This is default featured slide 1 title

Tips & Tricks for Car Insurance

Auto insurance quotesGetting an auto insurance cover can either be expensive or cheap depending on various aspects. These include the existing auto insurance market rates, the value of your car and type of car insurance cover among other associated costs. These aspects determine the cost of the car insurance cover you take. It is always beneficial to have adequate information on car insurance tips & tricks that reduces both the cost and the risks.

Taking an auto insurance cover implies that you are protected against any possible risk stated in the policy. On the other hand, there is a cost that you incur by paying the monthly premiums for your policy. Sometimes monthly premiums can be highly expensive depending on the factors mentioned earlier. However, there are several tips and tricks that you can use to reduce this cost while maintaining the protection against possible risks.

Always consider the insurance company you engage. Each company has its own auto insurance quotes and operates on different terms. Some companies have cheap auto insurance covers while others charge high premiums on their policies. This first thing you should do is to make thorough comparison among various quotes. This ensures that you get the most suitable and economical auto insurance quote.

Decide on which type of insurance policy you want to take for your car. Obtain full information in details on each type before making the final decision. There are three main types of car insurance policies namely third party, third party, fire & theft and comprehensive. Each of the policy stated has limitation on span of coverage. Since your aim is to reduce both cost and possible risk, comprehensive can be an ideal policy for your personal car. This implies that you care for your car and the possible damage that may arise on another person in the event of an accident.

Develop a good driving history. This count a lot in determining the amount you will be paying as premiums. Clean driving history is interpreted as low risk since the possibility of involving in an accident is low. Every mess that you do on the road is noted in your license and raises the cost of the insurance premiums. In case you have bad history, get someone with clean record as your driver.

Ensure that you do not drive your car frequently. This reduces the mileage on your car consequently lowering the chances of being involved in an accident. Instead, form a habit of using public means like train or a bus. If you use your car in business trips, inform your insurer. Note that the lower the mileage the lesser the insurance premiums. This is one of the important car insurance tips & tricks that reduce the cost of insurance premiums.

Where you park your car matters a lot in determining the amount you pay as insurance premiums. It is advisable that you establish the safe place like personal or hired garage where you park your car. This reduces the possibility of risks thus lowering the rate of insurance premiums to be paid.

There are other car insurance tips & tricks that you can put in place to ensure that you pay less for maximum protection against risks. These include taking extra driving course for competence, applying for insurance bonuses among others.

Everything You Must to Know About Car Batteries

Knowledge is power when it comes to your car’s battery and electrical system. In fact, it’s your ride’s heart and soul. The last thing you want is to be left stranded with a dead battery. The more you know about your battery and electrical system, the less likely you’ll get stuck. At Firestone Complete Auto Care, we’re here to help you understand just what’s going on with your vehicle’s battery and electrical system.

On average, a battery will last 3 to 5 years, but driving habits and exposure to extreme elements can shorten the life of your car battery. At Firestone Complete Auto Care, we offer a free battery check-up with every visit to our store. This is a quick diagnostic check to estimate the temperature at which your battery may fail. It also gives you some idea how much battery life you have left. One little test tells you if your battery is good to go.

Battery Knowledge

How exactly does a car battery work?

The car battery provides the jolt of electricity necessary to power all the electrical components in your vehicle. Talk about a pretty huge responsibility. Without battery power, your car, as you’ve probably noticed, won’t start.

Let’s take a look at how that powerful little box works:

  • A chemical reaction puts your car in action: Your battery converts chemical energy into the electrical energy necessary to power your car, delivering voltage to the starter.
  • Keep the electric current steady: Not only does your battery provide the energy required to start your car, it’s also stabilizing the voltage (that’s the term for the energy supply) in order to keep your engine running. A lot’s riding on the battery. Call it the ‘little box that could.’

The car battery may be small, but the power it provides is huge. Test your battery now with our Virtual Battery Tester.

Find the right Interstate Battery for your specific vehicle, at the right price — right now.

How do Interstate batteries compare to other car battery brands?

We stock these quality brand batteries — and install them too.

  • Manufactured by Johnson Controls: the world leader in battery quality with 80+ years of innovation.
  • Interstate is #1: Interstate Batteries are the #1 automotive replacement batteries in America with 15 million batteries sold every year – the quality and reliability is in the numbers.

Symptoms & Procedures

Are there any warning signs that may indicate my battery is on the fritz?

“If I only knew sooner.” We’ve all been there before. Fortunately, there are various indications and symptoms that your battery may need replacement:

  1. Slow engine crank: When you attempt to start the vehicle, the cranking of the engine is sluggish and takes longer than normal to start. You’d best describe it as the “rur rur rur” starting noise sound.
  2. Check engine light: The check engine light sometimes appears when your battery power is weak. Strange system indicator lights–such as check engine and low coolant lights–could mean there’s a problem with your battery. (It could also just mean you need more coolant).
  3. Low battery fluid level: Car batteries typically have a part of the casing that’s translucent so you can always keep an eye on your battery’s fluid level. You can also inspect it by removing the red and black caps if they are not sealed (most modern car batteries now permanently seal these parts).
    • Bottom line: If the fluid level is below the lead plates (energy conductor) inside, it’s time to have the battery and charging system tested. When fluid levels drop, it’s typically caused by overcharging (heat).
  4. The swelling, bloating battery case: If your battery casing looks like it ate a very large meal, this could indicate a battery gone bad. You can blame excessive heat for causing your battery case to swell, decreasing your battery life.
  5. Eww, there’s a stinky, rotten egg smell: You may notice a pungent, rotten egg smell (sulfur odor) around the battery. The cause: Battery leaks. Leaking also causes the corrosion around the posts (where the + and – cable connections are located.) The gunk may need to be removed or your car may not start.
  6. Three years + battery age is considered an old timer: Your battery can last well beyond three years but, at the very least, have its current condition inspected on a yearly basis when it reaches the three year mark. Battery life cycles range from three-to-five years depending on the battery. However, driving habits, weather and frequent short trips (under 20 minutes) can drastically shorten the actual life of your car battery.

How do I determine if my battery is too old?

For one thing, you can check the four- or five-digit date code on the cover of your battery case. The first part of the code is key: look for the letter and digit. A letter is assigned to each month — you know, like A for January, B for February and so on. The number that follows nods to the year, as in 9 for 2009 and 1 for 2011. This code tells you when the battery was shipped from the factory to our local Interstate Battery wholesale distributor. The additional digits tell where the battery was made. Car batteries last, on average, three- to-five years. Mind you, there are also weak battery signs to watch for, like a slow engine crank of low fluid level. If your battery case is swollen or bloated, there’s a smelly rotten egg scent coming from the battery or your check engine light appears, trouble may be beyond the bend. And if it’s over three years old? Consider it time for close monitoring. That’s what we’re here for.

Electrical Systems

Can a bad battery harm the charging system or starter?

You bet. If you have a weak ankle, you tend to overcompensate and put more weight–and stress–on the healthy ankle. Same concept with a weak battery. When you have a weak battery, your car ends up putting additional stress on healthy parts. The charging system, starter motor or starter solenoid can be affected.

These parts can malfunction because they’re drawing excessive voltage to compensate for the lack of battery power. Leave this problem unresolved, and you could wind up replacing expensive electrical parts–typically without warning.

Quick Tip: Our Electrical System Check makes sure all the necessary parts are drawing the correct voltage. We’ll know right away if there’s any weak parts that may need immediate replacement. Don’t leave your car’s power to chance, you may end up paying for it later.

How do you know if your alternator isn’t giving your battery enough electricity?

  • The electrical system is possessed. Strange flickering lights or warning lights such as ’Check Engine’ flicker, disappear, and then reappear again. All these malfunctions usually start occurring when the car battery is nearly drained and struggling to provide power. If the alternator is faulty, your battery will no longer receive a charge and is moments away from being totally kaput.
  • The Slow Crank. You’re starting your car, and it keeps turning and turning, eventually starting–or not. This could mean your alternator isn’t charging your battery properly. If you start experiencing the possessed electrical system as well, please stop in to the nearest service facility. Your car could be moments away from a dead battery and alternator.

Let’s review: All the above happens when the battery is not receiving a charge (due to a faulty alternator). Your battery will continue to drain. When it drains completely…well, we all know what happens next: curbed car. And neither you, nor us, want you to go through that.

Quick tip: The sooner we can inspect your vehicle, the less likely you’ll face every drivers’ biggest fear–a car that won’t start. Drive with peace of mind.

How it Works, Symptoms, Problems, and Testing Purge Valve

A purge valve is the part of the vehicle Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP). The EVAP system prevents fuel vapors in the fuel tank from escaping into the atmosphere. The EVAP system traps fuel vapors from the fuel tank and temporarily stores them in the charcoal canister, see the diagram. When the engine is running under certain conditions, the fuel vapors are purged from the canister and burned inside the engine. The purge valve precisely controls the amount of fuel vapor that is purged from the charcoal canister.
In modern cars, the purge valve is an electrically-operated solenoid, that is controlled by the engine computer. When the engine is off, the purge valve is closed. When the engine is running and fully warmed up, the engine computer gradually opens the purge valve to allow some amount of fuel vapor to be moved from the charcoal canister to be burned in the engine. The purge flow is monitored by a number of sensors. If the purge flow is less or more than is expected under the conditions, the computer illuminates the$_12.JPG?set_id=880000500FPurge valve problems

The most common problem with the purge valve is when it sticks or does not close fully. This may cause the “Check Engine” warning light to come on. In some cars, a stuck-open purge valve can cause difficulty starting right after refueling at a gas station: for the first few seconds the engine may run rough and stumble. Purge valve problems are common in many cars. In some early-2000’s Hyundai models (Elantra, Santa Fe, Tucson, Tiburon), a stuck-open purge valve is fairly common to cause the “Check Engine” light with the code P0441. Similar problems are fairly common in many European cars including Audi and Volkswagen. In some Mazda vehicles the faulty purge valve can cause the code P0446 and other EVAP codes. The purge valve is not very expensive ($35-$65 for the part) and is fairly easy to replace.

How the purge valve (solenoid) is tested

You can find the proper procedure to test the purge valve in the vehicle’s service manual. The procedure is different depending on the car make and model. In most cars, the purge valve is normally closed, meaning it should be closed with no voltage and open when the voltage is applied.

Testing a purge valve

For example, for this vehicle, the service manual recommends applying battery voltage to the purge valve terminals and see if it produces an audible click. We just use a 9-volt battery to illustrate. This purge valve does produce an audible click.

Testing a purge valve

The next step, as per the service manual for this car is to test if the purge valve closes properly and does not leak. We connect a hand-held vacuum pump and apply vacuum to the purge valve.

Testing a purge valve

Almost immediately, the vacuum drops. This purge valve doesn’t seal properly and must be replaced. This car had a “Check Engine” light on the dash. We had it scanned and got the code P0446 – Evaporative Emission Control System Vent Control Circuit Malfunction. We tested the EVAP system and found that it had a slow leak. Now we found the culprit!

Testing a purge valve

To illustrate the difference, we tested the purge valve from a different car. It holds the vacuum very well, even after one minute the vacuum hasn’t dropped.

Testing a purge valve

Now we connect the battery voltage. The purge valve clicks and the vacuum immediately drops. This purge valve is good.

How to check the car engine when buying a used car ?

Inspecting a used car

When shopping for a used car, the condition of the engine, transmission and the car body are the most important. The fact that the car looks ‘clean’ and drives well doesn’t mean much if its engine has a hidden problem or was poorly maintained by previous owners. Engine repairs are very expensive. Of course, it’s difficult to evaluate the mechanical condition of the engine during a quick test drive, that is why we strongly recommend to have a used car properly inspected by a qualified mechanic before signing the contract. To help you be more informed, here are a few tips how to spot signs of engine problems or lack of maintenance when checking a used car.

Check used car service records

The service records are not always available, but it helps if the dealer can produce some proof that the vehicle was maintained regularly. If you can get access to the service records, look for oil changes and mileage records. It helps if you can verify that oil changes were done regularly. Depending on a manufacturer, the recommended oil change interval varies from 3,750 to 10,000 miles. If the vehicle was driven between oil changes for much longer intervals than recommended, the engine might be worn inside.
If a car has a timing belt (not all cars have it), see if there is any records that it was replaced. Typically, a timing belt needs to be replaced every 60,000 to 105,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. If it hasn’t been replaced yet, it might cost you from $200 to $750 to have it done. Read more about a timing belt.

Have a look under the hood

When you are checking a used car at a dealer’s lot, have a quick look under the hood before the test drive. It helps if you have a small flashlight. Make sure, the engine is off, the transmission is in “Park” and the parking brake is on. What you are looking for are the leaks, smell of burnt oil or antifreeze, signs poor quality repairs or lack of regular maintenance and ‘racing’ modifications.
If everything looks clean and shiny, it doesn’t yet mean much, as car dealers often clean their used cars under the hood before showing them to potential buyers. Let’s see some examples:

Signs of poor maintenance

Corroded car batteryIf the battery looks like this, it’s very unlikely that this vehicle has been maintained regularly.

Burnt oil smell under the hood

Shiny engine compartmentThis Audi looks clean and shiny under the hood but we noticed a strong burn oil smell, which is a sign of possible problems.


Coolant leakThis car runs fine, but a close inspection revealed the coolant leak from the radiator. As a minimum, this car requires a new radiator, but sometimes, a cracked radiator may be a sign of more serious problems. It’s best to avoid used cars with this type of issues.
Engine from underneathWatch out for oil leaks too. They may not be visible from above, but here is the trick – look underneath the car using your flashlight. Check the lower part of the engine and transmission. Everything has to be dry, like in this car. There might be a slight wetness which is not too bad, but there should be no leaks.

Low oil level

Low oil level on the dipstickWe checked the oil level in this car, and it’s very low. Oil looks dirty too. This means that either this engine consumes oil or it was very long since the last oil change was done. In addition, the engine wears faster when low on oil. Normally the oil level should be close to “Full” mark.
Correct oil level on the dipstickEngine oil in this car looks clean and the level is OK. It looks like the oil change has been done recently.

With the engine off, check under the oil cap

Oil capThis test can tell a lot about the engine. If you aren’t comfortable doing this test, leave it to your mechanic. With the engine off, remove the oil filler cap and look under it.
Checking under oil capFor example, in the left photo, you can see there is a lot of black carbon deposits under the cap. The visible internal engine parts and the oil cap itself look very dirty too. Usually this is a sign of poor maintenance. In the right photo everything looks clean.

Watch out for performance mods

Engine performance modsBe careful if a used car has some performance mods. If done right, the modifications can greatly improve the vehicle performance. However, poorly done engine mods can lead to many problems, especially if parts that were originally on the vehicle are no longer available. If the car has been modified, it’s also likely that it has been raced or otherwise abused.

Cold start can reveal many hidden problems

The best way to catch hidden engine problems is to start it cold. To do this, it might be a good idea to come to the dealer a little earlier than your appointment time. First thing that this will reveal is how good is the battery, because if the battery is old, it might need to be boosted to start the car. Another thing to look at a cold start is the engine noises. If the engine rattles or makes other loud noises, it might be excessively worn or has some mechanical problems. Similarly, a blue smoke at a start-up means the engine is worn and it’s best to look for another vehicle.

‘Check Engine’ light stays on

Check Engine light on the dashAfter the car is started, all warning lights on the dash should come off. For example, in this car, the engine symbol that is known as “Check Engine” light remained on after it was started. This means that the engine computer detected some fault. It could be a minor issue, but it also could be a very expensive to repair problem. There is no way of knowing how serious is the problem until the car is properly diagnosed.

Smoke from exhaust

Blue smoke from the car exhaustHere is another example: we started this car and noticed a blue-gray smoke from the exhaust. It smelled like burning oil too. A blue smoke means that the engine burns oil. Cars like this should be avoided.

Test drive

During the test drive, watch out for engine noises, vibrations, lack of power, or any other driveability issues. When started, the engine should run smooth, without shaking or hesitation. If you feel that the engine is bucking or stumbling when accelerated, there is a problem. The idle speed should be stable too. Test drive for as long as possible; sometimes problems may not be obvious during a short drive around the block. It’s best to try the car in all modes: acceleration, deceleration, stop-and-go traffic, highway cruising. Watch out for the engine temperature on the dash. Once the engine is warmed up, the temperature gauge should stay somewhere around the middle of the scale.
Even if everything seems OK, we strongly recommend to have the used car properly inspected by an independent mechanic before buying.

Manual Vs Automatic Transmission


Since most cars in America come with an automatic transmission, a lot of people don’t know how to drive a manual transmission car, and most of them think that automatic is simply better. But there are pros and cons of both manual and automatic transmission, so this article will try to explain what the advantages and disadvantages of both options are.

There has been a debate about which type of transmission is better for years, and it has mostly revolved around fuel economy and driver control. But there are other aspects to consider, too, regarding how a certain type of transmission affects engine performance and overall driving experience. It’s not easy to determine what is better, as it may simply come down to driver’s preferences, but a couple of facts could help you decide which is better for your driving style.

Manual transmission pros

The most significant advantage over the automatic is that it provides better control, especially in poor road and weather conditions.

If your car needs to be towed, or you have to tow another car, it’s better if it has manual transmission. Besides being cheaper, manual transmission is easier to fix and you can do some of the repairs yourself.

One of the most important benefits with manual is that the driver gets a more complete, active and satisfying driving experience.

Manual transmission cons

Manual is not for people that just want straight forward driving without too many distractions and controls to think about.

Another thing is that it can be quite a hassle to drive a manual in the city, as you could get tired easily by the fact that you have to press and depress the clutch constantly.

Manual transmission can present safety risks for inexperienced or unskilled drivers, because it requires more focus and it can lead to stalling or serious damages to the engine.

Automatic transmission pros

Automatic transmission is more suitable for city driving. Driving in dense traffic, with lots of starts and stops is easier if you have automatic. That is because it allows you to switch through gears more easily and quickly, which is perfect for urban driving, where you have to stop at traffic lights or stop for pedestrians quite a lot.

It’s also better for new drivers, as there is no clutch and shifting gears is less complicated, so they don’t need extra focus for a third pedal or to remember which way to turn the stick to switch to a certain gear.

Automatic transmission cons

First of all, it’s more expensive than manual, and can cost $500-1,000 more. So, if you want to save money, you will opt for manual.

Automatic transmission maintenance is also more expensive. It’s more complicated to repair and mechanics charge more for it. Also, though not by a large amount, automatic provides worse fuel efficiency.

Most cars in Europe have manual transmissions, so if you ever plan on travelling to Europe and have to rent a car, you’ll find it difficult to operate, as you are used to automatic.

How to Avoid Car Scams When Buying Used Cars

Are you interested in purchasing a used car? Used cars are affordable. With some hard work and a little patience, you can find a used car in good condition. However, it is important to be weary of car buying scams. The National Consumer League (NCL) puts out fraud alerts on car scams often. Between January 2011 and March of the same year, the NCL had already received 100 complaints on car buying scams.

Although car buying scams are so frequent in occurrence, you can arm yourself with knowledge and avoid these scams. The following are some tips on how you can avoid being scammed when purchasing a used car.

  1. Run if the deal is too good to be true

When sifting through classifieds online and in print, you’ll probably come across unbelievably low price tags on some cars. While these low offers may be tempting at first, it’s important to think twice about them. If the deal is too good to be true, then it probably is.

Get to know the price for different used cars from different dealers. This will help you determine the average price of the car model you’re interested in.

  1. Be wary of pushy dealers/seller

Whether you’ve contacted the dealer or seller via email, telephone or face to face, be weary of them if they are too pushy. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into purchasing a car. If the seller is too pushy or does anything else that seems suspicious, walk away and never look back.

  1. Verify the identity of the seller and the vehicle

Some sellers will try to sell a car as quickly as possible at a throw away price because it is stolen. It is therefore important to ensure that the vehicle you’re purchasing is indeed registered under the sellers’ name and address.

Searching for this information doesn’t take a lot of time or cost much. You can carry out alicense plate lookupto find out the identity of the car owner. This can be done without alerting the seller of your search.

  1. Check the mileage on the car

One of the many tricks car sellers play on unsuspecting buyers is to change the mileage on the car. Many people will go for a car with low mileage. The average mileage for a car per year is around 13,476 miles. If the vehicle has been on the road for a couple of years and shows mileage of less than this, you should know that you are being scammed and walk away. The seller may be lying about other things too.

