Things to Keep In Mind Before Buying a Car

Buying a car can be really tricky if you have not done your research properly. There are a lot of things which needs to be kept in mind before buying a car as it is a big step.

These steps will help you in saving a few bucks while making the process quicker and less daunting.

• Research about the type of car you want. You should shortlist the features that you want in your car or if you want a sports car, an economy car, a family car, a luxury car or any other type of car.

• Set your budget. This is really important. You need to check how much you can spend on the car.

• Get a car loan. After you have got an idea of how much you can afford, look for bank that provides a loan with an agreeable interest rate or a third party lender. You need to do your own research to see what source of loan would work best for you.

• Test drive the car. Once you have chosen two or three cars, ask for a test drive. It is best to take an appointment as that way the car would be booked only for you and you won’t have to keep waiting. Also, do not just drive around the block. Test drive a few kilometres to see if you and your family are comfortable, check if you can handle the car properly. Also, don’t feel obligated to buy the car the same day just because you took a test drive. Take your time to think. Remember that buying a car is a huge investment.

• Ask your salesperson if the car comes with any dealer installed options. These days dealers provide lots of exciting offers to attract the customers. Many cars are sold with anti-theft packages or with some other great features. Make good use of those options.

• Get a sale price. After you have finalised your car, ask the dealer about the final price. Also, check the price of the same car with other dealers so that you can get it at the best price. Check the current price on the Internet or ask your friends or family member who might have the same model of the car.

• Review and close the deal. Review everything properly and once you are satisfied with it close the deal. Get all the necessary papers.

Maintenance of the car is very important. Once you have bought the car, don’t forget that your car needs regular servicing to function properly.

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Tips On How To Care For Your Car During The Winter

The winter season brings with it heavy snow, icy roads, salted streets and freezing temperatures. Driving and taking care of a car during the winter season can be a challenge. There a few things you can do to care for your vehicle so that it will remain in excellent condition during the cold winter months.

One of the main hazards associated with driving during the winter is less daylight because the sun sets earlier. For this reason, you should do your best to ensure that the lights of your car are in good condition so that they will provide the best possible illumination. If you notice that a bulb is not working, fix it immediately. If snow is covering any light, remove it before driving to any location. If the headlights of your vehicle are yellow or foggy, you should replace them.

Another important feature to consider is the battery. It is more difficult for batteries to operate in cold weather. Therefore, a battery that is merely weak during the hot season could fail to function completely during the winter. Ideally, you should have a volt test carried out on your battery before the winter begins to ensure that it is still in good working order. If it is not working properly, make sure that you purchase a new battery so that you will not have to worry about being stranded in a vehicle that does not start.

The coolant is also vital for your vehicle during the cold season. It prevents the engine from freezing due to cold temperatures. It is essential to check the level of coolant in your automobile to ensure that it is not low. You should also ensure that there are no leaks in the engine that could cause the antifreeze to drain out.

During the winter, you should also try to keep the level of washer fluid and gasoline full. Keeping the gasoline tank full can prevent accumulated water from condensing inside the fuel pump. It can also help you remain warm in the event that you get stuck. Keeping the windshield reservoir full is also essential because road debris from snowstorms can necessitate constant windshield washing in order to see where you are going.

Installing winter tires is also essential. They will help you a lot when you are turning and breaking on the slippery road surface. Winter tires are able to stay more flexible at low temperatures. They can offer improved traction whenever you want to stop and turn on cold pavements, even if there is snow on the ground.

Keeping track of your tire pressure is also essential. As the temperature drops, the tire pressure can also drop. If you drive around with low tire pressure, the tires may wear prematurely or the tread may separate. This has the potential to cause a serious accident. Vehicles also handle less predictably when the tires are under inflated.

It is also essential to keep your vehicle clean. There are several car wash options available, including self service facilities and mobile car detailing services. If you are not interested in washing your car yourself, you can use professional car washing services. The service providers will clean the interiors and exteriors of your vehicle to leave it spotlessly clean and odor free.

