Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wax or Sealant? Paint Cleaning Clay ...

Your Every Day Driver vs. The Garage King

The products you select to protect your vehicle's paint for longevity should be determined by answering a few questions. (1) Is this your beloved weekend/show car/crazy in love with car or your daily driver that takes a lot of abuse? (2) Do you have time to wax your car every quarter or do you only have just enough time to wash it once or twice a month? (3) Do you park outside most of the time or is the car parked indoors at work and at home? (4) Do you cheat by going through a car wash every once in a while rather than washing by hand? (5) Do you expect the finish to be perfect, swirl-free with incredible depth, color and clarity, or are you willing to have a finish with awesome gloss, the majority of the swirl marks removed or hidden, and a year's worth of protection with very little effort?

The answers ... select a Carnauba Wax if you have time every quarter to wax, park the car indoors at home and use a car cover at work and you never, ever run it through a car wash. Select a Paint Sealant or One-Step Sealant if this is your daily driver and you need maximum protection from the elements for up to one year. Paint sealants go on quickly, enhances your paint, and hides the majority of your swirl marks.

TIP: Some scratches are too deep to remove. Once you have polished and rounded off the edges, fill the scratch with Sealant or Wax to hide the imperfection.

Paint Cleaning Clay ...
If you don't understand what a Paint Cleaning Clay product does or are too nervous to try it are missing out on some amazing results. Paint Cleaning Clay removes all the contaminants that sit on top of your paint. (1) with this one step your paint will never be smoother, (2) will be totally clean and ready to wax, (3) you will eliminate the laborious step of polishing your paint just to get it clean.

First, wash your car and dry it off. Run your fingertips over your paint. Does it feel smooth? Or can you feel tiny bumps? Contaminants are most noticeable on the rear or lower side panels of your vehicle. What you are feeling is an accumulation of fall-out, road tar, dirt, grime, grease and oil that sticks to your paint after miles of driving. Other culprits of this gritty feeling are paint over-spray, acid rain, bird droppings, bug jerky, rail dust, and tree sap. Check the vehicles glass and you will discover that is also covered with contaminants that clay will remove.

Most folks figure a good hand polishing is needed to remove this roughness and clean the paint to get it ready for waxing. But polishing reduces the depth of the paint and is totally unnecessary unless you are trying to remove a scratch. If you are just trying to clean the paint to get it ready for waxing, then use paint cleaning clay before waxing.

Not only does clay work better than a hand polish, but it removes more contaminants and is also a lot less work. the clay is a very pliable bar, and its sticky nature enables the clay to pick up and hold onto the contaminant as it glides across the surface. To get it to glide across the surface, you must use a lubricant.

Tip: As the clay slides over your paint, it picks up contaminants that are stuck to the surface that even polish can remove. Use a clay that is bright in color so you can see exactly what's coming off of your paint. As the bar gets dirty, just knead it a bit and flatten it out into another fresh patty. Most bars clean about 7 vehicles depending on the amount of contamination on the surface.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wheels & Tires

Most wheels have a painted, aluminum base coat followed by two or three layers of clear coat. These wheels should be treated just like the paint on your vehicle. Wheel cleaners that "spray on, hose off" are too harsh and detrimental to your wheel's protective coatings and paint. After a thorough cleaning, apply a coat of wax. This will protect the finish and make them easier to clean the next time.

Properly cleaning the nasty dirt that gets on your tires is often overlooked. The porous nature of the rubber attracts oils, dirt, brake dust and grime. Use an ergonomically designed scrub brush to provide you with a fast, comfortable and easy way to clean tires. The soft, pliable, ribbed rubber handles let you get a strong grip so you can really scrub hard. The nylon bristles are curved to the contour of a tire and angled just right for direct pressure. Used with a rubber cleaner is the finest way to care for your expensive tires and properly prepare them for the vinyl & rubber dressing. [Kits run $28-$30]

Using a wheel cleaner that is made from premium biodegradable ingredients and is safe for all types of wheels, insures that it is safe for you and the environment. No worries about what is going down the drains. Choose a cleaner with a high concentrate of penetrants that allow far less effort when cleaning wheels. The cleaner will hang on the wheel longer to clean stubborn brake dust, road oils and other deposits. Use a superior product with no expense spared toward the ingredients. It should also be a cleaner for all wheels and include a sponge for easy application. Detail Mitts and Foam Swabs work well too. [mitts $6-$8; swabs $$14-$15]

