9:43 am by digitalmbul in Automotive
by: Donald Lee
One of the biggest moments in many people’s lives is driving off in their brand-spanking-new automobile. It’s an exhilarating feeling. It’s also a big moment because in that very instant, that brand-spanking-new car loses a big chunk of its value—the difference between the retail price you paid and the car’s wholesale value. That’s typically thousands gone in an instant.
That’s why some car buyers choose to shop around for a used car. You save yourself that steep initial drop-off in value. More importantly, you get a car that runs just as well, is just as dependable, and looks and feels as good as that new car—that is, if you play your cards right.
For if there is one pitfall of buying a used car, it’s the risk of buying a lemon, a junker—call it what you want, you get the point: the wrong car. Used car dealers, after all, have nearly as bad a reputation, if not worse, than lawyers do. This holds true for individual people selling their cars through newspapers, Web auctions and classified sites, or with the old-fashioned signs in their car windows. The saying, “Buyer Beware,” no where has more meaning than with cars.
The opposite to that, of course, is that there are some real steals out there in used cars. We’re talking about quality vehicles that will perform beyond your expectations at a low price. Here’s how to find these perfect used vehicles, and avoid the top 10 scams that used car dealers everywhere try to pull on you.
1. Get a second opinion for the hype. Used car dealers will bombard you with every adjective under the book to sell you on a car—sporty, thrifty, fast, and etc. Don’t take their word for it. Instead, find someone you know, whether a neighbor, a colleague, a family member, or a friend, who owns the same make and model of the vehicle, and ask them for their opinion.
2. Do a background check. One of the most unethical, but legal, things someone can do to you is sell you a used car that’s been in a flood (and sort of repaired), or one that’s had 10 previous owners (none of whom repaired it). To be sure you don’t fall victim to this, track down a history report, including a clearance check on the vehicle title. You can even get some of this information from the seller, simply by asking why they are selling it. You’d be surprised what beans people may spill.
3. Examine for past damage. Used car dealers may also try to peddle a vehicle that was wrecked in a major accident. It’s amazing what autobody experts can do to repair a car’s exterior. So don’t go by the outer appearances of a vehicle. Before you buy it, make sure that it does not have serious damage to its frame, which it would have if it was involved in a crash.
4. Call up your trusted mechanic. Used car dealers, especially the big lots, will say they put their used cars through a “100 point inspection,” or something like that. Once again, a second opinion is in order. Get this one from your own mechanic. He’ll be able to tell how good a shape the car actually is in. Also be sure to ask him or her how often the car had been serviced. A good mechanic can even gauge that.
5. Research for recalls. Needless to say, a used car dealer may sell you a car that’s actually under recall in his mad rush to get the car off his lot. So be sure to call the car manufacturer, or visit their Web site, to see if the vehicle has any active recalls.
6. Avoid the leftover lemon. Along with recalled vehicles, dealers may even perpetrate something much worse on you—sell you a lemon. (By definition, a lemon is a car that’s still under warranty, which has such major problems that, warranty or not, it still cannot be fixed in a reasonable way.) The best way to avoid this is to research in Consumer Reports or the various automobile magazines, which all have yearly reviews of every make and model on the market. They’ll tell you whether a kind of car is known for being a lemon and prone to breakdowns.
7. See through the old paint and bait. Along with performing their “100 point inspection,” car dealers may shine and wax a used car—even repaint it—to hide dents, dings, and rust spots. A keen eye, though, can see right through this.
8. Take the test drive. Once you’ve done all your research, homework, extra credit, and everything else called for in the first seven steps, then comes the fun—the test drive. Drive the car for as long as its owner or dealer will allow you. Then you’ll get a better feel for how the vehicle handles, accelerates, brakes, and otherwise suits your tastes (or doesn’t).
