Archive for auto

Which Economy Cars Failed Safety Tests And Why?

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A recent crash-test that was conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed shocking information about the safety of economy cars. In fact, 10 of the 11 vehicles that were involved in this test failed, and six of them received the lowest possible score. Due to this, it is a good idea to consider the Chevrolet Spark if you are looking for a new economy class car, as it was the only vehicle to receive an acceptable rating. Keep in mind that such a rating is not what you should be looking for, especially when you factor in the importance of keeping your family safe during an accident.

The Six Worst Rated Economy Vehicles

Six 2014 vehicles were ranked as “poor”, and this is even worse than the findings that were reported by the IIHS in 2013. The test that was given to determine how safe these vehicles are included simulating an accident at 40 mph that caused 25 percent of the driver’s side front end to strike a five foot tall barrier. As you can imagine, this could lead to serious injuries or even fatalities without the proper safety precautions in place as shown by the Today Show. If you were driving any of these vehicles in New York, and a pedestrian was struck by you and killed, a New York wrongful death lawyer could take serious action against you for driving a faulty car.

Sadly, the Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Fit, Toyota Prius C, Nissan Versa, Fiat 500 and Hyundai Accent all failed this test miserably. In fact, the Honda Fit did so poorly in this test that Consumer Reports made the decision to pull their recommendation for this vehicle. Additionally, the crash test dummy that was used while testing the Honda Fit, Fiat 500 and Hyundai Accent indicated injuries to the hips, upper legs and lower legs. The dummies in the other vehicles that received a poor grade showed damage to the lower legs only.

Four Economy Vehicles that Received a Marginal Score

If you care about safety, it is important to steer clear of purchasing a vehicle that has received a poor designation. However, a marginal score is not much better. During this test, the IIHS determined that the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris and Kia Rio all performed just well enough to receive a marginal rating. This is bad news for consumers who place safety at the top of their wish list. The test dummies in the Mazda 2 and Kia Rio sustained lower leg injuries, and the dummies in the Toyota Yaris had marginal damage to its lower legs. Fortunately, all of these vehicles did provide an acceptable or good level of protection for a driver’s head, neck, chest, hips and thighs. However, the structural integrity of each vehicle on this list received a marginal score, and this can easily lead to additional injuries.

As you can see, it is definitely important to review safety information before you make a purchasing decision. In the economy grade class, the Chevrolet Spark is the only economy car that prevented its testing dummy from receiving any injuries, earning it IIHS’s 2014 Top Safety Pick award.  However, even if you select the safest car available, it is still possible for you to be injured in an accident. Therefore, you should always remain alert at all times while you on the road.

Domonique Powell has always read consumer magazines to get advice on the best purchases for her family, especially cars. While researching this article, information provided by a New York wrongful death lawyer proved most helpful in understanding the process of claims made in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Why You Should Not Ignore Automobile Recalls

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The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) whose main objective is to monitor complaints against motor vehicles or manufacturers and issue recalls of those vehicles if they pose a danger to the public. Since its inception, the NHTSA has recalled nearly 500 million vehicles for safety issues.

If you receive a recall notice on your vehicle, it is imperative that you take the vehicle into a dealership and have the item repaired or replaced. Not only does this protect you from potential harm, it also protects your rights as a victim if you are involved in an accident.

When You Are Involved In An Accident

Auto manufacturers attach recall notices and repairs to the VIN number of a car. This method of tracking allows manufacturers to know where the car is after it has been sold in the event that it has been resold. These recalls and repairs will stay attached to the car until it is registered as scrapped. This information can be accessed by attorneys and insurance companies by request and can be used as evidence in a case.

The website of a Chicago car accident lawyer lists faulty vehicle claims as one of the leading causes of car accidents. One of the components of a lawsuit is research. If, during that research, it is discovered that you had a recall notice on your car and you did not have it repaired and that defect was either the cause of the accident or your injury your rights as a victim may be compromised.