Wheel Cleaning Brush
Use a gentle yet effective wheel cleaning brush for those hard to clean areas. So many of today's wheel designs are beautiful to look at but a nightmare to clean. Especially the back side of a wheel which is usually painted and is difficult to access. A tool made from a soft yet porous synthetic material that will grab grime and lift it off the wheel is a must. It's wedge shape allows you to get into small areas. The handle should be comfortable and molded to fit your fingers. The standard brush should be 9 3/4" long, the long reach 12 1/4" long in case you have wide wheels. Great for motorcycle cleaning too. [brushes $9-$12]

Long Lasting Tire Dressing
You want a dressing that is specifically designed for tires and the tough environment they deal with everyday. It should be water repellent so it still looks great even after a rain storm or a good wheel cleaning. Want a nice black, satin finish? After application, give a quick swipe with a disposable towel and your tires will have a natural rubber look. Want mega-gloss? Apply two coats and don't touch it. [8 oz. tire dressing, $10; 2 detail sponges, $5]

You can purchase a complete Wheel & Tire Detailing Kit for about $50. If you haven't already done so, register with Mobile Enterprises, Inc. and receive discount coupons, Hot Links to sponsored products, and more. All About Cars and Trucks Mailing List.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Car Care Passions and Challenges

The key to understanding proper car care is education. I have put together this short Step by Step guide to get you started.

Step One

Clean ...
The one step that gives the greatest benefit over an automobile's entire life, it's simply keeping your vehicle clean. There are many products available to you and the choices can get confusing. So the best advice I can give you is to try to stay with one brand instead of many different manufacturers' products, some of which don't work well with others. Start with a safe, thorough cleaning with products that work and won't harm your health or the environment either.

Tips: use sprayers instead of aerosol cans; use self-venting gallon tap spouts for smooth flowing of product to dispense easily into smaller bottles; gallon pump head dispensers for thicker liquids work great; enjoy the convenience of disposable paper funnels and wall-mounted dispensers; use only a safe solution when removing adhesive goo [oily based products like peanut oil or WD40].

If you've been using brands of polish and wax that may contain silicone and synthietic oils you will need to remove the old wax and polysilicones for a squeaky clean start to waxing. Most car care systems may not bond with these siicone-laden products. It's important to use a good paint prep to remove all of the old waxes, polysilicones, and oils so the new products can properly bond to the surface. Proper preparation is 90% of a good finished job.

Tips: polishes help restore the paint finish by removing lightly oxidized paint and dirt that has gotten ground in; waxes seal the painted finish and protect it from the environment.

Crystal Clear Windows
A simple thing that makes driving safe and fun, but not always easy to achieve. Perfectly clean windows also allow your windows to "defrost" much quicker. You want to use a window cleaner which does not contain dyes, perfumes, or any other chemicals to contaminate your window surface. This is very important, as contaminants contribute to hazing!

Tips: use a clean terry towel to apply product and remove dirt; immediately use another clean towel to buff the window; then do a final buff with a lint free towel instead of paper.

Cleaning Tools
Having the right tools for the job, any job, makes the whole experience pleasurable. This is your time to relax and unwind. So, make sure you have a collection of superior quality cleaning tools that not only last a long time, but are a joy to use and make your car care therapy sessions much more fun.

Tips: use micro fiber wash mitts and pads; genuine sheepskin wash/dust mitt; boar's hair brush and handle [for cleaning big vehicles]; wheel well brush for hard-to-reach areas; protect your knee or butt from the hard floor or driveway with gel-filled knee pads; keep hose from catching under a tire with anti-hose catchers.

Stop by next week for Step Two -- Wheels & Tires. If you haven't already done so, register at our Mobile Onsite Detailing site to receive updated information and discounts.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Customize It!

When we talk about sports cars, we imagine models from Jaguar, Porsche, Chevrolet, Lexus, Cadillac and Pontiac. But sports cars can be custom-made too! Quality replicas, as most people call them, can pass for those really nifty sports cars parading along a ritzy street.

What are the other things one needs to know about custom-built cars? Here they are:

1. Roadster or Coupe?

Whether the driver wants his car to be roadster or coupe, companies that custom-build cars can adjust to the choice.

2. The Big Kit

Okay, before customizing, one must have this important tool: the kit. Companies like ‘Quality Roadsters’ provide kits and packages to turn a bland car into a ‘wow-worthy’ one. From the car's frame to other materials and features, these are all provided to ensure maximum performance.

As for the frame, the driver must take into consideration if he is going for the round tube or the square one. He must remember that round tube frame is lighter and tougher. On the other hand, a square tube frame is very easy to design. It can be stylish but not rigid or it can be rigid but not stylish.

