Have you ever wondered if there is anything you can do to improve your odds before you take your car in for a state inspection check?

Something that can give your car a better chance of passing?

Well, there are a few things! Here are five things to consider:

BMW Z4 by MB Individual Cars-1

Make sure the engine is warmed up. Don’t drop your car off cold, make sure it is warmed up. A drive for 10-15 minutes should ensure that all mechanical systems are operating at the temperatures they are designed to operate at. This will reduce the emissions output to a minimum.

Is the “Check Engine” illuminated? If your car displays the Check Engine Light (CEL), that generally means something is wrong. The most common reason for a CEL to be illuminated is a faulty oxygen sensor (approximately a $200 repair) and this will cause your car to fail an emission test. There are many other reasons that a CEL can be illuminated too and you should have your mechanic look at it before you bring it in for testing.

Drive the car at highway speeds for 30 mins or more prior to the test. This is more than just warming up the engine. Prolonged driving gets the catalytic convertor hot enough to burn off any residual oil and gas residues.

Change the oil but only if it needs it. Dirty oil in the crankcase can release additional hydrocarbons and other pollutants which could cause the car to fail the smog test. If you are near your ordinary oil change date, do it before you have your car tested for emissions.

Use a fuel additive. Older cars could have clogged fuel injectors causing them to run lean. Injector additives can clean the small openings and help the car pass the smog test. Put this in your car’s gas tank a month or so before you bring it in for inspection.

Source: EastHillsChevrolet

Do you have a trusty old used car but the carpeting has seen better days.

If it’s time to do something about it, you have a couple of choices.

First, you can buy inexpensive floor mats and toss them in. Or you can go top shelf and install new pre-fitted carpeting.

This is a great solution because it makes the car almost look new again.

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A lot of people don’t know that you can easy buy preformed carpets for your car and you can install them yourself. Pre-formed carpets are designed to exactly match the originals in your car and they are generally available in the right color and will be custom molded for your car make and model. They are available either from your local dealer, local autoparts store or on-line.

Considering going DIY? Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help guide you:

  • The new carpet will be shipped rolled up. Before you start, unroll it and let it lie on a flat surface for at least a few hours.
  • Unscrew the four nuts that secure the seats to the floor pan studs. You may also have to remove the seat belt anchor bolts. Disconnect any electrical connectors under each seat also. Remove the seats.
  • If you have a console in between the two front seats, loosen it or remove it.
  • Remove the rear seat cushion.
  • When everything is free, pull the old carpet out.
  • Vacuum the floor pan and check for rust. Treat any rusted areas with a good rust-inhibiting paint.
  • Using the old carpet as a template, place it over the new one. Trace the cutouts where the studs went through to the new carpet with chalk. Then cut the cutout openings with a boxcutter.
  • When everything is dry, fit the new carpet in and reverse the disassembly procedure.

When finished, enjoy the look and feel of your brand new carpet, buy a set of decent floor mats anyway and get a set of good set of no-spill coffee mugs!

Thanks to Instructions from Central Avenue Chrysler

That moment when you realise you’ve suffered a terrifying car accident is unforgettable. There will be an explosion of noise followed by a hollow silence and steaming cars. The last thing on your mind will be gathering information. You’ll be concerned for your safety and those of your passengers. You might be enraged at the crazy driver who smashed into you! It’s really important that you keep these emotions in check and take stock of what has happened.

If you’ve been part of a car crash, there may be compensation available to you. When you speak to a lawyer specializing in car accidents, they will ask you about every detail. This is why it’s so important to write everything down. The more you can document at the scene, the better your chances of recuperation. So, here’s a complete list of everything you should write down.

1.The vehicles involved – First of all take down the make and model of all the cars involved. It’s worth noting the colour and any particular identity features too. Collect the registration number while you’re there.

2. Personal details. – Although there may be a little chaos and confusion, make sure you get everyone’s personal details. Take down the names of the driver and any passengers in the cars involved. Take down their contact details and address. Finally, ask the driver for their insurance supplier and details, especially if it was their fault.

