How Do Hybrid Vehicles Work Customize Your Off Road Vehicle 2007 Nissan Maxima 300 Avalon Take Notice Catalytic Converters And Your Vehicle S Emission System Perform Your Own Automobile Maintenance What You Need To Know Before Purchasing A Body Kit

How many times have you pulled up to the pumps lately only to be shocked at the price of gasoline? Suddenly your $25 tank of gas is costing $40. Have you considered trading your vehicle in for something that gets better fuel economy? How about a Hybrid vehicle? If you’ve ever wondered “how do hybrid vehicles work?” read on.

Hybrid vehicles address two issues – global warming by reducing emissions and reduced fuel costs.

There are lots of different hybrid designs showing up on the market, so understanding how they work is very important to getting the best value for your money.

If you have ever owned a moped, you can proudly consider yourself a first generation hybrid owner because they combine pedal power and gasoline. Hybrid vehicles really aren’t that new a concept. You’ll find them all around you in commercial use. Giant mining trucks, submarines, buses, and even train engines all have a fuel source and an electrical source of power.

Most of the hybrid vehicles we are seeing on the market are gasoline and electric hybrids. This means they use both gas and electricity to power them.

The two power sources can be combined in different ways. The parallel hybrid has a fuel tank which supplies fuel to the engine and a set of batteries which supplies power to the electric motor. Both sources are able to turn the transmission.

The series hybrid is a little different. The gasoline engine turns a generator which can either power the electric motor that drives the transmission or charge the batteries. In this type of hybrid the gas engine never directly powers the vehicle.

With a hybrid car the gas engine can be a lot smaller than in a conventional car so it can be a lot more efficient. Acceleration requires a larger engine to produce the power needed, but by using a smaller engine and combining it with the assistance of an electrical motor that is operating at peak load the acceleration needs of a vehicle can be met.

Hybrid vehicles also capture the energy from the braking system. When the brake is applied, energy is removed from the car and dissipated as heat which is then captured and stored in the batteries for later use.

Hybrid cars also have an automatic shutoff, so when the vehicle comes to a stop the engine is shut off and then restarts automatically when the accelerator is touched. This conserves energy that would be wasted when idling.

Depending on the manufacture, the technology is used in various forms but the basics remain simple. Hybrid technology in the consumer auto market is still relatively new but will continue to develop and improve.

Hybrid vehicles work efficiently to reduce tailpipe emissions and improve mileage. So if you are in the market for a new vehicle you might want to have a look at the hybrids.

In these times when we’re all being defined by numbers and crunched into conformity, we still want something that expresses our own style. Something that says, “This is me.”

For some time, an underworld of car customization has existed. But today, it’s not just low-riders and hotdoggers who want to make a personal statement. With the popularity of shows such as “American Chopper” and “Pimp My Ride,” orders for custom cars and bikes have skyrocketed.

Now, ATV and utility vehicle owners are just as eager to spruce up their rides. They are beginning to appreciate their sturdy off-road vehicles – more often associated with hunting and farming – and are dreaming up ways to make them unique. Each becomes a signature piece, reflecting the taste and style of the owner.

The trend, spearheaded by celebrities and sports stars, now is becoming more mainstream, according to Polaris, a leading manufacturer of ATVs and utility vehicles. The Southwest, especially California and Arizona, seems to be the hub of this new fad.

Here are some of the hottest ways to customize your ride:

* Flames: Since the 1950s, painted flames scorching the front and sides of hot rods have meant speed. Today, this classic design still leads the pack.

* Chrome: The luxurious Packards and Cords of the 1930s

were loaded with shine and sparkle. Grills, doors – everything that could gleam, did gleam. Even now, chrome says high style.

* Color-keyed rims: They would have loved this in the 1960s. Bright primaries, strong earth tones, simple neutrals -choose a color and your ride is instantly one of a kind.

* Sound systems: Install one in the bed or roof. Whether your music of choice is golden oldies or heavy metal, everything will sound better. And on those camping trips when you’re deprived of your usual comforts, you can still enjoy quality sound.

During the late 1990s, Nissan rolled out a new version of its Maxima to the critical acclaim of automobile experts as well as to consumers who snapped up the snazzy car in record numbers. Nissan carried the momentum forward until when the 2004 model was released; it was perceived by many as a step backward and sales dropped accordingly. Now, Nissan is poised to release a new Maxima and the company has the Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon in its crosshairs!

Make no mistake about it: when consumers are disappointed with a particular model they will look elsewhere; not even brand loyalty can keep consumers in the fold. Nissan found this out painfully in 2003 as the first Maximas were released as 2004 models. Sales dropped as potential buyers complained about the cheap looking interior as well as the uninspiring exterior.

Nissans loss was Chrysler’s and Toyota’s gain as the full sized, rear wheel drive Chrysler 300 has performed very well and the all-new-for-2006 Toyota Avalon is evoking favorable comparisons with current Lexus models. Nissan, realizing that lost sales was lost income hurried the Maxima’s redesign and has pushed the new car up market. This means that the all new Maxima will probably more resemble a vehicle from Nissan’s luxury car division Infiniti than any Nissan has to date.

So, what are the major changes? They will include the following: a redesigned exterior that takes its styling cues from Infiniti; a much more luxurious and refined interior; and more optional equipment made standard.

Sure, you will pay more for the new Maxima, but in the end you are certain to drive away with a car that competes effectively with Chrysler and Toyota for sales in the all important large car segment. This is good news for Nissan and for you, the potential buyer.

