Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to Help a Learner Driver Practice Driving

Driving lessons are expensive, but quite a lot of time is spent simply trying to polish a new skill. Just like anything else in life, learning to control a car in a variety of situations takes practice. Practicing in a private car cuts down on the amount of lessons you have to pay out for and can help you pass the driving test sooner.
It is relatively cheap and easy for a learner driver to practice driving even if they do not have a car of their own. A parent, other relative or friend's car can be insured by the learner for around £3 a day and the range of cars that can be covered is quite surprising - cars up to the value of £20,000 and up to insurance group 40 are included. The insurance becomes invalid as soon as the test is passed, and is only a (relatively) low premium as the learner has to be accompanied by an experienced driver.
The rules are that you have to have L plates on the front and rear of the car, and the accompanying driver must be over 21 and have held a full driving licence for three years and will be considered to be in control of the car. As such, any one driving with a learner must follow the same rules as if they were driving, for example, they must not be over the alcohol limit, nor be using a mobile phone.
Before starting practice driving it's best to have a few lessons with a qualified instructor first as s/he will be using a dual control car. The instructor will know when the pupil is ready to drive in car with normal controls. It's best to speak to the instructor after the lessons to get an idea of the kind of things needing to be worked on, for example, reversing round corners or navigating roundabouts, so this can be given attention prior to the next lesson.
There is no reason why the learner cannot drive everywhere and anywhere taking every opportunity to gain experience - only motorways are forbidden for cars with L Plates. Trips to the local supermarket are great places for practicing parking! Driving to work/college/school for extra experience is also very good, as are longer trips out. Depending on the experience gained new towns with different junction layouts are good although the learner may need to be helped with lane control.
As an accompanying driver you need to support, help out with directions, look out for cars and hazards the learner hasn't noticed, and think of road situations which might challenge him or her. Junctions with hill starts are a good example. Your role is not, however, to teach. Never contradict what the instructor has taught. If you disagree with something, speak to the instructor at the next lesson. Ways of driving have changed, and you will confuse matters if you try to suggest driving as you were taught (unless it was very recently) or worse still, pass on bad habits you've picked up without being aware of it.
Keeping calm is very important, especially if you are helping your son or daughter learn to drive. You don't want them to loose confidence, so try to keep any criticism to a minimum and keep discussions to when you've safely arrived home again.
Accompanying a learner driver is not easy, but the more hours on the road they can put in before passing their test, the more experiences and hazards they will have come across which will make them a better driver once they have passed their test and set out on their own for the first time.
Another important factor is that you will have experienced their driving ability, which will hopefully give you peace of mind when you eventually see them take off the L plates and disappear down the road unaccompanied.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Range-Topping 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited Live at the Chicago Auto Show

After its previous appearance in a Super Bowl spot with a Motley-Crue-inspired theme, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited made its official launch at the Chicago auto show as a range-topping model included on this year's mid-sized Optima line-up.
Upon its debut, a lot of car experts, automotive journalists, and observers at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show noticed that the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited is not just an ordinary Optima. In fact, these individuals have suspected that the Limited is fully loaded with a lot of features not found on its siblings. As time goes by, these suspicions were eventually proven to be true.
Compared to the other Kia Optima trims, the Limited flaunts a unique look and more intimidating stance. These characteristics were highlighted by the Limited's new fascias in front and rear. In addition to this, the LED running lights located on top of its fog lamps, the lower door sills, and the rear spoiler tipped with chrome further suggest that the Optima SX Limited is very much different from its siblings.
Under the hood, the Limited is powered by a 2.0-liter Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine sourced from the Kia Optima SX. This engine is capable of producing 274 horses and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission as well as the sport-tuned suspension used on the Limited was also sourced from the SX. Due to this, the Limited's fuel economy ratings of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway are similar to that of the Optima SX.
When viewed inside, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited looks more upscale compared to the other Optima models included on the line-up. The Limited's cabin provides a more elegant and prestigious feel. Its door trim, shift knob, and steering wheel are adorned by genuine would trim and this layout further improves the overall appearance of the Optima SX Limited. In addition to this, the door panels, center console and seats were embellished by Nappa leather.
On top of these, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited is offered with the standard equipments such as the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and heated and cooled front seats. Aside from those, the SX Limited is also equipped with metal pedals, Infinity audio system with speakers, and a navigation system with a built-in back-up camera.
Due to the abundance of standard features included on the vehicle, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited became one of the most admired vehicles that were presented at the 2012 Chicago auto show. In addition to this, a lot of individuals that were able to take a closer look at the vehicle agree that this was probably the best vehicle that Kia has produced.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Lead Acid Battery Leads the Charge in Automotive Design

