Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Aftermarket Car Parts for Enhancing Car Performance

Cars have always been and will always be the object of man's desire. We can guess the personality of a particular person by the manner in which he or she maintains their cars. The spick and span car signifies that its owner is meticulous while a shabby car denotes an unorganized person. Another way to distinguish cars is by the use of aftermarket car parts.

So what are aftermarket car parts? Well, if you bought an exotic car or a powerful SUV, you wouldn't like to keep it under wraps. You would like the world to know about your possession. Now, some people would call it a showy display of power or prestige but as a proud owner of your coveted car, you would care less of what others think. After all, your opinion, interests and comfort do count also.

Aftermarket car parts are extra accessories that you fit or modifications that you do after buying the car to boost the car's performance or to enhance its look and feel. Using aftermarket parts is entirely one's own decision and discretion as these are in no way necessary for normal operation of the car.

Now, there are a number of ways with which to make your car an object of attention. People normally modify body shape and chassis or repaint their car to make it look different but that is not enough. For the real feel, you need to employ aftermarket car parts. Some of which are listed here. Only make sure that the parts you fit are street legal.

Boost Controllers control air pressure to fuel inlet manifold system of the engine. Manual or electronic boost controllers are useful in routing the exhaust gases in turbo or supercharged engines thereby boosting the engine power.

Engine Damper Kits reduce stress on the engine mounts and engine vibrations to the chassis and ensure greater vehicle stability.

Camber Arm Kits are adjustable upgrades to car suspensions for increasing traction control and reducing squat effect around corners and tire wear.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Signs You Need a New Muffler

Those of us who aren't savvy with cars may still detect when something needs repair. If we hear strange pings and the car just doesn't "sit right," it may be time for a trip to the garage. When it comes to your muffler, there are ways you can tell it's time for a replacement. You may not be able to remove it yourself, but if you pay attention to how your car runs you can head off a problem that could increase if you were to ignore the signs.

How can you tell if your muffler needs replacing? As you drive, be aware of the following signs.

1) Pay attention to your gas mileage. It's always a good idea, every time you fill up, to calculate your mileage from the last tank you gas you bought. This lets you know if your car goes the distance for the fuel it's given. If you find you're burning through gas more quickly than usual and you aren't putting on more miles, you may want to check your muffler. A faulty one can contribute to poor gas mileage.

2) Watch for fumes. If one day you start to smell something unusual in your car, like a gassy stench or odor you'd associate with a faulty car, you should have it checked immediately. Intoxicating fumes can prove hazardous to your health, and rolling down the window won't solve anything. Problems with your muffler may contribute to the increase fume output.

3) Listen for changes in your car when you start the engine. With a good muffler, your car's motor should pick up and purr just fine. However, if it begins to wear you may detect a difference in your engine's noise when you crank it. If the noise seems louder and not as smooth, it could indicate that your muffler needs to be checked. It would help, too, to have somebody stand outside while you start your car and look for anything unusual in the muffler area.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Kasey Kahne Merchandise That You've Gotta Have

NASCAR racing is a very popular sport in the United States for several reasons. There's the undeniable draw of raw power, speed, and skill on display at each and every NASCAR race. There's the thunderous roar as the pack of cars goes by. Then there's the grass roots, down to earth vibe exhibited by nearly every person involved in NASCAR. Most of all, though, NASCAR has true heroes. Heroes who rise above and do breathtaking things, and heroes who show up to each race, no matter the obstacle, and do what they do. Heroes like Kasey Kahne.

Merchandise is one of the main ways that nearly all NASCAR fans show their appreciation for their favorite drivers, their heroes, so if you are a big fan of Kasey Kahne you are likely to have a lot of Kahne merchandise. And why not?

Back in 2004 Kasey Kahne merchandise was flying off the shelves, and with good reason. In that year Kahne finished in the top five 13 times. Five of those top five finishes were in second place. He won 4 pole positions and also took home the Rookie of the Year award.

Kahne has regularly finished his seasons in the top fifteen. He regularly wins top 10 or top 5 finishes, and is the quintessence of a team player. These are some of the core principles that NASCAR was built on, which is why Kasey Kahne merchandise is some of the best selling of any driver.

Merchandise isn't all made equal of course, and the kind of Kasey Kahne merchandise you purchase says a fair bit about what type of a fan you are, both of NASCAR and of Kasey Kahne. Memorabilia like a Tee or a cap is pretty standard fare, but people who do not attend one race in a year could have one of those. If you've had a T-shirt autographed, you're naturally a huge fan, but how frequently can you wear the same Tee, and if it's signed, do you eve it at all?

