The Importance Of Changing Your Spark Plugs

About Spark Plugs

Let’s start with the basics. What’s a spark plug? What exactly does it do in your car?Well, like the name suggests, a spark plug generates a spark which ignites the mixture of air and fuel in your car. The combustion of this mixture inside a car engine is what gives the car the power to move. This plug takes as input voltage on one end, and on the other end outputs a spark, which travels across the gap between the 2 electrodes of the spark plug. Essentially, your car won’t start and move without the spark plug. As is the case with everything else in your car, a spark plug is also prone to regular wear and tear and needs maintenance/replacement. Two things happen to the plug with age –

  • Every time a spark is generated, it burns a wee bit of the electrodes it jumps across. Spark plugs also undergo routine erosion due to extreme temperatures in your car. Naturally, over time this gap between the electrodes widens, and it becomes harder to ignite the fuel.
  • Accumulation of debris and other deposits on spark plugs make ignition difficult.

There are multiple benefits to replacing your spark plug when it’s needed –

  • Spark Plug performance is directly connected to engine performance. Because of that, good they go a long way in ensuring better fuel economy.
  • Quality plugs also reduce emissions and therefore are environment friendly.
  • And of course, if a spark plug is in good shape that means your car starts off smoothly, without any hiccups.

Spark plug life depends on the number of miles driven, its age, and of course, its quality. There are a few signs which indicate that your spark plugs have gone bad.

Jerky start – If starting your car becomes difficult, or it feels sudden and jerky, it could mean that it’s time to take a look at those spark plugs. This is the most obvious sign.

Rattling Noises – Rattling noises from the car’s engine could be due to the engine misfiring. There can be multiple reasons for this, and one of them is the ignition system misfiring, which is caused due to a faulty spark plug or ignition coil. In case you hear this noise, a professional mechanic is the best person for finding out the cause.

Poor mileage – Lots of things contribute to fuel economy, and one of them is spark plugs. Again, if you find that your vehicle’s mileage has dropped, it could be due to worn out spark plugs, and only a proper mechanic can point you in the right direction.

Poor acceleration – Spark plugs are fired when you change gears on your car and accelerate. If you experience sluggish acceleration, it could have easily been caused by a worn out spark plug.

If you encounter any of these issues, it’s best to get your car examined as soon as possible. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine! Regular maintenance and care will go a long way in further cost savings and ensuring safety.

Let’s Talk About That Top Coat

Many vehicle owners if not all will probably agree that keeping your car looking like you just drove off the lot, shiny and new is high priority.  Whether you are an avid sports car collector or you just want to keep that $35,000 investment in the best shape possible, being that you will be driving around in it for a while, maintaining our cars appearance can be a tough task.  Why? First off we have all the external hazards that we are surrounded by everyday. Think debris from other vehicles, dirt, etc. Coupled with weather conditions, dings in the supermarket parking lot, your car is in constant contact with foreign items that can scratch, dent and damage your car’s exterior.  Next we have wear and tear from everyday use. Most people wash their car regularly, perhaps have it detailed from time to time and either pay to have a wax job done or spend a lengthy amount of time doing it themselves. Not anymore. The average paint job is just that, average, these days. With innovative techniques constantly being developed when it comes to the way we “paint” a car is amazing.  Think vinyl wraps and nanoceramic coating. Vinyl wraps have become popular for its customizing abilities, chrome, and matte finishes. It’s a lot more cost friendly than a normal paint job and doesn’t actually alter the original color of your car. Nanoceramic coating on the other hand is slowly gaining awareness and becoming a sought after service, but not everyone is exactly sure what it is and if it’s really cost effective and necessary.