  1. Have the car inspected

If you like the car and are seriously thinking about purchasing it, you should have it inspected by an independent mechanic. It is worth spending money on an inspection to ensure that the car is in good working condition. You should also take the car on a test drive to gauge just how well the vehicle runs. Listen for those telling noises and any other quirks during the drive.

How To Find The Best 2016 Auto Loan Finance Companies

Finding an auto loan that fits your needs can be difficult but doesn’t have to be impossible. Before committing to a lender consider:

  • Shopping Around
  • Pay Attention to the Total Cost
  • Shop for the Loan Before the Car

Taking these precautions will set you up with the loan you need for the car you want.

Apply For Your New 2016 Car Loan

The application is fast and easy and we don’t require an SIN.
We approve 99% of applicants from British, Columbia.

Shop Around

Shopping around for an auto loan is just as important as shopping around for the right car. Don’t rely on the dealership to give you the best loan available. Look for financing from:

  • Banks
  • Dealerships
  • Online Lenders
  • Family Members

Every option may not be available to everyone but knowing all of your options will ensure you choose the right financing option.

Click here to find car dealers that help people with bad credit in British, Columbia

Total Cost

When comparing loans you should be comparing the total cost of the loan, not just the principle you are approved for. Save some money by:

  • Keeping loan terms as short as possible.
  • Get the lowest interest rate you qualify for.
  • Make your payments on time.

When you are cautious when accepting loan terms you avoid the risk of committing to unfair terms.

Shop for the Loan

Shopping for the loan can give you the most advantages. Having the loan before you make your purchase allows you to:

  • Have Bargaining Power
  • Get the Car You Want
  • Get Payment You Can Afford

We offer the best loan rates and can get you approved in 24 hours or less.

Get the Best Auto Loan for You

Apply For Your New 2016 Car Today

The application is fast and easy and we don’t require an SIN.
We approve 99% of applicants from British, Columbia.

Finding an auto loan that fits your needs can be difficult but doesn’t have to be impossible. Before committing to a lender consider:

  • Shopping Around
  • Pay Attention to the Total Cost
  • Shop for the Loan Before the Car

Taking these precautions will set you up with the loan you need for the car you want.

Apply For Your New 2016 Car Loan

The application is fast and easy and we don’t require an SIN.
We approve 99% of applicants from British, Columbia.

Shop Around

Shopping around for an auto loan is just as important as shopping around for the right car. Don’t rely on the dealership to give you the best loan available. Look for financing from:

  • Banks
  • Dealerships
  • Online Lenders
  • Family Members

Every option may not be available to everyone but knowing all of your options will ensure you choose the right financing option.

Click here to find car dealers that help people with bad credit in British, Columbia


Total Cost

When comparing loans you should be comparing the total cost of the loan, not just the principle you are approved for. Save some money by:

  • Keeping loan terms as short as possible.
  • Get the lowest interest rate you qualify for.
  • Make your payments on time.

When you are cautious when accepting loan terms you avoid the risk of committing to unfair terms.

Shop for the Loan

Shopping for the loan can give you the most advantages. Having the loan before you make your purchase allows you to:

  • Have Bargaining Power
  • Get the Car You Want
  • Get Payment You Can Afford

We offer the best loan rates and can get you approved in 24 hours or less.

Get the Best Auto Loan for You

Apply For Your New 2016 Car Today

The application is fast and easy and we don’t require an SIN.
We approve 99% of applicants from British, Columbia.


Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec vel libero at lectus rutrum vestibulum vitae ut turpis. Ut ultricies pulvinar posuere. Nulla rutrum, libero nec pharetra accumsan, enim leo blandit dui, ac bibendum augue dui sed justo. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Duis sit amet fringilla mauris. Ut pharetra, leo id venenatis cursus, libero sapien venenatis nisi, vel commodo lacus urna non nulla. Duis rutrum vestibulum ligula sed hendrerit. Ut tristique cursus odio, et vulputate orci fringilla nec. Proin tempus ipsum ut augue consectetur, in varius dolor bibendum. Proin at dapibus nisl.

Aliquam purus lectus, sodales et est vitae, ullamcorper scelerisque urna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla feugiat, nunc nec gravida varius, nisl tellus dictum purus, a tristique purus lectus eget orci. Vivamus faucibus diam erat, vitae venenatis neque convallis vitae. Etiam eget iaculis arcu. Duis id nisl sapien. Aliquam erat volutpat. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Quisque luctus lorem a odio congue auctor. Suspendisse potenti. Nunc convallis, ante sit amet lobortis eleifend, orci dolor lacinia diam, quis luctus ante magna non sem. Phasellus pretium aliquam enim, a suscipit elit sodales vel. Proin tincidunt quis ipsum in condimentum. Vivamus molestie sodales erat et feugiat. Maecenas venenatis, leo in adipiscing commodo, eros tellus dapibus dui, in dignissim risus ligula id elit.

Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Nulla facilisi. Donec semper nisi non enim pulvinar venenatis. Vestibulum semper metus.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 – review by Autoportal

The Maruti Suzuki India Limited is the leading automobile manufacturing company in India. The Maruti Suzuki Alto is their bestselling vehicle and regularly tops the list of the most popular cars of India. The Alto comes in two models, the Alto 800 and the Alto K10. The Alto 800 launched in 2002 has been updated many times and the latest refreshed versions of 2012 are presently available in the market.

This competitively priced petrol hatchback Alto 800 comes in 6 petrol and 1 CNG variants. They are the Standard, the LX, the LXi, the VXi, the LXi airbag, the VXi airbag and the LXi CNG. The prices of the Alto 800 range from Rupees 2.53 to 3.69 lakh. There are no diesel variants or automatic variants for the car.


The Alto 800 is the most sought after city car and is the normal first buy of a middle class Indian customer. The stylish body has a slim grille, a broad air dam, high mounted petal-shaped headlights, clear lens headlamps and tail lamps and large multi-element tail light fittings. The ORVM available on the driver’s side only is manually adjustable. For top variants the ORVM is internally adjustable. The Alto 800 comes in colours of Frost blue, blazing red, torque blue, granite grey, silky silver and supreme white.

The cabin of the Alto 800 is done in two shades, the grey or brown. The spacious cabin for 5 passengers has minimum standard features like fabric seats, an engine immobiliser and a child lock facility. The VXi and the VXi airbag variants have power steering, a manual AC, power windows at the front and a 2 Din music system with CD/MP3 players, AM/FM radio and USB and auxiliary compatibility. In the Airbag versions air bags for the driver and a central locking facility are also added.

The segmental best fuel efficiency is a plus point for the Alto. The 796 cc, 40 bhp and 69 NM torque 4 DOHC engine gives mileages of 22.74 kmpl with the petrol and 30.46 km/kg with the CNG. The car takes 18.6 sec for 0 to 100 kmph acceleration and the top speed is 138 kmph.

The manoeuvrability and the brake systems of the Alto 800 are top class. The 3395 mm long car has a wheel base of 2360 mm and a ground clearance of 160 mm. The suspensions with McPherson struts and and 3 link rigid axle make the ride comfortable.

The Brand name, the top mileages and the competitive prices are the reasons for the popularity of the Alto 800. The competition comes from the small cars like the Hyundai Eon, the Chevrolet Spark and the Tata Nano.

For more information on new cars & bikes log on to Cars expert &



Top 12 Auto Insurance Myths

Top Car Insurance Myths

1. The colour of the car determines insurance rate

For years, people have believed red-coloured cars to be insured at higher rates because red represents aggressiveness and driver’s tendency for speeding. However, in reality, insurance companies have no interest at all in the colour of your car, but they look into other factors.

Do not be fooled into buying cars with colours you think will cost you lesser insurance rates. What car insurance firms look for are the Make of your car, its body type, the engine size and model, the vehicle’s age, etc. Some auto insurers might also consider the car’s sticker price, its safety record and the repairing costs. Thus, if your car owns excellent safety features and gadgets to prevent theft, the insurance rates can drop significantly, but colour will never help.

2. Older cars are cheaper to insure

Since most new cars are expensive than the older ones, it is generally believed they will be costlier to insure. However, this isn’t always the case.

Auto insurance firms look for a number of factors before deciding rate, and the age of your car comes much later in the list. They are usually interested in knowing whether a car possesses modern safety features or not, because these factors directly affect the extent of damages in case of an accident. Since most new cars are now equipped with some of the best safety elements, they can cause you lower insurance rates. Older cars, on the other hand, can lack even airbags, which as a result can inflate insurance costs.

3. Soldiers pay more for insurance than civilians

This myth is a total opposite of the reality. Soldiers or any other members of military – irrespective of the branch they are associated with – receive significant degrees of discount when they apply for auto insurance and they indeed pay lesser than what we civilians normally do.

While some insurance providers grant such discounts on a phone call made to them by a soldier’s commanding officer on his behalf, others normally require documentary proof.

As a soldier, you will have to supply documents to your insurer containing your name, rank and duration of service in the military. This allows them to determine the length of time you are eligible for a discount.

Some insurance firms may offer such discounts to retired soldiers too and in some cases can even extend these concessions to his family members.

4. Insurance cost reduces significantly once the driver turns 25

Car insuranceproviders look for your driving experience rather than your age before deciding insurance rates. Though some firms may consider your age, others mostly look for the number of years you have been driving. Those mulling over age, usually do so because drivers less than 25 years of age come under risky age group where individuals have a tendency for rash driving. Companies then take into account this fact to decide how much you must pay.

However, this is a rare practice and most car insurers collect a variety of data such as driver’s driving style, experience and so on. So, do not be fooled by the myth that beyond 25 you will have to pay lesser – age rarely counts.

5. If others borrow your car, they are responsible for any accident

This is another false perception; all auto insurance policies follow your car and not the driver. If you are lending your car to a friend who crashes it into a truck, you will be held accountable for any damages. You may also be held responsible for any financial losses caused to others because of the incident – not to speak of how your premiums will be affected. So think for a while before you lend out your vehicle to somebody.

6. ‘Comprehensive’ coverage protects the driver and the vehicle fully

A comprehensive coverage never protects the driver and is an optional protection that covers specific areas and not all kinds of damages. If you are purchasing comprehensive protection, do not be fooled for receiving complete protection for your vehicle; instead this protection covers very limited incidents.

Usually, a comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused by fire, vandalism, theft, collision with animals and weather related incidents such as flooding.

7. Personal property within your car at the time of accident is covered

Any insurer will never pay you for damages caused to your personal belongings in the event of an accident. Auto insurance policies only cover damages to the vehicle itself and not any personal property lying in there at the time of accident.

For instance, if your car is broken into and your precious belongings such as laptops, mobiles phones or even cash have been stolen, your insurer will only pay for the damages caused to the car. You might have to file a claim through your tenant’s policy for such non-vehicular damages, but not through the auto insurer.

8. Insurance policy covers the business use of your car

Personal auto insurance does not protect vehicles used for business purposes even if the driver is self-employed. If you are using your car for delivering goods and fall into an accident while performing this job, your insurer may reject any claims you make.

An auto insurance policy always clearly asks if you need to insure for ‘personal/private use’. On personal auto insurance, if you claim for damages caused during a business venture, it is technically incorrect. You need to get a different business policy if you want to use your vehicle for commercial purposes; however such policies are usually expensive.

9. Since thieves prefer new cars, your old car isn’t a threat

If this is what you believe, you are mistaken. Data covered over a period of time reveals that thieves prefer older cars over newer ones for a variety of reasons.

One of the prime factors which make older cars more vulnerable to theft is the lack of safety features found in today’s modern cars. Such vehicles also contain versatile parts which are higher in demand and thus can be sold for greater rates. So, if you are thinking of not to insure your vehicle because it is too old, you need to reconsider your decision.

10. Modified cars are difficult to insure

Nothing is more difficult in this age of technology and finding the right things for yourself online is a matter of mere few clicks. People who tell you that modified cars are difficult to insure, should be ignored straightaway. There are hundreds of auto insurance providers willing to insure your modified car, but finding them needs a bit of homework. If you try a comprehensive online search or contact an insurance broker, you will know that there are several auto insurance policies out there waiting for car rebuffs like yourself.

So, have you been worried recently if or not you will be able to find a suitable insurer for your revamped car, take my word and give your car a do up. There is no dearth of hungry auto insurance providers in the market and you will always find one.

11. Credit score will not affect your insurance rates

Car insurers take a number of factors into consideration before they decide on your insurance rate and credit score is one such factor.

If you ever have been into financial planning you probably know that credit scores affect almost everything from becoming eligible for a loan to interest rates. Allow me to add another detail to this information that these scores also affect your auto insurance rates. Since credit scores are a reflection of how well you manage your finances, auto insurers will look at these numbers before determining your premium rates.

12. Faithfulness to one auto insurance company forever will result in lesser rates

This statement is partially true and is often used as a deception to force customers to stick to one car insurance company for longer. Many car insurers offer discounts to their customers for remaining faithful to them, however, these discounts do not protect them from increasing costs. In other cases, these discounts simply vanish once you make a claim and you are given no privileges for your faithfulness.

What are some cheap auto insurance companies ?

The lackluster economy in recent years has forced more and more Americans to reconsider their automobile insurance policies in the name of budgetary savings. Compare cheap auto insurance companies today with our FREE comparison tool!

One of the main ways that many Americans have chosen to pursue in order to lower their car insurance rates is by choosing one of several auto insurance discount rate insurance companies. These unique companies offer bare minimum coverage to their policy hollers in exchange for rock bottom pricing. It might a risky way to go, but it’s undoubtedly the most affordable method to stay legal in a tough economy.

Some of the best cheap auto insurance companies are probably already well-known to the budget-conscious consumer, but in case there are newcomers to the discount auto insurance market out there, here are some of the best options.

Safe Auto insuranceSafe Auto Insurance Company

Perhaps the best known company for cheap car insurance, Safe Auto offers its discounted policies in sixteen states, primarily on the east coast and in the midwestern section of the country. Customers in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia are eligible for the company’s rock bottom rates.

Customers in other states would be well-advised to remain vigilant and monitor the company’s website for new markets it may serve in the future. Safe Auto has been expanding its coverage to new states at a pretty fast rate in recent years.

Because Safe Auto adheres strictly to a policy of offering consumers the lowest rate on their insurance by offering them bare minimum coverage, the company’s website contains a section which details those minimum car insurance requirements on a state by state bases that summarizes the insurance laws of each state covered by Safe Auto’s policies.

This summary includes not only the bare minimum coverage amounts for consumers, but also the punishments they can face under sate law for being either uninsured or underinsured for any period of time. Compare the cheapest state car insurance for our FREE ZIP code search!

Like most insurance companies, Safe Auto offers some discounts for multiple vehicles, multiple drivers, student discounts and good grade discounts, and rewards for safe driving. However, because the company is already working with minimum coverage and offering low rates, these discounts are far more minimal than what is offered by traditional national insurers.

Esurance Online Insurance Agency

Esurance auto insuranceSafe Auto’s deeply discounted rates are great for the residents of the sixteen states it currently serves, but that leaves the majority of America still searching for ways to save on their monthly car insurance premiums. For those customers, Esurance may be available to meet their needs.

The company operates exclusively online, thus cutting many of the costs associated with maintaing a network of offline agents, agencies, and vehicle fleets. Until recently, it operated as an independent company; in mid-2011, Esurance was bought by Allstate and expanded its coverage to many of the states already served by its new parent company.

Esurance offers low rates based on their online operations, and also offers customers the option of selecting their state’s bare minimum coverage levels. This results in a net savings that may be even lower than what companies like Safe Auto can offer, as even Safe Auto maintains a network of agents and a strong real world presence.

In addition to its low rates, the company offers an extensive slate of discounts that are comparable to any more traditional, major national insurance company. These include discounts for adding multiple vehicles or drivers to the same policy, and discounts for student drivers.

Those student drivers can get even deeper discounts for maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0. Drivers will be rewarded for a safe driving record, and for having taken a defensive driving class within the past three years. Anti-theft devices, as well as anti-lock brakes, also qualify for discounts from the online insurer.

The general car insuranceThe General Auto Insurance Company

Based in Tennessee and operating primarily in southern states, The General car insurance is very much like Safe Auto in that it offers bare minimum coverage to policy holders based on state laws regarding auto insurance requirements. Despite the recent trend in discount rate auto insurance, The General has been issuing bare minimum insurance policies to its customers since its founding in 1963, making it one of the oldest and most experienced low-rate auto insurance companies in America.

In addition to its low rates, policy holders who choose The General can receive additional discounts for a safe driving record that dates back at least five years from the time their policy was initiated or renewed. The company only offers auto insurance, so bundling auto insurance and discounts are simply not available.

There are moderate discounts available for students, multiple cars, and multiple drivers, but these discounts are less than national insurers as the company is already offering a steep discount on traditional car insurance.

Its solid reputation, well-rated customer service, and its history of more than 45 years in the discount insurance business, means that The General is likely the best choice of cash-strapepd consumers in the states that this company serves.

auto insurance quotes online Compare First, then Choose a Policy

Even though all three of these companies are in the business of offering deep discounts on car insurance to budget-conscious consumers who are looking to pay the bare minimum, the amount they charge for their respective policies will likely vary by a not-insignificant amount.

For this reason, customers who are looking for the lowest rate and the best coverage should always use online insurance quote comparison tools that can retrieve insurance quote from multiple companies using just one quote form.

Why should you get car insurance?

A car is no more a luxury but a necessity that almost every household invests in. Depending on the budget, people opt for new or second hand cars of their choice. But most people make the mistake of not buying insurance for their vehicle. The reason behind purchasing insurance is simple – your car is an asset that needs to be protected against unforeseen situations just like your home, office and life.

car insurance quotes 3

With the ever-increasing number of road accidents, your car faces a high level of risk. In the case of an accident, a motor insurance policy will safeguard you by offering to repair and replacing the damaged parts. The insurance market is flooded with innumerable policy options depending on your car type, financial constraint and requirement.

You must conduct an online search to better understand the benefits and types of policies available. Further, you can easily get online access to auto insurance quotes and purchase a policy.

Take Insurance coverage for Your Car

A plethora of corporations, immediately, present insurance coverage protection for automobiles. And due to the stiff competitors, they provide automobile insurance coverage low cost. It is advisable spare a while and put in efforts to analysis and examine the charges so that you just select the precise coverage on your car. The good thing about doing that is that you simply achieve info of varied corporations and know lots of quotes. This makes it simpler so that you can attain a choice. Throughout your analysis, you would possibly come throughout insurers from completely different nations, reminiscent of California or New Jersey, offering reductions for drivers with clear data or vehicles with security options. As an illustration, automobiles with alarms put in in them could get reductions from insurers.

Suggestions To Get Insurance coverage For Ladies Drivers

*Women, you will get it by escalating the quantity paid earlier than the insurer pays.

*Each good girl driver will preserve credit standing, as insurers have outlined a correlation between these with good credit score file and people with good driving report.

*If you happen to pay yearly as an alternative of month-to-month, you could have larger possibilities of getting a reduction. This occurs due to a slash in administrative prices.

*Purchase multiple type of protection and you’ll take pleasure in a reduction out of your insurer.

*Set up an alarm system in your automotive. This not solely decreases the danger of theft, but in addition decreases the premium, as there tends to be fewer claims with alarms at place.

*It is good to cross the superior drivers course. Insurers have a tendency to supply automotive insurance coverage low-cost if you do that, as you’re purported to be an knowledgeable driver, with lesser probabilities of getting concerned in accidents.

woman-driving-car-500*Final however not least, it is higher to drive rigorously and park in parking zones for fewer claims and possibilities of accidents. Whether or not you’ve got Florida automobile insurance coverage, Houston automotive insurance coverage, or every other, at all times adjust to driving guidelines.

It has been discovered that girls drivers make fewer claims than males drivers. However there are occasions while you become involved in an accident on account of different driver’s fault. Chances are you’ll be driving completely on the street when a reckless automotive driver hits your automobile from behind. What do you do? That is when automotive insurance coverage low cost involves your rescue.

Making Claims For Car Insurance Settlement

car insurance settlementBeing involved in a car accident is not a pleasant experience for anyone. If the injuries that you have sustained are grievous; the accident can actually shake you to the core. Added to that is the worry about the damage that your car sustains. If you have a car insurance then you can obviously make claims to your car insurance provider but it has been seen that at times settling the claims become a cumbersome affair and you need to go through a fair bit of trouble to reach a favorable settlement with your insurance provider. If you want a favorable settlement on your car insurance claim then you will face to make sure that you follow the right procedures while making the claim. You should also know how you can negotiate properly for the claim that you make. Here is some help.

