Sunday, September 30, 2012

10 Emergency Items to Keep in Your Vehicle

The majority of us spend a significant amount of time in our vehicles, therefore it is prudent to keep certain items safely stored away in case of an unexpected emergency. Here are several suggestions for items you should keep as part of an "emergency kit".
1. Flashlight with spare batteries
If you break down or get a flat tire at night, a flashlight is an indispensable item. Without one, checking engine components or changing a flat can be a very difficult and frustrating undertaking. In addition, be sure to always keep a number of spare batteries for the flashlight - you don't want it dying when it is needed most.
2. First Aid Kit
Injuries, whether major or minor, can never be foreseen, and you never know what might happen while you're out on the road. Be prepared for anything from scraped knuckles to small cuts or a bee sting. Basic emergency first aid kits are available at most department stores and pharmacies, and should contain most everything you may need to treat an injury.
3. Bottled Water
In your travels, you may find yourself broke down or stranded in a less than desirable location. Having water available ensures you can keep yourself and your family members hydrated.
4. Glass Scraper
If your area normally sees snow or ice during the winter months, an ice scraper for your windows and windshield is essential. Even in these fall months leading up to winter, it is best to be prepared now rather than unprepared when you actually need it. Be sure to keep a scraper handy, you never know when you might awake to find your vehicle covered in ice or frost.
5. Jumper Cables
At one point or another, most of us have had the misfortune of a dead battery, and find that we didn't have battery jumper cables in our vehicle. Hearing that empty click when you turn the key can be a real downer, but if you happen to have a set of cables you can quickly get a jump off another considerate motorist. Having these cables in your vehicle also enables you to help someone else out in a similar situation.
6. Hand Warmers
These very small yet useful items can be easily fit into your first aid kit or glove compartment. For those of you who have changed a tire in extremely cold weather, you'll understand why we recommend these as a must-have. If you haven't - take our advice and pick up a pair! Working around your vehicle in the biting cold without hand warmers can be an extremely uncomfortable experience.
7. Duct Tape
As the saying goes, "Duct tape can fix anything". While that may not be entirely true, having a role of duct tape handy is always a good idea, providing a quick, temporary fix to an unforeseen problem.
8. Hazard Triangles or Flares
These items are for the safety of both yourself and oncoming motorists. If you break down on the side of the road, placing hazard triangles or flares behind your vehicle will alert other drivers that there is a vehicle in distress up ahead. Without these items, other drivers may not see you in inclement weather, resulting in a near-miss or even a collision. Place these items at 50, 75, and 100 feet to the rear of your vehicle, and on the side of your vehicle facing traffic.
9. Tow Rope
Ensure the rope you buy is capable of towing your vehicle's gross weight (see the owner's manual to determine this figure). Keep in mind this rope is not for extended trips and regular towing, but only to get out of harm's way.
10. Small Shovel
Many of us at some point have found ourselves stuck in some type of mud or snow. Having a small shovel handy will allow you to dig out around your tires if needed. Also, you can use the shovel to pack material in front of your tires for better traction when trying to free your vehicle.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

BMW Driving Experience. 35 Years of Training.

Race driver Claudia Hürtgen gives an overview over 35 years of BMW Driving Experience. BWM instructs people how to handle a car and how to react in extreme situations -- to guarantee safety when driving a BMW and even increase driving pleasure.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Most Common Signs You Need Brake Repair

Brake repair is not something that happens out of nowhere. In fact, most vehicles will show signs of needing repairs months or longer before there is a failure of the system. Yet, treatment of these concerns is vitally important. Do not put it off. The reason for this is simple. Putting it off could lead to significant risk to you and your family. A braking system that is not functioning properly can fail at any time. More so, the longer you wait to get help, the more likely it will be that this process will cost you more.

Check It Out

The first step you can take when it comes to monitoring for brake repair needs is simply to visually inspect the system. Look at the pads themselves. You can see them through the spaces between the wheel's spokes. You will see the outside of the pad pressed against the rotor. There should be at least a ¼ of an inch pad here. If there is less than this, it is time for replacement.

What You Hear Matters

It is also important to listen to your vehicle. Often, these repairs provide a clear sound when there is a problem. Think metal-on-metal rubbing together. Often, you will hear a high-pitched screeching sound when you touch the brakes in the vehicle to slow it down. This is usually a good indicator of a problem. It is a warning that your pads need replacement. The more frequent this gets, the more important it is to get the vehicle in to a tech.

