Month: December 2019

Safely Drive Through a Tire Blowout


A tire blowout is a special kind of flat tire. The side wall has ruptured, leaving a huge tear in your tire that cannot be repaired. While many believe that a blown-out tire is caused in part by over inflation, the true culprit is actually the opposite: tires that are underinflated. It’s not the rubber and steel that makes a tire able to carry the weight of a car and its passengers. It is the air. Without enough air, the components inside the tires flex and heat until it all snaps and a blowout occurs. If the car is carrying a heavy load, then the likelihood of a blowout is compounded. This is why it’s important to regularly check tire pressure. The proper pressure for a car’s tires is listed in the driver’s side door jamb.

Another common way to get a flat tire is by driving on very worn, very old tires. After a while the rubber starts to thin, and a blowout becomes more likely. To see if your tires are too worn, use the penny test. Stick the edge of a penny into your tire’s tread so that Abe Lincoln’s head is hidden by the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then your tires are too worn to drive on. However, if you cannot afford to replace the tire, then try rubbing it with vegetable oil. The oil will moisturize the rubber, allowing it to be more flexible and decrease the chances of a blowout.

What to Do During a Blowout

When your tire blows out, what you absolutely must not do is apply the brake. Because one of your tires is now effectively useless, the brake will be applied unevenly, causing your vehicle to veer. If you’re driving a van or SUV, then it’s quite possible to flip your car by braking during a blowout.

Instead, you need to press on the accelerator after a blowout. This may seem counterintuitive, but when a tire blows out, your car’s speed may suddenly drop due to the drag caused by the flat tire. You must step on the gas for only a moment, so that any cars behind you won’t be surprised by your sudden drop in speed and ram into you.

After you have quickly pressed on the gas, you’ll notice that your car will want to veer in the direction of the blowout. Keep your car steady, let it lose speed gradually, and only when you are going slower than 30 miles per hour should you steer the vehicle to the side of the road.

What to Do After a Blowout

Once you have successfully steered your car to the side of the road, you can start thinking about what steps you need to take next. You should always have a spare tire on hand. Now is the time to change out the flat and continue to the nearest service station. However, you need to make sure there is enough room around your car to freely work in.

Don’t try changing the tire if doing so will put you on the road, and in a dangerous situation from oncoming traffic. If you don’t have enough room to change the tire, or if you don’t have a spare, you need to call a tow truck. Depending on where you are, you may decide to have the truck drop off your car at home or at the nearest mechanic.

A blowout is likely to happen at least once in a person’s life. The important thing to do, above all else, is to remain calm. A blowout is usually accompanied by a loud bang. Don’t let this unnerve you. Follow the correct safety procedures and you’ll be on the road again in no time.

Consider When Purchasing a Classic Car

Determine the model

You do not have to buy a classic car to fill the available space in your garage. It is advisable to have in mind exactly what model and make you want to own. This way you will avoid looking out for the opportunity to just own a classic car. It is unwise to choose the car you come across in the first old cars for sale available in your locality. This is particularly the case if you have no knowledge about classic cars. Take the time to shop around and take a long a professional appraiser who will determine the price of the car by considering the condition of the car, the previous owner, the type of restoration that has been done and much more.

Negotiate the price

Owners of classic vehicles are usually reluctant sellers. In fact, those who have classic cars in their possession have them for a reason. It is possible the car would have belonged to their grandfather. Therefore, the majority of classic cars owners will often sell their possession out of necessity as opposed to desire. Although you can find some sellers who are selling the car for the simple reason of wanting to dispose it, the majority of people do this for the need of ready cash to cater for unexpected bills. Usually, such people will often inflate the prices of their classics. Therefore, be ready to negotiate the price that you are given. However, if you want the car badly, be ready to pay a little more.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

The Giulietta is available in four models and there are three choices of engine. These are the 1.4 litre turbo charged petrol, the 1.6 litre diesel and the 2.0 litre diesel. The model is attractive, well equipped and the controls are very user friendly. The five door Giulietta has rear door handles in the windows which makes it more like a coupe than a hatchback.

This is a fun car to drive and it handles well on twisting road as well as in the city streets. There are three driving modes: Dynamic, All Weather and Normal.

