Archive for the ‘General Interest’ Category

More Horsepower for Less than $100

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Want more horsepower without paying much to get it? Here are three ways today’s top engine builders get more power from their racing engines and their personal cars, without spending a lot of money to do it.

K&N Replacement Air Filter

These reusable K&N Filtercharger air filters outflow any other filter–up to 900 cfm–for power gains of up to 15 HP. They use a surgical cotton fabric soaked in oil as their tack barrier. Sandwiched between an aluminum screen wire, the holes in the cotton catch tumbling air and straighten it out. Since air moving in a straight line flows faster, the filter actually improves airflow. They can be covered by up to 1/4 in. of debris before air restriction makes cleaning necessary. The filters come pre-oiled, and many are available as a direct fit for your application.

Upgrade your lubricants – Friction and heat from engine components and the drive train rob horsepower and performance. Minimizing this power loss can be as easy as upgrading to one of the newer high performance lubricants that are available. For instance, in a recent test by Horsepower TV, upgrading to high performance motor oil freed up 8 horsepower in a V8 engine. Video of the test and more information on upgrading lubricants can be found at

Replace and/or upgrade your air filter – During the life of your engine, thousands of cubic feet of air will pass through the engine cylinders. Dust and other material in the engine can cause excessive wear and operating problems. It’s imperative that you keep air filters clean by regularly replacing them.

To further enhance performance, upgrade to a performance air filter, which can free up an additional 2 to 3 horsepower. While not a tremendous power gain, the relatively low cost of a filter and ease of installation (about 5 minutes) more than make up for it.

Use higher octane gas or an octane booster – Go for the good stuff the next time you’re at the pump. Depending on your vehicle, high octane gasoline can provide an increase in horsepower. Even a marginal gain in switching from the lowest octane gasoline to the highest octane may be worth a few extra pennies at the pump to you.

For those who want to see a more measurable increase in power, a racing blend of gasoline will work well or one of the numerous brands of octane booster commonly available at auto parts stores.

Upgrading your gas, lubricants and air filter are a cheap and easy way to increase horsepower. These simple steps will also extend the life of your engine and help prevent expensive repairs.

Used Car Buying Tips the Experts Use

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

When it comes to buying a used car, you should not only bring in outside, professional expertise, but make a professional out of yourself, too.

By combining a physical inspection from a licensed mechanic (which you should always try to do), with the information directly available to you as a consumer, such as vehicle history reports, you can empower yourself with the knowledge and confidence you need to make the best decision possible.

No one will dispute that fact that uncertainty is the most prominent and unwelcome part of the used car-buying process. Since the first Model T rolled off the line, people have been fixing and selling vehicles without disclosing their full, and sometimes checkered, pasts. And, be it your first or 14th used car purchase, the questions always loom: Am I buying a problem vehicle? Has it been in an accident? How do I know this isn’t a lemon?

In this information age, you can arm yourself with the same information and techniques professionals use to answer these questions, and make an educated and confident used car purchase. These techniques include:

1.) Pedals and Steering: Examine the pedals for wear. While the paint and interior are often updated to make a car appear less worn, sellers rarely replace pedals. Also, with the engine off, jiggle the steering wheel back and forth. There should be less than 1 inch of play and no clunking noises. If there are, the car may need a steering gearbox, rack or other front suspension repair such as tie rod ends.

2.) Frame Damage: Never buy a frame-damaged car. Check the radiator core support, which connects the front fenders and holds the top of the radiator and includes the hood latch. It should be bolted, not welded on either side. Inspect the bolt heads at the top of the fenders inside the hood; scratch marks indicate that the fenders have been replaced or realigned after a crash.

Uneven tire wear is another indication of possible frame damage. When cars are involved in a major collision and frame damage occurs, the frame often remains slightly off keel and the tires will show this hidden problem.

3.) Paint: Carefully check the paint job, taking note of any rust spots, dents or scratches. Look at the sides of the car from end-on for waviness, which indicates paint work. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between panels; roughness indicates residue left from masking tape, uneven gaps between door, hood, and trunk panels and their openings indicate possibility of a major repair. Consider bringing a small magnet with you. If the body of the car is steel, then a failure of the magnet to stick can indicate the extensive use of body compound to conduct a repair. When using this trick however, keep in mind that many newer models use fiberglass for certain body panels.

