Who Should Drive The Nicer Car?

I hate buying cars. It’s such a long, exhausting process. First you decide what car (or at the very least what type of vehicle you might like to drive). Then you need to identify the appropriate dealership, visit the dealership for test drives, negotiate and then sign away your left kidney and resign yourself to the fact that you just took on thousands of dollars worth of debt. But, at least when it’s all said in done, you get a nice new car to drive, right?

Not necessarily. If you’re one of thousands of Americans that live in two-car households you may find that your spouse is the one with the keys.

There are many ways to determine who gets the fancy, new car.

The Commuter

One logic goes that the person who will be in the car for the longest amount of time each day should get to drive. That makes sense. For example, I drive 45-minutes one way to the office. Having a nice new set of wheels may help me enjoy the ride a little longer.

But, you need to consider the effect this commute will have on your car. A longer commute equals more mileage for your vehicle and more wear-and-tear. Allowing the spouse with the shorter commute may help protect your investment.

The Soccer Mom

Who will be transporting your kids to school or daycare? This is ultimately the method we used when we decided my husband would take the new minivan to work. This is obviously the right choice when your new car is a family car. But what if your new vehicle is a two-seat convertible ? Then the person taking the kids should probably stick to the old car.

The Trade In

Did you trade in your car? Then perhaps, by default, you’ve earned the right to drive the new one. I hated my husbands Jeep, he loved it. I was only lukewarm on my Malibu. If we had traded in my car, I would have driven the new car.

The Clients

Do you transport clients around on a regular basis? Than perhaps a nice new car is the wise choice. I mean, if you want to chauffer that important client around in your 1996 Honda Civic while your spouse cruises to the post office in crisp, new leather seats, be my guest.

The Weather

Is your new car AWD? Then whoever deals with the most treacherous road conditions should probably drive it. My commute takes me over the Palmer Divide, a place in Colorado known to receive an extra beating in the winter time. Make sure the person facing the most complicated conditions has the right car for the job.

The Alternative

My parents always buy new cars at the same time, so they can avoid this dilemma. It’s not in everyone’s budget, but it allows each driver to enjoy the joy of the new car.

“Hottie” Fuel Efficient Cars From Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen

As we see the numbers roll up on the gas pump and our pockets drain out, we are experiencing daily cardiac arrest. We want to blame the Senate for not passing oil price freezes or the big oil companies who are sucking up the highest profits in decades. We criticize the President of the United States and vow to buy a bicyle to get to and from work, school, the mall and church.

Then we start asking questions:

  1.  Why are gasoline prices so high?
  2.  When will they come down?
  3.  How can I pay for a tank of gas this week?

But questions like these do not have definitive answers. There may not be answers to these questions but there are solutions to fuel efficiency while the powers that be are battling with rising gas prices.

Around 15% of the energy from fuel that we put into our vehicles is used to drive down the road and to run accessories such as air conditioning. That leaves 85% of the energy lost, yes, LOST to engine inefficiencies, driveline timing inaccuracies and improper idling of engines. Today, there are technologies which can increase engine efficiency 5% to 13% then ultimately, promote fuel conservation.

Cylinder Deactivation increases efficiency around 7%. Cylinder Deactivation is simply deactivating cylinders when they are not needed to run the car. So a 8 or 6 cylinder engine temporarily will convert to a 4 or 3 cylinder. Direct Fuel Injection increases efficiency by 12% and creates a $3,200 saving over the life of a vehicle. These technologies are basically for the manufacturers to develop and implement in the vehicles we will drive one day. In the meantime, we need to know the “hottie” cars with the best fuel efficiency.

Toyota has six models that are listed in the top 10 fuel efficiency vehicles. The Toyota models range from 29 miles per gallon (MPG) – Toyota Celica to 60 MPG for the Toyota Prius. The Toyota Echo comes in 2nd at 35 MPG for city driving, right along with the Scion XA and Corolla at 32 MPG. The Scion XB finishes the list of Toyota fuel efficient cars, at 31 MPG. The highway miles per gallon for each of the Toyota vehicles is 6 MPG more, except for the Toyota Prius.

