• Automatic Car Driving for Beginners

    Automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular – but how do you do about driving one? You may well find that driving an automatic is a more pleasant driving experience than that provided by a manual – but how do you get started? We’ve rounded up the basics below.

    Familiarise yourself

    Once you’re in the car and you’ve checked the seat and mirrors are in the right positions, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the controls and pedals – remember in an automatic you just have a brake (on the left) and an accelerator (on the right).

    It’s also crucial you familiarise yourself with the gear box. You’ll find the gear selector where a traditional manual gear stick is placed, between the driver’s and the passenger seat, or to the side of the steering wheel. As you’ll see, it’s quite different to a manual gear stick; you’ll usually have four choices where to put the gear selector:  ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘N’ and ‘D’, denoting park, reverse, neutral and drive.

    That might seem a lot of choice for a car that’s meant to be ‘automatic’, but you’ll see the choices soon narrow themselves down, making them much less onerous. Here’s how they work:

    • Park is only ever used once the car is stationary and safely parked, only then do you choose ‘P’. So you use it when you’ve finished driving, as you do the handbrake, ensuring your car doesn’t go anywhere until you next need it.
    • Reverse, as you would expect, for driving backwards. Neutral on the other hand can be used when you’ve stopped for short periods, in just such instances when you would apply the handbrake too. ‘Drive’ of course allows your car to move, and this is when an automatic comes into its own, as you don’t need to select a gear.

    Some automatics also come with an additional first or second gear, which can be helpful in some circumstances, like negotiating a steep incline or preventing your wheels from spinning in inclement weather conditions. Moreover, some automatics give you the option to control gears either from paddles on the dashboard or via the gear selector.

    Drive it

    But how to go about driving it? First, check the car has been left in the ‘park’ position. Then put your foot on the brake, put the key in the ignition and turn it clockwise. While keeping your foot on the brake, move the gear selector to ‘Drive’ or ‘Reverse’, as you require, and take off the handbrake.

    As you lift your foot off the brake, you’ll find the car begins to move gently. If you are on a hill, you may need to add some acceleration, but otherwise, the car will choose the right gear for your journey. If you are ever stationary for more than 5-10 seconds during your journey, then apply the handbrake.  Once you’ve reached your destination and are safely parked; then select the ‘Park’ option, put on the handbrake, turn off the ignition and exit.

    Practice

    Driving an automatic car may seem strange at first, but the key is to get to know your new car well and give yourself time to practise driving it. Learn to slow down and apply the brake sooner than you would in a manual car, for instance when you are approaching a corner. Also familiarise yourself with the different use of the accelerator, using it to give your car ‘oomph’ when you’d use a low gear in a manual car. However, once you’ve got used to these differences, you’ll find automatic cars make for a very relaxing driving experience.

    Want to keep your current car running safely and efficiently? Make sure that your tyres are in full working order, and check out the tyres Swindon section of the Wiltshire Tyres website to find out more.

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  • ’63 CORVETTE STING RAY: RACED FROM DAY ONE!

    Consummate Corvette aficionado K. Scott Teeters blogs about Ken Hazelton’s unique split-window coupe that has never been driven on the street. Zora Arkus-Duntov would have been proud.

    Although born to be a street sports car, this Sting Ray has never been anything but a racecar. Zora Arkus-Duntov was the driving force behind making sure that production Corvettes could be easily turned into competitive racecars. He was famous for saying, “I want my customers to enjoy their Corvette.”

    Even though he was in the engineering department and not sales and marketing, he thought like a salesman. Duntov’s insistence that Corvette customers had access to Chevrolet engineered parts for racing, created the Corvette’s racing halo.

    To continue reading, please visit  http://www.corvettereport.com/ken-hazeltons-1963-split-window-coupe-corvette-racecar/#more-11630

    The post ’63 CORVETTE STING RAY: RACED FROM DAY ONE! appeared first on .

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  • 10 Tips to Keep Your Car Engine in Perfect Condition

    Automotive technology is constantly improving and modern cars are often capable of clocking up more miles than could ever have been dreamt of in the past coupled with ever-increasing service intervals. It almost seems as though we can now simply forget about engine maintenance. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth and keeping an engine in perfect working order requires rather more than good luck! There are a few simple measures that go a long way towards keeping the engine running well, lasting longer and with reduced risk of breakdown.

    1. Frequently Check Oil Levels – This may sound absurdly obvious but it is surprising how many drivers fail to carry out this most basic of all checks. Many cars offer electronic checks of oil levels but these are often wildly inaccurate and only give warning at a very low level. There is no substitute for regular checks on the dipstick.

    2. Change Oil Frequently – The manufacturer’s recommended period between oil changes should be regarded as an absolute maximum figure. Any car subjected to many short journeys or extended periods of high-speed driving will benefit from more frequent changes.

    3. Use Good Quality Oil – Car manufacturers invariably specify suitable grades of oil but even cars for which the lowlier grades are said to suffice will benefit from the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic oils which maintain their viscosity over a wide range of temperatures.

    4. Check Coolant Levels – This is another check that is often overlooked until it is too late. Electronic monitoring of levels is unreliable and waiting until the system overheats often means that major damage has already been done. Obviously, antifreeze should be of the correct concentration and type. Under no circumstances should different types be mixed.

    5. Check the Condition of Belts – Drive belts are an unavoidable feature of car engines powering auxiliary items such as alternators, power steering or air-con. A simple visual inspection and the renewal of any showing signs of wear can help to avoid a future breakdown. For those engines employing belt-driven camshafts, cam-belt failure can be catastrophic. Manufacturers usually specify cam-belt replacement intervals but many breakages still occur within these periods so the best recommendation is to change these belts much more frequently possibly at half of the quoted recommended mileage.

    6. Change Filters Regularly – Oil and air filters lose inefficiency as they are used and so it is essential to change them regularly.

    7. Use the Correct Grade of Fuel – Many cars are designed to run on standard grades of petrol and using a higher octane fuel offers no advantages. Other cars may require a high octane fuel and a lower grade can potentially cause problems such as pre-ignition and overheating. Many others are able to utilise different grades with no risk of damage in which case the higher octane fuels usually offer better performance and efficiency.

    8. Do Not Disregard Engine Warnings – Almost all cars feature a system of on-board diagnostics and any fault usually results in the illumination of a dashboard display lamp. Many drivers regard these warnings as a nuisance and there can be a tendency to ignore them especially when they display intermittently. This is folly and any warning messages must be investigated.

    9. Check for Fluid Leaks – A visual check of the engine compartment should be made for any signs of leaks. Any fluid leak is potentially very serious and should be remedied without delay. Any signs of coolant, lubricant, fuel or hydraulic fluid could all be warnings of impending disaster. Perhaps the only insignificant fluid leak is the dripping of condensation from an air-conditioning system.

    10. Engine-Friendly Driving – Adopting a considerate driving style can reap benefits in terms of running costs and engine longevity. Engines should be treated carefully when cold and warmed up by driving gently rather than by idling for a long period.

    There is a well-known adage of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” but this should never form the basis of a maintenance schedule. You certainly would not want your favourite airline to adopt such a policy so why should any motorist? If you can maintain your car correctly then you have the option to browse used cars for sale as well as new ones, in safe knowledge you are able to keep it ticking over in a healty and well maintained way.

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