4.) Fluids: Remove the oil filler cap. Check for signs of thick, dark sludge, which may indicate the vehicle didn’t receive frequent oil changes. Look at the condition of the coolant in the overflow tank; filthy brown coolant means a rusted cooling system and possibly a leaky head gasket. Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red. An old car may have dark transmission fluid, but the oil should not look or smell burnt. Check underneath the vehicle for fluid leaks.

5.) Vehicle History Report: Beyond your own firsthand detective work, checking a car’s vehicle history is one of the most important things you can do before making a purchase. Vehicle history reports like Experian’s AutoCheck ( pull data from various sources, including state department of motor vehicle records, auto auctions and dealers.

AutoCheck now features the AutoCheck Score, which assigns each vehicle a numeric score based on that vehicle’s specific history. In much the same way as a credit score distills large amounts of information into a simple, easy-to-understand numeric score, this first-ever vehicle score makes it easier to understand the vehicle’s full history and compare that car against the average score of similar vehicles.

Vehicle history reports factor in reported events such as title and registration information, accident, auction data, the vehicle’s emission history, whether it’s ever been repossessed or stolen, whether the vehicle has ever been a government car, police car or taxi and whether it’s ever been leased. The AutoCheck Score does the analysis for you, helping you easily understand what a vehicle history report really says about that used car.

Becoming a savvier car buyer will not only allow you to make a better investment, but it can also protect you and your family from an unsafe vehicle. Gone are the days of simply kicking tires and staring blankly under the hood. With a little research and some careful inspection, you can steer clear of problem used vehicles.

Motor Oil Facts, Not Friction

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Many people don’t know how to select motor oil that will help them get optimum performance out of their car. People often just select the oil their father used, or they may take the suggestion of a counter person at an auto parts store who may not know any more about cars than they do.

Mobil Oil Mobil 1 Synthetic 0W40

Price: $5.99

Mobil 1 0W40 Synthetic Oil with SuperSyn helps give your car or truck exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even the most extreme use. This unique motor oil features a new, proprietary SuperSyn anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond conventional motor oils. 1 Quart.

There are meaningful differences in motor oils and choosing the right one can have a major impact on how well your car runs. Selecting the right oil is the quickest and cheapest way to improve your car’s performance and reliability.

Two components determine how well motor oil will perform in your car. One factor is the base oil, and the other is the combination of chemicals (additives) that are added to the base oil.

Base oils
The two primary types of base oils used are mineral and synthetic. Mineral oils are by-products of refined crude oil. Refining helps reduce the impurities but leaves molecules of all shapes and sizes. Synthetic oils are manmade compounds whose molecules are all the same size and shape; consequently, synthetic oil has less friction and performs significantly better than mineral oils.

There’s been sizable growth in the use of synthetic oils over the years. In fact, synthetic oils are often the factory fill in many new performance and luxury cars.

Regardless of the base oil used, chemicals must be added to give motor oil the characteristics needed to do its job. Typical additives that may be added to base oil include detergents to reduce the formation of residue, defoamants to deter absorption of air, anti-wear agents, antioxidants and others.

Although additives are typically only 15 to 25 percent of the make up of motor oil, they can impact a lubricant’s performance much more than the base oil. For instance, mineral based motor oil with a very good additive package can easily outperform synthetic motor oil with a mediocre additive package.

There is no easy way for a consumer to determine the quality of motor oil’s additive package. Price is often an indicator of quality since the more advanced additive technologies cost more to produce. Performance is the ultimate measure of additive package quality.

Advances in lubrication
Some of the biggest technological advances in lubrication are now coming through advancements in chemical additives. These breakthroughs have been developed by a handful of companies that specialize in high-performance lubricants, as opposed to major oil companies whose primary focus is refining and selling crude oil by products like gasoline and other fuels.