The Toyota Prius actually drops to 51 MPG on highway driving. This particular vehicle has a variable automatic transmission (CVT). The CVT does not have the traditional fixed set of gear cominations but rather allows an almost limitless number of engine speeds to vehicle speed ratios. Complicated? Well, maybe it is, but what we want to know is that CVT improves fuel efficiency because there is a seamless acceleration from a complete stop up to highway cruising speed.

The last 3 “hottie” fuel efficiency vehicles are the Honda Insight checking in at 60 MPG and the Honda Hybrid with 48 MPG in the city and 47 MPG for highway miles. Last, but not least, is the vehicle we fondly refer to as the “Beetle” or the “Bug”. Volkswagen checks in at 38 MPG for city miles and 46 for highway miles.

Hybrids are the all time “hottie” fuel efficient cars that are filling the car lots and driving right into our garages. Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine and a battery powered electric motor to suck up less gas and release less polution.

In days gone by, we purchased vehicles according to their eye appeal. Today, the sleek bodies and “wow” colors may still be on the list but the real “hottie” vehicles are those that consume the least amount of $3 per gallon gas. Fuel efficiency is in the new equation when we set out car shopping.

New Cars Have Their Advantages

In the United States, much of the country has become very much dependent on their motor vehicles to get to work, to run errands and to take care of the many responsibilities of busy individuals and families.

The brand new cars that are available with all of the latest bells and whistles, and many with better fuel economy, are attractive and tempting to many, but with the way the economy is today not as many people can afford to finance a new car, nor can they handle the higher auto insurance rates they would have to pay as well.

In many instances, when people just can’t manage the monthly payments of a new car, they simply look to used vehicles and the kind of value they can enjoy by purchasing a pre-owned auto. The fact of the matter is that when people who are mindful of their budgets compare auto features and the cost of a used car against the cost of a brand new vehicle, it often makes a great deal of sense to go with a used car, if it has low mileage and has been well maintained.

One of the primary concerns that many people have related to purchasing new cars is the fact the as soon as the car is purchased and driven home that vehicle becomes a “used” car and the value plummets. While some motorists much prefer having a new car and knowing that their vehicle is in perfect condition, there is a large segment of the population that simply do not like the thought of immediately losing so much value on something that is costing them thousands of dollars.

Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration when people compare auto deals is the automobile insurance that will be required. Because a new vehicle has a higher value, this needs to be covered by the auto insurance policy, which will push the insurance rates higher. Because of this, it often makes sense to purchase a car that is only two or three years old and still has a few years left on the manufacturer’s warranty, and will be cheaper to insure.

These days, people do a great deal of new car research online and read unbiased and honest reviews from people who have purchased the same model of new car they are considering for themselves. This information can be very helpful, regardless of whether the person is interested in a new car or if they are thinking about buying a used model. Either way, the car research that can be done these days online can be very helpful, as people try to determine what will be the best car for them and their family.

On top of having the ability to do a great deal of research via the internet nowadays, more and more often the auto dealerships are even making it easy to buy new cars and used cars through their dealership websites.

There are even some auto dealers that will let you make an online request to test drive a car and the dealership will bring the car right to your doorstep. At the same time, you can start the process of getting your auto financing and you can find auto insurance quotes online as well, making the whole process of buying a car much simpler.

A Guide To Caring For Classic Cars

Vehicles need the right maintenance–be it, classic cars or not. That’s why it is just mandatory that car owners know enough information to keep their cars in tip-top shape. The following tips can help the classic car owner in you:
Avoid parking under trees.

The exterior of your classic car is the one part that people notice first. It is for this reason that paint and other outside furnishings must always be on top of your priorities. Bird droppings have acid contents that can ruin your car’s bodywork. With this in mind, you should start to avoid parking your classic car under the shades of trees.

