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Car Racks 101: Hauling Your Bike, Ski, or Kayak

Posted on by amber

car-racks-0314-mdnIf you’re an outdoor-sporting enthusiast, then you know that the equipment necessary for your weekend excursions can be fairly hefty. Since bikes and kayaks don’t exactly fit conveniently into the trunk of a sedan (I don’t care how spacious it is back there) you will need the right racks to carry your toys.

All those automotive add-ons may sound overwhelming, but there is good news: Getting your car to be roof-rack-ready is not as daunting as it seems. There’s a plethora of roof-rack brands available to choose from, but with this abundance of choice comes the plight of having to narrow down which brand is right for you. A simple way to cut down your choices is to base your decision on G.A.P.: Gear, Aesthetics, and Price.


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10 Things You Must Know About Detailing Your Car

Posted on by amber

For starters, (1) never even touch your car without a lubricant such as water, spray wax, waterless wash, or soap. These lift contaminants from the surface, “so you won’t grind soil into the paint and spend the rest of the day buffing out the scratches,” Kosilla says.

Try to (2) be methodical and work in this order: wheels, paint, interior, and glass. Otherwise, you’ll waste precious time fumbling around washing and rewashing. Doing the wheels first, before you wet the rest of the car, prevents water spots from forming on the paint. Wash the glass last in case you smudge the windows while cleaning the interior.

Dirty wheels often contain brake dust, which can scratch paint, so (3) designate one bucket and mitt for painted areas only, and keep another wash mitt in a separate bucket for the wheels.


There’s more to the perfect car wash than rinsing grime off your ride. Ammo NYC founder Larry Kosilla explains.


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Forget touchscreens. Cars are a convenience, so let’s keep them simple: Peter Nowak

Posted on by amber

It has often been said that the car is the perfect piece of technology: you just stick your key into it and it works. Yet, with automobiles quickly becoming the next tech battleground – both in terms of the extra functionality manufacturers are cramming into them, and in regards to their inexorable march toward full automation – that long-held simplicity is looking frail indeed.

The fact was driven home for me the other day when I test drove a fully loaded 2014 BMW 750xi Sedan. The $136,000 car was tricked out with just about every technological addition on the market today: a rear-view camera (including night vision), electric rear and side shades, satellite radio, active blind spot detection, a steering wheel that rumbles if you change lanes without signalling, a touch-knob-controlled heads-up-display with GPS and a high-end Bang & Olufson sound system complete with dashboard-mounted tweeter. Truth be told, I felt a little lost. In fact, even the old truism about key simplicity no longer holds in this particular BMW, where the ignition is started by pushing a button on the dash. Its “keys” are just a fob used to unlock the doors.


Thanks Canadian Business and Peter Nowak for a great article!


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Dirty Car Interiors Are Making Us Sick

Posted on by amber

Think a shiny car means a clean car? Think again. Drivers often neglect to clean their car’s interior, and it could be making them sick. According to an expert, the cabin can be a haven for dust mites, mold and germs.

Infection preventionist Jill Holdsworth told USA Today germs can hitch a ride on the places drivers touch with their hands, such as the radio, gear shift, keys and wheel.

So how can you combat illnesses from your car?


A study conducted several years ago by researchers at Queen Mary University in London showed that, on average, 700 different kinds of bacteria can be found inside cars. Only 60 types are found in the average public toilet. Keeping hand sanitizer in the car can help cut down on cross infection and bacterial build-up. The surfaces in your car that are regularly touched should be cleaned often with an anti-bacterial solution.

Dust mites

Dust mites make themselves comfortable in upholstered fabric and are often found in cars as well as homes. People with allergies need to regularly clean their homes to combat the tiny bug, according to the Mayo Clinic, but the car is often overlooked in the battle to reduce allergic reactions. Regularly vacuuming the floor mats and the seats in your car can reduce dust mite numbers.


Pollen can build up inside of cars in the spring, as well. After this harsh winter, many experts are expecting a worse-than-usual allergy season, as plants will begin blooming along with grasses, according to ABC News. Using a disinfectant wipe to clear dust and germs from the dash and consoles can help cut down on allergy attacks behind the wheel. If you are particularly sensitive to pollen consider regularly cleaning the heating and cooling ducts, too.

