For most automobile owners, changing oil and doing routine maintenance checks are important aspects of keeping the vehicle healthy. When the car manifests signs of problems, the driver would usually make sure it is corrected immediately to avoid more costly repairs later. But one thing most car owners neglect, but should not, is the windshield. Although the windshield does not belong with the mysterious underhood components and seems to be transparent in its use, its importance cannot be understated. As with any car component problems, windshield damage should be repaired immediately.Many people doubt the value of a chip repair. Paying fifty bucks for a "chip repair" that is barely the size of a nickel seems unreasonable. However, most do not realize that the windshield is very fragile to internal stress. It may look impenetrable, but when subjected to road and temperature stress, the chip can easily become a crack. Searching recent forums, an Acura owners tolerance of an annoying little rock chip [had] finally become a long streak across the middle of [his] windshield. (1)Your Windshield As with all things, lets begin with the basics.Windshield glass is a type of laminated glass. It consists of two layers of special composite glass with a laminate in between the layers. The laminate usually is made from a form of vinyl plastic, which is in simple terms, a very strong plastic. The laminate acts as a sticking board for the inner and outer layer of glass, which serves to hold both layers together and provides a surface in the event of shattering for glass fragments to adhere to.A black frame, referred as the frit, lines the outer edges of the windshield, commonly 2-3 inches wide and even wider on top. The frit protects the urethane molding (generally speaking, glue that bonds windshield to car) of the windshield from the suns ultraviolet rays. Without the frit, the urethane would melt and cease to hold the windshield to the body frame. This is what happens with rear-view mirrors that are incorrectly installed; they fall off the windshield after the adhesives melt in the suns heat.Functions of Your WindshieldWindshields play essential roles in vehicle safety and drivability. First and the most apparent function of the windshield is blocking wind and airborne debris from you and providing a clear perspective of road conditions. This is more of a drivability issue. The next two functions are safety-related, especially during an accident. In a frontal collision, two safety features of the car minimize impact damage to the driver and passenger: SRS Airbag and seat belts. In order for the airbag to deploy properly, the windshield needs to be in place. It stops the airbag from deploying upwards and redirects the direction of inflation toward the driver. In a rollover, windshield serves dually to prevent the roof of the car from collapsing and the passenger from having any body parts hanging outside the car. This issue is more pertinent with side windows, where loose body parts will dramatically increase fatality rates.An improperly installed or cracked windshield will jeopardize your safety. One, the windshield may crack up and eventually lose integrity and shatter. Two, during an accident, the windshield will fly apart on airbag deployment with shards of glass spewing all over the place. And the airbag will be less effective. Third, on a rollover, compression stress will first stretch the crack from end to end and then finally break the windshield. Flying glass shards are very sharp and dangerous.How Your Windshield is Installed Ok, are you still following me? In the above sections, I have mentioned windshield structure and function. This section will cover windshield installation. The next section will tell you about windshield stress areas that dictate how likely a chip or crack is going to develop further.Windshield placement is a highly robotic and computer-controlled process in the assembly line of automobile manufacturing. Computerized alignment and placement procedures ensure that both molding and windshield are accurately fitted. Preparation of the car frame provides a clean surface to which the windshield could bond. Furthermore, there is ample time between windshield installation and the end of the production line for the molding to cure. Because of these exacting processes, the quality that comes out the factory is the best.For aftermarket windshield installation, getting rid of the original windshield properly is foremost to a good replacement. The correct installation techniques require removal of the old molding and lower windshield cowl panel. Subsequently the glass is cut out, leaving around 1/16 of urethane bedding. The channel area, where the urethane adhesives bond, should be primed to inhibit rust formation. Rust formation will eventually weaken the bonding of the windshield to the car. After placement of the windshield, the car should be given from 1-24 hours to cure, depending on the adhesives used. Some unethical replacement practices include shortcuts, such as close-cutting, flush-cutting and jumping-the-cowl. These will not be covered here, but if you are interested, you may read about these shortcuts in brief in the second link in References.Stresses the Windshield Endures Whether your car is parked, speeding east on Highway 60 or turtle-ing in the morning rush hour on I-10, your windshield endures many abuses: temperature changes (most notably night cooling and day heating,) road vibrations and car body