Kasey Kahne merchandise like a jacket or a scale model of the #5 Farmer's Insurance/Quaker State/HendrickCars.com Chevy Impala shows that you're a more serious fan, yet again these are very common items for a Kasey Kahne fan to obtain. The issue is there aren't too many options for the ultimate fan that are really satisfying. What a true fan wants is something he can view and remember all the magnificent races he's seen, and that shows off to the rest of the world how much he loves NASCAR. Merchandise like that is challenging to find.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Buying a New Car - Not One Flooded By Super Storm Sandy You're Not

There was a dirty little secret in the used car auto auction business that when there was a flood in one area, those cars flooded-out would be shipped to another region after they had been completely detailed and cleaned up. Then they'd be sold at auto auctions and end up on used car lots. That's unfortunate because they'd have mold inside, rust starting, and were just a nightmare of problems for the new owners. Then eventually this practice got exposed.

Thus, when Hurricane Katrina came along authorities were already well aware of this and were out looking for those who might take advantage of unsuspecting car buyers. Those cars were thus, crushed, and marked by VIN number as salvage, or to be demolished, over a half million cars in fact.

Today, at the end of 2012 our nation was hit by a late year Hurricane broken apart, but with energy remaining, it combined with a very large cold front and became what was later rebranded by the media as a Super Storm. Hurricane Super Storm Sandy hit the Atlantic coast in New Jersey near Atlantic City on October 29, 2012 - a freakish storm, just days before Halloween. Caught off guard 100s of thousands of cars drowned.

There was an interesting article in MSN Online News on November 7, 2012 titled; "Sandy Spurs Toyota, Honda, Chrysler to Scrap Vehicles," by Alan Ohnsman and Craig Trudell. The article stated that 15,000 new cars were flooded out 6,000 of them were Nissans. Some 200,000 used cars from individuals got flooded, but that's still far short of the 600,000 in New Orleans the article also noted.

Interestingly enough, the Detroit Free Press predicted; "Used-car prices expected to rise after Sandy's destruction of 250,000 autos," in a reprinted article from the LA Times on November 8, 2012 by Jerry Hirsch. Indeed, having been in the auto industry all my life, I'd say that's about right. But, let's not forget all the Rent-a-Car run-outs which went up to their trade-in miles hitting the auto auctions which were rented to allow people to escape the cities and evacuate, many took them to states fairly far away, as the storm was 800-1000 miles wide remember?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tips for Saving Money on Used Cars

When buying used cars, you automatically get a significant savings over the purchase of a new vehicle. These cars are often priced significantly lower than a new vehicle never owned by anyone else. However, there are a few more ways you can save a significant amount of money on your next purchase. For those who want the features and specs but not the high price, it is all about going to the right dealer and doing some homework beforehand. Consider these tips for significant savings.

Buy Confidently

How can you buy used cars with confidence? You can do a few things to make sure that the next investment you make is a good one. First, make sure you do your homework long before you arrive on the lot. Know the make and model well enough from some basic research. Then, check out the used vehicle of these cars. Chances are good you will be able to negotiate a good deal on the lot with this information.

Secondly, you should never buy a vehicle that has been used without first discussing the purchase with your personal mechanic. This person should not work with the dealership. You will want a full inspection, if possible, of the car to ensure that it is working from top to bottom. You also want to be sure that it does not have any damage that could be expensive to repair.

Find the Right Offer

As mentioned, negotiating a deal is something you can do. Work with the dealership to get the price down. Use a significant down payment. Have a trade in. Buy when there is a dealer incentive taking place. You can also save money just by asking for a lower purchase price. Negotiating the details may be easier than you think if you take the time to ask for a discount.

Then, find the right loan for this purchase. You will benefit from a loan with a low interest rate and the shortest terms possible. Get the monthly payment you need but pay a bit more, if you can, each month to pay off the loan sooner. This will save you a substantial amount of money on the purchase. Even though you are buying used cars, you can still get an affordable loan rate.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tips On Buying a Used Car - Protect Yourself From Fraud

Buying a used car can save you a great deal of money. However, unlike new cars, used cars sometimes have operational problems that may not be immediately apparent. Sellers of used cars sometimes try to hide these problems in order to make a sale or convince you to pay a higher price. For this reason, it is important to take caution when you shop for a used car. Below are some tips you can use to protect yourself from scams and other potential problems and be aware should any issues arise, you have consumer protection rights under applicable laws.

