Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2007 Audi TT 1.8L Coupe Sport Review

By: Ko Kot

The new 2007 Audi TT 1.8L Coupe Sport is going to be a hot update to an Audi classic. The combination of the classic Audi style and new and exciting updates is going to make it one of the hottest cars on the 2007 market. Its power, style, and performance make it a dream to drive.

This car is designed for a driver. Its interior contour puts everything a driver needs within their reach, which is in keeping with the classic Audi style. It incorporates the signature Audi circles in an attractive and stylish look.

It has comfortable room for four with sports seats that provide excellent side restraint. Folding down the back seats can increase its rear luggage capacity to 24.7 cubic feet.

Interior options and features are amazing, including state of the art audio, three different leather interior selections, and great in dash navigation system.

The body of the 2007 Audi TT 1.8L Coupe Sport is sleek and a bit longer then its previous models. It uses the ASF space frame design designed by Audi. For the first time, it uses steel and aluminum along side each other and an extended track that gives you sixteen to eighteen inch wheels in a perfectly balanced combination that helps keep the car stable and incredibly nimble.

The engine of the 2007 Audi TT 1.8L Coupe Sport comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. The four-cylinder engine is front wheel drive. It has the capability to go zero to sixty-two miles per hour in 6.4 seconds with top speed of 150 miles per hour.

The 2007 Audi TT is going to turn some heads. It has the classic Audi style with a new and fresh look. Anyone found of a well handling and good-looking car will instantly be enamored with this great machine. Everything you want to know about cars

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The Benefits Of The Hybrid Car

By: Richard Henderson

Hybrid cars: The vehicles of the future? With the price of gasoline hiking up to astronomic proportions, a lot of motorists are resorting to different ways to save on fuel. Some of them use alternative diesel. Others resort to using bikes, which can also contribute to the clean air program. Some who cannot do away with their rides, however, chose to buy hybrid vehicles. What exactly is a hybrid car? Primarily, a gasoline-electric hybrid car is a combination of an electric car and a gasoline-run vehicle. To make things clearer, it is first necessary to distinguish the characteristics of those two kinds. A gas-powered vehicle is equipped with fuel tanks, which gives gasoline to the engine. The engine operates the transmission, and the transmission operates the wheels. Meanwhile, an electric car is equipped with a set of batteries which gives electric power to a motor. The motor then operates the transmission and the wheels.

Now the hybrid car is a mix of the two. The reputation of hybrids is that they add to the car's mileage with fewer emissions usually coming from cars run by gasoline, while eliminating more or less the disadvantages that comes with electric cars. Motorists usually take three considerations in mind when judging the usability of a vehicle. These are: -it should run at three-hundred miles at least between fuel stops. -Should be easily refueled, in the minimum amount of time. -It should catch up with the other vehicles zooming on the road. The thing is, a gasoline-powered car has all these features, but it produces lots of emission plus the mileage is poor. On the other hand, an electric car gives off almost zero pollution, but the speed is relatively slow, and can only run 50-100 miles between battery charges.

What are the parts of hybrid cars?

1. Gasoline engine Compared to the engine of other cars, hybrids use smaller ones and is more technically advanced in order to maximize fuel and lessen emissions.

2. Fuel tank This serves as the device for hybrids to store energy for the gasoline engine.

3. Electric motor The motor present in hybrids is a study in sophistication. It can serve as both generator and motor.

4. Generator Much like an electric motor, but its only purpose is to provide electrical power.

5. Batteries Acts as the storage device of energy for electric motors. The advantage of hybrid car motors is that they can charge the batteries with energy as well as get energy supply from them.

6. Transmission Acts the same as conventional car transmissions.

There are two ways in combining the energy sources found in hybrid cars. The first one is the parallel hybrid, which is equipped with a fuel tank that provides gasoline to an engine, and a battery set that supplied energy to the electric motor. The second one is the series hybrid. In contrast, the generator is powered by the gasoline engine, and the generator is capable of either energizing the batteries or provide power to the electric motor that starts up the transmission.

Peter Basset runs his own home based marketing business but in his spare time writes articles about his! Why not visit one of his websites full of Hybrid Car Articles

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Use only genuine Infiniti parts for your Infiniti car

By: Tim Johrer

Do you own a luxury vehicle or any other kind of vehicle? Well, then you must know perfectly how important it is to use proper parts to replace any parts of your car that has been damaged or is not functioning properly. Since you have your own car it is very natural that you will take of your car and travel long distance to spend holidays with family and friends for celebrating any special occasion. So if you own an Infiniti vehicle, you know how important it is to use Infiniti parts if you want your vehicle to be in proper working condition for a long time. You will require only genuine Infiniti parts if you are serious about your Infiniti.

If you do decide to travel quiet a distance in your luxury infiniti car, make all the provisions to take care of your car in case you happen to encounter any difficulty during the journey. Being prepared beforehand will be of great help to you. After all, you do not know at all what kind of difficulty you are going to encounter on the journey. And you do not know if you will find any dealer that sells infiniti parts on your way or not.

There are several dealers who specialize in selling Infiniti parts to customers. If you happen to be the proud owner of an infiniti vehicle just make sure that you also know about all the dealers who are operating in your city and sell Infiniti parts to customers. Anytime you may need these parts to correct whatever that may be wrong with your car. Infiniti luxury cars are a very much in demand among luxury car users.

Beware of frauds and there are many fake dealers who will try their utmost to convince that their parts are genuine. You have to make sure that you do not fall prey to such fake dealers and also do not use those parts for your car. Finding out genuine dealers of infiniti is not a big deal in your city. The web is a simple source through which you can find out the best infiniti dealers. Mostly, you can find infiniti parts with dealers who sell infiniti car. This ensures that you do not have to search in different places to find the parts that you are looking for.

If you have to replace parts of your car, make sure that a mechanic working with your infiniti dealer does the work for you. The work done be any other mechanic may not be ideal for the proper running of your car and this can also cause damage to your Infiniti car. So be very careful about all these aspects while taking care of your car.

Tim Johrer has a special interest towards luxury cars and knows that the level of class defines luxury cars.He provides information to customers about different range of Infiniti cars.For more information related to Millennium Infiniti,Infiniti dealer New York and NY Used Car Manhasset visit

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Disadvantages Of Hybrid Cars

By: Adoz Lizzat

Hybrid cars will save the planet. That's what you might think after experiencing the hybrid-mania that is currently popular. Rising gasoline prices have gas-addicted consumers scrambling for ways to save both gas and money. Cars are the main users of gasoline, so it makes sense to start there. Those willing and able to switch vehicles are often choosing hybrid cars. The advantages of hybrid cars are generally well known. What are the disadvantages of hybrid cars?

One of the disadvantages of hybrid cars is the cost. Hybrids generally cost more than their gasoline-only counterparts. It is expected that these specialty cars would cost more. After all, they have two power plants: a gasoline engine and an electric motor. This is one of the disadvantages of hybrid cars that is easy to overcome.

Hybrid cars begin paying for themselves immediately in reduced gas usage. In the U.S., many hybrids come with a tax credit for the customer, resulting in additional savings. Hybrid costs are steadily reducing as the technology matures. Cost appears to be one of the disadvantages of hybrid cars until you examine it more closely.

Service, parts and maintenance can be one of the disadvantages of hybrid cars. Any garage or mechanic you pass can probably fix your gasoline car. Who will fix your hybrid? Will you have to take it back to the dealer or to an expensive specialty shop? Smart consumers can negate this particular one of the disadvantages of hybrid cars with careful research.

Another of the disadvantages of hybrid cars is that not all hybrids are built alike. Not all hybrids provide phenomenal gas mileage. Some hybrid models only provide a 20% to 30% fuel efficiency increase over the non-hybrid model. Some of the all-gasoline compact cars with manual transmissions are rated for higher fuel efficiency than some hybrids. Once again, diligent research can get rid of most of the disadvantages of hybrid cars related to fuel efficiency.

This may sound strange, but one of the disadvantages of hybrid cars is that they still burn gasoline. They burn much less gas than internal combustion cars. However, hybrids burning gasoline still require a stop at the gas station, and they still create pollution. Research on better hybrid batteries and on fuel cell cars is promising. Perhaps even the disadvantages of hybrid cars involving gasoline will eventually be beaten.

What really are the disadvantages of hybrid cars? There don't seem to be any substantial ones at this time. Big changes are due in the near future. Until then, any of the disadvantages of hybrid cars can be neutralized with careful planning and research.

Adoz Lizzat is the webmaster of Hybrid cars. A great resource for Hybrid Cars. For More Information visit

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Monday, February 5, 2007

180 MPH From An Ordinary Production Sedan

By: John Hartley

If you would like a car that looks almost ordinary, but that is as fast as many supercars, buy the BMW M5. Yes, on the outside, this is an ordinary European sedan – but under the hood is a 500 bhp V-10 engine that you might imagine came from a sports-racing car! Will it do 180 mph? No, it could, but it won't because BMW uses a limiter to prevent you going faster than 155 mph on all its hot cars. Actually, BMW says it will do over 190 mph without the limiter in operation.

