Monday December 19th, 2011 15:10 Winter Driving: What you need to know

No matter how experienced a driver you are, taking your car out in extreme winter conditions can be a daunting experience to say the least. The main advice to take on board in such conditions is to avoid driving at all if you can help it. However, situations will inevitably arrive where you need to get behind the wheel — and if that’s the case then there are a number of things that are important to keep in mind while on the roads.

Consider keeping a pair of comfortable driving shows in your car during the winter months. Trudging through snow in thick boots and then attempting to drive using the same footwear is asking for trouble as not only is it harder to drive in such boots than sensible shoes, but the accumulated snow will cause them to slip on the pedals.

It’s an idea to get out to your car a good 10 or 15 minutes before you need to set off so that you can clear the windscreen and other windows of any ice. Don’t be tempted to clear yourself a small area to look through on the windscreen and assume that the rest will clear soon enough — clear the whole lot before you set off. If possible stick to major roads that will have been gritted in the night so as to give yourself the best chance of an incident-free trip.

When beginning your journey, pull away in second gear and avoid potential wheelspin by easing off the clutch a little more gently than you normally would. In icy conditions apply your brakes gently where possible to reduce the risk of skidding. If you do feel the vehicle begin to skid, resist the temptation to depress the brake pedal even further as this will only make matter worse. Instead, slowly release the break pedal and de-clutch if necessary until you regain control.

If you’re going to be driving in a hilly area, remember to reduce your speed before heading down a decline. Use a low gear to control your speed and avoid using the brakes unless necessary, leaving plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front. Leaving lots of room is also advised when driving uphill, so as to avoid having to stop halfway up as you catch up with the car in front.

Always keep in mind that stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow than in generally favourable driving conditions. That’s a massive difference, so don’t take any chances whatsoever and keep a safe distance from the traffic in front.

Even if you’re driving in a safe manner you can’t account for everybody else on the road, so remember that with the bad weather comes an increased likelihood of an accident. Be sure that your car insurance is up to date before you get behind the wheel.

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Thursday December 15th, 2011 13:34 Evaluating How Much Auto Insurance You Need

One of the easiest ways to save money on auto insurance is to drop coverage.  The less coverage you carry on your policy, the cheaper the premiums will be.  Before you start making changes to your insurance, however, you should take the time to assess how much coverage you need.  Having too much insurance can be a waste of money spent on premiums, but having too little insurance can leave you in financial trouble if you get into an accident.

There are several types of coverage on your policy, and you should learn what each does before deciding whether you need it:

·         Liability coverage:  Bodily injury liability and property damage liability are both required by the state.  The minimums differ from place to place, so you should check what the legal minimum is before you try to adjust your coverage.  Liability coverage pays for damage or injuries that you cause to someone when you are in an accident with them.  If you don’t carry enough coverage, you could be sued or sent to collections for damage in excess of your limits.

·         First party coverage:  Collision and comprehensive are first-party damage coverage.  Collision covers damage to your vehicle caused by an impact with another vehicle or other property.  Comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by weather, vandalism, theft, or other non-accident related damage.  You pay a deductible for this coverage, meaning you are responsible for a portion of your damage before your insurance will pay.  The higher your deductible, the lower your coverage.

·         Personal Injury Protection/Medpay: Some states have different requirements for medical coverage than others.  Medical coverage helps to pay for your medical expenses in the event of a claim, including doctor’s visits and lost wages.  Your health insurance will also cover a portion of these costs, but health insurers often refuse to pay for accident-related care if any other coverage exists on another policy.  Review your state requirements and discuss your options with your medical insurance provider before deciding to remove this coverage.

·         Uninsured/Under-insured Coverage: Some states provide coverage for damage to your vehicle caused by a person with no insurance, even if you don’t have collision coverage.  Underinsured motorist coverage pays for the difference between the at-fault person’s liability limit and the actual cost of your damage.  Uninsured motorist coverage is not available in all states.

If you are making payments on your vehicle, you will need to carry full coverage.  If you own it outright, however, you can drop your policy to liability-only.

