to be thorough. And of course you should always keep your tires sufficiently inflated.

car-wheel-changing

Know When to Change Them

Few things can waste more money on a vehicle than replacing tires when they cause damage to your car in a blowout. Of course blowouts are dangerous enough for drivers and those around them, and have been responsible for some of the nastiest accidents. If you suspect your tires require replacements, examine them for even the most miniscule signs of wear and tear.

Some high tech tires contain colored bars on the tread that are exposed when it wears down. If that isn’t the case with your vehicle, another way to be sure your tires are okay is to administer the penny test: simply place a penny in your tire’s tread, Lincoln’s face sticking outward. If the head protrudes at all when the penny’s tucked in there, then it’s time for a tire change.

Check Out Your Tire Size

Before you go in for replacement tires, always know what your tire size is by looking at the top of your tires. Common measurements will read something like “P***/**R**” with the “*” replaced by numbers. Here is a basic mini-guide to help you decipher the numbers and letters appearing on the rubber:

  • The preceding “P” in a measurement means that it’s a passenger tire.
  • Numbers following the “P” indicate the tire’s width measured in millimeters.
  • The first double-digit number after the “/” is the tire’s height-to-width ratio.
  • “R” signifies a radial tire.
  • The last two digits is the wheel’s diameter measured in inches.
  • It’s mandatory that each tire’s style and measurement is the same when purchasing.
Take a Close Look at Tread Life and Speed Ratings

On the search for tires, always inspect tread life to determine the durability of the tire. Tire companies might come up with unique designs for their treads, but in reality their level of quality is relatively similar. Speed ratings indicate whether or not a tire is built to handle high speeds. If you often travel on highways during a daily commute or other occasions, you’ll want to consider a tire with a high speed rating. Some states may typically have higher speed limits than others, which is another reason to pay attention to the speed rating.

Understand Your Driving Routine

The longer your commute to work is, or the farther and more frequent those road trips are, the more often you need to check your tires. Always pay close attention to your travel distances, as this way you can best gauge how often you use your tires, and even on what terrain. Consistently bad conditions may warrant year-round tires meant to handle that weather. And depending on how often you travel, you may want to go for tires that remain in good condition through heavy use.

For more assistance when searching for the ideal tires, talk with the experts at your local tire store for more comprehensive assistance with matching tires to your vehicle.

Bio: Lauren Feely is a guest writer for Auto Tech Centers, an auto repair center and tire shop providing extensive services to customers all over Illinois.

Categories : Tires
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May
31

10 Cars Offering 30+ MPGs for Less than $25k

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Written by a Guest Blogger

Just like we all want mates who are smart, good looking and funny – most of us all want cars that are stylish, fuel efficient and affordable. But as anyone who’s ever been in the dating pool knows, we’re not all a perfect match.

Now, the dating thing – that’s something you’ll have to figure out on your own. And the same goes for the “stylish” and “affordable” attributes we’re all looking for in our cars. But fuel efficient, well – that’s something that’s quantifiable – and something you can find out with just a little research.

For those of you looking for a brand-new car, there are several 2013s that get more than 30 mpg/combined and cost less than $25,000 – which is what many people consider an “affordability threshold.” Completely electric cars aside, there are several hybrids and standard combustion engine vehicles that offer great gas mileage. Below are just a few cars with good gas mileage that make the cut:

• Toyota Prius c Hybrid – 50 mpg/combined; starts at $19,080
• Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen – 34 mpg/combined; starts at $20,595
• Toyota Yaris – 33 mpg/combined; starts at $14,370
• Chevrolet Spark – 34 mpg/combined; starts at $12,185
• Honda Insight Hybrid – 42 mpg/combined; starts at $18,600
• Nissan Sentra FE – 34 mpg/combined; $15,990
• Volkswagen Passat – 35 mpg/combined; starts at $20,845
• Honda CR-Z – 34 mpg/combined; starts at $19,975
• Fiat 500 – 34 mpg/combined; starts at $16,000
• Toyota Prius – 50 mpg/combined; starts at $24,200

As you may have guessed, trucks, vans and SUVs are generally more expensive and won’t typically get quite as many miles per gallon as cars. However, some (2013) makes and models may surprise you with how good their gas mileage is. For instance:

