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Category Archives: Automotive

Auto Repair Shop for SUV

Where to Start

It is very helpful to begin your hunt for a reliable auto repair shop before you take your new SUV home with you. This head start will provide insight on what to expect once your SUV requires some professional attention, or it comes time for its factory scheduled maintenance. There will be no surprises; you’ll know exactly who you can call and who you can trust. You won’t have to waste time worrying about finding an honest and dependable auto repair mechanic that is close to home and fits your budget, all within short notice and under duress.

After You Find a Good Candidate

Once you think you have found some good candidates for SUV service and repair, you can dig a little deeper and look for some clues that speak to the character and proficiency of the shop. For instance, look for professional licensing, associations, and similar credentials. Also inquire about the number of years they have been working on car professionally. Look for signs about surcharges, fees, billing, and more, and ask about their billing and fee policy. Inquire about free services, such as estimates or inspections. Look to see if the facility is clean and organized, and if whether or not the staff is neatly dressed and exhibiting positive attitudes.

DIY Car Care

Aside from your regular scheduled maintenance, there are several other things you can do for your SUV to keep it dependable for years to come. Keep up with regular tire inflation, light inspections, antifreeze refills, coolant refills, windshield wiper refills, windshield wiper replacements, and more. And be sure to drive smoothly and do not abuse the brakes! Good driving practices plus proper maintenance will ensure your vehicle performs safely and efficiently for a long time.

Preparing Car for Winter

Take your auto in for a tune up before the first snow fall. Having the peace of mind of a well maintained vehicle all year is an excellent idea, but it’s particularly essential during the winter when driving conditions are impaired.¬†Ensure your battery is in great condition. Being stuck in remote areas and being unable to start your car is dangerous. Check that your battery’s connections are corrosion free and for batteries older than 3 years, consider testing its capacity to hold a charge.

Ensure you have the right oil for your vehicle. In general, thinner oil like 5W30 works better in cold winter conditions than 10W30 or 10W40, which are thicker. Thinner oils circulate easier, which makes lubrication of your engine easier in cold temperatures. To find the right oil for your specific vehicle, check your owner’s manual.

Keep your gas tank full. A full gas tank lowers the chances of running out of gas and being stranded. In addition, it brings down the possibility that your gas lines will freeze up because of condensation or water vapor buildup in extremely icy climates.

Ensure you keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. A well thought out kit can be a lifeline in the event that you are stranded in the middle of nowhere, or on a highway. A high-quality winter kit for your car should include:
No less than one warm blanket.
A flashlight.
A shovel, in case you need to dig out of deep snow.
Additional warm garments, including boots, gloves and caps.
A well stocked first aid kit.
A bag of salt or sand to give you extra traction if you get stuck.
Food and drinking water. Foods with high sugar content are excellent choices.
Jumper cables.
A flare.
Spare windshield wipers.
Extra windshield washer fluid.

Test your tire pressure. Because of the colder air, your tire pressure tends to drop a small amount in the winter. Keeping your tires at the maker’s prescribed pressure makes your vehicle simpler to handle, making you more secure on the road and will even improve fuel economy which will save you money!

Check that your anti-freeze mixture is correct. Your coolant should have a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water. If you’re uncertain, you can purchase a reasonably priced anti-freeze analyzer at most automotive part stores. Keep your anti-freeze levels above 50% to prevent leaving your engine susceptible to freezing up.

Think about snow tires. If you tend to get heavy snowfall in your area, it might be worth getting snow tires for your vehicle throughout the winter months. The deeper grooves on snow tires provide substantially more traction on snow covered surfaces, which makes them able to stop your vehicle up to 40% more rapidly than all season tires. As well, snow tires are constructed with a specific type of rubber which lets them to preserve their flexibility even in coldest winter conditions.

Consider replacing your windshield wipers if they are not in good condition. Defective windshield wipers can essentially debilitate your capacity to see in wet and icy climate conditions. If your windshield wipers are not making good contact with the windshield and are not clearing it properly, they should be replaced.

Check your brakes. On the off chance that it’s been over six months since your last brake check, have them checked again before the winter driving season. With the dangerous conditions that winter brings, having the capacity to stop quickly is much more critical than in warmer climates.

