Thursday, 27 September 2012

Car Enhancement Parts

Car performance parts are used to enhance the performance of your car's engine. Since they unleash the real power of your car's engine, they are a must have for all car buffs out there. Car performance parts help increase the output of your engine and are not restricted to only the modification of exhaust, spark plugs, power module and intakes. There are wide ranges of performance parts in the market to choose from. Car performance parts can be bought from original equipment manufacturers or from aftermarket dealers. Aftermarket dealers are manufacturers other than your original equipment manufacturers. Experts advise to go by original parts because they are better than aftermarket parts in the long run as compared to duplicate parts.

Types of car performance parts:

Engine: Being the single most important part of your car, there are many performance car parts available for the engine which enhance and increase the output horsepower of your car. Tweaking the engines exhaust based on the diameter, crossovers and header for optimal performance is advised by the experts.

Brakes: The second most important of the car. Upgrading the brake system of your car helps you get better control of your car at higher speeds. Buying an upgraded brake system for your car should be done carefully and if possible by an expert's advice. Wrongly chosen brake system can have fatal effects on your car like raising the operating temperature and not be able to slow down to required speeds during accident causing conditions.

Suspension system: Another important system of your car is the suspension system which is used to improve the performance of your car. Upgrading your car's suspension system allows you to take advantage of the contact patch of your tyre which impacts suspension geometry, dampening and rebound of your car positively. Increasing the steering precision allowing you to brake harder and gain speed as fast as possible. Correct suspension system allows you to take better control of your car in situations such as slopes, slippery roads and tight turns. There are many performance part manufactures around the world, so one must choose the best manufacturer and mechanic for the installation of the parts on your car and see to it that them perform correctly and efficiently. A proper engine checkup should be done regularly to maintain the performance of the engine. Regular change in engine oil helps the car perform well especially in times of need.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Rental Cars and the Hybrid Vehicle Option

Some rental car agencies are now renting out hybrid cars. And you might think this is an exceptional thing for a car rental agency to do, but it also costs the auto rental agencies more to rent these types of cars for several reasons. The first reason is return on investment; hybrid cars generally cost $15-$20,000 more than regular cars of the same type, style, and size. Plus, they are higher on maintenance, and there are more things to go wrong because on a hybrid car you have an electrical system, and extra components, as well as a regular motor. They are very complex vehicles, and they have to deal with Murphy's Law.

Some car rental agencies in the big cities offer all electric plug-ins as part of their rental car fleet. This is also quite challenging because someone that doesn't drive and all-electric car may not realize that it's easy to run the battery down, and not be able to plug it in somewhere. And not all the hotels have places to plug in. Therefore people get stranded, and they have to have the vehicle towed back to the rental agency. This causes an angry customers due to additional fees and charges on their credit card and a whole lot of hassle for the rental car agency.

There is a good chance that a customer may become upset, and not wish to frequent that particular car rental brand again. There are all sorts of problems with these things. Also, hybrid cars because they are so complex and have more systems have a greater chance for recall from the manufacturer. There is a new law in California, and has also been adopted in other states that car rental agencies are not allowed to rent automobiles which are under recall, until they have been repaired and upgraded.

This means that a car rental agency that has five or 10 hybrid cars might have them all out of service when there's a recall, all at the same time. That doesn't happen very often, but car rental agencies could change their mind about the whole good corporate citizen eco-friendly motif. So, you might ask why do rental car agencies even bother to do this? Some of it has to do with PR because it does make consumers feel happy to rent from a company which prides itself on being environmentally friendly.

But generally, it is a loser from a return on investment standpoint. At least it has been in the past. As more all-electric and hybrid cars enter into the marketplace, and more consumers have those types of cars at home, they will be more apt to rent them, thus, the price will come down, and the return on investment may make sense in the future for auto rental agencies. Right now we are in a transition period, and every business decision along this lines, has to be carefully considered. Indeed I hope you will please think on it.

Friday, 21 September 2012

How to Select the Right Tires For Your Car and How to Take Care of Them Properly

Living in a climate that has harsh winters, I recently went to a tire shop to buy a new set of winter tires for my car. I drive a 2006 front wheel drive Honda Civic - a vehicle that wasn't exactly built for serious winter conditions. After doing some research online to find the best possible price on tires, I went into the shop that had offered me the apparent 'best deal', neglecting to ask about make, style, or quality over the phone. When I got to the shop, I asked what type of winter tire was about to be installed on my car. The guy behind the counter laughed and replied, "Buddy, the kind that are round and black." I turned around and walked out of the store - actually, I almost ran.

