Jun 182012

Recently Earth-friendly alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles have gained major attention and an increasing market share.

But you don’t need to have old batteries lying around or buy a different vehicle to protect the environment. All you really need in the playbook of environmental consciousness are two “sets” of “plays” – maintaining your vehicle and practicing good driving habits.

Here are the “plays”, or should we say tips that could help you score a touchdown in the field of Earth-friendly auto maintenance. The first tip would be to make sure your car’s engine is in top condition at all times. Perform regular vehicle maintenance at the intervals recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. And make sure you have your engine checked in an expedient manner if you see the “check engine” light.

To find a trustworthy repair facility, ask friends for recommendations or search online for auto repair facilities near you. Closely monitor the pressure in your tires. An underinflated tire, or tires would cause your engine to push farther than it could and, as a result, guzzle more gas in order to keep your vehicle moving.

Don’t have your car’s air conditioning serviced by just any Joe Blow in the neighborhood – the technicians must be properly certified to handle automotive AC systems. Older air conditioning systems contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the atmosphere.

Speaking of older cars and dangerous chemicals, some of them have switches that contain mercury that are used to activate lighting systems. However, you can have this substance eliminated from your vehicle, as many shops have “mercury switch out” programs that allow you to change these switches for those that are made out of more environmentally friendly substances.

You’ll only end up wasting gas and risking a traffic violation if you put the pedal to the metal and try beating the speed limit, red light, or whatnot.

If you need to change fluids or batteries, dispose of them properly. Make a quick call to your local waste management agency if you need some help. Do not, and I repeat do not spill engine fluids on to the ground, because they may eventually find themselves mingling with otherwise fresh water in a nearby lake – not very Earth-friendly at all.

If you follow the tips above and make sure you are driving environmentally safe, then you will be rewarded with an automobile that will last the long haul while not doing anything harmful to Mother Nature. In other words, when you “go green,” the Earth wins, your car wins — and you are the biggest winner of all!

Trust the skilled technicians with your important Greenville engine mechanic needs.

Jun 032012

Now that you have come at the end of you lease, you like your car enough to want to keep 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. What you need to do is read the fine print of your contract and try to find 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. Having signed on the dotted line means that aside from a monthly financing fee, your monthly payments were calculated as the difference between the vehicle’s sticker price and its estimated value at the end of the lease. 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. An example would be a car that has a 50% residual percentage and a sticker price of $40,000 will have an estimated $20,000 value at the end of the lease.

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. Do you know how much your car retail costs in the market? You need to do some pricing research in order to pin down a good, solid estimate. Checking the price of the vehicle that has similar mileage and condition with different dealers is a must. For detailed pricing information, you need to use online pricing websites. Giving you a fair estimate of the retail value of your vehicle is the gleaning price information from various sources.

You’re a winner, in case the residual value is lower than the actual retail value. Unfortunately, there is a good chance a car coming off a lease is a little on the high side. But you shouldn’t despair. Since leasing companies are aware that the residual values on their vehicles are greater than their market value, then they are always on the lookout for offers. The price of your leased vehicle can be knocked down with some smooth negotiating tactics.

A price that is below your actual target is what you need to put forward and until you are near that figure, negotiate hard. Chances are you’ll get your car at the market value if not slightly lower.

See how to maintain your truck and prevent unexpected repairs at carolinas.aaa.com.

Jun 022012

The latest thing in motorcycle helmets are those made of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is actually carbon filament thread weaved into a cloth or felt. This can also refer to a complex material made from carbon filaments that are also used to make the outer covering of the helmet. Carbon fiber plus Kevlar makes stronger and lighter helmets.

To make carbon fiber helmets, an acrylic fiber is superheated, which will make stronger and stiffer helmets. Carbon fiber complexes are as strong as and are far lighter than metals, which are ideal for helmets.

Kevlar is created by dissolving a polymer in a solvent and then extracting the fibers and then spun to form threads. Kevlar is very similar to carbon fiber, except that it doesn’t have much comprehensive strength. You’ll get thrice the flexural strength of Kevlar if you combine it with carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber motorcycle helmets are better in more ways than one than fiberglass helmets. With carbon fiber motorcycle helmets, it is now possible to make more compact motorcycle helmets that are lighter and less bulky.

There are many of these helmets available in custom helmet manufacturers. But there are other manufacturers now beginning to make motorcycle helmets out of this extremely useful material. Therefore, helmets nowadays are lighter in weight, cooler, and stronger.

There are even DOT approved motorcycle helmets made from carbon fiber, such as the THH T-69. Its smaller shell design helps in making it ever the popular choice with most riders today. The HJC AC-12 full face carbon fiber helmet is exceptional because it gives ordinary motorcycle riders some racer features.