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  1. Damage to the vehicle – To ensure that nothing is manipulated later on, write down any immediate damage to the vehicles. If possible, take photos of the surface damage. This will be valuable evidence if needed later on.
  1. Witnesses – If anyone else was present at the scene, take down their name and contact information. If possible, get a quick statement from them about what they saw. Although they’re not always reliable, good witnesses are good to have.
  1. The collision itself – Write down as many details about the actual collision as possible. What speed were you doing? Where did the other car come from? An even better tactic is to sketch your version of events while they’re fresh in your mind. Again, take photos of any skid marks and the final position of the cars involved.
  1. Conditions – Make a note of any adverse weather conditions, but any extra information here is useful. Times, location and any other road conditions could be invaluable.
  1. Injuries – Injuries can often be exaggerated for personal claims later on. With that in mind, it’s really important to note any immediate injuries as soon as possible. That means to yourself, your passengers and those in other vehicles.
  1. Police offers’ information – The first people on the scene will be the police officers. Take the time to get their names and precinct information. It could be useful at a later date to confirm information.

We know that it’s a difficult and traumatic time for anyone. However, do take the time to collect as much information as possible. When it comes to claims, insurance and compensation later on, you’ll be pleased you did!

Photo credit : Flickr

Mercedes-Benz is a brand associated with quality, luxury and performance. Ever eager to please their diverse target market, the German car maker introduced a new model to the CLA lineup. I am, of course, talking about the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Shooting Brake.

The car is “suited to a young target group that seeks inspiring experiences and new challenges.” At least, that’s what MB’s marketing chief, Dr. Jens Thiemer, had to say about the new model.

Mercedes-Benz have used an unusual angle to market the launch of the new CLA 45 Shooting Brake. They went with the “hunter seeking prey in an urban jungle” angle. Their marketing campaign began in Germany a few days ago. But is the CLA 45 Shooting Brake the prey you feast on once you spot it?

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA

 

Engine and transmission choices

 

There are four engines and two gearbox options available in the new Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Shooting Brake. They are as follows:

  • 1.6-litre turbo petrol. 120 brake horsepower, 0-60 mph in 9.1 seconds. Top speed of 130 mph. Fuel economy (combined) is 48 mpg for manual, 51 mpg for the Tiptronic. CO2 emissions are 134 g/km (manual), 128 g/km (Tiptronic);
  • 2.0-litre turbo petrol. 208 brake horsepower, 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds. Top speed of 149 mph. Fuel economy (combined) is 42 mpg for the Tiptronic. CO2 emissions are 152 g/km (Tiptronic);
  • 2.0-litre turbo diesel. 134 brake horsepower, 0-60 mph in 9.6 seconds. Top speed of 134 mph. Fuel economy (combined) is 65 mpg for manual, 68 mpg for the Tiptronic. CO2 emissions are 111 g/km (manual), 106 g/km (Tiptronic); and
  • 2.0-litre turbo diesel. 174 brake horsepower, 0-60 mph in 8.0 seconds. Top speed of 142 mph. Fuel economy (combined) is 67 mpg for the Tiptronic. CO2 emissions are 108 g/km (Tiptronic).

The guys over at Mercedes Inchcape have already taken many pre-orders for the new model, which goes on sale in May 2015. They’ve said that the best-selling engine combination is the 2.0-litre 134 brake horsepower diesel.

 

On the road

 

The new Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Shooting Brake is quite smooth on the road. Most models will feature a 4×4 drivetrain system that only serves to enhance the handling of the Shooting Brake.

Once thing I’ve noticed is that the steering offers a good blend of “weight” and feedback from the road. On some cars, the power steering system tends to make you feel disconnected from the tarmac. The good news is that you don’t suffer such problems on the CLA 45 Shooting Brake.

 

Trim level features

 

You get a plethora of equipment on the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 Shooting Brake. For instance, the base model “Sport” comes with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard. It also comes with rear parking sensors and cruise control.

All models come with a 7-inch infotainment system on the dashboard. That means you can enjoy Bluetooth connectivity. And you can also specify sat-nav as an optional extra.

If you want to get rid of your current model and purchase something a little better during the next few months, you’re probably looking online for the best tips. Buying from the second-hand market will mean you have a wide selection to choose from. It will also mean you can save thousands of dollars that would be better spent on looking after your family. So, you’re making the right decision by avoiding anything brand new.

Our advice today should make it easy for you to find the ideal model, make your purchase, and bring the car home.

As you will see, it doesn’t always matter if the vehicle is being sold in your hometown these days. Thankfully, we have the internet!

Make a shortlist of appropriate models

Before you start looking at different US car sellers, you should first make a shortlist of all the vehicles you deem suitable. That way, you will know which models to search for when looking online. Depending on the size of your family and how you intend to use the vehicle, your choice should reflect your requirements. There is no point in choosing a two-seater sports car if you have to take the kids to school in the morning. Likewise, there is no need to opt for something with a massive engine if you commute long distances. Nobody wants to pay more in fuel costs than is necessary, right?

