Monthly Archives: May 2017

Repair or Replace Your Windshield the Right Way

When faced with replacing a windshield, many car owners default to the lowest-price option. But if you take this route and are in a serious accident, your decision could cost you your life.

An incorrectly installed windshield could pop out in an accident, allowing the roof to cave in and crush the car’s occupants. Furthermore, when the front airbags deploy, they exert a tremendous force on the windshield and will blow out one that is not firmly glued in place.

“There are a lot of schlock operators” installing windshields, says Debra Levy, president of the Auto Glass Safety Council, which offers certification for installers. She says using original manufacturer’s glass is a plus, but choosing a good installer is even more important. To find a certified shop, visit Safewindshields.org and type your ZIP code into the box at the top of the page. Certification is valuable because it keeps installers up to date on advances in adhesives and changing automotive designs.

David Beck, one of two technicians at Windshield Express, near Salt Lake City, installs eight windshields a day and has been working in the auto glass business for 18 years. Beck agrees that certification is important and warns that there are many “tailgaters” — installers with no brick-and-mortar shop — who quickly “slam” windshields into cars with little regard for safety. They don’t handle the windshield correctly, don’t use the proper adhesives and leave the car unsafe for driving and prone to rusting and leaks.

“The thing I wish that drivers knew was that the windshield is the No. 1 safety restraint in your vehicle,” Beck says. The windshield is two sheets of glass held together by an inner layer of strong vinyl. When the windshield breaks, the vinyl holds the glass in place rather than allowing the shards to fall into the car and cut the occupants.

The windshield is a layer of protection that “keeps you inside the car and things out of the car,” Beck says. “This is not the place to cut corners on and go with the cheapest price.”

Steve Mazor, the Auto Club of Southern California’s chief automotive engineer, adds that if the windshield isn’t strong enough and an occupant is thrown from a speeding car, “the odds of survival are much less.” Thirty percent of all fatalities, he says, are due to people being ejected from the car.

An investigation by the ABC News program 20/20 on windshield safety shows technicians incorrectly installing windshields by not wearing gloves. The grease from their hands prevents the adhesives from bonding correctly, Beck explains. Another error that 20/20 caught was technicians failing to use all the necessary bonding agents, such as primer.

When you are looking for a good windshield installer, Levy recommends calling three shops and asking a few qualifying questions beyond just price and certification.

Levy says to ask the shops if they use original equipment glass, which is usually of higher quality and fits better. Also, she suggested asking how long the car should sit after the installation is complete. “If they say you can take the car right away, you should run in the opposite direction,” Levy says. A car should sit at least one hour before being driven and sometimes up to 12 hours, she says.

Beck says if you take your car to a dealership for a windshield replacement, it will just subcontract the job to a glass shop and then mark up the price about 30 percent. He recommends going directly to the glass shop to save money. However, when a car is new, the dealership might be the only place to stock the glass, as was the case for a 2011 Infiniti M56 Edmunds long-term test car where the windshield replacement cost $1,300.

Most windshield installation jobs take only about an hour and can be done at your home or office, Beck says. Once the installer is finished, check for signs that the job was completed correctly. Make sure the molding is straight and that there is no sign of adhesives visible inside the car, Beck says. The car should be clean inside. Debris or dirt left in your car could be the sign of sloppy workmanship, he says.

In some cases, a rock chip or star in the windshield can be repaired, saving you the cost of a new windshield. Mazor says some installers claim that cracks can be repaired even if they’re up to 15 inches long, but only if they intersect just one edge of the windshield.

Beck says rock chips, which he also fixes, are easier to repair when the damage has just occurred. Over time, rain washes dirt into the crack, making it harder to seal. He suggests carrying a roll of clear tape in the glove compartment to quickly cover a crack until it can be fixed.

Beck injects polymer into rock chips and cracks. After the polymer cures, he smoothes the area so it doesn’t affect the travel of the windshield wipers. Beck says that if he gets to the repair within a week of the damage, he can generally make it disappear. Windshield Express’ owner, Bryan Petersen says his rate for rock chip repairs is $29.95 for mobile jobs and $19.95 in the shop.

In the Los Angeles area, the rates for windshield repairs are higher — in the range of $65. Windshield repair kits are available at automotive stores for the do-it-yourselfer, but they don’t do the job as well as the professionals can do it. The pros have better equipment and much more experience.

The Auto Glass Safety Council’s Levy says studies show that windshield rock chips or cracks that are in your field of vision can actually slow your response to emergency traffic situations. She also says that old windshields that are pitted or hazed should be replaced — even if they are not broken — since they can magnify the glare of the headlights from oncoming cars at night.

Mazor says that a new windshield might be cheaper than you would think. In many cases, windshield repair is covered by car insurance (under your comprehensive coverage — not collision). The deductible for comprehensive coverage is sometimes only $50 or $100, so that would be the cost of a new windshield.

