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When comparing high performance vs. standard replacement parts, it is of extreme importance to weigh performance and durability against value and cost. Long term costs of replacing OEM items with low-priced budget items or after-market replacement parts can, in many cases lead to higher consumer long-term costs. It can also lead to irreversible damage to primary and connected related systems. Obviously, if a replacement part is of lower quality and of shorter durability, it...

High Performance Doesnt Mean High Price

High Performance Doesnt Mean High PriceWhen comparing high performance vs. standard replacement parts, it is of extreme importance to weigh performance and durability against value and cost. Long term costs of replacing OEM items with low-priced budget items or after-market replacement parts can, in many cases lead to higher consumer long-term costs. It can also lead to irreversible damage to primary and connected related systems. Obviously, if a replacement part is of lower quality and of shorter durability, it will need to be replaced more often. There are costs associated with the labor to replace these parts more often, as well as time lost for actually doing the work of replacing an automotive component. There are other "hidden" costs as well associated with this practice. They may not be costs in cold, hard cash out of pocket, but they are costly, nonetheless.A good example of this is simply shopping around for spark plug wires for my old Buick. I got in the habit of replacing the wires at least once a year, sometimes more if a problem arose. I go to the Internet and find several varieties of options online and I read the descriptions of what my choices are. They look like this:Description: Taylor Cable 69.958mm Street, Ignition Wire Set, Custom Fit, SST, Blue, Tin Coated Copper Braid, Non RFI, Blue Double Spring Locking Spark Plug Boots, High Temperature Rated To 550 Degrees, Competition Looks, GROUND SHIPPING ONLYDescription: OEM 37.41Premium Wire Set, Spark Plug Wire Set, OEM Fit And Quality 37.41Description: Taylor Cable 29.958mm High Energy, Ignition Wire Set, Custom Fit, Blue, High Temperature, Oil Resistant, RFI Suppression, 100% Silicone Boot Ends, Double Spring Locks At Plugs, GROUND SHIPPING ONLYThe first thing I notice is the huge difference in price, and like any good spendthrift, I am drawn to the cheapest spark plug wires available. Ignoring the statements about temperature ratings and RFI, I immediately think to myself, without any further research, I may want to buy the bargain set of wires. But then I think I want good wires, and the OEM brand is only eight dollars more. These are the spark plug wires that came with my vehicle, so they must be what I need. I buy them online for $37.41, have them shipped to my house and install them on my vehicle.I take my old car for a ride, to see how much better it is going to run with the new wires on it. I notice it doesnt run any better, as a matter of fact, it now has a slight miss in the engine. So I turn off the engine, get out of the vehicle and make sure everything is connected properly. The miss isnt there anymore when I start the vehicle back up, so I am happy. I turn the radio on to listen to some tunes on the way back to the house, and I can hear the sound of my engine running on the radio, like a whining sound, drowning out a portion of the music.I get back to the house and look at the old wires I took off in favor of the new original equipment wires. They dont look the same. The old ones look heavier and bigger. The next day, I start the car up and the miss is back, and the engine whine is still on the radio. Frustrated, I put the old wires back on the car and the problems go away. So I go back to my computer and look at custom and high performance plug wires for my old Buick, and heres what I see:Spark Plug WiresBrand: Taylor Cable $108.958mm Street, Ignition Wire Set, Custom Fit, Full Metal Jacket, Black, RFI Suppression, Braided Stainless Covering To Polished Aluminum Covers Over Silicone Plug Boots, High Performance, Custom AppearanceSpark Plug WiresBrand: Taylor Cable $25.958mm High Energy, Ignition Wire Set, Custom Fit, Blue, High Temperature, Oil Resistant, RFI Suppression, 100% Silicone Boot Ends, Double Spring Locks At PlugsSpark Plug WiresBrand: Accel $99.57Custom Fit 300+ Race, Stainless Spark Plug Terminals, Complete EMI/RFI Suppression, 600F Temperature Resistance, More Spark Energy, More Power, Spark Plug Wire Set, 8.8mm, Wires Routed Over Valve Cover, BlackThis time, I do a little research to find out what I do not understand about the sales descriptions offered. Here is what I find out about the difference in spark plug wires:OEM wires generally rely on carbon conduction and are also used in the majority of stock replacement wires. This form of ignition wire is cheap to manufacture and generally provides adequate initial suppression for both RFI (radio frequency interference) and EMI (electromagnetic interference). The conduction portion is generally made of fiberglass or kevlar over which resistance conductive latex or sometimes silicone is layered over top. This reduces spark current to provide suppression. This works well while the conductor lasts, but it has a limited life. This type of conductor quickly fails if a high-powered ignition system is used. Temperature resistance is generally in the 550 degree F range.I also find out that EMI from OEM spark plug wires can cause incorrect signals to be sent to engine management systems and on-board electronic devices. This is why suppression is so important. It works the same way that RFI can cause unwanted signals to be heard on my radio receiver. Engine running problems like intermittent misses to a major loss in power loss can be the result. I also find out that the problem can get worse with age due to corrosion of the sensors and connectors. Also, high performance wires can protect in temperatures as high as 1000 degrees F.I went back to my Buick and looked at the ignition system. It had not been replaced by a high-powered ignition system. I ordered the Taylor custom 8.8-mm wires with RFI suppression for $25.57.$11.84 less than I paid for the OEM ignition wires. I installed them a few days later when they arrived and have had no problems at all. In fact, my gas mileage has increased and my responsive acceleration increased. I have had them on my Buick for two years now and they still perform as well as the day I put them on.Replacing with high performance automotive parts are generally considered upgrades and higher costs are associated with better quality and higher performance. As this exercise taught me, this is not always the case. Higher performance means value-added in the long-term. This relates to better customer satisfaction, better performance and durability, sometimes even less expense, but always a better value and a lot less hassle.

