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Don’t Be Misled About Proper Tire Inflation

At the turn of the 21st century, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of nearly 12,000 vehicles to check the status of their tire inflation. The study revealed that almost 40 percent of the vehicles tested had at least one if not more of their tires underinflated by as much as 20 percent.

Furthermore, nearly 30 percent of the tested vehicles were operating with tires under-inflated by 25 percent or more. But the figure showing on the tire only reflects the maximum pressure the tire should reach, not the recommended pressure to which it should be inflated.

Busting the myth of recommended tire pressure

Why is this an issue? It all stems from the Firestone recall of 6.5 million tires after a series of accidents occurred as the result of poor tire construction. The “smoking gun” to blame for the tire failure leading to the rash of accidents was low tire pressure.

According to Best Tire Review, the pressure stamped on the tire sidewall shouldn’t be the actual pressure in the tire.

The effects of friction on tire pressure dynamics

As you drive your car, the movement of the tire on the road creates friction. Friction generates heat. Heat causes the tire pressure to increase.

If the interior tire pressure is filled to its maximum before this reaction occurs, it’s easy to see the potential for a tire to exceed its recommended maximum pressure. This makes for an unyielding ride, where the bumps in the road are more jarring on passengers and the vehicle suspension.

It reduces the footprint of contact on the road that causes uneven wear toward the center of the tire. Don’t let the sensation of steering response and cornering stability give you the false impression that overinflation is safer. Your tires will be more susceptible to puncture or blow-out while you’re driving.

The hidden dangers of under-inflated tires

There really is a bit of the Goldilocks scenario about determining the correct tire pressure. If they have too much pressure, they don’t grip; too low, and they can fail.

Low pressure absorbs more of the impact on the road. This can create improper flexing of the side wall and reduce roll resistance, not to mention the excess wear and tear on suspension. The effect can be overheating of the tire, which can lead to tire separation or blow-out.

Tire pressure monitoring

Vehicles that are 2008 models or newer will have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) built in. This is the result of the TREAD Act enacted by Congress in 2000 as a result of the failures.

The system performs by sensing the tire pressure either directly or indirectly, which means the warning light on the dashboard either indicates the actual pressure or simply reports a potential underinflation of any one of the four operating tires.

As helpful as this system may be, it can still lull drivers into a false sense of security, and encourage them to fail to check the pressure in a timely fashion. Nothing beats having a reliable tire pressure gauge that may be used to check on the true tire pressure reading while the vehicle is cool.

This is when it should be at the recommended pressure, which is typically found on the inside of the driver’s door, glove box, or owner’s manual.

Autos:

Seven Cars to Look Forward to for 2015

2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

As the 2015 model year closes, and the 2015 model year is hotly on it tale, car enthusiasts wait eagerly for the new and improved offerings from all manufacturers.  Questions that usually arise range from what kind of performance cars are going to be offered to what advance in fuel efficiency will be seen?  In addition to these concerns is what will the new body styles show up as, will we see a simple change or drastic improvements over old models?

Just like kids waiting for Christmas morning most car lovers cannot wait to see what comes rolling off the lines in the coming months.  Here is a sneak peak at seven cars that are really something to look forward to.

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last update: October 1, 2014

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Beyond the Car: Honda Technology On and Off the Road

HondaJet

Honda is a well recognized brand across the world. It is known for its quality cars that retain high residual value. Hondas are known to resell for top dollar in the private and public sectors, but what most do not realize is the reach Honda really has throughout the world. Honda not only builds the best vehicles, they also build other mechanical machines that outrival the competition in all facets of their business.

So we all know about Honda’s alluring vehicle lineup like the luxurious Accord, the sporty Civic, the CR-V, Odyssey, and Pilot, all of which can fit a large brood, the “green” cars that include the CR-Z, Insight, and Fit, and let’s not forget the rugged Ridgeline, but there is so much more to Honda than meets the eye. Did you know that Honda has a full line of powersports, jets, marine, and power equipment?