For starters, when you want to negotiate a car insurance claim you will first have to send a letter of demand. The value of the claim that you are making must be mentioned in the letter; but mention the value only when you have a clear idea about it. To support your claims you will also have to furnish supporting documents like the estimate of the cost to be incurred for repairing the damages and photographic evidence of the damages. Other supporting documents might be required as well. The insurance companies have insurance adjusters who will try to counter and reduce the value that you quote in the letter of demand and if you think that you will not be able to argue with the adjuster well then you must hire an insurance lawyer. The lawyer will be able to argue your case better. However, you might need to write a second letter of demand and then take up the matter with your state’s Department Of Insurance if your claim is not granted.

General Myths Surrounding Auto Insurances

If you own a vehicle then it is absolutely necessary that you acquire auto insurance for it so that the vehicle is covered in the event of any damage, accident or loss. The importance of auto insurance cannot be undermined especially if you have availed a loan for buying the vehicle. There are certain misconceptions that majority of the people have regarding auto insurances. This article will highlight some of these myths so that you can dispel them immediately.

Myth 1: Auto insurances cover all kinds of damages that can happen to a vehicle.
This is not true because auto insurances are of many different kinds which provide cover for certain damages and not for all types of damages. No auto insurance policy can provide full coverage. You have to acquire a variety of auto insurance policies to get an almost full coverage for your vehicle.

Myth 2: Full coverage auto insurance policies will provide cover to a vehicle when it being utilized for any kind of work.
In actual fact, these full coverage insurance policies will offer protection to a vehicle only if it is used for personal purposes. You will have to buy commercial insurance policy to cover your vehicle when it is used for commercial purposes.

Myth 3: Auto insurance is costly for elderly drivers.
Well this myth is also false. Elderly drivers are given discounts for their policies because they have more experience and can avoid accidents more easily than the young drivers.

Myth 4: Military officers have to pay higher interest rates for the auto insurance .
This is another myth that needs to be dispelled because in reality military officers pay lower rates than the rates paid by any common man.

Myth 5: Auto insurance for red vehicles is costly.
Remember color of the vehicle has nothing to do with the costs of the auto insurance policies.



Yearly millions of customers depend on high-interest, short-term fundings to make ends satisfy. While you could be a lot more familiar with payday loan providers who request triple-digit interest rates via the objective of recording borrowers right into obtaining new fundings to work out the aged ones, a brand-new report finds that payday’s lesser-known relative, auto title loans, have similarly harmful effects.

Baseding on Pew Philanthropic Based upon’s newest record [PDF] in its long-running Payday Lending in The u.s.a series, nearly two million American’s spent a total quantity of $3 billion at auto title shops throughout the nation to obtain cash against the belief of their autos.

Considering nearly 8,000 establishments running in 25 states, title financings are much a lot less extensively used than payday advances, however can commonly are a lot more destructive to consumers’ economic source of incomes.

Similar to payday loan companies, auto title lending institutions need customers to pay off the principal plus a fee within a specified period. Unlike payday advancement which provide customers regarding 2 weeks to make the repayment, car title borrowers often have a month to repay.

Nonetheless, the amount of money generally bound in auto title loans is often much above that of a payday breakthrough lending. Church bench reports the common auto title lending averages $1,000 and also has an annual percentage rate of regarding 300 %, while a cash loan requirements around $300 with equally high interest rates.

While neither the payday breakthrough or automobile title lending design thinks about a debtor’s capability to pay back, the latter short-term product does not also call for clients to show evidence of profits.

On average a regular car title loan represents virtually 50 % of a consumer’s gross month-to-month earnings, where as only 36 % of an ordinary customer’s paycheck is taken by cash breakthrough payments.

According to the document, two in 3 title vehicle loan customers could not manage repayments of higher than $250 a month, let alone the $1,250 need to retire a regular lump-sum title financing.

“Much like payday advance, this difference in between exactly what title financing customers could manage as well as exactly what is called for to retire the debt leads them to consistently revive their loans,” the report states.

Due to this, a bulk of title financings due monthly are rolled over, creating a business version– similar to that of cash loan– that depends highly on the assumption that consumers might rollover their debt for additional months, while incurring expensive fees.

One market insider informs Bench that usually the common Thirty Days car title lending is given up 8 times. These roll-overs represent 84 % of all title lendings in Tennessee and also 63 % of those in Texas, according to the record.

While consumers drop much deeper as well as deeper right into monetary responsibility considering each resurgence, when the funds at some point come due debtors stand to not just lose needed funds, yet their autos too.

In fact, one in 9 title loan consumers has their vehicle repossessed each year for failing to pay back the financial obligation.

Based on the record, some 15 % to 25 % of repossessed motor cars are gone back to debtors that pay their overdue financing stabilities rhythm expenses. The remainder of the automobiles are marketed. In all, 120,000 to 222,000 debtors shed their automobiles in any given year as a result of auto title loans.

While clients see title borrowings as offering help as well as temporary alleviation at challenging times, they in addition revealed a desire for even more robust laws over the high-interest car loans.

Nearly 66 % of the customers evaluation by Bench stated the market needs to be a lot more managed to make sure that title financings are repayable in inexpensive, amortizing or principal-reducing installments.

Consumers claim this framework would enable even over foreseeable and also practical payments, lowering their financing equilibrium and supplying a clear path out of financial obligation.

The striking resemblances between cash advance and auto title loans recommend that the last development must run into the specific very same regulatory reforms as payday advance loan guidelines. The Customer Financial PROTECTION Bureau is expected to launch an outline for its long-awaited cash advance policies later lately.

“The Customer Financial Security Bureau does not have the authority to handle interest rates, nonetheless it can and need to call for small-dollar financings to have workable installment payments as well as set up certain important buffers,” the report states.

Bench’s small-dollar funding plan recommendations consist of:

Ensure that the debtor has the capability to repay the car loan as structured. Lenders should be asked for to determine candidates’ capacity to pay off based on their revenue and also expenditures.
Spread financing prices equally over the life of the financing. Any sort of costs need to be sustained equally over the life of the financing. Car loans need to have considerably equal payments, each of which decreases the principal, amortizing smoothly to an absolutely no balance.
Defend against harmful repayment or collections techniques. Policymakers must make certain that lending institutions do not take advantage of extremely prolonged payment durations to increase revenues. Usually, 6 months is long sufficient to pay off a $500 financing, and also one year is long sufficient to pay off $1,000.
Need concise, accurate disclosures of regular along with full prices.
States will constantly set max allowed costs. Study discloses that lending markets offering those with bad credit history record are not cost affordable.

Everything You Need to Know About Excluding People From Auto Insurance

As one’s household grows, so too, does their auto insurance policy. While this is a pretty standard and expected occurrence, it’s important for people with an increasing number of licensed drivers under one roof to realize they have options. Should any of their family members threaten their driving reputation and quotes, policyholders have the option to remove and exclude them from their insurance plans, making auto coverage someone else’s problem and responsibility.

Requesting an Exclusion

If you’re a policyholder interested in excluding one or more individuals from your policy, then you need to contact your insurance company and/or agent. Your request will have to be in writing and might also come with additional forms and paperwork, depending on who your insurance company is. It’s also important to note that requesting an exclusion may cause your rates to increase a bit, but some view this cost as a much more affordable expense than the potential damages they might be held accountable for when the dangerous driver(s) in question get in a serious accident or have repeated traffic offenses.

Whom Should I Exclude?

Now that you know how to request an exclusion, it’s important to understand WHO to exclude. You should exclude anyone you see as high-risk, unreliable and irresponsible. Individuals who show no regard for rules and regulations and could care less what happens to your name and record in the process are other obvious options. To help make the choice easier for you, below is a list of three individuals you definitely don’t want on your policy.

Mittens, the Family Cat

While a fluffy, cute member of the family, Mittens also has a wild side with which you are all too familiar. She is open about her late-night romps with her neighborhood friends, often coming home as the sun rises. She’s practically nocturnal! Those crazy hours coupled with her sassy attitude are a recipe for disaster for you and your record, so nip this problem in the bud while you still can — before Mittens brings you down with her.

Your Six-year-old Who’s Going on Sixteen

Six-year-old Ben is your pride and joy. He’s cute and sweet, but let’s be honest — the boy is growing up too fast. Rather than run the risk of him growing up, stealing your car and running away, it’s probably best to exclude him from your policy to keep that from happening. You might not be able to stop him from physically growing, but you will darn sure try to stop him from leaving you!

The Neighbor Next Door Who Thinks He’s ALWAYS Welcome

Sure you let him borrow a cup a sugar once, but does that really warrant unannounced pop-ins or the dreaded ‘surprise I was waiting for you to get home from work’ visit? The answer is obviously no, but that doesn’t stop your too-close-for-comfort neighbor from doing just that and more. A sweet, eager individual with no concept of social norms, this neighbor is here so often you’re worried he thinks he’s actually a part of the family. While you technically shouldn’t have to cover him on your insurance, the lines that surround your whole relationship — and evidently your property— have been blurred. So, just to be on the safe side, you better exclude him. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll get really comfortable and decide to take your car for a spin and get locked up for grand theft auto — maybe then at least you’ll get to cook in peace again!

Reality Check

Obviously, these examples of potential exclusions are extreme and ridiculous, but that’s just the point. Auto insurance exclusions are a serious issue that should be treated as such. They shouldn’t be added to policies willy-nilly and on a whim, but rather after serious thought and consideration has been given to the situation. It can be a pricey and potentially lengthy process that should only be implemented after you have determined there is no other feasible option.

You should only opt to exclude drivers with repeated violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding or any other behavior that shows a disregard for the law. It’s also important to note that exclusions can also apply to non-related roommates. Depending on your policy and location, it might be a smart idea to exclude any irresponsible roommates you might have, should they try to drive your vehicle without permission and thus endanger your reputation and record.

We do hope you’re never presented with having to exclude a family member from your auto policy. Keep in mind, it’s only advisable when the said-driver is extremely toxic. Most of the time, excluding a single driver will only lead to higher rates for everyone involved.

You’ll know they are a real risk if they cause you to be subjected to higher rates, or worse, put you in danger of losing your coverage altogether — those are costly expenses worth the fees that come along with an exclusion.

If you are seriously considering opting for an exclusion, talk with your insurer to explore all of your options and alternatives. They should help point you in the right direction for your future.

Auto Insurance Company Ratings – Best Firms, Most Prices

Auto Insurance Company Ratings

There are a variety of factors to try to find when it pertains to auto insurance company ratings – financial toughness, customer care, and consumer satisfaction. So where do you getting these ratings?

Financial Scores

There are two companies that provide insurance firm financial ratings:

A.M. Best  rates insurance companies on their monetary stamina and their capacity to pay cases. The most safe firms have an “A” rating or much better.

Standard as well as Poors rates companies on their economic stamina and also credit history scores. Business with “A” rankings are your best bet.

Client service Ratings

The best place I have actually found for customer service rankings is Epinions . Here actual customers cover their encounters with a particular business, providing you a behind-the-scenes consider just how the company treats its consumers as well as exactly how well they pay their claims.

Client Contentment Ratings

Every state has a department of insurance internet site, and most of those websites list the consumer problems filed against insurance coverage business. The variety of problems a business has as compared to various other business offers you a respectable idea of how well it treats its clients.

If your state’s department of insurance policy does not listing business issues, you could view them at the California insurance policy web site .

Obtaining the very best Prices

Getting the best auto insurance coverage price with the most effective insurance policy company is simply a concern of comparing rates with different companies. There are insurance policy contrast sites that provide you prices from A-rated companies, and allow you to chat with an insurance professional with an on-line chat solution so you could get the answer to any kind of inquiries you may have.

Exactly how That Discover It The correct methods?

Insurance auto quotes plan is an insurance coverage protection gotten by automobile owner that protected guard his/her automobile from robbery, problem as well as different other loss endured. You could easily acquire car insurance policy plan for many of your car mobile like car, truck or bus. Vehicle insurance defense most definitely not just covers safeguarded auto as well as covered party, however times this covers 3rd events likewise. Various automobile insurance plan encounter from various expressions, requirements in addition to conditions under which, these items are covered.

insurance auto quotes

Today large types of auto insurance defense strategies are available around and that is actually really quite uphill struggle to acquire the most suitable car insurance coverage to find the guard of your vehicle.

Here are actually some reminders, which might be really used to find the greatest auto insurance policy plan to find your black boomer.

1. To find finest automobile insurance, you are looked for to make a search on your own. To begin with head to local automobile insurance coverage protection providers. Testimonial car insurance coverage quotes given through all of them. A lot of automobile insurance policy dealers possess their sites, you could go certainly there and request for vehicle insurance plan prices estimate online, if you possess an auto. Evaluation their insurance auto quotes as well as find biggest automobile insurance coverage security for your automobile. Constantly keep in thoughts that bargaining is the vital that acquire cost-effective vehicle insurance coverage.

2. After examining auto insurance policy prices estimate acquire the biggest one for you and your motor automobile. While making use of offered them particulars as a big amount as you could include your label, offer with, postal code, your marital condition, vehicle’s yearly driving to work miles as well as security associates thinking about that as default they could generate you high quotes with no certain benefits. Therefore, that persuade an inexpensive and excellent motor vehicle insurance policy regularly give comprehensive details pertaining to you as well as your motor vehicle.

3. Sometimes insurance plan companies offer particular promotions. Therefore regularly look for deals, as they can easily minimize your fee from 0 to 0.

4. Before licensing your application evaluation each and also every facet of particulars, as they could easily secure your right.

With attempting to keep these basic reminders in ideas you can locate finest automobile insurance plan.

Dependable methods to Locate Astonishing Savings On Online Automotive Insurance policy

The capacity to purchase on the internet auto insurance coverage has changed the way patient buy insurance coverage for good. Gotten are actually the days of extracting the Telephone directory, telephoning countless providers to discover quotes, standing by times to find a specific to call you back along with a quote (if they contacted you back whatsoever!), examining the insurance auto quotes, trying that find out if the plans along with deductibles coincided for all the quotes, and ultimately– purchasing a plan and also desiring this is going to be similar to your final one.

Due to the magic of on the net car insurance policy quotes, each of the above fight is not required. Each of the key vehicle insurance policy strategy corporates possesses a tool for supplying insurance auto quotes online, and also a number of evaluation websites have actually arised that permit you that immediately analyze several significant company versus one another.

The largest component is that you may easily alter your deductibles to immediately see exactly how that is visiting eventually impact your general charge. This is really the suitable ways that discover just just just how much you are actually going to invest for automobile insurance policy protection and that find out just which of the vehicle insurance policy protection providers will absolutely supply you specifically the most inexpensive of charges.

Getting your car insurance policy with the internet site is extremely hassle-free along with uncomplicated. Although that lots of insurance coverage corporates make considerably fewer funds as a result of experiencing a lot more educated person, this is really countered via the reality that these business do not shed helpful employee time refraining from doing anything however fee estimates all day long for people. You can swiftly seek price quotes, in addition to produce enhancements constantly once more, along with you are under no commitment up till you pick a strategy, and also go through the investing present.

A great deal of business have in fact even created the modern technology to allow you release out your called for insurance policy plan cards that establish in your automobile when you finish your acquisition. This minimizes the quantity of time along with difficulty of hanging around for these insurance protection memory cards that appear in the email. Some law firms are starting that give your whole entire plan as a printout, though they still need to send a kind for you that license along with blog post back.

To discover a great deal people, it is in fact essential that find the least pricey practical rates, while making particular our team choose a business that will absolutely support our company in case of a crash. It is really the utmost evaluating action. A few of the testimonial internet sites online will definitely additionally offer you with a business A.M. Very best position, tailored that offer you a reminder of the total costs of the firm you are really contrasting. Once more, this gets another part of the unpredictability of picking on the internet car insurance policy.

For all the incredible methods that acquiring online automobile insurance could conveniently save you time, cash, migraines, and frustrations, you may definitely never ever have to open up that part of the Telephone directory once more.

When does a car battery need to be replaced or time for a new battery ?

The battery is what powers every electrical component in a car. At some point, the car battery needs to be replaced, but when? Is there a way to tell that the battery is failing? How long does it last? Let’s start with why the battery needs to be replaced. Most cars have lead-acid batteries that are made of six cells with lead and lead-oxide plates filled with an electrolyte (dilute sulfuric acid).

  • 01

Slow engine crank:
When you attempt to start the vehicle, the cranking of the engine is sluggish and takes longer than normal to start.

  • 02

Check engine light:
The check engine light sometimes appears when your battery power is weak.

  • 03

Low battery fluid level:
Car batteries typically have a part of the casing that’s translucent so you can always keep an eye on your battery’s fluid level. If the fluid level is below the lead plates : (energy conductor:) inside, it’s time to have the battery and charging system tested.

  • 04

The swelling, bloating battery case:
If your battery casing looks like this you can blame excessive heat for causing your battery case to swell, decreasing your battery life.

  • 05

Battery leak:
Leaking also causes the corrosion around the posts : (where the + and – cable connections are located.: ) The gunk may need to be removed; otherwise, your car may not start.

  • 06

Old age:
Your battery can last well beyond three years but, at the very least, have its current condition inspected on a yearly basis when it reaches the three year mark.


Understanding What Will Ruin Car Paint and How to Fix It

Damages such as oxidation or scratches can ruin car paint, and need to be repaired quickly in order to avoid a much more expensive paint job. Car paint damage can usually be repaired easily and inexpensively if it is done before the problem grows out of control. Repairing most types of paint problems and can be done in just a few hours.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • 80, 150, 300, 1,000 and 2,000 grit dry/wet sandpaper
  • Rubber or wooden sanding block
  • Bucket of water
  • Dry cloth
  • Prep solvent
  • Touch up paint to match that on your car
  • Wax and dry towels
  • Buffer machine (optional but recommended)

Step 1 – Determine the Type of Damage

Deep scratches will require the use of lower grit sandpaper to smooth away rough edges. Very minor scratches or car paint oxidation may only require wet sanding in order to remove the minor imperfections. Once you determine the extent of the damage to the paint, locate and purchase the appropriate grit types of sandpaper.

Step 2 – Remove Wax

Use a quality prep solvent that you can purchase a local auto parts store to remove wax finishes. In most cases, you simply need to dampen a dry towel with the solvent and then rub the vehicle thoroughly to remove the wax from the surface.

Step 3 – Sand the Damage

Use your sanding block and sandpaper to begin sending out the imperfections in the paint. Start with the 80 grit sandpaper and lightly sand away the clear coat finish and damaged paint. After you use the 80 grit sandpaper, there will still be some scratches that are quite noticeable. Use the 300 and 400 grit sandpaper to remove the majority of the scratches. Wet sand with 1,000 and 2,000 grit sandpaper to prepare the damaged area for touch up paint. When wet sanding, always ensure that the sandpaper never becomes dry; this may force paint particles back into the bare metal surface of the vehicle. Allow the surface to dry and dust off with a dry towel.

Step 4 – Touch up the Paint

Follow the instructions on the bottle or can of touch up paint for applying it to the vehicle. Most of the time, the touch up paint will come with an applicator brush. If it doesn’t, you can use a paper matchstick to carefully apply the paint to the scratched or damaged area.

Step 5 – Allow to Dry

Allow the touch up paint to completely dry before continuing. In most cases, you should allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours. For the best results, allow the paint to dry a full 48 hours.

Step 6 – Apply Wax

Once the touch up paint has completely cured and dried, you can go about waxing your vehicle as you normally would. Optionally, you can use a high-speed buffer machine to buff out any very slight imperfections and better blend the touched up area with the rest of the car.

How to Fix an Auto Car Paint Scratch

If you happen to scratch your auto, car paint will usually chip away, and rust can begin to set in within a few days. Therefore, it is important to think about car paint scratch removal as soon as possible. Fixing scratches in your car’s paint is much easier than you think and you can do it within about an hour. Here is a quick how-to guide that will show you everything you need to know. You Will Need

  • Car paint pen or touch up paint kit
  • 80,320 and 1000 Grit Sandpaper
  • Soap and Water
  • Dry Towels
  • Car Wax

Step 1 – Clean the Scratched Area

Use soap and water to wash the scratched surface area of the vehicle. Use a scouring pad to remove wax or clear-coat that may be built up over the scratched area so it is easier to apply the touch up paint. Allow the vehicle to dry.