9. Be wary of the pushy seller. At any stage of the game—from the moment you first talk to the seller to the test drive—be careful if the seller gets pushy. Any dealer or seller who is in a rush to move a vehicle should set off bells and whistles. Why the rush? Are they hiding something? In some cases the seller may just be excited to sell you the car—and actually happy for you—but in many other cases, they may be up to something. Better be safe than sorry.
Follow these 9 simple steps to avoid the scams and pitfalls of used car deals, and you could get the car of your dreams—for far less than you’d pay if it was brand-new. Plus, you get that same high when you drive your new used car home, without losing thousands of dollars.
About the author:
Donald Lee is the public relations manager for Buysellcommunity.com Buysellcommunity provides free classified listing services. Buy, Sell and trade: auto, computers, household items, real estate, pets and much more. For global and localized classifieds, please visit
Free Buy & Sell Classifieds
9:33 am by digitalmbul in Safety Riding
Sure, you have been successfully steering your motorcycle ever since you started riding. But can you steer hard, quickly and accurately when it really counts? A surprising number of motorcyclists fail the final in Steering 101—when a car, deer or unexpected curve appears in front of them. How will the nut that connects the handlebar to the seat on your bike perform in a crisis? From the August 2004 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine. By Art Friedman.
Most motorcyclists have heard of countersteering. If you have been riding for any length of time, you have probably hashed it over in benchracing sessions. The subject is usually covered in rider-training courses, too. Not always, though. I attended a California Highway Patrol training session for motorcycle officers back in the early 1980s and noticed that the subject was not mentioned. When I asked about it, the instructor told me, “It just confuses them.”
I can understand that. The concept of turning the front wheel one way to go the opposite way certainly is counterintuitive. Those of us who started riding before there was rider training probably had to grasp the concept by ourselves, and perhaps we did it subconsciously. And some people never quite realize that you steer left to go right and vice versa. In fact, I have heard some longtime riders insist that that’s not the case, that motorcycles steer the way the front wheel is initially turned. I have also heard bicyclists deny that a bicycle steers this way. The issue is also confused by the fact that you can steer a motorcycle by leaning, as anyone who has ridden any distance with their hands off the bars (a practice that can lead to disaster if you hit something in the road or have a flat tire, I need to point out) can testify. Some motorcyclists will tell you that shifting your body weight is the primary way to steer a motorcycle.
However, the depth of some motorcycle riders’ confusion about motorcycle steering really shows up in accident investigations, which reveal the tendency of some riders to fail to turn or to actually turn the wrong way when confronted by a hazard that suddenly appears. This doesn’t happen in the majority of crashes, but it does happen often enough for the Hurt Report to note it. Typically, the hazard is a vehicle that has pulled into the motorcycle’s path.
So why does a rider fail to swerve or actually turn into the intruding vehicle? It is hard to know exactly. After all, this rider has been successfully turning his motorcycle in the direction he wanted to go since he started riding. When it really counted, why did he do the wrong thing?
One factor is probably target fixation. We tend to go where we look, and it’s hard not to look at the SUV that’s wandering into your path. But I believe you can teach yourself to focus on your escape path, and those who have taken even basic rider training have likely heard an instructor tell them to “get your eyes up” or “turn your head and look where you are going.” Practicing that will not only make your normal turns smoother, it will also help you learn to look at your exit from a dicey situation.
In a recent poll on this site, almost two out of five respondents (38 percent) said they had never taken any sort of rider training, and two-thirds of that group said they started riding before rider training was available. The fact that you have gotten away with it doesn’t mean there aren’t rider-training lessons that can save your bacon (and your Hog’s) when you ride into a traffic crisis. I have been riding pretty intensely for more than 40 years and still benefit from my back-to-school days, in part because it at least makes me reconsider some of my riding habits through the eyes of a detached professional. One thing I readjusted when I went through a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) program many years ago was what I did with my eyes. I started training myself to look at the paths around obstacles rather than the obstacles themselves. This conditioning has been priceless when someone lurches in front of me unexpectedly, leaving me with little distance to react.
