Why An Aftermarket Car Audio System Is The Way To Go in this year

Your car came with a factory installed audio system, right? They are great sounding, aren’t they? Wait until you see and hear an aftermarket setup.

There are several reasons why an aftermarket car audio system will beat factory installed systems any day.

Aftermarket car audio products…

*They give far superior performance.

*They give you wider options.

*They are made by companies that have a reputation in car audio .

*There are things that aren’t possible otherwise in an audio setup if not as aftermarket options.

*You get to choose products that fit your individual taste.

*You get products that cost far less for comparable car dealer options.

*You get products that are made by specialized manufacturers.

*You get products that are far more reliable and functional

That’s a sum of the advantages of aftermarket car audio systems over OE (Original equipment) products.

To press home the points, let’s use car CD changers and radios as examples…

Aftermarket CD Changers, when combined with a CD changer interface, provide a far superior but less expensive alternative to a car Dealer supplied CD changer. This is because you can pay, on average, $550 to $800 to your car dealer for a CD changer that hasn’t exactly been built using the most reliable and performance-producing components. This is due mainly to the large profit margins that car dealers choose to work with.

Aftermarket CD changers are far more reliable, are more functional and give overall better performance. The most important advantage being that they ultimately produce better sound. Aftermarket CD changers also play CD-R and CD/RW burned discs whereas dealer supplied CD changers will, in most cases, play CD-R (however they don’t guarantee this) but they will not play CD/RW discs.

Factory fitted radios (standard fit radios) in the past had relatively low power outputs of about 3 to 5 watts RMS. However the latest factory fitted radios have improved vastly with power outputs of up to 100 Watts. These figures represent 25 Watts, ‘peak’ power per channel x 4 (this basically means x 4 speakers). This actually translates to approximately 10 watts RMS x 4 channels, when used for any length of time (continuous).

Compare this to aftermarket radios (radios manufactured for retail sale), such as the best selling Alpine, Kenwood, Panasonic and Sony brands, where the basic models start at a power output of 45 Watts x 4.

Why is a higher power output better?

Extra power will produce a more refined sound. Your speakers are also better protected. This is because you can more easily damage your speakers by underpowering it.

Sounds odd? Here’s why…

When you power your amp, it sends sine waves to your speakers. This is fine and is the case if your amp has the ability to easily pump out the power you expect from it. However, when you demand more volume from a relatively less powerful amplifier, you make it send square waves instead of sine waves.

Speakers find these square waves very difficult to handle. The result…

Your speakers get toasted.

Adding an aftermarket radio would give you the benefit of having a removable security fascia to take with you when you leave the car. Incidentally, all new radios come with a robust case to store your removable fascia. If you add an aftermarket CD or CD/MP3 changer, there will be no visible signs of a changer having been added so the risk of theft will remain very low.

The advantages of aftermarket radios don’t stop here. You will also experience improved FM reception, far better design and looks. Add to this the options to expand your system if you wish to integrate other equipment such as CD, MP3 or MD changers and amplifiers, etc. Top it up with the savings you make when buying add-on equipment and you will see the benefits increase dramatically.

So you see…

Aftermarket is the way to go.

How To Check Whether Your DC Electric Motor Has Gone "Bad" in this year

These days, direct current (or DC) electric motors are used in a wide range of applications, such as the moving windows and seats in your car. Because of the concealed nature of these motors, it can be highly difficult to complete any repairs or maintenance on them without having to pull whatever it is powering apart. This is why, once you have managed to get to your DC electric motor, you should always give it a quick check to see whether it has gone “bad” and needs to be replaced.

Begin by removing the DC motor from its mount, ensuring that you have also removed any source of electric power that could accidentally cause it to begin turning. You may need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to do this, as some motors are very much wedged into position and could pose a risk of electrocution.

Next, you can test the electric motor’s continuity (or connection) by attaching it to a volt ohmmeter. Ensure that the meter is in the “ohms” position, then place the red and black leads into its connections (the red lead should be attached to the “ohms” and the black lead to the “common” point). Test that the meter is working properly by touching these two leads together – the screen should read zero ohms (or full continuity).