Electric Car Engines Work

People are trading out and selling the gas-guzzling trucks or SUVs of yester-year, and increasingly choosing cars based on gas mileage. This trend includes a definite increase in the number of hybrid and electric cars that are being bought and sold, as people begin to embrace new alternative energy possibilities. But what is an electric car, and how does it work?

A completely electric car is powered by either batteries that must be recharged at charging stations, or fuel cells. Fuel cells take in hydrogen gas and convert it into electricity. Often, electric cars can also run on (or at least be supplemented by) solar energy in the form of panels on their roofs or bodies.

This electricity source, whatever it might be, is used to power an electric motor. The motor is a coil of wire that can spin freely inside a casing of magnets. When electricity is fed into the wire, it makes a magnetic field that turns the coil very quickly. By fastening the spinning coil to an axle, the wheels are driven along. A modern electric car can get 250 miles or more on a single charge, more than sufficient for most day to day commuting purposes.

Automotive Innovations

Apart from the fact that they run on electric energy, there are some pretty outstanding features that are unique and groundbreaking.

For example, the electric car has no exhaust pipe. In fact it has no exhaust system at all. This means you have no smoke coming our of the car as it runs. Hitherto, all vehicles had some sort of combustion outlet that emitted the waste from the burning of fuel.

Again, the electric car has no fuel tank. It uses energy from the batteries so there is no need to hold fuel in liquid or gaseous form for it’s automotive power. So we can definitely say it is a tankless car.

For the first time, the barking system of a car will serve as a charging system for its batteries. In the regular car, you have the alternator as the system that charges the battery. The electric car has something interesting – the batteries are charged when you brake the car. The process is called regenerative braking and it can recover about 15% of the energy that the car used.

The electric car is therefore an economical and amazing piece of technology worth admiring. Upon close examination, you will notice that it has been able to bring together many features and components that were once considered futuristic and almost impossible to achieve. Today, the electric car comes to reality with them.

Electric Bike Battery

Keep the battery clean and dry

Even though these batteries are designed to accept a small amount of light rain, it is usually advisable to keep them clean and dry whenever possible. The actual contacts on the battery must be kept dry to avoid issues with corrosion or oxidation which in the long-term will weaken its power and efficiency. It is practical to check the contacts on a monthly basis. On seeing the first signs of corrosion, it is possible to use an emery cloth to give a proper clean.

Maintain the cool temperature of the battery

The battery cells are less effective at holding its charge in environments that are very warm. This means that in the hot weather the battery will start to lose its power at a faster rate. This has the downside of needing to recharge the battery at more regular intervals. The lithium power is able to extend the travel distance by a significant margin if kept and stored in cold conditions.

Store the electric bike in the correct manner

If you are planning to leave the electric bike inactive for several months it is essential that it is stored in the correct manner. For the best results it benefits to leave the battery with at least 80% charge which is useful for slowing the capacity in which the power is discharged. Try to store the bike in an environment that is relevantly cool and without direct sunlight. Additionally, for long-term storage it benefits to give the battery a charge once every 5 to 10 weeks.

Save Money and Energy With the New Plug-in Electric Hybrid Car

In addition to reducing energy cost, V2G technology will allow consumers to be able to sell back energy to the utility during the hot summer months when energy demand is the highest. Hybrid vehicle owners may sell energy at the price threshold they select. When the price reaches this point, the utility will automatically take energy from the vehicle. The owner will have enough energy left over for the drive home. Payment to the vehicle’s owner can be made in the form of earned credits from the amount of energy used by the utility toward their monthly energy bill.

V2G technology can increase the availability of renewable energy used during peak energy hours. Plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) may charge their batteries at night when energy is inexpensive and is generated with a larger percentage of renewable resources. While electrical utilities usually have to buy power from expensive, less efficient, fossil fuel power generating sources during the day or times of maximum demand. But with PHEVs, utilities may purchase the renewable energy stored in the vehicle batteries.

