Cash For Clunkers: Trading In An Older Car For Cash

January 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Cars are like people, in many ways. They need to have the proper care taken of them and to be treated in a certain way if they are to keep running smoothly. The longer they are in service, the more likely they will be to develop faults. Eventually, they need to be retired before they do some harm to themselves or others.

Numerous governments are now creating schemes whereby an older car can be traded in for money against the purchase of a new one. The thinking behind this is that older cars are both less safe and worse for the environment than newer ones, and the government can save money on future environmental protection by spending a small amount of money up front to ensure cleaner air.

The benefit for the motorist who trades in their car is that they save money on a newer car which they might otherwise not have been able to afford. It is an incentive which works to reduce the amount of pollution in the air and make the roads safer. The cash paid for the older cars, too, can be recouped in scrap costs and recycling.

There is some amount of controversy over such programs, with people arguing that it is a waste of government money that could be better spent elsewhere or not spent at all. In the end, any such program is best judged by its success, and these programs have been judged successful on balance. How often they will be repeated in future will depend on the economic climate.

Luxury Cars: The Bugatti Veyron

January 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Ask around a number of car aficionados to find out which vehicle they would most like to have in their garage, and a suitably large number will state that the Bugatti Veyron is a very strong contender. It is not difficult to see why – the car itself looks like a sleek monster, and that’s before the key goes anywhere near the ignition.

What really sets the Veyron apart from any other car, apart from its million-dollar price tag, is the insane top speed of more than 267 miles per hour. This is a speed that can of course only be reached on particularly long stretches of open road, such as a race track, but the Veyron is a road-legal car, and its performance even at that high speed is noted as being incredibly stable.

The popular UK TV series Top Gear dubbed the original Veyron, with its comparatively slow top speed of nearly 254 mph, as the Car of the Decade. One of the few cars universally loved by all three presenters of the show (who disagree more than they agree), the Veyron is a brainchild of the German Volkswagen group and features ten radiators, sixteen valves, and more than a thousand horsepower.

The higher-end Veyron Super Sport clocks in at a price tage of $2,700,000/£1,665,000, meaning that as far as it being the ideal car goes, it is more or less a hypothetical issue for most of us. However, for those who are able to spend that kind of money on a car, the 0-60 speed of just two and a half seconds has to be something of a coup.

The Environmental Issue Of Motoring

January 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

There are people among the environmental movement who will flat-out forswear ever driving a car because of the cost to the planet. It can admittedly be taxing on the environment to run a car, be it because of the fumes that are passed through the exhaust or the toll taken on the planet to build and fuel the car.

Most environmentalists will, however, reach some sort of compromise which entails driving a car that is more green than others. The first thing to look for in this respect is fuel economy. A car which gives you more miles per gallon of fuel will be more friendly to the environment, as the use of fossil fuels takes a toll on the planet.

In this light, it may be worth looking at some of the hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicles on the market. As the environmental movement grows in size and strength, these cars are becoming more prominent and choice is becoming greater. Some interesting new developments are taking place in the alternative fuels market, and these may make it more economical and more “green” to drive.

Sometimes, the deal with automobiles and the environment is not so much what you drive as how often you drive it. If you don’t need to drive and the weather is good, walking can be pretty good fun anyway. Obviously, this is hardly going to win around the most hardened enviroskeptic, but when you realise that the trade-off is “fewer journeys = better performance” it’s something to hold on to.

Trading In For A Younger Model

December 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Some people drive the same car from the day they pass their test to the day that they decide to stop driving, or have that decision made for them. Others, and these are the larger group, will update their car on a more or less regular basis. There is a reason for this, and it is fairly simple. As cars get older, they become more prone to faults and some features may become obsolete.

There is a lot that you can to to keep your car more up to date, especially on the inside of the car. Any car in the world can accommodate a GPS satellite navigation system, although the newer models come with one already installed. Seatbelts were, once upon a time, optional in a car, but now they are compulsory with good reason.

Newer cars are, in the main, cleaner and safer to drive than the older ones. This can be balanced against the fact that a driver may feel more comfortable, more at ease and therefore a better driver in a car they have driven for many years. But many of us will trade in for a newer model simply because it is less prone to faults.

In such cases it may be a good idea to trade your old car in for a small part of the cost of the newer model. There is always something that can be salvaged from an older car, and it may even be modified to make it more up to date.

The Unseen Costs Of Motoring

December 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

When we are young, we look at cars on the road and long for the day we can drive one of them. Just think – no more riding the bus, go where you want when you want and be in control of the habitat in which you travel. Sure, the car will cost some money up front, but after that it’s all good. It all sounds pretty sweet.

It is only in adulthood that we see how the costs stack up. Sure, as kids we may have some understanding that we will need to fill the tank up every once in a while and that that will cost money. But you don’t realize just how much it costs until you’re driving to work and back every day and using the car for shopping and more.

If it were just the car and the gas that you had to pay for that would be one thing. However, for many people, the car has to be taken for a tune-up too often altogether. Some cars which look good and drive well for most of the time have a habit of developing a specific fault that cannot be conclusively repaired, merely taken care of.

Another cost which can drive you mad is the price of parking. It does not occur to a non-motorist just how much it can cost to leave your car somewhere safe. Some car parking charges are so expensive that they put motorists off any kind of visit that is not immediately vital – just another hidden cost of motoring.

Road Safety: The Drag Race

December 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

There will always be a number of people who enjoy taking their cars on to the open road and seeing just how fast they can go, something which has led to a fairly large number of unofficial “drag races” taking place on public roads. The argument usually made by the drivers in such races is that they only race on quiet roads, usually at times when no-one else is likely to be on the road.