The BMW M5 is powered by a very advanced 5.0 liter V-10 engine, ad fits neatly into the standard engine compartment. This is a very special engine, being built in small numbers and at high cost by BMW's M Center. It's a 90-degree V-10, which means that it won't be quite as smooth as some – in theory, at any rate.


Maximum power is 500 bhp at 7,700 rpm – a real screamer this – while the maximum torque of 380 lb ft is produced at 6,100 rpm. Boy, you're really going to keep this revving if you want to use all that power. Still, when it's just mooching along at 4,000 rpm, this amazing unit produces quite a chunk of power.

Needless to say, it has all the features you'd expect in a supercar engine, such as a stiff aluminum block, twin overhead camshafts per bank of cylinders and and narrow 4-valve heads. BMW uses its variable valve timing system, and drives the inlet camshafts on each bank by chain, with a gear drive to the exhaust camshaft, a system pioneered by Toyota to save space.


Coupled to this marvel of a power plant, which would seem more at home in a slinky coupe, is a seven-speed sequential gearbox. This is the latest development of the BMW sporty semi-automatic. BMW claims it's the first seven-speed box of its type. Mercedes-Benz has a seven-speed automatic, and Audi has a CVT with seven stages, but these are not quite the same.

Why all these seven-speed boxes? Well, for maximum acceleration, and so that you have the right gear coming out of any corner, the more gears the better. When you've got that many gears, the shift pattern gets pretty complicated with a manual box, so they're going for either automatics or semi-automatics.

To go with the powerful power train are bigger brakes than standard, wider wheels and tires, and stiffer suspension. The handling is surprisingly good for such an ordinary-looking car.


The result of putting this engine in the BMW 5 Series is very hot acceleration for such a big car: 0-60 in 4.7 seconds, and 0-125 mph in 15.6 seconds.

Will people pay over $100,000 or so for a 500 bhp sedan? You bet they will. There are a lot of people out there that want supercar performance, but don’t' want to have to struggle to get in and out of the car. They also want to travel with plenty of luggage, and have room in the trunk for two sets of golf clubs – and more.

And they'll get a real kick from burning off cheeky guys in sports cars who get in the way. Cars that are much faster than they look, which we used to call Q cars, have quite a market. What's it like to drive? Well, at normal speeds, the car is very quiet, and you would not know how power you had. In fact, there is a switch on the steering wheel which limits power to 400 bhp. To get the full 500 bhp, you need to press that.

So, most of the time you'll drive with 400 bhp, and the problem is that the engine does not have a lot of power until you get to 5,000 rpm, an the power keeps coming in until you get to 8,000 rpm. You need deserted roads to use that power, but the car works pretty well in traffic and normal commuting. Not quite so good in everyday use is the gearbox. It does not have a torque converter, so it can be quite jerky when you shift up.

John Hartley is editor of Fast-Autos , an online magazine devoted to fast cars and supercars. He has written from many of the world's top auto magazines, and has written about 10 books about cars and the auto industry, including 'Suspension and Steering Q&A' and 'The Electronics Revolution in the Motor Industry'.

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Wow! 250 mph in a car

By: Paul Cooper

Is this crazy? Or does it make sense? Bugatti, a small car company bankrolled by Volkswagen (VW), has brought out the Veyron 16.4 with a top speed of 248 mph – and the car was tested at the speed on the fastest track Volkswagen could find in Europe!

Nowhere else would allow the car to get to that speed and be timed for long enough to say it actually could do this. The previous record for a production car was 242 mph round the Nardo track in Italy – and that required a great deal of skill by the driver to keep the car on the banked track!

This sort of speed – and the power to get there - are pretty much off the planet, but since then, other companies - with a fraction of the resources of Bugatti – have decided they should aim for 250 mph. ‘What for?’, you might ask. I guess it is a bit like saying the moon is there so let’s go there.

W-16, 1,001 bhp engine

The Bugatti Veyron is a very impressive car, powered by a W-16-cylinder 8.0 liter engine developing 1,001 bhp. The ‘4’ stands for the four turbochargers needed to boost the engine to that amount of power. The whole Bugatti project was the idea of Dr Ferdinand Piech, then chairman of the VW Group. He wanted VW to build a car to showcase technology and to move the goal posts so no one could get close. Evidently, during testing this engine was proved to be reliable when producing 1,200 bhp.

The car does showcase technology. The engine is similar to the W-12 installed in the Audi A8 and S8, and in turbocharged form in the Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur.

The gearbox is also based on VW Group technology. It is a seven-speed sequential box with automatic or manual shifting. It has a dual clutch arrangement so that when you change gear the power continues to be transmitted all the time, one clutch disengaging exactly at the moment the other engages. Stunning technology that really delivers benefits.

The same concept is available in six-speed form in the VW Golf, Audi A3 and S3. It is called DSG. Of course, the Bugatti has a special version of this concept, made by Ricardo, a powertrain specialist in the UK.

The Bugatti has a carbon fiber structure, suspension like a racing car, and two large air intakes in the roof to keep that huge engine cool. Of course, the engine is mounted behind the driver and passenger but forward of the rear wheels.

Most exotic cars have rear-wheel drive, but the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 has so much power that it has four-wheel drive. Actually, some Audis, including the 450 bhp RS4, and all Lamborghinis - also in the VW Group - now have four-wheel drive. Again, the Bugatti is showcasing group technology

If you are wondering why four-wheel drive is needed, just think about it. With two-wheel drive there would be 500 bhp going through each tire! Most makers of supercars and exotic cars think that 300 bhp per tire is plenty.

Ok, so the Bugatti was timed at 248 mph, and reaches 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. Did the other makers of exotic cars give up, and say: ‘Well, we can’t match that’?

No, Pagani, produced the 650 bhp Zonda F with an option of 700 bhp. Saleen upped the power output of its S7 to 750 bhp, while Ferrari produced a few FXXs with 850 bhp, and Maserati also has a version of the MC-12 developing 750 bhp or so.

On the other hand Koenigsegg decided not to pursue the power race for the time being at least. After all its CCR has a 806 bhp engine, and was timed at 242 mph. Instead, Koenigsegg has introduced the CCX which is designed to meet US regulations and is a more practical street machine.

Others have decided to go for maximum power including one of the tuners of Porsche 911s. Then, a small British company is introducing a car with a turbocharged 7.0 liter V-8 with a power output of 1,000 bhp. They say that the engine could be tuned to 1,200 bhp.

More will follow down this route to madness. Me? I’d go for the 500 -600 bhp myself in a car that really handles and is very, very responsive. Like a Pagani Zonda or an Ascari KZ1.

Paul Cooper is an automotive and technical writer who specialises in high-performance cars, and runs a web site about exotic cars, , where you can learn more about exotic cars.

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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Honda's sci-fi 4WD in the Acura RL/Legend fast cars - now

By: John Hartley

Honda has come up with the most amazing 4-wheel-drive system, not for off-roaders but to improve the handling and stability of fast cars. It is being used first in the new Acura RL (Honda Legend).

Why is it so advanced? This SH-AWD system has the potential to increase cornering power and cornering safety by leaps and bounds. It will be ideal for supercars as well as luxury coupes.(More information about supercars at )

First, it allows the amount of power sent to the wheels to be varied from 30% front and 70% rear to 70% front and 30% rear. True, some other systems get near that, but this allows the system to adjust itself to completely different conditions. On top of that, it can alter the torque from zero to 100% to the left or right rear wheel.

In other words, all the power can one to the right wheel one minute, and if necessary can be reversed so that all the power goes to the other wheel in an instant. This might be needed in slushy or snowy conditions, where there was a patch of bare road for a bit on one side offering good grip, but a bit later on a bare patch on the other side.

In addition to those features, the outer rear wheel can be speeded up so that it goes faster than the inside wheel! All done continuously depending on conditions. A few years ago this would have considered desirable, but science fiction.

More power to the rear wheel for acceleration

Confused? Well, let's start with the front-to-rear power. When you accelerate, the weight of the car is thrown on to the back wheels by the force of acceleration, so you want more power to go to the back wheels - if it all goes to the front you get wheelspin. When cornering, you generally want as much or more power to the rear wheels. SH-AWD does that.

On the other hand, when you are cruising along, you want more power to the front wheels as this increases stability. SH-AWD also does that.

More power to outer rear wheel for better cornering

The side-to-side variation in power is used to improve cornering power and stability. For example, when you accelerate through a corner, extra power through the outer rear wheel counteracts understeer, letting the car corner on rails. In fact, stability control systems used on many cars now do this by reducing the amount of torque sent to the inner wheel - this means that you actually corner slower than you could do. SH-AWD lets you corner faster.

On the over-run, you don't need that, and less power is sent through the outer wheel for optimum stability. But that isn't enough because when a car corners, the outer wheels have to travel further than the inner ones - by 5-10% on very tight corners, so the outer wheel normally goes slower.

Honda overcomes this with some gears in the back axle gear set which actually drive the outer wheel faster when cornering! This improves maneuverability and cornering at low speeds.