Here's something you may know - tires are round, black, and made of rubber. Here's something you may not know - rubber comes in hundreds of compounds, styles, makes, and qualities, and selecting the right one's could literally be the difference between life and death.

Tires are the first point of contact between your car and the road and should be selected carefully either when buying a new car, buying used car, or buying a new or used set of tires. Most of the major manufacturers of tires - Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli, Bridgestone, and many others, are of a similar high quality. When you choose to buy tires from a reputable brand, you are most likely going to get a good quality tire, but selecting tires goes beyond just picking a major brand blindly.

Perhaps the most important determinant when you select the style of tire to put on your car is climate. Tires are fabricated out of rubbers that are designed and tested to perform optimally in certain conditions - wet or dry, hot or cold - or of course, the magic 'all season' tire (the quotations around 'all season' are not suggesting that all season tires aren't in fact decent in all seasons, but as you will read, buying specific sets of tires for specific seasons and conditions is optimal).

Think of it like this - in Toronto, Canada, temperatures in the winter have been known to drop to minus thirty degrees Celsius. Conversely, their summers have, at times, been known to eclipse plus thirty degrees Celsius. That is a whopping sixty degree variance in temperatures over the period of one year. Most rubber experts would tell you that it is impossible to have a rubber compound that performs optimally in that great of a disparity in temperatures. Furthermore, precipitation levels can change in the Toronto area. Some seasons are quite dry, where others are damp and wet. The point is that, in that situation, it would be wise to consider having two sets of tires - one for the winter, and one for the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

I'm not suggesting that you have a set of tires for every weather condition imaginable and that you should change them daily. What I am saying is that you may live in an area with a dynamic climate, and that at least having an all season or warm weather for warmer conditions, and a winter or cold weather tire for when temperatures drop. If you live in a place with a steady climate, warm or cold, you may be able to get away with one style of tire, which brings me to my next point - how to take care of your tires properly.

Taking care of your tires (which, in turn, take care of you) is not like advanced calculus. It really isn't that hard. All you need to know is that periodic checks of your tires are very important. On every single vehicle that is manufactured in North America, the required tire pressure - the measurement of the air pressure inside of your tires - is printed on the inside of the driver's side car door, often adjacent to the inside door handle. This way, you have no excuse to not know the required tire pressure for your specific vehicle! I would suggest checking at least once a month at your local gas station on the pressure of your tires. Sometimes, the air machines require you to put in a quarter or two to operate. As a tip, gas stations normally have a button behind the counter to turn the air machines on manually, and they usually let gas paying customers use the air machine for free - just kindly ask the clerk at the gas station.

Once the air pressure is right, the next thing to be aware of is rotating the tires. This helps to spread the wear and tear of the tires, so they last longer and are optimally safe. Turning your car puts a lot of pressure on the inside walls of the tire, meaning they tend to wear more on the inside of the tire than the outside. This is why you need to rotate your tires frequently - about once every three months. This is not only the safe thing to do, but it will extend the lifespan of your tires. In fact, frequent tire rotation may double the lifespan of your tires.

This brings the next part - the life of the tire. Experts agree that the very best tire that is looked after properly should last sixty thousand miles, or, one hundred thousand kilometres. Most people don't buy the best tires nor do they look after them properly, meaning we can estimate that an average driver should change his or her tires every thirty thousand miles, or fifty five thousand kilometres. Most drivers drive around fifteen thousand miles, or twenty five thousand kilometres per year. This means that the average driver should actually change his or her tires every two years.

So there you have it - select the right tire for your climate condition. Do yourself a favour and spend a bit extra - the big brands are reputable for a reason, and the warranty may be better than a cheaper tire. Rotate the tires often, and check the tire pressure monthly. Following these tips will optimize your safety and extend the life of your tires for as long (and as safe) as possible.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Smart Used Car Shopping - Part 1

Shopping for a used car is not something the average person intends to do very often or at least not as much as he or she goes out grocery shopping. If you go out shopping while hungry you may buy things that you don't need, on the other hand if you go out shopping without a list, the odds are that you are going to get home and figure that you forgot to buy something. I can relate that to shopping for used cars, you have to do your homework, preparation and brainstorming to achieve he best results.

You need to engage in smart used car shopping.