Automotive lead acid batteries used to start car engines, are one of the oldest design of rechargeable battery in existence. The lead acid battery was primarily used for the storage of DC power and used in early commercial vehicles due to the weight and size. These batteries have literally dominated the marketplace for many years ever since their invention back in the early 1800's and have continued to be an important automotive component to the point were there is one in every vehicle on the roads.
Today, automotive batteries used to start gasoline and diesel engines, are smaller, cheaper and more cost effective than their earlier cousins, supplying greater starting and surge currents than ever before at a fraction of their original price.
Not only does the lead acid battery provide the correct amount of electricity needed to start engines, but they also supply electricity for the ignition system, lights, indication, stereos and other such electronic features found on today's modern vehicles.
The energy produced by a lead acid battery occurs via an internal chemical process which involves lead (hence their name), lead oxide and a liquid acid solution called the electrolyte. Solid lead and lead oxide plates are submerged within an electrolytic solution that consists of a very small percentage of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) mixed with distilled water. When electrical power is drawn from the battery, a chemical reaction takes place between the plates and liquid electrolyte releasing electrons. These free electrons in the form of an electrical current flow through electrical conductors mounted on the battery and out via lead terminals providing the electricity required to start the car.
As the lead acid battery becomes discharged, the sulphuric acid forms deposits onto the lead plates, but when the lead acid battery is recharged again, the sulphuric acid breaks down and returns back into their separate lead and lead oxide components. Heat is generated by this constant charging and discharging of the battery evaporating the water inside.
This evaporation meant that older lead acid batteries needed to be "topped-up" with more distilled water on a monthly basis but the modern maintenance free lead acid battery is fully sealed against leakage in which the electrolyte in the form of a gel is contained in separate compartments are now used. The result is that these fully sealed batteries can be rotated upside down or positioned sideways in the event of an accident without any risk of an acid leakage. Also these modern batteries have safety valves fitted which allow the venting of fumes during the charging, the discharging and changes in atmospheric pressure when driving at altitude.
The lead acid battery is the only batteries suitable to be used in alternative energy systems but the continuous cycle of discharging a battery into a load (night time hours) and then recharging the battery (sunlight hours) many times over requires a different type of battery as not all lead acid batteries are the same. The most important requirement of a battery is whether it is a Deep Cycle Battery or a Shallow Cycle Battery.
Consider automotive starting batteries. These batteries are cheap to buy but are designed to provide high amperes of current for very short periods of time (less than 10 seconds) to operate the starter motor and turn over the engine. After the car has started, the battery is then trickle charged by the cars alternator. Even on cold frosty mornings the cars battery is only discharged to less than 10% of its rated capacity at startup so automotive batteries are designed for this very shallow cycle service, (100% to 90% state of charge).
As a car battery is designed to deliver high currents for very short periods of time it is therefore made of many thin lead plates giving a large surface area for the chemical reaction to occur. These thin lead plates do not have the necessary mechanical strength for repeated cycling over a period of many years and wear out very quickly after only 200 to 400 cycles. Therefore shallow cycle car batteries which although they work, are not designed for a long term solar power or wind power system which requires a much deeper cycling service.
Deep Cycle Batteries on the other hand are designed to be repeatedly charged and discharged by as much as 80% of their full capacity (100% to 20% state of charge) without sustaining any serious damage to the cells before recharging, making the deep cycle battery an ideal choice for solar photovoltaic and wind power systems, as well as marine applications, golf buggies, fork lift trucks and other such electric vehicles. Although the deep cycle battery uses the same chemical reactions to store and generate energy as their automotive battery cousins, deep cycle batteries are made very differently.
The physical size of a deep cycle battery is much larger than a regular car battery due to the construction and size of their lead plates (electrodes). These plates are made of solid lead usually doped with Antimony (Sb) and are many times thicker than the thinner plates of a car battery. This means that deep cycle batteries can be repeatedly discharged almost all the way down to a very low charge and it is not uncommon for deep cycle batteries to be emptied (discharged) to as much as 20% of their total capacity before energy ceases flowing from the battery.
So to summarise, the lead-acid battery is the perfect choice for automotive cars, vans and motorcyles as it is reliable, inexpensive, and delivers high starting currents but for alternative energy systems, the deep cycle battery is the way to go as it can be charged and discharged many times over to a much lower value.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Transit Bus Service - Business That Makes Money