Body-wise, the driver must choose a dimensionally-able car, with longer foot boxes and impressive fiberglass. The driver must custom-build it to the point that when he drives the car, it seems as if he is not driving the body, but the chassis.

The driver must also take note of the suspension. He must stay away from the independent rear suspension from Jaguar as it is harder to maintain. He must stick to a custom-built car with suspension materials similar to that of Mustang GT's. While replica industries usually make their own suspension, others just stick to the excellent-performing ones available on the market.

As for the engine, it is best that the driver goes for the one from Ford. Operating at 400-hp 302 V8 with transmitting power coming from a T-5 five speed, this engine qualifies as one of the better ones that can fully support a custom-built sports car.

Other car accessories like air-conditioning, overflow tank, cooling fan, shroud kit, fuel injection systems, wiper system and oil filter relocator must also be carefully and systematically selected.

A custom-built sports car will really spruce up the driver's lifestyle as it reflects his personality. He just has to be sure that the replica industry he has chosen will take care of him.

A Classic (Sports Car) Tale

Classic sports cars

Those three words come up together to form an image of grandeur, speed and extravagance. For who can afford classic sports cars? Only the affluent of course! But for the average “Joe” who dreams of having his own classic sports car and hopes to know more about it, this article is meant to provide information on this amazing “king of the road”.

First know the foremost brands of classic sports cars.

1. Lotus

Lotus is famous for coming up with the Lotus Elise 11S, Lotus Elise Motorsport, Lotus Elan, Lotus Europa Twin Cam, Lotus Super Seven S4, Lotus Elan SE Turbo and Lotus Super Seven Replica by Birkin.

2. Austin Healey Sprite

Only Austin Healey Sprite can come up with the Bugeye Sprite Race Car with an outstanding 250 horsepower! The 1960 Speedwell Sprite Vintage Race Car is another force to reckon with, as well as the 1962 Austin Healey Sprite MK.

3. Austin Mini

Austin Mini boasts of the Mini Cooper that comes in excellent colors and for $13,000, it is quite a steal!

4. TVR

The TVR has this elite collection of classic sports cars like the TVR Tuscan Challenge Race Car, TVR S2 Roadster, TVR Taimar Coupe and TVR 2500M.

5. Birkin

Classic sports car is almost synonymous to the brand Birkin, as it is made famous with Louts Super Seven replicas and offers Birkin S3, Birkin C-S3 Street, among other roadsters that come with the Ford ZETEC engine, four-wheeled disc brakes and a heavy-duty aluminum body.

6. Jaguar

Jaguar is the ‘mighty’ classic sports car that men cannot get enough of. With the Jaguar E-type Coupe, Jaguar X-Type Track Car and Jaguar C-Type replica, this is the brand that really pushes classic sports cars several ‘to the limit’.

7. Triumph

Jaguar-engined Triumph roars just as a classic sports car is expected to do. Classic models like the 1969 Triumph Spitfire MK III and 1960 Triumph TR3A stand for what Triumph is all about - sophistication and power.

Here are some books that inform the reader on how to keep the classic sports cars in tiptop shape: "Classic Car Restorer's Handbook," "Fun and Profit Buying, Showing and Selling Vintage and Classic Cars," "Restoration of Antique and Classic Cars," "Budget Auto Restoration: Low Cost, Step-By-Step Tricks" and "How to Rebuild and Modify Your Muscle Car."

The classic sports car exudes action and nobility. No wonder, it never goes out of style.

Get the Best Insurance Rate for Your Sports Car

Owners of sports cars may be the ‘kings of the streets’. Sports cars offer great features and benefits that many car buyers look for. However, sports cars may sometimes be a problem when obtaining the car insurance.

It is a known fact that the insurance for sports cars has much higher premiums than any other car. It can be a problem when applying for car insurance since the fees and premiums are ‘hard on the pocketbook’. Here are some tips that can help in getting the best insurance rates for sports cars:

1. The car owner should have a very good credit rating and have maintained that rating for a number of years. Insurance companies offer better rates for those people who have very good credit scores. Before applying for car insurance policies, the owner should make sure that he has no credit card debt...

2. Car owners can enjoy better insurance rates if they pack their sports cars with safety features and gadgets. The owner can purchase safety airbags, install antilock brakes, and stability/traction controls. These are recommended for the protection they provide, and safety features on sports cars will allow car owners to obtain discounts on their car insurance policies.

3. Sports car owners should also maintain very good driving records. Insurance companies offer lower rates to safe drivers.