frame shears, and road debris. Because glass expands and shrinks at a slower rate than the metal body frame it is located in, during temperature changes, for example a rise in ambient temperature, the expanding metal pushes in on the sides of the windshield; conversely, a decrease in the ambient temperature exerts a pulling force on the edges of the windshield. Now imagine, in addition to temperature stress, the constant pulling and pushing of the windshield from the body frame absorbing road impact. A stress gradient exists within the windshield. The highest stress occurs around the edges and lessens gradually approaching the center point of the windshield. So far so goodThen a rock hits the windshield and creates an opening. Usually the windshield could distribute temperature and vibrational stress to its neighboring glass molecule. Now, however, tension would accumulate along the edge of the crack until it travels down to the border of intact and separated glass. The extra tension causes the borderline intact glass to separate, since it is the next weakest point and would continue until something is done about it. Stress gradients correlate directly to the likelihood of a chip or crack developing further. A stone break in a high stress area, i.e. the sides, is more likely to evolve into a crack. Cracks that start from the edges usually travel to the center of less stress, just as water flows from high pressure to low pressure. Depending on shearing forces the car body exerts on the windshield, the crack may actually travel in different directions.Value Windshield Chip Repair ServicesAfter you read this article, we hope that you have a deeper appreciation of the value of the windshield chip and crack repair that our service sector provides to you. By repairing stone breaks and cracks when repairable, we save you time and expense and give you quality. Cars retain their originally fitted windshield, which is ever more important in new models where windshield design have reached the stage that correct replacement is paramount to ensure a snug fit and prevent stress cracks from developing. (Stress crack can occur even without external damage, especially if the windshield is not designed to fit on certain car models.)Properly done repairs will enhance the strength of the windshield, reduce optical distraction, restrict damage area and maintain a smooth surface for wiper operation. To see the full article with extra links and pictures, visit www.gooberswindshieldrepair.com.References1 Acura Owner http://cl.acurazine.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-174634.html2 Windshield Replacement Shortcuts http://www.ican2000.com/news/article_detail.asp?article=37
German cars have long been recognized as some of the best engineered and most luxurious cars in the world. Two manufacturers, BMW and Mercedes, rule the roost with offerings from Audi, Porsche, and even Volkswagen getting some attention. Lets take a look at some current offerings from these Bavarian giants and see how they are impacting the auto industry.BMW Give BMW credit for moving outside of the box by building a plant in South Carolina. Opened in 1994, the Spartanburg, SC plant has produced the Z3 now Z4 roadster as well as the X5 SAV. Seeking to become more of a world player, BMW has also purchased controlling interest in other automakers including Rolls-Royce and Rover during the 1990s. Later, BMW sold off the Rover and MG portions of Rover, but has kept the Mini brand. BMW vehicles are well represented in the US. Coupes, sedans, convertibles, roadsters, and SUVs make up the American fleet with new cars at various stages of development being prepared for release.Mercedes Benz As part of the Daimler Chrysler fold, Mercedes Benz has been producing high quality automobiles for over a century. In 1998, seeking to expand its reach, Daimler Chrysler [DCX] bought out the Chrysler Corporation. Names such as Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, and Mopar became part of the DCX fold, although Plymouth was discontinued a few years later. The Mercedes Benz name is synonymous with luxury vehicles and in the US the company is well represented by a host of sedans, coupes, convertibles, tall wagons, SUVs, roadsters, and other fine vehicles.Owners of BMWs and Mercedes Benz do have some things in common: vehicle maintenance. As high end vehicles, the automakers are noted for equipping their cars with only the finest OEM parts. Well represented manufacturers used by both companies include: Bosch, Hella, Mahle, Textar, Brembo, Bilstein, Febi, SKF, and others. Most are German born and bred and are recognized the world over for producing the highest quality parts for auto manufacturers.Replacement auto parts purchased through dealer parts departments are priced at a premium. When you take into consideration any tariffs, import fees, and third party mark ups, consumers can expect to pay a mint for each part. The growing internet wholesale market has been changing the paradigm lately as companies such as Car Parts Stuff are selling direct to consumers. The better online wholesalers have lowered costs significantly as overhead is low and they buy direct from leading manufacturers. This translates into real savings for you, the consumer.When purchasing any parts for your luxury car, always determine that the parts you order meet or exceed OEM specifications. There are a lot of counterfeit parts on the market; shop wisely and you will get premium parts at low prices.