The insurance company may see this as an act of negligence on your part and deny any claims that you make for compensation. While your attorney will aggressively fight the insurer on your behalf, there is a risk involved that you may not receive any or very limited compensation due to the recall repair not being completed.

Recalls Are Very Serious

Due to the scope of a vehicle recall and the expense associated with implementing a recall, the NHTSA only issues recalls if there is “unreasonable risk to the safety of the vehicle occupants” if the repair is not implemented. Auto makers can impose voluntary recalls for any reason, but safety recalls enacted by the NHTSA must be completed by the car companies.

Common reasons for recalls include:

• Defective parts that impact acceleration and can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
• Defective steering components that cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
• Defective fuel system components that will cause the car to stall.
• Defective brake components that can cause loss of braking or brake lock-ups.
• Defective air bags, either in deployment or when in use.
• Defective tires.

Other recalls have been issued for things such as faulty components holding the seats in place and defective door handles that fell off on impact and trapped people in the cars.

It is important to remember that most recalls occur as a result of several people being hurt by these exact defects. The NHTSA will not randomly issue recalls until there is a distinct pattern of danger from a vehicle.

It can be an inconvenience to take your car into the dealership and spend the afternoon waiting for a repair, but it can mean the difference between being injured and walking away from an accident. It can also mean the difference between receiving full and fair compensation and having your claim reduced or denied.

Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer who frequently researches product liability and car accidents. By performing an online search using criteria such as Chicago car accident lawyer and automobile recalls she was able to validate the information contained in this article.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons 

The Extremes – How to Maintain Your Car in Both Severe Heat and Cold

The Extremes - How to Maintain Your Car in Both Severe Heat and ColdExtreme temperatures can cause undue stress on your vehicle. Keeping your car in a garage or covered space is a number one defense to protect it but that isn’t always possible. As an owner there are several other steps you can take to ensure your vehicle is maintained so you have a dependable means of transportation even in the most severe of weather conditions.

Oil Changes

Schedule your oil changes and keep that appointment! It can’t be stressed enough how important clean and recommended oil levels are for your car’s engine. Extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on your car’s engine and oil is a first offense to safeguarding it. In severe cold make sure you start your car and leave it running for 3 – 4 minutes before driving it. Warming the engine also warms the oil for smooth engine lubrication and brings the oil level to an acceptable standard.

Tire Pressure

High heat and sub-zero temperatures cause the pressure in your tires to fluctuate. Too much or too little pressure can cause tires to go flat. The recommended pressure is written on the side of your tires as PSI, which stands for pounds per square inch. Your local technician can do this for you or you can invest in a tire gauge to track the pressure yourself. Check all four tires and stay within the recommended PSI for optimum performance.

Windshield and Windows

If ice has formed on the windshield or it is covered with heavy snow, don’t use your wipers to try and scrape it off. Not only will the wipers become damaged, you could damage the motor that runs the wipers. The same with your side windows; electronic windows are controlled by tiny motors that can become damaged if you try to put them down when they are frozen shut or snow covered. Replacing a motor can be costly and inconvenient. Technology has made huge improvements in auto glass but it is still susceptible to stress caused by heat and cold. Chips and cracks are more apt to occur during extreme temperatures. Drive a safe distance from other vehicles that could toss stones or other debris at your car.

Battery

Batteries that are 4 – 5 years old could leave you stranded in both hot or cold whether. According to professional mechanics that work on Subaru Tribeca parts, newer model cars have many electronic components that draw the charge even when the car isn’t running. The heat can be very harsh on the car battery. Extremely high temperatures will cause your battery to corrode faster, and can even evaporate your battery fluid. If there’s any question about the battery, it is best to change your battery before you have no choice.

While you may not be able to avoid driving in severe weather, it is important to know the facts about how these extreme temperatures can damage your car. Most importantly, if you are leaving your car somewhere for a long period of time, try to make sure it is in favorable temperatures. Letting your car sit out in the cold for three weeks while you are on vacation, or putting it out in the hot driveway for a few days is not a good idea. If possible, find optimal storage space for your car in order to protect it from harsh temperatures, and you’ll save yourself a big headache as well as money in the future.

