Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Women’s Point of View: Gas Pumps and Handi-Wipes

by Colette Cooley, Cars for Keeps Office Manager

I was talking to a customer the other day when she made the comment that the worst thing she has to do is pump gas. Most women would agree that pumping gas is not high on our list of fun things to do. It's one of those chores where we have to mentally go to our happy place while doing it. It takes courage to grab that pump handle not knowing who last used it and what they had on their hands, leaving behind residue of…..?

Then we check the direction of the wind so we can stand upwind of those noxious fumes. Then we find out that we have picked the only pump that refuses to shoot out our receipt. And then, the topper is when the pump fails to click off and we get a backwash of gasoline all over our hands making it necessary to drive home with only our wrists on the steering wheel. The fumes from that seem to linger in your car for days.

The best temporary solution is to carry handi-wipes in your car's storage compartment. As any busy professional or soccer mom knows, handi-wipes are a MUST! But what else can we do to take charge over this situation?

The best way to cut down on visits to the gas pump is to make sure your car is running at its best and most fuel efficient. Regular maintenance is the key. Oil changes when they are due, visual inspections, fluid checks and tire air pressure checks. Believe it or not, these services improve your car's fuel efficiency. Sludge in the engine causes the engine to work harder and uses more gas, so get those flushes done to clean out that engine. There are also some wonderful additives that can help your car get even better performance. Stop by or give us a call; we'd be happy to help you find out which additives and maintenance routines are best for your vehicle.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang is a car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. It was initially based on the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. Introduced early on April 17, 1964, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A.
The Mustang created the "pony car" class of American automobile sports car like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks and gave rise to competitors such as GM's Chevrolet Camaro  AMC's Javelin, and Chrysler's revamped Plymouth Barracuda. It also inspired coupés such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri, which were exported to the United States.
The Mustang is Ford's third oldest nameplate citation needed in production and has undergone several transformations to its current fifth generation.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Group 3E Series Production Cars

Group 3E Series Production Cars is an Australian motor racing formula for production based cars competing with limited modifications. Group 3E cars currently contest the Australian Manufacturers' Championship and Australian Production Car Championship titles and the annual Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race.
Regulations for production car racing in Australia were first formalised in 1964 when the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport introduced the Group E Series Production Touring Cars category. This was abandoned at the end of 1972.
“Series Production” made a return to Australian motor racing in 1981 when a new set of Group E regulations was issues by CAMS. The new Series Production Cars were, like their predecessors, intended to be mass-produced vehicles made suitable for competition by minimal modifications. Eligible cars were limited to those with an engine capacity of less than 4500cc and only vehicles which CAMS specifically chose to include on a model eligibility list could compete. Classified drivers were banned and the category was intended to be a second level category with no championship, run only at restricted race meetings.
For 1984 CAMS announced a revision of the rules, with a wider range of models now eligible to race in Group E and freely available optional equipment (such as limited slip differentials) now permitted. The advent of the Bob Jane Super Series in 1984 saw the class take a major step forward. With prizemoney totalling $200,000 the Super Series was richest motor racing series in Australia at that time. Special dispensation was granted to enable classified drivers to compete and cars fitted with turbocharged engines were now permitted. 1987 saw the running of the inaugural Australian Production Car Championship, open to drivers of Group E Series Production cars and contested over two races at a single race meeting at Winton Raceway in Victoria.
In 1988 Group E was officially redesignated as Group 3E Series Production Cars.and in the same year the Australian Production Car Championship was expanded to a series format and attracted sponsorship from the Yokohama tyre company. For 1990 turbocharged cars were banned and Group 3E became a class for family orientated naturally aspirated sedans. 1994 saw CAMS limit the class to front wheel drive cars of under 2.5 litre engine capacity. The 2.5 litre cars would only contest one more Australian Production Car Championship as that title was replaced by the Australian GT Production Car Championship in 1996. The new title, which was contested under revised Group 3E regulations, permitted a much larger variety of models to compete including GT type cars such as Porsche, Ferrari and Lotus.
The year 2000 saw the Australian GT Production Car Championship split into the Australian Nations Cup Championship (for GT type cars) and the Australian GT Production Car Championship (for other production based vehicles) with Group 3E regulations covering cars competing in both titles. The Australian Nations Cup Championship was moved away from Group 3E regulations for 2003 with a greater level of modifications permitted to the cars. The same applied to certain high performance models from the Australian GT Production Car Championship which would now contest the Australian GT Performance Car Championship. From this time Group 3E regulations applied only to the remaining cars which would contest the annual Australian Production Car Championship resurrecting the title which was last awarded in 1995.
The Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race was revived in 2007 as an annual event open to Group 3E cars. For 2008 the Australian Manufacturers' Championship title was reinstituted and contested concurrently with Australian Production Car Championship. This would mark the first time since 1972 that the Australian Manufacturers title had been open to Series Production vehicles.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Got Heat? What Your Car's Radiator Output Says About Problems Under the Hood

by Rob Hopp, Cars for Keeps Owner

If you hold your fingers above the defrost vents with the temperature set on high, as a general rule, you shouldn't be able to leave your fingers there for very long without them getting pretty uncomfortable - if the heating system is working well.

When we perform routine inspections (aka "Pit Stops"), we usually check the heat output at the center vent; a good heater thermostat will put out 150° temps.

We have seen them run as high as 160°f. At 130°f degrees you may start getting a few complaints, though it’s still pretty livable, at 120°f people are getting unhappy, the coats are staying on and below 110°f NO ONE is happy.

More importantly, a malfunctioning heater often points to deeper problems below the hood - problems which, if left unattended, could result in interior coolant leakage, engine inefficiency or an overheated engine.