During the upcoming 2006 British International Motor Show this 18th of July up until the 30th of the same month, the Mazda Motor Corporation would be out to show off to the world its new Mazda MX-5. This would be the very first time for the company to show the world this vehicle. In fact, this vehicle comes with a power retractable hard top which is one feature that Mazda is very proud of. Aside from this vehicle, Mazda would also be revealing to the public the Mazda BT-50 which is a one-ton pickup truck. The Mazda MX-5 that would be shown off during this auto show would be having the power retractable hard top roof which is quite unique. This would be quite an addition to this third generation of Mazda MX-5s. Mazda claims that this new vehicle would be offering a unified sense of driving exhilaration. In fact, it is a lightweight sports car that offers diversity and distinctiveness in all features that it offers. Mazda says that this vehicles essence is known as the Jinba Ittai which actually means rider and horse as one. It simply means that with this new Mazda MX-5, there would be an emotional connection between the driver and his horse which is the vehicle itself. Do not be confused though if you hear the names Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe, Mazda Roaster Power Retractable Hard Top, and Mazda MX-5 (Miata) Power Retractable Hard Top. These names all refer to the Mazda MX-5 and these are used in Europe, Japan, and North America, in that order. As per the new one-ton Mazda BT-50 truck, this heavy truck comes with a powerful 2.5 liter Direct Injection Turbo Diesel engine which is quite new to the company. In fact, it is during this years British International Motor Show that such a diesel engine would be featured and shown off the European public. However, this engine that the Mazda BT-50 truck has already been part of the Bangkok Motor Show just last March where it made its world debut.
Now wait a minuteare they called hubcaps or wheel covers? Is there a difference between the two? And while were at it, why did they start using hubcaps to begin with? These and similar questions have baffled the great minds of the world for many years. So to get to the bottom of these questions, its best to examine the long, tortuous and yes, actually interesting history of the automobile hubcap.Car enthusiasts have had a running love affair with hubcaps for decades. Some say that the art deco styling of the famous Chrysler Building in New York is a tribute to the hubcap. But, how did hubcaps come about in the first place? Well, originally there was a functional necessity for the cap. See at first, autos were made with wooden spokes like a buggy or wagon wheel. The wooden spokes connected the outer steel rim to the center hub which contained the wheel bearing. The wheel bearing was packed with grease. Something was needed to cover the center hub which could keep the dust out and the grease in. What was needed was a hub cap. Some people today actually spell it "hub cap" rather than the technically correct spelling of hubcap. So this hub cap (which could have also been called a dust cover) came into existence strictly for functional reasons, but it was a small center cap designed to go over the center hub leaving the wooden spokes exposed. Unfortunately, the wooden spoke wheels were not long for this world. Although they were varnished and sometimes even decorated with pin-striping when new, they would soon begin to age and crack and look pretty lousy. You could always hear from a distance a car with aging wooden spoke wheels creaking down the road. In the late twenties and early thirties, steel wire-spoke wheels began to replace the wooden spoke wheels. These also required the center cap over the hub, which still left the steel welded wire spokes exposed. By the thirties, function gave way to style and decoration. The hubcaps became larger and stamped with the auto manufacturers name in brass or stainless steel and were utilized as a decorative design feature, but still covered only the hub. The wire-spoke wheels were a problem because they were hard to keep clean and made an annoying wind noise as the cars would go down the street.In 1934, Cadillac fitted its new model with a stainless steel disc which was held in place by the screw-on center hubcap which fit over the top of the disc. The disc actually covered most of the wheel, covering up the wire-spokes completely. This new styling feature gave the wheel a luxurious streamlined look. So where does the term " "wheel cover" s" come in? In 1938, Cadillac began using pressed steel wheels similar to what is used today. They covered the wheels with luxurious full sized hubcapsor wheel covers. So the term wheel cover was born, but for some reason the term