Why Regular Vehicle Maintenance Is So Important

Many people drive their cars on a daily basis, and they take for granted that they’ll start every morning and get them from A to B. Unfortunately, complex machines such as modern cars can break down easily, and it can be a real pain when you’re left without a car. That’s why it’s important to look for issues before they arise, and regular maintenance can really help you get the most from your car. From regular MOTs to servicing, there’s lots to do to keep your car running smoothly, and here’s why you should ensure things are checked over.

Replacing parts

Replacing parts before they get worn out, rather than waiting for a breakdown, will help prevent further damage to your car. You can buy parts by finding car wreckers in Darwin, and this allows you to save money on your car’s maintenance. Whether your tyres are getting a bit worn, or you’ve noticed your brakes are less effective because of wear to the brake pads, there are lots of little things you can do to improve your car’s performance.

Regular servicing

Every time you get your MOT done, it’s wise to also get a service, whether it’s just a quick oil change or a full check up. A servicing package could include:

  • Changing the oil
  • Checking and topping up fluids
  • Testing of brakes
  • Replacing windscreen wipers
  • Valeting your car thoroughly

Therefore, it’s worth doing as it makes your car feel like new all over again, and it’s one of the best ways to keep your car going for as long as possible.

Seeing a mechanic

If your car suddenly starts to drive strangely, is making a noise, or isn’t performing properly, then it’s essential to see a mechanic as soon as possible. Things can often be fixed much more simply if the problem is looked at right away, rather than allowing it to go on for a long time, as more wear and tear or damage can occur,

Simple checks

There are lots of simple checks you can do on your own car, and it’s a good idea to do them before a long journey, or when you reach certain milestones of mileage. Checking your oil is essential, as running out of oil can damage your engine, and having even tyre pressure will ensure that you’ll get even wear and tear, keeping you safe.

When it comes to taking care of your car, it’s always better to take care of potential issues quicker, and regular maintenance will allow you to keep your vehicle running at its best. Whether it’s the simple things you can do at home, or servicing from a professional mechanic and using quality parts, there are lots of things you can do to prolong the life of your car. It’s important to have a reliable, well-performing vehicle, and if you’re worried about your car’s performance, then some simple maintenance will improve the way it drives.

New World Car Dealership Auckland

Looking for a new car? Don’t want to lose thousands of dollars as soon as you drive off the car lot’s forecourt? Then you’ll be looking for a reliable secondhand car that runs smooth and doesn’t break the bank. But as we all know, buying a used car when you know little about cars is an extremely daunting task, and one that can often lead to the customer paying inflated prices without having any idea they have been ripped off until it’s too late. For this reason it’s important to use a reputable company; a company like New World Car Dealership Auckland.

Of the 3.5 million cars on the road, it’s estimated that 23,000 vehicles are stolen each year, and around 55,000 are sold illegally. Whilst this isn’t the largest percent, the chances of buying a car that isn’t altogether legitimate is a very real, and the chances of paying over the odds for a vehicle is extremely high if you’re not a mechanic or car enthusiast.

What to look for when buying a used car

When it comes to buying a second hand car, there are certain things that you should be able to spot, even if you’re not a mechanic.

All cars are issued with vehicle documents that should record specific details each time the vehicle is serviced or when changing ownership. Be wary of buying any car that doesn’t come with documents as you won’t have any way to verify its history.

Note the vehicle documents can be forged, so if you have the slightest inkling that the car is dubious, you should pay for a third party company to carry out a comprehensive vehicle history check.

Vehicle history checks can uncover many details about the car’s past; whether it has been in involved in any accidents, or in any legal cases, as well as how many times it has been serviced and how many miles it has travelled.
When looking over the bodywork check for different shades of paint as it can be difficult to match up retouches with the existing colour. To check rust damage simply put a magnet on any suspect parts; if it doesn’t stick then you’ll know there’s rust damage underneath.
It’s tips like these that regular folk need to know before buying car.So if you’re interested in buying a secondhand car, but are wary of being ripped off, head on over to Lyonne Autos Dealership to see what they have on offer. Not only can you be sure that you’ll be getting fair prices, the salesmen will actually educate you on what to look for in a used car; essential if you don’t know the first thing about vehicles.

 

Health Insurance and Its Need

But, talking about long term care insurance? Does it have value for money? And what is it anyhow? Isn’t it like that viable with the stoop in it that keeps receiving hurt?

Health Insurance

Extended health Care Insurance is more or less exactly what it sounds like a long period care insurance plan you purchase to help give for the cost of long-term concern further than a planned phase of time. Long term insurance covers care that is not usually covered by normal health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. It is surplus to what you may believe you are already having.