How to Plan a Great Vacation

How to Plan a Great Vacation

Making sure your vacation goes according to plan is not difficult to do, but it does need to be planed carefully.First you need to decide where to go, this year I have decided to go to Holland for my vacation. Once you have decided where you want to go on vacation you can start to plan the things you want to see and do. In Holland I am interested in the Van Gogh museum, the Rembrandt museum and the Casino.I have always enjoyed casinos, so this is going to be my first chance to go to a casino in Europe, so how can I pass up the chance to play some European Roulette, and I have been practicing at an online casino, ok I have to admit I have also been "practicing" poker and blackjack, please dont tell my wife. After you have figure out where you want to go and what you want to do when you are there you can get a feel for where you want your hotel to be.There are many different websites that offer the best prices on hotels, so make sure to check several of them before making a final decision. Most of these sites will offer pictures of the hotel facilities and the different rooms.After looking at the hotels pick the top 3 and do a search on the internet for them. Try to find reviews from people that have stayed there before. The hotels site is always going to tell you how great the hotel is, but if someone were annoyed enough to trash a place or tell you how great it was, then you can be pretty sure they are telling you the truth.The first hotel I was looking at for my Amsterdam trip said it was close to the center of the city, in a nice area, but reading reviews from former patrons told me the area was filled with drug addicts and homeless, and this is not really what I want to see on my vacation, so I found a much nicer location. It is a little farther from the city center but it is near the museums we want to go to, so by being closer to them we can get up early walk to the museums and spend the rest of the time walking around looking at the shops and attractions inside the city's center.Now all that is left is packing the right clothes. Unless you are going to someplace where the weather is always a constant, make sure to pack clothes for both good and bad weather. My trip is in a week and the weather is expected to me mostly sunny and in the 50's but there is a chance of rain so I will be packing a coat for the rain, ad extra socks just in case.If you are gong to be in Europe and plan to visit a casino you should know that in Europe casinos are more upscale then in the USA. They will not let you in wearing your shorts a T shirt and sandals, most casinos require men to wear a tie and jacket or a turtleneck.It is also always helpful to buy a travel guide for where ever you are going. Besides having helpful recommendations for things to see and places to eat, many of them offer discounts for attractions.Well the only thing left is to go and have a good time, I know I will.