• Toyota Tacoma (2WD) – 23 mpg combined/ starts at $17,625
• Mazda 5 – 24 mpg combined/ starts at $19,940
• GMC Sierra 15 Hybrid 4WD – 21 mpg combined/ starts at $41,305
• Mazda CX-5 – 29 mpg combined/ starts at $21,195
• Nissan Frontier (2WD) – 21 mpg combined/ starts at $19,260
• Honda Odyssey – 22 mpg combined/ starts at $28,675
• Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD –28 mpg combined/ starts at $40,170
• Nissan Juke – 29 mpg combined/ starts at $20,280
• GMC Canyon Crew Cab (2WD) – 21 mpg combined/ starts at $17,490
• Lexus RX 450h – 30 mpg combined/ starts at $46,310

*MPGs listed were obtained from U.S. Department of Energy’s website – http://www.fueleconomy.gov.
*Prices listed are for base model vehicles, and provided according to the manufacturers websites. (2/19/13).

BIO: Rose Fox – Rose is a guest author who just loves to write. She occupies her time word smithing about everything from useful tips to used cars, from farming to pharmaceuticals.

Categories : Car Buying
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May
29

Seven Tips for Buying a Used Car

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Written by a Guest Blogger

We all know that buying a used car can be stressful. After all, you don’t know how it has been treated, whether that flawless bumper will drop off when you hit the first pothole in the road, or whether the purring engine is due to regular maintenance or an engine additive that will wear off by the time the gas tank hits E.

However, buying used can be a great deal. Not only does it allow you to bypass the almost instant depreciation of a new vehicle, but when you buy used, you can often afford a much nicer vehicle than if you’d chosen to buy new. To make sure that you’re getting the best used car for your money, always be sure to have the car checked out by your favorite mechanic and follow these simple tips:

Keep your options open

Look for your target vehicle, but also explore cars within the same class of vehicle – and don’t be afraid to look at cars that are in the class above. You might just be surprised at how much car you can afford when you buy used.

Research each specific vehicle

In addition to having your mechanic give it a once-over, run a CARFAX report and review the car’s history.

Take it for a spin

During your test drive, evaluate things like: Acceleration from a stop, blind spots and general visibility, engine noise, how smoothly the car shifts, general power and ability to climb hills, how the car breaks and corners, how it rides (suspension), and any rattles or squeaks.

Check the body of the vehicle for any suspicious dents, dings or scratches.

See what it’s worth

Determine the value of the vehicle before entering into any negotiations. Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book both have helpful guidelines and calculators that can help you understand the vehicle’s true value.

Consider an extended warranty

If you’re buying a used car from a dealer, you’ll often have the option to purchase an extended warranty. While they can add a few dollars to your monthly bill, they can also give you added peace of mind – so if that’s important to you be sure to discuss the option with your salesperson.

Certify it

If you’re shopping at a dealership, look for a “Certified, Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle” – which generally has less than 50,000 miles and has been given a multipoint inspection, as well as any necessary service. They usually include a no-cost extended warranty and are typically considered to be the used car world’s “cream of the crop.”

Finally, before you even begin looking at vehicles, determine your budget and get pre-qualified for an auto loan. That way, you know exactly how much you have to spend and can (hopefully) negotiate to a point that’s a bit below your max.

BIO:

Rose Fox – Rose is a guest author who just loves to write. She occupies her time word smithing about everything from useful tips to used cars, from farming to pharmaceuticals.

Categories : Car Buying
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May
28

The Top 10 Best Looking Cars of All Time

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Written by a Guest Blogger

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the aesthetic features of a car make no exception. Since beauty is highly subjective and transient, automotive enthusiasts appreciate differently the exterior designs of a certain automobile. Nevertheless, there are at least ten classic models bestowed with iconic and sleek looks that have stood the test of time throughout the history of the automotive industry. Below are top 10 best-looking automobiles of all time, listed chronologically. All these automobiles were developed within a twenty-year period and they mark the graceful evolution of exterior design in this industry, while maintaining a classic allure and timeless elegance.

1. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

This all-time classic and slick 1954 model with a minimalist appearance produced by the renowned German automotive manufacturer is touted as the first-ever non-racing car equipped with fuel injection as well as the fastest consumer-oriented top-speed car in the world. Its impressive aesthetics, with easily recognizable gull-wing doors are highly appreciated to this day by car collectors worldwide. This two-seat sports car model was later produced as an open roadster version and it is the precursor of the modern 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
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2. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California

This classic and aesthetically appealing model developed by the famous Italian sports car manufacturer is not only the ultimate symbol of luxury and speed, but also of supreme beauty. Touted by many automobile connoisseurs as the most beautiful to have ever been manufactured, thanks to its enthralling exterior design, this 1961 edition is a rare and highly prized car. Famous owners of this automobile include James Coburn and Jay Leno. Car collectors consider this short-wheelbase model among the highly valuable automobiles in the world. This sleek car auctioned in 2007 for $4.9 million and in 2008 Chris Evans set a world record for the highest price ever paid for a car when he paid almost $11 million for this vehicle. This model is the precursor of the 2012 Ferrari California.
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3. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Coupe

This vintage 1963 model was the first Chevy independent rear suspension and the first American car equipped with hidden quad headlamps. The stunning Sting Ray design of this 2-door coupe, the first ever in the Corvette history, features a “divided window” rear glass, which is deemed as part of the highly distinctive styling elements in the entire automotive industry. This 1963 futuristic fastback with amazing aerodynamics of its exterior design, marking the debut of the second-generation Corvette is highly valued to this day by car enthusiasts across the globe. This model is the recipient of the award for Engineering Excellence, presented by “Car Life” magazine and it is the precursor of the modern 2013 Chevrolet Corvette.
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4. 1964 Aston Martin DB 5

Hollywood has made this luxury grand tourer very famous, through its strong connection with the James Bond series. This iconic and exquisite model is easily recognized, being the first cinematic James Bond car. It featured for the first time in the 1964 film “Goldfinger”, the third movie of the James Bond series, starring Sean Connery. This movie used the original Aston Martin DB5 prototype and the Oscar-winning James Stears certainly helped rise this car to fame, when it created using special effects the lethal silver birch DB 5 for James Bond. This classic and elegant model also appeared in other movies of the series, including “GoldenEye”, “Casino Royale”, “Tomorrow Never Dies” and even in the latest James Bond film, the 2012 “Skyfall”, starring Daniel Craig. Its successor is the modern 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
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5. 1965 Jaguar E-Type

The famous Italian motor racing driver and businessman Enzo Ferrari, nicknamed “il Drake”, praised this 1965 model as the most aesthetically appealing cars ever created. Combining exceptional aesthetics, competitive pricing, top performance and in-board rear brakes as an innovation, this British sports car is an icon of the 1960s motoring. This lightweight model ranked at number one in the Daily Telegraph s list of “100 most good-looking cars of all time “. More than 70,000 cars of this model have been sold in the world. It is the precursor of the 2012 Jaguar XK.
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6. 1966 Ford GT40

Considered by specialists as being among the automobiles with a very low ground clearance, reaching only 40 inches tall, this timeless 1966 racing model was originally manufactured to win long-distances car races against the Ferrari sports cars. It was the first car designed and build in the US to win all the prizes at Le Mans, being the only automobile to have won the 1967 endurance racing circuit known as Le Mans in all three places. The contemporary Ford GT model pays tribute to the classic 1966 Ford GT 40.
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7. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB /4

This Italian model was a premiere at that time, being the first of its type to incorporate the transaxle innovation, where both the transmission and rear axle are integrated for optimum balance on the road. The first Ferrari without wire wheels, this slick 1967 model was an updated car in the late 1960s, incorporating new bodywork, a four-cam engine and a more compact head. This sleek coupe ranked at number seven on the “Top Sports Cars of the 1960s” list, being able to hit 165 mph (266 km/hour) and it is considered the greatest of all time. This classic beauty with distinguishable design is the precursor of Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
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8. 1970 Dodge Challenger R /T