1. Watch out for Warranties

Many used car dealers will encourage you to purchase an extended warranty on the vehicle you buy. However, purchasing a warranty from a dealer often costs more than it is worth. Before you agree to an extended warranty, shop around and make sure that the dealer's price is fair.

2. Always Put it in Writing

If you plan to buy a used car, don't make any agreements unless you and the dealer have both signed applicable paperwork. Without an ironclad document backing up the arrangement, the dealer can change the terms at any time.

3. Ask for Identification

Some scammers may be attempting to sell cars that do not belong to them. To protect yourself, you should always ask to see identification when you purchase a used car from a private seller. Before you pay, make sure that the name on the seller's ID matches the name on the title.

4. Learn about the Vehicle

Before you buy a car, research its history. Websites like Auto Check or Carfax can provide you with information about a vehicle given its identification number. Valuable information may include the car's actual mileage, major accidents, the number of owners and whether or not the vehicle has a salvage title. Consumer protection law does not allow any changes to the vehicle's odometer as well.

5. Take it for a Test Drive

When determining how well a car runs, don't take the dealer's word for it. Ask to drive the car a reasonable distance before you agree to purchase it. While driving the vehicle, look for signs of potential issues like brake failure or poor maneuverability.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Want to Buy a New Car - Would You Buy A Car Made In China?

In 2002, I went to the SEMA AAPEX Show in Las Vegas. The aftermarket auto accessory industry was there along with all of the auto service industry folks. It was a combined show, and it was absolutely huge. Someone stated that there were 26 miles of exhibits, and that makes sense because at the end of four days I had blisters, and I was completely burned out. You must understand that I am a former athlete, a runner, so I'm not sure how some of those older folks made it.

Nevertheless, I do remember at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas where the AAPEX show was, the exhibit hall was easily five or six football fields worth of area and on the bottom floor, well, it was filled with companies that made auto parts, equipment for the industry, or other industry related trinkets. Most of the place was filled with Chinese manufacturers, and they were selling knockoff parts. That is to say they were selling copies of genuine GM, Ford, and Chrysler parts including body parts for cars.

This was my second rude awakening to all of the intellectual property and patent pirated theft going on. Previously, having been around the personal electronics industry and computer industry I was amazed at the number of parts inside of computers and laptops, and personal tech devices which were made in China, all copies of US technology. But when I saw all those vendors selling copies of US parts for cars, I was appalled. Why wasn't anybody doing anything about it? That's crazy. I had half a notion to contact our commerce secretary that weekend. Although I'm sure he realized what was going on.

Has anything changed? No, even General Motors and other companies in the United States want their vendors to give them the "China Price" in other words they want all of their vendors and suppliers who manufacture parts to give them the price that they would receive if they manufactured those parts in China. In essence they are telling their vendors they need to move their factories to China so that they can lower the price otherwise they're not interested in buying. Isn't this the real problem with jobs in Ohio?

On November 6, 2012 there was an interesting article titled; "US Unlikely to See Cars Manufactured in China Soon," by Alisa Priddle. Interestingly enough, that was election day and I imagine the article was written to counteract what Mitt Romney had said regarding the future of the former Chrysler "Jeep" Brand being manufactured in China. Consider if you will how many parts are in a modern American made car, parts which are already made in China. Even if the cars are put together here, those parts didn't come from here. You see that point?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

How to Find Government Seized Auto Auctions in Your Area

Finding car auctions in your area has never been easier thanks to the current online car auction databases. In the past government seized auctions would mainly be found in local papers or maybe flyers in the post and they still are, but the advantage of finding government auto auctions online is that you get to see the wider picture. You literally can find every single car auction happening in and around your city, whereas if you were looking in the local paper every day you might only spot a car auction here and there and miss the ones in your surrounding cities.

Going to a local seized vehicle auction in your area is by far the safest bet if you want to find a decent car at an affordable price. Many car enthusiasts visit government auctions and manage to pick up sports cars, or even classic cars as well as your every day family car for a fraction of its original price. The reason these cars are often sold at such a good price is that they are seized and need to be sold due to storage costs or a fleet of ex government vehicles that need to be sold quickly in order to raise some money for the department.