Electro-magnetic multi-plate clutches

All this is accomplished by multi-plate clutches operated electro-magnetically - a world first - and the gear/clutch set used for acceleration. In fact, these gears also serve as the rear differential.

An advantage of the electro-magnetic clutches is that the electronic controller does not need to control a hydraulic actuation system as used normally but an electric actuator - this reduces cost and weight.

Is this the best thing since sliced bread? For the person who wants to have stability and control, and doesn't want to know what is happening to the car -yes. Such a system is bound to reduce the input the driver gets from the road.

He will be less aware of whether the surface is slippery, or whether the car is understeering more than usual because the SH-AWD system is correcting things all the time.

John Hartley is editor of an online magazine devoted to fast cars and supercars. He has written from many of the world's top auto magazines, and has written about 10 books about cars and the auto industry, including 'Suspension and Steering Q&A' and 'The Electronics Revolution in the Motor Industry'. He has been writing about fast cars and testing them for over 20 years, and has been involved in race car design, and has also raced cars.

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Maserati MC12 A Winner

By: John Hartley

Designed to win races, the Maserati MC12 is actually sold as a road car, albeit it a very impractical one. Still what do you expect with a 620 bhp exotic car? The car looks just like the sports racing car that it is. To be fair, it is a real two-seater while the cars that race at Le Mans are more like single-seaters.

Only 25 MC12s were built initially, and quite a few were used for racing. Actually, when they heard about Maserati building the MC12 for the GTA championship (ooops, sorry for sale as a road car, was the official line, I think) some of the other companies threatened to withdraw as they thought the presence of the MC12 on the starting grid would make a farce of the whole series.

Although the Maserati MC12, is a true exotic car, it is based on the Ferrari Enzo. The whole idea was to upgrade Maserati's image following a checkered history. The glory of the 50s, when Maserati was a regular winner of Grand Prix, got lost in the mire of an economic downturn, when the company took the wrong turn more than once.

As Ferrari and Maserati are both part of the Fiat Group, and were in fact in the same sub-group, it made sense to modify the Enzo to get Maserati back as a winner. Now, Ferrari and Maserati have been put in different sub-groups, so this sort of collaboration is not expected in the future.

V-12 from Ferrari with 622 bhp

The Maserati MC12 looks completeley different from the Enzo, though,, with a long nose and very long tail. Where the Enzo is angular, the MC12 is curved. It has a carbon fiber body structure with steel sub-frames front and rear. Power comes from a 6.0 liter V-12 developing 622 bhp @ 7,500 rpm, and 480 lb ft (652 Nm) torque @ 5,500 rpm. A semi-racing engine to be sure. It is coupled to a semi-automatic six-speed sequential gearbox, developed by Ferrari in racing.

Suspension is by double wishbones, with inboard spring and damper units acting through pushrods. These are mounted horizontally as on the Enzo. The dampers have variable rates. Quite a car, but not as extreme as the Bugatti Veyron or the latest Saleen S7.

Following the racing success of the MC12, Maserati is now to build a more extreme version - the MC12 Corsa. The MC12 Corsa has a massively uprated Enzo V-12 engine giving about 750bhp. You can get this for about $1.3 million - or £700,000 or Euros 1 million depending where you live.

But this is not a road car, nor will you be able to race it in any official categories – so this is a trackday special at a huge price. Maserati plans to build about 12 MC12 Corsas a year.

John Hartley is editor of, an online magazine devoted to fast cars and supercars. He has written from many of the world's top auto magazines, and has written many books about cars and the auto industry, including 'Suspension and Steering Q&A' and 'The Electronics Revolution in the Motor Industry'.

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The New Chevrolet Aveo

By: Aurel Radulescu

The new Chevrolet Aveo is being released in three models, including Special Value, LS and LT. Each version features OnStar, which is a subscription service that is widely promoted as a safety mechanism for passengers. Stolen vehicle location assistance and remote door unlock are among the many conveniences provided by OnStar. While all three models feature this component, they are quite different in their own right. The 4-door model, which features a conventional car design, and 5-door model, which gives the appearance of a sleek station wagon, both start at $9,890. In addition to the standard 3-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, the Chevy Aveo models feature a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Chevrolet Aveo Special Value This model starts at $9,890.00 and features a number of highlights, including the presence of an AM/FM stereo with dual front and rear coaxial speakers, 14-inch steel wheels with full bolt-on wheel covers and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat in cloth fabric.

Chevrolet Aveo LS This model starts at $11,990.00 and features a number of highlights, including the presence of an AM/FM stereo with dual front and rear coaxial speakers, 14-inch steel wheels with full bolt-on wheel covers, air conditioning with an air-filtration system and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat in cloth fabric.

Chevrolet Aveo LT This model starts at $13,390.00 and features a number of highlights, including the presence of an AM/FM stereo with a CD/MP3 player, power door locks and Remote Keyless Entry with a content-theft-deterrent system, 15-inch aluminum wheels, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat in Deluxe Cloth fabric and cruise control.

In addition to the aforementioned highlights, each new Chevrolet Aveo features the standard setup and a choice of optional accessories.

The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. For exact price, models and car characteristics see Chevrolet Aveo official web site or your Chevrolet dealer.

Read the latest Hyundai news, Jaguar news or Chevrolet news on

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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Next Volvo XC Spells Volvo's Future Design Language

by Kevin Anderson

Volvo's future auto design is leading a new direction. Recently, a preview of what is to come is made available to some lucky journalists and enthusiasts. Volvo earlier pulls wraps off its all-new XC60 Concept which showcases fresh and striking design.

XC60 Concept is set to be introduced in Detroit's auto show next month. There, dealers and enthusiasts alike can take their first look at the future design of Volvo under the administration of Steve Mattin, the automaker's new guru. In an interview, Mattin said that the XC60 concept will indicate Volvo's new design DNA. He added, "It will have technical as well as design innovation. But it's a real concept car, not just a disguised production car." In other words, its relationship to the real thing will be as the 2000 ACC concept was to the XC90. "It takes the emotion of the C30 a step further."

Mattin also gave the metes and bounds of the future design of the automaker. He said, "We need to be recognizable as Volvo. We're still about Scandinavian simplicity; we can't be playful or do styling for the sake of styling. Volvos last a long time, so our design must have legs. But we can't be too simple or we'd edge toward blandness. And we can't change; we must be fresh. I want to broaden our design and have more variation between car lines."

XC60 combines the power of Volvo XC90 vintage car truck parts and the elegance of C30 auto parts to pave way for a remarkable new XC. The vehicle has an elegant glass roof, catchy front grille with angles positioning lights on its sides, sophisticated interior, and comfortable ergonomics.

According to enthusiasts, the future of Volvo design is anything but bland. Volvo president Fredrik Arp said, "The XC60 will be as important as the C30 in expanding the brand's sales." Arp added that the concept is a good indicator of what the production model will look like.

Volvo expects that the new XC will capture the desires of modern day owners which have active urban lifestyle. The automaker also intends to follow up the concept version with the production venture before the end of the decade.

About the Author

As a former news correspondent for an auto-related websites, Kevin has gathered extensive knowledge and experience in the automotive industry. This 34 year old father of three from Pennsylvania is a genuine car lover.

Oil Change Franchising: What You Need To Know Before You Sign Up

by Tim LaGanke, Jr.

An oil change franchise enables you, the investor or "franchisee", to operate a well-known oil change business from a larger company, or "franchisor". This allows the franchisee to use the franchisor's name for limited time, along with some assistance and possibly limitations.

You will find that some oil change franchisor's are not very picky about who buys into their oil change franchise. Most of the time, all an oil change franchisor will care about is whether or not you can pay the fees, and, assuming you have a spotless legal record, they will usually trust you to do the work. These particular oil change franchisors will give the oil change franchisee a lot of freedom to develop his or her branch of the business their way, but they may not offer too much help when a great need arises. Then there is the other extreme of an oil change franchisor who will constantly micro-manage the franchisee, and will go to great lengths to insure a great number of checklists and communication are taking place.

Oil Change Franchise Cost You will have to pay a franchise fee, and you will then be given a system developed by the company, or "franchisor". Any oil change franchise (as well as any franchise, in general) are required, by law, to present the franchisee a document called the Uniform Franchise Circular Offering (UFOC). The UFOC outlines the franchisee's fees, as well as their individual rights and restrictions.

The franchise fee is really only the beginning cost, as you will also need to pay for real estate deposits, utilities, supplies, insurance, office equipment, site preparation, site building, advertising, licenses, permits, legal, plus operating capital. All these costs plus expenses can equal two to three hundred thousand dollars or higher. A buyer should consider a lawyer if he or she wishes to negotiate the contract of the franchisor. If a buyer needs to apply for a loan, there are many SBA loans that are easily available for those in the market for an oil change franchise.

As you can see, you will definitely need a lot of money before you buy into an oil change franchise. However, you should be able to make up for the expense with the percentage of gross profits. It may take a while before you make some "real money" from this investment.

Therefore, in order to maximize on your profits of your oil change franchise, there are a few factors you need to consider: market, name-recognition, and staff.