One potential argument against this is that you can never be certain who will be on the road. After all, it is there for a reason – people need to get from one place to another. It is no use saying after you have crashed into another car that you thought the road would be deserted. It wasn’t, and what you expected has absolutely no relevance to anyone killed or injured.

Another reason why drag races can be dangerous is in their very unregulated nature. Most car racing is carried out at tracks which have safety features as well as full emergency services – and professional car racers have still been known to die in high-speed crashes. When you are driving in an illegal drag race you have no such security to call on, and you can end up in real trouble as a result.

Although it is often the illegal and unsanctioned nature of drag races that attracts people to drive in them, a certain amount of this bravado is born out of a sense that you’ll be lucky. But you only have to be unlucky once to kill or injure yourself, a friend or another road user. Drag races, as fun as they may be, should be kept to race tracks.

Putting The Pedal To The Metal – Do You Want Nitro With That?

November 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Nitrous oxide is one of the most divisive issues for car enthusiasts in this day and age. As an add-on for souped-up cars, its most notable contribution is to take the top speed of the car a few notches higher, making it a popular inclusion for people who take part in drag races. However, there are many who caution against its use, saying that it makes the performance of a car dangerously unstable.

The skeptics most likely have a point. When a car is designed, the idea behind its top speed is that that speed is sustainable for at least a while, and that the car can be controlled while at that speed. Adding to that top speed makes the car less stable and is not good for the engine. If you have a car merely for drag races and have somewhere safe to race, then you may choose to go for it. Otherwise, “nitro” as it is commonly dubbed is a pretty bad idea.

Of course we enjoy high speed in our cars, but the distinction between sustainable high speeds and unsustainable ones has to be made. A burst of nitro will only last for a few seconds, and that may suggest that its sparing use will not have implications for your vehicle, but the most concerning fact must be that at the speeds gained by nitro, it becomes a lot harder to control your vehicle, meaning that the first time you use it can be the last time you drive.

The Car Is The Star – Great Vehicles Of Hollywood

October 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

The car is, behind the human being at any rate, one of the most prominent features of both film and TV show. As famous as an actor can become for appearing on screen, some vehicles are not far behind them. Indeed, appearing in a TV show can give a car and its manufacturer a new commercial lease of life and make the vehicle iconic in a way which has little to do with its performance.

Perhaps the most famous onscreen vehicle of all time is Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own. Star of films such as The Love Bug, Herbie Goes Bananas and the more recent Fully Loaded, the white Beetle with the number 53 on his bonnet was the central character in films featuring such Hollywood luminaries as Dean Jones and Lindsay Lohan.

Also famous, though more for an appearance in a TV show than in the less successful movie, is KITT (short for Knight Industries Two Thousand). In the original TV show, KITT was an artificially intelligent Pontiac Trans Am, who provided guidance and companionship for Michael Knight, a crime fighter played by a young David Hasselhoff.

There have of course been other famous vehicles of stage and screen. The General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger driven by the Hazzard brothers in the popular movei and TV show Dukes of Hazzard. The doors for the car were welded shut, meaning that the brothers had to enter via the window – something that every fan of the show will be able to tell you within a minute of talking about it.

The Way We Look At Cars

October 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Although in real terms it is just a means of traveling, the car has taken on a completely iconic role in modern life. For some people, a car is just a car, a conveyance to get you from A to B, and maybe on to C if you are feeling adventurous. For many others, though, a car is as defining a symbol as any other, and says a lot about the person driving it.

Many people purchase a car with this in mind – sitting behind the wheel of a particular car is endlessly interwoven with status. For some people, the first thing they will do when they become definably rich is to buy the car of their dreams. Look at the players’ car park at any major sporting stadium and you will get an idea of how significant this is.

The car has had a fairly major role to play in popular culture. Particularly in cop shows and movies, the car that a central character drives will have as much significance for the viewer as the character’s wife and family and indeed the place where the show is set. Just look at the Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky and Hutch for two examples of how iconic a TV car can become.

It could be said that we fetishise the car in Western society. It is definitely true that we make a big thing out of the kind of car someone drives. Frequently, a politician will even be judged on the car they drive – is it made domestically, does it get decent gas mileage, what are my taxes paying for? The car is a source of endless fascination even for those who do not drive.

A Touch Of Art – The Art Car

October 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Can a car be a work of art? There are some who would suggest that the best automobiles out there are an example of art at its most practical. A lot of design goes into making a car aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing, and fans of sports cars will often make the point that the car gets high speeds and performs well while looking beautiful enough to be exhibited in a museum.

The idea of a car as art has been taken to greater lengths by the art car movement, who take no chances with the aesthetic beauty of the original models by making additions that turn the car into something completely different. The movement is particularly strong in areas such as Houston and Minneapolis, with Houston being home to the world’s first Art Car Museum.

Seen by many as the father of the Art Car movement, Harrod Blank has made a number of films about the Art Car as well as writing books and articles, running a blog and curating the Art Car Fest, an art-car based parade held in the San Francisco bay area once a year and also has a hand in an art car camp at the Burning Man festival in Nevada.

To make an art car, all you need is a car, an idea and the materials to make it come to life. Of course, if you want the car to be road legal you need to make sure that it adheres to the laws that govern the roads you are driving on. Ideally, this means nothing blocking the driver’s sight line and nothing that makes the vehicle unstable.

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