The Way It Feels

While you are driving, you may notice changes in the function of your vehicle. These are also good indications that the brakes need attention. For example, if you notice that it takes longer to stop, this indicates a problem with responsiveness and fading. Get it taken care of soon. If you notice the vehicle is pulling to one side when you are applying pressure to the brakes, this also indicates a key problem that needs attention. Vibration, grinding and even a growling sound are all instances where repairs are necessary. The sooner you get these serviced, the better it will be for your vehicle.

Brake repair does not have to be expensive. Though it can be more expensive the longer you put it off, the safety it provides far outweighs the monetary investment you make. In fact, the longer you wait to get repairs, the more likely it is that your system will begin to damage to the rotors and other components of the car. That will be expensive to fix. If you have any of these warning signs, make an appointment with a technician to get the system checked.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

SARTRE project | Autonomous Driving | Volvo Cars

The SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) road train includes a manually driven lead truck followed by three Volvo cars (S60, V60 and XC60). All the following vehicles are driven autonomously thanks to a blend of present and new technology.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Car Care Check Up: What to Inspect

Fall is the perfect time to give your car a good look over, as summer is past and winter is soon to follow. Summer and winter are the toughest seasons on any car as extreme temperature variations can test your car. Cooler fall weather means you're in the mood to work on your car any way, something you'll want to accomplish before the first cold snap hits and winter settles in and your car is tested once again.
Let's take a look at some "must do" checks as you inspect your car this fall.
1. Tires. When was the last time your rotated your tires? As a matter of fact, when was the last time you checked them for wear and tear? If your tires are showing signs of wear, they may need replacing or at least a full rotation. Rotate your tires and adjust the air pressure to the required level.
2. Battery. Car batteries can last for as little as two or three years, or for five years or longer. Much depends on the condition of your battery, its quality and how often you drive. Check the battery connections, removing gunk build up on the terminals and securing the cables back in place. If the battery is old or low on charge, replace it before winter.
3. Fluids. If you haven't had an oil change in six months or 5,000 miles get it done now. Replace the oil and oil filter, and check other fluids including power steering, brake and transmissions fluids. Top off the washer solvent and inspect your coolant system.
4. Belts and hoses. Following a hot summer, your car's belts and hoses may be frayed or worn. Check for signs of wear and replace immediately. Cracks can soon turn into breaks, leaving you stranded if a belt gives way or a hose splits.
5. Wipers. Heat can damage wipers and your wipers should be replaced twice annually -- in spring and again in the fall. Streaking wipers or a clouded windshield are signs that your wipers need to be replaced.
6. HVAC. You ran the air-conditioner all summer and will soon be running the heater all winter. Replace the a/c filter and if heating or cooling is not adequate, it may be time for a freon replacement or heating coil change.
7. Suspension. Wear and tear on your car's suspension system can result in a rough ride. Shocks, struts and various chassis parts such as your tie rods and ball joints may need to be replaced. Check your brakes too -- pads, linings and rotors wear out.
If your car hasn't had a tune up, check the owner's manual to see when one is due. Today's cars can go much further between tune ups, but an air filter may need to be replaced or your emissions system checked.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Volvo Cars Winter Tire Test Jokkmokk, Sweden

In the northernmost part of Sweden, Volvo's experts test all the properties of the winter tyres to find a tyre that is optimal in terms of safety, Durability and comfort.

Volvo is testing: handling, comfort, noise, lane changes, over/under steer, response and handling on ice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ensure the Longevity of Your Car

Investing in a car entails a lot of money. You have to set aside funds for the purchase of the unit. There should also be separate funds for registration, insurance, gas, maintenance and occasional repairs. It is important to take care of your vehicle or else, the hard-earned cash will simply go to waste. Keep your car on the road longer by following these suggestions:

• The break-in phase is your first concern. Your driving speed should not be more than 55 miles per hour during the first 1,000 miles. Check your car owner's manual or confirm with the manufacturer. Make use of light to medium increase of velocity. Ideally, the engine's revolution-per-minutes should be under 3,000 during the initial hours of driving. The vehicle must not be immobile for a long time since oil may not be dispersed to all engine parts.

• Pay attention to the engine's lubrication. Oil and the oil filter have to be changed regularly. The blocked filter means that the engine is performing poorly. If you want to get an accurate reading of your engine oil, drive the car around for 15 minutes and park on a flat surface. Stop the engine and let the oil go back to the pan. Pull the measuring rod and wipe with a clean cloth of paper towel. Put it back and remove again. The level should be somewhere near the middle of the plunger.