Is it the radiator, the heater core or the thermostat?

These are the three components which influence your radiator's heating performance the most. Small, easy to fix problems in any of these can result in low heater output, and more serious problems with any of them can lead to mechanical failure or damage to other parts of your vehicle.

Radiator - The radiator is the component which cools engine coolant to keep the engine cool. When vehicles' heaters are on, the heat extracted (by air cooling) from the coolant (heater core) is pushed through the dashboard heater vents. Clogs, cracks or leaks in the radiator impede coolant fluid flow, resulting in low heat out put and, in many cases, engine overheating.

Heater core - The heater core is essentially a heat exchanger which transfers heat from the engine to the radiator. Hot coolant fluid is passed through the core's winding tubes from the engine, which heats the fluid, to the radiator, where fans blow hot air off the heater core tubes and through the vents. Heater cores are made up of small tubes which sometimes get clogged, causing radiator failure. A clogged heater core also means the engine is not being properly cooled, which can lead to engine damage if left unattended. Heater cores may also become leaky, resulting in lower heat output and improper engine cooling.

Thermostat - The thermostat is what activates the flow of coolant fluid through the engine. It controls a small, heat-activated valve in the heater core which blocks or opens coolant flow through the engine. To minimize engine wear and make the most efficient use of engine energy, thermostats ensure that coolant doesn't flow through the engine until it reaches its maximum operating temperature (about 200 degrees F). When thermostats aren't working correctly, they could be stuck open - causing inefficiency - or they could be stuck closed, causing the engine to become hot and blocking hot air from coming out of the car's heating vents.

If you stop by with your car, mini-van, light truck or SUV, we'll test the output for free!
While the symptoms can seem similar, subtle differences in your description or in our testing tell us which component is to blame. Most clients aren't aware that something as simple as low coolant (antifreeze) can cause some pretty weird symptoms.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jetcar or Jet Cars

Jetcar is a brand of small car manufactured by Jetcar Zukunftsfahrzeug GmbH in Neuruppin, Germany. The company was established in 2000. The car has two seats, with the passenger sitting behind the driver. It is built using carbon fibre and costs between 48,000 to 58,000 euro including taxes in Germany The manufacturer has limited production of the vehicle to 100 cars.
The car consumed 2.8l of diesel per 100 kilometers (82miles per US gallon) during an official TÜV test. Top speed for the car is 160 km/h (100mp/hr). The drivers seat looks similar to a cockpit, which may be the reason for car's name. The engine is the diesel engine from a Smart car.
Due to its length of over 4 metres, it does not qualify as a Kei car in Japan.
Size of the car:

    * Height: 135 cm (53.1 in)
    * Length: 403 cm (158.7 in)
    * Wheelbase: 260 cm (102.4 in)
    * Width: 149 cm (58.7 in)
    * Weight: 660 kg (1,455 lb)

Smart Forfour

Smart Forfour was a supermini produced by Smart between April 2004 and June 2006. Unlike the other models of the marque, the Forfour was a more conventional five-door hatchback with a relatively roomy interior, available as a four or five seater.
The car was produced at the NedCar factory in the Netherlands in conjunction with Mitsubishi Motors. This is the same factory that produced Volvo 300 cars in 1970s and 1980s and the Volvo V40s in the 1990s. To save production costs, the Smart Forfour shares most of its components with the 2003 Mitsubishi Colt. This includes the chassis, suspension and a new generation of MIVEC petrol engines, ranging from the three cylinder 1.1 L (67 cu in) to the four cylinder 1.3 L (79 cu in) and 1.5 L (92 cu in) engines with power up to 80 kW (109 PS; 107 hp). The 1.5 L (92 cu in) common direct injection (cdi) diesel engine, on the contrary, is a three cylinder Mercedes-Benz engine derived from the four cylinder used in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and is available with either 68 PS (50 kW; 67 hp) or 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp).
A Brabus prepared sports version has been available since 2005. It is powered by a turbocharged Mitsubishi 4G15 engine, developing 130 kW (177 PS; 174 hp), 27 PS (20 kW; 27 hp) more than the Mitsubishi Colt CZT. It can reach a maximum speed of 221 km/h (137 mph) and accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.9 seconds. The Forfour was to be sold in the United States along with the revived Smart Formore vehicle. However, due to slow sales, the Forfour has been phased out from production.
The sales brochures state that the interior "is designed around the concept of a lounge"; to test this, Top Gear presenters spent 24 hours inside the Forfour. They said it was a nice place to be in but they would not buy the car due to its high price compared to its rivals.
Following Smart's initial success for the fortwo in the US, and due to a surprise increase in popularity in the forfour, Mercedes Benz exec Rainer Schmückle recently revealed that officials were considering relaunching the car. This has also to be seen in the light of the mutual stock exchange between the maker of small cars Renault and Mercedes. Penske Automotive Group Inc., distributor of Smart in the US, has signed a deal for Nissan to build a new four-door version of its Smart line of small cars, as it aims to boost sales of the suffering brand, set to go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011, and would expand Smart's lineup to include a larger five-seat passenger car. Smart currently sells a two-passenger minicar, the fortwo, sales of which are down 62 percent this year.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Smart electric drive

Smart fortwo electric drive (or smart ed) is a battery electric vehicle version of the Smart Fortwo micro car.
This electric car was formerly known as Smart fortwo EV. Field testing began in London with 100 units in 2007, followed by Berlin in late 2009, and testing in the U.S. will begin in October 2010 with 250 units, which are part of 1,500 cars that will be tested in several European cities, Canada and selected markets in Asia.
 Mass production is scheduled to begin in 2012 and it will be available in almost 40 Smart markets.

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