Tag Archive | "car parts"

What Cars Are For

The car can be our pride and joy yet equally it can be the bane of our lives. We lavish attention and money upon them in equal measure. They make us happy. The trouble is, happiness is an abstract concept. Curiously, you can feel it but you can’t touch it. Our cars make us happy but this euphoria evaporates almost from the minute you pull out and enter traffic. This is when even the most benign suburban streets can turn into a war zone. This is our driving lives – pleasure and pain; mostly financial. Yet still we strive for more.

We all aspire to better, faster cars because it makes us feel good. The car has long since ceased to be just a method of transport and has become a lifestyle choice. We like to customise our cars and, where possible, make them seem unique to us; a personal statement, if you like; an extension of our personality. Fortunately, there is a wealth of products available to car owners to style and individualise their precious transport.

But it doesn’t just stop there because cars don’t just need goodies and bling, they need love too. Although cars have become increasingly complicated there are still many jobs that we can do ourselves. There’s a wide variety of DIY auto products to make car maintenance a doddle. There’s kit to winterise your car and there’s electronic gadgetry to bring your audio and connectivity bang up to date.

Then, of course, it has got to be kept clean. Sure, you can take it to the supermarket and get the trolley guys to do it but, although it is hard work, that final ‘stand back and admire your handiwork’ moment is worth savouring. When you’ve done detailing your ride then a coffee and a sit-down with a little light reading will be much deserved.

The good news is that all these various aspects of owning and running a car can be found easily. From your high street motor factors, the car dealerships and onto the internet ‘webiverse’ all you need for car joy and is just a phone call or click away. There’s something for every one – from sensible ideas to vintage luxury goodies, silly fripperies to travel essentials; take your pick; you might even get some ideas about buying a second car – something unique – just for fun.

Setting aside all the money issues and nasty surprises that cars can thrust upon us, there’s nothing better than the call of the open road and a fun lifestyle that suits you, the driver. Yes, they drive us up the wall; yes they cost us a fortune but, in the end, they are what gives us our freedom. That’s what cars are for.

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Overcoming battery problems in the winter

Car batteries can be temperamental at the best of times – especially in old cars – but during the winter months a flat battery is the biggest cause of breakdowns. There’s not a lot that’s more annoying than waking up on a dark, cold winter morning and having to defrost and then jump start your car because the battery’s died overnight.

Cold weather is really bad for your car’s battery because it slows down the chemical reactions that cause your engine to roar into life. Even though your vehicle’s battery is perfectly capable of functioning in all kinds of weather, sometimes the cold can degrade even the most high-quality batteries and render them useless.

However, this isn’t something that you have to put up with as there are a number of ways you can protect your battery against failure during the winter.

Battery age

Assessing the age of your car’s battery is really important before the really cold weather hits. Most car batteries will last between five and ten years so if your car is several years old and still running on the original battery, it might be an idea to have it checked and potentially changed before you find yourself late for work one morning.

You can easily get hold of the correct battery for your car by entering your vehicle’s details into sites like Euro Car Parts. Make sure you aren’t swayed by more powerful batteries and only choose one that’s suitable for your car because more power won’t necessarily equate to better starting.


Check your engine for corrosion as this can also prevent your car from starting. Corrosion around the battery can be caused by a fault that allows the battery acid to leak and corrode the areas that it touches. In order to avoid a problem like this, it’s essential to check the battery regularly, if there are any leakages then you need to make sure you clean away any corrosive residue and ensure that the battery compartment is correctly sealed.

Battery blanket

Installing a battery blanket is a great way to prevent the battery fluid from freezing. Open up the battery cover and wrap the blanket around the battery itself. There should be a cord with a plug at the end which can be plugged into a mains switch. This will help the blanket generate enough heat to prevent the battery from freezing and therefore ensuring it works the next morning.

Minimise in-car battery use

Starting the car with the heaters and radio on can take valuable power away from the engine, preventing it from being able to start. Using in-car accessories such as these when trying to start the car takes power away from the alternator which, on cold winter mornings, needs all of its energy to be concentrated on charging the battery.

Disconnect the battery

If you don’t use your car a lot and it’ll be in storage for the majority of the winter then it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery so that the cold weather doesn’t cause it to degrade. A lot of people don’t realise that useful in-car devices like clocks, temperature gauges and the alarm system continue to drain the battery of power so if you won’t be driving it enough to recharge the battery then it’s likely to be flat when you return to it. If this is likely to be the case over the winter then it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery in order to reserve its power before you put your car into storage.