• Make it a point to wash your car engine annually. The clean engine makes it less difficult for you to pinpoint leakages and overhaul components. Take good care of the sensitive parts such as electrical items, distributor and air-intake system. Scrutinize the timing belt and hoses. Remove any filth that has accumulated in these hosepipes.

• The cooling mechanism of the car is as important as the condition of the engine lubricant. The breakdown of the cooling system can ruin the entire engine. It is necessary to mix water and anti-freeze. Temper the coolant using the 50-50 proportion. The water facilitates proper transfer of heat from the coolant to the car radiator. On the other hand, cooling chemical serves as a safeguard against freezing and rust. The anti-freeze concentration should be checked every week to makes sure that it is not too low or overflow.

• Check the tires and make sure that the inflation pressure is correct. Tires that are not properly filled with air produce excess heat and strain that will lead to fast breakdown. Inspect your tires at least once every month but at more frequent intervals during the hot summer months.

• Examine the tires for irregular wear and tear. Imbalanced deterioration calls for immediate wheel repositioning. This can also be caused by defective brakes, worn-out bearings and internal damages. Rotate your tires after 6,000 to 7,500 miles of driving. Refer to your manual or dealer for the exact configuration of rotation. Incidentally, the normal requirement for replacement of tires is when it is down to 1.5 millimetres of tire deepness. These are basic tire safety issues that motorists must always be aware of.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mercedes-Benz TV: From the First Draft to the Finished Vehicle

It begins with a sketch. Then comes a model. And finally a finished vehicle. Developing, testing and ultimately putting a new Mercedes-Benz model on the road demands a vast number of individual steps. Yet throughout the process the motto always remains the same: The best or nothing.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tips For Maximizing Gas Mileage

With increased fuel costs, pressure growing to do our bit for the environment, and a desire to reduce the costs of motoring on our finances, it has become imperative that we maximize the fuel economy of our cars. There are some radical as well as common sense options to consider before you take your car out the drive, while driving, and improving fuel efficiency in the future.

Before you leave the house, think about your car for a few moments. If you have an old car, then you might consider buying a new one. Newer cars tend to have better fuel efficiency than older ones. Car manufacturers work hard to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Whether you have a new car or an old one, it is best to ensure that they are kept well maintained. This includes making sure you have your tires inflated to the recommended pressure for the type of driving you are undertaking. Have your wheel alignment checked when you have new tires fitted, and try to ensure that any new tires have a low rolling resistance, as this can increase your fuel efficiency by a percentage point or two. Servicing and daily checks of your oil, coolant, air conditioning unit, spark plugs, and filters can all help keep your engine purring sweetly will reduce emissions. The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel required to pull it. Therefore, do not have items in your car that you do not need. An increase of 25 kilograms will see your fuel economy reduce by a couple of percent as well. You car is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, so it makes sense to remove roof racks and tow bar bicycle racks when they are not in use.

After you have removed your roof rack and serviced your car, you are now ready to go out on the open road. Fuel efficiency tips apply here, too. Drive steadily, and anticipate what is happening ahead on the road so that you do not have to brake harshly. There is no need to tear off from traffic lights to beat the car in the adjacent lane. Excessive braking and acceleration is bad for fuel economy. Driving smoothly can significantly decrease your fuel use. Do not idle your engine for long periods either. You can look for cars that automatically stop and start the engine when it is stationary. Drive on major roads that limit the number of times you need to stop and start to maximize your fuel efficiency. You will get more miles on a motorway journey per gallon than on city roads. Maintaining a steady speed up to 50 miles per hour is the most economic. After 65 to 70 miles per hour, your fuel use increases by more than ten percent.

More changes that are fundamental can reduce your fuel dependency. Drive less, as many journeys are less than two miles in length. Just popping to the shops or taking children to school could be better for everyone if you walked instead of taking the car. Of course, there are many reasons why this is not always practical, so consider buying a smaller, more efficient car. How would you feel about purchasing a hybrid or electric car? There are many on the market that provides great functionality without the increase in fuel burden. If you have more than one car in the household, could you reduce their number or make sure you use the most appropriate sized vehicle for the journey.

All of these tips and techniques can be useful in reducing the fuel costs associated with owning and driving a car. Many of them are down to the attitude of the driver, so you can do much to reduce fuel efficiency on a daily basis.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe - A Class of Its Own

The all-new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, the first four-door coupe from BMW, combines elegance and agile dynamics with sporty genes to create the Ultimate Driving Machine®.