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Summer's fast approaching, and for many that means making plans for the traditional family getaway at the beach, mountains or with distant relatives. For most it means packing the kids, luggage, coolers and equipment into the family vehicle and hitting the highways.

Is Your Car Ready For Summer Vacation?

Is Your Car Ready For Summer Vacation?Summer's fast approaching, and for many that means making plans for the traditional family getaway at the beach, mountains or with distant relatives. For most it means packing the kids, luggage, coolers and equipment into the family vehicle and hitting the highways.Smart families know they should get their vehicles checked out beforehand to help ensure worry-free summer travel. But today's busy schedules leave little time for backyard, do-it-yourself tinkering. Here is some advice on locating a good repair establishment from the pros at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the group that tests and certifies automotive professionals:* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.* Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations; consult local consumer groups.* Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.* Look for a neat, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.* Look for a courteous staff, with a service consultant willing to answer questions.* Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.* Ask if the repair facility specializes or if it usually handles your type of repair work.* Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area, such as civic, community or customer service awards.* Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced courses and ASE certification. Also look for the ASE sign.ASE was founded in1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of auto service professionals. Approximately 400,000 professionals hold current ASE credentials. They can be found at every type of repair business, such as independent garages, dealerships, franchised outlets and collision shops. Certified technicians wear blue and white ASE insignia or pins, while their employers often display their technicians' ASE credentials in the customer service area and post the ASE sign on the premises.

2006 Chevy Impala SS: More Vroom!

2006 Chevy Impala SS: More Vroom!

Chevys flagship car, the Impala, finally has the power to match its heralded name. Ever since the car was redesigned in the late 1990s, the Impala has been more of a pretender than a performer. Now with an optional small block 5.3L V8 added to the mix, the 2006 Chevrolet Impala can go toe to toe with the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger. The changes for the Impala are not all under the hood, Chevy took the time to redo the entire car and they did it with care. Lets look at some of the changes for 2006.More Power A V6 is a great engine, especially in these times of high gas prices. Still, if you opt for a car of the Impalas size, at least having the option of purchasing a V8 makes sense, doesnt it? You better believe it. GM has sweetened the deal by plunking in a V8 that incorporates Corvette technology as the engine heads with their pentroof combustion chambers and flattop pistons deliver high horsepower, this according to Chevrolets promotional material. In addition, GMs displacement on demand technology allows the V8 to squeeze out a miserly 28 mpg on the highway [18 mpg city] with computer equipment that shuts down unneeded cylinders at the appropriate time. Cadillac tried this in the early 1980s with its V8-6-4 engine that failed to live up to the job as computing technology then wasnt what it is today. Fortunately, current GM technology makes this a reality for current models.Better Looks When it comes to looks beauty is subjective. Yet, previous Impala models had a bit of a pedestrian look to them. In the highly competitive large sedan category, this can easily mean lost sales as the choices for similarly priced, but more aggressive looking cars is strong. All new sheetmetal, a more assertive nose similar to the Cobalts and updated headlights and tail lights gives the Impala a fresh and assertive look.More Models 6 in fact. The return of the SS as the signature model should help sales. SS, or Super Sport is a term that was originally used for the 1961 Impala and by the mid 60s came to represent each of the performance models in the fleet. The Chevelle, Nova, and Camaro all had that designation then while the Impala, Cobalt, Malibu, and TrailBlazer wear it today.Improved Interior If you are going to change the skin and what is found under the hood, you might as well dress up the interior, right? The LTZ model who the heck knows what that stands for has heated front bucket seats trimmed in leather. Throw in 8 way power and lumbar support for the driver and you are talking top of the line comfort. On select models new flip and fold rear seating is available; side curtain air bags for the front seat is standard on all Impalas; and keyless entry, power windows, tilt wheel, OnStar, cruise control, and a host of other features all come standard on the Impala.Prices start in the low 20s {US} and climb to nearly 30K {US} for fully loaded SS models. How the SS sells remains to be seen, but its bold, fresh look will certainly appeal to those who previously dismissed the Impala.