One high-performance lubricant company, Royal Purple, has developed lubricants that outperform both leading mineral oils and other synthetics. Their oil has been proven in numerous independent tests to dramatically reduce engine wear, increase horsepower and torque, and reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Cars using their oils can also go further between oil changes, saving the owner time and money, and reducing the impact on the environment. More information about their products is available at the Web site

How to Choose
Mineral-based (conventional) motor oils. These are the cheapest and most widely available oils. They typically use standard additive packages that provide minimum levels of performance and protection.

Synthetic motor oils. These man-made oils are more expensive that mineral-based oils but are still widely available. Their performance advantages come predominantly from the synthetic base oil used. They have a longer service life and offer some improvements in protection. They typically use the same additive packages found in mineral-based oils.

High-performance ‘specialty’ synthetic motor oils. These motor oils are the most technologically advanced oils. Although they significantly outperform mineral based or synthetic motor oils, they are about the same price as standard synthetic motor oil. They are typically only available through auto parts stores and select oil change centers. These oils primarily differ in their use of more advanced, proprietary additive technologies.

Still confused? For a used car with little life left in it, stick with the cheap mineral-based motor oil. For a car you plan to keep for a few years and want to get a little better performance from, you should at least upgrade to synthetic motor oil. To get the most performance out of your car, truck or RV, or to protect a vehicle you really care about and want to last, upgrade to a high performance motor oil.

Winter’s Top Rules of the Road

Monday, November 26th, 2007

(ARA) – As soon as the snow begins to fall, as it has in most Northern cities across the country, drivers are faced with an entirely new set of challenges on the road. Snow and ice can be treacherous, but if you’re prepared for the dangers they present, winter driving is much less scary.

Whether you’ve already done a little slipping and sliding, or are hoping to prevent that scary occurrence altogether, it is important to make yourself aware of 10 road rules that apply in the wintertime:

1. Take steps to make sure your driveway will be safe to travel on. Before you even put the car in gear, sprinkle sand that is specially-formulated to increase traction on snow and ice on all areas you’re likely to walk on or drive over. Sand products are one of the most helpful and under-used products for winter driving, and the actual consistency of products such as Sakrete Multi-Purpose Sand was made to be poured over ice and provide immediate traction to your vehicle. You can find it at most home improvement stores and the re-sealable bag is suitable for rugged storage in variable temperatures.

2. Add ballast to your car. Products such as Sakrete’s Tube Sand adds weight and ballast to your vehicle to give you better traction, and if you need it, the sand inside also can help you out of a bind. “This is a product much like your spare tire,” says Shawn King of Sakrete, a leading brand of sand and concrete products. “A lot of people forget about it, but if something happens it immediately becomes the most important item in your trunk.”

3. Be prepared for an emergency situation. Emergency situations can arise at any time. The supplies you should keep in your trunk are a properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack, a shovel, jumper cables, tow and tire chains, two or more bags of sand and a tool kit. You should also carry a survival kit that includes a working flashlight and extra batteries, flares, matches, a compass, extra windshield cleaner, an ice scraper and snow brush, blankets, a first aid kit and non-perishable, high-energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy.

4. Turn on your headlights. Even in the daytime to increase your visibility to other motorists, and be sure to keep your lights and windshield clean.

5. Decrease your speed. To drive safely on roads you suspect may be icy, decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

6. Watch for black ice and other frozen patches. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.

7. Shift into lower gears. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

8. Drive defensively. If your front wheels skid, take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go, then return the transmission to “drive” or release the clutch and accelerate gently. Steer in the direction you want your wheels to go. If your rear wheels skid, take your foot off the accelerator and steer left if you are sliding left and right if you’re sliding right.

9. If you get stuck, do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way. If a light touch on the gas doesn’t ease your car out, open the trunk and take out your emergency shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car. Then, put down the bag of Sakrete Tube Sand –Winter Traction Grit, kept in your trunk, and simply drive over it (The sand comes in a reinforced woven bag made specifically to be driven over). Once you’re out of your bind, don’t forget to stop and pick up the bag in case you need it again for traction.

10. If you become stranded, do not leave your car. Unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation; it would be extremely dangerous to leave your car. To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.

No one wants to drive in inclement weather, but if you have to, being familiar with these 10 tips should make you feel safer.