The Current Market Look at where you want to open your oil change franchise, and ask yourself if there are already plenty of places where customers can get their oil changed. You don't want to open up an oil change franchise where there are already several available. After all, most people in that area will have already developed a relationship with their current oil change station. However, this may be a love/hate relationship. If you want to start your oil change franchise in an area surrounded by "healthy competition", you should ask the people in the area what they think about the oil change businesses that they use. Keep your ears open to the usual complaints, such as: "they charge too much", or "the service wasn't good", or "they take too long". One of the favorite complaints of oil change franchises is when a customer takes the car in for what he or she believes to be a simple oil change, but the mechanic ends up recommending other high-priced (and sometimes unnecessary) repairs to the vehicle.

Once you know the weaknesses of the other oil change businesses, ask yourself a few questions to see if you can fill a need that your competition can't.

Can you do an oil change in less time? Most customers want to be in-and-out of their oil change in less than an hour, some as soon as ten or fifteen minutes. If you know a way that you can do a quality job and shave off a few minutes less than the competition, then you have a definite edge.

Can you perform an oil change at a substantially lower price? If Wal-Mart has taught us anything, it's that customers are most attracted to the product that dents their pocketbooks the least. You might be surprised how quickly the word gets out if your prices are substantially lower than your competition.

Can you offer a customer friendlier service? Believe it or not, customer service is often the least emphasized aspect of most businesses, but the one that actually brings in the most sales. You would be surprised at how much repeat business you will receive if you show a customer that you care about them. Even businesses that charge higher and do a bad job can succeed if they have friendly people working there.

Name-recognition Before choosing an oil change franchise, you should check the name and reputation of the company. Feel free to call other businesses of that oil change franchise. Talk to the franchisor, and listen to their experiences. If they seem like they don't want to talk about it, or seem rather discouraging, better move on to the next oil change franchise on the list.

If you haven't learned this real-world business lesson yet, then listen now: a great name is no guarantee of high earnings. If you want to view the earnings of a particular oil change franchise, many of the oil change franchises will have earnings claims on their UFOC.

Name recognition is also helpful as a market strategy. If location is not important when starting your oil change franchise, you should consider starting one in an area where there are several successful oil change franchises of the same company. You should then establish your oil change franchise of same name somewhere on the outer edge, away from the other oil change franchises. The reputation of the other franchises will automatically boost your oil change franchise even before your base of operations is built.

Staff Once you have franchising rights, you are probably going to have to hire the talent on your own. You are more than likely going to have to hire from whoever is the best in your immediate area. Unless you're willing to go to other oil change businesses and head-hunt, you might have to resort to inexperienced labor. Fortunately, an oil change isn't something that requires too much training, but many oil change franchises are also full-service businesses as well. You might need some prime mechanics, if you can get them. Hopefully, you know a few trustworthy people who know the ins and outs of a car, and would have no problem adapting to oil change for a living.

About the Author

Tim LaGanke, Jr. is president of QuickChange Oil, a 10 minute oil change center, with locations across Cleveland, Ohio. QuickChange is currently seeking applicants interested in the oil change franchising business. Please contact LaGanke at for more information.

2008 Sebring Convertible, Raising Chrysler's Roof

by Joe Thompson

Auto industry's convertible segment is booming these days. To compete ardently, Chrysler sets free a powerful convertible in the 2008 version of Sebring.

The new Sebring Convertible from the automaker is built on D-segment platform of the automaker. Said platform is capable of producing a sleek, exhilarating, elegant, comfortable, and fuel efficient convertible that sits 4 adults. The trunk is also made spacious to hold extra loads even when the top of the convertible is dropped.

The new convertible offers 3 striking top options - vinyl, cloth, and all-new steel retractable hard top. These options can be controlled with just a push of a button on the key fob. Chrysler Convertible parts Sebring are engineered to deliver positive changes in the segment. 2008 Sebring Convertible boasts its standard power hard top tonneau cover on all models. It also boasts the option of superb open-air riding freedom as well as privacy in driving.

"America's favorite convertible is now better than ever," said George Murphy, Senior Vice President-Global Marketing, Chrysler Group. "The all-new Chrysler Sebring Convertible offers the unprecedented combination of unmistakable road presence, athletic handling, innovative technologies, as well as plenty of room for people and gear. In fact, the all-new Sebring Convertible is the only convertible in the segment that can pass the two-golf- bag test. The sky's the limit on what this vehicle can accomplish in the marketplace."

Engine options for Chrysler Sebring Convertible parts include the standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder World Engine, the Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) 2.7-liter V-6 engine and the 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a new 6-speed automatic transaxle with Auto Stick. 2008 Sebring Convertible is made 3.5 inches taller and more than 2 inches wider than its predecessor. Compared to its sedan version, the convertible is 3 inches longer. Its wheelbase is also extended by 2.9 inches.

Outside North America, the automaker will be offering a diesel engine as well as right-hand-drive availability to give the vehicle stronger selling potentials. Chrysler intends to further enhance America's favorite convertible which made it a best-seller in the United States for the past 11 years. The new Sebring Convertible is expected to exude supremacy this year.

About the Author

Joe Thompson is the owner of a successful auto body shop in Ferndale, California. This 38 year old is also a prolific writer, contributing automotive related articles to various publications.

Assemble Your Own Sports Car

by Mark Heywood

If you want a racy looking car, but don't desire any of the current mainstream manufacturers cars, why not build your own? There is a large selection of sports self built cars, ranging from the uncomplicated Locost right up to Replicas of the Worlds top Supercars. This article tries to give you a taste of what you could be sat behind the wheel of if you choose to assemble it yourself.

So you have chosen to construct your own kit car, but where do you take the first step? I suggest that you check out a few models that take your fancy from a selection of manufacturers. Taking for example, a Countach replica, there are a wide range of build options as well as budget and skill requirements. So you will need to set a budget and look at your own capabilities before you make a final decision on a specific manufacturer.

Now, you may want to check out the manufacturers Owners Club. Many have websites or forums where you can chat to other builders or check out would-be difficulties you may have. If the kit manufacturer offers poor support or badly finished components, the forums are where you will find out!

Now you should have a shortlist of potential high performance car projects, a budget to work to and a reasonable idea of the mechanical skills you need. You should now pick a kit. In order to make a choice, I suggest that you go to the kit car shows or manufacturers open days and chat to other kit car builders. Remember, they have important experience in building your chosen model and can supply advice if you should get stuck with a particular problem.

Once you have placed your order for a kit, the work really begins. Even before the kit arrives, you should locate the cleanest, most mechanically sound donor car that you can. The better the donor, the better the finished kit car you will have. All required mechanical parts should be removed and cleaned as per the kit builders instructions. If you are not totally happy with the condition of a part then it should be thrown away and replaced. Don't take risks with your safety. It is a good idea at this stage to get insurance cover for your kit project.

For most kit cars, putting together the car is relatively stress-free. Any manufacturer that has sold more than a few kits will have a detailed manual detailing every phase, in the right order. If you have questions then ask the manufacturer, Owners Club or forums. You will be surprised at how helpful your fellow kit builders are. It is in the manufacturers own interests to assist you as much as they can, and many have dedicated helplines for this task. After all, when you drive the car, you will become a traveling advertisement for their product.

Now that you have assembled the car you will need to ensure that any testing and paperwork is in order before taking to the highway. Again, the manufacturer and Owners Club are the ideal people to put you straight.

When you drive your completed sports car on the road, you will feel a sense of pride as you drive a hand crafted car that you built yourself.

About the Author

Mark Heywood runs Premier Kit Cars, a website dedicated to helping enthusiasts select and put together their own high performance cars.

Europe To Welcome Mazda BT-50 Pickup

by Kimberly Meyer

Europe. The land where you get to see real palaces and queens and princes. The place where you get to discover new culture. In fact, the place where you get to learn about and feel a culture that has been well preserved through time. A land where Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes Benzes roam.

This land may be quite familiar with other foreign vehicles like Mazda and its Mazda 323 parts but it may not quite yet have gone familiar with the Mazda BT-50. After all, the Mazda BT-50 has already been designed, manufactured, and marketed in other auto markets. Europe has yet to be introduced to this vehicle.

But the waiting would soon be over for Europe. You see, most markets in the continent of Europe would have to open up its arms and welcome in the Mazda BT-50. This vehicle is a pick up truck and come the end of this year, it would have been able to enter the gates of the European car market. Mazda says that they have set the price of the Mazda BT-50 pickup to start at around 23,900 euros which, when converted, would amount to around $31,690.

The Mazda BT-50 pick up first was introduced to the automotive industry just this March of 2006. It first was glimpsed at by the auto audience at the Bangkok Motor Show. During that time, Mazda offered the Mazda BT-50 with two different versions. One was the Mazda BT-50 XL-Cab. This one held five seats and had four doors. The other version was the Mazda BT-50 L-Cab and the difference with this one was that its doors could be opened opposite each other. Most people who were able to take a look at the mentioned version were very much reminded of the Mazda RX-8 sports car. You see, aside from the doors, the latter version also had the fold-down seats in its second row.