4. Premium quotes are reviewed based on the information that is provided to insurance companies. Sports car owners should always make sure that they provide correct and accurate information when getting insurance quotes for their cars. This will help car owners enjoy the insurance rate that is best for them.

5. It is very important to research before buying car insurance. Insurance companies offer different insurance rates. Some offer discounts during special events or when promoting their company. Car owners should always keep informed about discounts and rates. They can also make use of the internet to get insurance quotes and compare rates before making the final selection.

6. Once a final choice has been made, car owners should not stop there. They should update their policies and their information on a regular basis. They need to continue to check their insurance policies to ensure that they are still enjoying the same rates and terms that were initially offered.

Sports cars are for enjoyment and prestige, so they should not be a burden to their owners. Even if sports cars have higher premiums, compared to other cars, the owners will still be able to enjoy the best insurance rates available to them.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

2008 Chrysler Picks

2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible Revealed!

On Wednesday, November 29, 2006 ...
2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible was revealed to the world at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The All-New 2008
Town & Country

    Pacifica Limited AWD
    MSRP* starting at: $36,555

  • 4.0L SOHL V6 engine with 6-speed Autostick® transmission
  • Luxury leather and Preferred Suede® microfiber trimmed 1st and 2nd row seating
  • Heated 1st and 2nd row seats
  • In-dash 6-disc CD/DVD changer
  • 19" aluminum, chrome clad wheels
  • Power Moonroof
2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR

2008 Shelby GT500KR

The 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR is the most powerful Mustang of all,
says Ford. It'll be on display at the New York auto show next week and will go on sale next spring. (Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company)

DEARBORN - Inspired by the classic 1968 KR model, Ford on Friday showed off the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR, which it is calling the most powerful Mustang ever. The automaker also unveiled the F-150 Foose Edition and the Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition. The trio of vehicles are bound for next week's 2007 New York International Auto Show.

The Shelby GT500KR will have a limited run of 1,000 units and hit showrooms next spring, Ford said. It uses the same supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that powers the 2007 Shelby GT500 Cobra Coupe, but squeezes out roughly another 40 horses thanks to a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack. (Ford has not set a official output number yet). The Shelby GT500KR is equipped with a custom carbon composite hood with scoops, air-extractor vents and stainless steel twist-down hood pins, a lower front air dam with chrome-trimmed functional brake ducts, and 14-inch Brembo front brakes. The suspension has been modified to improve handling. The polished 20-inch wheels seen here are for show only. The production vehicle will come with 18-inch wheels of a similar design.

The Shelby GT500 Cobra Coupe has a base price of $41,675, including a $745 destination charge. Although prices have not yet been announced on the three new products, Ford insiders tell IL that the Shelby GT500KR is expected to have an MSRP of around $50,000. However, plan on spending closer to $60,000 by the time it hits showrooms. Ford dealers are able to command $10,000 over sticker for the GT500 Cobra Coupe - a vehicle with an annual production run of 10,000 units. In addition, the Ford Shelby GT-H, the so-called Hertz Mustang, typically sells for over $50,000, even when it has 9,000 miles on the odometer. "Baby boomers have no ceiling when it comes to Mustang pricing," said one Ford executive. "They have an insatiable appetite for Mustang."

All of the mechanical upgrades seen on the GT500KR model will be available piecemeal from Ford Racing and Shelby when the KR goes on sale in the spring. The only exception is the carbon-composite hood, which will not be available through a catalog, at least not initially. Of course, more than a 1,000 will be made to provide replacement parts for the genuine GT500KRs and we anticipate some crafty upfitters will get their hands on a few of those. The signed commemorative plaque on the inside of each genuine GT500KR will, of course, not be available.

Ford says it doesn't yet know how many 2008 Ford F-150 Foose Editions it will build. But the truck, which was designed by customizer and television personality Chip Foose, will make its debut this fall. It features a lowered ride height, 22-inch wheels, racing stripes and a new grille with horizontal bars. It is powered by a 450-hp supercharged Triton V8 that delivers a whopping 500 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Ford says it's the most powerful F-150 since the 2004 Ford SVT Lightning. Ford expects this custom F-150 to start at around $50,000.

The 2008 Ford Expedition Funkmaster Flex Edition with a 5.4-liter V8 and a six-speed automatic transmission will hit showrooms in the fall. It is the brainchild of hip-hop DJ Funkmaster Flex and will also be produced in unspecified limited numbers. Because this Expedition is largely an appearance package with no engine work, Ford insiders predict it will be priced at around $40,000.

