What Driving a Toyota Says About Your Personality

Sunday, January 27, 2013 | comments (1)

What Driving a Toyota Says About Your Personality

As human beings, the decisions we make every day reflect who we are on the inside. For example, consider the relationship between each of our unique personalities, and the cars we choose to drive. There is no mistaking the fact that our cars say something about us, and here is a little insight into what driving a Toyota says about you.

You Know How to Leave Your Worries Behind
Did you know that 79% of Toyota Camry owners sing to themselves when they are driving alone in the car? This funny little tidbit of information actually says a lot. Peace of mind comes from driving one of the most dependable vehicles ever made, and peace of mind makes for happy car owners. Just ask Johnny P. of Virginia - he has 440,000 miles on his 1995 Toyota Camry. For Johnny and all the other Camry owners out there, a reliable vehicle means one less worry in life, and that makes a big difference.

You Believe Getting Noticed is a Good Thing 
Bold, elegant, and an inspiration to others - remind you of anyone you know? If so, there is a real possibility that the person you are thinking of owns a Toyota Avalon. The completely redesigned Avalon is being driven by a new breed of automobile enthusiast. The Avalon's 268 horse power, 3.5 Liter V-6 engine appeals to those hungry for power, while the available hand-stitched leather interior provides a touch of classic refinement. The new Toyota Avalon, like its owners, is a force to be reckoned with.

You Can Take Control When Necessary 
Some people have the ability to deal with whatever life throws at them. Resilience in the face of adversity - it makes for a great personality, and it makes for a great vehicle. The Toyota RAV4, for example, is one of the most versatile and capable compact SUVs on the road. It is available with an adjustable power lift-gate, making loading groceries a breeze. At the same time, the all-wheel drive (AWD) system is ready to tackle any back road adventure. Whatever the challenge may be, RAV4 owners are ready.

You are Eco-sensitive, and Financially Responsible 
There is an entire segment of our society dedicated to living responsibly. To these folks, things like reduced emissions, carbon footprints, and miles-per-gallon are more than catch phrases. They also understand that money saved on car expenses can make a real difference in the lives of their families. Who are these people? They are Toyota owners, of course! And many of them drive the Toyota Prius. The iconic Prius now comes in 4 different models, including the Prius Plug-in, capable of producing the equivalent of an astounding 95 miles-per-gallon.

Whatever model you drive, as a Toyota owner you let your personality shine for everyone to see. And as unique as you may be, you are definitely not alone. Toyota owners can choose from a lineup of 23 cars, trucks and SUVs, which means there is a perfect fit for just about anyone who is not afraid to let the world know who they are.

Is the Future Rosy for Lithium Ion Batteries?

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Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium ion batteries have been in the news over the last few months with confirmation that significant progress has been made in extending their charge capacity and their association with electric vehicles grows ever closer. Pike Research, one of the more renowned research groups in the field of new energy, has today released a report which suggests that lithium ion sales will increase dramatically over the next eight years.

What are the expected sales figures for lithium ion batteries?

The research note suggests that sales of $1.6 billion in 2012 will mushroom to almost $22 billion in 2020 as electric technology and in particular light duty vehicles become ever more popular. This is an area of technology which has attracted more than its fair share of attention over the last few weeks amid signs that not only battery manufacturers but also electric car manufacturers are willing and able to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into this particular technology.

Why the sudden jump?

Even though sales of electric cars were somewhat disappointing during 2012, with many suggesting the worldwide economy was to blame, there is hope that 2013 will bring in a new era with new technology relating to battery power. Too much investment has already been made in the electric vehicle market and lithium ion battery market to turn back now and government policies are now very much aimed at reducing damage to the environment while at the same time introducing more efficient forms of transport.

Lithium ion batteries have become the power source of choice amongst the electric vehicle industry and this seems set to continue for the foreseeable future.

What does this mean for the EV market?

One of the clouds that continue to hang over the electric vehicle market is the fact that journey capacity and battery capacity are nowhere near that of the traditional fuel powered vehicles. Initially billions of dollars was invested into electric vehicle manufacturing while in some ways leaving behind the technology associated with battery power. This has reversed somewhat over the last few months amid signs that great progress has been made and the lithium ion batteries set to be introduced in 2013 and beyond will greatly enhance journey capacity and battery capacity.