To most people, a transit bus service may seem like a cash intensive enterprise where overheads and investments are huge. However, according to experts in the field, a transit bus service need not be highly cost intensive. In fact, a large number of transit bus owners launch their services with very little startup investment. With a growing number of passengers relying on shuttle buses instead of gas-thirsty cars, the demand for transit buses is high. So, even when this business requires cash inputs, it pays back handsomely - as many entrepreneurs are finding out.
The most important requirements for starting a transit bus service include a transit bus, insurance and a good driving record. In some locations, it may be necessary to get the required licensing agreements too. Before you do all that however, it is important to identify the business opportunity.
There are different kinds of transit bus services. While some services ply between places of work, others take passengers to the airport. A thriving business may even be made out of shuttling passengers to and from event venues. With the increased interest in tourism, some services aim only at addressing tourists who need to be taken to sight-seeing and shopping attractions. Some bus services only cater to schools and private institutions like churches and so on. Whichever model you choose to adopt, it is necessary to conduct a study of the area, the kind of service, the current demand, expansion necessities and the type of vehicle required. The key to success is to find out the most under-serviced niche in your area and market your own services aggressively.
The next step is to buy the vehicles that will take your services forward, literally. A startup business may want to focus on buying a single vehicle and reaping a profit from the business before investing more on vehicles. However, sometimes it may be possible to convert an existing vehicle into an asset. In such cases, it may be possible to kick off the business on minimal investment while owning more than one vehicle. Buying used buses is also an intelligent route to starting a robust service without putting in humongous amounts of money.
Buying a transit bus requires some thought and preparation. Transit buses may be of different sizes. They may be big or small depending on the passenger capacity needed. A bigger bus can bring in more revenue only if its full capacity is utilized regularly. Otherwise, a behemoth could simply be a drain on your resources. If you are looking for used buses, it is important to know more about used buses before you buy. For instance, some models quickly go out of vogue and investing in such models could be disastrous, particularly when you need spare parts which are no longer available in the market. When buying a used bus, you need to have the vehicle inspected by a reliable and skilled mechanic. This ensures that you do not end up with a vehicle that drinks money on repair and maintenance. Finally, always make your purchase from a reliable, trusted and established source. This ensures high quality of service and good value for money.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tips to Buy High Quality Car Tyres

Are you looking for some tips to buy Car Tyres? If the answer is yes then you are reading the right article. In this article you will find some tips and techniques which will help you a lot in buying right tyres for your vehicle. Tyres are one of the basic parts of a vehicle. It is very essential to invest in high quality tyres. The quality of the tyres affect both performance as well as safety of the car. There are many things which should be considered while buying car tyres and another automotive parts. Lets go through them one by one.
One of the factors which should be taken in consideration while buying the tyres is the season. Nowadays you can find specific tyres for different seasons. Tyres chosen according to the season ensures the safety of the driver.
The next thing which should be taken in account is the condition of the roads. The tyres should be designed according to the local roads.
If you are concerned about the external beauty of the car then it is a great idea to go for stylist tyres. Nowadays tyres can be enhanced according to your needs.Customized tyres can improve overall look of your car.
One should always plan his budget in advance. Proper planning of budget can help a lot in choosing right tyres according to your needs.
It is a great idea to visit a professional before buying any type of automotive part.
Nowadays there is lots of talk about tubeless tyres. This is a new advancement in automobile industry. These type of tyres are beneficial in many ways.
The size of the tyres should also be kept in mind. The size of the tyre varies according to type of vehicle you are driving. Bigger tyres always give better acceleration and increases the point of contact between the road and vehicle.
You should always have some knowledge of tread pattern. The tread is designed to provide optimal grip on the road surface. Nowadays you can find three types of treads - Conventional, unidirectional and asymmetrical.
The type of rubber used to manufacture the tyres decide the life as well as performance of the tyres. So it is a good idea to go for tyres made up of high quality material.
One should also check for warranty as well as guarantee. This help a lot in longterm maintenance of your vehicle.