To test your DC motor, touch the leads of the ohmmeter to the leads of the motor. The meter’s screen should indicate a low resistance (somewhere between 10 and 30 ohms), but if it reads an infinite ohms or an open circuit you should rotate the end shaft of the motor. The ohmmeter should give different readings as this shaft is rotated (which is an indication that the electric motor itself is good, but that there is a problem with the electrical circuit. If the meter is still reading as an open circuit, the conducting brushes may have gone “bad”.

Use a screwdriver to remove the brushes from the end of the electric motor (you can find them under the plastic end caps at the opposite end of the motor to the drive shaft). Carefully inspect the brushes for any sign of cracks or breaks in the surface – the area of the brush that sits against the conductor or commutator should be smooth and curved. If there are any broken wires or springs, the motor will fail. If the brushes appear fine, then the problem may be with the commutator.

Take the screwdriver again and use it to remove the rear end cap of the DC electric motor (by removing the two screws that run the motor’s length). Inspect the plates that comprise the commutator assembly – there should be an opening between each. If you notice any broken wires or burnt varnish, the commutator has failed and its damaged parts will need to be replaced.

The Hidden Dangers of "Permissive Use" Restrictions in Your Auto Insurance Policy in this year

One of the most frequent questions I get as an auto insurance agent is “who is insured to drive my car?”

Sometimes the answer to this question can be trickier than most people realize. If you never loan your car to others and you never will, none of the restrictions I discuss here will matter to you and you can stop reading now.

Short answer:

People that are listed on your policy enjoy the full benefits of your policy coverages with no restrictions. For those that borrow your car that aren’t listed, they are generally covered as long as you have given them permission to use your car; this is called “Permissive Use” and all policies have some form of, or interpretation of, permissive use. Excluded drivers are never covered nor are un-named drivers who “use the vehicle without a reasonable belief that the person is entitled to do so” (sometimes referred to as “theft”).

Depending on the company you are insured with, interpretations of permissive use can vary dramatically and some insurance carriers are very strict in their enforcement of the rules.

By reducing or restricting coverages through different applications of permissive use, carriers can reduce their risk (and claims costs) thereby reducing the cost of their policies to make them more affordable for their policy holders.

Three examples of the “Permissive use” restrictions carriers utilize include: “Drop-down limits”; “Double deductibles”; and “No physical damage coverage”.

Drop-down Limits:

Oftentimes there are dramatic reductions in coverage amounts on insurance policies even when a permissive user has an accident. One such reduction is called “drop-down limits”. “Drop-down limits” means that if a person has an accident while borrowing your car, the limits of liability are reduced to what the state’s minimums are. For example, the state of California requires minimum limits of only $15,000 per person for bodily injuries (BI)/$30,000 per occurrence maximum for bodily injuries (BI)/$5,000 for property damage (PD).

Example: Driver “A” has an insurance policy with full coverage with permissive use and his liability coverages are $100,000 per person (for BI)/$300,000 per occurrence (for BI maximum)/$50,000 per occurrence (for PD). His policy has a “drop-down limit” clause. Let’s say he loans his car to a friend (driver “B”) and that friend has a serious accident where the bodily injuries to other party amount to $65,000 and he totals the other car which has a value of $28,000. In this scenario, the “drop down limit” is in effect and the most Driver A’s policy will pay is $15,000 for the other persons injuries and $5,000 for their vehicle which clearly isn’t enough. In this case, Driver A is legally liable for the balance of the damages because he is the owner of the vehicle; $50,000 for injuries and $23,000 for the vehicle. If Driver B has coverage, their coverage would be secondary and their limits would then apply until they run out as well. Otherwise, Driver “A” will most likely be sued by the other party.

Double Deductibles:

One coverage that is available with your auto insurance is called collision insurance. Collision insurance protects your vehicle for damages that are a result of a collision with another object. I.e. another vehicle, a building, etc. Collision coverage has a deductible which is the “out of pocket” amount you have to pay first before the insurance carrier steps in to repair or replace your car. Typically deductibles can range from $100 to $2500 but most of the time they are either $500 or $1,000.