Step 2 – Sand the Affected Area

The depth of the scratch in your car’s paint will determine the grit of sandpaper you would need to use on the vehicle. If the scratch is very deep, you can use a lower grit sandpaper such as 80 or 120. For finer scratches, you may want to begin with a 320 grit sandpaper and work up to higher grit levels. Attempt to sand the scratched area as smooth as possible and finish up the wet sanding with a 1000 grit piece of sandpaper. Keep the sandpaper wet while you are wet sanding. Then, wipe away excess debris and water with a clean towel.

Step 3 – Use a Stencil to Tape Off the Scratch

Make a stencil to use for painting the scratched surface of your car. Take a piece of paper and cut a hole that is just a little larger than the scratch itself and then used tape to secure the piece of paper to the car. Only the scratch should show through the hole. This will help you avoid making a mess when you’re using the touch up paint.

Step 4 – Purchase Correct Touch-up Paint

Look under the windshield (over the driver’s side dash) and record your vehicles VIN number. Then, take the VIN number to your local car dealership and purchase a touch-up paint that will match your vehicle.

Step 5 – Touch Up the Paint

Use the small applicator brush that comes with the touch-up paint or a paper matchstick to carefully apply the paint to the scratched area. Try to only fill in the scratch itself and avoid getting too much paint on either side of the scratch. Allow the paint to dry.

Step 6 – Lightly Sand Scratched Area

Wet sand again with 1000 grit sandpaper. This time sand very lightly. You only want to remove the gloss on the first coat of touch up paint and not the paint itself.

Step 7 – Apply Second Coat of Paint

Apply another coat of touch of paint to the vehicle. Allow the paint to dry for 24 to 48 hours before waxing.

Step 8 – Wax the Car

After the paint has completely dried, wash and wax your vehicle as you normally would.

Timing belt, alternator, starter, drive belt – when to replace, problems

engine_animation6bA timing belt is a toothed belt that connects the engine crankshaft to the camshaft or camshafts as you can see in the picture.
A timing belt synchronizes the camshaft to the crankshaft position, so the valves will open and close at the proper timing in relation to the position of the pistons. The camshaft rotates at exactly 1/2 speed of the crankshaft; meaning two revolutions of the crankshaft are equal to one revolution of the camshaft.
In some engines a timing belt can also drive additional components such as a water pump, balance shaft, intermediate shaft, injection pump and an oil pump. A balance shaft, an intermediate shaft and an injection pump must also be synchronised with a crankshaft.
To work properly a timing belt needs to be under certain tension that is controlled by a timing belt tensioner. Some older cars have an adjustable timing belt tensioner that must be re-adjusted if the timing belt gets loose. Newer cars have an automatic timing belt tensioner that doesn’t need any adjustment. If the timing belt gets loose, it may skip a tooth and the proper timing will be lost.
When a timing belt is replaced, it’s very important to set the timing properly. Before a new timing belt is installed, the crankshaft, the camshaft and other components synchronised with a crankshaft must be aligned in a certain way. A repair manual has proper instructions and a diagram with timing marks. Improperly set timing will cause a variety of problems such as lack of power, Check Engine light, vibration, misfiring, etc.

Timing belt in good condition

Timing belt or timing chain?

Not all cars have a timing belt – many newer cars use a timing chain instead of a belt. A timing belt wears out over time and needs to be replaced at a certain mileage. A timing chain can last as long as the engine itself and doesn’t need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it. If you don’t know if your vehicle has a timing belt or a chain, you can check your owner’s manual. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, many car manufacturers offer to download it from their websites. Here is the link: Where to download an owner’s manual. You also can call your local dealer service department or ask your mechanic – they have this information. We also have this information for many cars in our used car reviews section.

Cracked timing belt

When a timing belt must be replaced?

A timing belt must be replaced at recommended by the manufacturer intervals, usually from 60,000 miles to 105,000 miles (from 96,000 km to 168,000 km). You can find the recommended replacement interval in your owner’s manual. In addition, the timing belt must be replaced if it has any damage like cracks (see the picture), cuts, or if it is soaked in oil leaking from the engine, or if it shows any signs of excessive wear. If not replaced in time, the timing belt can break. If you are approaching the mileage for a timing belt change, or if you bought a used car and you don’t know if the timing belt has been replaced, it’s good idea to have your mechanic to inspect the timing belt condition.

What happens if the timing belt breaks?

If a timing belt breaks, the engine will no longer work. If a timing belt breaks while driving in an interference engine, the camshaft stops turning leaving some of the engine valves in the open position. The heavier crankshaft will continue to rotate by inertia moving pistons up and down. This will cause the pistons to strike the valves that left open. This may result in a heavy damage to the engine with broken or bent valves, damaged pistons and, possibly, destroyed cylinder head and block.
The damage will be less extensive in a non-interference engine but in either case, the engine will stall, leaving you stranded.
You can check the “Timing Belts” section of website to see if you have and an interference or non-interference engine.

Timing belt replacement cost

The cost to replace a timing belt may vary from about $200 to $750 depending on a model. Often your mechanic may recommend replacing a water pump or some other parts, such as, a tensioner, seals idlers, etc. along with the timing belt; this obviously will cost more. You can just call your local dealer service department or a repair shop for an estimate.

6 common Check Engine light problems

There are hundreds of possible faults that can cause the Check Engine light to illuminate on your dash. To find out what the problem is, you would have to have your vehicle scanned for fault codes. A fault code itself only points to a certain system or component. To find the problem, your car will need to be further diagnosed by your local dealer or a qualified mechanic.

To give you a few examples of Check Engine light problems, we have analyzed thousands of repair cases in hundreds of different cars. Although causes are often different, we found several problems that are common in many cars and produce similar symptoms. Here they are:

Vacuum leaks and mass airflow (MAF) sensor issues

Very often, issues with a mass air flow sensor or vacuum leaks can cause the engine to run lean. The term “running lean” means that the engine is not getting enough fuel, or in other words, the air-fuel mixture injected into the engine has more air and less fuel. The symptoms include RPMs fluctuating up and down when stopped, stalling, rough idle, difficulty starting when the engine is hot, lack of power, slow acceleration, etc.
The mass air flow (MAF) sensor measures the amount of air entering the engine. The engine computer adjusts the amount of fuel based on the mass air flow sensor readings. If the sensor doesn’t work properly or if there is a leak that allows the air to enter the engine bypassing the sensor (unmetered air), the engine computer cannot adjust the amount of fuel correctly. Most common Check Engine fault codes related to this problem are P0171 and P0174. Here are a few examples:

Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor

If the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor is found faulty it must be replaced. In some cars cleaning the sensor may help. Often the MAF sensor malfunctions when the air filter box is not closed properly.

Intake manifold gasket

Leaking intake manifold or plenum gaskets are common, especially in cars with plastic intake manifolds. Replacing intake gaskets could be expensive because of the amount of labor involved.

Cracked intake boot (snorkel)

Rips or cracks in the intake boot or vacuum hoses can cause a vacuum leak. For example, some Ford and BMW vehicles are known to have this problem. .


An engine “misfires” when some of its cylinders don’t work. When this happens, the engine would start shaking and run “uneven” like a motorcycle motor. The Check Engine light would start flashing repeatedly or stay on solid on the dash. The car would lack power. Sometimes a misfire happens at a cold start and goes away when the engine is revved. Often the engine misfires during rainy weather or after driving through a puddle or when accelerating from a stop. In most cases, the misfiring is fairly easy to diagnose. A faulty ignition coil is the most common culprit in newer cars. Other causes include vacuum leaks, worn out spark plugs, cracked ignition wires, bad EGR valve, faulty fuel injectors, mechanical problems, etc.

Ignition coil

A failed ignition coil often causes misfire in newer cars. To diagnose a faulty ignition coil, your mechanic may try swapping coils between two cylinders and see if the misfiring follows the suspected coil.

Fouled spark plug

If the engine misfires, spark plugs are usually replaced if they are old. The recommended spark plug replacement interval ranges from 30K-50K miles for conventional plugs and 50K-120K miles for iridium or platinum plugs.

Ignition wires and a distributor

Ignition wires can deteriorate over time and can also cause misfiring, especially in wet weather. In cars with a distributor, the distributor cap and rotor are typically replaced with the wires too.

EVAP system leaks

The EVAP system prevents the gasoline vapors in your gas tank from escaping into the atmosphere. It’s a sealed system and if there is a leak, the car’s computer turns the Check Engine light on. Evap leaks rarely cause any driveability symptoms. A loose gas cap is one of the examples of an EVAP system leak. Other common sources of an EVAP system leak include a purge valve and a canister vent valve.

Loose gas cap

If you found that the gas cap was loose, close it properly and the Check Engine light will reset itself after a day or two of driving.

Purge valve

A sticky purge valve can also cause an EVAP leak. A purge valve can be tested fairly easily and if it sticks, it’s not very expensive to replace. Read more »

EVAP canister vent valve

A vent valve is normally open. It closes only when the EVAP system tests itself for leaks. If the valve sticks open it can cause a leak. Read more »

EGR system problems

The EGR or Exhaust Gas Recirculation is one of the vehicle’s emission control systems. It reduces the combustion temperature by redirecting a small amount of exhaust gases back into the engine intake. The main component of the EGR system is the EGR valve. Often, carbon deposits and soot accumulated inside the valve preventing it from opening and closing freely. This will cause the Check Engine light to come on. Symptoms of a sticky EGR valve include stalling at idle, rough idle. Sometimes these symptoms happen after exiting the highway. In some cars, when the EGR system is clogged up, the Check Engine light may come on, but no other symptoms would be present. Common fault codes: P0400, P0401.

Vacuum operated EGR valve

In some cars with a vacuum-operated EGR valve as the one in the photo, the leaks in one of the vacuum hoses or pipes can stop the EGR valve from working.

Ford DPFE sensor

In some Ford vehicles, the EGR system problems are caused by a bad DPFE sensor. Replacing the DPFE sensor is not very expensive.

Electricaly-operated EGR valve

In many cases, to repair the problem, the EGR valve needs to be replaced. In some cars, the EGR passages need to be cleaned or even modified (Honda, Acura)

Oxygen sensor or air/fuel ratio sensor problems

An oxygen sensor is the primary sensor in the fuel injection system. Installed in the vehicle’s exhaust, it provides feedback for the engine computer on how efficiently the engine runs. A more precise air/fuel ratio sensor used in many modern cars for the same purpose is also commonly referred to as an “oxygen sensor”. Oxygen sensor problems are also common. A failed or deteriorated oxygen sensor may cause a drop in the fuel economy and the Check Engine light to come on, but the vehicle may still drive fine. Common causes include a failed oxygen (air fuel ratio) sensor and shorted out sensor wires. Common fault codes: P0130, P0133, P0134, P0135, P0136.

Oxygen sensor

If your car throws a code related to the oxygen sensor, your mechanic may recommend replacing the sensor even if it appears to be working at the time.

Air/Fuel ratio sensor, Acura NSX

An air/fuel ratio sensor is still called an “oxygen sensor”. It work differently, but has the same purpose. This is an air/fuel ratio sensor in Acura NSX

Oxygen sensor wires and connector

Sometimes oxygen sensor faults may be caused by a damaged sensor wiring. In this Mazda 3, the sensor wires were rubbing against the bracket.

Failed catalytic converter

A catalytic converter is the main emission control device installed in the vehicle’s exhaust. It has a honeycomb-like ceramic structure inside that helps to burn any unburned fuel and reduce other harmful emissions. A failing or clogged up catalytic converter often causes the Check Engine light in many cars and trucks. When a catalytic converter becomes clogged up, an engine may start and run well at idle, but bog down when accelerated. A rattling noise coming from a catalytic converter and a smell of unburned fuel from the exhaust may indicate that the ceramic structure inside the converter has disintegrated. In either case, the catalytic converter will need to be replaced. The most common Check Engine light codes: P0420 and P0430.

Catalytic converter

The catalytic converter is typically covered by 8-year 80-mile Emission Warranty. If your car is still within the warranty coverage, your dealer should be able to help you.

Catalytic converter

If your car is not under warranty and the repair quote from your dealer is too expensive, try a local muffler shop, as there are plenty of less expensive aftermarket parts available.

Ceramic honeycomb structure inside the catalytic converter

The most common Check Engine light code is P0420 – Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1). The code P0430 indicates the same fault for a bank 2 in a V6 or V8 engine.

What is an Automotive Engineer?

Automotive engineering is one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding careers. Whenever a customer drives a new vehicle off a dealership lot, he or she is taking with them the technical expertise of many engineers, but in particular, the automotive engineer.

Automotive engineers research, design and develop vehicles and their subsystems. They work with sophisticated technologies to create products that thrill the senses and bring the freedom of mobility to the world. Do Automotive Engineers Do?

Automotive engineers are concerned with the development of passenger cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles or off-road vehicles. They do one or more of the following:

  • Design new products or modify existing ones
  • Troubleshoot and solve engineering problems
  • Plan and design manufacturing processes

Automotive engineers must apply their engineering skills in a commercial way because their innovations and solutions must be effective and profitable. Their typical responsibilities include:

  • Researching, designing, developing and producing vehicles and components
  • Preparing cost estimates and design specifications
  • Preparing plans and drawings
  • Analyzing energy, environmental and safety aspects of the planned project
  • Predicting vehicle or component behavior under different conditions using computerized models
  • Developing testing procedures
  • Investigating product failures
  • Analyzing, interpreting and condensing technical data into reports or presentations
  • Supervise technical staff
  • Working closely with other types of engineers, such as civil, electrical, aerospace, chemical and industrial
  • Working with professionals from other occupational fields, such as marketing and legal

The Difference Between an Automotive Engineer & an Auto Mechanic

Auto mechanics spend most of their day inspecting and repairing vehicles

Automotive engineers and automotive mechanics each play critical roles in keeping safe and efficient vehicles on the roads in the United States. Engineers work on vehicles in a broader sense, designing and developing new vehicles and improving the performance of existing machines. Mechanics diagnose and repair vehicles on a case-by-case basis, typically in a repair shop or at an auto dealer.

Auto Engineer Responsibilities

In addition to working for auto manufacturing companies, automotive engineers also work for engineering firms, government regulatory agencies and other departments and firms that need vehicle engineering expertise. Some engineers work on the creation of automobiles, helping to design systems and components, while others examine existing vehicles to analyze their effectiveness and to diagnose systemic problems and explore possible improvements. Engineers are a critical part of the manufacturing of vehicles and the ongoing oversight that ensures their fitness for public use.

Auto Mechanic Responsibilities

Auto mechanics largely work in auto repair shops, typically at either a shop that repairs a wide range of vehicles or a dealer that works on a particular brand. Mechanics work directly with drivers in a way engineers do not, discussing the specific operations of a particular vehicle. Mechanics labor to identify the source of problems with vehicles, then repair them so the car or truck can operate closer to its optimum level. Mechanics also carry out routine inspections of vehicles to make sure that they are safe to operate on the road.

Education and Training

Automotive engineers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering and many proceed to earn a master’s degree that allows them to specialize more closely on automotive engineering. Auto mechanics need to have a minimum of a high school degree or its equivalent. In addition, mechanics typically receive extensive training before they work on vehicles. Some mechanics begin their training at a vocational school or in an associate’s degree program that focuses on automotive repairs. Most then require years of on-the-job tutoring and hands-on experience to be ready to handle the wide variety of repairs that they will face.


Automotive engineers possess a large advantage over automotive mechanics in terms of compensation. Auto mechanics earn a median annual wage of $36,180 per year and a mean wage of $38,560, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Automotive engineers, on the other hand, earn a median annual wage of $106,000 and a mean salary of $117,600, according to a survey of SAE International, which was formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers.

How to Become an Automotive Engineer

Automotive engineers are responsible for creating new vehicles and systems.

Automotive engineers design vehicle systems and automobiles. To become an automotive engineer, you can follow one of two engineering disciplines in college: mechanical engineering or automotive technology engineering. Automotive engineers are also responsible for designing cars that use alternative sources of fuel. When you have a passion for designing or working on automobiles, an automotive engineering career might be the right choice. An affinity for advanced mathematics is critical to any type of automotive engineering classes.
Step 1Take classes during high school in automotive shop. Taking physics courses and advanced mathematics also helps with understanding math used in structural design.

Step 2Graduate from high school with better than a 3.0 GPA so you have a better chance of going to the engineering school of your choice.

Step 3Research accredited colleges that offer automotive and mechanical engineering degree programs. Choose an accredited school to ensure a good education and to get better chances for employment.

Step 4Pass the college entrance exams required for the college you want to attend with high scores in math.

Step 5Work hard and study to pass all your college classes with higher than 3.0 GPA. Take computer classes that teach design using computer-aided programs.

Step 6Obtain work in the automotive industry while you are going to college to gain hands-on experience. Companies in the automotive industry prefer employees who have a well-rounded education combined with experience.

Step 7Apply for an internship with an automotive-related company during your junior or senior year of college. An internship with a recognized or large automotive corporation provides needed and valuable on-the-job experience.

Step 8Graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or automotive technology engineering.

Step 9Join a professional association for automotive engineers during college or after graduation. This group allows you to network with other engineers. It keeps you abreast of the changes in the job marketplace as well as putting you in contact with other automotive companies. An association network also presents the opportunities and contacts for new job openings.

Step 10Prepare your resume and include all related work experience. Include any special honors you received during college. Obtain letters of recommendation from former employers.

Step 11Look for work in the automotive engineering field. Automotive engineering also includes all the support industries and vendors that supply automotive manufacturers with parts and auto supplies.

Step 12Consider pursuing an advanced degree in engineering after obtaining at least two years of work experience. An advanced degree provides you opportunities to work for automobile manufacturers.


  • Passion about automobiles and engineering makes you a desirable job candidate.
  • Develop your goals and objectives for your career path and follow it to success.

Charging Lead Acid

Learn how to optimize charging conditions to extend service life.

Lead acid uses a voltage-based charge algorithm that shares similarity with lithium-ion. The voltage is allowed to roam within a confined window while the charge current is set and will only moderate during saturation charge. The charge time of a sealed lead acid battery is 12–16 hours, up to 36–48 hours for large stationary batteries. With higher charge currents and multi-stage charge methods, the charge time can be reduced to 10 hours or less; however, the topping charge may not be complete. Lead acid is sluggish and cannot be charged as quickly as other battery systems.

Lead acid batteries should be charged in three stages, which are [1] constant-current charge, [2] topping charge and [3] float charge. The constant-current charge applies the bulk of the charge and takes up roughly half of the required charge time; the topping charge continues at a lower charge current and provides saturation, and the float charge compensates for the loss caused by self-discharge. Figure 1 illustrates these three stages.

Charge stages of a lead acid battery

Figure 1: Charge stages of a lead acid battery
The battery is fully charged when the current drops to a pre-determined level or levels out in stage 2. The float voltage must be reduced at full charge.

Courtesy of Cadex

During the constant-current charge, the battery charges to about 70 percent in 5–8 hours; the remaining 30 percent is filled with the slower topping charge that lasts another 7–10 hours. The topping charge is essential for the well-being of the battery and can be compared to a little rest after a good meal. If continually deprived, the battery will eventually lose the ability to accept a full charge and the performance will decrease due to sulfation. The float charge in the third stage maintains the battery at full charge.

The switch from Stage 1 to 2 occurs seamlessly and happens when the battery reaches the set voltage limit. The current begins to drop as the battery starts to saturate, and full charge is reached when the current decreases to the three percent level of the rated current. A battery with high leakage may never attain this low saturation current, and a plateau timer takes over to initialize the charge termination.

The correct setting of the charge voltage is critical and ranges from 2.30 to 2.45V per cell. Setting the voltage threshold is a compromise, and battery experts refer to this as “dancing on the head of a needle.” On one hand, the battery wants to be fully charged to get maximum capacity and avoid sulfation on the negative plate; on the other hand, an over-saturated condition causes grid corrosion on the positive plate and induces gassing.

To make “dancing on the head of a needle” more difficult, the battery voltage shifts with temperature. Warmer surroundings require slightly lower voltage thresholds and a cold ambient prefers a higher level. Chargers exposed to temperature fluctuations should include temperature sensors to adjust the charge voltage for optimum charge efficiency. If this is not possible, it is better to choose a lower voltage for safety reasons. Table 2 compares the advantages and limitations of various peak voltage settings.