This custom Expedition gets a two-tone Colorado-red-and-black paint job with orange pinstriping and chrome badging. Other touches include a custom front fascia with integrated foglamps, side skirts, rear fascia, and 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. Additional details include a 340-watt Audiophile sound system, heated and cooled front seats and an optional nav system, power liftgate, and rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

What this means to you: The Mustang inches ever closer to the magic 600-hp number while the Dearborn automaker tries to recapture its cachet with limited-edition models.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Simple Ways to Improve Gas Mileage

Gas prices have been growing increasingly higher for the past several years. Everybody wants to save money on gas especially now that the price has been rapidly increasing. One way to save gas is to increase gas mileage.

Here are some tips on improving gas mileage. These tips will not only save on gas but will enable the car to last for a longer time:

1. It is very important to keep the car well maintained. The efficiency of the car will be greater and the performance of the car enhanced if proper maintenance is performed. This in turn helps in improving the gas mileage of the vehicle.

2. The tires of the car should always be inflated properly. Tires that are not inflated properly will make the car’s wheels have difficulty rolling and it will then require more energy and would consume more gas. Car owners can save gas by having the tires properly inflated. Check the air in your tires each time the weather changes dramatically from hot to cold to ensure that tire pressure has not changed.

3. Cars that are heavily loaded consume more gas. It is recommended that unnecessary weight be removed from the car. The lighter the car’s load, the less gas is consumed. Carriers can add weight to the car and should be removed when not in use.

4. Drive smoothly. If the driver uses the brakes a lot and then suddenly speeds up, or if the car is accelerated abruptly will result in greater fuel consumption. Therefore, it is recommended that you drive smoothly to improve gas mileage.

5. Always keep the car clean and washed. It is also recommended that the car be waxed regularly. This helps by improving aerodynamics and can help in improving gas mileage.

6. Another way to improve gas mileage is by saving on ventilation. A car’s air conditioner uses more gas when being used. The air conditioner may be turned off and the windows opened when driving slowly - weather permitting. However, it is not recommended to open the windows when driving fast since it adds extra pressure and drag on the vehicle.

There are many ways gas mileage may be improved. Car owners should be responsible if they want to save on gas and money. It does not require big sacrifices to improve your vehicle’s gas mileage. All it takes is a little responsibility and proper care of the car.

These simple ways can each help improve gas mileage a bit but when done regularly and in combination will help save a great deal of money.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Purchasing a Brand New Sports Car

Driving around town in a brand new sports car may be one of the best experiences for a driver.

Sports cars don't only give superior driving performance and comfort; they also give confidence to the owner of the car. Sports cars can be seen as the ultimate “eye candy” in the automobile world.

Buying a brand new sports car can also be a scary thing because of the money involved. How do you shop for a brand new sports car? Here are some helpful tips in doing so:

1) Think about it a hundred times There is a big difference in buying a sports car and a sedan. There is also a big difference in between a brand new model and an older one. A buyer must carefully assess his needs several times before deciding to buy a brand new model. This is particularly true if the budget is quite tight. But even if one can generously afford a brand new model, he must remember that money that is put in the wrong car is wasted money.

A buyer should also consider waiting for a little while if he/she is looking at a particular model which is new but is on the verge of being taken off the "brand new" list. This move could save him/her a lot of money while getting the same value that he/she would have gotten a few months back. This is an effective strategy if he/she intends to keep the car for a long time.

2) List and Check A buyer should make a checklist of what he/she wants in a sports car. He/she should then compare the top scorers in his/her list. Factors such as size, comfort, engine performance and other details may be the deciding factor for the purchase.

3) Mind the Sticker Price Always bear in mind that the sticker price is the highest price that the market can put on a particular model. Negotiations can bring the price down if done correctly.

4) Financing First A buyer must make provisions for financing before making a purchase. Banks may be the best choice for car financing but the approval process can take some time. A buyer must also set extra money aside for peripheral expenses such as taxes and documents processing.

A brand new sports car is a dream for everyone. When someone has the capacity to realize the dream of buying a sports car, he/she must be wise and careful in doing so.

A good purchase will make the sports car experience much more pleasant for the buyer.

Tips on Buying Pre-owned Sports Cars

Sometimes the best buys are made with pre-owned products. This is particularly true in the case of sports cars. Many people would like to have a sports car mainly for the performance but some may want to simply experience the sheer enjoyment that only a sport’s cars can give.

Buying a brand new sports car may be too much expense for many people, that's why a pre-owned or second hand sports car should be considered.