They way the “double deductible” restriction works is if an un-named driver has an accident while driving the car with your permission, the collision deductible is doubled. Hence your $500 deductible is now $1,000, or your $1,000 is now $2,000. Hopefully your friend that borrowed your car is willing to chip-in and pay the extra deductible amount.

Sometimes the “double deductible” restriction is based on the age of the driver who borrows your car. For example, the deductible for collision is only doubled if the driver is younger than 25 years old.

No Physical Damage Coverage:

This restriction works just like the “double deductible” described above. However, this restriction is much more punitive.

Simply stated, if an un-named driver borrows your car and has an accident the insurance company will pay the third-party damages (liability), but the damages to your vehicle will not be eligible for coverage.

All of these “permissive use” restrictions are described in detail in your policy initially and also in your renewals. These restrictions should also be disclosed by your agent when you buy your policy, which is why you want a professional insurance agent/broker who really understands these intricacies and can effectively explain these restrictions to you when you apply for coverage.

Permissive use restrictions are also very common and are employed by some large, reputable nationwide insurance companies so be sure to examine your policy carefully.

Auto insurance policies are not all standardized. They are different from carrier to carrier and there are a multitude of coverage benefits, restrictions and exclusions that are unique to each company. Make sure to consult with your agent to see how your particular policy works.

Food for thought – next time you are considering buying a policy “online” without a human helping you, or from an “800#” with an “order taker”, consider how details like these may not be adequately described or may somehow get lost in translation – it pays to have an agent who can really look out for you.

Selling Your Model Car Collection in this year

You have been collecting model cars for years. When other boys were getting bikes and other toys for the holidays you were thrilled to open your packages and see the newest model cars to hit the market. In a rush you take them to your room and added them to a spot of honor on your many shelves where the rest of your collection rests comfortably. Taking your model cars out of their package would have been unthinkable. You were happy to keep them in their pristine condition until the time finally comes when you decide all is right and you can open each one in pride.

However, as time has gone on so have you. You have grown up and find yourself with much less time for collecting models than you once had. When given the choice of time with your collection or time with your family the family now wins out. You would like to pass your collection on to someone else who will be just as passionate about it as you are. At the same time you would like to get a fair value out of it since you know that some of the model cars in your collection are worth quite a bit. How do you go about doing this?

The first thing you need to do is to determine the relative worth of your collection. By checking with collectors magazines and online you can easily get the values for most of the model cars in your collection. Once you have this information you are ready to begin your search for the right buyer. If you are looking for someone quickly the best thing to do is to list them on a free Internet listing site so that you can move them easily. Another option is to sell them as a collection on an Internet auction site. There are many different ones out there so you just need to find the right one that suits your needs.

If you are looking to get the most value out of your collection and you don’t care about splitting up your collection then an auction is the best way to go. You can list each of your model cars individually so that you get the best deal. This way can be much more time consuming however as you do have to handle each one as a separate auction. If you do not prefer to go this route then you might consider another couple options as well.

If there are local flea markets in your area they make a very good tool. Many different types of collectors browse flea markets looking for new objects for their collection. Odds are you can move several of your model cars this way. If you cannot move them all at once you might speak to one of the dealers that are regulars about buying your collection at a slightly discounted rate. Usually you will find one that is happy to add to their sales items.

The other choice is normally a last choice. Many areas have a local auction house where you can take your model car collection to be sold. This is a very low paying way to sell your collection. You will not get as much as you want but if you need to move it quick then list it this way with no minimum bid. With these options in mind you should now have some ideas as to how you would like to sell your model car collection. Who knows, maybe with these gone you can begin to collect some new ones!

Rewriting Your Car Insurance Policy to Save Money in this year

Car insurance can be so expensive. There are ways in which you can save money on this expense though. One way is by rewriting your policy. When you do, here are some things that you should keep in mind.

Raise Your Deductible

Your deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of your pocket before your insurance company begins paying off on a claim that you have filed. The main way in which you can save money on your car insurance is by raising your deductible. This will actually lower your car insurance premium (the amount of money that you pay for your car insurance policy) by as much as 40%.