3 American Performance Cars

3 American Performance Cars

Bear with me as I step back in time to formulate what I believe are three terrific American built performance cars: the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger, and the Chevrolet Camaro. Currently, only the Mustang is in production with the Challenger coming back by 2009. GM hasnt committed to building the Camaro just yet, but the company is likely to make a decision in favor of the car and its sibling, the Pontiac Firebird, by this summer. So, what is it about American performance cars that set them apart from the rest? In one word: muscle. Read on as I compare and contrast these three vehicles and share with you my feeble attempts to explain the culture behind the cars.So, you think I forgot the Chevy Corvette and Dodge Viper when talking about performance cars? No, I did not. Both models are performance cars as well as race cars. On the other hand the Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro are mass produced performance cars with muscle. There is a difference in the way a typical race car handles, rides, and performs vs. a muscle car. Typically, a muscle car was a coupe version of some of the larger cars that were pervasive on U.S. highways in the 1960s and 1970s. The Mustang and Camaro, however, were designed separately [although they both heavily borrowed parts from other models] and these pony cars were a category all to themselves. For comparisons sake, they join the "Dodge Challenger" , a performance version of Mopar cars of its time. All three were compared by critics of that time and all three will once again be compared in a few years when production has been ramped up. "Ford Mustang" - Step back in time with me to April 1964 to an era when America was heavily involved in the space race, Lyndon Johnson was president, and General Motors ruled autodom. Ford, for its part, had been nipping at GMs heels for years, but the failed Edsels of the late 1950s had cost the company dearly. Still, it was the time of the New York Worlds Fair and Ford used the fair and television technology to promote its newest offering, the Mustang. A 2+2 coupe borrowing parts from the Fairlane and Falcon, the 1964 model was the first one sold and is widely credited with being the best introduction of a new vehicle ever. With a V6 engine standard and V8 optional, the all new Mustang quickly broke sales records and has been a hot seller ever since. Indeed, with the introduction of the retro look Mustang in 2005, the car once again has spawned interest in the muscle car segment as both DaimlerChrysler and General Motors craft competing models of their own.Dodge Challenger - After the success of earlier muscle cars including the Dodge Charger and Plymouth Cuda, the Dodge Challenger was launched as a 1970 model. The car borrowed heavily from the Cuda although the sheet metal was somewhat different and the wheelbase was stretched by a couple of inches. Because the muscle car era was in decline at the time of its introduction, the Challenger lasted only five model years before it was cancelled. The concept Challenger currently on display at many auto shows is based on the 1970 design and is the talk of message boards and blogs across the nation. Look for Hemi powered engines as being favored by many owners; the car is likely to share some technology with the current Magnum wagon and Charger sedan. "Chevrolet Camaro" -- GM was asleep at the wheel when the Mustang came out. It took nearly three years before the company could respond and when it did the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird were the result. Although both cars sold well over the years, neither one could match the Mustangs sales levels and by the time the last cars were sold in 2002, production dropped to a trickle. Still, the end of the Camaro after 35 years has stirred renewed interest in the name and thanks to the retro Mustang, the entire muscle car category is growing once again. Look for a 2010 Camaro to be the first Camaro since 2002; a ragtop version is also being considered.So, just who can be expected to purchase a muscle car these days? People just like me: middle aged men who grew up with the original models. In addition, a whole new generation of younger drivers tired of the me too look of so many of the compact cars out there. Muscle cars of today are so much different from earlier era cars as they incorporate the look of the originals while harnessing todays technology. Thus, fuel savings will be decent without sacrificing performance: a true win-win situation.No, I cannot wait to see a Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro lined up at a traffic light waiting for the light to turn green. A new muscle car era is upon us and for that I am very excited.

Elderly Drivers Wanted Off The Road

Elderly Drivers Wanted Off The Road

A poll was conducted in Great Britain. It asked respondents if they thought that the streets and roads in the country were getting congested. And according to the survey, many Britons thought that this was true. The poll was created and conducted by one of the Britains online insurance brokers and they did the survey through their website. The survey also asked if these who thought that the streets were congested had any solutions or answers to such a problem. Almost half of the respondents answered by saying that elderly drivers should be taken off the roads during the peak hours of driving. Some 49% of the whole lot gave such a solution to the congestion problem. It did not even make a difference if you used quality Pontiac performance parts for your well maintained vehicle. If you are old, then you should also be off the streets. Of course, this has been quite a surprise for everybody. Even Paul Cosh, who is the managing director of the organization which conducted the research, could not help but comment about such an outcome of their survey. He says, The impact of congestion on the UK economy in terms of lost time, fuel costs and general stress runs to billions, yet we continue to drive our cars more and drive further than the rest of Europe. However, I do not think that picking on this nations most careful and experienced drivers is really the answer. To be honest, the views shown by this poll are quite shocking and simply do not stand up against the facts.Analysis of the survey conducted that aside more than half of the drivers who answered the survey said that these elderly drivers should be banned because they believe that the elderly drivers are quite slow when it comes to coping with the new conditions of traffic and of the roads.

