The Car Geek: January 2006

The Car Geek

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Just Push a Button

What the OnStar System does is that in dire needs during vehicle trouble, talking with a real live person would be just a button away. That is what the OnStar System does. Just push a button and the live OnStar Advisor will be able to respond to you. Quick and easy.

The OnStar services actually require vehicle electrical system, wireless service and GPS satellite signals to be available, and also operating for features to function properly. It also requires a Hands-Free Calling-enable vehicle, existing OnStar service contract, and PrePaid minute package or enrollment in OnStar Shared Minutes Plan. Although calls that are made with prepaid minutes could only be connected and made to the U.S. and to Canada only.

How to get the OnStar System? Well, it is actually a factory-installed option. This cannot be installed by a dealer or retailer. And one of the world's vehicle manufacturers - General Motors - has decided to use this system in their vehicles. GM has committed itself and its vehicles to continuous safety that offers protection before, during, and after collisions. Thus, OnStar will be standard in the full range of GM retail cars, trucks, and SUVs in the United States and also in Canada by next year.

Meanwhile, locating other auto parts to ensure your vehicle's excellent performance and avoid any unwanted breakdowns could be done so at Auto Parts Inner with its wide collection of BMW parts, Pontiac parts, Nissan parts and a whole lot more. It has certainly been handy for me when I needed a couple of Volvo parts for me.

Cars gets bolder, aims for family resemblance

In these extremely competitive times, appearances are sometimes everything. When it comes to cars, the design is the first thing that people see - and every automaker knows that unless their vehicles get the "wow" out of people's mouths, they won't be selling any.

These days, bold(er) designs seem to do the trick - bolder designs that lets you know just what automaker is responsible for such beauty, or atrocity (if the "boldness" doesn't please you at all).

According to CNN/Money, having a "design language" that represents a brand's "DNA" is all the rage now, as entire collections of cars go under the knife to develop a family resemblance.

For Ford, this could mean the corporate look that most of their new models are sporting right now. Ford launched its new Crossover Utility Vehicle, the Edge at the Detroit show - with the new three-bar grill present, first seen on the Fusion midsize sedan, as is now also seen on the company's Super Chief full-size pickup concept.

Recognizable style was also a priority for Mercedes-Benz at the unveiling of their new GL-class full-size SUV, as well as their new flagship S65 sedan at the auto show. Though serving entirely different purposes, the two vehicles had common design elements: pronounced wheel arches, a crease that runs the length of the body, and a bold, upright grill.

One car that may not exactly fit the bill of an exciting vehicle is the Toyota Camry - often described by owners themselves as "vanilla" and "dad's car". This year however, playing safe was not an option for the giant Japanese automaker. The 2007 Camry was redesigned for a more "athletic" look, with cues in the headlamps and grill that connect it to both its full-sized sibling, the Avalon, along with the company's new subcompact Yaris. Toyota after all, does not want to be dethroned as having the bestselling car in the U.S. for the past seven years.

Of course, there is always the option of customizing a vehicle should an owner find himself a bit bored with his ride. Auto parts like

Ford spoilers, Mercedes Benz bumpers and Toyota hubcaps that car owners can decide to personalize their vehicles which can easily be ordered from reliable online auto parts stores like Auto Parts Inner.

And theres always the option of getting yourself a new, bolder Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, or BMW.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What to do In Case of Emergencies

I was browsing Auto Parts Inner to find the replacement auto parts I need for my auto repair when I bumped into this article about "Miscellaneous Emergencies." I found this article from Auto Parts Inner's Automotive Articles Section very interesting since I can relate to some of the instances cited below. Anyway, that's a different story. Read on... I hope this helps: Miscellaneous Emergencies

  • The driver is locked out of the car - Use a wire or a coat hanger. Straighten the wire and make a small loop or fishhook shape at one end. Slip the wire through the crack of the window or down through the top crack of the door. You may slip the wire past the weather-stripping of the door. Jiggle the wire around so that the hook will loop around the button lock and then try to lift up the lock.
  • Car is stuck on ice - Drive slowly and at steady rate to prevent getting stuck again. To get off an ice patch, try kitty litter, sand, dirt, or floor mats for friction. Sprinkle the abrasives (front or back) for about fifteen feet. Put the sack of sand or kitty litter back into the trunk and don't stop for anything until the car is on solid ground. Try not to spin the wheels, but if no abrasive material is available, try letting some air out of the tires to gain some friction.
  • Car is stuck in snow - Rock the car back and forth by shifting quickly from drive (or first gear) to reverse while keeping the wheels straight as much as possible. Then shift into neutral and increase engine speed to let the transmission cool. Once the car is free, keep it moving; however make sure that the tires are cool.
  • Car is stuck in mud - When mud cling to the undercarriage of the car, it is more difficult to get traction. Don't spin wheels as this would only drive the car deeper. Use the same methods as getting out of snow or ice. If these methods don't work, call a tow truck.
  • Car is stuck in sand - Like when your car is stuck in mud, spinning the wheels when your car when stuck in sand will only make things worse. You need a truck to tow your car, If the car is not up to the hubs in the sand, try letting a little bit of air out of the tires to increase the friction.