For power, the Mazda BT-50 uses the MZR-CD 2.5 liter common-rail turbocharged DOHC diesel engine which held sixteen valves. This engine is supposed to be more refined and was better at fuel efficiency.

About the Author

Kimberly Meyer is an expert when it comes to automotive issues. She is the manager of her own car parts manufacturing company. This 33 year-old maiden is also a talented writer.

Ford Typhoon Drifting Car

by Ovidel Aurel

The Typhoon is the Ford Performance Vehicle's version of the stunningly successful Ford XR6 turbo. It runs a beefed-up version of its four-litre in-line six with .64 bar boost being developed from the Garrett turbo. The premium for arming yourself with the Ford Typhoon over the garden variety Ford blown six is $12,600 which makes the FPV a $58,950 spend.

They say there is no replacement for displacement, but the six-cylinder Ford Typhoon might just water down that claim.

So what do you get over and above the stock standard turbo and is it worth it?

Try enhanced suspension with stiffer rear springs, bigger and better tyres, bigger and better brakes, specially developed six-speed Tremec gearbox, AP Racing twin plate clutch, more power and the most torque produced for any Australian production car. The difference is a lot of coin, but the extra spend seems to be worth it.

For starters you know you're on to something when you are, well, almost quicker than The Boss. At least from standstill to 100km/h the Ford Typhoon creates a storm by nailing the dash in 6.3sec. The GT armed with the Boss 290kW V8 engine covers the same exercise in roughly the same time, but the tests were done on a back road and not in the controlled environment of a racetack so they are only a guide.

The 270kW and 550Nm of the Ford Typhoon is a whirlwind of excitement and aggression complete with the audible waste-gate flutter that gives the hyper six a consuming character like the deep rumble of the GT. What is so impressive about the Ford Typhoon is that all this extra power and torque is useable because the work done underneath on the suspension took a similar direction as the GT, but with the aforementioned stiffer rear springs. Also the brakes, 325x32mm twin-grooved and ventilated up front and 303x16mm twin-grooved solid rear rotors with twin-pot calipers appear to be up to matching the Ford Typhoon's fury. For almost $6000 more, you can order the optional Brembo brakes but there is probably no need unless you are going to be driving like you stole it every time you press the dash-mounted starter button borrowed from the GT. The ride is surprisingly compliant considering the stiffening needed to cope with the extra power and torque.

It fires into corners with confidence, turning in quicker than the GT because there is less weight hanging about underneath the bonnet. There seems to be a reasonable grip threshold before the traction control, which you can deactivate, kicks in. The high performance 18-inch Dunlop SP9000s take a while to howl and squeal in protest, offering ample sticking quality in both wet and dry conditions. There is a blissfully horizontal torque curve with the 550Nm accessed from as low as 2000rpm through to 4250rpm. Linked to the four-litre straight six is the Tremec six-speed which Holden uses in its V8s. The Tremec in the Ford Typhoon has been reworked with short travel changes and the six gears are easy to navigate and engage. There is virtually no lag and the boost comes in big meaty dollops, rather than the delay-before-neck-snapping jolt of some smaller imported turbos.

In short, the Ford Typhoon goes, steers and stops like it is $12,600 more than the standard turbo.

But don't expect too much pampering in the cabin. There is no leather, with unique cloth sports seats supporting the occupants.

Dual gauges are mounted on the dash that display oil pressure and turbo boost, dual-zone air-con and large command centre display screen.

The sound system packs a 150-watt amp, subwoofer and in-dash six-stack CD.

Read more on Custom Auto Classifieds

About the Author

Racing enthusiast

Tips on Buying a Used Car

by Dennis James

The most important thing you should remember when you go in search of purchasing a used or even a new car is that the person selling the car wants to sell the car. They may not come right out and lie to you about the car in question; however, they may not mention any problems if you do not ask and yes some may even lie to rid themselves of a lemon.

The number one thing you should do before searching for a used car is to know what type of car you would like or at least have some models and types in mind. You can search online or talk with car dealerships to learn what the price might be for the make and model of the car you are seeking. You can even look up the car in the NADA to learn what the car is worth by year, make, and model. This is a good estimate on what you would get if you traded that car in to a dealer. Okay, now you know how much money you need for the different cars you have in mind.

Now, where do you go to find out about reliability and other factors for this car? You can search online for reviews at car forums, with consumer reports, or chat with others that have the car now or owned one at sometime. Ask pertinent questions such as what parts were replaced, gas mileage, and even questions regarding comfort.

It is always in your best interest to take any used car to your own mechanic prior to purchasing instead of going on your love for the car. Just because you have always dreamed of owning a 1962 corvette and the one you found looks awesome, does not mean that it is mechanically sound.

Pop open the hood, look for worn hoses, wet spots on the engine, and look for corrosion around the battery posts. You may not be able to tell much this way but you will at least get an idea if you may have to change hoses, battery cables, or if there could be a leak somewhere such as coolant or oil. When you take the car on a test drive, listen for any unusual knocking, hissing sounds or other noises that you are not familiar with, and then when you talk with your mechanic he may know what these sounds might be. Check that the lights work properly low and high beams, brake lights, turn signals, horn, air-conditioning and heating system. You may not be thinking about staying warm if the temperature outside is 95 degrees, but you will really enjoy a warm car when the north wind starts blowing.

Many times if you are purchasing a used car from an individual you will not have any type of warranty, however, if you purchase through a dealer you should get some type of warranty. Many times, this warranty will be for a certain amount of months or miles put on the car. In most cases, the warranty will state exactly what items are under warranty such as the engine or transmission, for a certain amount of months and the dealership will cover all parts and labor. If the warranty only covers the transmission, then it does not cover replacement of a water pump, fuel pump, or other parts to do with the engine and the same applies for any limited warranty.

Also with a dealership instead of an individual, you may be able to apply for a payment plan if you would rather pay monthly payments until the car is paid for. Many times, you will need a down payment or good credit in order to receive a loan. You should however, be careful when applying for a loan of any kind. Be sure that you are getting the best deal around. You may be able to apply for a personal loan at your bank and receive better interest rates than you would at a car dealership.

Another thing to remember is to shop around. If you found one car you like, you will more than likely find another that is the same or better and you may be able to find it for less money or in better condition.

When you are ready to purchase, read the total agreement. Do not just glance over the large print. Be sure that you understand everything in the agreement and if you do not - ask. It would be best to learn upfront if your warranty will end before you have the car paid off.

About the Author

Dennis is the owner of Car Quote and Car Dealer Check two sites dedicated to make car buying easy.

Volvo Starts Green Concept

by Kevin Anderson

Going green has been the trend for most businesses nowadays. Google has gone ahead and replaced its roofs and walls with solar panels so as to save on energy and help decrease the amount of dangerous gases in the atmosphere. And Volvo has joined in the green craze.

Volvo has joined and hopped in the bandwagon. What it did is that it has already created, manufactured, and sent in new vehicle models that can be used utilizing alternative fuels that are not harmful to the environment. The brand has been able to actually create not only the quality Volvo V70 parts for the market but it has also created green and environment friendly vehicles. In fact, at present Volvo has nine vehicle models and three of these nine vehicles are already available as bio ethanol powered vehicles. These three vehicles are the Volvo C30, S40, and the V50. All these three are marketed in Europe and use engines with four cylinders.

Magnus Jonsson is the senior vice president of Volvo Cars' Research and Development team. On this, he does say, "We believe that Flexifuel has great potential for larger engine sizes and we are planning to expand our range of bio ethanol powered engines in the coming years."

However, this is not where the green craze ends. You see, Volvo has also created a new concept vehicle and they call it the Volvo XC60 concept vehicle. This concept car uses a powertrain that has the same six cylinders that the bio fuel using vehicles of the brand use. This powertrain is actually an in-line petrol engine which was already used by the Volvo S80 back when it came out in 2006. This very engine has got the capacity to actually give power to the concept car even if you put in E85, which is actually the term used for that fuel which is made up of 85 per cent bio ethanol and 15 per cent gasoline.

Combining the power of the E85 and the engine, they can then work up the Volvo XC60 concept car so much so that it can vroom up to 265 horsepower and some 251 pound feet of torque. In fact, Volvo says that they have been able to record the vehicle to zoom from zero to sixty seconds in 8.2 seconds.

About the Author

As a former news correspondent for an auto-related websites, Kevin has gathered extensive knowledge and experience in the automotive industry. This 34 year old father of three from Pennsylvania is a genuine car lover.

How to Go About Changing Your Cars Motor Oil

by Alex Rider

So then, why would you want to learn how to change your own cars oil? The simple and straight forward answer to this is because it will save you valuable time and money. No long waiting in queues at your local car service garage or oil changing shop. For around 10 dollars you are able to purchase a new oil filter and some quality oil for the engine.

Three easy steps are required when changing your cars oil:

1. Draining away the old oil. 2. Taking the old oil filter out and replacing it with a new one. 3. Placing the new oil into the engine.