This helmet features a Flow Through ACS Advanced Channeling Ventilation Feature System which makes the rider feel cooler. It also makes use of an Anti-fog System to provide you with a clear view even in the coldest of days. A built-in communication system speaker cavity which enables two-way or multi-channel communication if the rider needs it is also a fantastic feature.

Helmets are keeping up with the modern needs of riders as well as ensuring better protection with the help of the amazing technology of today. You are sure to find one perfect helmet for you among the many different helmets available now.

Our mechanic shop in Apex can handle a full selection of services for most cars.

Jun 012012

Renting a car when you go on vacations definitely has its perks. Whether you regularly rent cars or just occasionally from car rental agencies, make sure to do some research and comparison and you will be able to rent a car at a great rate.

These tips should be of some help to you:

There Might Be More Charges Than You Think

You shouldn’t sign a deal right away if you are offered a car rental price that’s very low. But there are hidden charges, like the sales tax, airport surcharges, insurance fees, licensing fees, and the like, so you’ll be paying so much more than you first thought.

Compare Rental Car Rates Online

The internet gives you a good opportunity to check the different prices for car rentals. You can also get online discounts from many big companies. You have to read the terms and conditions and understand them completely before you rent the car online. Make yourself aware of the car rental restrictions of the company. You should see the competition before you finally decide on which car rental service you want.

Common Car Rental Rules

The car rental charge will depend greatly on how long you will use the car. If you will only use the car for less than a week, you should avail of the car rental services form big companies like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Thrifty, and others. On the other hand, if you are going to rent the car for a longer stretch of time, it may be a good idea to approach a smaller scale car rental agency, as they may be more willing to offer a more competitive rate than their bigger competitors. Auto dealers particularly offer good rates in these situations.

Though smaller companies will give you a better price, the service and support will not be as good as those from bigger companies. That means you will have to find your own way if your car breaks down. So be aware that if you want to save on your rental fee you have to take this risk.

Our car repair shops Gastonia NC provide a complete selection of repairs for most trucks.

Jun 012012

Being parents would mean that we have to make unpopular choices for our children and most often, this relates to when we choose their first car. Looking at cars as status symbols are what teenagers do, particularly the boys. It’s better if they get the bigger engine because it means the car is faster and racier. Being parents means that we prefer older, safer, and slower.

When choosing a car for your teenager, there are a few points you should consider. First of all, you and your child will have to consider a certain budget. On your budget or for a child who will be paying for their own gas, gas guzzling cars may not be an option. Cars that are smaller and slower tend to be more economical on fuel.

Driving experience is another thing to consider. Do you think that a 16 year old is equipped with the experience to handle a fast car? What about their reactions, are they honed by years of driving in traffic? No matter how badly they want it, if a brand new car has a fast engine then it is an unguided missile in inexperienced hands. In fact, the chances of your teen bumping the car within the first year is pretty good. The more expensive the car, the more expensive the repairs are going to be.

A huge concern for parents of teenagers who drive is safety. We can make sure that they keep their cars in good working condition even though we can’t stop them from driving. Routinely checking tire pressure, oil levels, tire wear, water levels, and lights on the car is what you need to teach your child. In case of a puncture, they should also know how to change a wheel. Safety in a car is about more than just airbags.

It would also be helpful if you set a good example in terms of driving habits. As long as you don’t speed, drive recklessly or break the law, then it’s likely your child won’t do those things as well. Explaining the consequences of dangerous driving is vital – a car is a one ton weapon in the wrong hands, and the result of careless driving can be tragic and life-changing. You teenager needs to be aware of the dangers as well even if you don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm.

Convincing your teenager that they don’t need the newest, fastest car on the lot is not going to be easy, particularly if they have friends who have them. Even though it will make you unpopular, keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to look after them. Just like other decisions parents have to make, once your children have kids of their own, only then are they likely to understand and appreciate them.

To get related reading about truck repair, read this.

May 312012

Imported and luxurious sports cars are an obsession for some collectors and buyers. The US is one of the many countries who frequently import new luxury vehicles like sports cars. Not only brand new but pre-owned luxury cars are also sold in the country. Not all can afford the more luxurious imported cars, many have to settle with the second hand ones as their next option. Even the second hand models found their way in the collections of some car enthusiasts. There are also others who want a prestigious car just for the joy of driving and owning one.