General Vehicle Maintenance

General Vehicle Maintenance

Regular vehicle maintenance or preventative maintenance, if you will, can go a long way in making sure your vehicle runs at optimal condition. For example, no one truly enjoys the trips to a mechanic because our brake pads are worn down to the rotors or drums and we have to spend more time and dollars to repair the brake system. What little time it takes to make sure we do the "regular" things to our vehicle, makes the time well spent. The pay me now or pay me later clich, in this case, is never more true. The following tips will aid you in keeping your vehicle ready to take you wherever you have to go.Enough cant be said about regular oil changes and oil filter replacement. Personally, I have oil changes every 2,000 miles. The recommended schedule is every 3, 000 miles. Because of my prompt attention to regular oil and filter changes, I have a 1978 Buick LeSabre with 195,000 miles on it and in 2006 it still runs like a dream. It should go without saying but a lubing of the chassis or "lube job" some call it, should be performed at the same time you have the oil changed.The air filter, when dirty, is a common problem when you notice your car has less power and is using more fuel. A simple check of the filter will give you an idea of how dirty it is. Mechanics will almost always agree that this simple step can go a long way in improving your vehicles performance. Air filters are instrumental in decreasing the amount of dirt, dust and other damaging contaminants going into the engine. Simply put, your vehicle runs less efficiently when the filter is clogged with dirt and grime. Filters should be replaced every 3,000 miles. Also, have the air filter changed when you have an oil change performed on the vehicle to save time or an extra trip to the mechanic.And while were talking about filters, the fuel filter is probably the most overlooked or forgotten item for regular checkups. Auto experts dont understand why this happens but it does. Remember the Buick I just mentioned? I have had the fuel pumps and fuel filters checked regularly on that vehicle. I can honestly say I get approximately two more miles to the gallon when I calculate mpg/number of gallons of fuel used after I have replaced a fuel filter. Whenever you happen to notice or think to yourself, "I sure am using more gas lately", check the fuel filter.Regular replacement of the brake pads is also very important. Many expert mechanics will agree that all parts to the brake system are the most important safety features on an automobile. You must be able to stop your vehicle quickly and safely. All brake pads will wear out eventually. If you start hearing squealing like sounds or the feel of the pedal upon braking is "mushy", you need to consider that the brake pads are beginning to become worn out. The responsibility of the brake pads is to provide friction with the pad to make braking or stopping possible. Brake pads can be easily diagnosed for wear and tear with regular examinations.operating in a dance with the distributor and ignition coils. Many things can indicate problems and spark plug wire malfunction. There may be corrosion at the wires or connectors. Resistance can increase as the wires get older. The material encasing the wires may be shredding or wearing out.The first sign of trouble generally comes when you start noticing a missing or stuttering type action when the vehicle is operating. Theres a significant tugging like symptom that feels to you that your vehicle cant get the energy to move. Always keep your spark plug wires clean. Always troubleshoot for wires that look worn out or are not properly applied to the spark plugs. Replacing your spark plug wires will mean efficient starting and less ignition type problems that can follow because of worn spark plug wires.Wash Me! Well maybe this one isnt actually vehicle "maintenance" per se, but doesnt a clean vehicle make you feel better? Again, have you ever noticed the vehicle seems to run smoother when shes clean? Having the engine steam cleaned on a regular maintenance plan can also go a long way in extending the life of your engine. Engine cleaning will keep the corrosion and grime from building up on your spark plug wires too. It will help when you are looking over your engine for leaks, unplugged or loose wiring and keep the corrosion off your vehicles battery.While these arent the only "regular maintenance" tips available, you can always research your vehicles handbook for other ideas that can help extend its life and keep it running in optimal condition.

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.

Carparts Online Or Offline?