Get a garage

Car owners must have their own covered garage where they can safely keep their vehicles. Classic car collectors must ensure that they have a covered space or warehouse before acquiring units. Having a covered garage is like having your own car vault. Such a structure will ensure that your vehicles are all secured while you are away or sleeping at night.

Never use abrasives

Borne of the habit of using abrasives to clean stuff, some people tend to use the said cleaning tool to cleanse vehicles. This is definitely a no-no. Abrasives are hard and rough. Although they are designed for heavy duty-cleaning, abrasives are not meant for cleaning cars. The roughness of abrasives can cause damages and scratches to your classic car’s bodywork.

Tune-up regularly

Prevention is definitely far better than cure. Have your classic cars tuned-up or checked up regularly. This means that your mechanic have to pay your car a visit even if there isn’t anything wrong with it. Having regular tune-ups would enable you to prevent possible damages. It would also let you save on repair costs.

Drive

Although classic cars are seen as collectible items, they still exist to serve their original purposes. You might be lured by the aesthetic appeal of classic cars but you have to remember that they’re meant for driving. Drive your classic car at least twice every month. You can take on a few lapses inside your vicinity or use it when heading to the grocery. Driving your classic car would ensure that its engine gets its much-needed boost and vibe.

Have it covered

Check for used car insurances that would work best for your classic car. Good insurance coverage would let you sleep soundly at night. Remember that you should consider getting insurance since the spare parts of classic cars are usually expensive or hard to find.

How To Find Old Cars For Sale

My next door neighbor Len Anderson is a classic car collector and has a beautifully repainted 1953 Rolls Royce in his garage. He also has some more old, unusual cars in his basement. In the recent past he has had and sold two running Edsels and a World War Two Jeep. The other old car that he has upstairs in his automotive museum is an original 1934 Plymouth 4 door. It is a barn car with all original paint, glass and mechanicals.

Besides having antique toys and toy cars, Len sells mostly old car parts and paraphernalia. He has boxes and boxes full of items from the teens to the 1950’s including: 1930’s car door handles, chrome trim parts, old spotlights, hood ornaments, car ads, old manuals, and misc. classic car collectibles.

He has found most of his sell ables and personal collection just driving around northern Illinois and Iowa, but he frequently scans the pages of Hemming’s Motor News magazine. To contact his business to see if he has any of those missing pieces that would finish your collection or auto restoration, call the Riverview Antiques at: 1-815-244-7875.

Archaeological Digs

Len’s building was originally a Model T garage and later a Chevy garage in the 1960’s. The canyon behind my house and his building has offered up some old car parts, such as a complete Model T frame that still had it’s original muffler ends hanging from it (they were cast iron), fenders from that same car and fenders from various other 1930’s cars. Discarded parts and pieces and even whole cars found their way over the bluff. One such automobile is a 1959 Chevy upside down at the base of the sixty foot cliff. However, the forest wildlife has picked it pretty clean.

My house was originally built as an inn and tavern in 1870. At different periods of time what is now my yard was a Oldsmobile garage and the city dump. Whenever I do any digging or even rototill I find many things of interest; from a stack of Model T windshields in their frames to 130 year old wagon parts, this whole areas is a treasure trove.

Look For The Occasional Mistake Ad

For a month there was an ad in the Rockford, Illinois newspaper selling a 1963 Ford Convertible, but the price seemed wrong. I told my Dad that I believed it was a typo and it was really a 1936 Ford convertible. On the chance that I was right, we drove to Rockford and it was a 1936! We bought it for $475, and drove it home. The owner said he only had a few people drive up in his driveway, look at it, then drive away. (well it wasn’t As Advertised was it? )

At that same time in1966, the one new car dealer in Rockford had a small ad selling a 1963 Cobra for $1,995. Obviously they didn’t know what it was worth or what it would be worth someday. That Cobra ad ran for months and I could not convince my Dad to buy it!