2.30V to 2.35V/cell

2.40V to 2.45V/cell


Maximum service life; battery stays cool; charge temperature can exceed 30°C (86°F). Higher and more consistent capacity readings; less sulfation.


Slow charge time; capacity readings may be inconsistent and declining with each cycle. Sulfation may occur without equalizing charge. Subject to corrosion and gassing. Needs constant water. Not suitable for charging at high room temperatures, causing severe overcharge.

Table 2: Effects of charge voltage on a small lead acid battery
Cylindrical lead acid cells have higher voltage settings than VRLA and starter batteries.
Once fully charged through saturation, the battery should not dwell at the topping voltage for more than 48 hours and must be reduced to the float voltage level. This is especially critical for sealed systems because these systems are less able to tolerate overcharge than the flooded type. Charging beyond what the battery can take turns the redundant energy into heat and the battery begins to gas. The recommended float voltage of most low-pressure lead acid batteries is 2.25 to 2.27V/cell. (Large stationary batteries float at 2.25V at 25°C (77°F.) Manufacturers recommend lowering the float charge at ambient temperatures above 29°C (85°F).
Not all chargers feature float charge and very few road vehicles will have this provision. If your charger stays on topping charge and does not drop below 2.30V/cell, remove the charge after 48 hours of charge. Recharge every six month if the battery remains in storage.

Whereas the voltage settings in Table 2 apply to low-pressure lead acid batteries with a pressure relief valve of about 34kPa (5psi), cylindrical sealed lead acid, such as the Hawker Cyclon cell, requires higher voltage settings and the limits should be set according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Failing to apply the recommended voltage will cause a gradual decrease in capacity due to sulfation. The Hawker Cyclon cell has a pressure relief setting of 345kPa (50psi). This allows some recombination of the gases generated during charge.

Aging batteries pose a challenge when setting the optimal float charge voltage because each cell has its own age-related condition. Weak cells may go into hydrogen evolution as part of overcharge early on, while the stronger ones undergo oxygen recombination in an almost starved state. Connected in a string, all cells receive the same charge current and controlling individual cell voltages is almost impossible. A float current that is too high for the faded cell might starve the strong neighbor and cause sulfation due to undercharge. Companies have developed cell-balancing devices, which are placed on the battery and compensate the differences in cell voltages that occur as a result of cell imbalance.

Ripple voltage imposed on the voltage of large stationary batteries also causes a problem. The voltage peak constitutes an overcharge, causing hydrogen evolution, while the valleys induce a brief discharge that creates a starved state that results in electrolyte depletion. Manufacturers typically limit the ripple to five percent.

Much has been said about pulse charging of lead acid batteries. There are apparent advantages in reducing sulfation; however, the results are inconclusive and manufacturers as well as service technicians are divided on the benefit. If sulfation could be measured with accuracy and the right amount of pulses applied as a corrective service, then the remedy could be beneficial. Giving an abrasive cure without knowing the underlying results can be harmful.

Most stationary batteries are kept on float charge. The so-called hysteresis charge disconnects the float current when the battery is full and on standby. The battery is essentially put in storage and is only “borrowed” from time to time to apply a toping-charge to replenish lost energy due to self-discharge, or when a load is applied. This mode works well for installations that do not draw a load when on standby.

Lead acid batteries must always be stored in a charged state. A topping charge should be applied every six months to prevent the voltage from dropping below 2.10V/cell. With AGM, these requirements can be somewhat relaxed.

Measuring the open circuit voltage (OCV) while in storage provides a reliable indication as to the state-of-charge of the battery. A voltage of 2.10V at room temperature reveals a charge of about 90 percent. Such a battery is in good condition and needs only a brief full charge prior to use. If the voltage drops below 2.10V, the battery must be charged to prevent sulfation. Observe the storage temperature when measuring the open circuit voltage. A cool battery lowers the voltage slightly and a warm one increases it. Using OCV to estimate state-of-charge works best when the battery has rested for a few hours, because a charge or discharge agitates the battery and distorts the voltage.

Some buyers do not accept shipments of new batteries if the OCV at incoming inspection is below 2.10V per cell. A low voltage suggests partial charge due to long storage or a high self-discharge induced by a possible micro-short. Battery users have indeed found that a pack arriving at a lower than specified voltage has a higher failure rate than those with higher voltages. Although in-house service can often bring such batteries to full performance, the time and equipment required adds to operational costs. (Please note that the 2.10V/cell acceptance threshold does not apply to all lead acid types.)


Watering is the single most important step in maintaining a flooded lead acid battery, a requirement that is all to often neglected. The frequency of watering depends on usage, charge method and operating temperature. A new battery should be checked every few weeks to determine the watering requirement. This assures that the top of the plates is never exposed. A naked plate will sustain irreversible damage through oxidation, leading to reduced capacity and lower performance.

If low on electrolyte, immediately fill the battery with distilled or de-ionized. Do not fill to the correct level before charging as this could cause an overflow during charging. Always top up to the desired level after charging. Never add electrolyte as this would upsets the specific gravity and promote corrosion. Watering systems eliminate low electrolyte levels by automatically adding the right amount of water.

Simple Guidelines for Charging Lead Acid Batteries

  • Charge in a well-ventilated area. Hydrogen gas generated during charging is explosive. (See BU-703: Health Concerns with Batteries)
  • Choose the appropriate charge program for flooded, gel and AGM batteries. Check manufacturer’s specifications on recommended voltage thresholds.
  • Charge lead acid batteries after each use to prevent sulfation. Do not store on low charge.
  • The plates of flooded batteries must always be fully submerged in electrolyte. Fill battery with distilled or de-ionized water to cover the plates if low. Tap water may be acceptable in some regions. Never add electrolyte.
  • Fill water level to designated level after charging. Overfilling when the battery is empty can cause acid spillage.
  • Formation of gas bubbles in a flooded lead acid indicates that the battery is reaching full state-of-charge (hydrogen on negative plate and oxygen on positive plate).
  • Reduce float charge if the ambient temperature is higher than 29°C (85°F).
  • Do not allow a lead acid to freeze. An empty battery freezes sooner than one that is fully charged. Never charge a frozen battery.
  • Do not charge at temperatures above 49°C (120°F).

Can I Become an Engineer if I’m Bad at Math?

Mathematics is a central component to the education engineers receive in all major specialties before they begin their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineers also use math extensively on the job. For these reasons, it is unlikely anyone would be successful in becoming an engineer with poor math skills.

In School and on the Job

The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that math is a major part of engineering coursework, along with statistics, physics and life sciences, depending on what kind of engineering you study. Math skills are listed as important qualities required by all engineers, as the profession involves the use of calculus and sometimes trigonometry in the analysis, design and troubleshooting of the work.

What Math Skills Are Needed to Become an Engineer?

Engineers are often math enthusiasts who got bored with the abstract. Even though number crunching is significant to engineers’ work, math is no more than a convenient means to arrive at a physical end. The type of math an engineer uses will depend on the type of engineer he is and the type of project in which he’s involved.

Basic Arithmetic

All math is based on the idea that 1 plus 1 equals 2, and 1 minus 1 equals 0. Multiplication and division –2 times 2 and 4 divided by 2 — are variations used to avoid multiple iterations of either subtraction or addition. One example of an engineer’s use of basic arithmetic is the civil engineer’s calculations for describing water flow across an open basin. The flow is reckoned in cubic feet per second, or Q, where Q equals the runoff coefficient times the intensity of the rain for a specified period, times the area of the basin. If the runoff coefficient is 2, the intensity, in inches of rain, is 4 and the basin — a specified area of land — is 1/2 acre, the engineer’s formula resembles this: (2×4)/(.5×43,560), or 8/21,780. The result, 0.0003673, is the volume of water, in cubic feet per second, flowing across the land.

Algebra and Geometry

When several of the factors of a problem are known and one or more are unknown, engineers use algebra, including differential equations in cases when there are several unknowns. Because engineers work to arrive at a solution to a physical problem, geometry — with its planes, circles and angles — determines such diverse things as the torque used to turn a wheel, and reduces the design of a roadway’s curve to an accurate engineering or construction drawing.


Trigonometry is the science of measuring triangles. Engineers may use plane trigonometry to determine the size of an irregularly shaped parcel of land. It may also be used or to determine the height of an object based solely on the distance to the object and the angle, up or down, from the observer. Spherical trigonometry is used by naval engineers in ship design and by mechanical engineers working on such arcane projects as the design of mechanical hand for an underwater robot.


We all love statistics. They tell us where we stand in the world, among our peers and even in our family. They tell us who’s winning. The engineer uses them for the same reasons — by statistical analysis of the design, the engineer can tell what percentage of a design will need armor or reinforcement or where any likely failures will occur. For the civil engineer, statistics appear as the concentration of rainfall, wind loads and bridge design. In many locations, engineers designing drainage systems must design for a 50- or 100-year storm in their calculations, a significant change from the normal rain concentration.


Calculus is used by engineers to determine rates of change or rates by which factors, such as acceleration or weight, change. It might tell NASA scientists at what point the change in a satellite’s orbit will cause the satellite to strike an object in space. A more mundane task for calculus might be determining how large a box must be to accommodate a specific number of things. An engineer who designs packaging, for example, might know that a product of a certain weight must be packaged in groups of no more than 10 because of their weight. Using calculus, he can calculate both the optimum number of objects per box, plus the optimum size of the box.

How to Become an Optical Engineer

Becoming an optical engineer is an exciting and challenging career choice. Optical engineers design lasers, electronic devices to control light, and respond to light. These engineers can also design optical materials with specific characteristics as needed in the industry.

Step 1

Choose a good college to study optical engineering. This can be a challenge. There are a number of different schools that offer optical engineering. Make a list of the choices and check each school’s graduation rate. Contact each school and see what types of optical research projects they are handling. Visit your top five school choices. Pay attention to the course curriculum, the age of their computers and equipment, and meet with some of the professors in the optical engineering department. Discuss the optical engineering curriculum and how long it normally takes to complete the program. Use all of this information to decide which school you will attend. Apply to your top three choices and see where you are accepted.

Step 2

Study physics, advanced mathematics, and optics while you are in school. Focus on maintaining good grades. Each level of physics, math, and optics builds on the previous courses you take. If you do not learn the lower level classes, the higher level classes will be a lot harder to complete. Be sure to ask lots of questions about anything you do not understand. If necessary, schedule one-on-one time with your professors.

Step 3

Focus on completing your B.S. in Optical Engineering and also try to get into a co-op program at your school. The co-op program will pair you up with a company in your field and allow you to take classes one semester and work at the company the next semester. This usually lasts for two years. This is important because it allows you to get valuable optical engineering experience that will make finding a job easier once you graduate.

Step 4

Decide if you want to enter the workforce now or continue school. After you have your B.S. in Optical Engineering, you could interview with optical engineering companies to find an entry level position. The second option is to continue school and get a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. in Optical Engineering. Then you’ll be in a better position to land a higher-paying job. Most people choose to enter the workforce after they have their bachelor’s degree.


  • Keep in mind that if you complete your master’s or doctorate degree before being hired, a company may not want to pay you what you are worth.

How to get the cheapest car insurance

The major crime most drivers commit against their personal finances is failing to shop around for the best premium and simply accepting your insurer’s renewal quote, which is likely to be much higher.

Younger drivers can also grab themselves potentially much cheaper car insurance by opting for one of the new blackbox policies, these put a spy in your car to monitor your driving and reward those who are careful and don’t drive at dangerous times.

Laura Keely, right, opted to have a little black box put in under the dashboard of her Vauxhall Corsa by Insurethebox.

Previously, she paid £1,800 for a comprehensive policy. Twelve months on, her premiums dropped to just £1,000 — a 44 per cent fall.

Whether you are male or female, old or young, follow our ten steps to lower premiums.

1. Shop around for the best deals

Savings of hundreds of pounds can be found if you shop around when you renew your cover.

Be careful though. When shopping around for car insurance, it’s important to make sure that you are comparing like-for-like cover. Some policies may seem cheaper, but you may find you don’t have the same level of cover when you have to make a claim.

Use an online comparison service to do the hard work for you. Put in your details and check the prices that come up. You can alter the excess that you are willing to pay and the mileage you will drive and get new quotes. Also check the insurers that don’t feature in comparison sites, the big two are Direct Line and Aviva


  •   Compare policies from more than 130 insurers with our car insurance finder (Powered by leading comparison engine MoneySupermarket)

M&S Bank will cut up to 20 per cent off loyalty cardholder’s car insurance premiums plus it promises 1,000 M&S points to cardholders taking out a new policy. Its also offers up to 90 days cover while driving abroad and uninsured driver protection.

Churchill offers a 24-hour emergency and legal advice line, an uninsured drivers promise and a five year servicing deal. Experienced, safe drivers could also get an 80 per cent discount for cover of eight years or more.

Tempcover insurance could be a good option if you are after cover for a short period of time and Marmalade have a decent offering exclusively structured for young drivers.

Sainsbury’s offers new customers with a Nectar loyalty card up to 30 per cent discount on their insurance plus they get double points when swiping their loyalty cards on shopping and fuel with the supermarket for up to 2 years. The supermarket giant is also Plus giving free breakdown cover for the first year on its Sainsbury’s Car Insurance or Sainsbury’s Premier Cover Car Insurance until 28th September 2015.

John Lewis offers a 15 per cent discount when you apply for motor insurance online. Its policies come with a no claims discount of up to 75 per cent.

The AA offers free breakdown cover for the first year with any new car insurance policy.

2. Don’t put everyone on your policy

Ensure that only regular drivers are named on the policy. You can always add someone for a few days when they really need to drive the car.

3. Protect that no-claims bonus

A long no-claims bonus is the single best way of cutting car insurance costs, so protect it.

This may increase the premium by a few pounds, but this fades into insignificance against the potential loss of a 90 per cent discount on a premium of several hundred pounds.

 But the definition of a protected no-claims bonus can vary widely between insurers.

Though accidents caused by another driver will normally have no impact on such a bonus, those caused by the insured could. The key is to always check the policy carefully.

4. Take a higher excess

Increase your voluntary excess. Agreeing to pay more towards the cost of any accident repairs will bring down premiums. If you are not at fault in an accident, the excess can be recovered.Beware being tempted to allow it to rise too high, however, especially if you have a lower value car.

5. Secure your car

Fitting an approved alarm, immobiliser or tracking device can attract a discount of around 5%. Many newer cars will come with these as standard, so make sure you check if you have them and then declare them.


1. Compare prices: Use an online comparison service to do the hard work for you.

Put in your details and check the prices that come up. You can alter the excess that you are willing to pay and the mileage you will drive and get new quotes.

Also check the insurers that don’t feature in comparison sites, the big two are Direct Line and Aviva. This is Money’s car insurance search is powered by MoneySupermarket and will search more than 130 insurers for you. Try it out here.

2. Haggle! The car insurance market is notoriously competitive. Once you’ve been on This Is Money’s comparison and found your cheapest price (below), get on the phone and start bargaining!

3. Avoid paying monthly charges: Direct debit installments generally come hand-in-hand with high interest rates.

An alternative is to borrow the money on a 0 per cent purchase credit card and then clear it within a year. [Check the best 0% purchase credit cards here]

4. Think outside the box: An accelerated no-claims bonus, such as Admiral’s Bonus Accelerator, could give you a year’s no claims bonus after just 10 months.

5. Named drivers and friends and family: If you have previously been insured as an additional driver on another policy, see if you can transfer a no claims bonus to your own insurance coverage.

Some insurers do this, including The AA and Direct Line  . Try for a discount by insuring two or more vehicles between friends or family members with the same firm.

6. Do less miles

The fewer miles the car covers, the greater the saving.

For example, a reduction in annual mileage of 5,000 miles could save a typical 35-year-old driver about £50 a year in premiums.

A cut of 10,000 miles a year could save more than £100.

But you must be honest about your annual mileage, as inaccuracy will jeopardise any claim.

Check your use cover – if you don’t use your car to drive to work or for business – both things that increase your premium – you may be able to get a cheaper rate.

7. Think carefully about adding young drivers

Adding a young, inexperienced driver to your policy can be a false economy, especially if you have a large or higher powered vehicle.

The premium will still be affected by the youngest driver and he or she may not have a no-claims bonus. Insurers have also been cracking down on fronting, where parents insure cars in their name for children to cut costs, so make sure if you are the policyholder on a car driven by your children that you are actually its main driver, or that you declare otherwise.

8. Watch out for insurance trap cars


The EU has ruled that finance companies can no longer consider your gender when deciding what to charge you.

This was triggered by a European Court of Justice ruling on a challenge by a Belgian consumer group. Its case was that the exemption for insurers contradicted the principle of gender equality.

The ban came into force on 21 December 2012, after fierce campaign for UK firms which argued that they were not discriminating between the sexes — but instead were basing their prices on statistics.

Their argument was that as women live longer they pay less for life insurance, and get cheaper car cover because they have fewer accidents. The move to so-called gender-neutral pricing will affect premiums for all types of insurance — including car, life, private medical and income cover.

If you decide to change your car, check with your insurer if the model will have a significant effect on the premium.

Sporty cars can attract a high premium and often a slightly different model or smaller engine can make a big difference in your favour.

It will also probably save you on petrol too!

9. Remember what the garage is for

If your garage is full of junk, clear it out and use it for your car.

Insurers like cars kept in garages overnight and this can dramatically cut your premium.

Aside from the benefit of not having to scrape the ice off in winter, there is a higher risk of theft by keeping the car on the road, so keeping it in the garage will be reflected in your premium.

10. Be a better driver and sign up to a blackbox

Blackbox policies, where the insurer instals a system in your car to monitor your driving, reward those who drive carefully.

Officially called telematics, these check your speed, your handling and how cautiously you drive, and also whether you are on the road at perceived dangerous times – ie the early hours of the morning.

They can cut premiums substantially once you start proving you are a good driver. The biggest win is for those whose premiums are high, especially young drivers.

8 tips for negotiating a car trade-in

You’ve decided on a car trade-in. Although you realize selling your car yourself will net you the best deal, the one-stop shopping convenience of buying a new car and trading in the old at the dealership appeals to you.

The trouble is, dealers have experience on their side, and extracting the best deal takes research, savvy and a bold approach. Below are the eight best ways to navigate a car trade-in:

1. Research the value. There are numerous Web sites where this information is available, including, says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at in Santa Monica, Calif. You also can visit Kelley Blue Book, AutoTrader, and the National Automobile Dealers Association, or check for similar cars being auctioned on eBay. If you have a CarMax store nearby, take your car there for a free appraisal.

Karla Emerson, an auto deal negotiator in Washington state, suggests taking your car to three or four used car lots currently selling vehicles similar to yours and see what they will give you for the car.

After you’ve checked these resources, you’ll be armed with the high-end and low-end sale values for your car. When the dealer asks what you want for your car, hit them with the high end of a realistic price, says Reed.

2. Make sure the time is right. Convertibles don’t sell well during Seattle’s gray, winter months, but four-wheel drive vehicles do, Emerson says. Likewise, if you owe more on your car trade-in than you think you’ll get from a dealer, you’re in a very weak bargaining position, according to Reed.

“Follow the news and trends,” says Mark Scott, spokesman for in Atlanta. “When gas prices go up, people demand more fuel-efficient cars and the values of trucks and SUVs go down.”

3. Spruce up the car. Give the car the equivalent of “curb appeal” so the potential buyer’s initial reaction is positive.

Emerson, who was a car saleswoman for 13 years, says you should rid the car of any pet or smoke odors. If needed, take it to a dealer or a detail shop and ask for an ozone generator to remove unpleasant smells.

“Remove all your personal items, wash it and vacuum the inside,” says Reed. “There should be nothing to stand in the way of the car dealer visualizing your car on his lot.”

4. Show your records. If you’ve kept all the maintenance records on your car, take them with you and ask the dealer if you can get more for your car because of them, says Scott.

5. Negotiate the new purchase and car trade-in separately. Conventional wisdom dictates that each transaction should be treated separately. However, rather than negotiating the new car price first, Reed suggests you start the deal with the car trade-in, especially if you have a fairly sought-after car. One way to find out is to put up an ad on and see what kind of responses you get. Leave off your phone number if you like and just use the e-mail address, but see how many people bite.