There are things that a buyer of used imported luxury sports cars will have to look into. The buyer should know the actual price of a luxury sports car. Just to be sure, the buyer should have the car appraised. The imported cars are sold at bloated costs in the dealers’ belief that most buyers are unfamiliar to the fair market price of a particular car. It is therefore essential for a buyer to find out the worth of new or used luxury cars. Buyers of these cars should research the car before purchasing. Because you are unfamiliar with the imported car, you have to learn of the car’s specifications from the engine to the body and under chassis, and its performance data.

The buyer should also know about the depreciation life of the car and the car’s marketability. In striving to know more about luxury sport cars, the buyer will have a wealth of information which will serve him in good stead when buying the car. An effective source of information is the internet, and buyers should also contact owners of the same vehicle for feedback about the car’s performance.

The buyer should also take along a car mechanic not attached to the dealer to inspect the vehicle and to give advice. The mechanic can tell the buyer of the condition of the car’s engine and other systems. This is to insure that the car is in good shape and that it will not make the buyer’s dream become a nightmare.

Take time to think about the purchase before making the final decision. Buying an imported and luxury sports car also demands the same caution. Everything should be to your satisfaction to ensure that you are not buying a lemon.

When you’re searching for preventative maintenance, AAA Carolinas will provide the best work for your vehicle.

May 312012

Making it easier for you to make an informed decision is understand how to calculate your monthly lease payment. But shying away from the complicated math on our lease contract is what most of do and so we leave it up to the dealer to do the payment formula.

The truth is, it’s not that difficult. Everything else will fall into place once you understand all the figures that are involved in calculating your monthly payments. The key figures include:

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price or MSRP: The list price of the vehicle or the window sticker price is what this refers to.

What is the Money Factor? The interest rate on your list is determined by this factor. Before you enter into a lease, you need to insist that your dealer discloses this rate.

The Lease Term: This refers to the number of months that the dealer rents the vehicle.

The Residual Value: This refers to the value of the vehicle at the end of the lease. You can again get this figure from the dealer.

Now we have to calculate a sample lease payment that is based on a vehicle that has a money factor of 0.0034 (this is usually quoted as 3.4%) and an MSRP or sticker price value of $25,000. Base it on the scheduled lease that is over 3 years with an estimated residual percentage of 55%.

Calculating the residual value of the car is the first step you need to take. You multiply the MSRP by the residual percentage:

$25,000 X .55 = $13 750.

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

Formula: $20,000 – $13,750 = $11,250

For over a 36 month lease period, the amount of $11,250 will be used you will be given a monthly payment of:

$11,250 / 36 = $312.50.

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. To calculate this, you need to add the MSRP figure to the residual value and multiply this by the money factor:

($25,000 + $13,750) * 0.0034 = $131.75

We finally get the approximate monthly payment when we add the two figures together:

$312.50 + $131.75 = $444.25

The amount of $444.25 will be your monthly payments for the 36 months of the lease.

Don’t forget that this is a simplified calculation which means that taxes, fees, rebates, or any other incentives will not be taken into account. You will be given a ballpark figure with this calculation or a rough idea of what your lease payments for the vehicle in question should be.

At Carolinas AAA you will receive a complete range of repairs including alignments.

May 302012

When it comes to car rental, it can be time consuming, expensive, and inconvenient especially if you don’t get the type of car that you want. Renting cars is what most people do when they are traveling, either on business or on holiday. It is important to get the right car at the right price since your needs for these trips are quite different.

Whether you are phoning around or searching on the internet, be sure to get three or four quotes before making a choice. A rental agency that has offices in the area you are going to or has drop off facilities nearby is your first priority. You would want to avoid adding extra mileage just to deliver the car.

Special rates are offered by many car rental agencies and often, they are based on the length of time you rent the car for. There are deals that are tied with particular airlines and hotels. Your travel agent should be able to advise you on these package deals. When you look at special rates, check the mileage and fuel limitations. Although you may get a good price on the rental, you will also discover that you pay for most of the fuel and mileage. Check the insurance rates and any other extra charges carefully, then choose the best deal. Are you aware of the fact that the fancier the car, the more expensive it will be? If you don’t need a car with 7 seats and air conditioning, then don’t pay for it.

You can hop off the plane into your car and return it when you arrive for your flight home because some rental agencies have offices at airports. Collecting you from your hotel is what others may offer to do or they may have their rental offices in town. Make sure you have the necessary transportation to get to where you can pick up your rental car.

Make sure that you confirm your car reservation ahead of time just as you would with flights and accommodation. Remember to check whether the reservation fee is included in the rate, or whether it is a separate fee. Your mileage limits is what you need to remember when using the car since it can be exorbitant to have fees exceeding the limit and unpleasant at the end of your trip when your budget will already be depleted.