Check the top car selling websites

There are so many people buying and selling cars online these days that you’ll never have to look far to find something interesting. Just search on Google for the top sites and spend a few hours looking at all the available models. Again, don’t worry too much if they are in other states. There are now companies that specialize in interstate car shipping, and their rates are pretty reasonable. That means you can move the vehicle from wherever it might be stored in your home with little effort.

used-cars

Learn how to negotiate

Presuming you are making the purchase online, it can be a bit more difficult to negotiate with the seller. However, it is not impossible. There are hundreds of fantastic articles available that give you tips on the best way to get a good deal. To be honest, some people will find that online negotiations give them the upper hand. Instead of having to stand your ground and deal with a seller face to face, you can simply make your points in an email. Those who are less than confident in their abilities should find that a little easier.

As crazy as it might sound, that’s it. We told you that getting the best deal on a used car is easy, and now you can see that it is. There are so many models available on the market at the current time that some sellers have to list them for weeks before anyone shows an interest. So, the scales of balance are tipped in your favor, whether you realize it or not. Good luck!

The new Lexus NX is a premium mid-sized crossover SUV. It’s aim is to attract a new breed of “Generation Y” customers into the Japanese marque’s fold. Lexus also want to take on other car makers such as BMW and Audi to gain a bigger market share.

When you look at the car’s styling cues, you can see that Lexus have invested a lot of time and money into its development. It’s a car that is packed with technology, features and luxury. But are those selling points enough to tempt new buyers to the Lexus brand?

In today’s review, I explore what the new Lexus NX has to offer potential buyers.

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Performance

At the moment, the Lexus NX is only available with just one engine and transmission choice. The car comes with a hybrid drive system. The main power plant is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit.

With the hybrid powertrain, the entire setup achieves 195 brake horsepower. It will also get you from zero to 60 mph in nine seconds. What I find impressive about this 1.7-tonne SUV is that it boasts combined fuel economy figures of up to 56 mpg. CO2 emissions are only 116 g/km, which is perfect for those that pay car tax based on engine emissions.

You can choose from a two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive system when you buy a new Lexus NX. The engine and hybrid drive system is linked to an automatic (CVT) gearbox. Sadly, there is no option to choose a manual transmission at this stage.

It’s worth bearing in mind that this car isn’t a high-performance model. But it’s a car aimed at people that want a practical, luxurious and tech-centric SUV for daily driving. It’s a vehicle that will also keep your ongoing motoring costs down too, thanks to the hybrid drive system.

According to the guys at Inchcape Lexus, you have the option of selecting a “Sport” mode on the transmission. The aim of this option is to improve throttle response and works in a similar way to the same mode on other cars with automatic gearboxes.

Road handling

Lexus wants people to know that the NX offers a safe and commanding view of the road ahead. You can chuck it around corners at speed, and it won’t veer off course thanks to its excellent grip on the road.

You do have the option to pay extra for adjustable suspension on some trim levels. But I’ve found that the standard setup is more than sufficient for everyday driving.

Trim levels

S, SE, Luxury, F Sport, and Premier are the five trim level options available on the new Lexus NX. “S” offers LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels on the exterior. Inside the car, you get features like DAB digital radio and adaptive cruise control.

“SE” adds roof rails, 18-inch alloys and heated front seats. You also get automatic wipers, which are a handy feature.

“Luxury” includes LED fog lights with cornering functionality and heated leather seats.

“F Sport” includes features like sports seats, two-tone alloy wheels and a body kit.

“Premier” is the range-topper. You get heated and ventilated front seats, a better infotainment system and a 360-degree panoramic view camera.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to attract new buyers to the Lexus NX!

When it comes to buying and owning a car, you’ll find you have a lot more responsibilities than you’ve had before.

You need to care for the car and look after it to make sure it looks after you.

Now, there are a great many things you need to take into account when you drive. Chief among these needs to be what the best car is for your circumstances.

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Whatever your circumstances it’s difficult to find a more attractive prospect than a Hyundai. You need to consider what a car can offer you and why you should get one. Here are some reasons you should make your next car a Hyundai.

Reliability

One of the best things about Hyundai is that they have a reputation for making reliable cars. Indeed, the Japanese company is renowned worldwide for producing cars with fantastic reliability. And this is exactly what you want and need from your car. You don’t want to have to be taking it into the service garage every few weeks with yet more problems. The purpose of having  car is to improve your life. It needs to get you around from point A to B. You need to be able to rely on it to do this. And with a Hyundai, you won’t need to worry about it breaking down all the time.