“The trade-in is the weakest part of the deal. But if you have something desirable, the only reason the dealer won’t take it is if he already has two or three of the same vehicle on his lot,” says Reed.

6. What should you say? Start your negotiation by letting the salesperson know you’ve done some research, says Scott. “Say something like, ‘I was researching cars online to see what I can get for this car,’ not ‘it’s worth $4,000 and not a penny less,'” Scott says.

7. Avoid game playing. Reed says some unscrupulous car dealers have been known to throw your keys on the roof so you can’t leave until you drive off in a new car.

“Avoid all this game playing, and don’t surrender your keys,” says Reed. “Make a phone call before you go, ask the used-car manager what the value of your trade-in is. If you get a negative feeling on the phone, you’ll want to scratch them off your list and save yourself a trip.”

8. Explore the tax advantage. All but eight states allow you to pay sales tax on the purchase price of the new vehicle minus what the dealer is giving you for your car trade-in. The reduction in sales tax in states with rates of 9 percent to 11 percent can be substantial.

The 15 Best Spray Paint Brands Available In America

15. Krylon

To be frank; today’s Krylon Multi Purpose aerosol spray paint covers poorly. 15 years ago; Krylon would have made #2 on this list. Over the years, instead of catering to artists, the Sherwin-Williams company (Krylon’s parent company) decided to shun the Street art community and cater to D.I.Y.‘ers and craft enthusiasts, and they even have created a program called ”Graffiti Hurts”. Graffiti Hurts is a graffiti abatement program which encourages working with police to stop illegal art before it happens, and is “designed to address the growing graffiti problem in urban areas and small towns”. A few years back, Krylon changed its valve system to a male valve rendering the spray far less controlled and less clean overall.

Krylon retails for around $3.99 per can at Walmart (price varies per store) and is still widely available in many Paint & Hardware Stores across the United States. If Krylon is all that you have; it can get your message across, however it is not even in the same ballpark of what it used to be.
14. Plutonium

Both Jerry’s Artarama and the Canadian site Curry’s, each recommended on the Plutonium Paint website as the major American and Canadian retailers, list the price as $12.99 per can. I managed to get a couple of cans “on sale” for 9.79 each–shipping not included! Plutonium is the brand on this list that I am the least familiar with, and I have to say, it actually seems like a really good paint. It smells refreshingly nice and it covers remarkably well. Plutonium is a nice and thick, environmentally friendly, American-made spray paint. It also has a ”Anti-Gravity Valve” that ensure the ability to spray paint from the can from any angle. But while keeping the price point in mind, the limited color range, and the fact that only Plutonium caps seemed to work with the paint ( .75 cents each), your money or your racking ability are most certainly better spent on any other brand of paint on this list.
13. Kobra

The unfortunate thing about Kobra is that it is really not readily available in America. The Kobra website does not list an American distributor, however I found a limited stock at AllCity, but unfortunately the good folks there seem to be busy promoting their own house brand. The valve on Kobra cans is real nice and soft, and the matte paint dries super fast. Kobra is a mid-grade designer spray paint. It has a middle range pressure system, but unfortunately it also casts a bit of undesired overspray with typical caps. All things considered; Kobra seems like a really good subway train paint. Unfortunately, that is not the typical use for the average American artist. Hopefully one day soon Kobra spray can make a few slight upgrades and increase it’s American presence and better challenge the middle slots of this list.
12. All City

All City brand spray paint is a promising new brand made by the LA Underground Hip-Hop shop in Albuquerque, NM. All City is available in 43 colors in both glossy and matte finishes, which is pretty awesome because the difference between the sheen makes the brand seem like it has double the amount of colors. All City 11 oz. cans retail for $3.99 each plus shipping. The cans feature a low-pressure smooth valve system just short of Ironlak cans. All City is starting to slowly expand with 2 new stores and new colors promised soon.
11. Evolve

Evolve Spray Paint is very similar to All City paint only its significantly more established with a top-notch sponsored demonstration team, and 87 vibrant colors. Evolve Spray Paint is flat finished and it retails for $4.00 plus shipping and handling at the 004 Connec website. Like the All City brand, Evolve is also a spray paint that is manufactured in China, and like the All City brand; it seems a bit less “evolved” than the original Chinese paint; Ironlak. With that being said, Evolve is a very decent, reliable paint, and its available for a fair price.
10. Flame

Flame spray paint is the brand new Chinese manufactured spray paint line from Molotow. Flame is only available in 40 gloss colors currently, and it retails for $4.49 per can plus shipping and handling at Art Primo. The price of Flame is slightly more than that of it’s competitors in the “Ironlak-knock-off” race, but it is the brand that seems to be the most overall similar to Ironlak. Molotow is well versed in the intricacies of making spray paint, so it will be interesting to see how this brand develops moving forward.
9. Clash / Beat

Clash and Beat spray paints are made by the same company in Italy but for two different purposes under two different labels. Clash is a medium pressure, highly opaque paint line and Beat is a low pressure line, both are available in 130 colors, and both use the standard European valve system. Both spray paints are designed for graffiti and graffiti art, but they come with a stock tip that is not up to today’s cap quality standards.

Clash seems like the better over-all brand of the two, Its an all-around paint that in some ways feels like a cheap MTN that dries a bit quicker but its nowhere near as sophisticated. Just as a heads-up; Clash has this annoying ring that gets in the way of painting sometimes and is quite hard to remove. Clash retails for $4.75 before shipping, and its available at 004 Connec.

Beat paint is very thick and it is a low pressure spray; but those two characteristics do not necessarily equate to opaque and quality lines. Its retails for $5.95 plus… you guessed it: shipping! Clash is available at
8. Sabotaz

Sabotaz 80 is a good quality spray paint at an affordable price. When Sabotaz was first imported into America some years back, it was a crappy spray paint that would have had trouble making this list. Cosmos Lac; Sabotaz’s parent company continues make upgrades on the spray’s formula. A new brand of Sabotaz 80 called Sigma 80 should make it to the States by late summer. Initial tests have Cosmos Lac and their artists hailing Sigma as good as or better than MTN 94, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Meanwhile, as far as the quality of the current Sabotaz spray paint goes; If Molotow’s Belton and German Montana brand spray paints had a baby, Sabotaz would be the “Walgreens” generic brand located on the same shelf. Possible side effects may include occasional flaking on certain surfaces.
Sabotaz comes in 120 colors and is available in a matte finish. Oinkartltd is the official distributer of Sabotaz in the United States, but it appears as though Oink is currently out of stock. It usually sells for around $4.00 a can.
7. Kilz

Kilz White Primer Sealer Stain-blocker Spray Paint is quite possibly the single best spray paint on this list. Unfortunately, It only comes in one color; White. If you are out illegally bombing and regularly using something other than Kilz to fill in; your either toy, privileged, or you have already done financially made it!
6. Fresh Paint

Fresh Paint is a new American matte finish brand, the brainchild of Oink Art. The viscosity of Fresh Paint is nearly identical to that of Ironlak and all of the look alike brands, although Fresh paint currently has a much more limited color chart. Upon initial results, fresh paint colors seem to hold up longer than Ironlak, but only after more time passage and proof can it be said with certainty. However the #1 selling point of the young Fresh Paint brand is its $2.95 price, making it by far the cheapest of the quality spray paints available in America.
5. Rustoleum

Rustoleum is still a pretty damn good spray paint. It holds up on freight trains for a really long time, its great for bombing, and if your the criminal minded type; it’s free. If, by chance, you feel the need to be told how Rustoleum could possibly be free or where one could find Rustoleum; please stop reading this, seriously.

A few years back, Rusto’ switched their caps to an all-male system, and most of the older cans that were still in stores have been swooped up by the cool rap-letter sprayers. In other words, Rustoleum is a bit less customizable without the use of a separate cap adaptor; available here.
4. Ironlak

Ironlak is the premier Chinese made, very high pigment paint. The paint is thick and its reasonably priced. Ironlak has some of the World’s greatest artists on their sponsorship team.

Back when Ironlak debuted, it was the cutting edge of Graffiti technology. In the time since, many companies have tried to imitate them and yet Ironlak is still the king of Chinese paint for now. ‘Lak has unprecedented cap compatibilities and an awesome valve. The colors are screaming vibrant and the black and the white cans are unbelievably good. However, the valve, and the thickness of the paint does tend to clog caps and cans on occasion.

In the past couple of years, Ironlak has begun to drip ever so slightly. It is note-worthy, because originally you could spray Ironlak at the same spot on a wall for a real-time 20 seconds and the pigments would just build-up in that one spot with zero drips at all. Also personally; I can’t stand the dodgy vanilla scent, but its just a matter of preference, and some artists absolutely love it.

Ironlak is made for graffiti and art, and it is awesome spray paint. Ironlak’s only real flaw is certain color’s tendency to fade in a short period of time.
3. Belton / Molotow

Molotow’s Belton brand spray is one of best paints there is. Many writers and artists consider it the best. Made in Germany, with the help of artists, Belton set the standard for it’s pressure sensitive valve system. Belton also has some of the highest grade pigment making the paint completely opaque, consistent, and vibrant. The Premium line is low pressure and contains more than 251 colors making it the largest color scale available in an individual spray paint brand. Belton also has an “Action-line” of high-pressure paint, which is the premier bombing paint of it’s kind.

The Molotow website describes the High pressure line as “smooth,high coverage and fat! These products are dedicated to fulfill huge surfaces in a fast way.” I couldn’t have written it better. Unfortunately, Belton is not widely available, and it is rather expensive at $5.95 plus shipping from Art Primo.
2. MTN

The original Montana a.k.a. Spanish Montana; or MTN is as good as spray paint gets and is the premier spray paint brand for solid quick coverage. The Hardcore line is a nice consistent high pressure gloss finish, and its available in a wide selection of vibrant colors. “Hardcore 2” is highly anticipated and it is soon to hit the American market, promising to be a quicker drying, high gloss, and high pressure line with 88 total colors, 45 of which are new to the MTN brand.

MTN’s 94 line available in 147 colors, is the perfect compliment to the Hardcore line with it’s lowered pressure, matte finish, and the 9 step chromatic color gradations. If I had to “pick the fly-shit out of pepper”; the only drawback to the 94 brand is it’s tendency to leave a very slight overspray on clean lines.

The MTN Colors site took me to this site to shop—but the prices are incredibly expensive. I usually am able to score MTN for around $4-5 dollars per can. For the price and its premium quick quality effectiveness the MTN lines are definitely one of the two best spray paints readily available in America today.
1. Montana

Montana spray paint is the best paint in the world. Montana is the winner of a close race; the price points keep MTN right there neck and neck to the end, but Montana Black and Gold spray paints are without a doubt the top dogs, the finest spray paint available. Montana is a super opaque lacquer spray paint with excellent fade and line capabilities. Its widely available for a wide range of pricing. ere’s even a budget White line Montana brand, but that’s not what pushed Montana to the top of this list. MacPherson’s lists the Gold line at an unbelievably high price ($10.00+), but it is possible to get a much better deal if you look and ask around. Both Gold and Black are weather-proof paints that function in any weather.

The Gold Montana is a low pressure, quick drying, high end spray paint. Gold Montana comes in 204 eye popping colors and offers outstanding line quality.

Montana Black is a 136 color high pressure line from Montana. Its very low-scented, rapid drying, and its perfect for applying paint quickly and consistently. The only bad thing I can say about “German” Montana other than the price is that you really have to shake it well, and I mean well, as in; “I think I have tennis elbow” well. Now go get some of these paints and try them out for yourself!

How to Spray Paint with Automotive Acrylic Enamel Paint

Automotive acrylic enamel is not just for automobiles. It is a durable finish that can be used on any metal, plastic or wooden surface. Automotive acrylic enamel paint is formulated with solvents that dry qAcrylic enamel is not just for cars.uickly, so the best way to apply it is by spraying it with a siphon gun. Rolling or brushing it on won’t properly level out the enamel, and an airless sprayer pumps out too much material for a fine finish. It’s not challenging to spray with a siphon gun. Spray outside, if you wish, but choose a cloudy day that is dry and not too hot.


  1. Fill the cup of a siphon gun about 3/4 full of acrylic enamel and screw the cup onto the gun. Put on a respirator and then turn on the compressor. Test the spray pattern on a scrap piece of wood or metal.
  2. Adjust the air pressure and the nozzle of the gun until you get a spray pattern that is about 6 inches wide from a distance of 6 inches. Loosen spray that is too thin by adjusting the nozzle or add reducer to the paint. Add reducer if the spray is chunky or uneven.
  3. Hold the gun about 6 inches from the surface to be sprayed and pull the trigger. Keep the trigger depressed while you move the gun in a steady up-down or back-and-forth motion, overlapping about half of the spray pattern on each pass. Maintain the same distance from the surface as you move the gun; don’t let it arc away from the surface as you approach the ends.
  4. When you have finished spraying the surface in one direction, immediately spray it again in the perpendicular direction to form a cross-hatch pattern. Correct drips after the paint dries.
  5. Let the enamel dry for at least two hours, and then sand it with fine sandpaper. Sand any drips until they are flat with the surface. Clean off the sanding dust with a clean cloth and spray the surface again in a cross-hatch pattern. When the paint dries, sand and spray a third coat if necessary. Do not sand the final coat.
  6. Polish the final coat with polishing compound or wax and a lambswool polishing cloth, if desired.

ist of Automotive Dealership Jobs

Working at an auto dealership is often characterized asThere are a variety of opportunities working for a car dealership. standing in the snow and selling a rundown used car. But with today’s dealerships come huge showrooms and modern repair facilities and body repair shops. Many dealerships keep up with the times and hire skilled workers in a variety of fields, from parts managers to sales managers to auto technicians.

Sales Managers

  • Sales managers play a crucial position in selling vehicles and maintaining profitability at the dealership. This includes new and used car departments. Sales managers have an understanding of the auto market and manage sales personnel. Customer relations skills are also a must. You must display a high level of ethics and morals when selling vehicles that people are to rely on. Sales managers create sales forecasts regarding operating profits and expenses. You hire and oversee sales staff and work with them to meet goals. Sales managers oversee the standards of merchandise relative to new and used vehicles, such as tires and tow kits. You work with the dealership’s general manager on sales promotions, lease promotions and advertising plans. Sales managers usually have at least two years of sales and management experience.

Service Adviser

  • A service adviser works with customers to schedule appointments for routine vehicle maintenance and repairs. The service adviser communicates with customers to provide auto technicians the problem overview. You greet customers, estimate the cost and labor for the repair, work with the client’s schedule and deal with complaints. Service advisers usually have at least two years of experience in a dealership service department and have Automotive Service Excellence certification.

Parts Manager

  • A parts manager maintains the dealership’s inventory while providing a profit from the department. Your duties include purchasing, inventory control, merchandising display and staffing. The parts manager hires, trains and monitors staff. You oversee an annual budget and work with collision repair and service departments to ensure accurate inventory. The manager creates competitive price points for high customer satisfaction. You should have one year of supervisory experience and experience in the automotive field.

Master Technician

  • A master technician makes auto repairs in the dealership’s service department. Technicians diagnose and repair unique problems rather than working on basic service or repairs. You use computer systems for diagnostic checks. Duties include examining vehicle wear, conferring with customers about vehicle problems and assisting lead technicians in recruiting and hiring trained professionals. You keep the shop clean and safe for high-quality service. Technicians should be certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence and have at least 10 years of automotive technician experience.

Automotive Engineering Job Description

The automotive industry is an exciting and challenging field fAutomotive engineers work in the motor vehicle industry.or car lovers who want to take the plunge into a professional career. Automotive engineers design, develop and improve vehicles or vehicle components. These engineers solve problems with current systems and design new ones that are functional and innovative. If you have a passion for cars and design, consider a career as an automotive engineer.


  • According to the Occupational Information Network, an automotive engineer designs, develops, builds, tests and modifies models. An automotive engineer designs and analyzes car systems, and designs control systems or algorithms. These workers develop methodologies in calibration, engineering specifications and cost estimates for new car design concepts, and control feature specifications and requirements. An automotive engineer may build models and test them. After testing models, he may modify his designs to obtain a certain level of performance.


  • According to, a salary calculator by, automotive engineers earned an average salary of $83,446. Salaries ranged from below $65,378 to above $118,068.

Industry and Outlook

  • Despite the news of unemployed workers and plant closures, motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry continues to be one of the largest employers in the country, as well as an impacting contributor to our economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost half of all jobs are located in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan with an increasing number of jobs popping up in the South. Engineers form the largest group of professionals in the motor vehicle parts and manufacturing industry. Employment is expected to decline at a rate of 16 percent through 2018 due to productivity improvements and foreign outsourcing of work.

Hours and Environment

  • According to the BLS, 29 percent of workers in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime occurs during deadlines and peak demand. Engineers can be found in laboratories, offices or industrial plants.

Education and Training

  • According to the BLS, most employers seek at least a bachelor’s degree from entry-level engineering job applicants. An automotive engineer may specialize in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering or industrial engineering. Depending on what an automotive engineer specializes in, he may have received his degree in that specialty. According to the Princeton Review, some schools offer a major specifically in automotive engineering. Some programs also combine mechanical engineering with automotive engineering.

Automatic Transmission Diagnose By Symptom

Transmission Noisy, Other Than Valve Resonance

1 Check for gear noise to verify if within normal range.
2 Check linkage for proper adjustment, wear, or damage.
3 Check fluid for proper level and/or contamination.
4 If fluid level is low, add specified fluid to bring level within cross-hatched area at operating temperature.
5 If fluid is contaminated, disassemble, clean, and service transmission, flushing torque converter and cooler.
6 Perform Stall Test. If noise does not stop, proceed to step 7. If noise stops, proceed as follows:
Run transmission in all gears and check for noise.
If noise does not stop in any gear, remove speedometer gear and check for noise. If noise stops, replace speedometer gear.
If noise stops in Low and R only, service forward planetary and/or one-way clutch.
If noise stops in 2nd, High, and R only, service reverse planetary.
If noise stops in High only, service both planetary sets.
7 Check extension housing bushing, seal or propeller shaft.

Automatic Car Starters and Manual Transmissions

3600584969_7179306883_z.jpg - Image courtesy of WatSuonDok, via Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

Question: Can a car with a manual transmission use an automatic car starter?

One of my neighbors had a remote starter installed recently. At first I thought it was kind of silly, but I have to admit that I’m getting more and more jealous as the temperature steadily drops. Maybe it is silly, but every time I climb into my freezing cold car, I can’t help but think about how great it would be if it was toasty warm instead.
The only problem is that my car has a manual transmission, and I’m not sure how that would work with an automatic car starter. Is it even possible to get one of these wonderful devices installed in a car that has a manual transmission? And if it is possible, is it safe?


First of all, you are correct on two main points: it is great to jump into a warm car on a cold morning, and a manual transmission is one of the main complicating factors in remote car starter installation. In fact, off the top of my head, there are three main factors that can throw a wrench in the process: an engine that uses a carburetor instead of fuel injection, factory anti-theft devices (i.e. “chipped” keys), and manual transmissions. Each of these complicating factors presents a unique challenge, but the good news is that it’s possible to overcome every single one of them.
Problems with Automatic Car Starters and Manual Transmissions

There are two main issues with manual transmissions that an automatic car starter has to address.

The first is that vehicles with manual transmissions won’t start unless the clutch pedal is fully depressed. This is due to a “clutch interlock” mechanism that is designed to prevent the starter from activating unless someone has pushed down on the clutch pedal.

The other main issue is closely tied into the clutch interlock mechanism. Since it’s necessary to bypass this mechanism in order to remotely start the engine, you could run into trouble if you accidentally leave the vehicle in gear when you shut it off. Although it’s unlikely that the engine will actually be able to start under those conditions, it very likely could lurch forward (or backward if the transmission is in reverse.) If the parking/emergency brake isn’t set, that could result in the vehicle rolling into a building, a roadway, or even hitting a pedestrian.

That means there are actually three things that an automatic car starter has to do if it is installed in a vehicle that has a manual transmission. It has to:

disable the clutch interlock
verify the transmission is in neutral
verify that the parking brake is activated

Solving the Automatic Car Starter Manual Transmission Problems

The simplest issue to take care of is the clutch interlock switch. In order to bypass the need for someone to actually depress the clutch pedal, the automatic car starter has to be wired into the clutch interlock. When you press the start button, the device will then disable the interlock before activating the starter. In a similar process, the device can also be wired to the same parking brake switch that activates the parking brake light on your dash. If that switch isn’t activated, the remote starter will be disabled entirely.