The sporty setting is the Dynamic and the other two modes are self explanatory. The models with twin clutches come with a semi automatic transmission box with paddle controls on the steering wheel.

Whilst the 2.0 litre diesel is a little noisy, the 1.6 litre diesel is slower than you would expect so you can opt for speed and noise or slow and economical. The position of the pedals is not quite central and this could prove to be a problem for some people.

Inside the cabin, the model is quiet with very little road or wind noise but the previously mentioned pedals position makes it hard to get into a comfortable driving position. Visibility is also poor with wide door pillars and a small rear window making it hard to see through the rear. Headroom in the back is also lower than in the Focus and could make comfort difficult for tall passengers.

Gear Issues on an Automatic Car

Sometimes your car will leak fluid from the transmission. This might be one of the serious problems because if it doesn’t get sorted out you could have a problem shifting gears. Irregular shifting could destroy the gearbox because the incorrect gear could be engaged during the wrong speed. For example, if you are driving fast on a highway and your car changes to the first gear, you could break the teeth because it cannot handle that speed. The first gear is always bigger in diameter because of the force required to do the initial movement.

The transmission can also experience oil leakage. This fluid looks red. It comes from the filler tube base that is located between the engine and transmission, the drain hole, the selector shaft, or the radiator. No oil leakage is good as it means that there is a hole somewhere allowing air to move into the car. Oil is also the source of lubrication inside the engine and keeps the mechanisms cool.

The filter could get clogged at any time. The filter inside the car keeps the oil clean keeping any dust or particles out of the engine. Oil supplies the car with lubrication so that there is no friction. Friction is what causes overheating and worn out parts. If you are experiencing delayed shifting and oil leaking it is likely that the filter has been clogged. This filter also keeps the dust away from the gearbox whilst it shifts. If you experience delayed shifting it could mean that there is something blocking the system from making smooth motions.

Shifting gears incorrectly can be easily felt. It often sounds like the engine is groaning if it has gone up one gear too many. This will lead to a slow pulling motion which will not allow the car to move faster until it regains its speed again.

Minimizing Auto Repairs

  • Read the manual. Your vehicle manual will tell you things like how often to change the oil, what to watch for in how your engine is running and many other useful facts. Knowing and following them will save you a great deal of aggravation.
  • As soon as your engine light comes on, take it in for a diagnostic check. Taking care of small problems will prevent larger more costly ones.
  • Change the oil, add water, maintain the anti-freeze and keep up with any other liquids that need to be added to the car. This will keep its performance better and minimize risk of damage to other parts of the vehicle.
  • Keep your tires at the correct weight and amount of air. This information will be listed in your owner’s manual. Also, be sure to get them rotated as recommended. Failing to do any of this can result in a blowout.
  • Pay attention when you drive. Watch out for items on the road that can damage the wheels, or kick up into the workings of your vehicle.
  • Get your transmission serviced. Talk to the people who change the oil to find out how often this is recommended for your particular vehicle.
  • If you notice unusual sounds being made by your vehicle while you are driving, or if it seems to be shaking unnecessarily, take it in for a checkup. It’s always best to be told it is nothing to stress over than to ignore the sounds/shaking and find out there was serious problem or repair that could have been prevented.

When you take the time to maintain your vehicles, then you can minimize the time and money spent on auto repair services. To learn additional ways to get more out of your particular vehicle(s) talk to a local auto repair service team today.

Get a Personalized Licence Plate

The Vehicle Type

Now, you might be wondering if you can put a vanity plate on your vehicle. Well, not all types of vehicles qualify for the service. According to law, you are not authorized to use a customized plate for your vehicle if the vehicle is a big truck, for instance. The law only allows a certain types of vehicles for the service. However, if you have any of the following types of vehicle, you can order a vanity plate today.

  • Light trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Motor homes
  • Vans
  • Most types of passenger cars

The Procedure to Get a Personalized Plate

Well, the process is not as complicated as it may seem. If you are interested in buying a vanity licence plate, you can do so by following the steps given below.

First of all, you need to decide on a message, character or name that you want on the licence plate. It can be a slogan or personal message. Make sure you don’t use something that may be against the law. Also, you can’t use something that may hurt someone’s feelings. The message or slogan shouldn’t be against a person. It shouldn’t disturb the peace in any way.