 Hyer Quality Detail, a Tempe based company in Arizona, gave us the details of what nanoceramic coating is and what it can do for your vehicle.  Nanoceramic coating is a glass-like shield that is laid over your cars paint. Almost like a really really strong top coat. In fact nanoceramic coating is about 5 times stronger and more protective than the manufacturer’s clear coat.  Not only will it add extreme shine, gloss and intensity to your vehicles paint job it does not wear off or disintegrate over time. Certified technicians, like those at Hyer Quality Detail, use a a special skilled process to fuse the protective ceramic coating to your car’s exterior.  In return the coating offers many great benefits including:

  • Acts as a water repellent
  • Offers UV Protection
  • Cost Effective
  • Eliminates the need for wax jobs
  • Self Cleaning
  • Deflects dings & dents
  • Vehicle stays cleaner longer
  • Acts as a weather protectant

Continue reading Let’s Talk About That Top Coat

Replacing Your Vehicles Brake Pads

 

The brake pad is a simple, but very important part of the entire braking system of a car. Since brakes are obviously a crucial part of a car, especially when it comes to safety, overlooking the brake pads may result in accidents with the brakes not working when they need to.
To understand why brake pads wear out, it’s important to have an overview of the braking system in a car. In a nutshell, when the brake pedal is pressed, a brake fluid passes through the thin wire called the brake line. At the end of this brake line, this fluid applies pressure to the brake callipers (which holds the brake pads in place), and the callipers press the brake pads against the rotor (which is attached to the wheel and rotates along with it).


Simply put, the brake pad is what is being pressed against the rotor to create friction to stop a car. This brake pad has a steel plate on one side, and friction material on the other side which will face the rotor.
Now that we understand what the brake pads do, let’s see how to detect wear and tear inthem.
To detect anything amiss with the brake pads, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open.

Visually examine the brake pads- Just take a look at the brake pads through the tire spokes. What you’re looking for is the thickness of these pads. If the thickness seems to be less than 1/4th of an inch, get them inspected. There’s a good chance that they need to be replaced.

Indicators on the dashboard- Some vehicles come with indicator lights on the dashboard which tell the driver when the pads have worn out and need to be replaced. This is the easiest signal to watch out for.

Screeching Noise- Often when the brake pads have worn out sufficiently, a small metallic plate called a ‘shim’ (embedded in the pad itself) will give out a screeching noise, which is loud enough to be heard even with the windows shut. Continuously hearing this noise is an indication that the brake pads have been worn out and need to be replaced.Take note that such a sound can be heard even after the brakes have been exposed to any wet conditions, like rain. In this case, however, the screeching sound won’t remain after a couple of stops.

Deep growling noises- This would indicate a definite and serious sign of the brake pads being completely worn out. This low, rumbling noise indicates metal to metal contact – that is, the rotor/disc is grinding against the brake calliper. Do not let this situation persist. If this persists, even the rotors could get damaged.

Brake pads generally last around 30-35k miles. But it depends on the driver, the car, and the traffic conditions. A car which is driven in a congested city will need to use brakes far more often than a car in a rural area, leading to more wear and tear of the brake pads.

Fuel Effciency…Getting More Miles Per Gallon

The aim of this article is to introduce the reader to the basics of car fuel efficiency. On the surface, it seems that fuel efficiency is a simple topic. The amount of fuel a car consumes majorly hinges on one thing – how much and how hard does the engine work? The amount of fuel consumed per gallon is directly proportional to the amount of work to be done by the car’s engine.
However, as we shall see, how hard the engine has to work itself depends on a lot of factors – the A.C., the weight of the vehicle, air filters, tire pressure, resistance from multiple things, and what not.

Tire Pressure- Remember to make sure that the car tires are always inflated to the correct pressure. Lower pressure will increase rolling friction against the ground, resulting in more work for the engine to propel the car, which will ultimately lead to more fuel consumption. Check the pressure at least monthly, if not weekly. There are apps available that connect to your car and keep you informed about your car’s tire pressure.

Note the Weight- It’s evident that the more weight your engine has to carry, the more power it needs and the more fuel it uses. Hence your car should be as light as possible optimize for fuel consumption.
Which means that if you’ve got stuff in your car trunk that you’ve been carrying around without much thought, rethink if you really need to lug those items around or not. If you can do without them, put them aside for now.
Also, additional accessories added to the car will decrease fuel performance, not only due to the additional weight, but also by increasing the aerodynamic drag (i.e. air resistance).