Folks who need long tenure care are not unwell in the wide-ranging sense. They more often than not require special care in their every day activities, bathing, dressing, and eating, getting in and out of bed or a chair, daily hygiene, and possibly walking. And this possibly will not even be necessarily long term care in the customary sense. This possibly will be care necessary to get well or rehabilitate from a mishap or an operation. A long term care insurance policy takes care for these and many other things.

If one thinks that he/she is too young to think about long term care at the present, think again. It doesn’t distinguish based on age. You have merely to imagine of the Christopher Reeve (actor) to know that. Due to an accident he becomes paralyzed at the age of 42 and it took about 9 years for him to get cured. The author Stephen King due to a car accident took a very long time to get cured that nearly took his existence while he was a walker in his 50. And Michael J. Fox (actor) struggles till now with Parkinson’s disease which was diagnosed at age of 30. And it is a fact that, about 40% of those receiving long term care is between the ages 18 – 64.

Medicaid normally does not reimburse for long term care in a home setting so long term health care insurance is best option and certainly a little to imagine. If home care coverage is bought, long term care insurance will reimburse for it, from the first day it is needed. It will shell out for a live-in care giver or personal duty nurse up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Assisted living is salaried for by long term care cover as is interval care, adult daycare and hospital care. Long term care insurance can also reimburse operating cost for caring for a person who suffers from Alzheimer or other forms of dementia.

So next time you go for a skydiving tripPsychology Articles, or any other adventurous work take some long term health care insurance. By doing this you will be doing a favor to you and your family.

What is an OEM Transmission or Engine?

Replacing an engine or a transmission is a huge expense, and you want to be sure you are getting the best replacement for your money. You are told there are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket parts. It’s important to understand what these parts and their differences are, especially if an insurance company is involved.

What Is An OEM Part?

According to About Money, OEM parts are made by the automobile manufacturer. Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, and other manufacturers make the original parts that are in the car when it comes off the assembly line. When the car is being assembled, if the manufacturer installs Bosch fuel injectors, Exide batteries, or Auto lite spark plugs, they are considered to be OEM parts on that car because they were original. If, however, the car manufacturer used a different brand of fuel injectors, then Bosch would be considered to be aftermarket parts. All determination is made by the manufacturer at the time of assembly. While an OEM engine or transmission will cost more than an aftermarket model, you can know it will fit perfectly and function exactly the same as the one being replaced did when it was new. You can know that your replacement parts are identical to those that came in your car when it was manufactured at the factory.

The Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket Parts

According to Bessler Auto Parts, there is a wide range of aftermarket parts manufacturers, which results in varying quality. These are generic copies of original parts and don’t fit perfectly like OEM replacements do. Aftermarket parts are cheaper to buy. The companies that build them have not invested millions of dollars in research and development. If your car is involved in an accident and the engine or transmission needs to be replaced, many insurance companies will only pay for an aftermarket replacement. You always have the option to pay the difference in price between the OEM and the aftermarket part.

The Choice Is Yours

Knowing the difference between the two types of replacement parts makes it easier for you to choose the one you want. If money is an issue, go with the aftermarket manufactured part. It will carry a full warranty because it is brand new. If you want the OEM replacement, you must get it through the car dealership.

Both replacement options will have your car back on the road and running great in no time. You decide which option is best for you.

Confessions From the Auto Body Shop

For most consumers, auto body shops are intimidating and mysterious. The good ones restore your beloved car to gleaming perfection. The bad ones hide problems and stick you with a big repair bill.

We talked with three veterans of the auto body industry, two of whom (Brian and Neal) run their own collision repair businesses and the third expert (Andy) who is a well-connected industry observer. Our sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, shed light on this shadowy world and offer suggestions on how to manage costs, avoid rip-offs and ensure that sure your car is fixed right.

Know That Body Shops Run the Quality Gamut
“I don’t care what state you live in, for every 10 body shops, three of them are unethical and five of them do mediocre work at best,” Neal says.

It’s clear that finding the right shop and building a relationship with the owner or manager is an essential first step in the repair process. There will always be fly-by-night shops, and even mobile dent-repair guys working out of the trunks of their cars. Consumers should look for brick-and-mortar body shops that have been in business a long time and have a solid track record of satisfied customers.

Most body shops are family-owned or second-generation businesses, says Brian.

And it’s a tough business these days. After getting a high bill for collision repair, some people might think that body shops make a lot of money. Neal laughs at this. “At one time body work was lucrative. But today, the well-run shops are realizing profits of 4-7 percent. And it’s a very fine line between making 4 percent and losing 5 percent.”

In an environment like this, shops rely on good word-of-mouth referrals to attract customers. “The last thing we want is a bad reputation or reports of poor customer service,” Brian says. “We want to fix it right and make that customer happy.” (For more about choosing the right shop, see “5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop.”)