Finding A Running Classic

Where could you find an old, classic car? How about the fabric store parking lot? Great-grandma only drives once or twice a month anymore but one of her stops is the fabric store. There sits her 1963 Pontiac, an almost flawless, beautiful light blue Catalina. Make her an offer! Probably no one else will be standing there bidding against you!

Classics Are Where You Find Them!

One time we located a classic collectible on an island in the Mississippi River! It was a 1955 Ford two-seater Thunderbird, but someone had replaced the original 272 Y-block with a Ford Flathead. And although the car had been underwater a few times, the owner still thought it was worth $2,000. It wasn’t.

E-Bay

When looking at cars on E-Bay also look under Antiques. There will be some classic car collectibles usually there, hiding out from the higher insertion fees. We put our 1957 Cadillac hearse there and sold it. There was a b.b. hole in the windshield, bidders wanted to see just how large the hole was so I put a dime beside the imperfection and took it’s picture. The dime could have hid the breakage.

Farmer Auctions

Farm sales will publish a sale bill in advance. Look for car listings hidden among the tractors and horse harnesses. I have known of local farmers who bought a new car yet almost never drove it. Sometimes the farmer’s lane was to blame.

One farmer didn’t have a lane to his house, so he had to drive over his neighbor’s cornfield. He had a 1939 Ford with less than 5,000 miles on it. It was sold at the auction in 1990.

There are many magazines and websites out there that can perhaps land you a decent deal on an old vehicle, but if you take your time and look between the lines who knows what pristine gems you may find.

All About The BMW 7 Series 730i Sedan

The BMW 7 series 730i sedan is one of BMW’s larger cars and also one of the most luxurious. But this does not take away from the fact that it is still a high performance vehicle. The engine of the 730i is an inline 6-cylinder engine that has good pickup accelerating from 0-60 in 7.8 seconds and good power with 258.00 PS with 258 horsepower at 6600 RPM.

The engine is made up of aluminum and magnesium composites and features a technologically advanced six-speed automatic gearbox. This type of gearbox gives better spread of gears ratios and the acceleration is improved while making the engine more quiet and improving fuel economy. There are Steptronic buttons on the steering wheel of the 730i that give the driver the option of manually overriding the gearbox so that they can have more control.

The 730i has great traction for such a high performance car with traction control using Electronic stabilization program (ESP). This system allows the 730i to hug the road even when taking corners at accelerated speeds.

There are ventilated disc brakes on the front and rear wheel and it has an Antilock Breaking System (ABS) that allows the car to stop on a dime. The 730i is one of BMW’s larger sedans and the ABS brake system is one of the better features as the car still brakes like a car that is much smaller.

The steering is easy with the 730i and very responsive but there is the sport option for even better handling with the Adaptive drive feature. This blends the Dynamic Drive active anti roll bar and Electronic Damper Control. This keeps the body from rolling when the car is going through hard turns as it converts the energy of the roll into hydraulic pressure. The electronic Damper Control gives the driver three option settings of sport, comfort, and normal.

The 730i sedan is one of the most luxurious sedans in the 7 series with upholstered leather seats and a simple yet elegant dashboard design. The 730i has the feature of BMW’s iDrive computer system.

This is just a rotary dial to perform the functions for the car as the LCD screen can give the driver all the options to control the car. The iDrive system has a help system that will help the driver as well which makes the interface simpler.

Buy Cheap Cars From Government Auctions And Make Money

Are you are looking for opportunities to help you buy cheap cars from government auctions? You need not look elsewhere but in the local city you live in. Auctions held by the police and the government happen all the time and hear you can purchase cars that are sold cheaply because they have either been repossessed or claimed as state property.

 

Inquire with your local city officials to get an idea of where you can buy cheap cars from government auctions. Ask when and where the auctions will happen. You will surely come across some useful information. The local paper will also have listings on where you can buy cheap cars from government auctions.

