• 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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  • 2017 Peugeot Django 125i Switches to EasyMotion

    The 2017 Peugeot Django 125i continues to offer a vintage look with modern technology. And for this year, that tech will include the new fuel injected 125cc EasyMotion engine and Syncho Braking Concept (SBC) linked brakes.

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i Evasion Easymotion
    The 2017 Pegueot Django 125i Evasion

    Most new Peugeot scooters are being moved across to the new fuel-injected motor to meet Euro4 emission rules. For example, the horribly-named Tweet also has the same engine. In the case of the retro-style 2017 Peugeot Django 125i, that means around 100 miles per gallon. Under World Motorcycle Test Cycle Conditions, it managed 104mpg. That’s helped by the engine switch not having much effect on the 135kg weight, or the 7.5kW (10hp) output.

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i Allure Easymotion
    The 2017 Peugeot Django 125i Allure tops the range

    The 2017 Peugeot Django 125i also shares the SBC braking system with a number of other scooters from the French manufacturer, including the racier Speedfight4 125. When you apply the left lever, you activate the SBC, which distributes the braking between the 200mm front disc brake and 170mm rear disc. Which should slow you down quickly, without locking the wheels. Or having the front dive like a Premier League footballer.

    If you need to stop any more quickly, then add the right-hand lever for extra power. Obviously there’s no need for a clutch lever with an automatic scooter.

    Although those are two sizeable changes under the surface, the Django has generally stayed pretty unchanged from the outside. You still get a look inspired by the vintage 1950s Peuegot S55. And a mix that incluces an analogue speedo with a digital displayer, for example. Or retro chrome trim with LED indicators, rear and signature lights around the front grille. The under seat lockable storage bay will easily store your retro open-face helmet, but the glove compartment has a 12v socket for your smartphone.

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i S Sport Easymotion
    The coolest of the 2017 Peugeot Django 125i range has to be the matt black S model

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i Model Range:

    If you’re interested in picking up a Peugeot for learning, commuting or as your main transport, then there are 5 different model levels you can choose from.

    • Heritage: Single colours,white wheels and round chrome mirrors.
    • Sport: Grey wheel rims and sport numbers. Dual seat has removable passenger seat shell and chrome hand-grip.
    • S: – based around the Sport, with matt black body panels and colour-matched passenger seat shell. Wheels, fork legs and engine cover are all painted black, with contrasting satin chrome finish on the trim, mirror covers and headlamp peak.
    • Evasion: Two-tone colours, with white wheel rims and white-wall tyres. Painted rear-view mirrors have a chrome surround. Fly screen and chrome front luggage rack are standard equipment.
    • Allure: Two-tone bodywork, grey wheel rims, white-wall tyres and three-tone dual seat. Painted mirrors with chrome surround. Fly screen, colour-match top-case, passenger back-rest and chrome rear luggage rack as standard equipment

    Prices start at £2,799 for a Heritage version, and all of them comes with two-year-unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty. Obviously the matt black S is the coolest, because matt black. We’re not joking – the fact the wheels, forks and engine cover are also black makes it look like it’s going racing in the 1960s. It’s definitely the one we’d pick!

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  • How to Reduce Tyre Overloading

    We love travelling in cars, vans and motorhomes for the freedom and comfort they give us. And we love the fact we can bring lots of things along. But when we pack our lives into our cars or load the caravan for a trip, we often forget to think about how much additional weight we are adding. Tyres can’t bear unlimited weight! Just because your van has enough space to fit that bike, boat, and a cooler packed with food doesn’t mean your tyres can cope with the task. The same applies to an SUV towing a trailer or a car with a roof box piled high for a road trip.

    For a safe trip, it is crucial not to overload your vehicle. It is very important to adjust your tyre pressure depending on the weight you have added. We’ll tell how to avoid overloading tyres when on a long trip.

    Why is overloading dangerous?

    The tyre is doing very hard work supporting the total weight of the vehicle and withstanding deformations, speed, heat and incredible forces. Heat causes exfoliation and separation of tread pieces as well as sidewall cords damage that can progress even after the extra load is removed. If your vehicle is overloaded then these forces are multiplied. Every tyre has a specific weight limit you shouldn’t exceed or it will simply fail – think about what will happen if you experience a blow at in your hugely overloaded car at high speed on a busy motorway.

    Consistently using tyres on the top of their weight limit degrades tyres the same as overloading them for a short time. If a tyre has already been underinflated or damaged, even a small extra load can lead to a blowout.

    How can overloading be avoided?

    1. Know your limits. At first, you need to find out how much weight your tyres need to support. This information can be found in your cars owner’s manual or on the sticker placed on the driver’s doorjamb. Then check the tyre’s maximum load capacity on its sidewall. It must be equal to or more than the total load you are going to bring along. In this case, your tyres must be inflated to their maximum pressure (this information can also be found in the owner’s manual), which MUSTN’T be exceeded. Let’s assume that information on the tyre’s sidewall says “Max 2,000 lb @ 35 psi”. It means that the tyre can carry the maximum of 2,000 pounds being inflated to no more than 35 pounds per square inch. It also means that, once your car has 4 tyres, the total weight of the car and baggage mustn’t exceed 8,000 pounds.

    If in doubt refer to Tyresafe’s car tyre or caravan tyre pressure calculators.

    2. Choose tyres accordingly. If you need to haul heavy loads, consider changing your tyres for another set with the same size but a higher load capacity or slightly larger tyres. Consult a tyre specialist before opting for larger tyres. Another solution is to increase pressure in tyres if their maximum pressure limit allows doing so. For your RV, use only caravan tyres that match your owner manual’s specifications.
    3. Choose motorhome wisely. If you are going to rent a recreational vehicle, do it with your prospective load in mind. Modern RVs vary in design, size, and loading capacity. Some of them have equipment for carrying a certain type of cargo like a motorcycle, bikes, or a boat.

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  • Buying Second-Hand and Revealing a Car’s History

    In the market for a second-hand vehicle? It can be daunting to navigate such a large market, but when you know what to look for and how to find it you should not have too much trouble. It is vital that you are thorough with your search and are not rushed into any decisions as there are a lot of dishonest sellers out there and the vehicle may not be as advertised.

    Checking the Car Over

    Once you think you have found the right vehicle, the first thing to do will be to check it over and take it for a test drive. This will involve much more than simply kicking the tyres – fortunately, there is a lot of helpful information online to help you with this process. In addition to this, a smart move is to enlist the help of a mechanic who will be able to provide their assessment of the automobile. This ensures that it is safe to drive and will give you peace of mind.

    The History

    A lot of motorists think that this is enough to determine whether or not they should purchase the vehicle, but this is absolutely not the case. Equally important is learning the history of the vehicle – this will indicate if there are any recurring issues, how many owners it has had, how far it has travelled and if it has a hidden history (stolen, unpaid parking tickets, previously written-off, outstanding finance etc.)

    A hidden history could reveal itself further down the line and cause a major issue for the buyer. In addition to this, concealing an aspect of the vehicle’s past may allow the seller to negotiate a higher price. This is why it is absolutely essential that you carry out a vehicle history check before making a purchase on a used-car. The seller may have done this themselves, but it is always worth doing it yourself for peace of mind.

    Uncovering the History

    These checks, available from companies like cap hpi, reveal an in-depth history and everything that you need to know to make an intelligent decision. You should ensure that there are no major issues with the car’s history, and also check that this information matches what the seller advertises.

    Buying a used car can be daunting, but by knowing how to inspect a vehicle and how to reveal its history it should allow you to search with confidence and find exactly what you are looking for.

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