The issue of verifying that the transmission is in neutral is more complicated, and there have been a number of “solutions” throughout the years. Most of these so-called solutions were overly complicated and prone to failure, but modern automatic car starters take advantage of a lot of years of trial and error.

There are a number of ways to ensure that the vehicle is in neutral, but one of the safest involves a multi-step that essentially makes it impossible to accidentally start the vehicle when it is in gear. This setup involves wiring the remote starter in such a way that when you park your vehicle, you push a button on your remote, shut off the key, and the engine keeps running. You then get out of the vehicle and shut the door. The automatic car starter is also wired to the door switch, which signals it to shut the engine off. Since the engine was running when you took your foot off the brake and got out of the car, it has to be in neutral at that point, which means it will be safe to start later on with the remote.

As an added security measure, a system that is set up in this manner will “reset” if the door is opened again prior to activating the remote. That essentially means that if anyone opens the door (and potentially shifts the transmission into gear), the automatic car starter will be deactivated.
Other Automatic Car Starter Issues

Some vehicles present more of a problem than others, but a skilled technician will typically be able to find a safe workaround in just about any case. For instance, some manual transmission vehicles are designed so that the key can only be removed when the transmission is in reverse. That obviously won’t cut it for an automatic starter, but a knowledgeable technician will typically be able to alter the wiring to make it work.

Other vehicles that have carburetors or anti-theft devices require additional equipment and work, and some are best left in the hands of professionals, but even if there isn’t an off the shelf remote start kit that works, there’s almost always a viable solution available.

Commonly Encountered Torque Converter Problems (Automatic Transmission)

A torque converter does the job of the clutch in a vehicle with manual transmission. It transfers the rotating power generated by a vehicle’s engine to the transmission mechanism in order for it to shift gears automatically. There are three major torque converter parts—the pump, the turbine, and the stator.

The pump is attached to directly to the engine, and spins at the same speed as the motor. Inside the pump are many fins, which, as the pump spins, direct hydraulic fluid outward to the turbine. The turbine then spins at close to the same speed as the engine, but in the opposite direction. The spinning of the turbine causes the transmission torque converter to rotate and drive the wheels. The hydraulic fluid exits the turbine at its center, moving in the direction opposite to how it was forced in by the pump.

The beneficial part of a torque converter is that it is able to enhance torque when there is a difference between the input and output speed of rotation, which then provides about the same torque as a reduction gear. A converter can be, and is often, used not only in automobiles but also in boats and in buses used for public transportation.

A converter, like any vehicle part, gets worn out and requires the occasional torque repair or torque converter part replacement. You can also opt to upgrade your converter for a high performance driving experience. When you know the limits of your converter, you can spare yourself from torque repair woes, which is more common than you might think. Of course, most of the problems can be avoided by simply knowing the limitations and capabilities of your converter.

Overheating is probably the most common converter problem encountered by users. There is more than one reason for overheating your converter. There could be a defect on the spark plugs; the distributor timing might be off, or there is continuous high level of slippage. Torque repair shops would have to control this situation by checking for the seals, to make sure they haven’t melted away. Broken seals lead to leaks, and leaks lead to poor circulation of transmission fluid.

Due to sudden loading or excessive heating of the converter, the pump and/or turbine blades may get deformed, separated from their hubs or annular rings. On worse cases, they may even break into fragments. At the least, this type of transmission torque converter will result in a significant loss of efficiency, producing symptoms similar to those seen in stator clutch failure. In extreme cases, you might have to undergo total torque rebuild mode. Replacement of torque converter parts like the turbine and the stator is an expensive process. This problem can be rooted to plain bad and careless driving.

A converter problem called ballooning is also commonly seen among units. What happens is, pressure and stress put on the converter’s housing causes it to distort and eventually break. Hot oil and converter parts will automatically spew out. This is a very serious problem that is caused by prolonged operation under excessive loading, very abrupt application of load, or operating a torque converter at very high RPM. For efficient and high performance of your converters, make it a habit to regulate speed and load. The occasional check up is also helpful.

For torque converter services such as torque repair, torque converter installation, torque converter clutch adjustments, and purchase of new or remanufactured torques, check out Ameritorque. They service the areas of Tampa, Brandon, St Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk.

Guide to Painting Plastic Car Parts


In this article, I will give you a short tutorial on the basics of painting plastic car parts. The information I’m passing on to you is a collaboration of information and knowledge I learned as I heavily researched the subject for my own needs. I thought that I would pass on what I have learned to you, so maybe you won’t feel such a need to research so in depth!

Why I Know (Skip this section to get to instruction)

I own a black 2011 Mazda 3i Touring, and I really wanted to do something to make it stand out. When I was car shopping, Mazda’s seemed almost a rarity to spot on the road. Not terribly uncommon, but still by no means anywhere near as frequently spotted as Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Subaru…etc. However, once I got my Mazda, it seemed like I was seeing them everywhere! Not just Mazda’s in general, but 2011 mazda3’s! I was hurt that my car wasn’t quite as unique as I had originally thought. I then got to thinking of ways to fix that. I wanted something to make my car stand out, something where, if I pass someone I know on the road, I want them to know that it’s me without question.

At that point I set to thinking, what can I do to add a little flare to my car? What can I do to stand out? I considered all options, from racing stripes to spoilers, but I decided to start elsewhere. On Mazda3’s, there are 2 bumper inserts around the fog lights (or in my case where fog lights would go if I had them). I got to thinking, this is where I should start, I can paint these. Then it was on to the color selection process.. if you are like me, and you own a black car, you are both cursed and blessed when it comes to this. So many colors can go well with black! Blue, pink, orange, green, red, yellow… whatever you want, it can go on there and you can find a way to make it look good. I got it narrowed down to 3 colors, orange (also my college’s color), green (a cool & unique look with black, and my high school’s color), and red. I ended up going with the red, and I’m pretty happy about it! For those of you with cars that arn’t black or white, and don’t know what color to choose, head to your local Lowes, Home Depot, or other hardware store and go to the paint area. There are almost always large displays of little cards that have different paint colors displayed on them. Grab ones you think you like, then put them next to your car, and see how you like it! You always want to picture the finished project before you even start it.

Where to Start

Like me, you may have done some research already… or maybe I’m your first! Regardless, you’re in good hands =). I’ve only painted two plastic car parts, but I did hours and hours of research before hand. I can tell you through experience the things I did right, as well as what I did wrong, so I can make sure you don’t!

There are a few things you’ll need to get started. You’ll want paint, preferably plastic-specific paint (I used Krylon-fusion, I would highly suggest it). Krylon fusion is made specifically for plastic, and so it does not require priming. I went through about 2/3 of a can on the two inserts you see painted red here, so use you’re best judgement.. and you can find Krylon fusion at your local Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot… you get the idea. I would also very highly recommend getting the Krylon fusion ‘clear coat’. Other thing’s you may want are a very soft, fine grained sand paper, and access to warm water and (preferably) car wash soap.

If you can, remove the plastic parts from you’re car. Even better, you can do what I did: Buy replacement/duplicate parts. I bought a brand new set from an online auto-parts store. My reasoning was that if one day I wanted to sell my car back to a dealer, I didn’t want painted parts to diminish the value, so now I can just put the original, unpainted pieces back in if need be. Doing this was also very beneficial because I didn’t have to drive around with missing parts from my car while the painting process was under way. If you can’t remove the parts from your vehicle, it’s unfortunate but not unsolvable. Very carefully cover the ENTIRE surrounding area, and if you can put your car in a garage or somewhere out of the wind, do so.


Okay, so now it’s on to the actual painting process. The first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean the plastic surface. I would suggest using hot water and car wash soap. Wait for the piece to dry.

The next step has a lot more debate surrounding it. The step I took was to very lightly sand the plastic, making sure to cover all to-be painted areas evenly. The purpose of this was to create increased surface area for the paint to adhere to. Some people are very adamant not to sand plastic, saying it causes the the sanding lines to show up through the paint.. however that was not the case with my experience. Once just the first coat was applied, all signs of the sanding disappeared for me, but there could be differences between materials and finishes. So if your shaky on this, the safe course of action would be to skip sanding. If you choose to go ahead and sand, was the surface once again afterwards, and again allow it to dry (use a fan to speed up the process).

Once dry, its time to paint! Again, I would really suggest Krylon Fusion, I had phenomenal results with it, and it doesn’t require a primer. Shake the can for the directed time on the label, and follow the instructions for painting. Cover the entire area in a uniform layer, never pausing in one area too long. Make sure the paint doesn’t begin to pool, remember there are still more coats to be put on so it doesn’t have to be perfect. Again, follow the directions on the can, and apply a few more coats. I put 4 coats on and it worked well, but you can stop wherever feels right.

When the color paint is dry, it’s time for the clear coat. The clear coat adds a layer of protection that will block the forces that will act against your paint job like dirt, dust, rain, etc. I put as many clear coats on as I did color coats. Allow a full week for proper drying… and then that’s it! You’re done, enjoy you’re unique addition to you’re vehicle!

Some Things to Consider

There are a few other thing’s you might want to consider looking into. When I was looking into different suggestions of this process, there was some talk of using an anti-static cleaner. I was a little pressed for time and couldn’t find one that looked appealing… and to be honest I wasn’t sold on its necessity. The anti-static cleaner is meant to prevent dust from clinging to the plastic. There definitely won’t be a down side to using one, so by all means go for it, but I have been shown no reason to regret my decision not to use an anti-static cleaner.

As I mentioned previously, I made a couple mistakes in my process. My first mistake was not making sure the bumper insert’s came all the way out easily. I bought replacement pieces of my bumper inserts and painted those, planning to swap them out with the original inserts once I was done painting the new ones. When it came time to make the swap, it turned out that the inserts were much, much harder to get out then it had seemed, and it was no easy task getting the new ones in either. If you plan to do what I did, and get a whole new part(s) and paint those and swap later, make absolutely certain you can make the swap. I was able to pull it off without causing serious damage, but maybe I got lucky.

The other big mistake I made was due to impatience. When I finished the last step, the last clear coat, I wanted nothing more than to see these things on my car. I waited 2 days before giving in to my impatience… if you were paying attention, you’ll remember that you’re supposed to allow 7 days for proper drying. I was stupid and impatient, I thought that was an unnecessarily lengthy amount of time, after all it seemed pretty dry after 2 days. Well as it turns out, 7 days would have been preferable. I set one of my painted peaces down on the drive way, didn’t drag it or treat it roughly in any way, but when I picked it up, some of the paint had completely worn away right down to the black plastic! Luckily it was a small spot, and is very unnoticeable until you look very close. I don’t know for a fact that 5 more days of waiting would have prevented this, but I’m inclined to believe it would have.

So that’s it! I hope you’re painting experience goes well!

Any comments, questions, suggestions, input…etc. is welcome! I’ll be actively monitoring the page, so I should be able to get back to you quickly if need be! Good luck!

Also, it’s always nice to hear contributing opinions.. if you want to bounce a color scheme or whatever off of me, send me a message! Or if you want any help or ideas on things you could paint, designs to do, etc on your car, let me know the make, model & color of your car and I’ll come up with some things! Let’s make the roads more interesting!

Bed Liner Paint

Paint or Spray Bed Liner on Outside of Truck

With the advances in spray bed liner technology, materials and techniques, bed liner companies are focusing on newly found markets. The most popular new trend appears to be the application of spray on bedliner on the exterior of vehicles. Trucks are the best candidates for this new process and people are definitely taking advantage of the benefits.

A spray on bedliner is very beneficial these days to accomplish the following:

– Exterior protection

– A tough look and feel

– Less expensive application than automotive paints

Bed Liner Exterior Paint

Technology and Price Make it Possible

Line-X seems to be leading the pack getting attention about exterior bed liner coating. On USAToday a video was released that discusses the movement of car and truck enthusiasts who are looking to coat their vehicles with colored bed liner instead of automotive grade paint.

The technology is there now and it seems to be catching on rapidly. With the ability to color bedliner and with the protective aspect tested and proven through traditional bed liner applications, the market is ready and waiting.

Line-X is not the only company that has the ability to do this. Other companies are focusing on off road vehicle protection for Jeeps, trucks, SUVs as well as ATV’s and Boats. The average price to do this using Line-X is about $1500.00. Wow, that’s pretty expensive. Well, compared to a high end paint job, it’s not that bad really. Now, if you are comparing to a basic non-prep paint job from MAACO (listed at $500.00), then you are silly. This is such a cheap price and doesn’t include the proper services for a quality paint job so it’s just not a comparable service.

So, how is a vehicle coated properly with a bed liner?

Type of Coating

Whether you’re using polyurea hybrid or polyurethane it’s very important to have a UV stable material. It’s true that polyurea hybrid sets in only a few seconds which makes it favorable for spraying. It is also temperature insensitive since it is sprayed through heated hoses at temperatures ranging between 120-140 degress farenheit. However, a polyurethane can be applied with a similar process and can exhibit the same properties as polyurea.

Regardless of the material, the key is that the specific attributes of the material being sprayed includes:

– High abrasion resistance

– UV stability

– Great Adhesion

How To Re Paint A Motorcycle Gas Tank

Where to Begin…

All right, so you’ve got a gas tank, old or new, and you want to give it a new look or fix it up yourself. Well you’ve found the right article. I recently bought a 1982 Yamaha Seca 750XJ and the tank was rusted to hell, I decided to take it upon myself to re-paint it, make it look good again.

Here are the steps I found give the best results. But you’ll need a few things first.

  • Sanding Block, Sand paper, Wet and D 100 grit, 800 grit. ( These can vary but this should be good )
  • Paint Thinner
  • Automotive Spray Paint Primer
  • Automotive Spray Paint (Colour of your choice, I prefer the metallic ones)
  • Automotive Spray Paint Clear Coat
  • Automotive Wax / Scratch Remover and Buffer Cloth
  • Patience and Time ( Anywhere from 3 days to a week )

Now before I go on I just want to address those of you out there who are about to start hating on me for the specific process I used. BUT please remember, this is the cheapest and in my opinion the most rewarding way to do it. You can use any paint you want, the process is still the same, but I personally prefer spray cans. Some believe they give a shoddy looking effect but honestly I can say I’ve tried a few different ways, and my favourite for ease of use and cost effectiveness is the spray can. Now I’m not talking any old spray paint, you need the automotive stuff that you can pick up at your local Canadian Tire or other automotive hardware store. I couldn’t find it in paint shops but may have just been my luck.

Ok, here’s how to do it to get pretty much the exact same results as a professional paint shop. ( Again, don’t be hating, I say this because my buddy got his tank done professionally, and it looked absolutely no different than mine. His cost $400, mine cost $40.

  1. Step One – First things first you need to get your tank off the bike. Now you want to make sure you close off any valves and what not so that when you start taking it off, gas isn’t leaking everywhere. It sounds like common sense but a lot of people forget to do this. Every bike is different but for the most part you usually have to take off the seat first, then there is usually a large bolt you have to unscrew that’s keeping your tank on to the frame, and then of course close off the valves and undo them from the tank or the bike. If you’re having trouble with this part do a quick Google search on how to take off your bikes gas tank, there should be lots of info on it, or refer to your manual if you have it.
  2. Step Two – Tanks off? Good. Now we need to get started with protecting any openings or parts that you don’t want painted, gas cap, hoses, and whatever else. Personally if there isn’t a lot of gas in the tank I prefer emptying the tank and just cleaning it out. If you do this you may also want to inspect the inside for any rust, older and some newer bikes can get rust on the inside of the tank and that will most definitely start to cause problems, so take a look and if there is… Well that’s another article but you’ll have to deal with that as well! Ok so as I was saying I prefer everything off of the tank, gas cap, any hoses, everything, that way I just have the gas tank and don’t have to worry about the other stuff getting all messed up. If you’re unable to get some things off don’t worry, you can just tape them off with some painters tape or masking tape.
  3. Now you need to start getting the original paint off, or rust, or whatever is currently on the bike that you don’t want there anymore. You’re welcome to take a wet rag to it first but I don’t see a point as you’ll just be scraping it all off anyways. For this part you need to get a sanding block, and some “wet and dry” sand paper. To start I’d go with 80-200grit sand paper, also available from your local hardware store, usually a couple bucks for a few sheets. Get the sand paper, get the sanding block, and get a bucket of water. Put some water on the tank and start sanding. NOTE: This takes a while, my first time, I spent at least 10 hours sanding a tank. But, don’t worry, my second time I learnt some helpful tricks.
  4. So you’re sanding most of the paint away, maybe starting to see some of that pretty silver from the metal of the tank like this, this is good. You should’ve sanded at least 90% of the tank, not down to the metal but at least given most of the paint a good sand. NOW this is where it can start to get a bit easier. Get some paint thinner, you can also get a spray can at automotive hardware stores that has paint thinner, I recommend this or just paint thinner, and a shop cloth. Dab some paint thinner on to the cloth and wipe down the entire tank. Leave it for a a minute, maybe give it another wipe down, and go and grab a drink. Come back to it and you’ll notice that a lot of the paint has actually started to crack and bubble up. Start sanding again and most of the paint should be easily coming off, if necessary you can repeat the paint thinner process but for the most part you usually just have to do it once or twice. NOTE: Please make sure you’re doing this in a well ventilated area, and follow any and ALL instructions on the labels of what you use.
  5. So you’ve got a nice shiny metal gas tank now right! Or at least most of the way there? Good, lets move on to the fun part. Here you want to give it a nice wipe down, get any grit or paint flakes away and dry it off. Now I suggest using a primer, give it a nice coat all over. **When doing this, the first spray will cover 30%, you don’t have to really lather it on. The second go over you want to be a bit more methodical, going back and forth making sure to keep good lines, this 2nd spray you want to cover 90% of the tank. AND BE SURE TO HOLD THE CAN 8-10inches away, otherwise you’ll get drips and then you have to go back to sanding it down. The third spray ( and remember this is all one coat ) you want to do the same methodical back and forth but make sure to cover the full 100% of the tank. I’ll link a good youtube video for this here. And will upload my own video shortly.
  6. So the primer is on now. Let it dry for about an hour, or less depending on the type, but usually an hour is more than good. Get the automotive spray paint you bought, and start doing the same as before. For your first coat you’ll go over about 3 times, the first time getting a good base, about 30% of the tank covered, the 2nd spray about 90%, and then the 3rd spray you want to make sure you’ve coated the entire tank. Let this sit for about half an hour and do another coat in the same fashion. Once done, let it sit somewhere to dry, I’ve found that it usually needs about a day or two. And honestly after all the work you’ve done, it’s kind of nice to just let it sit for a bit and forget about it.
  7. Ok, so it’s been a few days and the tank is looking good and dry. You want to get your sanding block out again and this time fit on an 800 grit sandpaper. Start sanding again! Make sure you get the high and low spots ( tiny dips in the tank that are almost invisible until you start sanding and notice all around it is sanded, this is a low spot ). You don’t want to be too aggressive on this as you’re not trying to take the paint off, you’re merely trying to sand off any dust or bugs that have gotten stuck to the paint while it was drying.
  8. So you’ve gotten most of the tank and after wiping it down with a wet cloth you should be able to run your hand over it feeling smooth with no tiny bumps. If you have happened to get to the primer or the actual metal tank, you’ll need to repeat the coating process with the paint, and then once dry again sand it again to get off the dust. Ok, so wipe off any dust with a wet cloth, dry it, and grab the clear coat. With the clear coat spray on a coat the same way as before, 3 times, 1st time 30%, 2nd time 90%, and 3rd time 100% coverage. Let this dry and if you like give it another coat, it doesn’t necessarily need it, but I like giving it that extra protection. Once this is dry ( which is another day or so ), grab that sand paper and block again, this is the last time I promise! Sand it with the 800 again, this time getting the whole tank but very lightly, REMEMBER this is only for dust and bugs that may have gotten stuck to the paint while drying.
  9. All done sanding?! OK, you want to wipe it down again, making sure there is no dust or loose stuff on it, with a wet cloth is best, then dry it. Now grab some of that wax polish and put it on a soft cloth, and start buffering the tank. Rub it in nicely. I find this is where I start to really get some satisfaction as I can see the tank starting to shine and look real nice! Get the whole tank all waxed up and that’s it.
  10. Now you can put it back on to your bike, take a step back, and look at the beauty of the freshly painted tank, that you did yourself! Pat yourself on the back, Good job mate!
  11. If you want designs on it or anything like that, before you put on the wax, or the clear coat, you can tape off sections and do whatever you like, I’ve printed out designs and cut them out, then taped them on the tank, sprayed the cut out and wah lah, you’ve got a design on there. Then just go back to step 8 and put the clear coat on and keep going.