To know when to go ahead and change your cars motor oil consult the manual for the car. What is typical is that manufacturers recommend that for a usual service you should change the oil every 6000 miles, every 3000 miles for a car that has been heavily used. Cleaning the cars engine of oil just before selling it increases your chance of the engine sounding at the very least satisfactory to any potential buyer, often even with over 100,000 miles on the clock! A great tip with oil changing is to make a change after a cars first 300 miles in it's so called 'break-in period'. Afterwards, changing the oil every 6000 miles is usually adequate.

As to what type of oil to use don't go for the cheapest out there since this will simply mean your engine will wear out faster with use. The best oils to use are those that pass the American Petroleum Institute (API) classification SL. Pennzoil, Mobil, Quaker State, Havoline or Valvoline brands of oils are reliable, containing substances that prolong the life of an engine.

If just before winter you decide to change your oil a great lubricant to use is SAE 10W30 weight oil. This oils thin 10 weight viscosity is great for helping the car to start when in cold weather. Upon the engine warming up the viscosity increases to 30 weight providing a greater degree of protection. On the other hand, if you seek to replace the oil just before summer SAE 10W40 weight oil is better. This is heavier, at 40 weight, better protecting your engine in hot weather.

To begin with you need to allow the engine to get nice and cool. Modern day engines tend to run at about 300 F, at this temperature you are easily burnt by hot oil. If you feel you have the necessary protective outerwear then you could drive the car round the block until its engine has warmed up. This will mean the oil is thinner and so will drain out of the engine better.

Do this whole oil changing procedure on a nice and flat, firm area like a driveway or the road. Jack the car up, but make sure you use jack stands before you get under the car to locate find the oil drain. No oil change is worth even the slightest chance of death!

Step 1. To drain the remaining existing oil find the plug for the oil drain and turn it clockwise. The plug needs to be started with your fingers. If at all difficult to turn, don't continue, turn a little the other way to stop crossing the threads. If you have time give the engine an our or so to let the last of the drops of dirty oil fall from the engine.

Step 2. Putting a new oil filter into the car involves initially placing the oil catch pan below the oil filter. With the aid of an oil filter wrench take out the filter.

Strap type oil filter wrenches are especially good for this task. Socket type oil filter tools are used with ratchets, as with a normal socket. One problem with this type of tool is it has the frustrating ability of getting stuck on the filter one time too many. Only use the socket type tool if not enough clearance exists around the filter for the more effective strap type tool.

Using your finger place a thin coating of motor oil upon the gasket of the new filter to improve its seal.

What follows is a very important set of rules that must be followed properly to avoid potential disaster.

Place the new filter into the car with your hands, stop turning if there is any minor difficulty experienced, take it out and try again carefully. As before, threads must not be allowed to cross. The majority of filters have instructions on them detailing that one further turn is applicable once in contact with the gasket.

Ensure the filter is screwed on so that it is hard to turn further with your hands. Using the oil filter wrench increase the torsion a little further by around 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn (very important).

A loosely fitted filter results in oil gushing our once the engine is started due to the high internal pressure exerted. If oil does appear you need to immediately turn off the engine otherwise it could be in danger of ceasing up literally within seconds.

Too tight a seal to the gasket and you may well end up with a seal that is hard to undo. In this case, if you have sufficient room about the filter you could possibly partially hammer a screwdriver or similar into the filter casing and body to then be able to push it round.

It is important to note that GM's dual-overhead-cam EcoTec engine is unusual in that it has an oil filter positioned at the top of the engine. To remove the filter more easily you should remove the hose for the air intake. The oil filter canister sits below and on the right of the end of the open tube that intakes the air. The correct size wrench is required to take the canister lid off. Specific filter cartridges are used here.

Step 3. New oil must now be added to the engine. On the valve cover should be the oil filler cap, make sure that this is the correct cap! Then remove it, and start to pour the oil into the engine, via a funnel preferably.

The correct quantity of oil to add to the engine should be stated in the car manual. The majority of engines can take 4-5 quarts. Remember not to overfill the crank case. Excess oil may be blown through the PCV valve potentially causing the engine to stall, when the engine is started.

Place the oil filler cap back on securely.

Lastly, turn the engine on, keep watching the warning light for the oil to ensure that it turns off. No oil should be leaking from under the vehicle. Turn off the engine, wait for a minute so as to let the oil drain down to the crank case, then with the dip stick check the level of the oil.

Locate and pull the dip stick out, clean the measuring end with a cloth or other nearby absorptive material and place the stick right the way back into its sheath. Wait for a few seconds then take the stick back out to see the oil level. The oil level should be between the maximum and minimum oil levels marked on the measuring section of the stick, ideally 3/4 of the way up.

Try and recycle your used oil since it is illegal to dispose of improperly. Pour the collected oil into containers for easy transport to your local recycling unit.

There you go, you have now learnt one of the most significant ways of extending the life of your engine.

About the Author

Go to for more information on luxury car leasing . Indeed, a whole host of luxury car info exists at this website, all within a few easy clicks of the mouse button.

Toyota Goes To Extremes With RAV4 XT-R

by Mark Clarkson

Toyota RAV4, Europe's best-selling sport utility vehicle, goes to the extremes by introducing a variant called XT-R. Said RAV4 variant will be introduced on the first day of January next year.

Toyota RAV4 small 4x4 introduces a new trim level XT-R to boost extremes in an SUV. It is designed to perfect quality without being expensive. The new trim level is equipped with additional luxury items to boost the ergonomics and comfy feel that the vehicle offers.

RAV$ XT-R is offered with the 2.0-litre diesel and petrol engines, and in three- and five-door versions. RAV4 three-door XT-R with the 2.0-litre petrol engine is priced at �17,995. However, the XT-R equipped with stability and traction control, climate and cruise control, an electric sunroof and metallic paint will be valued up to �1500 on lower-spec cars. The diesel-powered version of the vehicle costs �1000 more compared to its petrol equivalent.

Toyota RAV4 accessories and equipment used in XT-R include dual-zone climate control, a cooled glovebox, electric sunroof, 6-disc CD autochanger, Toyota's Integrated Active Drive system, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), and electric heated and folding door Toyota mirrors.

RAV4 entertained a major redesign for the model year 2006. Toyota RAV4 parts accessories for said model were assembled using a new platform. The vehicle still uses the 2.4 L four-cylinder engine that is capable of generating 166 horsepower. In North America, RAV4 uses a 3.5 L V6 engine from Toyota Avalon Grande parts. Said engine produces 269 horsepower.

Compared to the previous generation of RAV4, the current version is equipped with a third row seat for two small children. This feature is available in the United States and Canada only. Options for the RAV4 include the two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive in the United States. However, in Canada and other countries, only the four-wheel version is available. In Asia and Europe, RAV4 is available in short-wheelbase while in Australia, the long- wheelbase version is offered.

Toyota parts RAV4 is assembled in the automaker's plant in Tahara, Aichi, Japan. However, in 2008, RAV4s to be sold in North America will be assembled in Toyota's Woodstock, Ontario, Canada plant.

About the Author

Mark Clarkson is a 35 year old marketing consultant for a leading auto parts store. This native of Denver is also an off-road enthusiast.

More horses at lesser cost

by Evangeline Austero

For 36 years now, innovating the line of reusable cotton gauze filter technology for automobiles has been the bread and butter for K&N Engineering. And what bread and butter it is that the steady growth has been established to make K&N a global company. From its roots of being a family undertaking, the filter company grew into immense proportions, having offices already in the United Kingdom and Netherlands. A leader in its field, K&N already has an extensive line of factory and replacement drop-in filters, Fuel Injection Performance Kits and its own line of Golden oil filters.

For starters, the automobile engine is essentially a giant air pump, combusting a mixture of fuel and air with a carefully timed spark. The more air the engine has available, the more horsepower it can make. The F150 K&N Intake lets the engine breathe cleaner air for more torque and tremendous power. It hinders dust particles from entering the engine's combustion chambers. The cabin air filters, meanwhile, purify the air that enters the truck's ventilation system.

The K&N air filter utilizes a special filter media made of cotton gauze and oiled with K&N's special filter oil. This combination of gauze media and filter oil serves as a tough wall so that dirt won't be able to get past. It doesn't get steadily choke like what a standard, stock air filter does. Instead, the dirt captured by K&N air filter even acts to filter out more dirt. This gives the engine a steady diet of clean air for more horsepower. This condition also shows how improved the throttle response of an engine is.

Throttle response is measured by the amount of delay or hesitation that the vehicle exhibits between when the gas pedal is pressed down and when the engine responds by delivering power. Improvements in throttle response give s more "pep" in the car's acceleration.

As the K&N air filter gets dirty, it can readily be washed up and re-oiled via the K&N recharge kit. It is a Lifetime filter, which means there is no replacement needed. It also means that it even draws a bigger bang for the buck as there is no more shelling out of additional money for replacement, low-performing air filters.