Stick to the recommended fuel & motor oil- The car manufacturer probably has a recommended fuel type for the car, and for a good reason. The manufacturer has already tested for the car’s optimal performance using various types of fuels, and therefore it makes sense to stick to what they ask you to use. With the same logic, it is also considered wise to only use the motor oils recommended by the car maker. Although 3rd party motor oils may work in some cases, they aren’t always well tested for a specific type of vehicle, unlike the product the car manufacturer will recommend.

Continue reading Fuel Effciency…Getting More Miles Per Gallon

Limousines…Thing Of The Past Or Vintage Sleek?

Limousines were once the hottest, most prestigious way to travel among wealthy bankers, businessmen, movie stars, let’s face it basically all of the rich and/or famous.  In fact in the 70’s and 80’s the demand for limousine services were at an all time high.  Stepping out of a limousine when attending an awards show, business lunch, or for a day of shopping upped your status quo, especially for those with “new” money.  However, after more than a decade as the world’s  most prestigious transportation the market began to shift.  Suddenly limousines weren’t so popular anymore and in their place were now town cars, vans and SUVs. During this transition A.H.A Technologies Corporation, one of the largest limo manufacturing companies and the top distributor of limousines to the United States went bankrupt.  There was just not enough demand for limousines and therefore the company started losing money on overhead and the cost to manufacture and run it’s facilities. Suddenly limousines were a thing of the past and there was a new era beginning of chauffeur services.  People were after more practical smaller car services that still offered the air of class, elegance, and prestige just in a smaller form.

  Fast forward to the present and according to Hector with PHX Limo Service, Limousines are slowly but surely making a small but significant comeback.  Does it matter that the new and improved version of the limousine is a stretched hummer with flat screen T.V.’s., and in some even a Jacuzzi?  Or that the older standard version such as those made by Cadillac & Lincoln are now vintage sleek?  In fact Hector says the demand for “original style” stretch limousines among high school students has gone through the roof.  How did we not see this coming, is what I would like to know.  Bell bottoms came back in for awhile,

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Top 5 Safest & Most Affordable Auto’s

So, your in the market to buy a new car.  With so many to choose from how do you narrow it down to which automobiles are the safest?  We looked into which exactly are the safest most affordable cars on the market in hopes of providing insight for consumers. Here is what we found!

Top 5 Safest Cars

 

  • 2017 Toyota Yaris- Although it may lack some desired features and lack on little on the horsepower, the Toyota Yaris is one of the safest cars on the road and is a mere $15,950!  It comes equipped with a Low-Speed Pre-Collision System,  a number of airbags, and even a first aid kit.  Toyota is also one of the top manufacturer of automobiles because of their vehicles LONG life span!
  • 2017 Hyundai Elantra- One of the safest cars on the road, the Elantra has a variety of safety features.  It is also spacious, comfortable and has good fuel mileage.  Starting at $17,150 it’s SAFE to say this is definitely one of the best car picks!
  • 2017 Kia Forte- With safety features such as, Hill Start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, and being that it is fully equipped with airbags, the Forte is one of the safest cars and comes in at a steal starting at $16,600.
  • 2017 Volkswagen Jetta- Not only does the Jetta have a great body style it is also among one of the top safety rating picks.  Loaded with features such as its  Anti-Slip Regulation System, Engine Braking Assist and its ability to detect passengers, the Volkswagen is a safety competitor. Reasonably priced at $17,895 you definitely t a lot of bang for your buck.
  • 2017 Nissan Sentra- The Sentra starting at $16,900 also has one of the top safety ratings out there.  Equipped with Safety Shield Technology, a Rear View Monitoring System, Smart Auto Headlights, Airbags, and a Traction Control System it’s easy to see why this makes our list as on of the top safety picks for cars.

With help of the Penny Hoarder, we think we have found some pretty great cars to choose from, that are not only safe but easy on the eyes as well. While we all as drivers want safety when purchasing a new car, we also as individuals have body style & other feature preferences.  Thankfully there is an array of cars , trucks, and SUVs that offer top safety picks allowing for all preferences of individual consumers to be satisfied.  