Many governments around the world have already earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid which they will put towards the electric vehicle market and the lithium ion battery sector. This has been well received by the sector and consumers will also become more aware of the improved performance and journey capacity.

Reducing the cost of electric vehicles

As the cost of electric vehicles comes down, as it inevitably will as technology improves and mass-market appeal is achieved, this will increase sales of electric vehicles which will obviously increase sales of lithium ion batteries. This process has already begun although the situation is somewhat clouded by various government subsidies and incentives available today. As long as the ongoing trend in the cost of EVs continues to move downwards then we will see greater take-up of the vehicles themselves.


In many ways the lithium ion battery market was left behind by the EV manufacturers who decided to concentrate wholly upon EV technology. Many now seem to have admitted this fault and significant investment funding has been switched from electric vehicles themselves towards battery power and in particular lithium ion batteries. This bodes very well for not only the electric vehicle market itself but also the lithium ion battery market which is set to grow significantly during the next eight years or so.

How to Clay Bar Your Vehicle

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How to Clay Bar Your Vehicle

Many people are not familiar with detailing clay. It was originally reserved for professional detailers and car dealerships, but it is slowly making it's way into the hands of the public because of its fantastic results and ease of use. Auto detailing clay removes from the paint what washing alone cannot. If after washing your car thoroughly it still looks hazy, feels rough, or gritty then it needs to be clayed. Here we will discuss how to clay your vehicles and some of the do's and don't associated with detailing clay to give your car that amazing, shiny finish it had when you bought it.

You may be wondering, "What is detailing clay and why would I use it?" It is similar to the silly putty you played with as a child only more elastic and durable. As you slide the bar across the surface of your car it will adhere to and remove the contaminants bonded to your clear coat. Commonly customers complain that their cars are dull or "stuff" is stuck on them. Claying your car will remove overspray from painting, break dust, organic contaminants like bugs and sap, and inorganic contaminates like acid rain and carbon build-up. Unlike most compounds and solvents, detailing clay is safe to use on glass, chrome, vinyl, and fiberglass.

While you will find various brands there are essentially two main varieties of detailing clay, medium and fine grade. Medium grade clay, also called aggressive clay, will remove the wax and anything else bonded to your clear coat. While it is completely safe and non-abrasive it should not be used more then a few times per year. Fine grade clay bars were made for a more general use on a month-to-month basis. They will still remove surface contaminants but will often leave some wax behind. Detailing clay comes in 2 to 8 ounce bars. Two ounces is enough to do a car three or four times depending on how contaminated it is. Regardless of the type of detailing clay it must be used with a lubricant. Clay lubricant is what prevents scratches while the clay bar is rubbed over the surface of the car.

The best detail of detailing clay is its ease of use. Before you clay bar your car you must wash off any excess dirt and debris and then dry it. Avoid using soap and water with a clay bar because it will deteriorate the clay and diminish its results. Knead the clay to form a small, fist-sized pancake. Once your car is clear of excess dirt, you are ready to clay your car. Spray a small area with clay lubricant, generally less then a 2-foot by 2-foot section at one time. With minimal pressure, gently rub the clay bar back and forth over the surface with the lubricant. It will grab at first; this is the clay pulling the contaminants out of the paint. Be sure the surface is sufficiently wet with lubricant as you glide the bar back and forth. Once the clay bar glides freely the area is clean. Wipe the clean surface with a microfiber to remove any excess clay or lubricant.

Now when you run your hand over the surface it should feel silky smooth. If you hand grips, sputters or if you feel any specks repeat the process. Proceed to do the entire outside surface of the vehicle in the same manner. After doing a panel of the car or a particularly contaminated area fold the clay over on it self and knead into a small pancake again. Since the clay will remove your wax once your vehicle is done being clayed it will need to be waxed. Now is a great time to apply a high polymer-sealant wax that will last and help keep your vehicle looking great for some time.

While detailing your car with detailing clay is relatively easy and requires little work, it does take several hours. This is why most people would prefer to have their local auto detailer do it for them. Detailing clay and it's required lubricant can be found at auto detailing stores or bought online. If you are a do-it-yourselfer once you have those to items all you need is time to make your vehicle shine like it did when it came off of the show room floor.

