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Ways to Extend the Life of Your Car

Buying another car is something that most drivers either want to do or have to do. For those wanting a new car it's usually because they want an upgrade or they fancy a sports car or some other luxury.

But for some drivers they 'have' to buy another car because their old one has given up. It's probably at the stage where it's breaking down far too often to make it worthwhile keeping the car.

But before you get to this stage, you can do certain things to help extend the life of the car.

When You're Not Planning to Drive it for Some Time

If you're planning to store your car for some time then it's obviously best to store the vehicle in a garage.

Assuming the garage has a flat surface (it should do but check) then you could try not using the parking brake. This can help extend the life of parking brake.

Another tip is to fill the fuel tank as it can reduce the chance of condensation.

You can also remove the battery to reduce the chance of it running out of juice.

While You Are Driving

The way you drive your vehicle has a lot to do with how long it will last.

Don't drive like you're in some kind of race. Not only is it dangerous but it also shortens the life of the car.

When turning (especially in a U-turn) try to move the steering wheel back to the center position as soon as it's safe to do so. If you don't then it can wear out the steering mechanism.

When you start the engine try not to rev it up as this can wear down the engine.

Other Tips

If you notice a rust spot then don't ignore it as they can get worse over time and cause the repair costs to increase dramatically.

If you see a small chip in your windscreen then again, don't ignore it. Get your car to a windscreen specialist and they should be able to repair it for a reasonable cost. It will be much cheaper than waiting for the chip to develop into a large crack.

When cleaning your car use good quality wax as this can help the paint job keep in great condition for far longer. If you're parking it outside for a while, especially in bad weather, then apply a second layer of wax.

Check your tyre pressure on a regular basis as this should help extend the life of them. You should also check to make sure the wear on the tyres is even, if it's not then ask a specialist to check the wheel alignment.

Muffle Your Car and Enjoy the Ride

Have you ever driven a car that is so noisy that you can hardly even think no matter hold a conversation? Have you been startled by a car approaching you from behind when it revved and roared? Do you own a car whose exhaust is so noisy you wish you didn't have to turn on the ignition each time you are about to go out? Have you ever wondered why other cars can easily pass unnoticed whereas eyes and heads turn each time yours approaches and passes? If you have experienced any of the situations above, or you are a car owner still experiencing this embarrassment, the secret device you need to know about is the car muffler.

Car mufflers, sometimes also referred to as silencers, reduce the amplification of sound waves produced by the gases from your exhaust. Getting a muffler will prevent you being an environmental noise polluter.

A car muffler is simply a device that is installed within the exhaust of a car that prevents it from making loud noise when the ignition is turned on or while it is being driven. They are basically installed to minimise the amount of noise that is produced and then transmitted through the exhaust of a car during the process of combustion. A series of perforated tubes contained in the muffler serve to channel and nullify the vibration and transfer of sound waves. The design of the tubes and holes are such that the sound waves in essence cancel themselves out. The simple looking design is actually as fine tuned as a musical instrument in the way that it deals with sound waves.

There are different types of car mufflers. They all help to reduce the noise by deflecting the excessive noise produced and containing it within the device. Some mufflers are designed in such a way that they absorb the sound and minimise the back pressure induced in the process. Absorption based mufflers like the glass pack, also known as cherry bomb, are less effective noise removers but are kinder to the engine. Conventional mufflers can have a slightly detrimental effect on the power of an engine.

Since the combustion process that leads to the production of these gases involves heat, and the gases produced are highly corrosive, car mufflers are designed using products from steel and are usually coated with aluminium. This manufacturing process ensures the longevity of the device.

It is important to mention here that even though the car muffler prevents the car exhaust from making excessive noise it does not solve exhaust faults. The gases released through the exhaust system, possibly containing carbon monoxide, are highly corrosive and pose a serious health threat to the occupants of a car if there are exhaust leaks into the cabin. Exhaust problems should be remedied quickly by a garage. A muffler should not be used as a quick fix for a mechanical problem.

Future mufflers may make use of recent advancement in technology where a monitoring and feedback system, involving microphones and speakers, are used to cancel out noise pollution. This kind of Active Noise-Cancelling Muffler is currently predominantly used in generators, but look out for the technology in high priced cars too.

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Jeep Moose Test Failure

The reason that the Grand Cherokee failed the Swedish Moose Test run by Teknikens Värld is that they unintentionally overloaded the vehicle.  Apparently, Chrysler filed the wrong curb weight with the Swedish government. 

Since the behaviour of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was both dangerous and potentially lethal, we suspected that the car was actually packed with too much weight. We immediately proceeded to weigh the car on a scale and got our answer. The Jeep Grand Cherokee does not have a curb weight of 2 347 kilos (5 174 lbs) that the Swedish certificate of registration indicates (see the attached image below), a figure that Jeep/Chrysler has provided to Transportstyrelsen. In fact, the car actually has a curb weight of 2 505 kilos (5 523 lbs) with a driver in the car. That is a full 158 kilos (348 lbs) more than what Jeep/Chrysler claims the car to weigh in the official documentation provided to Swedish authorities.
Add the 602 kilos (1 327 lbs) that Jeep/Chrysler claims the car being capable to load and the total gross weight is now at 3 107 kilos (6 850 lbs). This can be compared to the claimed total gross weight in the vehicle's registration papers – 2 949 kilos (6 501 lbs). This, again, is a number that Jeep/Chrysler have provided. In other words – if one packs a Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 3.0 CRD V6 with the maximum allowed capacity, one overshoots the total gross weight of the car by 158 kilos (348 lbs). Worth mentioning is that we only overshot the total net weight by 58 kilos (128 lbs) since we unloaded 100 kilos (220 lbs) out of the car when we performed the test as can be seen in the video clip. The car still went up on two wheels.

Coda: EV Penalty Box

A very unflattering review of the Coda sedan has been published in the NYT, written by Brad Berman.

In addition to a long list of missing basic equipment (no cruise control, no one-touch windows, etc.), Coda adds to its sins a stiff ride and poor NVH.

Perhaps Coda will find a large base of customers willing to sacrifice ride quality and amenities in exchange for a dependable range of 100 miles. I'm not in that group; in the production version I drove, the high-pitched whine was just the beginning of the Coda cacophony.
When starting out, the electric motor groans in low deep spasms as speed builds. At higher speeds, wind noise and buzzing intrude. The ride is harsh, giving passengers intimate knowledge of every imperfection in the road.

 The question for Coda is, will enough private buyers overlook creature comforts, and buy a $35,000 car based only on its range, or will they trade down in range to buy a more up-to-date EV like the Leaf for Focus?

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