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Be careful...that used car you are planning to buy may have been salvaged from a flood. Avoid the hassle and grief of owning a lemon by doing a little research first. Read on and I will show you how.

Beware of Hurricane Damaged Vehicles!

Beware of Hurricane Damaged Vehicles!Nearly a half million cars were destroyed by two of this past seasons biggest hurricanes, Katrina and Rita. Some of these cars may not have received much apparent damage but they were totaled nevertheless because of water, mud, and debris which flooded engine bays and the interior. Damaged cars are supposed to make their way to the junkyard for scrap, unfortunately some unscrupulous parties are gaining a hold of the vehicle titles and turning around and selling damaged cars to the public. Should you be concerned? Absolutely! Read on to learn more about this problem and what you can do to avoid being stuck with a vehicle that is certain to be a lemon.Let me just say this: it is not illegal for weekend mechanics to buy a salvaged vehicle, repair it, and sell it to you. What they must disclose to you is this: you are buying a salvaged vehicle. This is where most of the problems begin: the dishonest purveyors are not sharing this information. Only 22 states require that the titles of flood damaged vehicles [which were totaled by insurers] be stamped with that information. So, if you live in any one of the 28 other states, be extremely cautious about buying any used car [check your local laws to see which group you belong to].One organization is doing its part to help fight the problem. The National Insurance Crime Bureau [NICB] this past summer and fall sent teams to flood damaged areas in affected states to work with local police authorities. What the teams did was try to catalog all of the flood damaged vehicles and enter that information in a database, which is accessible online. Because of their diligence, nearly 200,000 car identification numbers are now available for car buyers to search at www.nicb.orgCar shoppers should always invest in obtaining a car history report from an independent company, such as Car Fax, as a back up source to verify information about a vehicle. Although the information supplied by these types of companies isnt always 100% accurate, it can usually reveal whether a car has been salvaged, rebuilt, is a lemon, or has been flood damaged. Some guarantee their information so check the individual contract/agreement before you use their services to see what recourse you would have in the event a lemon sneaks by them and you purchase one.So, how can we know for sure that there will be problems? Well, if Hurricane Floyd is a measuring stick then the potential for fraud is huge. In 1999, nearly 80,000 cars were damaged by Floyd and taken off of the roads due to storm damage. About half of that number were repaired and resold, many to unsuspecting consumers.You dont have to be a victim, so get informed. If a car is priced well below book value that can be a big clue that a problem exists, however dont rely on price, instead do some research first before buying your next used car.

Getting "Fueled-Up" For Summer Driving

Getting "Fueled-Up" For Summer Driving

As temperatures begin to rise, so does the anticipation of being able to drive with the windows down and the wind blowing in your hair during America's hottest season. Amid today's ever-changing fuel landscape, it is important for drivers to educate themselves about how to make smarter decisions for their vehicles-especially during the summer months. Car owners, it is time to get "fueled-up" for summer driving. Cars, like their drivers, require proper maintenance and replenished fluids in order to be prepared for the sweltering summer heat. Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, a nationally recognized automotive expert, shares some tips for consumers on how to keep their cars performing at their best throughout the summertime. • Inspect the cooling system. Prevent your car's engine from rapid overheating by inspecting its cooling system. Make sure to keep an eye on the coolant level-if low, refill using a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze. If your antifreeze is dirty or weak, have your cooling system flushed at your local auto repair shop. Also, while you're there, have your auto technician test the cooling fan and thermostat for proper operation and repair or replace as needed. • Fill up with quality fuel. When at the pump, be sure to rejuvenate with a quality fuel such as Amoco Ultimate premium fuel at BP. With continuous use, it can help clean-up dirty engines by cutting away deposits from intake valves. A cleaner engine can give your car better performance-ensuring less hesitation and smoother acceleration. It may even help improve your gas mileage for a more cost-efficient summer road trip. • Replenish fluids. Don't let your car dehydrate; make sure that all fluids are replenished accordingly. Remember to check and/or replace the transmission, brake, washer and power-steering fluids. All can be easily located by reviewing your owner's manual, or consulting your local auto technician for expert help. • Examine the AC system. The air temperature coming from the air conditioning ducts should be approximately 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, you should have it inspected by a licensed AC repair facility or your local auto technician where they will inspect for leaks, repair them and recharge the system with the proper amount of Freon for your vehicle. • Change your oil more often. Start the season off with premium motor oil for maximum engine protection. This is especially important in the summer because hot weather requires extra lubrication for the engine.