Here is some good advice in the purchasing of pre-owned sports cars:

1. Set expectations Many people go out to buy a pre-owned sports car with a brand new car in mind. Buying pre-owned sports cars is about getting the best value for your money. Knowing your needs and preferences is also a must in buying pre-owned sports cars.

2. Set a budget Buying a sports car, even pre-owned ones can be expensive. Research through internet browsing or buying “buy and sell” car magazines can give a buyer a general feeling about the current prices of different sports car models.

3. Examine carefully A buyer must be careful when inspecting the pre-owned car and take his time doing so. There are four essential elements of the car that should be thoroughly inspected:

  • the interior
  • the body
  • the engine
  • and the papers

A well-maintained sports car is worth buying. Open the hood and examine the car's engine. Many people may not know too much about car electronics but inspection will give a buyer a general feel of how the car has been maintained by the previous owner.

Check the inside of the tailpipe. If it is greasy, that means that there is a problem with the engine compression.

Check for scratches or dents on the cars body.

Of course, do not forget to check the car’s title, etc. Missing papers will cost the buyer additional money or prevent the purchase.

4. Test Drive Before a purchase, the buyer should take the car for a test drive. This is a “must” for all cars, not only for pre-owned ones. An assessment of the over-all handling and performance of the car should be made during the test drive.

Buying a pre-owned may be the best choice in purchasing a sports car, especially when one is faced by budget constraints. Pre-owned sports cars have the potential to give the same excitement and fun that brand new ones can give.

Choose and buy wisely and have fun while doing so.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Protection from Acid Rain, Dust, Dirt

"Strive for perfection in everything.
Take the best that exists and make it
better. If it doesn't exist, create it. Accept
nothing nearly right or good enough."
Sir Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls Royce
After your car's paint has been rained on, the water begins to evaporate. as the droplets become smaller and smaller, the concentration of hydrochloric acid in the water intensifies to the point that it can damage your paint! (It looks like a water spot, but on closer examination, it is actually a crater eaten away by the evaporated droplet.) Sunshine after a rain accelerates this process! Therefore, you need the best protection you can get. If you are unable to keep you car or truck in a garage, then the next best solution is a weather shield car cover fabric.
There are many manufacturers out there of car cover protectors. I look for the following qualities in my car and truck cover protection:
  • The latest generation of car cover fabrics that are made of a less bulky material
  • Water-shedding technology with the same breathable fabric used in waterproof hiking outerwear
  • No outside lamination or water-resistant coating that can wear off
  • The fabric should be spun from polyester and the fibers fully encapsulated to be water-resistant
  • When you take it off after a rain storm and give it a good shake the remaining moisture should dry off within minutes
  • It should be compact enough to easily fit into any washer or dryer for cleaning
  • It should be custom-made to fit your car or truck like a glove

Prices vary from $169 and up for indoor protection and $250 and up for all-weather fabrics.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Best 2006 Sports Cars

Sports cars are fascinating vehicles. Their features make them stand out among other car types. But there still is competition among sports cars. It is fascinating to talk about these sports cars and why they stand out above their contemporaries.

Here are some of the 2006 vehicles that made the list of best sports car and the qualities that made them above average.

- Audi A3 2.0T

This car goes beyond the beauty of its exterior. Car enthusiasts appreciate the car's responsiveness and agility.

Audi A3 2.0T comes with an intercooled, turbo charged engine with 2.0 liter capacity and 16 valves. The car promises to deliver power up to 197 mph at 5100 rpm.

Other features include a six speed manual transmission, front-wheel type of driveline, 101.5 in. wheelbase and curb weight of 3300 - 3350 lbs.

- Chevrolet Corvette

The car's V-8 engine (7.0 liter) with 16 valves allows for greater speed, and because the car is lighter than regular cars, the Chevrolet Corvette is capable of accelerating up to 125 mph in 12 seconds within one-fourth of a mile.

The car's braking system is impressive. The car's reflex is also astounding.

The car comes with the following specifications: rear-wheel type of driveline, and curb weight within 3100 - 3300 lbs.

-Honda Accord

The car comes with its fresh look: revised interiors, rear and front styling, and better sound-minimizing capability.

Honda Accord still boasts of its qualities such as high value for resale, excellent construction and reliability.

V6 Accords are equipped with a new stable system and improved suspension.

This car also has the following specifications: front- wheel type of driveline, 3100 to 3600 lbs. curb weight, up to 107.9 in. wheelbase and 5 or 6 speed manual transmission.

- Porsche Boxster

The Porsche Boxster speaks well about its balance. Pair this quality with an increase in power delivered by its 24-valve DOHC engine with 2.7 liters capacity.