Continue reading Beyond the Car: Honda Technology On and Off the Road

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Gas Station Marketing in the UK

If you feel like you can’t get away from advertising no matter where you go, you’re really not going to like what’s going on in the UK. Major grocery store retailer Tesco, which also has gas stations in the parking lots, is using scanners at gas pumps to target a specific advertisements.

How it works

The company that designed the technology, Quividi, is shying away from the phrase “facial recognition” when talking about its technology. Instead, Quividi refers to it as “facial detection.” It essentially works by detecting the gender and approximate age of the person who stops to get gas, then caters the advertisement to him or her.

Some customers were concerned about the supposed invasion of privacy, but the company says that the scanner doesn’t store or record any information whatsoever. It simply tailors the ads that show up on the screens of gas pumps. Some citizens are worried that it’s a little too Orwellian, but others aren’t concerned.

A few people complain that they can’t even get their gas in peace without being forced to watch a commercial. But the company thinks it might be helpful and boost sales. For instance, showing a commercial for car eyelashes might not be effective for a 40-year-old man, but for an 18-year-old girl, it would be perfect.

Speaking of which …

The UK has a pretty extensive system of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV). One of the new ways authorities and corporations might install these CCTV cameras are at gas stations. The cameras would be mounted where they can see the license plates and registration of the cars, and if the car is uninsured, the gas pump will not pump gas to the customer.

Although tackling uninsured drivers is an issue that needs to be addressed, most people argue that these cameras are not the answer at all. Many people who work at gas stations also get harassed because of the high price of gas, and they are the prime target for people who can’t pump their gas.

Of course it isn’t the cashiers’ fault, and they would have no way to override the system, but its doubtful that angry uninsured drivers would care.

Also, there would seem to be a problem with cars getting clogged up in the gas pumps. If someone is pretty much out of fuel when he pulls in, and then he can’t get gas, the car might get stuck at the pump.

Autos:

7 of the Most Affordable Tech Cars in South Africa

For those who need an efficient vehicle in South Africa, there are many options to choose from. Some of the various inexpensive options can be found on native soil; many other great quality cars hail from places like India and South America.

Below are seven of the best and most affordable cars for the techie in South Africa.

1. Renault Sandero

This very affordable car is energy-efficient and reliable. It was first manufactured in South America but it’s now available in many other countries, including upscale neighborhoods of South Africa.

The interior is spacious and perfect for families and individuals. The Renault features very low fuel consumption, using either petrol or diesel fuel, which makes it the perfect vehicle for any adventure. Many luxury features are available, such as low noise and vibration amenities. There are also options to reduce some of the luxury items to make the care more affordable.

2. Hyundai Jazz

The Hyundai Jazz is quite reasonably priced at this time — for one very important reason. This vehicle line is being discontinued in countries such as India and South America.

In South Africa there’s speculation that this car will drastically drop in price during closeouts. The Hyundai Jazz is much like other modern hatchbacks in that it has push-button start capabilities and Bluetooth accessories in the interior. This model is almost a steal!

3. Hyundai i10

Another popular hatchback style that replaced former Hyundai models is the Hyundai i10. This car is unique for its ergonomic design in the front and passenger seats. The interior is intended to suit taller drivers and companions.

As with other Hyundai models, the i10 has experienced a facelift by total transformation of the front grill and bumper. This adds a new flavor to a very popular and inexpensive car.

4. Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra is truly a flashy hatchback. But besides that, this car has many extra features that will amaze any tech lover. For one, the Micra has a push-button start, it is Bluetooth hands-free, and it also has a CVT, so you can enjoy incredible acceleration speeds. If you’re looking for a truly innovative vehicle, this one’s for you.

5. VW Polo Vivo

The native South African Polo Vivo is one of the best selections with regard to affordability, as well. This small hatchback has the capabilities of a full-sized car and the interior room will fool you.

The Polo Vivo has a long list of safety features that includes air bags on every side, front, and back, air control, and plenty of boot space. What more could be needed in an efficient, quality car such as this one?