Eliminate Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is the amount of money that you will receive in order to fix your car if you should happen to get into an accident. Another way in which to lower the cost of your car insurance policy is to eliminate the collision part of your policy. This is something that you will especially want to consider if you are driving an old car because it doesn’t make any sense to pay for insurance to replace this vehicle. However, if you have a classic car that has a lot of sentimental value attached to it, you may want to actually increase the amount of coverage that you have in this area. So, as you can clearly see, you are going to need to weight the extra cost against the potential benefit that you will receive if you do actually get into an accident.

Have Good Credit

While you may not even think that it is important, you really do need to keep your credit in good standing. This does play a really big role in just how much money you will be paying for your car insurance. If you have a high credit score, you are going to find that you will be able to qualify for a lower rate on your car insurance. The reason for this is that the insurance company will use a risk score, which is based upon your credit history, which will determine just how high of a risk you are for filing a claim.

In Conclusion

Make sure that you ask what all your options are when you talk with your insurance agent. Many of them may not tell you all of your options unless you ask. Make an appointment and take some time to learn about the insurance you are paying for, what it covers, etc.

Car Battery For Beginners in this year

The car battery is what powers all the electrical components of the car. It is typically a rechargeable 12 volt lead-acid battery that powers the electrical system in the vehicle. This means that there are various chemicals in the battery that goes into a reaction when it is in use. When it is recharging, the chemical reactions are reversed.

Car Battery Components

The main components of the car battery is that it starts the starter motor and the ignition system. The starter motor is basically an electric motor that gets the main gas engine going. The ignition system is what ignites the mix of gas and air to produce the combustion the engine needs to keep it running.

Everyone knows that when the car battery dies, you can’t start it anymore. There can be many reasons a car won’t start, but when you hear that clicking noise, and no ignition, than it is probably a dead battery. The clicking noise is telling you that you starter is working, but it’s not engaging the battery. When the starter is dead, you won’t here a clicking noise.

The car battery also runs the electrical system of the car. The main component to the electrical system are the lights. The headlights, interior lights, trunk light, and the dashboard light are all powered by this 12 volt battery. That is why when you leave the lights on, the battery drains and you can’t get the car started.

So the next question is, how come the car battery drains so quickly that you can’t start the car, when you leave the lights on, but it can power the lights for a seemingly unlimited amount of time while you’re running the engine? The first part of the answer is that it takes close to a full 12 volts to start your car. So if you’re battery is at 11.2 volts, sorry but you’re probably out of luck. The second part of that has to do with how it recharges itself as it runs.

How It Recharges

You car has something called the alternator. This takes the mechanical motion of the engine, via alternator belt, and produces electricity to recharge the battery. It’s like a give and take relationship. The car battery starts the engine, which in turn recharges it back up as it runs on gasoline. That’s why after you jump start a car, you should probably run it for a while before you shut it off again.

There is a little computer attached to the alternator that tells it to charge or stop charging the battery. That’s a great little thing to have working because if you overcharge the battery, you can create hydrogen and that can cause the battery to explode.

So why then do you have to buy a new car battery every so often? Well, because the batteries tend to not hold the charge as much as time goes by. Most 12 volt batteries actually hold close to 13 volts. A mechanic once told me that they call it 12 volt batteries because 13 is an unlucky number. I don’t know if that’s an urban legend or not. But either way, it holds more than 12 volts. Then over time it starts to fade. And when it can’t hold much more than 12 volts anymore, than it’s time to get a new battery.

Air Conditioning Blows Hot Or Warm on One Side – Free Car AC Help in this year

Car air conditioning systems that blow warm on one side and cold on the other side usually have one of two problems. In this short auto repair article, a master automotive technician shares his experience, derived from working on air conditioners in Florida for the last couple of decades. This free information can be equally helpful to the do-it-yourselfer as it is to a consumer that knows the value of being informed when it comes to dealing with car repair shops. Read on for free car A/C help when the air is blowing warm on ONE side.