Easy Steps to Balance Ion Alloy Wheel Tires

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Easy Steps to Balance Ion Alloy Wheel Tires

Tires that are properly maintained regularly are less prone to wear and provide safety and riding comfort.

Maintenance should not be expensive. All that is needed is cleaning and balancing them to ensure longer tread life, smoother operation and better tracking. It's very hard to have all tires properly balanced all the time. Out of balance tires place stress on shocks, bearings and the wheel assembly. When wheels are imbalanced, they produce vibrations as speed is increased. Attention must be given when balancing Ion Alloy Wheels. To balance your Ion Alloy Wheel tires, the following steps can be followed:

1. Park your vehicle on flat ground. Use a tire iron to loosen the rim lug nuts. Do not take the wheels completely off. Use a floor jack to raise your vehicle and under the front frame, place two jack stands. Repeat the procedure for the rear wheels. After the vehicle is suspended fully, remove the lug nuts and the wheel off the car.

2. Remove any existing wheel weights from the wheel using pliers. Shave the stick on weights using a gasket scraper. Clean the inside and outside of the wheel thoroughly using a tire brush and clean soapy water. This will get rid of mud and grime. Use lacquer thinner and a gasket scrapper to get rid of road tar, cement and paint.

3. On a level surface, place a static bubble balance machine and set it up. The bubble should be seen clearly through the window gauge. Turn the adjusting knob on the 3 foot stands and make sure the bubble is in the middle of the cross hair. Over the machine cone, place a rim facing upwards. To float the tire, push the lever down. If for example the bubble sits at 9 o'clock, weight increments will be placed at 3 o'clock.

4. From the adhesive strip detach weights of ½ inch increments. While noting the bubble movement, place the weights one at a time opposite the bubble position. To center the bubble in the window gauge, place as many ½ inch weights as possible on the rim. Use a piece of chalk to mark the weight outline on the rim. Let go of the float lever and the rim will sit on the machine frame. The weights may not give you the precise balance needed but the amount that is closest to your ideal balance can be used.

5. From the chosen weights, remove the adhesive backing. Inside the chalk marks on the rim lip, press the weights making sure that the sticky side is down. The procedure being complete, remove the wheel from the balance machine. Follow the exact same procedure for the other wheels. For rims that require a weight of more than 3 ounces, place half the weight on the inner part of the rim to be directly opposite the front rim weight position.

6. Use the chalk to extend a straight line from the inside of the rim to the front of the rim. Secure the weights after tuning the rim over on the machine. After balancing all the Ion Alloy wheels, place them on the vehicle and use the tire iron to tighten back the lug nuts. Remove the jack stands and use a torque wrench to finish tightening the lug nuts. For Ion Alloy Wheels that call for excessive weights, place them on the rear in front wheel drive cars. This limits the impact of heavier tires.

Porsche 911 Carrera - The Beginning

Saturday, January 26, 2013 | comments

Porsche 911 Carrera - The Beginning

It is hard not to think of the Porsche 911 Carrera when considering the greatest sports cars of all time. For nearly 50 years the body style and fundamentals of the car have remained relatively unchanged. The Porsche of today may be light years ahead of where it was in the beginning as far as technology and performance, but the shape, engine placement and handling characteristics are still the same. So here we will look at where it all began.

The first prototype of the 911 Carrera surfaced in 1963 and production officially did not begin until 1964. Porsche created the 911 to replace the 356. In the 1960's the Porsche brand was not as popular or well known as it is today, largely due to the success for the 911. The styling of the new design was somewhat similar to the 356, but it was a more mature and appealing and what launched the Porsche brand name into the masses.

The first Porsche 911 Carrera had a 1991 cc flat (horizontally opposed) 6-cylinder engine that produced 130hp at impressive 6100rpm. Although these horsepower numbers may seem tame by today's standard, this was a fast and powerful car of the time.

The handling characteristic of the first 911 and for many of the future ones required precise input from the driver. With the engine, for the most part, behind the rear wheels the car has a tendency to be tail happy. What makes this car so special is when you get the handling down; no other automobile gives you such a gratifying driving experience.