Hope this helps you guys out, I know it’s a bit long but when I was doing it myself for the first time, I couldn’t find anything that really gave all the instructions, just pieces here and there, so i wanted to be as in depth as possible. Please feel free to give me feedback, I’m alway open to constructive criticism! And if you have found a better way to do it let me know, I’d love to try it out!

How to Repair Scratches on Car Paints with Minimal Cost

Discovering a scratch on your car, especially if the car is new, is very frustrating. To most people a minor scratch on the car is not a big deal however to the owner of the car it is annoying. In the past even the smallest of scratches required a visit to the auto body shop, luckily today there are several alternatives available.

Scratches cause discoloration and rusting on a vehicle surface and paint. There are many guides on how to repair scratches on car paint. When the scratch is deep it exposes the metal to moisture and air causing rusting. Here is a definitive guide on how to repair scratches on car paints.

To limit the damage caused by scratches, they should be repaired as soon as possible. The first step in repairing a scratch is to establish its severity. This is not rocket science and it is done by running your fingernail across the scratch to feel its depth.

How to repair scratches on car paints entirely depends on the severity of the scratch. Some scratches are actually not real scratches but foreign material deposited on the top of the paint finish. Using a damp cloth rub over the affected area and it will easily be removed.

For light scratches a small amount of acetone or polish thinner can be used. Rub the thinner or acetone in a circular motion over and around the scratches until they are no longer visible. Alternatively a scratch remover can be applied in the same way.

Sanding a Scratched Area
Sanding a Scratched Area

Swirl marks are stretch marks that are not seen until the car is under the sun. Swirl marks cannot be felt even by running your finger nail over the paint surface. To repair them, use the rubbing compound lightly on the scratches and polish them.

To repair scratches on car paints that has been scratched severely a little more effort is required. Firstly, the area must be washed with soapy water and left to dry. Apply shoe polish on the area. For red-colored cars use a black polish and for dark-colored cars a white polish should be used.

Use a sand paper to sand out the damage. The dust produced by sanding should be blown away using a brush. Apply the body compound on the scratch. Primer paint should be used on the area before applying touch-up paint using a special brush. This is how to repair scratches on car paints without expensive tools with minimal skills and experience.

How to Write a Job Objective on a Resume for an Automotive Technician

The resume objective is your opportunity to summarize what youSpecify systems you are trained in in your objective. can bring to a job. It is where you briefly explain what automotive repair experience and education you have and tell the employer what specific job you want. It is also where you concisely state your qualifications and certifications. Keep your objective under three lines of text to make it easy for employers to read and know what kind of job you are looking for.


  1. Summarize your experience and qualifications at the beginning of your objective. For example, if you are certified as an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), you might state, “ASE Certified automotive mechanic with five years of experience diagnosing, repairing and maintaining automotive systems seeks position as lead shift technician.” Stating your experience in your objective lets an employer immediately know how well you are qualified from the first lines of your resume.
  2. State what position you want in the objective. Avoid being vague in your objective. Do not, for example, write, “Seeking position where I can grow professionally in a team-oriented environment.” Tell the employer exactly what job you want instead of leaving him wondering if you would even want the types of positions he has open. If you are replying to a specific job advertisement, insert the title of the job into your objective exactly as it is written. If you are looking for a more general position, include the title you are most interested in working. For example, you might write that you seek a position as an entry-level technician.
  3. State how you can benefit the employer’s business in your objective. Avoid focusing on what type of work environment you want or what an employer can do for you. For example, write, “Automotive mechanic seeks technician position where my experience and training in hybrid technology can increase the customer base of the repair facility.”
  4. Mention other qualifications you have in your resume objective that relate to being an automotive technician. For example, you might include your excellent communication skills in explaining customers’ vehicle problems and repairs to them, or your reputation for honest dealings with all customers. Also, include information on specific make and model systems training and experience you

How to Become a Car Magazine Test Driver

Becoming an automotive test driver is not easy. There is no set path or perfect resume. If there were ever one requirement however, it’s to have a deep passion for cars and to be able to convey that passion through your work

The Ford GT is one of the few true American supercars.


  1. Get passion. No career is worth going after with no passion behind it. Especially in the enthusiast automotive journalism field, passion is a must. Passion isn’t something you learn or gain; it’s something that’s virtually innate and which develops your entire life. For anyone looking to get involved in car testing, a passion for cars is what will drive you forward and lead you to a successful career.
  2. Get educated. There is no strict set path, degree, or way to prepare for a career as an automotive tester. The best that can be done is to try to build a resume and to gain experience in as many aspects involved in being an automotive tester as possible. Being an automotive tester requires many skills, ranging from engineering know-how to journalism experience and the ability to interestingly, entertainingly convey information that is sometimes very technical to the average person. Car magazine editors and testers include people with degrees in journalism, graphic design, engineering, and other fields.
  3. Get involved. Any opportunity that comes about that could you help prepare for this career should be pursued. These opportunities range from building a car to getting involved in race teams to taking a specific automotive course and more. It is important to build a resume with as many relevant activities as possible. Even if the experience isn’t exactly in automotive testing, take it. Writing for a newspaper, a blog or any sort of publication is useful experience and will teach you how publications are run and how to improve your writing skills and style.
  4. Get to know cars. As much fun as it might seem to thrash a car and smoke the tires, car testing is much more than having a heavy right foot. Testing a car on a race track is a great way to test sports cars’ performance and handling, but to thoroughly test a car it needs to be judged from many different angles. What is the purpose of the car? Judging a Toyota Prius for its speed doesn’t make sense because a car needs to be judged by what it was designed to do. Know what a car’s purpose is and test against that. Keep things relevant to what the car is designed for, and let the important factors stand out. Two other things to consider when trying to judge and write about a car are the car’s primary competitors and how the car makes you feel while driving it.
  5. Get lucky. Many car magazine test drivers got their first job as a “motor gopher” or “road warrior” simply by applying for the job and getting lucky. Their job was to wash cars, fill them with gas, drive them to photo shoots, and even look good in them while photographers shoot the cars. Many road warriors have turned that first car magazine job into careers. Some people join car magazines by excelling in other careers, such as copy editing or magazine production or photography. You won’t get hired by a car magazine if you don’t apply for a job there.

Automotive Engineering Job Description

The automotive industry is an exciting and challenging field for car lovers who want to take the plunge into a professional career. Automotive Automotive engineers work in the motor vehicle industry.engineers design, develop and improve vehicles or vehicle components. These engineers solve problems with current systems and design new ones that are functional and innovative. If you have a passion for cars and design, consider a career as an automotive engineer.


  • According to the Occupational Information Network, an automotive engineer designs, develops, builds, tests and modifies models. An automotive engineer designs and analyzes car systems, and designs control systems or algorithms. These workers develop methodologies in calibration, engineering specifications and cost estimates for new car design concepts, and control feature specifications and requirements. An automotive engineer may build models and test them. After testing models, he may modify his designs to obtain a certain level of performance.


  • According to, a salary calculator by, automotive engineers earned an average salary of $83,446. Salaries ranged from below $65,378 to above $118,068.

Industry and Outlook

  • Despite the news of unemployed workers and plant closures, motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry continues to be one of the largest employers in the country, as well as an impacting contributor to our economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost half of all jobs are located in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan with an increasing number of jobs popping up in the South. Engineers form the largest group of professionals in the motor vehicle parts and manufacturing industry. Employment is expected to decline at a rate of 16 percent through 2018 due to productivity improvements and foreign outsourcing of work.

Hours and Environment

  • According to the BLS, 29 percent of workers in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing industry work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime occurs during deadlines and peak demand. Engineers can be found in laboratories, offices or industrial plants.

Education and Training

  • According to the BLS, most employers seek at least a bachelor’s degree from entry-level engineering job applicants. An automotive engineer may specialize in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering or industrial engineering. Depending on what an automotive engineer specializes in, he may have received his degree in that specialty. According to the Princeton Review, some schools offer a major specifically in automotive engineering. Some programs also combine mechanical engineering with automotive engineering.

How to Flush an Automatic Transmission System

If you have ever looked through your car’s owners manual, it probably says that the car is maintenance free in a lot of areas. In fact, newer cars may even advertise you never have to change things like the automatic transmission fluid. I would not suggest you follow that advice. Engines create a lot internal heat because of the friction of the churning of the engine inside the torque converters, clutch plates, gears and bearings. This friction, or grinding, is what accumulates tiny bits of debris that eventually leads you back to the car lot to buy another automobile.

Most mechanics recommend you the change the fluid and filter every 30,000 miles for older vehicles.  Newer cars that run on Dexron III ATF are supposed to be able to go 100,000 miles

before you need to flush and replace the fluid.

If you are interested in flushing all of the old automatic transmission fluid out of your engine, the following process explains how it can be done in your garage, even by a novice mechanic, and save you money.

I should note that the following procedure was performed on a 2000 Nissan Maxima, but the procedure applies to all vehicles. I suggest you look online for a forum dedicated to your type of vehicle if you have any questions.
How to Flush an Automatic Transmission

The first thing you need to do is go and get all of the materials you will need for the transmission fluid change because once you get your car jacked up and start emptying it out, there is no stopping and going back to get what you forgot. Well, unless you have another car.

First make a list of what you need. I recommend starting out with 10 quarts of AT fluid. My preference is Mobil 1 Synthetic, but you will also want to buy some regular type of fluid, meaning less expensive, because you will be using it to flush out the old fluid, then replace, then flush again, then replace.

So rather than using the expensive synthetic fluid to flush the old out, use the less expensive fluid first, and end the process with the Mobil 1 Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid which is the fluid that will remain in the engine.
Now You Are Ready to Begin

Jack up either the front or drivers side of the car and put jack stands underneath the car.

Remove the drivers side engine undercover that protects the bottom of the engine. Be careful not to break the grommets that hold the cover in place.

Remove the drain plug from transmission and drain fluid into a proper container. This will drain approximately 4 quarts.

Insert the drain plug back into the pan and tighten.
Pour the same amount (approximately 4 quarts) of new transmission fluid into the transmission. The transmission should now be back to stock level.

Disconnect the fluid supply line at the bottom of radiator. This is the bottom line connected to the transmission. Be very careful removing this line, it’s very easy to break the hose nipple on the radiator.

Note: If the transmission fluid comes out of the bottom of the radiator instead of the hose you are holding you have the wrong line. Hook that one back to the radiator and remove the other one.

Put the end of the hose into a clean, clear or white plastic 1 gal container. While you are holding the hose get someone to start the car until the transmission pumps out approximately 2 qts  and the gallon container is half full. This should take 15-20 seconds.

Flush 2 quarts at a time to prevent draining the transmission. Remember, you are only taking out 2 quarts at a time from a system that holds 10 quarts.
Refill with 2 fresh quarts of fluid after taking out 2 quarts.  By only removing 2 quarts at a time, it allows the transmission to remain filled with enough fluid to prevent damage and also have enough new fluid in it to “push” the old fluid thru the converter and out the return line as you go.

Repeat the previous steps until fluid changes color. Since you already put 4 qts in initially and the transmission holds 9 qts we are talking about approx 5 qts.  If you buy 10 quarts and repeat the process 2 to 4 time, it will ‘push’ out all of the old fluid.  If your fluid is in fairly good condition the color change will be very small and may not be noticeable, so stop at 10 qts.
Remember to use the Mobil 1 Synthetic last when you are finished flushing it through the hose.
Reinstall the hose to the radiator.

Replace the engine cover, and lower the car.

Check the transmission fluid level by removing the dipstick to make sure you have the correct amount in the system.
Summarizing the Process

What you have basically done is removed all the fluid from the pan and the internal pump and system and replaced all fluid internal to the transmission without shocking your transmission  like the force flush machines do at the automotive shops.

This is much simpler than it sounds. I personally use clean, empty water  jugs and compare the fresh fluid level in one jug with the level of old fluid in the other jug so that I could replace the old fluid with the exact amount I took out. It is ok to eyeball the 2 quart level. Just refill the same amount, then repeat the drain process, then add another 2 quarts. The entire process should take about 30 minutes, less if you have a helper.

Tips for Changing Automatic Transmission Fluid in Ford F-250, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator

Ford Super Duty Trucks and E-Series vans are very similar
Step By Step Instructions Changing Transmission Fluid

This article will be especially helpful for owners of Ford Super Duty Trucks, Ford Excursions, all E-series vans, Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators that are newer than the year 2000. This article will also work for any other vehicle that requires a 4R100 transmission fluid change. It seems as though the need to change the transmission fluid always comes at such an inconvenient time, but as responsible vehicle owners, we realize that it’s a necessary evil. Keeping your Ford transmission healthy can save you a huge headache and expense in the long run.

It is easier than you think to change your transmission fluid, filter and gasket for your Ford F-250, F-350, Excursion, E-Series vans, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Changing the transmission fluid on a Ford F-250 is almost the exact same process as a transmission fluid change in a Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Transmission fluid for E-Series vans is necessary to keep your Ford Truck running smoothly. This article contains tips and instructions for Ford Transmission fluid changes, and is a project that you can do by yourself and save a lot of money. You can buy a Ford gasket online or at your local Ford service center at a reasonable cost. You may also want to consider purchasing Ford Filters in bulk to save you money on your vehicle maintenance.
Do It Yourself Ford Transmission Fluid Change

As we mentioned earlier, owning a vehicle comes with responsibilities, and necessary expenses. One of the most important responsibilities in Ford Truck maintenance is to regularly change your vehicle’s fluids. One of the most important fluids in your Ford vehicle is the transmission fluid. As we know, transmission health can make or break your vehicle, so it’s important to be proactive in ensuring that this maintenance is done as scheduled. If you have an automatic transmission, it is recommended that you change your ATF or automatic transmission fluid every 10,000 miles and change the Ford transmission fluid filter and gasket every 30,000 miles. Use caution when you buy discount auto parts; you may want to stick with brand name supplies to ensure that you are using high quality auto fluids with your vehicle.

When changing your transmission fluid, it is important to have all your supplies on hand before beginning your project as you cannot drive your vehicle to pick up additional automobile maintenance supplies at your local automobile parts store once you have begun. You’d be surprised how many people neglect this simple fact and end up having to either put things back together or get a ride to the nearest auto parts store. Make sure to have two gallons of Mercon Automatic Transmission Fluid or similar item on hand. It is also a great idea to have a quart of Lucas Oil’s Transmission fix. You also need a gasket which will come with the filter when you buy it. All these products are available at auto parts stores such as Pep Boys, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Checker Auto Parts and Napa Auto Parts. Call the auto parts store in advance to make sure that they have the transmission fluid or Ford parts that you will need. You will also need a drain collection pan, a standard socket set and a flat tip screw driver.

Start your transmission fluid change by parking your Ford Truck on a flat surface and engaging your emergency parking brake. Make sure to block your rear tires to make sure your vehicle doesn’t slip while you are working on it. Jack up the front end of your Ford Truck and place it on jack stands.

Locate your transmission pan in your F-250 or other Ford vehicle. It is located just aft of your transmission and will most usually have a drain plug bolt at the lowest point. Place your drain collection pan underneath the drain plug and loosen the plug slowly. Allow the Automatic transmission fluid to completely drain from your vehicle. Once the fluid is drained take the transmission pan off with a your socket set. There is no order in which to loosen or tighten the bolts just make sure not to loose them. Do make sure not to take all the bolts off of just one side and let the pan basically dangle. This could possibly bend the pan and cause damage. If that happens, you will need to find Ford motor replacement parts before you can continue. Instead, carefully remove the bolts and hold the pan up while removing the remaining bolts and lower the pan to the ground.

Clean up the pan with a lint free shop rag and set aside. Remove the filter by pulling down while rotating it gently. If the gasket did not come off with the pan, remove it from the transmission pan housing. If it is fused or stuck to the housing you can carefully pry it off with a flat head screw driver. You can purchase a flat tip screwdriver or other tools at your local hardware store, if you don’t already have one. Make sure to not scratch the housing as it might cause leaks.

Install the new Ford filter and place the new gasket on the transmission pan so that it lines up with the bolt pattern. Hold the pan in place and line the pan up with the bolt holes in the transmission pan housing. Hand tighten all the bolts back in place and use your socket set to tighten the bolts down. Make sure to not tighten the bolts so far that they warp the pan. Once the pan is properly in place, replace the drain plug and tighten it down.

If you are concerned about your transmission it is a good idea to add a quart of Transmission Fix by Lucas. It takes the place of one quart of Automatic Transmission Fluid. Lucas Oil Transmission Fix helps keep the seals from sticking, keeping your transmission running smooth. It’s actually one of our favorite additives; it seems to work wonders. This will help reduce the risk of you needing Ford transmission repair in the future.

Add 5 more quarts of Automatic Transmission Fluid. Start your vehicle and place your foot on the brake while shifting through all gears including reverse and then back up to park. Next, take your vehicle for a short test drive not to exceed 10 miles and see how it rides. You should use this test drive time to check for any leaks and to work the new fluid through the filter. Once you are back at your house, check the transmission fluid level and add fluid as necessary. That’s it! You should be good to go for another 10,000 miles

How to Make Money Scrapping Auto Batteries

Old auto batteries cannot simply be thrown away becauseMake Money Scrapping Auto Batteries they contain toxic substances, such as acid and lead. The lead makes them valuable to scrappers, though. So you can provide a service and earn money at the same time by collecting old auto batteries and selling them to a recycling facility.


  1. Locate a place to store the auto batteries. In order to make money scrapping old auto batteries, you must collect enough to make it worth delivering them to the scrapping facility. You need an appropriate place to store them, such as a concrete-floored garage or shed. Old auto batteries can develop acid leaks, so they should be kept concrete to in case of a leak. Do not store them outdoors or you may run into problems with local zoning laws.
  2. Place an ad on Craigslist for your local area, post notices on bulletin boards and spread the word among friends and co-workers. Most people like to support recycling efforts, so they may be happy to give you old auto batteries if they know you’ll be recycling them.
  3. Find the local recycling facility that offers the most money for scrap auto batteries. Auto batteries are purchased by scrappers because they contain reusable lead. If you have more than one facility in the area that purchases old auto batteries, compare the amounts they pay. Weigh this against the distance you must travel to deliver the batteries, as gas costs can offset a higher pay rate if a facility is too far away.
  4. Once you have gathered a full load of batteries, bring them to the recycling facility. Wear safety glasses and gloves when handling the batteries to protect yourself from possible acid leaks. Protect the hauling vehicle by covering the cargo area with a plywood board covered by a tarp. This should be enough to protect the area from acid during transit. If they become damaged, they are easily replaced. Drop the batteries off and collect your cash.

How to Recondition a Car Battery at Home

If your car’s battery isn’t holding a charge or otherwise is not up to par, you may be able to fix it. The most common cause of degraded battery performance in lead-acid batteries is sulfation, which occurs when sulfur collects on the lead plates in the battery, blocking the electric current. It’s not difficult to recondition a car battery at home. However, sulfation causes irreversible corrosion of the lead plates, so this process will work only three to five times.
It’s not difficult to recondition a car battery at home.


  1. Test the battery to see if it is likely to respond to reconditioning; it needs to register 12 volts on a voltmeter. If it’s between 10 and 12 volts, you may be able to restore the battery to full function, but if it tests at less than 10 volts, you’re probably wasting your time.
  2. Heat a half quart of distilled water to 150 degrees F, and dissolve 7 or 8 oz. of Epsom salts in the water.
  3. Remove the battery cell caps. If you have a sealed battery, find the “shadow plugs” that cover openings to the battery cells–you’ll need to drill through these.
  4. Drain any fluid out of the battery and use a plastic funnel to pour enough of the Epsom salt solution in to fill each cell of the battery properly.
  5. Insert plastic plugs in the drill holes or replace the battery caps and shake the battery to make sure the Epsom salts solution is well distributed.
  6. Recharge the battery on a slow charge for 24 hours and then re-install it in your car.