4 Essential Steps to Storing Your Car in the Winter

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Some cars are just not meant for the rigor and abuse a harsh winter can deliver, so it’s into the garage for your baby. Whether you’re in possession of a classy BMW, an iconic ’69 Corvette Stingray, or you just don’t want to drive that Audi convertible through the salt-laden ice and snow, there are a few steps that you should take in order to stash your ride for a few months.

Winter can wreak havoc on a vehicle, even if it isn’t being driven. Just because you aren’t trampling over the dirt, grime, salt, rocks, moisture and dust doesn’t mean that your baby isn’t going to come into contact with these nasties. It is important that you keep this in mind, because there is a delivery method for winter problems: the wind.

When the wind whips up, it carries those particles, and they begin to accumulate on car surfaces. Also, critters are another concern, because your vehicle looks like a lovely home for them. There’s a good chance that you’ve experienced this before: the month of April arrives, you gleefully skip over to your pride and joy, remove the cover and find patches of rust and other cosmetic evils! How can this be?

Let’s avoid such a tragedy this year.

1. Store a Clean Car

Before your Chevy hibernates for the winter months, you need to clean her. No, we don’t simply mean just a quick scrub — we mean a thorough, total, elbow-grease-driven kind of clean.

Be sure to remove any problem areas that already show dirt, as this will attract and hold moisture like a sponge. Also, don’t allow any rust spots to persist, as these will only worsen over time, and especially over the winter. Similar to how that lovely-smelling ocean salt spray can damage your car’s paint job, the wind-blown salt from the roads will do even worse. That kind of salt is actually more damaging and will likely accelerate rust corrosion.

Next, protect your ride with a good, dirt-rust-moisture-repelling wax. If there are any exposed metallic surfaces, then be sure to hit those with a protective polish. Even WD-40 will do a fantastic job at keeping the evil grime-monster at bay.

Last, clean out the inside of your vehicle. Not only will it be nice to come back to a spic and span beautiful car, but leaving that old Twinkie rapper and bag of curly fries in the back seat could cause more than just a stench problem. It could toss up a flag that says, “Please live in me! I have food!”

2. Critter Proof

Now that we’ve gotten the hardest part out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about that other issue of winter storage: critters. Tiny rodent creatures will find just about any crack or crevice to turn into a lovely winter home. This might be convenient for them, but it could be very bad for you.

First, you will want to shove a sock in the tail pipe. This makes sure that nothing will live, or die, in there. The implications of a critter living in your tailpipe should be somewhat obvious.

Unfortunately, mice are also a major issue, but the biggest problem with them is their size. These guys can climb into just about anything. It’s said that dryer sheets and mothballs might do the trick of keeping them away. However, there really is no foolproof way of keeping them out. The key is to make it less inviting and a little bit harder to access.

3. Car Cover

This step is arguably the most important. You need to get yourself a car cover that will fit your particular vehicle and not leave any surface material exposed. The car cover will not only keep out the rain, ice and snow, but it will also make it just that much more difficult for a critter to find a home in your baby.

There are plenty of nifty custom car covers that will fit snuggly over your vehicle. The best part about them is that they give your ’72 Corvette a snazzy place to hibernate for the winter.

Unfortunately, car covers will not block out the wind, which means they won’t be able to keep all moisture out, but it is certainly better than exposing your car to the elements.

Buying A New Car: 5 Tips To Help You Find The Right Car For You

Purchasing a new vehicle is an important and daunting task. You’ll be spending tens of thousands of dollars for even the most basic of cars and you will likely be driving the one you choose for the next five to ten years. Here are 5 tips to help you choose the right one.

Buying A New Car- 5 Tips To Help You Find The Right Car For You

1. Used or new?

When you’re purchasing a vehicle there are three main options: new, used, or certified pre-owned. New vehicles have never had a previous owner and are easily customizable. Used cars have been owned by another person or car rental company. They tend to have some wear and tear and the condition of the engine and interior, the model year and the mileage will determine the car’s value. Certified pre-owned vehicles are a great option. They go through a vigorous check by the dealership and usually carry the option of an extended warranty. Understanding these options and your budget will help you decide which is best.