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7 Fuel Saving Ideas

We all love to complain about the price of fuel, and few of us understand the mysteries around the seemingly random increases and decreases in costs at the pump. There are things we can all do to improve our gas mileage, however, whether we drive a brand new car or an old beater. Take a look at these fuel saving tips and put some extra money in your pocket.

Tire Pressures

Get used to checking your tire pressures regularly, at least once a week. Under-inflated tires cause excessive rolling resistance which results in burning more fuel. Conversely, the right tire pressures will reduce rolling resistance and therefore use less fuel.

How heavy is your load?

It makes sense that if your vehicle is loaded down with stuff your car is going to have to work harder in order to run, which means that it will take more gas to operate. Obviously there will be times when this cannot be avoided. But there may be an accumulation of stuff in your car that doesn’t really need to be there all the time, such as sporting equipment or tire chains. Lighten your load as often as possible and enjoy the perks of fuel saving.

Watch your lead foot

If you are one of those drivers who like to punch the accelerator to make quick manoeuvres, you are likely not going to enjoy any fuel saving. Try to maintain a more consistent speed, and even use cruise control when highway driving. These tips will help you to consume less fuel and may even have you arriving at your destination in a much calmer state!

It’s all about smooth

There’s a reason why jets are smooth and curved on the outside. They are specifically designed so that the air slides on by, rather than creating resistance to air flow. The same principle applies to your vehicle. If you have piled luggage on the roof and opened all your windows, the air can get “caught” and pull on your vehicle, slowing it down and causing it to work much harder to keep a steady pace. Once again, anything that works against efficiency will reduce your fuel saving.

Plan your trips carefully

Did you know that a cold car burns more fuel? Consider doing all of your errands in one trip rather than taking several trips from a cold start. A warm vehicle provides significant fuel saving over a cold one.

Premium versus regular fuel

Many people are under the impression that buying premium fuel improves their fuel saving. This is actually not true. Some studies have indicated that only about 6% of all vehicles on the road actually require premium fuel. If your car’s manufacturer isn’t recommending premium fuel then you are wasting your money!

Schedule regular maintenance

Having your vehicle serviced and maintained can help to support your fuel saving plan. Even small things, such as under-inflated tires, poor quality oil or corroded battery cables can cause your car to work too hard and end up costing you money.

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Aviation Lessons in Automation and Their Application in Autonomous Cars

In my day job, I am a First Officer on private jets. I am a professional pilot who flies all over the country to take the affluent where they need to go. One day I was flying into Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) to pick up another airplane so, as a crew, we could fly our customer to his home. The aircraft had been on the ground for about a week and a half. It didn’t make sense to keep us on-site for a week (and pay hotel, rental car, and meal expenses) so we flew home. I flew home back that morning and planned to meet my Captain at the jet, located at one of the satellite airports to BWI. I grabbed an Uber from BWI to the smaller airport and along the way my driver and I listened to the news. This day coincided with reports of yet another Tesla autopilot malfunction, pointing to the possibility of a recall of their automated systems. My Uber driver began asking about autopilot systems (since he knew I was a jet pilot) and it started me thinking.

The Aviation Industry has been dealing with the onset of automation for over 30 years. As computers and technology have become more advanced, smaller, and smarter, the level of automation has also increased. Today, modern airliners and private jets can literally takeoff and land by themselves, with as little as only weight and course information input by the pilot. However, the onset of automation also breeds an innate desire to trust the computer and disengage. The aviation industry took note of this early, and instruction in autopilot systems and knowledge has become a key part of any advanced pilot training program.

Automation was introduced into cockpits after the Korean War. One of the early tests involved a new system known as an “inertial navigation system” that was able to fly the airplane to a destination based on nothing more than measuring its inertia. In these early days, the pilot still manipulated the flight controls, but responded to a computer input that “dead reckoned” the position of the aircraft based solely on its movement. In the 1980s, computer systems and the advent of computer-controllable servos lead to the introduction of autopilot systems in aircraft. During the ensuing auto-pilot technology revolution, and the additional coupling of GPS to these systems, aircraft automation became more and more capable — but not without accidents.