Reality Show Gives Racing Enthusiasts Their 15 Seconds of Fame

Monday, November 26th, 2007

(ARA) - What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends? If the first answer to come to mind has something to do with cars, particularly of the racing variety, you’ll want to make plans to attend the filming of an upcoming PINKS All Out episode. The schedule for the 2008 season has just been released.

For each episode of season two on SPEED TV in 2008 (there will be 9 of them at different tracks across the country this season), 450 grass roots drag racers will be invited to qualify for a shot at the final PINKS All Out 16, where competitors race for the lion’s share of an $18,000 overall purse ($10,000 to win) and a new NAPA tool chest.

Hosted by creator and executive producer Rich Christensen and produced by Pullin Television out of Los Angeles, the television show rigors its on-air technical advisors (brothers Nate and Adam Pritchett) to select a field of 16 cars based upon a subjective elapsed-time grouping determined through two time-trial sessions. Prior to each Saturday shoot, racers will have the opportunity to pre-register their race cars and take part in a Friday “test n’ tune.”

Because the races will draw a lot more spectators than drivers, there will also be a variety of exhibitions and competitions happening on the sidelines. In the midway area, local vendors, manufacturers, supporters and groups will have the opportunity to elevate their involvement and showcase their wares or talents.

“The coolest thing about this show is it’s about grassroots racing. Average Joes get the opportunity to bring the cars that are their pride and joy out to the track to show them off and have fun, while at the same time going after a big cash prize, and getting their 15 seconds of fame on national television,” says PINKS technical advisor Nate Pritchett.

Here’s the schedule for the 2008 season of PINKS All Out. Please note that pre-registration and Test n’ Tune will be held the Friday prior to every shoot, and that dates and locations are subject to change. Rain dates will be scheduled for the following Sunday.

Dates and locations are:
March 8, San Antonio Raceway, San Antonio, Texas;
March 29, Red River Raceway, Shreveport, La.;
April 19, Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Fla.;
May 10, Atlanta Dragway, Atlanta, Ga.;
June 7, Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio;
June 28, Gateway International Raceway, St. Louis, Mo.;
July 26, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown, N.J.;
Aug. 9, Bandimere Speedwayl Denver, Colo.;
Sept. 6, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif.

“PINKS All Out is a terrific concept, not only as a television program, but also as a track event for the regional drag racing community. We’re delighted that SPEED has selected Infineon Raceway to anchor the PINKS schedule in 2008,” says Steve Page, Infineon Raceway president and general manager.

“PINKS All Out is one of the most innovative entertainment packages on television today! Furthermore, the opportunity to attract such a large live audience for a ‘made-for-television’ event makes PINKS All Out one of the most dynamic and exciting events on our 2008 schedule,” adds Bill Bader, Jr., president and general manager of the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

PINKS All Out can be seen on SPEED every Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. Pacific only on SPEED. For more information on contestant entry or to purchase spectator tickets, log onto

Oklahomans Not Protected Against Sick Puppies Bought Online (KOTV 6 Tulsa)

Thursday, October 25th, 2007
Wednesday night The News On 6 brought you the first part of our investigation into an online puppy selling operation based here in Green Country. The News On 6 continues its examination of the selling practices of one man and his Okmulgee County business. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports our state is one of the few left where questionable puppy selling operations are tolerated.

Puppy Profits: State laws lack bite (Tulsa World)

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
An inspector with the American Kennel Club gathers a DNA sample from an English bulldog puppy. AKC spends $6 million annually to monitor the quality of AKC kennels across the United States in addition to tracking the bloodline of pedigree dogs.

Misrepresented used cars in state don’t remain ‘as is’ (Tulsa World)

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
Dear Action Line: I bought a 2005 Ford Focus from a car lot. It had a green title and no other listed issues on Carfax (such as flood damage). After my first weekend with it I took it back when learning its true condition. I was told "Oklahoma has no lemon laws."

Lemon laws restricted ( via Yahoo! Finance)

Friday, October 5th, 2007
Most car manufacturers have representative for lemon law problems, says Bankrate car expert Terry Jackson.

Car Shopping: New Or Used? (Investopedia)

Thursday, October 4th, 2007
It happens to everyone. The old clunker gasps its last smokey gasp at the side of the road, and you're left to face a sickening reality - you need some new wheels.