 

2. Determine your ideal body style

There are six main body styles: coupe, sedan, minivan, SUV, truck and convertible. Deciding which body style best suits your needs will put you one step closer to choosing the right vehicle.

 

3. Consider the importance of the estimated MPG

With gas prices at an average of over $3.00, you may want to sacrifice the performance of a V8 or the space of an SUV for a more fuel efficient option. Spending a little more for a hybrid vehicle could prove to be your best option.

 

4. Understand which package options you want

Today cars and trucks come with a multitude of package options. There are built-in GPS navigation systems, heated seats, and DVD entertainment systems, just to name a few. Knowing which options are important for you to have will help you be sure you get the car you want.

 

5. Look for specials and promotions at dealerships

Many dealerships offer seasonal and year end specials. Holiday deals, like 0% financing, are most common around Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Christmas. Cash rebates may be offered for a particular model in a specific location, such as the Cadillac ATS in Kansas City. You may choose to buy a vehicle that can offer you the most bang for your buck.

 

Picking the right car or truck is important. By considering these things ahead of time, you can feel confident while you knowledgeably shop for the car you want and need.

Top 5 Luxury Cars That Are Actually Worth Their Price Tag

As prices increase for today’s vehicles, it’s harder to find those that actually deliver a performance worthy of their price tag. However, when it comes to luxury vehicles there are several that have impressed those in the know enough to recommend them as being worth every penny one would spend on them.

BMW X5

If it’s a luxury SUV you want, the BMW X5 is the best of the best. Priced at $64,000 it comes with plenty of gadgets to please any driver, such as a glass-panel moonroof, heads-up display on the windshield and rear entertainment center to keep the kids happy on those long road trips. When it comes time to purchase tires for the X5, one of the best websites offering high-end tires for luxury vehicles is http://simpletire.com/.

Volkswagen Touareg 3

This SUV, usually seen only in off-road competitions, has unveiled a street-legal version of itself. Priced close to $400,000 it comes complete with a roll cage, 0-to-60 acceleration in under six seconds and 300-horsepower engine that lets it handle everything from deep mud to asphalt roads. For those who want a vehicle that can go almost anywhere, the VW Touareg3 is the perfect choice.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Bespoke

When it comes to luxury vehicles, Rolls-Royce continues to set the standard. The Phantom Bespoke, priced at $447,000 can be customized with almost anything imaginable, from a wine refrigerator or cigar humidifier to safety features and custom paint matched to a pair of shoes.

Conquest Knight XV

Priced at $629,000 this is an SUV that offers just a little extra luxury for those with money to spend. A 400-horsepower V-10 engine, joystick-controlled searchlights and transparent armored windows make this the choice of everyone from heads of state to pro basketball players like Dwight Howard. It even comes with a James Bond-like smokescreen feature to ward off potential attackers or persistent paparazzi.

Presidential State Car

The ultimate combination of security and luxury, this modified Cadillac is made to withstand a terrorist attack or almost anything else. With a price tag of almost $500,000 it has 8-inch thick doors that weigh as much as a cabin door of a Boeing 757, a driver’s window that can withstand armor-piercing bullets and reinforced tires with steel rims to withstand a direct hit.

Whichever of these cars is purchased, the owner is sure to have an experience behind the wheel that will be the stuff of legends for years to come.

Bought A New Car: 5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Vehicle

No matter where you plan on driving, there’s probably a good chance that you’re going to want your car to last as long as possible. In order to maximize the benefits while owning any car, here are five things to keep in mind:

Bought A New Car- 5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Vehicle

#1 Sharing Rides

If you know of a co-worker, friend or someone who you can share a ride with, consider doing it. This is a great way to put fewer miles on your car, help the environment and put more money in your pocket. Even if you don’t know of anyone that you can share a ride with, many states have programs set up that you can join for free to find a compatible driving partner.