hubcap has never yielded its top position as the most commonly used term for that thing-a-ma-jig that covers up the wheel of a car. The important thing is that Cadillac made the full sized wheel cover the symbol of luxury and class. Soon, hot rodders began to seek out the old Cadillac wheel covers for their 1930-1950s custom rods. Probably the most classic Cadillac hubcap was the heavy, brilliantly chromed 1950 wheel cover nicknamed the Sombrero because its profile resembled a sombrero hat. Cadillac owners soon began to realize that their hubcaps were very much in demand. They would usually figure this out when they would go to get in their car and happen to notice that they no longer had any hubcapsouch; another victim of hub capping (hubcap stealing) which was the sad state of affairs in the forties and fifties.Youve probably heard the term Moon (or racing disc) hubcap which became popular in the fifties. Interestingly enough, the first spun aluminum Moon wheel cover was not invented in the fifties. Bob Rufi, the fastest man alive in 1940, used spun aluminum hubcaps from, of all things, a WWI Jenny war plane to help streamline his 140 mph record breaking speed machine at the Bonneville Salt Flats.Early drag racers used to soup up their cars and on weekends drive them to the drags. Drag racing soon became as American as apple pie. As cars got faster, some safety issues arose. The hubcaps had a nasty habit of flying off and giving unprepared spectators a new part in their hair. New rules were instated that required drag racers to remove their hubcaps before racing, for safety reasons and also for proper inspection of the wheels. Racers began just leaving their hubcaps off after the drags and driving around town like that. Soon, seeing a car with no hubcaps came to mean drag racer. Drag racers began painting their wheels and decorating them with chrome lug nuts and chrome dust covers (center caps). Some believe this led to chrome wheels followed by the mag (magnesium) and aluminum wheels which became very popular in the sixties.Finally, in the 1970s auto manufacturers began fitting their new vehicles with ABS plastic hubcaps. These wheel covers look like chrome or brushed aluminum caps. By the 1980s, ABS plastic [*_*]s virtually replaced the use of steel hubcaps by auto manufacturers. Although plastic might sound cheap or flimsy, the fact is, ABS plastic is rugged and durable and most importantly, it is light. The lighter the hubcap, the less likely that it will fly off. Now, you need to know that some plastic [*_*]s made by auto manufacturers are not that great at all; they fly off too easily. Being sturdy, rugged and light alone is not enough. The [*_*] needs to have a good solid retention system. The best is an all steel 360 degree retention ring that can really grip the steel wheel and help the hubcap stay on the wheel. Now that you have become an expert on the world history of hubcaps, you can dazzle all of your friends at the next party with your amazing knowledge of the mysterious hubcap. Well, maybe not dazzle themmaybe more like not completely bore them to death. Hopefully, you enjoyed the overview and actually learned something along the way.
Although you may not have heard of this type of auction before, GSA auctions have been around for a while and are a good place to get a great deal on a vehicle.GSA stands for General Service Administration. It is an agency in the US government that, according to acting Director David Bibbs, "is to help other US agencies better serve the public by meeting their needs for products and services, and, to (help) simplify access to government information and services."One of the services they provide are auto auctions.So why does GSA sell vehicles? GSA purchases vehicles "in bulk", i.e., it purchases "bunches" of vehicles at once and then leases them out to different government agencies. When the lease expires, these vehicles are sold to the general public at GSA auctions, which allows the GSA to re-coup some of their expenses and re-invest in more vehicle purchases. Benefits of purchasing a vehicle at a GSA auction:1.)American made vehicles - trucks, cars, SUV, police car, buses and many other types (approximately 40,000 vehicles to choose from per year)2.)Vehicles are generally well maintained (by the US Gov't). These are not specialized vehicles or repossessed.3.)Vehicles generally have low mileage4.)Vehicles are generally 3 to 5 years old5.)Vehicles generally sell at or around wholesale prices with no extra buyer fees.All in all, if you are in the market for a great used vehicle at a great price, check out GSA public auctions.To find out where you can get more information on GSA auctions and other vehicle auctions, simply send a blank e-mail to gsaaa@GetMoreInfo.net