Carparts OnlineTired of hunting store after store for the right part? You can spend days hunting scrap yards and part stores, and even then, you may not find what you need. With the internet more part suppliers, retailers, and collectors are selling their carparts online. The more advanced online shops allow you to search by application, make and model, or manufacturer for auto parts and discount carparts. Fill your virtual cart up with everything from air filters to complete engines, and never leave your garage.Carparts optionsIf you do not have the patience to shop online, or if you need something right now, there is nothing wrong with going to your local retailer. In most cases the carparts they offer will have a lifetime warranty and even if they do not have the part you need they will either know where to get it or how to order it. You could look at various local shops and price compare and there is nothing wrong with teaching yourself on the various brands out there that serve your make and model.One carpart that could save you money.There are many advantages to buying a car with a standard transmission with a clutch. Having more control over the transmission, it is possible to get better gas mileage than with an automatic transmission. You can save about $1000 buying a standard compared to an identical automatic. You also have the benefit of being able to push start your car. There is also the camp of standard snobs who always quip, "I would rather drive my car than just steer..." I am just kidding.Carparts are online now, simply search and click. If you have doubt whether the quality of carparts bought on the internet are of the same standard the regular carparts bought from your local carpart shop are dont be scared. Everything is just the same, just cheaper.Thank you for listening.

The Rapid Vehicle Motor Company

The Rapid Motor Vehicle Company was started in 1902 by Max Grabowski.It was the manufacturer of some of the earliest trucks and was purchased in 1909 by GM. In 1912 the name GMC was first used at the New York Auto Show and in 1996 the suffix Truck was dropped.What most people don't know is that GMC also makes cars.In 1902 Max Grabowski founded a company called the "Rapid Motor Vehicle Company", which developed some of the earliest commercial trucks ever designed. In 1909 the company was bought by General Motors to form the basis of the General Motors Truck Company, from which GMC Truck was made. In 1912 the name "GMC Truck" was first shown at the New York Auto Show. In 1996 GM dropped the word 'truck' from the GMC Truck name, thus creating the GMC name as we know it today. There never was a Grabowski Motor Company or a Grabowski Motor Corp.They now make personal automobiles, as well as pickup truck and bus engines.General Motors Corporation NYSE: GM, also known as GM, is a United States-based automobile maker with worldwide operations and brands including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Daewoo, GMC, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab, and Vauxhall Chevrolet and GMC divisions produce trucks, as well as passenger vehicles. Other brands include ACDelco, Allison Transmission, and General Motors Electro-Motive Division that produces diesel-electric locomotives. GM also has stakes in Isuzu, Subaru, and Suzuki in Japan and a joint venture with AutoVAZ (Lada) in Russia. In December 2003, it acquired Delta in South Africa, in which it had taken a 45 percent stake in 1997, and which is now a fully-owned subsidiary, General Motors South Africa.GM's headquarters are in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan.General Motors is the world's largest vehicle manufacturer and employs over 340,000 people. In 2001, GM sold 8.5 million vehicles through all its branches. In 2002, GM sold 15 percent of all cars and trucks in the world. They also owned Electronic Data Systems from 1984 to 1996 which is a former Ross Perot company and, prior to selling it to News Corporation, DirecTV. GM owned Frigidaire from 1918 to 1979.The current chairman (since May 1, 2003) and chief executive officer (since June 1, 2000) is Rick Wagoner, succeeding John F. Smith, Jr.General Motors is selling its 20 percent stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent of Subaru, in a deal that could raise more than $700 million as per news released on October 6, 2005.Also, General Motors Canada auto workers voted on Sunday to ratify a new contract that will lay off 1,000 workers over the next three years, the Canadian Auto Workers and GM said.General Motors lost 2.5 billion dollars last year, and would have made a profit if it was not saddled with 6 billion dollars in health costs.The UAW and GM are now reaching agreement to reduce this health cost by about 1 billion dollars annually.

Summary

When comparing high performance vs. standard replacement parts, it is of extreme importance to weigh performance and durability against value and cost. Long term costs of replacing OEM items with low-priced budget items or after-market replacement parts can, in many cases lead to higher consumer long-term costs. It can also lead to irreversible damage to primary and connected related systems. Obviously, if a replacement part is of lower quality and of shorter durability, it...