Once you find the right shop, the process of getting your car fixed right at the right price starts with getting an accurate, reasonable estimate.

Understand Your Estimate
Price quotes from different body shops seem to vary wildly, and this shouldn’t be the case.

Our three experts remind us that collision-repair facilities and insurance companies use one of three systems for estimating repair jobs to arrive at standardized, impartial quotes. Theoretically, this means three different shops will present similar estimates. But insurance companies will sometimes present their policyholders with a low quote that bears no relationship to the product of these estimating systems, Brian says. And if the consumer decides he can live with minor body damage and elects to pocket the check rather than pay to have the damage repaired, the carrier has quickly cleared another claim.

It’s increasingly tough for body shop owners to provide an accurate cost estimate that will cover the expense to fix the car properly and still make a profit. Brian says automakers frequently change vehicle designs as the Environmental Protection Agency raises fuel-efficiency standards. They are increasingly using lighter materials like aluminum and high-strength metals like ultra-hard boron steel, particularly in the frame and suspension parts. Such parts are expensive.

Body shops are supposed to restore cars to the standards of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but they know from experience that doing so is going to be prohibitively expensive. Instead, they don’t even consult the manufacturer’s specifications and fix the car according to time-tested methods. Those methods might not fix the car safely or completely.

“So all of a sudden the lowest common denominator — the insurance company’s quote — becomes the benchmark,” Brian says. And the shop with the lowest cost is likely the one the consumer will pick.

Neal adds that there is another factor that makes the process difficult for consumers. “One guy might have a different definition of what a fair profit is from the next guy for procedures that are identical between the two shops.” This is the dreaded gray area in evaluating cost estimates and it can hit your wallet hard. Here’s how it works.

Get an Estimate Breakdown
There are judgment calls in auto body work that can lead to huge swings in price quotes, our experts report.

Neal gives an example: Say you have a dent in your quarter panel. One shop might write a simple four-line estimate to repair the panel and repaint it. (Each line on the quote constitutes another charge.) Another shop might write a 20-line estimate that includes removing the taillight and bumper, instead of just taping them off. “There can be 20 steps for the repair if you want to do them all and if you want to charge for them all,” he says.

If a consumer doesn’t understand the steps, the estimate makes little sense. And many body shops don’t take the time to explain it, Brian adds. “There are a lot of shops that print their estimate, throw it at the consumer and say ‘Call me if you want me to do it,'” he says. Instead, he recommends looking for the shop with a staff that listens patiently and replies with reasonable answers.

Andy says consumers should be aware that some shops write lowball estimates just to “seize the keys” — get the car owner’s commitment to do the job. Once the car is dismantled, the body shop owner calls the consumer and lists additional charges, claiming that the shop discovered new damage after it started work.

Additional charges do occur because, “you can’t see through a car without taking it apart,” Andy says. Avoid this ploy by choosing a highly regarded body shop in the first place and making sure to the best of your ability that the estimate covers all the work required.

Turn Down the “Save the Deductible” Come-on
Andy warns that some shops will offer to help consumers “save the deductible” from their insurance claim — typically about $500. The shop is basically offering to scam the insurance company for the consumer by not collecting the deductible payment.

But Andy says that what such a shop is really intending to do is to either not perform necessary work, or overcharge for something to compensate for the waived deductible. “Collision repair shops are businesses, and like any business, can’t afford to not charge for work that is being performed,” Andy tells us. “If a shop says they can waive the deductible…that is something for consumers to be cautious of.”

Ask About the Parts
Our insiders say some unethical shop owners will try to boost profits by charging customers for new OEM parts when they’ve actually installed used ones, or have substituted aftermarket parts for OEM parts without telling the customer. In other cases, they repair the original part, reuse it in the vehicle and charge the customer for a new part.

It’s difficult for unwary consumers to protect themselves against these scams. However, they can ask to review the original quote and request documentation of the parts the shop used in repairing their vehicle. In most states, repair facilities are required by law to disclose in their estimates that they intend to use non-OEM parts. If you live in one of the states that doesn’t require disclosure, it’s even more important to ask.

Consumers also have to be alert to the terminology that shops and insurance companies use when they’re describing parts. Our experts talked about “imitation” parts, using the term to refer to parts that are made by aftermarket suppliers. The aftermarket industry says its products are built to industry standards and are as good as those produced by the OEMs. Your decision on which to use likely depends on the age of your car, the size of your wallet and the terms of your insurance policy. In any case, make sure you get your body shop to define its terms. Will it use OEM parts? Aftermarket? New? Used? Will it repair and reuse a part from your car?

Neal says that aftermarket parts have their place and consumers shouldn’t always be hesitant to approve their use.