The following are the first Porsche 911 1964 Specifications:

Capacity: 1991cc

Compression ratio: 9.0:1

Horsepower: 130bhp @ 6100 rpm

Torque: 173 lbs @ 4200 rpm

Brakes: Front: 282mm discs; rear: 290mm discs

Suspension: MacPherson struts with telescopic dampers and 19mm torsion bar springs; trailing wishbones with telescopic dampers and transverse 23mm torsion bar

Length: 4163mm

Width: 1610mm

Weight: about 2400 lbs

The first Carrera did for cars what the Beatles did for music, set a standard for others to follow.

As the 911 evolved so did its abilities. When the Porsche 911S Carerra was introduced in 1966 it became the icing on the cake which sealed Porsche's future as a premiere sports car manufacturer, but that is the topic of another article.

Mini Cooper

Monday, January 14, 2013 | comments

Mini Cooper 2013

Mini Cooper Prices :

MSRP: $19,700 - $35,300
Invoice: $17,730 - $31,770

Reviewers agree that the 2013 Mini Cooper is one of the most fun-to-drive models in its class. It offers three four-cylinder engines, which range from the 121-horsepower base engine to the 208-horsepower turbocharged engine in the John Cooper Works model. Reviewers say the base engine is underpowered for highway passing, but the Cooper S and John Cooper Works versions don’t struggle with acceleration or passing maneuvers. Each Cooper has a standard six-speed manual transmission, which reviewers like more than the optional six-speed automatic. Reviewers also like that the Cooper’s fuel economy ratings are so high for a car that’s as fun to drive as the Cooper. According to the EPA, it gets 28/36 mpg with the base engine and automatic transmission. Auto writers say all Cooper models have outstanding cornering abilities and strong brakes, but suffer from a stiff ride.

The Cooper’s cabin has retro looks, and reviewers dislike that its design negatively impacts function. The switches for the windows and doors are located at the bottom of the center stack, making them hard to reach, according to reviewers. Critics also dislike that the interior labels are illegible and are frustrated that the stereo, climate and navigation systems are hard to program. The Cooper comes standard with a USB port, Bluetooth and HD Radio, which is good for a small car. Infotainment and navigation systems are optional. The Cooper has seat belts for four, but one reviewer thinks it works best as a two-seater. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear ones are tight for adults. The Mini Cooper Hardtop also has limited cargo space, though reviewers think the available room is useful

Lexus CT 200h

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | comments

Lexus CT 200h 2013

Lexus CT 200h Prices :

MSRP: $31,850 - $31,850
Invoice: $30,228 - $30,228

The 2013 Lexus CT 200h ranks 8 out of 10 Upscale Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 16 published reviews and test drives of the Lexus CT 200h, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

Although reviewers complain about 2013 Lexus CT 200h’s underpowered engine and lackluster interior, its fuel economy and reliability ratings are two of the best in the class.

Together, the 2013 Lexus CT 200h’s four-cylinder engine and electric motor make just 134 horsepower. According to reviewers, this meager horsepower rating translates to poor acceleration, but it’s important to remember that as a hybrid, the CT 200h prioritizes fuel efficiency. It achieves an EPA-estimated 43/40 mpg city/highway, which is very good for the class. The CT 200h is only available with a continuously variable transmission. This hybrid also has four selectable driving modes, and test drivers say that the Sport mode delivers the best performance because steering is firmer. Still, they’re disappointed with CT 200h’s handling in Sport mode, and say it isn’t as responsive as they’d like. "Our overall impression is of a car that's only a bit more nimble than the hybrid norm and not nearly as sporty as Lexus would like you to believe," says Consumer Guide.

The 2013 CT 200h hatchback seats five, and like most small cars, the rear seats are cramped for adults. Cargo space is good for a hybrid hatchback. Test drivers find the CT 200h’s interior quality and confusing features disappointing. Some say the materials Lexus uses aren’t as opulent as the ones used in the CT 200h’s rivals. Additionally, critics find the CT 200h’s controls and navigation system frustrating to use.