Tips on Choosing the Right Auto Repair Shop

Tips on Choosing the Right Auto Repair Shop

As the weather gets warmer, motorists should begin thinking about getting their vehicles ready for the busy summer driving season.Given today's busy schedules and complex vehicle systems, many drivers prefer to take their cars to repair shops than do the work themselves. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers these tips for choosing an appropriate repair facility.* Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.* Ask your friends and associates for their recommendations. Also, consult local consumer groups.* Arrange for alternative transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based on its 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 all of your questions.* Look for policies regarding estimated repair costs, diagnostic fees, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment.* Ask if the repair facility specializes or handles your car's 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. This includes trade-school diplomas, certificates of advanced coursework and certification by ASE.ASE was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. Its certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign.

How To Read A Vehicle History Report

How To Read A Vehicle History Report

Old cars don't die, they just get resold. If you're buying a used car, whether from a dealer or someone who put an ad in the paper, you'll want to know as much about it as you can. Even without anyone trying to deceive you, the vehicle may have problems you can't see from a simple visual inspection or even a short test drive.A vehicle history report prepared by a third party is one way to know what you're getting. Combining information from state DMVs and RMVs as well as police reports and other sources, a vehicle history report can give you a comprehensive overview of where the car's been.Here are some things to look for-or look out for-when you get a report on a vehicle. None of these things is necessarily a reason not to buy a car, but you shouldn't make a decision without asking about anything you see on a vehicle history:• Many owners. The more garages a car's been in, the less likely it's been lovingly cared for all its life. Not everyone is as assiduous about car care as you are. Rental cars and former taxis, for example, will often have undergone a lot of abuse, although they tend to be quite inexpensive.• Location, location, location. Some parts of the country are more car-friendly than others. Winter storms (with their accompanying salted roads) can be rough on cars, as obviously can floods, excessive heat or even sea air. Cars that have been where these are common may have hidden damage.• Name and description. Be sure the car in the report is the same as the car you're looking at. Carefully reviewing the vehicle description is one way to avoid various types of vehicle fraud, like VIN cloning. A cloned vehicle involves using a vehicle identification number (VIN) from a legally owned, non-stolen vehicle to mask the identity of a similar make/ model stolen vehicle. Carfax reports include detailed descriptions of the vehicle, so you can make sure the car you're reading about is the same as the one you're looking at.• Suspicious markings. Keep an eye out for records of body work that might indicate a prior unreported incident.Vehicle history reports from Carfax are the most comprehensive available. The company's database contains more than four billion records from thousands of public and private sources, including all Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) in the United States and Canada and thousands of vehicle inspection stations, auto auctions, fleet management and rental agencies, automobile manufacturers, and fire and police departments.