It’s better if you refill the car first before returning it. Most car rental agencies add on to the gas price if they have to refill the gas tank themselves. By collecting your car early in the morning when other rentals have not yet been returned, you can sometimes get an upgrade. The agency may offer you a free upgrade if the agency does not have the type of car you reserved. But remember, if you get a bigger engine, then this could mean more gas.

Ask questions, search for the best deals, and enjoy your trip in your rented car.

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May 122012

If you watch the news or read it online, you should be familiar with the recent batch of car recalls. You may think your car is safe from the recall menace, but don’t celebrate just because your dealer hasn’t sent you anything in the mail. However, there are still ways that you can do your part in ensuring the safety of your car.

If you bought your car new from a reputable dealership, contact them to see if you car is on the recall list. Get in touch with other dealers who also carry the make and model of car you purchased if your dealer’s out of business. The manufacturer’s website is one of the best authorities when checking if your make and model is up for recall. You will most likely be pushed back to the dealer, so be prepared for this should your car be up for recall.

If your car is on the recall list, that’s the time to set up an appointment for the repair. It would be more polite to schedule an appointment rather than just walking in. This gives the dealership time to order parts, staff accordingly, and ensure that they’re giving your vehicle enough time to make the repair. You just might fall asleep waiting if you walk in.

Next thing to do is to have all your ducks conveniently in a row – ask them how long the repair would take, if you would need to loan a car, and if the repair is going to cost you – it shouldn’t. You shouldn’t pay because it is their defect that led to the recall. Their fault, they pay. The dealership, though, may not be able to let you rent a car for free if the repairs would take one night or more. You should have other choices. One such option would be a shuttle service. A shuttle service would be able to drop by for you before work once you drop off the car, then return for you after work. Regardless if you wait, take the shuttle or rent a loaner, being without your car, even for a few hours is tough, so plan ahead.

Documentation is essential whenever your car ends up on the recall list. Keep every piece of paperwork that you get regarding your car. Print out and save any email correspondence you have with the dealership or manufacturer, as well as any vital information found on a website. Also keep any estimates or receipts for the work. This may be the most important part of the recall process, so keep everything in order! If you have disputes regarding the cost of repairs or safety of your car, you will need this file.

All the tips above are applicable only for newer vehicles. If you are driving a used car, you will need to verify whether it is still covered by the recall. Don’t jump into any hasty conclusions. And take note that different models would have different reasons behind the recall. Don’t go rushing in like a fool, read up on the issue at hand and find out what it is before having your car repaired. Know what the problem is going in, how they intend to fix it, and keep any proof that shows the issue has been repaired.

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May 082012

There are a few simple ways to perform little tasks on your car without destruction or complexities. Every level of experience for car repairs is addressed in several different manuals whether online, or in a book. A drastic improvement in the resale of a car and the overall performance can be achieved through small maintenance performed by the owner.

Although DIY automotive maintenance cannot replace a regular service at the shop, it can help maintain a car between services, and help stretch out the service intervals if budget constraints require more time between servicing.

Clean battery posts, new windshield wipers, and properly filled fluids under the hood of the car are all easy maintenance jobs that can be performed by the car owner to save a trip to the mechanics.

A radiator flush keeps corrosion from building up inside the radiator, ensuring that the cooling system in the car works properly. Radiator flushes are an easy way to participate in DIY maintenance of your car, using the right items, from the comfort of your home.

Changing brake pads and discs is pretty straightforward for most people who can handle tools. Pad replacements can be pinpointed by how much pressure you have to apply before your car stops, or a squeaking sound your car makes every time you brake. Many local automotive parts retailers have a variety of brand name and off brand items for your car.

Keeping the ABS sensors clean can prevent the ABS warning light from switching on and leading the owner to believe the brakes needed to be serviced. After you realize where the sensors are, it is easy to wipe them off to keep from having another false alarm. Often this simple job prevents an expensive trip to the repair shop. Take the car into a dealership or shop to check the performance of the car after a maintenance light turns on.

Improving fuel efficiency, car performance, and the prevention of costly affairs are easy to do by the replacement of fuel and air filters. In conclusion to changing air and fuel filters, it is important to have common knowledge about the tools being used.

Oil changes requires the removal of all old oil and for the sump to be filled with clean oil. Oil changes are rather filthy tasks that will clean and maintain the life of the engine.

Practice safety by making sure the car will not roll or move with proper security of tires before beginning. Use an extremely low skateboard or slider for under the car. Otherwise a rubber mat on the ground offers protection from dirt and scrapes.

Car parts are not as hard to replace as it may seem. Just remember the order in which everything was removed, put it back in reverse order, and make sure you use every nut and bolt you took off. Every part of a car is just as important as the next one.

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