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The Benefits of a Mooring Boat Cover

Posted on by amber

You can purchase boat covers designed for storage, trailering or even mooring. And, they can be designed for fishing boats, deck boats, pontoons or pleasure crafts. As well, they can be constructed from an assortment of fabrics and different colours.

A mooring boat cover is a boat cover designed to protect your boat while it is based in the water. It is designed for resisting rain and any other little surprises that birds can leave behind. They are easy to use and are quite common amongst boat owners. They offer good protection and you won’t have to spend a lot money in them.

Some stores can even sell a combination of boat covers, like a mooring/trailering boat cover. What type of mooring boat cover should you purchase? There are various factors that need to be taken into account. And these factors can’t be easily explained. Your best option is to contact your local boating store. They can help you make the right decision.



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Forget parallel parking – at least learn how to turn left

Posted on by amber

This is a bit funny, sad and true!

gd-roadsage-leftThey say you shouldn’t judge people by the cars they drive. As someone who drives both a Dodge Grand Caravan and a Toyota Camry, I couldn’t agree more. Don’t judge me by my ride (if you really must, go ahead. I can live with your contempt). If you really want to judge me, I say judge me by my ability to execute a left turn. In fact, judge everyone by their ability to make a left turn.

After all, the left is all we have left.

The left turn is the new low rung on the driving ladder, the minimum standard of proficiency. We used to expect motorists to know how to parallel park, but this skill seems to be fleeting. Drivers now learn how to parallel for their driver’s exam and then promptly forget it. After a few years, it wears off. Cast an eye around any street and all you see are cars nosing into spaces or tantric examples of botched parallel parking. Expecting the majority to be masters of the move is like expecting most people to know the words to our national anthem or to wash their hands after sneezing. Some dreams are just too lofty.

read more

Thanks Globe & Mail!


Special to The Globe and Mail

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What Your Driveway Is Trying to Tell You

Posted on by amber

Now that the snow and ice are melting off your driveway, you’ll probably be surprised by damage that wasn’t there last fall. If your driveway could talk, it would say that it needs some repairs as well as regular care and maintenance. Since it can’t talk, you’ll have to read these signs.


Linear Cracks

Your driveway is trying to tell you: You need to act now.

Hairline cracks are common as a driveway ages and weather takes its toll. Cracks will continue spreading, widening, and deepening, which can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Dirt and water will work their way into the cracks. When the water freezes and expands, it causes the cracks to grow. Kent Hansen, director of engineering for the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) in Lanham, Md., says that simply putting an overlay atop the driveway won’t solve the problem—the cracks will just come through it. Instead, the cracks need to be cleaned to remove any dirt and debris, and then, ideally, filled with a hot sealer, which is usually applied by a professional.

Jay Sutherland, owner of Expert Asphalt in Watertown, Minn., agrees, saying that a hot sealer is the only long-term solution, since the crack fillers sold at home centers are temporary fixes. “To do it right, you have to heat the crack filler,” he says. “It burns into the walls of the crack. When it cools, it expands and fills the crack. It’s a permanent fix.”


Thank you, Popular Mechanics, for this article…..

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Five Easy Ways To Maintain Your Car’s Value

Posted on by amber

The greatest single cost in car ownership is depreciation. Basically, the second you drive your car off a dealer lot, it loses value and will continue to do so until you either decide to sell it or it stops working.


116363721By taking proper care of your car, keeping it looking good and running smoothly, you can ensure that it fetches as much money as possible when it comes time to sell or trade in. Following these five simple steps will work wonders in maintaining your vehicle’s value.

1. Keep your service records

Service records are the best way for you to show a potential buyer you’ve taken care of the car’s mechanical components. Without service records, it’s difficult to prove that you’ve changed the oil on time and that you’ve met factory service requirements. Most sellers will claim they cared for a vehicle properly, but actual records can give you an advantage. Records can be computerized or they can be put into a booklet in the car’s glove box. If your dealer or mechanic uses a computerized system, make sure to get printouts of all maintenance performed.

2. Avoid dents and scratches

Dents and scratches can happen when you’re parking, when you open your door or even when you place an object on your car. Cosmetic imperfections are expensive to repair, and can be a huge turn-off to potential buyers. Luckily, by washing your car regularly and taking extra care to avoid contact with other objects, you can keep your car looking like the day it left the factory.