Craps Tournaments: Winning Tips and Guidance

Craps tournaments popularity is increasing lately. If you are a novice craps player who is still intimidated by the great selection of bets or you find the fuss around the craps tables too loud, you might not be able to enjoy playing craps tournaments. If you are an enthusiastic craps shooter, taking part in a "craps tournament" is a great way to enjoy a more intensive craps playing experience, meet other craps fans and, of course, a chance to win bigger cash prizes as well as the desired title. Many casinos hold different types of "craps tournaments" to suit the different levels of skills and budgets of the players. Here you can find tips on the different types of casino craps tournaments including tips on how to choose the most suitable and enjoyable craps tournament as possible. In addition, you can find here tips on how to win in craps tournament. Choosing a Craps Tournament Cost: The cost of playing in a craps tournament can range from a free entry and a low buy in to an expensive entry fee with a high buy in. The prizes, needless to say, are corresponding; the higher the entry fee the larger the grand prize. The free tournaments are usually held on a weekly basis for promotional purposes while the high stack tourneys are pre scheduled, last for more than one day and their expensive entry fees include a cocktail party, free accommodation and other freebies. Competition: Evaluating the level of the competition you are going to face in advance can be tough. However, the number of entrants allowed to take part in the tournament can give you a basic indication on the level of the competition. Rules: Casinos often set different rules in craps tournaments. For example, some casinos require players to place a pass or dont pass bet each play on top of any other bets or limit the proposition bet to 25 dollars. Winning a Craps TournamentThe main difference between playing a traditional craps game and a craps tournament is that with the latter you suddenly find yourself surrounded by competitors. While in a regular "craps game" you are used to compete against the house, in a "craps playing" you are playing against the other entrants and especially against those who have managed to accumulate the biggest amount of chips. Therefore, playing craps playings requires amending of you strategy. Primarily, you can no longer ignore your opponents; you must keep an eye on their moves!TipsAlways pay attention to your opponents chips; bear in mind that they might have been hiding chips to confuse the other players.Pay attention especially to your closest opponents; watch their moves and conclude your future bets so you will stay far behind.Start by playing conservatively; place small bets on pass and come bets.When an opportunity comes up, for example after making two consecutive points change your pattern and make dont pass bet.If during the final rolls you are still not leading, it is time to play aggressively; place large even bet your entire bankroll on one number and then hope for the best.Have fun.

Snow Tires A Canadian Must Have

A tire or tyre is a covering provided on the circumference of wheels of vehicles. The functions of tires is to dampen oscillations due to uneven surface of the road, to prevent wear and tear of the wheel, to provide a high friction bond between the vehicle and the road for proper acceleration and handling of the vehicle. They are usually made of synthetic rubber.Snow tires are special tires designed to run on snow, ice, wet roads, sleet, slippery roads and mud. They have better traction and handling properties. Snow tires differ from regular tires in the following ways:Hardness. They are made up of softer rubber, which heats up quicker. The softness and hardness of tire rubber depends upon the amount of carbon black in it. For summer tires, the amount of carbon black is more and for snow tires the amount of carbon black in the rubber is less. Rubber becomes brittle at lower temperatures hence summer tires are not suitable to be used in winters.Treading. The crown or the outer perimeter of tires has jagged pattern on it known as tread. The function of tread is to provide grip during rain or snow. The summer tires have smaller tread on them. The snow and mud tires have larger tread blocks on them hence they are noisier.Sipes. Sipes are small slits provided on the sides of tires to provide flexibility to tread blocks on the tyre. The function of sipes is to disperse water and snow. They improve traction by providing an additional biting edge to the tyre and are helpful on ice, snow, mud and sand.Grooves. Grooves are voids on the tires designed to facilitate dispelling of water or snow. Deeper grooves provide better handling and control of the vehicle in snow.Void Ratio. Void ratio is related to the amount of rubber coming in contact with the road. It is defined by the voids or open spaces on the tyre. A high void ratio accelerates the potentiality to drain water. For "snow tires" a high void ratio is required.Aquaplaning. One of the functions of tires is to remove water from the treads on wet roads. When the tire rotates, the treads push water into grooves and sipes, from where the water is pushed out. If the water does not go out properly then the vehicle slides which may cause accidents. This sliding of the tire on water is called aquaplaning. Hence the depth and pattern of treads is very important.Metal studs. Most snow tires have metal studs fabricated in the tread. This provides better grip on snow and ice. A place where the weather is extreme, the law makes it mandatory to use snow tires. However snow tires are extremely noisy and wear out fast on dry roads. Further, they wear out the road also.Markings on Snow Tires. The tires designed for Mud and snow are marked with M&S. the icon of mountain and snow flake designates that the tire meets snow testing standards of American Society for Testing and Materials. It mandates that snow tires should have a traction index of more than 110.

Summary

Be careful...that used car you are planning to buy may have been salvaged from a flood. Avoid the hassle and grief of owning a lemon by doing a little research first. Read on and I will show you how.