One thing to keep in mind when selecting coverage for your vehicle is the worth of the vehicle.  If your car is old, its value has probably depreciated significantly.  In the event of an accident, an old vehicle may be deemed a total loss whether or not the vehicle is still repairable or even drivable.  Look at the Blue Book value of your vehicle or another valuation source.  If the car is worth only a few thousand dollars, you will pay more in premiums than the worth of the vehicle every year that you carry full coverage.

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Wednesday December 14th, 2011 15:37 Why Leasing Kia Cars is Beneficial

Figures from The Society of Motoring and Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicate that since early 2001 private registrations have been in decline. More people are now turning towards leasing when they want to acquire a vehicle. Kia leasing is a great way to drive a brilliant Kia whilst only having to make small monthly payments.

It’s definitely going to give you an advantage simply leasing a Kia as opposed to buying one outright and not just because it’s easier to budget with monthly payments than a lump sum. There are many beneficial aspects to leasing and in this article you’ll be informed of them.

Stressful situations that are usually encountered when dealing with a vehicle that you’ve recently purchased are easily avoided when you decide to lease instead. Road tax and maintenance costs can be included in your leasing contract. This is extremely handy and eliminates any problems you’d have regarding servicing if you’d just bought a Kia outright!

Depreciation is no longer your concern either, once you’re finished with the Kia and your contract is over none of the responsibility will be yours. Fretting over how your Kia will fair in the current car market and worrying about re-sale value is a thing of the past. The leasing company you’ve dealt with simply take the car back and deal with everything for you.

As you can obviously see, leasing is a really wise decision (especially with a car like Kia). It’s much less stress, plus, what other deal lets you drive around in a brand new car every couple of years?

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Monday December 12th, 2011 15:14 Tips on Finding New Cars for Sale

In today’s current financial climate people are often searching for alternative methods to their car needs. When it comes to purchasing a new vehicle going directly to a dealership seems a very outdated procedure. With the power of the internet it’s possible to find great deals on new cars for sale online.

This is a brilliant method of dealing with your car needs without the stress and hassle of visiting a dealership, you won’t feel pressured into making any decisions and everything can be done your way. You’re certain to find a great deal on a car you’ll love.

Price is obviously a massive factor when you’re looking for a new car, in light of this many car websites have introduced an accessible and understandable comparison and search service. This allows you to search for cars in a number of different ways; whether you want to browse manufacturers and models, or maybe find a specific vehicle.

Every approach is covered, it’s even possible to input just a few features that you’d like in a vehicle and have a list of cars matching your criteria returned to you immediately. This is massively helpful if you’re wanting to make a comparison of cars.

Ensuring that you perform a thorough comparison of the vehicles that you’re researching is the best way to find that dream car you’re looking for. By paying attention to the details and not being afraid to request quotes you’re increasing your chances of success immensely. Make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting into before making any decisions and best of luck!

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Wednesday December 7th, 2011 08:00 German Car Manufacturers – In a League of Their Own

There are a number of countries that have a prominent motor manufacturer market but few are able to compete with Germany. The cars that Germany produces are second to none, and they compete fiercely with each other for very similar markets. They don’t just compete in Germany either, as they have thriving demand throughout the rest of mainland Europe, the UK and the US too.

As the economies of India and China also develop there is an increase in demand for luxury cars where the Germans are also sitting comfortably at number one. The Americans have tried their hands at luxury cars such as Cadillac, but they have never hit the mark of quality and driving experience on the same level as their German counterparts.

The French have got a strong market share in the more affordable car sector with brands such as Peugeot, Renault and Citroen competing for affordable small, mid-sized and family cars across Europe. Citroen leasing offers remain some of the most popular in the industry. The Japanese market is also strong with brands like Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan all holding their own, targeting the Asian markets and mid-priced industries with their well-built and reliable cars. When it comes to luxury and premium marques however, it always falls back to Germany. They have 5 major brands that compete in similar markets and make some of the most desirable cars on sale today. Here they are:

BMW– One of the most recognised car manufacturers in the world. BMW make a range of premium executive saloons, 4x4s, and sports cars with great avail. They brand their cars as the ultimate driving machine as they only allow the power to be delivered through the rear wheels. The balance of their vehicles is always spot on, and they have a huge following all around the world.