PG&E demonstrated the first-ever utility Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology at Silicon Valley Leadership Group Alternative Energy Solutions Summit in California. The PHEV, a converted Toyota Prius, featured a 180 pound lithium battery that takes up the bottom of a back trunk where a tire would go. The vehicle produces about 9 kilowatts of electricity while the average house uses about 2.5 kilowatts of electricity on hour.

The PHEVs charge by plugging into a three-prong 110- to 120-volt outlet. Flipping a switch sends the charge to the home from the car, if the home needs energy during a blackout or high energy consumption days.

For the demonstration, the Prius ran several lights and appliances after reversing the flow of energy from the outlet to the vehicle.

The plug-ins, like the traditional hybrid, have both electric motors and batteries as well as a gasoline engine which turns on when the car runs about 20 to 25 miles per hour.

About Energy Costs of Driving Electric Cars

Petroleum prices have jumped during the last year and everybody is feeling the pain at the pump. Not a single soul is concerned about filling up the batteries of his next electric car with electricity. After all, you just plug the car into the next receptacle and there seem to be no appreciable costs.

Joe owns a Corvette, a high performance car manufactured by General Motors, which according to the car manufacturer drives 25 miles per gallon.

Joe’s monthly commute is 1000 miles, he drives very carefully, and actually achieves 25 MPG on his daily trip going to work and running errands. At $4.00 per gallon at the pump he is paying $160 for gasoline every month.

Joe is thinking about buying the Tesla, an electric sports car. He tried to find the cost of electricity for driving this car. He could not find any data anywhere. Joe knows that he must explain to his wife why he needs to save energy and money before buying the Tesla, a new, very fast electric sports car.

The Tesla will accelerate faster than his Corvette. There is no doubt that an electric vehicle can have a faster acceleration than a gasoline car. Electric motors and liquid fuel engines are just two different devices converting electric energy or petroleum fuel energy into mechanical energy. Electric motors can generate much higher torque at the wheels at much lower turning speeds.

In comparison, electric motors will have several shortcomings, too. They certainly will emit more pollutants and more carbon dioxide as long as coal is used for producing electric power. Overall energy efficiency of the electric car, from power plant to the road, is still worse than that of a modern automobile propelled by an advanced combustion engine.

The biggest drawback of electric cars is the small number of miles they can drive after a complete recharge. Additionally, the charging of an empty electric battery will take forever, high performance batteries are expensive, and will only have a limited life expectancy.

What about energy costs for driving an electric car compared to a gasoline powered car? Both vehicles will have to store energy. The electric car stores electric energy in its battery, the combustion engine powered car stores energy in the form of gasoline or diesel fuel in its fuel tank.

Now let us take a comparative look at the cost of storing and paying for enough electric energy or liquid fuel energy to drive 100 miles. Let us assume that both cars will have the same power requirements to drive 100 miles. In this respect the match-up between Tesla and Corvette is perfect. But how do we compare prices at the gas station with utility costs at the receptacle?

Energy contained in gasoline can be converted into mechanical energy only at the limited energy conversion efficiency of a typical heat engine. The Corvette engine will have an energy conversion efficiency of about 35%. (Fuel fired engines may eventually reach 50% peak energy conversion efficiency after decades of future advancements). Conversion efficiency of electric power from the receptacle into stored energy first and into mechanical energy later is much higher at about 85%.

The energy content of gasoline is 131 MJ/gallon (megajoule per gallon). For driving 100 miles the Corvette will burn four gallons of gasoline or 524 MJ/100 miles. Only 35% of the energy in gasoline or 183 MJ will be used to propel the Corvette. This is the mechanical energy transmitted to the rear wheels of the Corvette. Virtually the same amount of energy must be transferred to the wheels of the electric car, the Tesla. Both cars are very similar in size and driving characteristics.

However, the Tesla has to take a little more energy from the receptacle because the charging, storing, and discharging of electricity in the battery experiences energy losses. These losses are about 15% of the electric energy taken from the receptacle and will not be available at the wheels. The Tesla owner will, therefore, pay 1.15 times as much to get the same energy to the wheels as the Corvette or 211 MJ per 100 miles. Electric energy is priced in the form of dollar per kilowatt hour or $/kWh. The average price of electricity in the US is $0.09/kWh. The factor for converting energy measured in MJ to energy measured in kWh is 0.2778 kWh/MJ.