Usually cars that blow cold on one side of the dash and warm on the other side, are typically equipped with a dual zone climate control system. Dual zone systems allow the driver and front passenger to adjust respective temperatures to their comfort levels. There are two common causes of a temperature difference when both sides are set at the coldest settings, lets cover the first one.

Low Refrigerant

Automotive air conditioners which use 134A, usually hold a small amount of refrigerant compared to older automobiles that use R12. Car and truck air conditioners today are much more efficient than their older counter parts. The fact that 134A systems use less freon, means that a leak can more quickly affect the performance of an HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system. Due to the design of dual AC systems, low refrigerant is the leading cause of drastic temperature difference from one side of the dash to the other. Even well experienced car mechanics may be surprised to learn that as little as 4 to 8 ounces undercharged of 134A can make such a huge difference. The temperature from the left vent to the right vent can vary 10 to 20 degrees. The easiest thing to try is to top off the system or better yet, remove all freon and recharge the unit with the factory specified amount. In most cases after the proper charge of Freon is in the car, the temp will blow equally as cold like it should on BOTH sides!

What if that didn’t help? Read on to learn of another possible cause of the problem.

HVAC Door Issue

Dual zones supplying different temperatures from vents on either side of the dash is achieved by the use of small doors within the HVAC housing. By controlling the doors, the temperature of the air on the left and right can be adjusted to the desired comfort level. Many times the motor (or actuator) that controls the door for either side can fail or the door itself can break and prevent the temp. from being adjusted. Diagnosing this problem is more complex and can be a subject for another article. Thanks for reading. Hopefully, the free information provided here will help to remedy the problem of “AC’s blowing hot or warm from one side of the dash.”

7 Jobs That Provide A Company Car in this year

Being provided with a company car is a great ‘perk’ of employment, and depending on which position an individual holds, can be utilized either on a part-time or full-time basis. Some of the jobs that offer a company car include the following:

1. Many upper-management, specifically, executive management positions, include the use of a company car, particularly those directly working for an automotive manufacturer or closely related to the industry. In these instances, it’s the perfect way to increase their advertising as more of their cars are seen on the road. Another reason that is that, just as in some communities ‘keeping up with the Jones’ is a means of determining resident status in the neighborhood, members of the upper-Echelon of corporations are provided with company vehicles because they also need to ‘keep up appearances’. A newer or luxury car represents success and in business, that’s very important, especially in regard to their competitors.

2. Jobs that require an employee to travel frequently often times provide the use of a company car. Corporations realize that it’s not entirely fair to expect an employee who has to travel on regular basis, such as in the case of a sales or marketing position, to have to utilize their own vehicle. The company acknowledges the fact that these types of employees are required to travel frequently as part of their job and shouldn’t have to bear the expense of maintenance and or fuel costs, in addition to wear on their personal vehicle, so they provide the individual with the use of a ‘company’ car.

3. Car dealerships usually provide their salesmen with the use of a company car. Along the same lines of an auto-industry executive, this is an excellent way for the dealership to advertise their vehicles and hopefully attract new customers. Additionally, if a salesperson is driving and is happy with the performance of the particular car they’ve been given to utilize, they’ll have an advantage and the added benefit of first-hand knowledge about the vehicle when it comes time to make a sale.

4. Messengers and the sometimes affectionately referred to ‘gophers’ in a business environment are usually given use of a company vehicle, though mainly only during work-hours. These employees have to deliver and pick packages and drop off projects at printing, customer and other facilities in addition to any other off-site tasks the company requests of them such as running out for office supplies, food, etc.

5. A personal assistant who works directly for one individual whether in an office or private environment will be given the use of a company car because these types of positions require extensive traveling time on behalf of the employer’s personal, as well as business, needs.

6. Federal and other-high ranking officials in the securities field are often times provided with a company vehicle because many of their duties require traveling to other counties, towns and even states.

7. Some miscellaneous service and labor positions such as construction, landscaping, plumbing companies, etc. give their employees the use of a company vehicle because there is usually a need to get a very early start, respond to emergency calls and also in lieu of the need to travel extensively to different locals on a regular basis as part of the business’ services.