Audi – Audi make a number of cars in the same category as BMW and although have a smaller market share, they are constantly growing. With the success of their Quattro rally car, they have built a reputation for attractive and well-handing models that have been inspired by this heritage. The R8 supercar has further increased their profile.

Mercedes-Benz – One of the world’s most powerful and recognised brands. There is a huge range of Mercedes models on the market, and they range from small, to executive and luxurious. They also produce a number of fast and powerful cars with their AMG tuning division and McLaren partnership. The recent retro-modern adaptation of the classic SLS has reminded us what Mercedes are capable of.

Volkswagen – VW are slightly more affordable than BMW, Mercedes and Audi, but are parallel in terms of respect and quality. The ‘car for the people’ brand image has created some highly desirable family cars and their success with the Golf GTi throughout the years has brought them much acclaim.

Porsche – The legendary cars created by Porsche have gone down as some of the greatest sports cars in history. Although not as big as their German brothers, the desirability of their models and strength of their brand has led them to become one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world. Their racing heritage has even inspired ranges of clothes, luxury watches and baggage.

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Tuesday December 6th, 2011 08:54 Getting the Best New Car Deals Online

When it comes to buying a new car people are increasingly shunning what used to be the conventional options. Nowadays many find that it’s much easier and less stressful to deal with their car needs using the world wide web.

There are a multitude of benefits to handling your vehicle business online. As previously mentioned, the fact that there’s less stress and hassle via websites is a definite plus. There’s also a lot more opportunities and choices when you search online, as well as more time to research the available options before coming to a decision.

Researching is massively important in finding the best new car deals that are available online. The internet lets you browse and research vehicles in a number of different ways; manufacturers, models, financing options. It’s even possible to request quotes directly from your local dealerships.

Most of the services you can now find on the web are completely free and there are no obligations whatsoever. Feel free to perform as much research as you need to and make sure you’re comfortable before you make any decisions. You won’t be pushed into any purchases or contracts so take your time and find out as much as you can about the deals available.

If you do find yourself interested in perhaps acquiring a quote (or just want to make an enquiry) then you can simply fill in an easy to understand form online. You’ll be contacted within 24 hours with all of the details that you’ve requested, making dealing with cars online just that little bit easier.

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Monday December 5th, 2011 12:39 The Best Family Cars of 2011

The three cars, pictured above, seem to know exactly what ingredients make the best family cars. Ranging from the safest to the most luxurious, these car companies are some of the top rated family vehicles on the market right now.

First Place: The 2011 Subaru Forester

Pros: The federal government has not yet tested Subaru’s 2011 cross over, however, the 2010 model received top five-star scores for standard safety ratings such as: Driver and passenger protection in frontal crash tests, as well as front and rear-seat occupant protection in side crash tests. The government also awarded a four-star rollover score, indicating a mere 17 percent risk of rollover in a single vehicle crash. Likewise, the insurance industry endowed the Forester with a “Good” rating in roof strength tests and named it a “Top Safety Pick.”

The 2011 Forester gets 24 miles per gallon (MPG), and costs around 20,000 dollars (which makes it the cheapest of the three vehicles).
Cons: For families saving money this is a good option, however, it may not be the best option for large families, as the Subaru only seats 5 people.

Second Place – 2011 Audi Q5

Pros: Among a combination of expert automotive industry publications, the 2011 Q5 was the highest rated. It was also a Top Safety Pick across the insurance industry; this model includes key safety features like: Brake assist, child seat anchors, driver and passenger seat airbags, front fog lights, side and curtain airbags and traction control. As opposed to the Subaru, the Audi has a renowned reputation for drivability, an 8-speed automatic transmission and All-Wheel Drive. But like the Subaru, the Audi gets 24 miles per gallon.

Cons: The Q5 doesn’t do the environment any favors; it got a 58 out of 100 on aggregated expert green ratings. It also costs $35,000 ($15,000 more than the Subaru) and only seats 5 people.