Regular Car Maintenance Tips

It’s safe to say that most if not all of us rely heavily on our automobiles to get us to work, do errands, drop the kids off at school, take family road trips, the list goes on and on.  What I’m sure most of us will agree with as well is, when our vehicle breaks or starts having mechanical, electrical or ac/heating system issues it’s inconvenient and not fun.  Not to mention repairs can be costly as well as making the time to get them stressful when added to an already busy schedule.  So what is it we can do as car/truck owners to help prevent repairs and keep our vehicles running effectively and safely?  Regular maintenance.  In fact these suggested maintenance tips are quick, easy, affordable and can even be done by yourself!

Car Maintenance Tips

1.Regular Oil Changes-

-Quick and easy can be done at home

-Paying for one?  There are usually always specials at different shops

-Regular oil changes helps keep engine lubricated and debris free

-Helps protect against MANY costly repairs

-One of the most important things you can do for your car

2.  Coolant Change-

Regular(green) coolant needs to be changed every 24,000 miles, Extended life coolant changed ever 100,000

– Not changing coolant regularly and continuing to drive can cause Radiator, Heating Core, and Water Pump issues.

3.  Air Filters-

-Need to be replaced annually

-Dirty/Clogged air filters can result in AC/ Heating system issues.

4. Cloudy Headlights-

-For your safety & the safety of others your headlights should be reforming  at max capacity (especially during rainy,snowy, or foggy weather)

-Can be cleaned by rubbing toothpaste on headlight, letting sit for a few minutes and cleaning off with a clean towel.

-Headlight cleaning kits are also available at auto part stores

5. Corrosion On Battery Terminals-

Corrosion on battery terminals can lead to your car not starting

-Corrosion can shorten the lifespan of your car battery

– Puts stress on battery charging system & engine

-Can cause electrical & computer system issues within your car

-Use Coca-Cola or carbonated beverage to remove corrosion(also special battery corrosion cleaner can be purchased at your local auto parts store

Although car maintenance can be somewhat daunting at first, having regular maintenance performed on your vehicle will save you a lot of uneeded repair money in the end.  It will also keep your car running at peak performance! Create your own maintenance schedule that works with your busy schedule and make car maintenance a priority.

 

   

    

How To Prevent Dings & Dents In Garage Parked Cars

There’s something about coming home after a long day at work and finally parking your car in the garage.  You have made it home and finally your car is parked and you can go inside and loosen that tie or kick your shoes off.  There is something about the sanctuary of our homes after a long day.  The comfort we feel when we can relax in our own space.  Same is true for parking your car.  Once you open that garage door and pull your car into it’s parking space your guard is down.  From all the hazards of navigating through traffic or busy office building parking lots, even the gas station or grocery store lots. You can rest assure that you and your car are safely home until you proceed to open your car door and hit your garage wall, or maybe the clutter laying about.  Now you have a nice size ding or dent in your door and arriving home just got annoying!

 What are some do it yourself garage door hacks that can help protect your car when you park it in your garage? Our friends at Parker Garage Doors have some great tips on their website on how to protect your car against dents and dings when parking in your garage!  They even shared that dents and dings from garage parked cars tend to be a lot more common than we realize.  Parker Garage experts recommend first decluttering your garage.  This means that all that extra recreational equipment, tools, and leftover holiday decorations find space and order.  Their first suggestion is to use plastic storage bins that can be stacked up against the walls or in attic spaces.  Shelving that stands out of the main garage space is always a great option as well.  Anything like those old clothes your kids don’t fit in anymore or unused materials that can not find a home in the storage bins or shelving should be thrown away, given away or donated.  The idea is to create a clear as space as possible to allow for more room for your automobile in an already tight space.

