Tag Archives: car lights

10 Quick Tips

10 Quick Tips For a Healthier Ride

Thanks to technological advancements and mobile connectivity the world seems to be moving at a faster pace than ever before.  According to a Gallup data collected from 2013 and 2014 nearly the average full-time employee works 47 hours a week.  Chalk up another 3.7 hours each day spent on social media, along with all the time spent running errands, eating, sleeping, hanging out with family/friends and countless other things going on day after day…and suddenly we’re surprised when our vehicle develops an odd noise, blows out a tire or the check-engine light comes on.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Don’t be too hard on yourself if it does.  Life is legitimately busy and full of distractions that constantly compete for our attention, so we often adopt the mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to automobiles, neglecting routine maintenance can turn into an expensive game.  For example, on average, vehicles need 3-4 oil changes annually to maintain optimal engine performance.  At $30 per change, we could expect to spend $90-120 per year on this service alone.  If, on the other hand, we just drove the vehicle until the engine burned up (no oil changes), our $100-200 short-term savings would suddenly become either a $4,000-6,000 expense to swap out the engine or a $250 monthly payment toward a new ride. Ouch, right?

Our suggestion: If you own any type of vehicle, set aside a little time to become familiar with more than just the fuel tank.  Here are 10 things you can do to help extend the life of your vehicle.

Every Week

  1. Check the tire pressure.  Most pressure gauges are the size of a pen and fit conveniently in the glove box. This 5 minute task will help your tires wear evenly, extending their useful life and giving you better stopping distances.
  2. Check for pooling oil and other fluids on the driveway or in the garage where you park.  Really, this is a daily type of thing and doesn’t require you to do anything other than be observant.
  3. Pay attention to the trouble-lights. Vehicles today are set up with some pretty awesome technology that is programmed to notify you when something is not working properly.  When your check-engine light or any other trouble light comes on, get it checked out by a professional asap.
  4. Check/Top off windshield fluid. Driver visibility is a vital component to safe driving and while we can’t speak for every windshield, ours certainly seem to collect dust, pollen and bug guts that all need to be washed off.  Checking the windshield fluid should take less than 2 minutes once you know what you are looking for under the hood.
  5. Clean out the interior.  Did you know that clean vehicles can last 25-30% longer than messy ones?  Drivers who take time to de-clutter their vehicle are more likely to notice when things do not sound, smell or feel right…like having enhanced “spider senses.”

 

Every Month

  1. Check your oil once a month. Even though that sticker says you don’t have to get an oil change for another 8 weeks, go ahead and check your engine oil anyway. It only takes 4-5 minutes and can let you know if your engine is burning oil or how serious a leak may be. The dipstick handle to check this is typically yellow.
  2. Check transmission fluid levels.  Next time you go for a drive, try counting how many times your vehicle shifts gears. In order to work properly, those gears require a specific type of transmission fluid.  The transmission dipstick handle is typically red and not always convenient, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic to point you in the right direction.
  3. Check coolant levels.  Just like people, engines don’t run for very long when temperatures get too high.  Metal expands when it gets hot, and at about 245 degrees Fahrenheit different parts of an engine can begin to distort.  Coolant, also called anti-freeze helps to regulate temperatures inside the engine so you cave dependable performance.
  4. Visually inspect turn signals and other exterior lighting. External lighting doesn’t have an impact on engine performance, but it can increase your visibility to other drivers and they only take a minute or two to check.
  5. Give your vehicle a bath at least once a month depending on the season.  Dirt, debris and especially salt buildup on your vehicle create an ideal environment for corrosion to take root. And by corrosion, we mean rust, which could easily be prevented with a 10 minute trip to the local car wash.

We’ve noticed that if these simple things don’t get put on the ‘To do’ list, they just won’t happen.  So what we’re suggesting is, put down your smart phone or your tablet and take 20-30 minutes, once a week to become a little more familiar with your car, truck, Jeep, SUV, boat, motorcycle, train or whatever you drive.  Social media and the internet will still be there when you get back (maybe)…and this will give you something interesting to share with all your Facebook friends.  Brb gtg chk my oil, u shd chk urs 2.

Convert From Halogen to HID?

The sun has set and you’re driving home on a 4-lane highway.  Although your headlights are on, the road ahead appears dimly lit- so you’re playing it safe and rolling a little slower than normal.  Frustrated by your lack of visibility, you can’t help but notice the piercing blue glow of another vehicle’s oncoming headlights.  Then comes the idea… “Maybe I should make the switch from Halogen to HID Xenon.”

Better visibility seems like a practical idea, so you search online for a halogen to HID conversion kit and find all sorts of options ranging anywhere from $45 to $165 on eBay.  You place your order and within a couple of weeks you’ve got night time visibility that has improved 200-300% over the old halogen bulbs.  Pretty awesome deal right?

Pros and Cons of Converting to HID Xenon

Pros:

The most obvious advantage for converting to the HID bulb is increased driver visibility.   With greater road visibility, drivers should be able to identify hazards (like potholes or bigfoot crossing the road) earlier and avoid collision.

In addition, the HID Xenon bulbs can last anywhere from 2-3 times longer than traditional halogen based bulbs.  How is that possible?  Quite frankly, there are fewer breakable parts in the HID design.

Traditional halogen bulbs rely on a sensitive filament suspended at the center of the bulb.  Hit a bump just right and that tiny little wire is likely to break, leaving you in the dark.  With HID bulbs, electricity heats a chamber filled with xenon gas and metal halides which react by producing light.

Cons:

Selling/using a “halogen to HID xenon conversion kit” is illegal.  We’re not saying that the xenon bulbs themselves are illegal or that you won’t be seeing them on vehicles any more…but the conversion kits are, for a couple of reasons:

  1. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Blinding HID Glaretraditional filament headlamp housing units are “optimally designed for the volume of light and filament placement …that OEM filament bulbs have.  The HID conversions result in two to three times the volume of light and potentially imprecise arc placement.  Such conversions often result in beam patterns that behave nothing like the original filament beam pattern, cannot be precisely aimed and have many times the permitted glare intensity.
  2. The NHTSA has declared that HID conversion kits “are a potential hazard to those who share the road.”  The logic behind this statement is largely based on the first reason given.  While it is true that drivers using the HID xenon conversion kits will have increased road visibility, the resulting unpredictable beam patterns cause a more intense, longer lasting road-glare blindness to other people on the road.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Like we said earlier, the HID Xenon bulbs themselves are not illegal.  Neither is their use on motor vehicles.  In fact, many new vehicles are coming straight from the factory with these newer, brighter, longer-lasting bulbs…so odds are that, at some point, the automotive industry as a whole will make a complete switch from halogen to xenon.

Whether you buy the halogen to xenon conversion kit or not is completely up to you, but we caution that these kits are illegal, they may have a negative impact on the driving ability of others on the road and their use in a non-OEM headlamp may result in civil penalties (traffic ticket) depending on local law enforcement.

 

If you have questions about alternative lighting options for your vehicle, give Axleboy a call at (636) 939-5337 or stop by.

 

 

Source: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rulings/glare.html