Importance of Brake Fluid

The fluid needs to be checked often because of the ability it has to absorb moisture. Excess moisture and alien liquid deteriorates the brake fluid by corroding it. Excess moisture can come from the atmosphere. The liquid that gets drawn into the fluid will also affect the boiling point which is vital for proper braking. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius whereas clean fluid boils at 230 degrees Celsius. Vaporisation needs to be avoided in the hydraulic system as it is compressible therefore affecting the car’s ability to stop.

At times, the fluid can also contain copper. Copper is likely to release patina, which is a corrosive substance that eats away at metal. Mechanics can test if there is copper in the pipes by means of an electronic tester.

Brake fluid must have a low viscosity to flow quickly through the hydraulic system as the driver applies the pedal. In other words, it has to be thin enough to travel quickly throughout the hydraulic system as opposed to oil which is too thick. If it gets thick, the driver will notice this because of the delay in reaction time of the braking system. The colour of the liquid can also determine if you need to change the fluid. If it is darker in colour then it needs to be replaced immediately as there is a high level of contamination.

Brake fluid protects the linings of the metallic parts as well as the valves, callipers and cylinders. It also protects the metallic components from corroding. It needs to be replaced at least once every couple of years. Replacing it requires the mechanic to bleed the system. Bleeding it involves the pipe to be removed from the rest of the system. The brake pedal will need to be constantly applied to get all that liquid out.

Converting Car to Electric

An electric vehicle uses a very simple power train. The best example is an electric golf cart on the green. It is clean, quiet and has zero emission. The process of converting a car to electric is to replace the internal combustion engine with an electric motor. The motor will generate the torque need to move the car forward. A series of lead flooded acid batteries will be used to supply the power to the motor. To control the speed of the car, a current resistance regulator is connected between the batteries and the motor. The regulator acts as the accelerator paddle of the car. Finally, the whole system is linked to a central circuit board that monitors the condition of the motor and status of the batteries.

All these information may sound like Greek if you are not familiar with the internal workings of a car. In this case, you can outsource the conversion project to a mechanic. To be prudent, you should at least have some basic understanding of the whole modification process. This is to ensure you are not paying for unnecessary parts retrofitted into your car. There any many good quality electric car conversion guides that you can purchase from the web.

Basic Car Maintenance

NGK Spark Plugs

NGK Spark plugs do not always need replaced, and there are a few ways to check to see if they can go for another 30,000 miles or so. First, if there are no problems because of bad NGK spark plugs, they may not need replaced. To double check, vehicle owners are encouraged to ensure that the gap is what it is supposed to be, and to visually check NGK spark plugs to see if they appear to be worn.

Vehicle owners that are not sure as to whether they should replace NGK spark plugs are encouraged to replace them. Getting a new set will not hurt the car, and it may improve the performance of the vehicle.

Double Check Safety Options

This is the time when everything should be double checked, including but not limited to: windshield wipers, headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and the horn. These parts of the car are a necessity to making sure that everyone riding in the car is safe, particularly in dangerous weather. Headlights can determine whether a driver sees another car coming down the road or not, and may prevent a fatal car accident.

Brakes

The brakes do not automatically need to be replaced, but it is a good idea to take off the tires and give them a quick look while performing maintenance on the car. If the brakes show an excessive amount of wear and tear, and it looks like they may be close to the indicator, it is a good idea to replace them at the time and get it out of the way, although it is not necessary.

Oil change

Every car needs an oil change some time, and this is the one thing that most people neglect. Instead of getting an oil change every 10,000 miles as recommended, some owners never get an oil change. If this isn’t being done on regularly, at the very least vehicle owners are encouraged to get an oil change when they are doing their own tune up. The oil can become gritty and then it will not lubricate the engine properly, resulting in a wealth of damages later on down the road.

Fluids

All fluids should be checked on weekly, or, at the very least, monthly, but most vehicle owner’s ale tend to neglect this important part of maintenance. If this isn’t done regularly, it’s that much more important that it be done during a tune-up. If there is a problem, it should be fixed along with everything else.