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Top 6 To Gain World Car Awards

 

 

 

 

 

As I continue to feed my infatuation of cars I am always on the lookout for new bits of information, facts, pictures anything really.  Wondering to myself what the top rated cars are of this time I researched  a little and came up with the Top 6 cars as voted by a Toronto based non profit agency making the cut in The World Car Awards.  I didn’t even no that award existed!

There are 6 categories the car awards can be given in, green, design, performance, luxury, urban, and overall.

The Mercedes Benz E class took the award in the luxury category surpassing the BMW 5 series and Volvo S90 and V90 sedans. While the Mercedes does seem to have strong competition it tends to surpass the competition taking home the award in 2015 as well.

Next we have the award winner for 2 categories! The Jaguar F-Pace SUV  one the award for both the World’s Best car Design categories as well as the Car of the Year Award. It has exceptional dynamics, daily utilities, and a bold design.  It is considered the best SUV with an exceptional margin between it and it’s competitors.

The World Performance award went to the Porsche for the fifth time in a row.  The Boxster and Cayman took the lead by far over it’s runners up based on the fact they are 718 mid-engine race cars.

In the environmental category although the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model X came in as strong competition the Toyota Prius took the wine and award for this category. For the mere fact it is a plug in hybrid car it took the World Green award!

Meanwhile the BMWi3 took the World Urban Award in observance of the best smaller fuel efficient car.  Jurors on the board decided that this car proves that smaller fuel efficient cars can be luxurious, easy on the eyes, desirable and pleasant to drive.

Although there are many opinions on what the best cars actually are, the 75 jurors who make up this voting panel are assembled from 23 different countries.  With a wide variety of tastes and opinions that fact that these six cars made the cut and were given these Awards shows that they definitely have a lot to over their drivers.  

Interesting Automobile Facts

Automobiles don’t only aid in getting us from point A to point B, they are also a collector’s item for some, a passion for others, and a hobby for even more.  Interestingly enough while exploring the automobile world via the world wide web I found some entertaining and unknown facts about cars that I never knew before.  So for you car enthusiast out there and for those that would like a little history and less commonly known facts about automobiles here you go!

First things first the most stolen car out there without a doubt is the Honda Accord.  Maybe it’s the easy access to the car that thieves can obtain or perhaps the hot wiring of the engine, either way this is the most stolen car out there.  Being the ugliest car out there to be manufactured in history, the AMC Gremlin , probably was never stolen! Although it did help create the body style we see on that of SUV’s the Gremlin was deemed the ugliest car and production was only done from 1970-1978.  At the time a brand new Gremlin would go for $1,879 dollars which in today’s society would be about $11,000!

The most beautiful car made on the other hand is the 1946 Cisitalia 202 GT.  It is so beautiful in fact it has it’s own permanent exhibit in the New York Museum Of Modern Art.

One fact that I was happy to read was that automobile fatalities have decreased by 80% in the last 50 years.  In fact 2010 proved to be the lowest number of traffic fatalities recorded in over 62 years!  Either cars are being made better and are a lot safer or people are getting better at driving.

Another interesting fact is that whale oil was used as transmission oil on some cars until 1973!  Whale who knew that???

The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 was one of the fastest cars of it’s time.  It was recorded as going from 0-60mph in just 6 seconds!!

From 1908-1946 the Ford Model T was offered in a variety of colors but not black.  However after re-evaluating cost it was found that black paint was the cheapest and most durable and now the Ford T is ONLY available in black.  

As of now Nevada, California, and Florida are the only 3 states that have legalized self driving cars on their roads and freeways!  With other states such as Arizona and Missouri to name a few in the running to legalize them as well I believe that we will see a lot more self driving cars on the roads in the near future!

Lastly and probably my favorite fact is that electric cars existed long before our time.  In fact  from 1905-1920 Rauch and Lang manufactured electric cars.  Only after gas prices became so low and affordable did they stop producing their electric cars and switch to gas combustion engines in an effort to save money and also create more appeal to the consumer.  

These are just a few of the most interesting automobile facts out there and there is sure to be many more.  The automobile is an incredible invention and proves to be refined in design and safety regularly making it an ever changing and growing industry.