The braking system is as remarkable as is the car's over-all aggressive appeal.

Other features of the car include:

A rear-wheel type of driveline, 95.1 in. wheelbase, and curb weight within 2900 -3100 lbs.

Truly, sports cars did evolve and they will continue to evolve as long as there is competition. Car enthusiasts can expect more remarkable features in sports cars as years go by.

The Beauty that Sports Cars Possess

Cars, in general, possess both form and function. The designers did not compromise aesthetics with performance.

However, there is something about sports cars that make them stand out when it comes to beauty. And we are not talking about external features only.

There is more to physical features like, sleekness of the car, that determine its beauty.

Here are some of the characteristics that endear sports cars to car enthusiasts.

- Sports cars have attitude at first glance.

Sports cars speak the attitude that they possess. They are not like mere cars whose presence can be ignored. They captivate the eyes of those who see them. They imply that thrill and enjoyment van be expected when their hands are those that control the wheel.

Sports cars stand above other cars, that are seen very day, primarily because the designs imply what they are capable of doing. A sleek look really matches a car with sleek activities.

- Sports cars possess greater power.

Their power comes from their more powerful engines and has other specifications than other the cars have. A sports car can do more than ordinary tasks because of the features that only they possess.

- Sports cars are made for driving pleasure.

Ordinary cars make driving monotonous and boring, while on the other hand, sports cars primarily aim to give the drivers a "high" feeling of speed and control. Only sports cars can provide that need for drivers who seek adventure.

Sports cars bring the thrill back to driving. They express what other cars can not. Sports cars are not designed just for practicality, but for pleasure too.

- Sports cars are made for drivers who enjoy their ‘wild side’.

Drivers do have the need to express this ‘wild side’. Sports cars make any road a venue to satisfy those needs. Only sports cars can match the “wildness" that drivers innately have. For that reason, sports cars perfectly compliment the child in every driver.

- Sports cars have evolved and improved through the years.

Drivers appreciate the improvements that have been made to sports cars. You could say that sports car technology has infinite possibilities. The stereotypes of sports cars have long been debunked. Those limits have been crossed. The only thing that car enthusiasts can do is to watch as these improvements unfold before their very eyes.

- Sports cars make their owners feel good about themselves.

Sports cars are lifeless. They cannot feel proud because they are beautiful, but their owners take pride in having them.

With all these things said about the intrinsic and extrinsic beauty that sports cars possess, only a person who does not appreciate their beauty and/or speed will not opt to get one.


Every 2 weeks or 3,000 miles:

1. Check engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant.

Once a month or 1,000 miles:

2. Check tire pressure - with tire gauge.

3. Check transmission fluid.

4. Check brake fluid.

5. Wax car (to protect finish).

6. Check belts and hoses.

Every 3 months or 3,000 miles:

7. Change oil and oil filter (every 6 months or 3,000 miles).

8. Lubricate chassis.

9. Check transmission fluid.

10. Check all drive belts (fan belts) frayed or cracked belts.

Every 6 months or 6,000 miles:

11. Change oil and filter (every 6 months or 3,000 miles).

12. Inspect suspension.

13. Rotate tires.

Every 12 months or 12,000 miles:

14. Flush radiator, replace anti-freeze, check air conditioning system.

15. Replace air filters.

16. Lubricate chassis.

Every 2 years or 24,000 miles:

17. Replace spark plugs (30,000 miles average suggested for unleaded gas) and PC valve.

18. Change automatic transmission fluid, filter and pan gasket.

19. Inspect brake linings.

Every 3 years or 30,000 miles:

20. Check and test ignition wires (replace if needed).

21. Test cooling system and heating hoses (replace if needed).

22. Check drive belts (replace if needed).

23. Replace fluid in differential and manual transmission.

Every 50,000 miles:

24. Check brake shoes (replace if needed)

25. If you have a major repair to do, it's wise to get at least 3 estimates, if possible, before you decide.

26. Read and follow your car owner's manual - it's your car's bible for making your car last longer.

27. Whether you are a man, woman, boy or girl, learn to do some routine maintenance on your car yourself. A multitude of books, videos, magazines and classes are available at your local library that will teach you for free if you don't know. Learn how to check your own oil, transmission fluid, tire pressure and
coolant, etc.

28. If you find a good mechanic who you can trust, stick with him even if his prices are a bit higher - all things being equal. You'll always save time, money and aggravation in the long run.