“If you came to me with a damaged year-old vehicle, I wouldn’t even suggest an imitation part because it doesn’t belong on a vehicle that we’re trying to protect the value of,” Neal says. “But if you came to me with your daughter’s eight-year-old transportation car, we would price it both ways.” There would be a small risk in lowering the resale value of the car in exchange for the savings.

For more on this subject, please see “How To Tell if Your Body Shop Did the Job Correctly.”

Beware of Shops in Cahoots With Adjusters
Insurance work is the lifeblood of the auto body business. Nearly 85 percent of the work for most collision repair facilities comes from claims, according to the insiders we interviewed. Brian says that he knows of many shop owners who attempt to ingratiate themselves with insurance adjusters by detailing — or even painting — their personal vehicles for free. “We know of it happening all the time,” he says.

(For the insurance industry’s side of the story, see “Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster.”)

This unethical relationship puts the consumer at a disadvantage, Neal says. “Your repair shop is supposed to act as your advocate,” he says. “If your insurer wants to put an aftermarket part on a vehicle that’s six months old without your permission, the shop should tell you so: ‘Mr. Jones, I have to let you know that your insurer is playing games.'” There are consequences for that, though, as Neal notes. “But if you do that they’ll take you off the list — that’s the dirty reality,” he says.

Once again, your best defense is a good offense. Only work with shops that have a track record of dealing fairly and honestly with their customers.

Don’t Get Pushed to “Preferred” Auto Body Shops
When an insurance company is paying for repairs, Neal says it often tries to steer clients to its “preferred” list of body shops. Insurance companies control these collision repair facilities by promising them steady work in exchange for corner-cutting, according to the insiders we interviewed. This control may encourage some body shops to “back charge,” or build in extra costs to cover areas not covered by the insurance company. If a shop begins doing this, Neal says, “It’s a slippery slope, and when you get on that path it’s hard to get off.”

Andy says that most state laws allow consumers to choose their auto body shops, even when an insurance company is paying for the repair. But insurance adjusters will still coerce clients toward the “preferred” shops using a variety of tactics to discourage them from going elsewhere, the insiders say. For example, the adjuster might say if you go to a shop that’s not preferred, some costs won’t be covered, or the non-preferred shop won’t guarantee the work, while the preferred shop will.

In many cases, Andy has seen consumers pay out-of-pocket for repairs that the insurers said they won’t cover. Then, when the consumer files a complaint with a state’s department of insurance, the insurer is forced to pay for the repair. “Some insurance companies will put the onus on the customer to prove that they will pay for it themselves before they will agree to indemnify them for it,” he says.

All three experts agree that consumers place a lot of trust in their insurance companies to look out for their best interests. What most people don’t consider is that the insurance company is trying to cut costs to the bone while still retaining policy holders. “Consumers are at a disadvantage because they’re not knowledgeable about the services that they’re procuring,” Andy says.

Be Your Own Advocate
Sad to say, the body shop experts we spoke with say that the consumer can’t rely completely on body shops or insurance companies to watch out for their interests. You have to act as your own advocate, choose the best shop and remain alert to overcharging and misrepresentation.

“Most body shop owners are very concerned about getting good feedback and building a list of customers who’ll come back next time work is needed,” Andy says. “Find those shops, work with them, and nine times out of 10, things will go smoothly.”

 

Do I Have To Use the Manufacturer’s Oil?

Ten or 15 years ago, choosing the oil for your car was simple. All you needed to know was the viscosity — 5W-30, for example — and you could get a few bottles at the local auto parts store. But this simplicity is starting to go away.

General Motors’ transition to a new oil specification for all its 2011 and newer vehicles is bringing new attention to the issue of manufacturer oil specifications. GM isn’t the first to require such a specification, but its move signals a change in the car-maintenance landscape.

A manufacturer’s oil specification is a unique blend that an automaker creates and mandates for use in its vehicles. GM’s new oil product, Dexos, consolidates its five prior recommended oil specifications into two blends: Dexos1 for gasoline-powered vehicles and Dexos2 for diesels.

GM and other automakers warn that failure to use their factory-specified oils could void a car’s warranty. These new oil specifications can also create confusion and cost issues for consumers who change the oil themselves or take their cars to local mechanics who may not be aware of the changes.

Oil Has Changed
The oil inside a modern engine might look just like it did a decade ago, but it actually is far more advanced. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) have set the standards for oil for the past 60 years and have changed the specifications roughly every five years. Oil needs to change to meet increasing emissions regulations, offer better protection against sludge and improve fuel economy.

“There has been a significant increase in lubricant quality in the past 20 years,” says Robert Sutherland, principal scientist for Pennzoil passenger-car engine lubricants. “But there has also been a significant increase in the stress that the engines put on the lubricant.”