Since you are already trying to learn about how you can buy cheap cars from government auctions, you should also learn that buying cars this way will help you turn a good profit. Re-selling these cars is a great idea because you can sell them at higher prices to people looking to buy used cars. You can have some improvements and upgrades on the cars to enhance the reselling price. Learning about how you can buy cheap cars from government auctions will help you to make lots of money.

Learning to buy cheap cars from government auctions is not a difficult thing to do. But it could be hard to find buyers for the cars that you purchase. First of all, you need to inform people that you are selling these cars.

You need to put up advertisements such as colorful and noticeable signs that you can put on well-traveled roads. You can also put up listings on the local paper and even put online ads on the Internet. If you are smart regarding how you can buy cheap cars from government auctions, you will be able to make a profit easily.

If you need more information on how you should buy cheap cars from government auctions, you need to do a little searching. Listen to the radio for announcements. Call the office of your local government. Look for newspaper listings.

There are also some resources on the Internet which will help you better. They can teach you how to discern which cars are easier to resell, how to negotiate on the prices, and generally how to get better deals.

Knowing how to buy cheap cars from government auctions can be a great way to make money. Just be vigilant with the opportunities that you can get and you will surely earn the great rewards.

Add On Car Alarms, Are They Worth It?

So you bought an brand new, hi tech, example of automotive technology and your wondering how to protect your investment. Well the truth is the cars security system is most likely all you really need to keep your wheels safe. Many manufacturers are using security key systems that use a chip embedded in the key (transponder), and a receiver usually at the ignition key cylinder.

Quite frankly, these systems are not new, if fact they are required in most countries in Europe so many manufactures have developed systems that integrate with the car seamlessly. Most systems have the capability to disable the fuel system and the starter motor when an attempt is made to start the car without a programmed key or by breaking the lock cylinder. Some do include intrusion systems (door, hood and trunk security) that work when the system is armed.

The problem arises when a “piggy back” system is installed to the original system the most common being a motion or glass break sensor. Many times the installation may cause the base system to malfunction or even become inoperative. There are some factory add on accessories that are designed to work with the factory system. Use of approved factory add on units are the best way to go if you want to avoid problems in the future since they are designed to work with the base system not against it.

One of the most common add on units are system that interrupt the circuit from the ignition switch to the starter solenoid. The total cost of a system like this to the dealer (parts and labor) can be as little as 25 dollars.

Of course the system is offered as an add on for as much as 300 dollars and if the customer declines the system is still left on the car and a “by-pass” chip is installed in the receiver where the owner would use a security chip. Since the system is still on the car, it can still malfunction and cost the owner of the car labor to have it removed.

To sum it all up, the factory system is all you really should ever need. If you feel the factory system is not sufficient, then ask for factory approved add on units and make sure they are covered by the new car warranty, they should be if they are installed at the time of sale, or soon thereafter. If car theft is a problem in your area, the extra money may be better spent on more insurance coverage when you apply the discount given for having an alarm on the car.

Smart For Two Pure Coupe Review Of 2008 Model

A friend let me borrow his 2008 Smart for Two Pure Coupe to test drive and see how these ride and handle. After taking a trip though town to run errands with a short jaunt down the highway, I am convinced that these will make excellent little electric cars.

These are brilliant little cars which were really intended for city driving, and that is exactly what they excel at. Quick from the light, nimble and easy to park with a decent fuel economy rating, these are hard to beat for that particular duty. If you have to take the highway for more than ten minutes a day you may not be the happiest customer the Smart for two ever had.

This little car is really fun to drive on surface streets with speed limits up to 50 mph. There is a bit of trepidation for me when taking a car this small onto a high speed motorway. I see no safety reasons why you should not go on the highway with your Smart for two, however I felt more in control of the little car at 50 mph or less.