Choosing A Car Dealership

The Internet isn't just a good way to research cars before you buy. It can also help steer you toward a reputable car dealer. When searching the Web for a car dealer, keep a few expert tips in mind: • Inventory-Are you interested in a reliable used vehicle and don't mind a lot of miles or are you in the market for an environmentally savvy hybrid? Do you prefer domestics or imports? You may be interested in a specific make or model, or may want a dealership with a variety of different types of cars. • Financing-Many dealerships provide special-rate or low-credit financing. Be sure to think about how much of a down payment you can make or what monthly payment best fits your budget. • Communication-If you'd like to conduct business in a language other than English, you can research the languages spoken at dealerships. Buying a car is a big investment, and understanding everything about the vehicle you are interested in purchasing is very important. • Services-Different dealerships offer different services. Hate waiting? Search for a dealership with a courtesy shuttle or loaner cars. Need bodywork? Find a dealer that also has a body shop. • Amenities-Think ahead about what a dealer offers after your initial car purchase. If you bring your children with you while you wait for your car to be serviced, find a dealer that offers a children's play area. If it's important to get work completed or catch up on the news, find a dealer that offers Internet access. Finding DealersYou can use sites such as AutoTrader.com to quickly find dealerships that match your preferences. Enter a zip code and list specific dealer services in the Find Your Dealer tool found on the homepage. Check off the services you are seeking, and within seconds dealerships that are multilingual, offer manufacturer rebates and incentives, provide handicap accessibility, offer Internet access and more will all be displayed. With one more click, you reach a Dealer Information Page giving you more details, such as specials, contact information, directions, and a picture of the dealership.

The Bimmers Bavaria

If the Ford Motor Company is the big corporate umbrella which gives shelter to the Buick, Pontiac, and Cadillac among others, then it could be said that BMW AG works the same way for the BMW MINI, and for the Rolls-Royce brands. The Rover also used to be a part of this big mother ship. BMW AG is actually an abbreviation for Baverische Motoren Werke AG. This is German for Bavarian Motor Works. This company not only manufactures vehicles and cars but also motorcycles as well. The main competitors and competition for this vehicle brand include the Acura, the Alfa Romeo, the Audi, the Cadillac, the Infiniti, the Jaguar, the Lexus, and the Mercedes Benz. When it comes to pronouncing the acronym of this company, in its motherland, it is pronounced as bay emm vay. However, travel to North American and other regions like Jamaica, the brand is referred to as bimmers. Try to refer to BMW motorcycles and the slang for that would be beamer or beemer. In Greece, the acronym is referred to as Beba, in Arab countries it is BM, and in Serbia they say Bembara. In the English language, BMW AG has a tagline that states, The Ultimate Driving Machine and Sheer Driving Pleasure. The original slogan, though, for this which is in German is Freude am Fahren which when translated to English literally means Joy in Driving. One of these bimmers is the BMW Bavaria. People who have looked deeper into its lifetime has exclaimed that it is perhaps one of the most misunderstood cars of the whole line up of BMW. It is just known as just a relative of the E9 coupe, and has four doors and that would be it. What most people do not recognize is that this vehicle even has the very same drivetrain with the aforementioned BMW E9 coupe. Their drivetrains hold six cylinders and are actually one of the smoothest in the whole business. Aside from that, this vehicle is one of the most stylish vehicles ever created by the BMW line. If a person has the ability to catch one of these today, it would be considered a great bargain. It has a subtle style and a boundless beauty. This vehicle makes every other vehicle in the market at present look generic and ordinary. The BMW Bavaria was a part of the BMW E3 line. This vehicle was the first among its line that held a 3 liter engine. In essence, it was a machine with 2800 cc which had somewhat become a trend during that time among BMW vehicles. However, the difference was that the BMW Bavaria came without the leather upholstery, without the power equipment and without the funky Nivomat self-leveling suspension. Of course, the price did not remain to be the very same as that of the E3s. The price of this vehicle was noticeably lower.

Summary

Summer's fast approaching, and for many that means making plans for the traditional family getaway at the beach, mountains or with distant relatives. For most it means packing the kids, luggage, coolers and equipment into the family vehicle and hitting the highways.