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Car Parts We Take For Granted

Take spark plugs for example. When was the last time you saw one in all its bright metal and porcelain glory? Exactly. Well did you know there are people out there who actually and avidly collect them? There is even a Spark Plug Collectors of America club. How fascinating would it be to go away on holiday with them? Seriously, these are people who should get out a whole lot more.

Nevertheless, without the spark plug we wouldn’t be going anywhere – in a car at least. These small cheap items of motoring magnificence have been with us pretty much from the automotive dawn and, since there isn’t much to change, they haven’t changed much over the decades. In these days of financial woe drivers are scrimping on things like this in the hope they’ll save some cash by using them well over their due date. Yet plugs are a crucial part of vehicle servicing and are neglected at your peril.

Another essential element that is not given the credit it is due would be the brake fluid. In proper order it will save your life – unless you drink it, that is (no, look: seriously, don‘t OK?). When pressure is applied to the brake pedal this noxious liquid is compressed hydraulically to provide braking force at the wheels. Simple and effective. The snag is, especially and particularly on older cars, this stuff can leak resulting in loss of pressure which you’ll only really know about when the pedal goes to the floor and you fly screaming into a hedge.

It is worth occasionally checking this fluid level whatever the age of the car. You want to see it between the minimum and maximum marks in a little tub somewhere under the bonnet. Your handbook will show you where. If there’s any doubt or if you see a little pool of what looks like cooking oil under the car at the wheels or under the engine bay, go and see your local friendly mechanic asap.

As you drive you are hopefully holding onto the round thing in front of you. The steering wheel can rarely give you cause for concern but it is much more likely that it is the steering mechanism itself that can develop issues. Any vibration felt on the wheel is probably a wheel alignment problem but any mysterious knocking noises or vibrations when you turn are probably down to any one or more of a number of linkages, bushes, joints and arms that may vary according to the type of steering. Another possible fault is if the wheels don’t respond exactly to your steering inputs. Whatever, it should be obvious just how important perfect steering is.

At this stage you might be thinking that you know all this and maybe you do; but as you use your car on a day-to-day basis how many times do you really think about it. So it’s just a note of caution: give your car a break and check it over regularly before it gives you a nasty and expensive surprise.

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Citroën Pass The New Car Test

As motor technology and design have improved during the first ten years of this century, so drivers have become more discerning about the cars they buy. Citroen is a company that has always been at the forefront of interesting design. Aficionados still speak of the now legendary DS model which featured hydro-pneumatic self levelling suspension and also the ubiquitous 2CV, beloved of French families for over forty years.

Recently the company have produced some very good motors but, just lately, there seems to have been a renaissance in the design of their new cars that re-introduces the fabled DS name. This new premium range, which started with the instantly popular Citroen DS3 in 2010, features a new DS logo instead of the more familiar Citroen double chevron. The original logo now appears instead as part of the front grill design. Citroen’s multiple world champion Sebastian Loeb is presently campaigning this supermini at the highest level of the World Rally Championship. Sadly, the version he drives is not offered to the average motorist but there are more powerful models available for the sporting driver!

The company’s featured packed website includes details of their Citroen Select Approved used car scheme. This enables customers to buy thorough the dealer network with confidence, knowing that the chosen vehicle has been thoroughly checked. Each car also comes with a package of additional benefits. In the unlikely event of a problem – in these austere times when everything seems to cost too much – it’s also nice to know that Citroen offer fixed price repairs. Their promise is that the price you are quoted is the price you pay and that their technicians use only genuine Citroen parts.

The DS range has been augmented now with the larger DS4 which incorporates a dramatic four door coupé body on raised suspension.  The DS family resemblance is retained and, to complete the set, April 2012 will see the release of the family sized executive DS5. This car is especially interesting as it offers within the range a hybrid version. This 200bhp car will have a conventional engine coupled with an electric motor delivering performance, four wheel drive and, it appears, a road tax busting 99g/km emission figure. It certainly looks good; so much so that the brutally honest reviewers at Top Gear Magazine, who have always been fans of the DS3, have pronounced the DS5 their ‘family car of the year’. Praise indeed for a company that, in amongst the Euro-design cars, dares to be different.

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