Before 1975 no U.S. vehicle came equipped with a catalytic converter. Changes in environmental policy — started with the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] by the Nixon Administration – soon changed all of that. Now, with very few exceptions, all vehicles must come outfitted with a catalytic converter. So, what does a catalytic converter do exactly? Good question…we will answer that query in this article.

When your engine burns fuel it produces gases that are harmful to the environment. If not handled properly, these same gases will exit through your vehicle’s exhaust and work to do harm on the environment. The EPA, which was established in 1970, mandated that starting in 1975 vehicles were to come equipped with an apparatus to reduce dangerous emissions. The particular piece of equipment created to accomplish this task was the catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter in your vehicle is installed in the exhaust line between the exhaust manifold and the muffler. Pellets inside the converter work to transform detrimental gases into harmless gases before they exit the tailpipe and go out into the open air. As you might guess, a properly functioning catalytic converter is essential toward preserving air quality standards.

There are four telltale signs that indicate a catalytic converter will soon fail:

Today’s cars can typically be expected to pass the 200,000 mile mark with consistent automobile maintenance. With the price of automobiles, you will want to protect that investment by performing regular maintenance. If you can do much of the work yourself, you will save a lot of money in labor. Invest in a good set of tools and choose quality parts when performing your own automobile maintenance.

If you have some skill, but want to learn more look for courses in general repairs and maintenance. These can often be found at your local community center, Community College or an automotive technical school in your area. Consider investing in a good repair manual for your car, such as a Chilton’s manual. The internet is a good place to look for articles and information. There are many sites devoted to auto repair and maintenance.

You will want to keep track of all maintenance performed on your car. You can do this in a log, a notebook or on your home computer. There is software available to help you keep track of maintenance. These programs track repairs, maintenance, replacement parts used on the vehicle and fuel consumption. You can use the same software for multiple vehicles.

Most software allows you to create a service schedule and will remind you when it’s time to perform maintenance tasks on each vehicle in your household. The software contains a wide variety of tips for car care. In addition, many have reference and diagnostic tools to help you diagnose various problems with your cars. Many companies offer a free trial that can be downloaded on the internet. This allows you to try out the program before investing your money.

Your owner’s manual will give you some basic information about when certain maintenance tasks should be done. Most tasks will be listed according to the mileage on the car.

3000 Mile Maintenance

Change the oil in your engine every 3000 miles. The filter should be changed at the same time. Newer synthetic oils are said to last longer without breaking down. When you change the oil, check the fluids, the air filter, tires, hoses and belts. At this time check the battery cables and terminals for corrosion. This can be removed with a wire brush or sandpaper.

5000-10,000 Miles:

Have your tires rotated and balanced every five to ten thousand miles. This helps the tires wear evenly and extends the life. The best tires should be put in the front of the car. Check the tire pressure regularly and check the tread for signs of uneven wear or damage.

15,000 Miles:

Change the air filter every 15,000 miles. A clean air filter improves the fuel economy of your car. A dirty air filter can cause the engine to run rough and stall. At this time you should also check the pads and shoes on your brake system. Check the brake fluid and top it of, as needed. The fluid should be clear. If you notice noise when the brakes are applied or the steering wheel shakes or vibrates, this can be an indication that the brakes need replacing. In this case, don’t wait check the brakes and replace as needed.

30,000 Miles:

Check the fluid level on your transmission. The owner’s manual will have information about the kind of fluid that should be used in your car. The manual should have directions on how to drain and replace the fluid. The pan gasket should be changed when the fluid is drained. Also at this time, give the car a tune up. Replace all spark plugs and wires.

50,000 Miles:

Change the coolant at 50,000 miles. See the owner’s manual for directions on how to perform this task.

An increasingly popular exterior modification in the tuner crowd is the body kit. Movies like “The Fast and Furious (2001)” and shows such as “Tricked Out” have caused an increased demand for these exterior modifications. Kits typically consist of a front bumper, rear bumper, and side skirts. However, some manufacturers such as Extreme Dimensions offer 9 piece kits which also include front and rear fenders as well as additional add-ons. While most kits are primarily for visual appeal they also can provide aerodynamic benefits to your vehicle and reduce drag. Lighter kits may also reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.

When choosing a body kit it is important to keep in mind that they are made out of a variety of materials and quality will vary depending on the manufacturer. The most common materials are fiberglass, polyurethane, and carbon fiber. Fiberglass is usually the most affordable; however polyurethane is generally the better alternative. Polyurethane is more resistant to damage, more flexible, and doesn’t crack like fiberglass in cold weather. Another alternative to consider is carbon fiber. While this is the most expensive option it can offer auto enthusiasts a unique look and can reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.

If you are considering purchasing an exterior kit here are a few guidelines:

* Make sure to shop around and price match multiple retailers.

* Get a quote for the installation and painting of the kit before purchasing.

* Most fiberglass kits will start as low as $350 for fiberglass and can go as high as $1,500 for carbon fiber kits.

* If possible consider purchasing the kit locally as shipping for online body kits will easily run $100 or more.

* Some retailers will allow you to mix and match side skirts and rear and front bumpers.

Auto body shops may charge as much as $1,000 or more for the installation and painting. If you do decide to install the body kit yourself, instead, make sure to ask the seller if they offer installation instructions or a manual with the kit. It’s also important to note that many kits will require some modifications such as trimming in order to acquire a flush fit with your vehicle. This information is usually obtainable from the retailer before purchasing.

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