Keep in mind that if you are applying for a position that requires travel, whether frequent or infrequent, you can always try to negotiate for a company car during the interview process.

4 Advantages of a Gasoline Powered Car in this year

Although there has been a sharp increase in the availability of hybrid and electric cars, gasoline powered cars still dominate the automobile market. Despite the continuous price increases on gas these vehicles has retained its advantages.

The four advantages of these vehicles are revealed below.

1. Accessible Source of Fuel

Gasoline powered cars can be refilled everywhere. You can easily find a gas station even on the country side and rural areas. Their services are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

In addition to this, these gas stations also offer other services such as change oil, car wash, and tire check up. There are also gas stations that sell vehicle parts.

2. Lower Maintenance Costs

Gas fueled cars require lower maintenance costs. Spare parts and replacement kits are readily available on car service centers. There are also slightly used parts sold at lower prices. Surplus parts are used as replacements for the broken ones. Instead of buying expensive brand new parts, you can use the slightly used as replacements.

3. Accessible Car Accessories Shops

Since gas-powered cars were around for several decades, there are a lot of shops that sell car accessories. They attend to car owner’s needs in upgrading and enhancing their vehicles. Some of the offered in these shops are fashionable seat covers, cool steering wheels, and car audio systems.

4. Accessible Service Centers

Just like gas stations, service centers that repair defective cars are almost everywhere. Technicians and experts attend to the needed repairs of the car. Car engine check-ups, troubleshooting, and car upgrades are also performed here.

Services offered in service centers are not only for minor car repairs. Their staffs are also capable of doing complicated car works such as engine overhauling, under chassis repairs, and engine upgrades.

These are the advantages of the gas-powered car. To cope up with the increasing gas prices, car manufacturers try to create fuel-efficient cars. As a matter of fact, the latest car models are now equipped with gadgets that reduces the fuel consumption. In addition to this, latest cars are built with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

How Fast Can Indy Cars Go? – Automobile Racing in this year

Just how fast can Indy cars go? Well, to give you an idea, Indy cars can make it down the length of a football field plus some in less then one second. Jet airliners takeoff speeds are between 160 to 180 miles per hour. Throw some flaps or slats and a pair of wings on an Indy car, point it into the wind and there would be take off; that is how fast Indy cars can go.

Back in 1911 Ray Harroun won the very first Indianapolis 500 averaging just a hair under 75 mph. However, how fast can an Indy car go today? The average speeds of Indy cars today range from 185 to speeds over 230 miles per hour. Qualifying speeds range from 215 to 227 miles per hour. The lowest qualifying speed was recorded back in 1912 when Theodore Pilette ran 75.52 mph for a quarter mile. Back then, you had to run at least 75 mph in a quarter mile to qualify. Kenny Brack did the fastest speed recorded in qualifications at 227.598 mph in a quarter in 2005, followed up by Billy Boat in 2002, running a quarter at 226.589.

So when you ask how fast can Indy Cars go, think of this. Indy cars can accelerate from zero to 100 mph in less than three seconds and use up a gallon of gas in less then two miles. Drivers experience G-force while driving through turns on the track equal to what the space shuttle leaves a launching pad. At speeds of 220 miles per hour, Indy cars generate 5000 pounds of down force. At that speed the tread on the racing tires turn to tar like consistency helping car to adhere to the track.

Indy cars have evolved through time to higher levels of sophistication. In the beginning of the 20th century, speeds of 125 mph on the track where considered impressive. Rules have been modified as technology has improved with racing organizations ensuring the safety of both the drivers and the fans. With the strict rules and regulations, today’s Indy cars are far safer then their earlier counter parts such as the roadsters designs.

In 2010, the Indy Racing League will be implementing new engine rules that will allow the return of turbocharged engines that will have a output of about 750 horsepower ; having either 4 or 6 cylinders. Current specifications in regulations are an output of 650 HP. The 3.5 liter Indy cars on a average produce more then 675 horsepower which is four times more then your average car. So when you question how fast can Indy cars go, averaging 220 mph is pretty fast, but we can expect to see even quicker acceleration and speeds on the raceways in the near future.