But just because you know where you want to go doesn’t mean you have the skills to do so. Do you regularly practice hard swerves at the speeds you typically ride? If you aren’t comfortable making a sudden hard swerve, you probably won’t attempt one in a moment of panic, even though it could be the only action that might avoid a collision. Again, signing up for rider training, preferably an Experienced RiderCourses(which only one in nine poll respondents had taken), will get you started.
However, regular practice—as often as every ride—is what actually keeps the sudden, controlled hard swerve in your bag of accident-avoidance tricks, and makes it familiar enough that you instinctively use it in an adrenaline-addled moment.
Practicing swerves is probably the best remedy for any tendency you might have to steer the wrong direction in a moment of panic. Although shifting your body weight to help direct and steady the swerve is certainly useful, to get that instant, substantial change of direction, you must countersteer—hard, precisely and instinctively. When you practice that zig, you should also follow up with a zag, since in the real world swerving around something is likely to send you out of your lane.
Since we at the magazine constantly have to get on and quickly adapt to test motorcycles we have never ridden before, I have developed a routine of making a quick, hard zig-zag at the first opportunity, usually within a few minutes of pulling away. On cruisers, this normally means dragging both floorboards in rapid succession without leaving my lane. This exercise tells me how precisely a motorcycle steers, what sort of pressure is required to make it steer quickly, how well controlled the suspension is, what sort of ground clearance it offers, how predictably the motorcycle steers, and other clues about how it will behave. It is also good practice for me. I normally like to be going at least 30 mph, and most cruisers are comfortably doing a quick left-right-left floorboard-scraping routine at 70 mph while staying within one lane. You don’t make this sort of quick direction change by leaning off the bike; you must lever forcefully on the handlebar.
The other reason riders probably fail to swerve (other than freezing in a panic, which regular practice might also prevent) is hard braking. A motorcycle, even one with antilock brakes, can’t turn and brake hard at the same time. If you have taken an MSF class, you may have heard the traction-pie analogy. If you are using 90 percent of your available traction to brake, you don’t have another 30 percent left to turn hard. In addition, a motorcycle that’s braking hard, particularly a cruiser, probably resists turning. This means a rider must decide in a split second whether to brake or swerve, and if he swerves, in which direction. If you aren’t comfortable with a hard swerve, you may instinctively hit the brakes, even though swerving might allow you to avoid the obstacle while braking just means you hit it at a lower speed. In addition to making you comfortable swerving, practicing teaches you what kind of room you need to execute a swerve and lets your mind rehearse making that split-second decision about whether to brake or change direction.
Many cruiser riders tend to feel they are safe riders because they don’t ride particularly fast, but this belief lulls them into a complacency that can bite them when they must react immediately to a pop-up hazard. You need to keep those life-on-the-edge skills sharp, even if you rarely use them. The two major avoidance maneuvers are swerving and braking, but unlike braking practice, practicing hard swerves involves little risk of crashing. And swerving might be called on more often. I recently saw a statistic that 55 percent of fatal highway accidents involve unintended lane changes, and I know I have certainly dodged a lot of Dodges. But those lane changers are usually the easy ones to avoid. The car that appears in front of you without warning and stops is the challenge that will really test your abilities. If you practice swerving ahead of time, you will know how to swerve, be able to do it instinctively and be able to judge whether swerving is a viable option under the circumstances.
And that swerving practice is even kind of fun.
Motorcycle Cruiser’s Senior Editor/Web Editor gets mail at Art.Friedman@primedia.com or at ArtoftheMotorcycle@hotmail.com.
9:10 am by digitalmbul in Defensive Driving
Dec 7, 2005
As a coin has two sides, so are the people on road. For our understanding, let us categorize them as sensible and senseless road users. Sensible users better known as defensive drivers are the most careful guys, who introspect their driving abilities from time to time and abide by the rules of road. This ensures Zero-Risk involved with them. On the flip side, where we refer the aggressive drivers to be the senseless, they are least bothered about road safety and driver as per their swing of moods. This makes them Risky guys.
