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.