3. Keep the interior clean

The appearance and smell of the interior can also impact the attractiveness of your car to a potential buyer. Most people wouldn’t want to buy a car with foul odors or food stains. To keep your interior fresh, avoid smoking, eating and drinking in your car. If you do eat or drink, throw away the empty food and beverage containers immediately, and clean spills with the proper cleaning solutions.

4. Don’t curb your wheels

Parallel parking can be a risky proposition if your car has alloy wheels. If you get too close to the curb, the edges of the wheels can get scratched or bent. Many buyers of higher-end vehicles pay close attention to the condition of the wheels, and will walk away if damage is readily visible. While it’s best to avoid damaging your wheels in the first place, professional wheel repair shops can refinish damaged wheels for much less than the replacement cost.

5. Polish faded headlights

After years of sun exposure, your car’s plastic headlight lenses will fade and turn yellow. While the rest of your car might look terrific, the yellow headlights will reveal the vehicle’s true age. Luckily, faded headlights can be polished by most auto detailers. Polishing the headlight lenses doesn’t take long, and shouldn’t be very expensive. Buyers will appreciate the difference when they compare your car to other cars of the same age.

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How to Make Your Headlights Shine Like New

Posted on by amber

headlightMost headlights are made of polycarbonate plastic, which is durable and scratch-resistant. But over time polycarbonate clouds over, mostly due to UV rays that degrade the outer layer of plastic. Fortunately, there are plenty of products on the market designed to help you restore your car’s 20/20 nighttime vision.

To test the latest brands, I headed over to the Town & Country salvage yard in Ann Arbor, Mich., where Mike, the guy behind the counter, proudly showed me our shared name on his work shirt and loaned me the dirtiest, cloudiest headlights in the lot; I promised to return them clean. Back in the PopMech garage, I polished half of each headlight with a different product to demonstrate what I hoped would be dramatic before-and-after improvements. I wasn’t disappointed. These headlights went from filthy to fancy after less than a half-hour of work. I also applied all the products in strips to a single headlight to judge the results side by side. After soiling a stack of microfiber towels and raising plenty of sanding dust, I found out that all the products restored clarity to the lenses, but a few emerged as our favorites.


Basic Headlight Cleaning

Prep Wipe as much grime as possible off the headlights with glass cleaner or soap and water. After drying the area, tape around the headlights to ensure you don’t end up sanding your car’s paint. You can also remove headlights for cleaning, but you might have to align them after reinstallation.

Sand All of these products use an abrasive such as sandpaper to scuff away the outer layer of haze. This is the most important step, so be thorough. When you’re done, the entire headlight should be clear of any yellowing and have a rough, dull surface.

Polish A fine polish cleans up the sandpaper scratches and makes the headlight lenses clear again.

Apply UV Sealant There’s a reason we tested only headlight lens restorers with a UV protectant. The sanding step removes any protective layer that was originally applied to the headlight, and if you don’t reapply that shield your lights will haze over again in as little as a few weeks. Some products, such as the ones from Sylvania and Lenz Solution, promise extended protection.

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The 51 Coolest Trucks of all Time

Posted on by amber

coolest-trucks-01-0314-lgnThere is something we just like about a pick up!!

1963-1987 Jeep Gladiator and J-Series trucks

Jeep’s replacement for both its Willys pickup and the FC (Forward Control) truck was the Gladiator pickup. The Gladiator was a much more modern full-size pickup than Jeep’s earlier workhorses. This Jeep was contemporary enough that, with a few updates and styling changes, it stayed in production without a ground-up redesign for 24 years.

The earliest Gladiators used an advanced six-cylinder engine, while larger V-8 engines were optional throughout the life of the Gladiator and later J-10 and J-20 trucks. Since Jeep didn’t make its own V-8s, these were supplied by Buick and, of course, AMC. The largest was the AMC 401 V-8—the biggest engine ever offered in a Jeep pickup.

By 1976, the J-trucks received a new frame, and an awesomely disco “Honcho” package became available in the late 70s. The rarest and coolest of all the J-trucks of this generation would be the stepside bed Honchos of 1980-1983—only 1264 were made.

Read more….

Thanks Popular Mechanics!!

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