Let’s have a better understanding of these both classes of drivers.
Defensive Drivers Cautious & Careful to commit no driving errors while keeping a watchful eye on the fellow drivers. Aggressive Drivers are least bothered about fellow road users and travel with out care and caution.
Sense of responsibility
Defensive drivers are the most responsible guys on road as they not only obey the traffic rules but realize the importance of the road and traffic safety, hence forth work towards the same. In contrast, the aggressive drivers impede the laws and create a chaotic environment on the road.
As told the defensive drivers abide by the state specified road and traffic laws. This makes them less risky drivers on the road. But the aggressive drivers are noted to be the high risk borne drivers who endanger others as well their own lives on the roads and highways.
The safe guys i.e. defensive drivers are always under the prescribed norms of speeds and concede the right of way to prevent an accident. Coming to the aggressive ones, they don’t drive at prescribed speeds. This leads to close follow of vehicles, frequent change of lines, and passage on unpaved area of the road
Defensive Drivers patiently tolerate the lack of skill and improper attitude of other drivers while aggressive ones are high risk guys and can take off their frustrations on anybody.
Defensive Drivers never intervene in an accident or a close call because of weather, road conditions, traffic, or the actions of pedestrians and other drivers. They are Ever- alert for accident-prone scenarios, far enough in advance to take defensive action.
Aggressive drivers care a damn of the road rules like they run stop signs and red lights, speed, make improper and unsafe lane changes, pass on right, make gestures, scream, honk, and flash their lights.
This gives a detailed picture of the major features of both the drivers. It’s the time to retrospect your genre of driving behaviors and decide which category you fall under. If by any chance, you feel you are near to the border of becoming an aggressive driver, then do opt for a transformation.
These days the change can happen very easily in an optimal way. The solution being referred is about the defensive driving schools. Through these Defensive Driving Courses you can saves lives, avoid road rages, learn the traffic rules, keep away from rigid fines, higher insurance premiums and above all become a safe driver. The main objective of the Defensive Driving Courses is to avoid collisions, violations and reduce overheads to society
4:38 am by digitalmbul in Safety Driving
Floods are one of the scariest weather disasters. They destroy everything in their path from cars to houses. When the water reaches flood level, it is most often impossible to escape. People drown in floods every year because they are unable to make it to higher ground.
If a flood warning is in effect, make sure to gather the necessary supplies. Include items such as:
Flashlights and extra batteries
Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries
A first aid kit and manual
Food and plenty of bottled water
A non-electric can opener
Cash and credit cards
Very sturdy shoes
Heed the warnings. Get to a safe place as soon as possible. You are better off safe than sorry.
There is one place that is very bad to be during a flood: your car. About 50% of flood-related deaths are people who are driving or trying to move a stalled car. If a flood is coming, your best bet is to get to higher ground as early as possible. If it comes down to it, choose to stay in your house rather than drive somewhere else. Go to the attic of the top floor and wait until water levels have lowered.
If You’re Driving When a Flood Hits
Ideally you should not be driving during a flood. As soon as a flood watch is in effect, you should seek the nearest shelter. If you do find yourself in your car, stay calm and realize that your life is worth more than the safety of your vehicle.
Never attempt to drive through a flood. The apparent depth of the water can be deceptive. It is easy to waterlog your car by trying to drive through what appears to be just a puddle. The water can easily stall the engine, engulf the vehicle, and sweep you away. If you come upon a flooded area, turn back and find an alternate route.
If your car does become surrounded by water, exit the car immediately. The water will act with great force on your car and can slam it into other objects, like a tree or bridge. Being inside your car when floodwaters hit is like being in a car crash, except that you have absolutely no control over your vehicle. Do not attempt to move or restart your car. It is virtually impossible in floodwaters.