The very first thing you need to do is decide on an amount that you can manage to pay, or spend for the car. If you are paying cash then decide on a maximum amount that you can afford to spend on this given car, without hurting you future financial and saving plans. This is basically done by determining a budget. If you are to finance the purchase, then determine a down payment, and a monthly payment affordable even in the worst financial scenario. You do not want to end with reposition risks.

A common rule is that your monthly car payment should not be over 20 percent of your monthly income after rent or mortgage. I suggest that you get a pre-approval for th financing before you start shopping, this would prevent from uncertainty, and roadblocks. It is very critical for you to know what you can afford ahead of time.

For more information, check out the Smart Used Car Shopping.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Seized Cars and Vehicle Auctions - Sample Listings of the Great Values Available

I have written several articles on government auctions and police auctions in the past, but only as of late have I been providing specific examples of the deals that can be found at these auctions. You may of heard of rumors of the great deals available at government auctions, however, seeing is believing, and since the government does not advertise the specific vehicles or items that are offered at the auctions, I am attempting to illustrate some of the great deals you will find there. The police and government are overstocked with repossessed cars and therefore are eager to clear them out, and in turn this provides great opportunities to anyone who will make an effort to attend their auctions.

Imagine if places like Walmart or Target never advertised the types of "great bargains" that they offer. I'm sure most successful stores would never get anywhere near the sales they have had they never advertised sales on specific items. That's a big part of their marketing strategy and is a main driver for getting the public into their stores. Despite not advertising, though, government auctions still have a decent following and they are very successful at selling repossessed cars and foreclosed homes. The reason for this is simple because they have the such great deals and the informed public are aware of this.

I'm going to share some details about the current repossessed vehicles that are found at government auctions. The listings provided here were gathered from the highest rated government vehicle auction site as reviewed on my website on the 'vehicles' page. Here are a few great samples out of the thousands that are currently available:

  • Plymouth 2004 Neon Sport 31.1K miles $3,250
  • Pontiac 2005 Bonneville 12K miles $3,330
  • Subaru 2004 Impreza Outback 30.1K miles $3,810
  • Ford 2004 Expedition XLT 4D 25.2K miles $3,180
  • Toyota 2005 Corolla LE 12.2K miles $6,350

So as you see the people that are attend the auctions are getting deals much better expected. There is usually a large variety of makes and models available to choose from. So how can they be sold so cheaply and where do they come from? Cars can be repossessed for a variety of reasons including unpaid debt and/or taxes, criminal involvement, etc. Chances are your car dealership is buying at least a portion of their vehicle inventory at a government auctions, and making a good margin on that purchase so here is your chance to cut out the middle-man and pocket your savings.

It's a good idea to go to a live auction rather than an online one because you'll have more time and better opportunity to evaluate the vehicles. You will be able to see all of them up close before choosing which one(s) to bid on. You should also bring along a car expert with you, if you're not one yourself just to to assured that the vehicle is in good condition before buying one. Try to find out both the history and quality of the car(s) you're interested in. Remember, while government auctions are popular, the general public isn't aware of them, and therefore there will be many choices for you do get that car that until now was out of your budget.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Video SEO For Car Dealers - Part II - Shooting Your First Video

Now that you have purchased your digital camcorder, video editing software and other equipment, and have practiced using it, it is time to shoot your first video. I will strongly encourage you to follow the suggestions I make as it will save you significant time and effort when you complete the final edit of your video clip. 

My first suggestion is to plan your shoot carefully before you actually start taking video clips. I mentioned in the first article to ask yourself "What does my customer want to see in a video about this car of interest?" The answer to this question is what you should plan to shoot in your video. Most car buyers have common questions about the vehicles they intend to purchase, as well as have the desire to see certain items on the car. With that in mind, we try to shoot our video clips to meet these needs. 

Here is a simple formula for our approach to creating a video of each vehicle. First, we shoot a complete shot of the front quarter of the car, and introduce ourselves and what vehicle we are shooting for the consumer, as well as share one brief remark about the vehicle. An example would be "Introducing the 2008 Cadillac CTS, voted #1 car of the year by Motor Trend".  We will then start to walk around the vehicle, similar to how a prospective customer would view the car if they were at the car dealer lot in person. Our next shot is a direct shot looking at the front of the car.  During this shot we will often discuss the car's styling, and talk about safety benefits of the vehicle, such as crash test ratings. Our next shot is of the wheel, where we share what tire and wheel options are available with that model of car. Following that we shoot the rear of the vehicle, and depending on the type of vehicle, we might share the tow capacity (if applicable), or talk about the cargo carrying capacity of the trunk, pickup bed, or the back of an SUV with the seats folded down. From there, if the car has 4 doors, we often shoot the rear seat to show the room available for passengers. 