Specifications have not changed much over the years, and it still sports a frugal 1.0 Liter three cylinder gas propelled engine. The output is rated at 70 brake horsepower, and 68 foot pounds of torque. This propels the 1800 pound overgrown golf cart up to cruising speed of 60 miles per hour in just over 13 seconds.

Cargo space is specified at 7.7 cubic feet with seats in their normal upright position. The leg room and hip room are fairly generous considering the short overall length of this car. In fact to give some perspective this car is 61.4″ wide, 60.7″ tall and only 106.1″ long. That makes it shorter than a Mini Cooper by three feet and longer than an “EZ-GO” golf cart by only a foot!

Fuel economy is a respectable 33 mpg city, and 41 highway and these have been verified to be within 1-2 mpg by the owner. He only drives a few miles to work each day and does not go on the freeway, and he averages 45 mph on the longest straight part of his trip.

One of the downsides I saw is that the cargo space is not sufficient to hold things like your golf clubs, or a big load of groceries. The front passenger seat is helpful with these, but if you have a passenger then your cargo area is limited.

The car is definitely less efficient when hauling around two guys with a combined weight near four hundred pounds, though there is definitely plenty of legroom and it is easy to get in and out of.

Back in 2008 you could get a base smart for two coupe for about $11,590 and if you added two essential items, a radio and air conditioning, then you would spend another $1000.

Other things to consider would be the fact that as a car for teens learning to drive you will hardly find a better deal. The fact that it can only carry two people makes it inherently safer for your child to own and drive since they simply cannot fit more than one friend in the car at a time, and there is no backseat to get them into any trouble. This car will keep your kid safer in the long run.

Overall my friend is very happy with his Smart for two and he was checking out the 2011 model, but he found it was too similar to the 2008. Now he is waiting to see the 2012 electric model. They finally began shipping 250 test market electric Smart for two cars in January 2011.

Aluminum Cars Could Be Safer As Well As Lighter: Are The Days Of Heavy Steel Cars Numbered?

Today there is one thing that everyone is clamoring about when it comes to a new car: miles per gallon. While car companies are in a frantic race to develop the first all-electric car or the best hybrid on the market, they are also looking at using aluminum as opposed to steel to manufacture the car body itself. Not only will this lighten the car and thus improve miles per gallon, but it may ultimately be safer than steel when involved in a crash.

Let’s start with the increased miles per gallon. Because aluminum is lighter and weighs considerably less than its steel counterpart, it will of course get better fuel mileage. It will also burn less carbon into the atmosphere as the drive train will not have to work as hard to propel the vehicle. But along with what everyone wants in high miles per gallon, aluminum can offer something that some may not expect; increased safely.

Unlike ridged steel, aluminum can be designed to “fold” a certain way upon impact. With this advantage, engineers can design the cars so that the cars themselves and not their drivers absorb most of the impact.

It is for this reason that the all-aluminum Audi A8 received a perfect five star safety rating from federal safety regulators. But another interesting advantage occurs because of the use of the lighter weight material; more space becomes an option (source: greencar.com).

Again, when it comes to increasing the miles per gallon in any vehicle, weight is a primary factor. Most cars that are made of the heavier steel will reduce the size of the car and the “cock-pit” that the occupants sit in so that they can save weight.

With aluminum there is no need to reduce the size of the car as the weight is already considerably less. A bigger car and “cock-pit” not only provide for a more comfortable ride, but a safer one as well as a bigger car is of course going to fare better in a crash when compared to a smaller one.

When you take all those factors into consideration you begin to see the possibilities for today’s hybrids. They already boast wonderful miles per gallon and with the lighter weight of aluminum could be built to be a nice big luxurious ride with added space and safety. This can be accomplished without sacrificing the good gas mileage.

It is not a matter of if the auto industry is going towards aluminum it is simply a matter of when. The sooner the better as far as I am concerned. There seems to be many applications for aluminum that there simply isn’t with steel. It will increase our miles per gallon, give us a more comfortable ride and keep us safer; what more could we ask for?

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