Many people die in floods because they try to save their cars. Don’t let it be you. Just get yourself to higher ground.
– Bailey Stoler
2:28 am by digitalmbul in Safety Driving
The world might be in a hurry, but you don’t have to be. Try these tips:
Allow for plenty of time to get where you’re going, then add no less than 10 extra minutes.
Always plan your driving time with the slowest scenario in mind: catching every red light, running into traffic, getting caught behind an extremely slow driver, etc.
Don’t be afraid to revise your time estimates.
If you feel yourself getting in a hurry, stop!
Call whomever you are going to meet and let them know it’s going to take a little bit more time.
If you are habitually late and in a hurry, try setting your watch and other clocks ahead by 10 minutes. You’d be surprised: for some people, this works!
– Bob Stuber
2:23 am by digitalmbul in Safety Riding
To address the risks of motorcycling, before and after a fall, motorcyclists use personal protective equipment (PPE, or more commonly “motorcycle gear”). Many developed countries now require certain articles of PPE, and manufacturers and governments recommend its extensive use.
Functions of PPE
Improved Visibility — Although for decades the popular image of the motorcycle rider has been of someone clad head-to-toe in black leather, in the light of the Hurt Report findings, and the day-to-day experiences of motorcyclists themselves, many riders choose higher-visibility gear. Bright colors and retroreflective strips are common on quality equipment.
Abrasion Resistance — Thick, tough leather provides the most abrasion resistance in a crash, but fabrics such as cordura, kevlar and ballistic nylon provide significant protection too. In addition, fabrics are generally cheaper, easier to maintain, waterproof, and more comfortable in hot weather. Thick leather, which affords the most abrasion resistance, can be uncomfortable in temperatures exceeding 85 °F (29 °C) and above 100 °F (38 °C) may cause heat stress & loss of control with insufficient fluid replacement. Some PPE may be constructed of fabrics made into a ‘mesh’ that provides cooling and a stable surface for the attachment of padding (see below).
Padding — Quality jackets and pants provide significant extra padding in the vulnerable joint regions described above. This can take the form of simple foam padding, or dual-density foam that stiffens when compressed, sometimes with plastic or carbon fiber outer-shells that distribute the impact across the pad. Integrated pieces can be found in some jackets.
Weather Protection — One important aspect of PPE not mentioned above is protection from the elements. Extreme weather can make a long ride unbearable or dangerous. PPE provides protection from wind, rain and cold.
Items of PPE
Helmet — A full-face helmet provides the most protection. Thirty-five percent of all crashes show major impact on the chin-bar area. However, 3/4- and 1/2-helmets also are available. Some motorcycle training sites have banned the use of half-helmets because of avoidable injuries sustained by riders wearing them.
Gloves — Commonly made of leather, cordura, or kevlar, or some combination. Some include carbon fiber knuckle protection or other forms of rigid padding. Gloves designed specifically for motorcycle use have slightly curved fingers and the seams are on the outer surfaces to allow the motorcyclist to maintain his grip and control on the handlebars and clutch/brake levers. Some gloves also provide protection to the wrist.
Jackets — Generally made from leather, ballistic nylon, cordura, kevlar or other synthetics. Most jackets include special padding on elbows, spine and shoulders. Airbag system technology is now available fitted to jackets and vests for accident protection and impact protection for both riders and pillions.
Pants — Made of the same material as jackets, usually including special protection for the knees and hips. One company even makes a pair of cotton denim jeans with kevlar reinforcement.
Boots — Especially those for sport riding, include reinforcement and plastic caps on the ankles, and toe area. Boots designed for cruiser-style riders often have steel-reinforced toes. Boots should always have a rubber sole (as opposed to leather or other less-flexible materials). Despite their toughness and protection, most boots are very lightweight. Some even include titanium plating.