29. Don't race or gun your engine when you start it up. Accelerate slowly and smoothly when your engine is cold.

30. Avoid burning rubber - it places excessive wear on the transmission, rear end, not to mention your tires.

31. An international tire company estimated that 33% of all tires on the road are under-inflated (low air). Under-inflated tires wear out quicker and have a tendency to blow out easier.

32. A garaged car lasts longer. A car port is next best, and a car cover is a distant third.

33. Avoid jackrabbit starts and stops. Stop and accelerate gradually.

34. Avoid tailgating, tire squealing turns, flying over speed bumps, pot holes and revving your engine.

35. When possible, avoid driving your car during rush hour stop and go traffic periods.

36. Keep front-end aligned, for longer tire life and better gas mileage.

37. Make sure you get promised repairs in writing including how much it will cost.

38. Avoid car dealers except to have highly specialized repairs done that can't be done properly anywhere else.

39. It's hard to be overcharged when you get three estimates before you have the work done.

40. Beware: Cheapest is not always the best. Normally, the best mechanics with the best equipment and training cost more.

41. Often mechanics that charge extremely low prices have inferior or out-dated equipment, little to no formal training or are under-insured.

42. Complex electrical problems are so involved that serious electrical work should be done in an "Auto Electric" shop. They have the equipment, tool and training to do the job more efficiently than the average mechanic.

43. If your car has "Cruise Control" use it. Using cruise control will save you 5% to 10% of a gallon of gas on long trips.

44. Avoid constantly pressing and releasing the accelerator when driving. This practise not only wastes fuel, but it puts excessive wear on the drive train of your car.

45. Don't ride your brake pedal, this wears out your brake linings pre-maturely, and wastes fuel.

46. Driving with your windows all the way down at higher speeds, will waste 10% more gallons of gasoline than driving with them closed.

47. Research by a major car manufacturer has revealed that neglect of proper routine maintenance is the number one reason for the enormous increase in car repairs being required.

48. Tires purchased at department stores such as Sears, Montgomery Wards, K-Mart etc., can be an excellent value because many are made by leading tire manufacturers. For a list of what manufacturer makes which tires for what department store, write
to: Tire Information Center, P.O. Box 677, Syosset, NY 11791

49. When purchasing or changing tires, make sure you have them spin balanced.

50. Avoid cleaning your windshield with a dry rag or towel. Always dampen with water or some other cleaning liquid. Dry towels grind and scratch your windshield hindering your visibility.

51. Avoid turning on the car air-conditioning while running at highway speeds as this tends to put an immediate heavy load on your compressor and clutch. This could cause excessive wear and tear on these components. Instead turn your air conditioner on
at car speeds below 25 to 30 m.p.h. This helps to preserve your expensive compressor.

52. Try to avoid running your car with the tank low on gas. Keeping a low tank of gas increases the chance of dirt, water/moisture and rust forming in your fuel system. Keeping a full tank decreases the chance of dirt and other foreign matter forming in
your fuel system.

53. Tires driven at 70 m.p.h. wear out almost twice as fast as cars that go 50 m.p.h.

54. A government study has confirmed, the top three causes of car breakdowns while on the road are: (a) running out of gas (b) tire troubles (c) cooling system problems (overheating).

55. The best as well as the easiest ways to find a good car repair shop is by recommendation or referrals from satisfied customers.

56. To work on a late model computer-controlled engines, make sure the shop you choose has the equipment to handlecomputer-electric service/repair. Sophisticated diagnostic equipment is a must.

57. To choose the right repair shop for you, it's wise to have a small or minor maintenance or repair job done first to see how the repair shop and mechanic treat you and your car.

58. Give detailed description of your car's problem when you take it in for repairs. The more you can describe what your car is doing or not doing (thumping, squealing, clacking sound, etc.) the faster and less it will cost for your mechanic to fix it.

59. When in doubt about the cost of a repair or a mechanic's honesty get a second opinion. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself from being ripped-off until you can find a permanent repair shop.

60. Regular oil changes are the most important thing you can do to protect your engine and make it last longer.

61. If you have a manual transmission, downshift to slow your car down instead of using your brakes. This will save wear and tear on your braking system.

62. Each time you have your engine oil checked, have your transmission fluid checked also.

63. Protect your car's interior and make it last longer - park your car in the shade or place a windshield guard or cover in the windshield.

64. If you spill something inside your car, clean it up immediately before it dries. Delaying even 30 minutes can sometimes leave a permanent stain or spot. NOTE: To better protect your car seats have them treated with Scotchguard.

NOTE: According to current auto insurance statistics, the average U.S. car's useful life is 10 years or 100,000 miles. By following proper preventative maintenance you can often double your car's useful life, and spend less time visiting your local