K&N air filters also add on fuel saving for an engine. As the engine is getting the maximum amount of clean air through the K&N filter, it becomes more efficient. This shows a drastic improvement in fuel economy as the engine doesn't have to gasp for more air caused by an inefficient air filter. Other plus factors for better fuel mileage is by making sure that the tires are properly inflated and removing unused accessory racks and heavy items whenever a vehicle is not in use.

As the engine breathes easier, K&N air filters contributes for cleaner air. Its High-Flow technology reduces vehicle emissions related to pollution. The cotton composition is renewable, unlike the paper-made ones from trees that would surely take many years to grow to maturity.

These are just but a some of the breath-taking features of K&N air filters. Molded with many years of industry expertise, F150 K&N Intake will continue to heave cleaner air for optimum engine performance.

About the Author

Evangeline Austero is woman kart racer. She enjoys being on the fast lane. She is a sportswoman through and through, from soccer to squash to thriathlon. This is one kick-ass lass. She dreams of becoming the first F1 woman driver.

So You Want Vinyl Window Graphics On Your Car?

by Nir Landau V.P

Perhaps one of the most challenging matters in the world of vehicle wrapping is the application of vinyl graphics to glass windows. Sure, installing vinyl stickers and decals on the car's body is complicated enough. But there is none the more difficult than placing vinyl on glass.

How is this so? Most car windows are coated with silicon or other types of substrates that make vinyl adhesion short lived. And because vehicles are exposed to direct sunlight and heat for long periods, vinyl decals, which are expected to last at least 3 years, might not stay on. In addition, most of the tints that coat car windows are also not vinyl friendly. While the vinyl decals stick longer on them, they become a problem to take off without running the risk of destroying the film.

But vinyl window graphics are what make a car's bodywork more appealing, right? Indeed, they are! Fortunately, for you, there is a way to circumvent this.

Next Generation Media boasts of a team of designers, printers, and bodywork experts who are considered top-dogs in their fields. And because they are the best at what they do, you can rest assured that you will have that vinyl graphic you want on your car's window without any hitches. With Next Generation Media's help, you will never have to worry that an installation job cannot be done ever again -- even on any kind of surface.

The thing is this: There are two basic kinds of vinyl graphics you can use. While calendared vinyl, or the more shiny type of vinyl, works beautifully on your vehicle's body, it does not bode too well if placed on glass. However, there is another type of vinyl, called perforated cast vinyl, which is a dream to use on windows. Because of its perforated nature, not only will your car's insides not resemble an oven during hot weather, you will also be able to see through the graphics and not be confined to a windshield view.

While you're already bringing your window's wrap job to the professionals, it still will do you very well to understand how the entire thing works. While Next Generation Media can guarantee that you will get the best service possible, you will be able to benefit more if you know what you're getting into. Vinyl graphics on your vehicle's window is an extra kink to your car's artistic design; but it is not really that necessary. It cannot be denied, though, that your vehicle looks more kick-ass with it.

What Next Generation Media offers you are choices; not headaches. Do you place vinyl graphics on your windows or not? And if you decide to do so, what design would you like to have? There are no questions about how or when. As soon as you pick out a look, you can consider the job done -- and done very well. That is the beauty of its expertise. Sure, vinyl window graphics installation is a complicated process, but there is nothing Next Generation Media cannot do. You can count on that

About the Author

Nir Landau V.P sales Next generation media WebSite: Email:

Message On A Truck: Benefits Of Vinyl Truck Graphics

by Nir Landau V.P

The growing interest in vehicle wrap advertising and the positive mass response to car graphics has allowed the vehicle wrap industry to mature. What started with decals and stickers on cars and motorcycles has evolved to larger mobile media, like trucks and buses. Thus, if a business owner feels that simply wrapping a car with vinyl graphics is not blatant enough, he or she can bring his or her ads to the next level by getting into truck wrapping.

Reaching A Bigger Audience With A Bigger Ad

Because everyone always seems to be rushing off to somewhere, simply going along with the host of car wrap advertisers will not make you stand out. How do you get your message out loud and clear then? You literally rise above the rest. That is, by placing your vinyl ad graphics on trucks, which are larger and higher media.

Imagine being stuck in traffic. If you're going bumper to bumper with other cars, it is not likely that you will notice the ad graphics wrapped around vehicles of the same size as yours. However, when a bus or truck wrapped in colorful ads pass you bay, you will definitely take a second look.

A Growing Industry

The truck wrapping industry is fast rising. The more blatant the vehicle graphics, the better. Because trucks offer a wider space to place information, marketers find that this is a more practical and cost-effective way to reach their target consumers. In fact, according to a study by the Association of Mobile Advertising, brand awareness tends to increase by as much as 31% to 70% if they are advertised in the form of vehicle wraps. And though vehicle wrapping costs between $2000 to $4000, the fact that it can last for 3 to 10 years makes it a very good investment.

It will not be surprise if we see all trucks and buses carrying different vinyl graphic ads in a few years. The world is not likely to slow down in the coming years. Our activities are expected to pick up speed. Thus, the best way for marketers to reach us is find a way to keep pace. Car wrapping is an effective method, but truck or bus wrapping is more in-your-face.

About the Author

Nir Landau V.P sales Next generation media WebSite: Email:

The Right Way to Design Vehicle Wraps

by Nir Landau V.P

Installing vehicle wraps can be learned easily and does not require the knowledge of rocket science. However, it is not something you can do yourself (unless you own a professional wrapping business). Designing and putting it on is different from making graphics for banners, tarps, and other flat vinyl surfaces. There are basically three things you need to consider before deciding what to print on a vehicle wrap. First, how big is the vehicle and how does its contour slide? Second, given the surface you will be working on, what kind of graphics or designs would best fit the space? And, third, what is the purpose of the wrap? Assessing the surface You cannot design a wrap if you do not know what type of vehicle it is going to be installed in. The shape and size of the unit is very important. For instance, if you're dressing a truck, you will need a larger sheet of self-adhesive vinyl. But if you're dressing a motorcycle, then you get to save money by printing on small sheets. Deciding on the design Let's say you would like to showcase your flower shop on the wrap. Will you have enough working space to fully print a colorful bouquet, or will too many flowers turn your the wrap into an eyesore on the road? If you have a small space, perhaps just your company's logo will do, or a digital print of one or two of your most sophisticated products. What is it for? If you're planning to market your business using a vehicle wrap, then you might consider keeping it as simple as possible. You want an ad that will command the attention of the people around it. However, if you put in too many things on a mobile advertisement, you might distract drivers and cause accidents on the road. Limit your copy and graphics to visually digestible levels. To effectively market your product, what you need is catch-all, not a list of your services in full regalia. In sum, while what you put on a vehicle wrap is your call, you have to be responsible enough to realize that it will be rolling around town and catching attention. It's good to be the talk of the town, but when it starts getting destructive to others, then that's a different story.

About the Author

Nir Landau V.P sales Next generation media WebSite: Email:

Auto Loan New Car

by James Gunaseelan

Is it time to get a new car? Do you want to purchase a new car to replace your current worn down vehicle? If yes is your answer, then you might want to think about your purchase and getting a loan for your new investment. When buying a new car, you are simply making an investment, except there are no monetary advantages. With a new car you can go places and not have to worry about a thing, however, can you avoid an auto loan for a new car?

One question: What is your credit score? If it is above 640, you are fine. You are considered a good candidate for any type of loan. As long as you can keep your rating above 620 you are considered to have good or moderate credit. However, some people just lack credit. You can work with a lack of credit more than bad credit. When it comes to your auto loan for a new car you will need to go online and find an auto loan calculator. Some will get into the math expensively and some are only basic, but it will give you a good idea on what to expect for a monthly payment. Once you have gathered all the information (the selling price, rebates, trade ins, payments left on the current car, and your interest rates) you will be able to decide rather or not you can afford the car or if you need to lower your limit.

You should ask your dealer if you have any bad credit or marks against your credit. They may be able to push your application forward as a favor or to help you. Just because you have a bad credit rating, doesn't automatically turn you down. They consider other things like how much you make, what you have in your savings, what you spend, and rather or not you can purchase the car and afford it. They want to make sure that they will get their money back, so don't be offended when they ask you a bunch of personal questions. They need to judge your character, capital, and capacity.

Basically they want to make sure that you can be trusted with the money, that you have integrity, and that you are cable of paying for the monthly payments and still live comfortably. They need to make sure that they won't lose their money in the end. You need to be completely honest, because if not, then you not only lose your car, but you can be charged with fraud. When it comes to your auto loan for a new car, you need to take it very serious, because once you sign your name you then own a brand new car that you need to pay for.

About the Author

James Gunaseelan Writes Articles & reviews for India's No.1 Portal.He also answers technical questions.

A Basic Overview Of Fuel Cell Technology.

by Ernest R. Peterson

Are you tired of high priced gasoline for your car? Or perhaps worried about the environment? For years, scientists have being working on an energy alternative that holds promises to change the way we live by changing the source of fuel for some of our most basic energy-using engines. This new technology in progress is called a fuel cell. A fuel cell supplies a DC (direct current) voltage that can be used to power motors, lights, or any number of electrical appliances.