Goggles or Helmet Visor — Eye protection is of utmost importance – an insect or a kicked-up pebble in the eye at speed has enough momentum to cause significant damage. Such an event could easily cause the rider to lose control and crash. Besides this danger, squinting into the wind is unpleasant at best and watering eyes are quite distracting.
Ear plugs — Most riders experience substantial wind noise at speeds above 40-50 mph; at speeds of 65-70 mph, hearing damage can occur in as little as 15 minutes. Ear plugs help protect against hearing damage, and reduce fatigue during long rides.
Vests — Made with high-visibility colors and retroreflective materials, vests can be worn over jackets to increase the chance of being seen and allow drivers to better judge the speed and position of riders, especially in adverse conditions of dark and wet.
Other PPE — Dirt bike riders wear a range of plastic armor to protect against injury from falling and hitting other riders and bikes, running into track barriers, and being hit by flying debris kicked up by the tires of other riders’ bikes. This type of armor typically covers the back, chest, and sometimes the extremities.
Note: It is increasingly common for gloves, jackets, pants, and boots to be outfitted with hard plastics on probable contact areas in an effort to ensure that when a motorcyclist contacts the ground, his clothing will permit him to slide relatively easily as opposed to “crumpling”, risking injury to body parts being stressed in abnormal directions.
Riders sometimes use the acronyms “MOTGMOTT” and “ATGATT”, which stand for “Most Of The Gear Most Of The Time” and “All The Gear All The Time”, when describing their personal gear preferences.
Several authors have written books on motorcycle safety and rider skills improvement. One of the best known is David Hough who has written (as of 2006) a series of three books on the subject, and created a sidecar training course.
2:09 am by digitalmbul in Safety Riding
Once the collision has occurred, or the rider has lost control through some other mishap, several common types of injury occur when the bike falls:
Collision with less forgiving protective barriers, or badly placed roadside “furniture” (lampposts, signs, fences etc.) This is often simply a result of poor road design, and can be engineered out to a large degree. Note that when one falls off a motorcycle in the middle of a curve, lamps and signs create a “wall” of sorts with little chance to avoid slamming against a pole.
Concussion and brain damage, as the head violently contacts other vehicles or objects. This risk is massively reduced by wearing properly fitting, standards-approved head protection.
Breakage of joints (elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists), fingers, spine and neck, for the same reason. The most common breakages are the shoulder and the pelvis.
Soft tissue (skin and muscle) damage (road rash) as the body slides across the surface at speed. This can be prevented entirely with the proper use of motorcycle-specific protective apparel such as a leather jacket or reinforced denim and textile pants. There is also a condition known as biker’s arm, where the nerves in the upper arm are damaged during the fall, causing a permanent paralysis of arm movement.
Facial disfigurement, if in the absence of a full-face helmet, the unprotected face slides across the ground. Note though that this is in fact quite a rare occurrence.
The Hurt Report also commented on injuries after an accident:
The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
2:00 am by digitalmbul in Safety Riding
Fluorescent clothing, white or light coloured helmets, and daytime headlights may reduce motorcycle injuries and death. Wells and colleagues (p 857) analysed 463 motorcycle drivers admitted to hospital following a road traffic incident and 1233 other drivers (control group) to evaluate how wearing conspicuous attire affected the risk of having an accident. They found that with reflective or fluorescent clothing the risk of a crash injury was reduced by 37%, with a white helmet by 24%, and with headlights by 27%.
Oldies, but Goodies!
A decorating company has been fined after it exposed employees, agency staff and members of the public to potentially fatal asbestos material.
Wienerberger Limited has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered multiple injuries when he fell from the roof of an industrial brick oven at a site in Bishop Auckland.
TTC forms new road safety education division
Manchester set to introduce more 20mph areas
This is a rare opportunity to join an award-winning team working on a high profile news agenda, supporting HSE’s work to reduce the number of people killed, injured and made unwell by their work.
What's the dilly, yo?
cerita-cerita dari Rio
digitaLmbuL’s FiLes Authors