Sutherland says it’s a game of leapfrog. As the hardware moves forward, the oil specifications must also change to handle the additional heat and properly lubricate the engine. He adds that the tolerances in a modern engine are closer and tighter, which means that the oil’s ability to keep critical engine parts clean is more important than it used to be.

Automakers’ Own Recipes
The API and ILSAC standards are the baseline, says Timothy Miranda, senior engineer for race oil and field testing for Castrol Lubricants, which manufactures oil for automakers such as Audi, BMW and Volkswagen. Automakers are free to improve upon the standards as long as they meet the minimum requirements.

“They may choose to have their own specifications because of a unique aspect of their engine design,” Miranda says. For example, if a car is turbocharged, it might require synthetic oil rather than conventional oil.

This manufacturer standard is more common among the German automakers, thanks to more stringent European oil specifications, Miranda says. Rather than have numerous blends for different regions, each automaker created one specification for its vehicles. They have brought those standards to the U.S., as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all have their own oil formulations.

According to Miranda, most American and Japanese automakers have tended to stick with the API guidelines. This means that they recommend any oil with the API “starburst” or “donut” symbol on its label.

GM distanced itself from the API guidelines with the introduction of Dexos. According to GM, the Dexos oil specification will decrease harmful piston deposits by up to 28 percent and improve fuel efficiency by up to 0.3 percent compared to the older ILSAC GF-4 specifications.

GM licenses the Dexos certification to motor oil manufacturers that can then choose to offer a full-synthetic variation, as long as it meets the requirements. Since Dexos-certified oil is compatible with older cars, the specification will also affect owners of pre-2011 GM vehicles who get their cars serviced at dealerships. Though Dexos isn’t being mandated retroactively, chances are dealers will fill their bulk tanks with it to consolidate their oil inventory.

What This Means for the Consumer
More expensive maintenance: “The OEMs are looking for protection and the customer wants longevity,” Miranda says. This protection comes at a cost. As manufacturer oil specifications become more common, the auto industry moves farther away from conventional oil and toward synthetic blends or fully synthetic oil. While these newer oils offer better protection and longer intervals between oil changes, they also have a higher price tag.

This price bump can be offset by the automakers who offer free maintenance programs. But when the coverage runs out, a customer who is not used to paying for a synthetic oil change could experience some sticker shock when faced with a $90 oil change.

Potential warranty problems: The language in some owner’s manuals suggests that using an oil other than the one specified by the manufacturer will void the car’s warranty. This is not the case, says Thom Smith, Valvoline’s vice president of branded lubricant technology.

According to the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, the onus would be on GM or another automaker to prove that a non-manufacturer oil damaged the engine. If dealers deny the warranty claim without first investigating it, they are in violation of the act, Smith says.

Consumers just need to make sure that any alternate oil they use is comparable in quality to the automaker’s specified oil. Many oil manufacturers, including Valvoline, are so confident of their product that they offer their own warranty against engine damage that their products might be alleged to have caused.

If talk of voided warranties and engine damage makes you nervous, just use the manufacturer’s specified oil for the duration of the warranty. Keep in mind that a vehicle’s engine falls under the drivetrain warranty (also known as the powertrain warranty). In most cases, this is longer than the traditional bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Your local mechanic or quick-lube facility may not be aware of your car’s specific oil requirements. You can still go to these places, but be sure to ask ahead of time what kind of oil they will use. Or bring your own oil to avoid any confusion.

Required manual reading: Not all cars require a manufacturer-specified oil. They do have a recommended viscosity, such as 0W-20, however. Check the owner’s manual for any mention of a required brand or specification. If the manual doesn’t name one, you can save money by buying oil at an auto parts store. Make sure it’s the correct viscosity.

There are money-saving opportunities to be had even if your vehicle does call for a manufacturer-specified oil. For example, GM has a Web site that lists the approved Dexos oil manufacturers. Most of their products are available online or at auto parts stores and may cost less than at the dealership.

In some situations, the manufacturer-specified oil may not be in stores or it might cost more than you want to spend. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will usually list the specifications for an equivalent oil that meets the automaker’s standard. Does that mean it’s just as good as a manufacturer-specified oil such as Dexos? There’s controversy on this point.

Flack from the oil wars: Tom Read, a spokesperson for GM’s powertrain technology group, warns that using an alternative oil might diminish performance.

“If a customer uses a non-licensed engine oil that is simply ILSAC GF-5 quality, they will not enjoy the benefits of using a Dexos-licensed product,” Read says. Those benefits could include better low-temperature performance, cleaner pistons and better aeration performance, he says. “This could be especially important as the engine oil ages.”

Read’s case for Dexos sounds compelling, but Valvoline’s Smith isn’t buying it.

“Our SynPower 5W-20, 5W-30 and DuraBlend 5W-30 went through all the Dexos testing and passed all the requirements,” Smith says. “But we felt that carrying the Dexos name was not providing the consumer with any value.”