The technical name for a fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. A fuel cell converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process it produces electricity. Other electrochemical devices that are in use these days and for many decades is the well-known battery. The distinguishing difference between a simple battery and a fuel cell is that all the chemicals are stored inside the battery. The battery in turn converts those chemicals into electricity but in due course it "goes dead" as the chemicals are used up and at times you can either throw it away or recharge it.

Then again with a fuel cell, chemicals continually flow into the cell so as long as there is a flow of chemicals into the cell; the electricity flows out of the fuel cell. Combustion engines the gasoline engine burn fuels and batteries converted chemical energy back into electrical energy when needed. However, fuel cells should do both tasks more efficiently.

Simply put the construction and materials in a fuel cell release electrons from the hydrogen gas creating electricity and the waste product after the electricity is used to power an electrical device is water, formed with the negative hydrogen and the oxygen.This reaction in a single fuel cell produces only about 0.7 volts. To get this voltage up to a reasonable level, several separate fuel cells must be combined to form a fuel-cell stack.

However one major problem with using hydrogen is that it is cannot be stored easily for consumer use. Among the other alternatives, it could be natural gas, propane, and methanol gas. The main objective of using fuel cell technology is pollution reduction. Fuel cell is also very efficient; 80% of the fuel use in these cells is converted into usable energy as compared to only 20% for a gasoline powered engine and about 30% overall for a battery powered electric vehicle.

Evidently there is no question that the fuel cell holds greater promise for the future. However, the fuel cell technology must still gather all the pieces of finding the right 'fuel' source that is both easy to store and deliver to the consumer, efficiency of the vehicle using fuel cells, and the cost for the total package.

About the Author

Ernest R. Peterson provides readers with up-to-date commentaries, articles, and reviews for cars, auto accessories as well as other related information.

Alternative fuels

by Peter Griffiths

Alternatives to gasoline.

Automotive manufacturers, environmental activists, governmental organisations and the consumer are all concerned, in their own way, about the future source of the fuel we put in our vehicles.

The oil producing nations, both inside and outside OPEC, have become extremely wealthy because of the fortunate circumstance of having vast amount of crude oil on their territories. The companies who refine, transport and supply the finished products to the end user have become global, super-rich money machines. Governments have used the tax income from the consumer to finance a large portion of their expenditure. The consumer has become accustomed to the car and the convenience of owning one or maybe more. Industry has become dependent, to a large extent, upon motor transport for distribution.

However several factors are now impinging on that happy circle of satisfied suppliers and consumers and these factors are forcing some serious discussion into the future direction of transport in general and into fuel for the motorist in particular.

Supply and cost of Crude Oil.

The traditional oil producing areas such as the Middle East have had it pretty easy with benign conditions for oil extraction. The same could also be said for the early days of oil production in the USA. The reserves were enormous and the conditions under which the wells were drilled and the production and delivery were established relatively cheaply.

Surveyors and engineers found more huge reserves offshore, for instance in the Gulf of Mexico and then in the North Sea. This made for a different and more expensive engineering challenge. The cost of establishing and operating these fields was that much greater. However as the price of crude oil has increased it has made it economically viable to extract these more difficult, therefore more expensive, reserves.

There is an interesting paradox represented by the fact that although we are extracting oil at a greater and greater rate the actual reserves are actually increasing as well. It should also be understood that not all of the so-called reserves are actually recoverable at this point in time.

There are some vast reserves which would be very difficult to extract and as a consequence very expensive. An example of this would be the oil shale and sands of Canada. Whilst not denying the size of the reserves, the energy demands of blasting, transport, crushing, heating etc, together with the safe disposal of huge quantities of waste material, are large, not to say extremely expensive.

However this sort of expense could be justified by the enhanced price of crude oil on the world market. In other words these reserves are not economically recoverable at this time, but may become so if the price increases enough in the future.

Demand for Oil and oil products.

The ultra-rapid growth of developing countries such as India and China places huge pressures on the world supply of oil, as these economies suck in enormous amounts of petroleum products. Their governments are seeking increased prosperity for their populations. The Indian and Chinese companies are growing very fast because of their low labour rates are exporting at an ever-increasing rate to the developed world and they will continue to grow for the medium term at least. These countries are looking to bring their standard of living up towards those enjoyed by the USA and Europe and there is no way in which this will be stopped. These vast countries and populations will be tomorrow's consumers, and that means energy usage and transportation.

Environmental concerns.

The scientific thesis of global warming and climate change cannot be denied. Or to be more specific - the evidence is becoming overwhelming such that the theory cannot be denied. This will have a major impact on everybody's life and governments and commercial entities are both, to a certain extent, preparing to make some changes. In particular as regards the level of emissions from automobiles.

Combination effect

When you add these three elements together you get a damning combination; whereby oil is getting more expensive to extract and less available, growth of demand among growing countries will mean the law of supply and demand will fuel increased prices and finally the environmental concerns of car emissions will require that we all look at alternatives to petroleum products to power our cars.

About the Author

Peter Griffiths has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Cardiff University. He has been a Yachtsman and marathon runner. He is a retired business owner and he is passionate, and researching into, Energy Saving and the perils of Climate Change. You can find out more at

Leased Cars

by Phyllis Wasserman

You've come to the end of your lease and you like you car enough you want to keep it in the driveway. Just like buying a used car, there is some research to be done to nail a good deal.

First, you need to know the cost of buying out your lease. Read the fine print of your contract and look for the "purchase option price". This price is set by the leasing company and usually comprises the residual value of the car at the end of the lease plus a purchase-option fee ranging from $300 to $500. When you signed on the dotted line, your monthly payments were calculated as the difference between the vehicle's sticker price and its estimated value at the end of the lease, plus a monthly financing fee. This estimated price of the car value at the end of the lease is what is termed in leasing jargon "residual value". It is the expected depreciation - or loss in value - of the vehicle over the scheduled-lease period. For example, a car with a sticker price of $40,000 and a 50% residual percentage will have an estimated $20,000 value at lease end.

Now that you know the cost of buying out your lease, you need to determine the actual value, also termed "market value", of your vehicle. So, how much does your car retail for in the market? To pin down a good, solid estimate you need to do some pricing research. Check the price of the vehicle, with similar mileage and condition, with different dealers. Use online pricing websites, such as, and Kelly Blue Book for detailed pricing information. Gleaning pricing information from various sources should give you a fair estimate of your vehicle's retail value. All you have to do now is compare the two amounts. If the residual value is lower than the actual retail value, than you're into a winner. Unfortunately, there is a good chance a car coming off a lease is a little on the high side. Don't despair though. Leasing companies know as much that residual values on their vehicles are greater than their market value and as such are always on the look out for offers. You can knock down on the price of your leased vehicle with some smooth negotiating tactics. Put forward a price that is below your actual target and negotiate hard until you wind up near that figure.

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Monthly Lease Payments

by Phyllis Wasserman

Understanding how to calculate your monthly lease payment makes it easier for you to make an informed decision. Yet, most of us shy away from the "complicated" math on our lease contract, leaving it up to the dealer to do the payment formula.

Actually, it's not that difficult! Once you understand all the figures involved in calculating your monthly payments, everything else falls into place. These key figures are:

MSRP (short for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price): This is the list price of the vehicle or the window sticker price. Money Factor: This determines the interest rate on your lease. Insist on your dealer to disclose this rate before entering into a lease. Lease Term: The number of months the dealer rents the vehicle. Residual Value: The value of the vehicle at the end of the lease. Again, you can get this figure from the dealer.

Now, let us calculate a sample lease payment based on a vehicle with an MSRP (sticker price) value of $25,000 and a money factor of 0.0034 (this is usually quoted as 3.4%). The scheduled-lease is over 3 years and the estimated residual percentage is 55%.

The first step is to calculate the residual value of the car. You multiply the MSRP by the residual percentage:

$20,000 X .55 = $11,000.

The car will be worth $13,750 at the end of the lease, so you'll be using:

$20,000 - $11,000 = $9,000

This amount of $9,000 will be used over a 36 month lease period giving us a monthly payment of:

$9,000 / 36 = $250.

This is the first part of the monthly payment, called the monthly depreciation charge. The second part of the monthly payment, called the money factor payment, factors the interest charge. It is calculated by adding the MSRP figure to the residual value and multiplying this by the money factor:

($20,000 + $11,000) * 0.0034 = $105.4

Finally, we get the approximate monthly payment by adding the two figures together:

$250 + $105.4 = $355.4

To recapitulate, the sample formula looks like this:

1- Monthly Depreciation Charge:

MSRP X Depreciation Percentage = Residual Value MSRP - Residual Value = Depreciation over lease term Depreciation over lease term / lease term (number of months in the lease) = monthly depreciation charge

2- Monthly factor money charge

(MSRP + Residual value) X Money factor = money factor payment

3- Sample Monthly Payment:

depreciation charge + money factor payment = monthly payment

Keep in mind that this is a simplified calculation that does not take into account taxes, fees, rebates or any other incentives. The calculation gives you a ballpark figure or a rough idea of what your lease payments for the vehicle in question should be.

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