Once you have come up with a slogan or message, your next step is to write an application for the licence plate. You can get a form from your local Autoplan broker. Getting a form won’t be a difficult task.

Once you have filled in the application form, you can take it back to the broker. They will ask you for a fee, which you should pay. Usually, it’s around $100, which is not a big deal.

Application rules

In order for your application to be accepted, you should keep some application rules in mind. Here are some of the important rules:

  • If you have a vehicle, make sure it is registered in your name. In other words, you should be the registered owner of your car or motorcycle.
  • If the vehicle has multiple owners, make sure each owner signs the application.
  • You have to have an existing licence plate. Besides, you must have insurance and the driver’s licence.
  • For the message, you can use 2 to 6 numbers and letters. However, you can’t use numbers only. Apart from this, if your chosen slogan is already taken, you can’t use it.
  • You are allowed to have a hyphen or blank space, but you can use only 7 character spaces. For motorcycles, the limit is 6 character spaces.

UTE Maintenance

Checking your Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid, Power Steering Fluid and Brake Fluid levels

The first thing is to locate your dipstick, in a manual vehicle there is only one, but an auto will also have one for the transmission fluid so be sure the verify which one it is engine oil before filling. (It should say on the top). It is usually colored plastic knob that is formed into a loop or has a rounded top that your finger can fit through to make it easier to pull out.

Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the end clean so you can inspect it and tell where the fill and empty lines.

Insert the dipstick back into the engine, then pull it out again. The dipstick will go down into the engine sump and tells you how much oil is there.

You can then read how much oil is there. The ideal oil level is at the full mark. If the oil is above the halfway mark it is safe to leave it as there will be enough oil, but take note of this and check the level again after a few 100km.

If it is below the halfway mark, then add the recommended oil for your engine. (Diesel engine oil has special cleaners added to deal with any carbon build up. Petrol engines have different additives) It is best to add only 200ml at a time and then recheck and add a bit more if needed to ensure you do not overfill the engine (A very slight overfill is generally OK)

If you have your vehicle serviced at the manufactures recommended times and check the oil regularly and suddenly it has fallen it may be because you have gone past the service life of the oil and it is advisable to have it serviced and checked at a mechanic shop

Check the transmission oil in the same way and use the recommended transmission fluid.

The brake reservoir is on top of, or very near, the brake master cylinder, a clear white plastic screw top container with a viewing area so you can check the fluid level and top up if needed.

Cooling System

Check the coolant in the radiator (do not use plain water as an adequate anticorrosive is needed to stop electrolysis.

Check the visual condition of the rubber hoses around the cooling system and squeeze them to ensure the hoses are firm and have not gone soft.

Electrical System

With the assistance of another person who is outside the Ute to monitor the lights check their operation.

Check the indicators, park and brake lights as well as reversing and number plate light. It is also important to ensure your Headlights are working, both full beam and dipped as well as spotlights.

Check that all the instrument lights are working on the dashboard usually these will all light up when you turn on the ignition to the 2nd stage just before it activated the starter motor.

Check the horn and that all power windows operate correctly, it is important they work without the motor running in emergency conditions.

Engine Belts

Check the condition of the drive belts between the engine and Alternator, some vehicles have several belts, driving the air-con, pump the power brake pump, water pump. If your Ute is fitted with a back tray, not a molded body, it may have a hydraulic lift pump connected to the engine or a separate electric hydraulic pump, the fluids and any belts of these need to be checked as well.

Filters; Fuel, Oil and Air

It is important to have a clean air cleaner, especially if you travel in dusty areas. Remove the cleaner and blow compressed air through it to remove any dust. If it is really soiled there are companies that clean them or you can purchase a new one. Many vehicles are now fitted with pollen and dust filters on the air-conditioning system so these also need to be checked and cleaned where necessary

The fuel filter needs to be changed regularly as it can become clogged from contaminants in the fuel and any moisture in your tank, see the manufacturer’s instructions.

The oil filter is best left up to your service center unless you have adequate facilities to collect and deal with the waste oil (this can be very messy).

Windscreen Washer and Wipers

Check the liquid level in the windscreen washer reservoir and top it up if necessary with a good quality windscreen washer solution. Over long dry periods the hot sun, the wiper blades can become brittle, so need to be checked and replaced as needed as well.