Rather than raise the price of its oil to offset the cost of licensing the Dexos name, Valvoline chose to forgo the license and keep the prices lower, he says.

Smith says that GM’s engine-performance warnings are part of its goal to drive consumers to dealerships for their maintenance. “We feel that they are taking choice away from the consumer,” he says.

Focus on the Oil Basics
Setting aside the claims and counter-claims of manufacturer-specified oil superiority, here’s all you have to remember: As long as you follow the oil specifications shown in your owner’s manual, you have nothing to worry about.

In the event that the dealership tries to void your warranty over the use of non-manufacturer oil, know that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act will protect you. If your vehicle doesn’t have an oil specification, you have more flexibility in choosing your product. Finally, make sure you know the proper viscosity for your car and change the oil at the proper interval.

What is the business case for couriers to go green?

 

When it comes to running a cheap international courier service you have a lot of expenses. Warehouses need to be maintained; vehicles need constant care, and your employees need to be paid, among endless transactions and other countless issues. One step that a service could take to eliminate costs, though, is one that’s environmentally friendly, and even more efficient. Going green, a lot of companies are against it; there’s a lot of changes and expenses with going green initially, but in the long run it benefits the cheap international couriers overall income.

If you were to send a parcel to Germany, for example, you would sign, it’d be taken away on a diesel powered truck and then shipped to its intended location. Sometimes your parcel to Germany may need to take a flight; sometimes it will only need a lengthy car ride. Regardless it is using fuel and damaging the atmosphere, but when companies like Courierpoint bring that into their perspective, they can act upon that unnecessary pollution. Adding solar panels to warehouses and replacing vehicles with electric cars will encourage a future for better growth and establishment.

Not only will going green help the environment if a cheap international courier does it, but it’ll bring in a massive amount of publicity. Ensuring that the courier service has an influx in orders and if they work well with them and get 5-star reviews their service will grow exponentially.  Sending a parcel to Germany, or anywhere else in the world, suddenly becomes cheaper and more energy efficient, all while not cutting out the time or the care that is taken when delivering the parcel. The cheap international couriers would be able to sustain their customer satisfaction, while assisting the environment and attracting attention to their business.

Going green, especially for cheap international couriers, can be a difficult task at first, but once it’s done there is nothing but success. It won’t matter if you need to send your parcel to Germany or anywhere else, the green solution is the best solution. Courierpoint is one of the best cheap international couriers on the market, and with their friendly customer service, you can be sure your parcel will make it on time in a clean fashion. Going green has led to an influx of attention and publicity, ensuring their business for years to come. If it works well for one cheap international courier service, it could work for them all. If only the others would dare to try it.

Going green for a business is risky, but when you do it right and are ready to take a financial hit your business will start to go uphill. With more clients, better vehicles, publicity and a strong increase in orders there is little more you could do to create the perfect increase for your business. Finding the right time to go green for you, is really the only thing truly standing in your way.

How To Fix Your Car’s Oxygen Sensor

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If your car’s “Check Engine” light is glaring at you, it’s probably because the oxygen sensor is malfunctioning. That’s right, the oxygen sensor. It’s a little device that’s a mystery for most drivers but its misbehavior is the problem that most commonly triggers a Check Engine light, according to CarMD.com, which sells an automotive diagnostic tool and provides repair information. The oxygen sensor unseats the formerly most common Check Engine light culprit: a loose gas cap. There are fewer reports of that problem because savvy motorists have learned to fix it themselves and consumers now buy new cars with capless gas tanks.

But don’t despair. Replacing your car oxygen sensor will keep you from wasting money by burning extra gas, and the repair isn’t horribly expensive. We know this firsthand. We had to replace the O2 sensor on our 1996 Lexus ES 300, the subject of our Debt-Free Car project, and it wasn’t as much of a hassle or expense as we had feared.

After the dreaded Check Engine light appeared in our Lexus, we plugged the CarMD device into the car’s computer to read the error code. In our case, the code was P0135, which meant that the oxygen sensor in “bank 1” was malfunctioning. It was surprising to learn that something was wrong with the car, since it still seemed to be running fine.

Even though a car seems to be behaving normally, a faulty oxygen sensor will cause the engine to start “gulping down gas,” says Kristin Brocoff, director of corporate communications for CarMD.com. She says this problem can cause up to a 40 percent reduction in fuel economy. Sure enough, when we checked our fuel record for the driving we did while the Check Engine light was on, our mpg had taken a hit.

The oxygen sensor, developed in the early 1980s, is an essential part of the car’s emissions control system, says John Nielsen, director of engineering and repair for the American Automobile Association (AAA). The sensor is about the size and shape of a spark plug and protrudes into the car engine’s exhaust stream. It determines if there is a lot or a little oxygen in the exhaust, so the engine can make adjustments to the amount of fuel being used in the engine to run at maximum efficiency.