Style

It’s also worth noting that Hyundai cars often tend to be stylish models. They’re sleek, attractive, and they have sex appeal. When you drive down the street in a Hyundai people take notice. Style is important for a car owner, and you want to know that you have the most stylish car you can get ahold of. Not only is a Hyundai stylish, but it also looks modern, trendy and original. Whether the car is a regular sedan, a hatchback or a 4×4 Hyundai know how to make attractive cars. You only need to take a look at the upcoming Hyundai Tuscon to see how beautiful these cars can be.

Cost

One of the great things about Hyundai cars is that they aren’t too expensive. A lot of manufacturers these days price their vehicles too highly. As a result, it means that a lot of people are alienated and can’t own the car due to the price tag. With Hyundai, this is less of a problem. They have a tradition of being good value vehicles with excellent warranty plans. Whether you’re a singleton, a young couple or a family, there’s sure to be a Hyundai that fits into your price range.

Efficient

As a driver and car owner, one of the most important things about a car is how efficient it is. You don’t want to have a gas guzzler that is going to eat its way through petrol at an alarming rate. In the current economy, it’s important to have a car that is fuel efficient. Not only will this help cut back on your expenses, but it also helps you be more environmentally friendly. The good news is that Hyundai are renowned for their fuel efficient motors. In fact, a study by Auto Trader showed that Hyundai sells more fuel efficient cars than anybody else. Choosing a Hyundai as your next car seems like a bit of a no-brainer!

Ever since the Swedish automaker Volvo got bought out by a Chinese firm a few years ago, some new models and facelifts got introduced. The latest incarnation is the 2015 Volvo XC90. You might have seen people talking about the new luxury SUV online. Or perhaps you’ve seen some advertising about the vehicle in a newspaper.

But if you don’t have the full lowdown on Volvo’s newest model, you have come to the right place. That’s because I will give you a first look at the XC90 for today’s review. After spending some time test driving it and learning of its features, one thing’s for certain. There are plenty of reasons to get excited about the new Volvo XC90!

Here is what you need to know about the Swedish firm’s newest model in the 2015 lineup:

volvo 2015

Three impressive engines

There are three power plants to choose from with the new 2015 Volvo XC90. The first is a 2.0-litre D5 turbodiesel engine. It produces 221 brake horsepower and will get you to 60 mph from a standing start in a not-too-shabby 7.6 seconds.

It also boasts CO2 emissions of 149 g/km and combined fuel economy of 48 mpg. There will be no doubt that the D5 is going to be the engine of choice for business users and long-distance drivers. In fact, the http://www.carcogroup.co.uk/ website has already seen plenty of enquiries and pre-orders for the D5 variant of the XC90!

The next engine is a 2.0-litre “T8” unit. What’s unique about this choice is it’s both turbocharged and supercharged. Oh, and did I mention it also has an electric motor too? It offers a whopping 394 brake horsepower as standard and has a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds. If you want to be an eco-friendly motorist, the XC90 with this engine is your best choice.

Why? Because it only produces a mere 64 g/km of CO2 emissions! In some parts of the world, car tax gets based on engine emissions. In the UK, for example, you would not pay any tax on this particular vehicle as it has less than 99 g/km of CO2 emissions.

Last but not least is the 2.0-litre T6 petrol engine. Like the T8, it’s twin-charged but doesn’t come with an electric powertrain. Still, 315 brake horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds will more than make up for it!

On the road

Take an XC90 out for a drive, and you will realise that you’ve never driven such a comfortable car before in your life!

Admittedly it’s not a vehicle you’d throw around corners given its size. But don’t let that put you off because the model offers plenty of grip in all road conditions. It’s clear that Volvo want to tempt BMW X5 drivers away from the fold and into an XC90.

Equipment

There are three trim levels on the Volvo XC90 – Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. The “basic” trim level is anything but frugal! Some of the features you get as standard include LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a power tailgate.

You also get stylish twin exhaust tailpipes, rear parking sensors and 19-inch alloy wheels. The R-Design gets 20-inch wheels and sporty interior and exterior styling. The Inscription adds leather upholstery to the list of features.

If you’re in the market for something like a BMW X5 or Audi Q7, I recommend checking out the Volvo XC90 before making a decision.