The most infamous accident involving automation, and the most important one taught to new pilots, is the crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009. For those outside of aviation, this crash involved an Airbus A330 en route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France. The aircraft entered a stall condition at cruise altitude (about 30- 40,000 feet) and began a descent into the ocean. The data computer was recovered years later and the resulting investigation revealed important information. The first revelation indicated the autopilot was, in fact, engaged at the time. This is a normal practice, but the pitot tubes, the devices used to give airspeed, had become clogged and were no longer giving accurate airspeed readouts. Because of this, the automation went from its normal operating logic to what is called “alternate law” logic. For the purposes of brevity, the ultimate cause of the crash revealed the pilots did not recognize the inconsistencies in their airspeed, did not understand the autopilot logic, and did not continue to monitor their aircraft while the autopilot was engaged.

I believe that as the world begins to face automated cars for the first time, there are many lessons-learned that should be studied from aviation, and especially the crash of Flight 447. The lessons the aviation industry has learned came at the cost of human life. Everything from the mentality instilled in pilots, to the knowledge requirements, and the ability to manipulate the automated system should begin to make the shift into everyday life and into the basics of driver’s education classes around the world.

It seems to be a common misconception that pilots are not paying attention to the autopilot once it is engaged. The truth is pilots are now taught to “fly the autopilot” and to have the mentality, as the pilot, that you are not a passenger. Flying the autopilot is a simple concept that forces the pilot to verify all actions the autopilot is making. For example, if air traffic control tells the pilot to climb to 10,000 feet, we input 10,000 feet into the autopilot and tell it to climb to altitude. We monitor the system to make sure it “captures” that altitude as we are approaching and begins its level-off. If it doesn’t, the pilot has several options including disengaging the autopilot completely and manually flying the plane to the required altitude. Even in the cruise setting the pilot must remain vigilant. Human error can occur while putting in the flight plan and air traffic control can re-route in mid-air. It is not uncommon to “fat-finger” the name of a navigation point, especially in turbulence. The “garbage-in, garbage-out” saying of computer programming is very much a factor; the computer is only as smart as the information it receives. So, as pilots, we need to ensure the computer is flying the aircraft to its intended destination from start to finish.

Another major part of pilot training is the ability of the pilot to understand how the automated system thinks. For example, how does it capture altitude? What will it do if it fails to capture the altitude? What changes can be made to the system if it doesn’t capture the altitude, short of shutting off the autopilot and going manual? In the case of Flight 447, the automation system shut off the stall warning horn because it had unreliable airspeed information. This caused the pilots to apply an incorrect recovery action because they didn’t know the system logic. Today, flight training with these systems covers the programming and logic of the automated system based on what flight mode it is in. Pilots are expected to understand this system as well as all systems, such as the engine or electrical system in order to troubleshoot in real-time.

Combining actively flying the autopilot and understanding the autopilot logic, pilots are able to manipulate the system to effectively fly the aircraft, under automation, to its destination. Although systems are smart enough to be “push button, go flying” this is often not the case. Pilots use a combination of several different modes in order to accomplish the flight, ranging from full automation to a semi-automated state that still requires pilot input. Indeed, for the entire flight the pilot is actively engaged and checking what the autopilot is doing.

Automation is used in Aviation as a tool to free up brain power for other tasks. It is not a license to disengage from the act of operating your machine, but a method to take away basic tasks and to let the pilot work on more important ones. This is the same mentality that needs to be adopted and taught in driver’s education classes moving forward. To help facilitate this, there is a need to move away from the term “Driverless Car” as there is still a very real need for a “driver”. The nature of driving is going to change, especially as driving moves from a mechanical act to a more mental, management act. In aviation, this mindset has proven successful. It has resulted in fewer accidents and better pilots. As the general public begins to engage in automation for the first time, adopting the automation practices of aviation now will result in fewer accidents and better drivers in our future.

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