Your vehicle tyres are very important and maintaining the correct tyre pressure will increase your fuel economy and your Ute will handle and brake better.

Checking the wear of your tyres is a good way to gauge the condition of your Utes suspension. It the tyres are wearing unevenly if probably means you need to have this checked.

Tyre rotation is where you change the tyres by placing the left front tyre on the right rear and the left rear on the right front about every 10,000k will help to extend the life of your tyres.

Putting Floor Liners To Vehicle

You probably stumbled upon the terms universal and direct fit. Get to know the difference between these terms to see how it will fit onto your vehicle’s interior flooring.

Floor liners designed to precisely fit onto specific vehicles are called direct fit or custom fit. It is not the same as stock floor mats that came with your vehicle.

Custom fit floor mats provides a great coverage on the foot wells since it is created to surround edge-to-edge and fit securely onto the floor. It’s not a one-size fits all because it is designed with grooves and raised edges around the perimeters to trap liquid, dirt and other substances that can ruin your vehicle’s floor carpet.

Depending on the brand and style, it may come in either single or a 2-piece design. Other floor liners for trucks are constructed with one-piece setup that will fit the shifter booth.

Floor liners are made using high quality materials like heavy-duty rubber, pliable vinyl or thermoplastic. There are two types such as all-weather floor mats or the regular ones which is mostly seen on universal mats. Both floor mats are easy to install and easy to clean by just wiping or by giving a quick rinse to remove spillage or sticky substances.

The regular carpet floor mats comes in various designs and colors that will not only keep the floor from any damaging substances, but also add flair on the interior. It is softer and flexible compared to all-weather mats. Some brands have designed their mats with channels, ridges, and deep pockets. However, if you want an extreme protection to the vehicle’s interior flooring, an all-weather floor liner is what you need.

Mud, snow, dirt, and other substances which can damage your floor is no match to all-weather mats. It is designed using high-quality and rigid materials to ensure its durability. It is designed with grooves and raised edges to contain dirt, liquid and other matter that can ruin the vehicle’s floor board. It also has a nibbed backing to keep it in place no matter if passengers or pets may move around. It decreases the chance of floor friction on your vehicle’s interior carpet. It is thicker and heavier compared to the regular floor mats to further shield the flooring against harmful elements.

Installing floor liners to your interior is a good investment to retain the resale value of your vehicle. Get to know more benefits you can get from this automotive part:

  • Shields the floorboards against any substances that may harm the appearance and value of your vehicle
  • Prevents sticky liquids such as soda, coffee, and other snacks from spilling onto the vehicle’s carpet floor and lead to permanent damage to it
  • Trap dust, dirt, road salt, grime, and other particles
  • Keep off water, snow, mud and other things that got stuck on your shoe before it gets around into your vehicle’s carpet flooring
  • Prevents foot friction that cause rips and premature wear on the carpet
  • Can withstand different weather conditions and gives a year-round protection for the flooring

Goose Trailer Decals

For this purpose, they decorate their vehicles with different decals and use stickers to transform the outer look of their truck or car into their favorite style. Goose trailer decals are also one of the ways hunters choose to decorate their trailers. There is a vast range of ideas in goose trailer decals and some of them are mentioned as under:

Different Ideas in Goose Trailer Decals:

A goose trailer is designed with impressive images of several geese flying the skies or landing with a contrasting background. The black colored goose over the white background gives the perfect contrasting impression. The quality of these goose trailer decals is above any questioning because they are made with super quality vinyl material.

The decals fans can choose from a variety of styles in goose trailer decals e.g.

  • Flying geese with a light or dark background
  • Landing goose image on bushes
  • Images related to goose hunting
  • Popular sayings about goose hunt
  • Different goose scenes along with sayings as well.

The list of these stickers do not end here; there is much more to offer from the company’s side who are involved in developing top notch quality goose decals for all sort of vehicles.