Third Place – 2011 GMC Acadia Denali

Pros: This 2011 GMC Crossover is probably one of the most luxurious family cars on the market. It seats 8 and has the most interior features, which include things like: Hands-free calling, heated and cooled seating, rearview camera control, auto-dimming rearview mirrors and keyless ignition. The Denali also received some of the best safety ratings, mostly due to the center 3-point seating, child safety locks and post-collision safety system. The Denali is the only one of these three vehicles that has both all-wheel and 4-wheel drive.

Cons: Among aggregated expert ratings, the Denali was ranked the lowest of these three vehicles. It also only gets 21 MPG and is 43,200 dollars (23,200 more than the Subaru).

All in all, today’s auto industry has given families a multitude of options to choose from for their vehicles. Once a potential buyer finds what is important to them in their vehicle, they have the power to customize a search built to their needs, essentially finding a personalized automobile specific to their family.

To research and compare other safety concerns such as car seats or car insurance, visit FindTheBest, an unbiased, data-driven comparison engine.

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Friday December 2nd, 2011 15:34 The 5 Best Tracks to Drive in the UK

1. Brands Hatch Circuit, Fawkham, Longfield, Kent

Brands Hatch is one of the most charismatic circuits in the UK. In fact, Nigel Mansell scored his first Grand Prix victory there, also winning the final F1 race at Brands in 1986.

It’s a natural amphitheatre and boasts a 1.2 mile Indy configuration, offering fantastic views of all the action. Its Grand Prix circuit is still one of the biggest challenges in UK motor racing! Brands Hatch’s unique combination of dips, cambers, fearsome corners and hills means it is still one of the world’s favourite racing circuits.

Race notes:
A short lap which never gives you time to rest. A great circuit to drive!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Clearway

 

2. Donington Park Circuit, Castle Donington, Derby

Those passionate about Formula One motorsport will best recall the European Grand Prix 1993, where Ayrton Senna’s first lap became one of the most famous in Grand Prix history, when he passed five cars to win the race. The torrential conditions set the scene for what many believe to be the finest display of skill in Formula One – ever!
Donnington is a circuit of two halves – a very technical series of sweeping bends, followed by a series of short straights, separated by slow corners.

Race notes:
Lovely smooth and flowing circuit. Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin are the best corners.

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Redgate

 

3. Rockingham Motor Speedway, Mitchell Road, Corby, Northamptonshire

Rockingham Motor Speedway is the UK’s first purpose-built banked oval circuit since Brooklands, officially opening in summer 2000. It’s also Europe’s fastest banked oval racing circuit, with the unbeaten lap record for the 1.5 mile oval set at 24.719 seconds by Tony Kanaan in his Ford/Lola Champ Car on 22nd September, 2001 – with an average speed of 215.397mph!

Rockingham offers multiple in-field circuit configurations, featuring hairpins, straights and chicanes with ample passing and run-off areas.

Race notes:
A unique track with some great overtaking places. The first lap is always exciting.

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Turn 1

 

4. Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, Northamptonshire

Silverstone is the most famous race circuit in the UK at present, holding prestigious races like the Formula 1 Grand Prix and The World Super Bike Championship.

Built on an old military airport in 1948, Silverstone was a high-speed track with long straights and quick curves. Over the years the track layout has undergone several changes but has retained most of its character. There are 4 layouts of the circuit at Silverstone, including a new ArenaGP Circuit, National, International and Stowe Circuit. Offering a combination of fast corners, long straights and some slow sections, Silverstone is a good challenge for any driver.

Race notes:
4 track layout. One of the fastest MotoGP circuits on the calendar!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Stowe

 

5. Thruxton Motorsport Centre, Thruxton, Andover, Hampshire

The circuit, like most race circuits in the UK, was originally an old airfield used during the war.
Its race circuit is one of the fastest in the country with legendary high speed corners and reputation where circuit drivers can really test their skills. It lays claim to being one of the longest in the UK at 2.4 miles per lap. It’s also believed to be the fastest race track in the UK.

Race notes:
Massively fast place, like no other!

  • Best overtaking opportunity: Club Chicane

 

Contributed by Wish.co.uk – to find out more about their driving experience days click here

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