Oxygen sensors in older cars fail for a variety of reasons, according to Bosch, a leading manufacturer of auto components. In some cases, sensors are fouled by gasoline additives or oil from worn engines. Newer oxygen sensors can last 100,000 miles if conditions are right, but often problems occur sooner.

After we plugged CarMD’s diagnostic device into the Lexus’ onboard computer port, we connected it to our desktop computer. It accessed a database of information about this engine code and how to have it repaired. Among other things, the report included an average estimate just to buy a new oxygen sensor: $168.82.

At the first sight of a Check Engine light, most owners of new cars that are still under the factory warranty would simply make a beeline for the dealership’s service bay. But car owners on a budget might want to go the do-it-yourself diagnosis route to save money. By using the CarMD device, or any engine code reader, drivers can learn what the problem is, and the skill level required to fix it, before attempting the task.

Modern cars have two to four oxygen sensors, Nielsen says. A V6 engine, such as the one in our Lexus, has one sensor in each exhaust manifold and one after the catalytic converter. The sensors simply screw into place, but reaching them can be a problem for do-it-yourselfers. Additionally, since the exhaust subjects the sensor to extreme heat, it can “seize” (become frozen in place) and be tough to unscrew. A new sensor comes with anti-seize compound to apply to the threads, but the compound should never be put on the sensor itself.

Nielsen says that while a code reader might indicate that the problem is the car oxygen sensor, there are other problems that can trigger the identical code — a disconnected vacuum hose will do it, for example.

As a first step, a car owner can look under the hood to see if there are any wires or hoses disconnected, Nielsen says. In some cases, a wire leading to the oxygen sensor could be broken or burned out. If nothing obvious is visibly awry, it’s time to go to what Nielsen calls “a trusted mechanic.” Reputable garages use an expensive diagnostic machine called a scan tool — not to be confused with an inexpensive code reader — that can watch the operation of the engine in real time and see if the oxygen sensor is actually the problem.

“Most motorists would be well served to find a shop that they trust and take their car there for all oil changes and tire rotations,” Nielsen suggests. “Then, when they have a problem with something like an oxygen sensor, they trust what the mechanic is saying rather than thinking that they’re trying to rip you off.”

In our case, we learned that the faulty O2 sensor was in the rear of the engine and difficult to reach, so the fix seemed above our skill level. Instead, we took the Lexus to Overseas Garage, in Long Beach, California. There, the mechanic told us that the new sensor would cost $117, plus $144 in labor for a total of $261. This was close to the $246 average cost cited by CarMD’s Brocoff.

While many people opt to simply ignore “Check Engine” lights, Brocoff says this can cause bigger, more costly problems later. “So the problem you could have fixed for a few hundred dollars turns into a repair of the catalytic converter, which would be over a thousand.”

Driving back from the garage, it was a relief not to stare at the glowing check engine light. This made us realize that fixing such a problem provides another benefit: peace of mind.

Everything to Know About Auto Insurance

So insurance is the coverage that is offered to you by the insurance company or organization in return for premiums paid. For auto insurance, auto insurance companies cover your vehicle or group of vehicles against breakdowns and accidents. The insurance policy offered to you depends on many factors namely:

* The type of vehicle, its make, cost, and age.
* The habits and individual history.
* Viable statistics.
The general principal is that a young driver driving an attractive sports car will have to pay a higher premium as compared to a senior citizen driving a family car. Premiums are therefore based on risk factors.
All insurance companies have to offer different packages for auto insurance and, each scheme has its own advantages and disadvantages. In order to obtain the best auto insurance you need to:

* Actually know as to how auto insurance works and what all leading insurance companies are present in the market. There are basically four main kinds of auto insurance policies: Collision insurance; Comprehensive coverage; Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage; and No Fault Automobile Insurance Policy. There are also policies offered by an auto insurance companies that cover: auto loans, vehicle towing expenses, car rental during car repairs and so on.

* You should do an online survey and evaluate the quotes from different auto insurance providers.
* Clearly specify the essential information so that the auto insurance provider is able to give you a competitive quote. Insurance brokers will need: your personal details, number of people who will drive the vehicle, age and make of vehicle, where you reside, how many times the vehicle will be driven, whether you hold any other insurance policies with  the same insurance companyFind Article, and also if you are a member of bodies like the AAA and so on.
* You should always read the policy document in detail and ask for clarifications if there are any terms and conditions that you may have not understood.
* Always keep your self updated with tips and also by reading articles so that you can help yourself lower insurance costs and select the ideal auto insurance. The internet has an endless number of articles on insurance that can totally help you out with your queries.
The world of auto insurance has changed remarkably with the coming of internet and now customers can buy auto insurance online as literate shoppers.