Tips to follow before making Buying Decision:

Whenever a Hunter plans to Waterfowl Decals to his vehicle, he must consider the following points before making a purchase,

  • Always use contrasting colors white on black or black on white.
  • Always take careful measurements before selecting your favorite decal because a smaller a larger sized goose trailer decal may ruin the overall impression of the decal.
  • Cost should never be given preference over quality, usually low-cost decals are not made with durable material, and neither tolerate harsh weather conditions nor can be removed easily from the vehicle as they always leave scars.
  • The cuts and curves should be measured accordingly to properly fit the outer walls of the trailer.

Sunbeam Sports Car

The first Sunbeam car was produced in 1901, and used a Peugeot as its basis.

In 1920, Sunbeam went into sports car racing, and their car ended in second position in the 1925 Le Mans race. Since racing was expensive, and they had not been paid for WW1 work, the Company went into receivership in 1934.

In 1935, the Rootes Group purchased the Company. In 1938, Rootes introduced a brand new marque. They decided to call it the Sunbeam Talbot, which brought together the desirable Talbot coachwork with the chassis of the Hillman and Hunter.

In 1950, the Sunbeam Talbot Mark 2 cabriolet was introduced. It used a 2.3 litre overhead valve engine developing 70 bhp.

In 1952, a Mark 2A drop head coupe was introduced, and the higher compression engine produced 77 bhp.

In 1954, the Mark 3 included a two door drop head coupe, and power from the 2.3 litre, straight 4-cylinder engine was increased to 80 bhp.

A Mark 2 Sunbeam Talbot, driven by Stirling Moss, ended in second position in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally. The 1955 Rally was won by a Mark 3 Sunbeam Talbot.

In 1953, the Sunbeam Alpine Mark 1 was launched. It was a two seater convertible, based on the 1952 Sunbeam Talbot drop head coupe. The engine and performance were unchanged.

There was no Mark 2, but a Mark 3 version was introduced in 1954. Production ended in 1955 when 1,582 were built.

In 1956, the Sunbeam Alpine Mark 3 was completely redesigned with the aim of producing a pure two seater sports car targeted primarily at the US market. The final outcome produced a car with a more than passing resemblance to the early Ford Thunderbird.

The Sunbeam Alpine

Hence was born the restyled Sunbeam Alpine sports car which, between 1959 and 1968, was produced in five separate series.

In 1959, the Series 1 Sunbeam Alpine was launched. It was a two door convertible with optional overdrive.

In 1960, the Series 2 was introduced, with the engine increased from 1.5 to 1.6 litre.

In 1963, the Series 3 made its appearance. It was offered as a convertible and a fixed head coupe with a detachable “Surrey” hardtop. An occasional rear seat was fitted.

In 1964, the Series 4 was introduced. The convertible and hardtop versions were retained.

The distinctive rear fins were replaced with a restyled alternative. The engine was fitted with a single Solex carburettor.

In 1965, the Series 5 was launched. The engine was uprated to 1725 cc, with a 5-bearing crankshaft and two Stromberg carburettors.

The Sunbeam Tiger

In 1962, it was obvious to Rootes Group that the Sunbeam Alpine required a more powerful engine in order to be successful in worldwide markets.

It was suggested that the Ford V8 unit, as used in the AC Cobra, would be an ideal candidate. After extensive development work, a method was found to “shoehorn” the V8 into the Alpine engine compartment.

A contract for the production of the new car was given to the car maker Jensen.

In 1964, the Series 1 Sunbeam Tiger sports car was introduced. It was fitted with the 4.3 litre Ford V8 unit.

All the cars built were shipped to the US, except for 56. It was not until 1965 that the cars were available in the UK.

In 1967, the Series 2 Sunbeam Tiger was launched. It was fitted with the 4.7 litre Ford V8 unit. Apart from a larger engine, the car remained unchanged. Officially, the Series 2 model was destined solely for the US market.

In 1967, owing to mounting losses at Rootes Group, it was forced to agree a takeover by Chrysler. However, the new owner wanted its own V8 engine in the Tiger, and not that from its competitor, Ford.

Unfortunately, the Chrysler V8 engine would not fit into the Tiger and so, in June 1967, production of the Tiger Series 2 was halted.

This marked the end of the Sunbeam sports car.

Perhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, a possible question:

Which Sunbeam Sports Car Is Your Favourite?

However, should this question still remain unanswered, I will be reviewing, in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of Sunbeam sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1950 to 1967.