The benefit of visiting government seized auctions in your home city or state is because you are given the chance to inspect the vehicle before you bid. Many people prefer this rather than visiting online auctions such as eBay, due to the fact that they can avoid any scammers and get to give the vehicle a full inspection before they part with any money. Unfortunately buying cars in online auctions can be risky, you could end up purchasing a faulty car and then have to spend extra money fixing any problems.

Information About Duplicate Car Keys

Depending on the brand and model of your car you might need to go to the dealer to have new copies of the keys made. Sometimes additional keys or transponders will over ride and mess up your cars security system which can at times void the warranty.

If you are looking for information on duplicate car keys there are lots of different places you can buy them. Many websites and companies exist that specialize in the selling of different kinds of keys. Many times they can also be made to be used in almost any vehicle.

Many of the newer vehicles and cars on the road today use transponder systems to unlock and lock the doors as well as other uses and features as well. Sometimes parts departments at the dealership can make more copies for you to use. Often lock smiths can come and unlock your car as well as make any additional copies that you may need.

Most often there are some things that need to be done to verify that the blank key will function correctly. The first thing is that the key has to be shaped and cut to the original key. Then the transponder must be programmed to correlate with the radio frequency of your car's system so it can unlock and then lock the doors and open the trunk.

You can reprogram keys yourself or you may want to have a professional do it for you. Both negative and positive aspects exist for both. If you program them yourself many times it takes lots of time to do it right but it can save you money as well. Going to a professional and having them do the work for you will not be as time consuming but it will also cost more.

Depending on the brand and model of your car you might need to go to the dealer to have new copies made. Sometimes additional keys or transponders will over ride and mess up your cars security system which can at times void the warranty. When you are leasing your car you may want to contact your dealer for details.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rebuilding Salvage Title Cars

Notwithstanding the negative reactions that a car with a rebuilt title has on some car enthusiasts, it is actually a very practical consideration to look into when considering a project car. Choosing a rebuilt-titled car instead of one which has had a clean title from its date of manufacture is purely a matter of economics. By its label, a project car is one that your are improving or building up as a hobby. This would mean adding aftermarket accessories like a coilover suspension, brake upgrades or even just HID light for a start. With salvage title cars selling for a fraction of the value of clean-titled cars, it makes a lot of sense to consider a salvage car as a basis for your project car.

But first, we have to define what constitutes as an acceptable salvage-title car for our purposes. A car that has been burned or flooded is out of the question, most specially if your are building up a project car that you will use mostly for the street and occasionally at the track. One may consider a flooded car if all you're after in the first place is the bare shell which will be used as the basis for a race or track car. Once a car has been flooded, corrosion will set in at places you can't see or reach and failures will occur at the most inconvenient times. With partially burned cars, ascertaining the degree of structural damage is a difficult job even for an engineer, so that's another place not to go to.

So what type of salvage title car is acceptable? Mostly one that has had accident damage, either in the body or in some easily replaceable drivetrain components. Remember that in many cases, an insurance company will total the car once the cost of repair exceeds the book value. So there are gems that can be had if you just look patiently. Sometimes, an insurance company will total a vehicle where the crash damage involved only replacing the fenders, hood, bumper and radiator. In cases like these, the integrity of the car is intact. If you're comfortable with working on a car or have some buddies who can help you out, restoring the car to roadworthy condition is easily attainable. Then just head over to the DMV to have your car inspected and have the title converted to a rebuilt title. After which you can go splurging on things like HID lights or a coilover suspension.

Government Seized Auto Auctions Can Save You Thousands

Did you know government seized auto auctions are happening all the time all around the country? Yes, you may have heard about the police auctions and ex government or seized vehicle auctions, where cars literally go for thousands less than the original retail price. This is where a lot of the car dealers are going for their stock. It can turn out to be very profitable for them as they can get these cheap cars and hike the price up when they go for sale at the dealership. So why go to a dealership for a used car when you can always find a practically new car at a government auction for a fraction of the cost?

So if you wanted to find out when and where these seized car and ex government vehicle auctions were happening the first thing you could do is turn to the newspaper. Most auto auctions will only be advertised once in the back of a newspaper. Seized car auctions are kept low key that's why you have probably heard rumours of them or a friend or colleague who got a car there. Checking the local paper every day can be a tiresome job and can come up short, since your local paper will only list auctions in your town or city. You could miss other car auctions in your surrounding drivable distance.

So what is the answer to finding every car auction in your city and surrounding areas? In today's world most people would probably try to Google it first. That can also come up short as most government seized vehicle auctions aren't advertised directly on the internet. So the next thing to do would be to look for a decent car auction database website.