This timeless American model was the first created for “E-Body” and according to specialists, 1970 was a “great year” for E-body models. This legendary and top-performance convertible was equipped with a 426 Hemi engine, a backup light right in the middle of the rear and as a first, it came in vibrant and flamboyant colors such as “sublime green”, “go-mango orange”, “plum crazy purple” and “panther pink”. Jay Leno owns this 1970 model. This 1970 model appeared in the existentialist movie “Vanishing Point” ( a white version) and its successor is 2012 Dodge Challenger.
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9. 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

Dubbed as the first-ever exotic car, the aesthetically appealing aspect of this luxury automobile has made it highly prized among car collectors worldwide. This two-door coupe has also pioneered the trend of high-performance, mid-engined (V12), two-seater sports car and it was at that time the fastest production road car available on the market. The revolutionary design and slick styling of this model has made it the flagship car of Lamborghini. The modern day successor of this 1971 model is the Lamborgini Aventador roadster.
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10. 1973 Porsche Carrera RS

This all-time classic model is the precursor of the modern day Porsche 911. It displays timeless elegance and a graceful allure and it is equipped with wider rear fenders, larger brakes, fuel injection and rear tires. This 1973 version is very powerful albeit lightweight and its exceptional beauty and has stood the test of time, making it highly appreciated and valued by car enthusiasts and collectors all across the globe, who consider it the greatest Porsche classic of all time. This model is also very popular with Hollywood celebrities, including actor Jerry Seinfeld.
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Author Bio: Bradley Taylor is an automotive blogger, journalist and enthusiast. He also contributes to other and on behalf of other motoring publications such as Premium Cars Direct, BMW, Nissan, Audi and Ford. Connect with Bradley on Google Plus.

Categories : Car Buying
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May
15

Auto Insurance: Know the Law, Get Covered!

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Automobiles are expensive to own and operate. But if you are thinking of skipping the step of insuring your vehicle so you can put gas in it, think again. You risk getting fined, your license suspended, vehicle impounded, or even jail time if you don’t comply with your state’s law. Minimum insurance coverage levels vary by state, so you’ll need to find out what the minimum requirements are in your area and purchase at LEAST that coverage.

How to Read Liability Insurance Numbers

Insurance numbers are listed in a series. For example, one policy might be listed as 20/40/10. What do these mean? The first number in a liability policy indicates the bodily injury coverage level. In this example, the policy would cover up to $20,000 per person. The second number identifies the total limit of bodily injury for the accident for all the occupants in the vehicle combined. In this example, the policy would cover up to a total of $40,000. The last number indicates the property damage limit. In this example, the policy would cover a total of $10,000 in property damage per accident.

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Liability Insurance Numbers

How Much Auto Insurance is Enough?

The amount of insurance that you purchase is totally up to you, as long as you meet the minimum state coverage. If your budget is tight and you need to get by month to month with the lowest premium possible, then purchasing the minimum coverage may be right for you. But remember, if you get into an accident and you are found at-fault, you will be held responsible for any amount that exceeds your minimum policy. To find out the minimum required in your state, complete an internet search with the keywords “minimum motor vehicle insurance coverage in _______” – and insert your state’s name in the search. Be sure to look for the official Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) state site to get the most up-to-date info. Or call you local DMV office to find what the minimum requirements are.

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Accident with Injuries

Are You a High Risk Driver?

Insurance policy costs can vary dramatically between low risk drivers and high risk drivers. What constitutes whether or not you are a “high risk driver”? Understandably, having a DUI/DWI on your record can increase your policy. Another risk factor is your age. While this may seem unfair, if you are a teen or elderly driver you may be put into a high risk category. The key is to keep your driving record clean, don’t get traffic violations, stay out of accidents, and keep at least the minimum motor vehicle coverage.

OK, I am High Risk…Now What Do I Do?

If you are classified as a high risk driver and have a limited budget, you should research auto insurance companies that specialize in providing minimum car insurance costs at a discounted rate. Some auto insurance companies specialize in providing coverage in specific states. For example, Good2Go Auto Insurance offers policies in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Get Insured!

Look at your finances and develop a budget. If you don’t want a fine or possibly jail time, then you need the minimum state coverage. Increase your liability insurance numbers as your budget allows if you want even less risk. Some insurance companies allow you to pay either monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually to meet your specific budget. Insurance is just as important as motor vehicle registration, gas in the tank, and oil in the engine.

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