6. Kia Picanto

This small car has the ability to win you over simply because of its strengths and affordability. The Kia is fully loaded with six air bags, remote-control locking, and electronic stability control.

The Picanto is also very aesthetically pleasing, with body-colored bumpers and mirror handles. If you’re looking for an affordable beauty, then this is the one you want.

7. Ford Fiesta

This beautiful car is very sleek and cool. The Ford Fiesta comes equipped with a powerful transmission and uses both diesel and petrol gas. Extra amenities include best-in-class air conditioning, steering column audio, and Bluetooth capabilities.

This sporty vehicle is quite competitive with similar vehicles and has the ability to charm the buyer. If you buy it used, the Ford Fiesta is very affordable.

These seven cars are simply among the best in quality. Not only are they some of the best, they are quite affordable as well. For natives of South Africa, these tech cars are the way to go.

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Understanding Variations in Auto Insurance

 

When it comes time to shop for a new auto insurance policy, buyers often find a huge variety of rates. This can be due to many factors, and while sometimes the cheapest auto insurance is also the best, other times it’s better to go for a more expensive rate and get the highest quality insurance.

How do you know? What’s behind the numbers? Here are a few things to watch for.

Surplus Lines Carriers

Insurers who “officially” offer policies inside most states have to file financial information with the state insurance commissioner. They are held to certain standards. They have to abide by specific state laws that govern their obligations to customers. State regulators largely control auto insurance rates; however, they have to follow the state’s financial guidelines.

Other companies are allowed to offer insurance inside the state on a “surplus lines” basis. In most cases, that means they provide insurance that is not adequately furnished by the regulated insurers, but there’s plenty of grey area. A surplus lines policy is often cheaper, but that may often be because it is less subject to regulation and of poorer quality.

On the other hand, some companies offer surplus lines policies for many years. They meet their obligations. They avoid regulation in order to keep their rates low. Discount insurance sellers often provide quality surplus lines policies that cost a lot less and have fewer fees.

Deductible Dodge Ball

When you buy an insurance policy, you’re essentially paying somebody else to take some of the risk for you. The greatest risk to your car is little stuff, like scratched paint or a chipped windshield. It isn’t big stuff, like getting totaled or striking a pedestrian. Insurance companies will offer really low rates while pushing high deductibles on their policyholders. You’re still covered against the big stuff, but you have to pay out of pocket for the little stuff.

Insurers have really smart people working the numbers for them. Statistically, you’re going to pay more money for nickel-and-dime repairs than you will forking out the extra cash for a policy with a lower deductible.

Apples and Bananas

Insurance is a financial tool, so the cost of a policy is always based on how much money is at risk. Generally, lowering the cost of a policy means lowering the amount of money at risk, which some insurers try to do with some pretty intricate cloak-and-dagger methods. That can include things like requiring you to use approved shops (even when they don’t do good work) or applying conditions to the policy that get them out of paying for certain damages.

The declarations page of a policy generally includes all the pertinent information. Get the declarations page for all the policies you’re shopping and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.

Some insurance discounters do a good job of making sure the policies available through them are of high quality. Others, however, aren’t nearly so scrupulous. Be sure to check the credibility of the source you’re shopping, especially if you’re using an anonymous online brokerage.

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Top 5 Automotive Sound Systems

Sound System

If you’re like me, buying a car is only the first step in owning a car.  While the salesman is ranting on about this feature and that benefit (I know, I know, it’s his job) I’m looking around planning the custom work I’m going to do.  There are rims and window tinting, and of course a good sealant (see http://www.cenano.net/automotive-application/ for my favorite).  But  what’s the first and most important change that I – and many, many others like me – will make when we drive our new ride off the lot?

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Beauty in Tech: The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray

It’s pretty rare for a sports car to bring mainstream excitement the way that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray has brought to the automotive world this year. As Digital Trends puts it, it’s “The ‘Vette Chevy should have built a decade ago.”

Continue reading Beauty in Tech: The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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