Photo credit : Flickr

Ever since the relaunch of the Mini thirteen years ago, there have been detractors. Despite the wild success of the relaunch, many have disapproved of its move away from its roots. Of course, the styling is reminiscent of the original. The colours, the racing stripe and the iconic white roof have always remained. However, one big thing has changed from the original; the size. The new Mini has been on a growth spurt since its relaunch. Now, BMW plan to take the Mini back to its roots as the Mini Minor looks set for release.

It won’t hit the market until 2018 or 2019, but BMW have confirmed that it is in development. After the recent release of the Mini Cooper S five door, original fans have shouted louder than ever. The Mini has simply gotten bigger and bigger. The 5 door version is the biggest of the lot. However, the proposed Mini Minor will seriously shrink the design, almost back to the original spec.

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In 2011, Mini teased us with the prospect of the Mini Minor. They called it the Rocketman and debuted the concept at the Geneva motor show in 2011. It has been almost four years to the day and our sources at BMW have confirmed its finally moving into production. BMW have gone back and forth over this decision, but all signs look good. What’s even more interesting, is that it looks like the Mini Minor will be co-developed with Toyota.

This is all part of a major streamlining project at BMW with regards to the Mini series. Big motoring fans can’t help but notice the sheer range of Mini options. Take one glance at coopermini.co.uk and you can see for yourself. There’s the Countryman, the Paceman, the Coupe, the Roadster, the new 5 door hatch and the convertible. It looks like Mini will slowly discontinue the Roadster, the Coupe and the Pacemen over the coming years. In its place will be a streamlined range and this new Mini Minor.

So, what do we know so far? Well, not much unfortunately. We know that it will be significantly smaller than any Mini currently on the market. It will be 3450mm long; a snip of the large length of the newer Mini Cooper S 5 Door. It’s a dwarf compared to the Countryman! Early drawings show that it has a ‘double bubble’ rear roof section. It looks like it falls somewhere between the 2011 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman.

What does all this mean? It means that we’re about to see the cheapest Mini on the market. Their report suggests it could come in around £10,000 or cheaper, which sounds like a bargain. It also shows that there’s an interesting development taking place between Toyota and BMW. As we mentioned, Toyota will help co-develop the vehicle. It will be interesting to see what else emerges as a result of this collaboration.

We’ve always loved the new Mini. It’s a perfect reinvention of the original, fit for the modern world. However, we did find ourselves disappointed with the release of the larger Clubman and Countryman. The essence was beginning to wane. Now, it’s back in force. Purists and modern fans alike will be happy. Not only that, but Mini may just be about to dominate the super-small city car group. We’re excited!

Photo credit : Flickr

You’re roaring up the motorway, racing over B roads and C roads in your latest supercar. The smooth ride of the Maserati feels like heaven and, as the pedal hits the metal, you steer this machine with the grace of a pirouetting ballerina.

But then disaster strikes – out of nowhere, a stuttering boxcar slams into your car door. You scream as your car swerves off-road, smashing into a nearby ditch with the dull thud of a football hitting a damp pitch.

Crash

Your legs feel like jelly and your neck feels like it’s unscrewed, but you’re alive – which is much luckier than some people.

According to government figures, 24, 580 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2014, a three per cent rise from 2013.

Yet, not every injury from a car accident is blameless, and when human error comes into play it’s time to phone the injury claim lawyers.

Just imagine a world where injury claims didn’t exist – those smirking, baseball cap-sporting petrolheads and piston-stomping Top Gear obsessives would treat the roads like it was Silverstone.

But with the claims process, these nitro-loving menaces will have to think twice before they endanger the lives of others.

And it’s not all about civic duty – you could also rake in the cash if a claim is successful.

The legal ins and outs

With that in mind, what does the claims process involve?

First, you’ll have to pick up the phone and get in touch with a solicitor. Detail everything about your accident to them – the date, severity of injuries, its emotional impact – and your representation will decide if your case has a leg to stand on.

Next up, you’ll have to get your Sherlock hat on and help your representation gather evidence for your claim. CCTV footage, speed camera recordings, police reports, witness statements – everything, no matter how trivial, could be viable in your case.

If you’ve ever watched a courtroom drama, you’ll know that even the smallest piece of evidence can prove to the linchpin of any argument, so make sure you gather everything you can.

After this, you’ll mainly take a back seat in proceedings as your lawyer tries to wangle an out of court settlement.

But if they don’t pull it off, it’s off to court with you. This can be a nerve-racking process for some people, but don’t let the nerves get to you. Provided your case is solid and you put your trust in your representation, you stand a good chance of winning.

Seeking a claim can provide you with closure after a horrendous accident. So if you’ve suffered from a crash, you know exactly who to call.