The next shot is often the most popular, and that is from behind the steering wheel. Every car buyer is curious as to how the vehicle appears when they are behind the wheel, and it is up to you to show that with your video camera. To do this well, you will most likely need to shoot from the rear seat. Take some time to show the steering wheel, instrument panel, and then work from left to right to show the center console, with focus on the stereo and climate controls. Many of the most popular features of a vehicle are here - take time to point them out to your viewer.

The last area to address is the motor - pop the hood and show a quick shot of the engine, while sharing the engine options that are available, as well as horsepower and fuel mileage.  Take another full car shot for your closing line, and try to finish with a strong statement as to what makes this vehicle a great buy. An example might be "The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette, considered to be the best value sportscar in America!".

Make sure to follow some of these simple tips to optimize your video and audio quality. Use your tripod whenever you can. Jerky and erratic movements while taking your video are not only annoying to your viewer, but also take away from the quality of what you are showing. Remember that when zooming in, any movements are magnified by the camera. Lighting is very important. You will quickly learn after uploading some of your videos that most of what you shoot will appear less bright online. A sunny day or partly cloudy day works best, however, if it is very sunny, be careful of reflection. Pick a vehicle whose color is anything but black or white if you can, as black can often be hard for your camera to focus on, and white can easily show any dirt. Finally, and quite important, use your external microphone for the best audio quality. The built in microphone on the camera does not provide very good audio, especially if you are not close to the camcorder. When using the external microphone, be careful to keep it covered if it is windy outside. This might be as simple as cupping your hand over the microphone, clipping it under your shirt, or just keeping your back to the wind. If you do not protect the microphone from the wind, you will get a lot of irritating white noise on your video clip.

Keep your video short and simple. A ten minute walk-around of the vehicle will most likely not be viewed by your prospect. Save that for when they come to your dealership in person. The goal of this short video (approximately 2 minutes) is to share some key information that is useful to your prospective customer. Do not make this a two minute commercial about your dealership, rather, provide useful information that you would want if you were looking at this car. A good, useful video will be rewarded online with lots of views which will mean great video SEO for you later!

The next part of this series will share how to download your video and edit your content to create a short video segment that will benefit your prospects as well as your online exposure with sound video SEO techniques.  

Monday, 3 September 2012

Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance - Part 2

Are you having an auto insurance policy or are you planning to apply for one? If yes, make sure you read the 'fine print' before buying the policy so that you get the best deal possible. Part 1 of this article discussed the ways in which you can save money on your car insurance by abstaining from unnecessary costs and coverage. Here are a few more ways to cut costs and get discounts when getting your vehicle insured:

1) Use Safety Devices:

If you use safety devices, such as automatic seat belts, anti-theft devices, alarms, air bags, daytime running lights, and anti-lock brakes, you can get attractive discounts on different insurance policies.

2) Less Driving:

In order to qualify for the 'low-mileage discounts', you are required to either drive less or carpool to work. If you drive a lower-than-average number of miles annually, you can contact your insurer with the required proof and documents and get the discount on your policy.

3) Special 'teens' discounts:

You can avail this discount if your teenage child goes to a college that is located over 100 miles from home and does not bring a car along. You can also apply for additional discounts by insuring your teenager kids on your insurance policy. However, you would be eligible for reduced rates only if your child has a good academic record and has successfully completed an approved drivers' education course.

4) A Single Policy for All:

If you possess more than one vehicle, it is better to insure all the vehicles on a single insurance policy. This will help you save thousands of dollars. You can further reduce the premium rate by buying a life insurance policy from the same company.

5) Miscellaneous Discounts:

There are several other discounts that are usually offered to the policy-holders. For instance, attractive discounts are offered to long-time customers, senior citizens, retired personnel, and those who have not had any accidents in past 3-4 years. In short, make sure you apply for every discount for which you qualify.

6) Get in Touch with Car Dealership:

Last, but not the least, get in touch with the nearest auto dealership for acquiring an auto insurance policy. As most dealers deal in huge amounts and have contacts with several financial institutions, they can assist you in getting the best deal in less time.

Thus, you can easily save thousand of dollars on car insurance by following the ten ways of cutting costs discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this article.