Just in case you too are in need of replacement parts, this store is highly recommended. It houses thousands of parts from BMW parts to Volvo parts! I just got from the store replacement for my Ford headlights, and other Ford truck parts.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Its Time for a Tune Up

Tuning up isnt an absolute guarantee that your car would no longer experience any trouble or even just minor problems but doing it regularly is a must so as to keep your vehicle in good shape and for it to last longer than expected. It is better to spend some amount for your car tune up every three years or every 30,000 miles rather than spend thousands for frequent car repair.

When do you know its time to tune up a car? Here are some signs:

  • You hear noise from the engine after the ignition is shut off.
  • You smell foul odor from your catalytic converter.
  • Rough running problems when idling and accelerating.

To prevent these problems from recurring, you need to replace damaged or worn out parts and even those that can still be used such as the air, fuel and emission control filters so as to enhance your cars performance.

Engine and ignition problems usually result from worn out or malfunctioning spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, condenser, PCV valves and battery among others. Problems may also be rooted from problems in the emission control system that requires replacement of some of its parts.

Apart from replacing the some parts, a tune-up also involves checking of the ignition timing and adjusting it if necessary, adjusting the valves as needed, checking the belts, checking and refilling fluids under the hood, adjusting the clutch and cleaning terminals of the battery.

You need a help of a qualified auto mechanic or technician to diagnose your car problems correctly and to do necessary preventive actions the right way. Likewise, you need to have a good source of replacement auto parts for your car. It is advisable to go to trusted online sources such as Auto Parts Inner for your convenience, secured online transactions and guaranteed satisfaction. Auto Parts Inner is one of the biggest and most reliable sources of top quality auto parts including the best replacement Ford parts, Chevy parts, Jeep parts, Volvo parts, Volkswagen parts, Mazda parts, and BMW parts.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Car for My Teenager

I remember when I was almost screaming to find out that after months of hinting and asking my parents, my very first car was waiting for me in the garage. My very own. That time, it meant freedom to me. It was mine, all mine.

What goes around comes around, though. Now, it is my turn. My son has been pestering me for weeks now for a car of his own. Yet, I’m thinking that he still cannot have one. He’s too young. I know, I know. I do sound like an old daddy. But I know that I was his age when I received my first, so maybe I’ll just do the same.

Safety has been my primary concern. Even if I have been able to raise my child right, I know that he can handle driving well. However, accidents do happen. And one recent Autobytel survey said that drinking and driving is the number one killer of young people. The best kind of car could be one with a good anti-lock braking system, and has disc brakes that are large and high quality. For under $20,000, I’ve been considering VW Jetta, VW GTI, Ford Focus SVT, Mini Cooper, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, and Hyundai Tiburon. For under $15,000, I’m considering the Nissan Sentra, Chevrolet S-10, Chevrolet Cavalier, and Toyota Corolla. These are based on their standard safety equipment like air bags, ABS, and daytime running lights.

An article in the Internet provided information that a car for a teenager should be able to grow with them and their changing lifestyles. Large SUVs are out for it could become a cruncher when it comes to gas mileage. The car should be something that a teenager could use from driving to the beach, to moving stuff to dorm rooms come college time. For under $20,000, these cars could be the one: VW Jetta, Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, PT Cruiser, Hyundai Santa Fe, Pontiac Vibe, and VW Beetle. For under $15,000, the list includes: Kia Sportage, Toyota Matrix, Ford Focus, and Honda Civic. These are based on body style and functional interior design.

When it comes to style, it is probably best to leave it to them. After all, they are the ones who are going to use them. And yes, manufacturers have kept in mind that style and safety could come together in one vehicle. Under $20,000 considerations include Acura RSX, Dodge Stratus, VW Beetle, Ford Focus SVT, Mazda Protege5, Mini Cooper, and Hyundai Tiburon. And for those under $15,000, they are Nissan Sentra, Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, and Toyota Matrix.

For sure, these teenagers like to go fast, mine included. A list of compromises I have found on the Net could help you and me out when dealing with our teenage drivers.

* One speeding ticket, and it’s over. Especially in a school zone. * Distractions should be limited, thus no DVD in the car, much more an aftermarket stereo system. * They should change the oil and flush the radiator, and be up-to-date on any scheduled maintenance. * The insurance premium should be paid by them. * No driving with friends at night until they are 18. * And no parties. Many accidents take place during these happenings.

If, for any chance, they need to change or replace any part of their chosen first vehicle, online stores like Auto Parts Inner provide just what they might need. They are made from quality material and are proven to be budget friendly.