 

#2 Don’t Forget the Oil Changes

No matter where you plan on driving, always make it a habit to get an oil change at least every 5,000 miles. Every 25,000 miles, it’s best to get a professional tune-up done too. There are have been countless studies that have shown owners getting their cars up to 300,000 miles – all because of regular maintenance.

 

#3 Tire Pressure

Under-inflated tires can effect the fuel consumption by more than 10 percent. Uneven and older tires can place a lot of wear and tear on your car, and the experts at The Auto Stoppe Car Tires recommend that your tires should be changed every 45,000 miles or so, depending on the tire type. If you do need new tires, consider reputable organizations, before letting them work on your vehicle. Professionals who know tires will be able to tell you if your car should have a new set installed.

 

#4 Regular Undercarriage Inspections

Whether you know how to do inspections or you have a trusted mechanic, make sure that you get your undercarriage checked every time you get an oil change. During this inspection, the steering, suspension, braking system, fuel lines, tire and fluids should all be checked accordingly. Any type of damage or even signs of wear and tear can lead to component damages down the road. If anything needs to replaced, it’s best to do so immediately.

 

#5 Wash the Car

Keeping a vehicle clean is a great way to keep the value high and prevent rust from forming. Every six months, hand wax the car and perform a deep clean on the carpets and interior. A dirty, unkempt vehicle is known for corrosion problems and can show potential buyers in the future that you don’t care about your car.

 

By following these simple five tips, there’s no reason your odometer won’t reach the six-figure mark.

Looking For A New Car? 4 Tips To Help You Find The Right One For You

In too many cases, people decide on a car because of its trendy design or aesthetic qualities that are pleasing to the eye. However, buying a new car is a large investment that needs to be taken more seriously to find a car that will not exceed your budget or leave you unsatisfied in the long-term. If you are in the market for buying a new car, read on to find four helpful hints for how to find the right one to suit all of your transportation needs for years to come.

Looking For A New Car- 4 Tips To Help You Find The Right One For You

1. Assess Your Car Needs

Instead of focusing on your wants and wishes, it is important to determine everything that you will need the car to possess to be the right vehicle for you. For instance, take a while to think about how you will be using the car, such as for driving on the freeway, on city streets, or off road in the backcountry. Ask yourself if you need a manual transmission, all-wheel drive, large cargo capacity, adjustable seating features, or the latest GMC accessories in Kansas City.

 

2. Establish a Clear Budget

Unless you have a large sum of cash lying around, you are going to need a loan from a bank or lender to afford the car. Before falling in love with the charms of a certain car, it is important to establish a budget on what a comfortable monthly payment would be. It is wise to never get trapped in a monthly car payment that is more than 20 percent of your take-home income each month.

 

3. Decide Between Buying or Leasing

When deciding how to finance your new purchase, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of buying or leasing for your individual situation. For instance, leasing comes with the benefit of requiring little money down and low monthly payments, but you will need to find a new car soon when the lease ends. On the other hand, buying is more expensive upfront with higher payments, but the car will be yours until it stops working.

 

4. Check Dealer Inventories Online

With the power of the Internet, you can more quickly and easily cover more ground by checking dealer inventories online. It is like bringing the car dealership to your own sofa. Once you have an idea in your mind about the car you want, search through dealership inventories across the Internet and compare selling prices. After you find some options, schedule a test drive for behind the wheel experience to make your decision a little easier.

 

If the choice for your new car is not clear immediately, sleep on it or test drive some more cars. While choosing the right car is important, there is more than one perfect solution out there for your driving needs; you just need to find it. Happy shopping!

How to Change a Car Battery in 10 Steps

A dead battery can’t be recharged and will leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere quite often – not something you want when you’re miles away from home, or on a cold winter’s day. Batteries tend to come with expiry dates and if they don’t around half a decade is the expected norm. Removing a batPhoto-CarBatterytery before the end of its life expectancy and replacing it with another is quite an easy task once you know how. And, if you don’t we’re going to teach you – here’s how to change a car battery at home and save going to the garage to have it done.