Audi A4 Wagon

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Audi A4 Wagon 2012

Audi A4 Wagon Prices :

MSRP: $36,400 - $36,400
Invoice: $33,852 - $33,852

The 2012 Audi A4 Wagon ranks 3 out of 6 Luxury Wagons. This ranking is based on our analysis of 27 published reviews and test drives of the Audi A4 Wagon, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

Reviewers like the 2012 Audi A4 wagon for its upscale interior and balanced performance.

The 2012 Audi A4 Avant (which is Audi-speak for wagon) doesn’t excel in any one area, but according to most reviewers, it’s a well-rounded package that most luxury wagon shoppers should take a look at. Though it’s not the sportiest wagon in the class, reviewers say that it does offer a pleasing balance of power and fuel economy as well as  a sporty yet comfortable ride. The A4 Avant also earns points for offering features like all-wheel drive and leather upholstery standard; most competitors charge extra for those features.

Like most Audi models, reviewers say the 2012 A4 Avant features a well-built cabin with top-notch materials.  However, they complain that some of the electronics are confusing, the backseat is cramped for adults and that the cargo space isn’t as large as what some competitors offer. If you’re looking for a luxury wagon and want something that does lots of things well, but can deal with it not being a standout in any one area, the A4 Avant deserves a look.

Audi A4

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Audi A4 2013

Audi A4 Prices :

MSRP: $32,500 - $49,000
Invoice: $30,227 - $45,570

The 2013 Audi A4 ranks 6 out of 21 Upscale Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 36 published reviews and test drives of the Audi A4, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

A veritable Swiss Army knife among upscale cars, reviewers agree that the 2013 Audi A4 offers a mix of performance, fuel economy and luxury that’s difficult to match.

The base 2013 Audi A4 comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s paired with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while all-wheel drive is available. Although the A4 is less powerful than a number of cars in the class, reviewers remain impressed by its refined drivetrain, balanced handling and great fuel economy. At an EPA-estimated 24/31 mpg city/highway, the base A4 gets better fuel economy than a number of upscale midsize cars. If you’re looking for more power, the 2013 Audi S4 builds on the A4’s performance attributes with standard all-wheel drive and a more powerful supercharged V6 engine. On balance, reviewers agree that while the S4 has outstanding performance capabilities, it’s not as quick or nimble as rivals like the BMW M3.

Audi has a reputation for designing some of the finest interiors on the market, and in general, reviewers agree that the 2013 A4 upholds that image. One reviewer mentions that some plastic trim wasn’t quite up to snuff, but most agree that the cabin is well thought out with high-quality materials. Most reviewers think that the standard leather seats are comfortable up front, though some mention a shortage of legroom in the back seat. New features for 2013 include a revised MMI infotainment system and a navigation system that can provide wireless Internet access. However, a vocal minority of critics say that the revised infotainment system could be more user-friendly.

Chevrolet Camaro

Monday, November 26, 2012 | comments

Chevrolet Camaro 2013

Chevrolet Camaro Prices :

MSRP: $23,345 - $59,545
Invoice: $22,411 - $57,163

The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ranks 8 out of 11 Affordable Sports Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 32 published reviews and test drives of the Chevrolet Camaro, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro offers great performance and attractive muscle-car looks, but reviewers are let down by the Camaro’s unrefined interior and poor visibility.

With engines that range from a 323-horsepower V6 to a 580-horsepower supercharged V8, reviewers agree that the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro has more than enough power, no matter which model you choose. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional across the model line. The V6-powered Camaro gets up to 19/30 mpg city/highway, which is about average for the class. Reviewers are generally impressed with the Camaro’s handling abilities, saying that it corners well for a car of its size. Some critics note that the Ford Mustang offers better all-around performance, but others maintain that the Camaro’s powerful engine choices and capable handling make it worthy of your consideration.

Like most sports cars, the Camaro has a small back seat and trunk, but some reviewers also note that the front seats don’t have much headroom, and that outward visibility is poor from the driver’s seat. If you’re shopping for a Camaro, you may want to consider adding optional features like parking sensors or a rearview camera to help alleviate this issue. Like the Mustang, some critics also say that the Camaro’s interior materials could use some improvement. Still, the Camaro offers standard Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, which is still optional in many rival sports cars.

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