  • Firstly, turn off your engine and ensure that the vehicle has its handbrake on.
  • Open up the bonnet of the car and put a blanket or a soft rug over the bumper area. This is there to prevent any of the battery acid that may have escaped causing problems to the paintwork.
  • Battery terminal cables now need to be removed. Each case is different here and you will need to take a close look at your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has negative ground. In this case, use a wrench to loosen the nut and bolt on the lamp, with the battery cable on the negative terminal. If the vehicle is positive ground, loosen the positive terminal. The cable should now be removed and placed out of the way. Do this then with the other cable and lay aside. Often the bolt can be tough to remove. In this case take hold with one wrench and the nut with the other and move the wrenches in the opposite direction. This should loosen it.
  • The battery may be in place by a bolt of screw, remove this completely, using your hand to make the final turn to avoid it falling away into the engine.
  • Now, you can remove the battery and place it out of your way.
  • If there is rust on the tray that held the battery, wear some gloves and clean it with some baking soda in water. Make sure that the area is dry before the next step.
  • Get the new battery and place it in the tray and ensure it’s in the same direction as the previous one.
  • Replace the pieces that kept the previous battery in place and ensure that the battery is fully secure.
  • This is important – put the cables on the terminals in the opposite order to the way you removed them. So, for instance, if your vehicle has negative ground places the positive back first. Ensure that the clamps that hold the cables to the terminal are tight. Your car battery should now be replaced and you can close the bonnet of the car.
  • You should now take the old battery to a recycling centre that will accept batteries and so that it can be properly disposed of. Throwing a battery in the rubbish will cause serious environmental issues as it’s filled with heavy metals and corrosive liquids. At alpha-batteries.co.uk we help recycle and the same is true in places you buy a battery from will change it – so just enquire about it.

Now, your battery should be changed and your car ready for a number of years of trouble free driving.

Everything you Need to Know About Private Registration Plates

While new car sales activity appears to have slowed in Europe, the UK continues to buck this trend by showcasing signs of roust growth. After a staggering 18 consecutive months of growth, the British market shows no sign of depreciating any time soon.

This is also triggering rising levels of activity in the car accessories market, including those for your vehicle interior and even private registration plates. You must remember that you have legal obligations as when purchasing the latter, however, while you must also choose from a vast array of options.

3 Things you Should Know About Private Registration Plates

With this in mind, what should you bear in mind when sourcing and purchasing private registration plates for your car? Consider the following: -

Cost Implications and your Budget

Not all private registration plates are created equal, which means that there are products available within a wide price range. Resources such as Plate Hunter provide consumers with access to more than 30 million DVLA number plates, for example, which range from cheap options to extremely costly private products. It is therefore important to start by establishing a budget and attempting to identify the exact type of plate that you would like, so that you can strike a balance between these two considerations.

The Type of Registration Plates on the Market

There are also numerous different types of private registration plates on the market, each of which offer something different to consumers. While contemporary style registrations consist of two letters, a two figure age identifier and three further letters, for example, prefix plates include the year of the vehicle at the beginning. You can also select from prefix, suffix and dateless registration plates, with the latter particularly popular as they do not include an age identifier and can feature a personalised combination of letters and numbers.

The Legal Implications

If you are committed to buying an expensive personalised plate that reflects an inherent passion or a loved one’s initials, it is easy to lose sight of your legal obligations as a vehicle owner. Without vehicle registration, your car is not eligible to be driven on the road, as this guarantees that it has met crucial engineering and quality control standards. On an additional note, remember that the plate that you purchase must be the same age or older than your vehicle, as otherwise you risk incurring a big fine or financial penalty.

There a huge number of DVLA registration plates available to private consumers, and while some are relatively affordable others are more costly personalised products. The choice that you make should be influenced by your existing budget and personal tastes, while it also important to remain focused on your legal obligations as a vehicle owner.