A car Aston Martin did not want to debut

In Detroit auto show car Manufacturer company VLF Automotive revealed its newest production 755 horsepower coupe Force 1, behind which the main engineer is Henrik Fisker. I bet you have heard his name before! He is the same Danish designer who once worked for Aston Martin and left to found his own car company – hybrid car manufacturer Fisker Automotive.

Force 1, in my opinion, is one damn good and aggressive looking car. And no surprise that Aston Martin didn’t want it to be revealed to the public. Official reason was that they saw some similarities with BMW Z8 and DB9 that Henrik Fisker was designing while working at Aston Martin for the secret agent 007 James Bond movies, including the last one – DB10. Fisker answered to these claims without any hesitation: sued Aston for more than $100m for delaying the debut of his newest piece of art Force 1.

I haven’t managed to find any updated info about the lawsuit, however, the premier has already taken place and know what? The resemblance with Bond’s DB10 can be seen with only a poor sight and colorful imagination :)))))

Official documents say that there is a 8.4-liter V10 engine with 755 hp and 928 Nm under Fisker’s Force 1 hood. Buyer can choose between a six speed manual or six speed automatic transmission. From 0 to 60 mph Force 1 requires 3!!!! seconds. Top speed is humble 300 mph πŸ˜€ The price is a bit ugly though, for a base model they ask $268,500, which I think is a complete rip-off. But it’s probably related to small production output – only 50 units of these will be produced. What did I forget? Oh, yes, its body panels are made of carbon fiber to limit the car’s total weight to 1538 kg.

That’s about it. Start saving πŸ˜€ it would require probably some 10 to 15 years to afford it though πŸ˜€

6 Tips before buying a car

Getting yourself a suitable vehicleΒ can be a difficult task, especially when your budget is tight. Supply in the car market is huge, plus each car trader offers his or her favorite mark and model. How to make the right decision in such uncertainty? How to avoid mistakes when buying a car? Before you make the choice, there are 6 key factors to consider:

How much money am I willing to spend on the car? Vehicle price is just the beginning of the final cost of the car. You must take into the account all the maintenance costs as well; these include, but are not limited to: registration fees & taxes, insurance, repair and spare parts, fuel costs, seasonal tires, change of oil, filters, etc. So, before buying it is imperative to think and measure twice. Perhaps, it is wiser to buy a less expensive vehicle, so that the remaining part of the money is saved up for upcoming maintenance expenses.

What mileage I am willing to cover within a year? This is important aspect to think of when looking at fuel type which powers the car. Petrol-powered car should be an optimal choice for those who drive less than 25 thousand miles per annum. For others a diesel-powered car is more financially beneficial option.

In what environments I am planning to use it? If you live in a big city and think to ride your car within it, with a few exceptions, for instance, weekend trips to beach, a small, easy to park and economical petrol car is the most reasonable purchase. In contrast, for instance, to large SUV, such vehicle has lower maintenance costs, slower depreciation in value, and, last but not least, it will be easier to maneuver and find an appropriate parking space.

Will you go on your own or with someone? Answer on this question will clarify the type and economy of car you should get. When getting yourself a new car, think not only about the number of friends and family members, but also about their age. For instance, having small kids will require some additional space to put necessary belongings, such as children strollers, seats, bikes etc.

How much time do you intend to spend in the car? If your work involves a lot of traveling with a car or simply spending a lot of time in it, you should consider investing in comfort. There are a bunch of options to consider – starting from climate control to heated seats. Just don’t get too excited – each additional option does not only increase the cost of the car itself, but also increases the fuel consumption.

How soon will you want to sell it? If you are planning to flip it soon, look for popular car brands as well as models. Although such items can be a bit above your budget, don’t forget they lose their value more slowly. So you might even save yourself some money at the end!

Parallel parking made simple in 6 steps

You’ve done countless laps in the city center to find a free place to park your car and finally notice a car with turn indicators switched on which can mean nothing else but an intention to leave a parking space. You’re happy and turn on the signal to get in the sweet spot you were looking for so long. All you have to do is to park there using the parallel parking skills.

Relax! Even if the last time you had to do it was during the RTA test, follow these 6 simple tips and you will succeed.

parallel parking

Choose an appropriate spot

Choose a parking spot based on the size and dimensions of your car and your driving skills – you must feel comfortable to do it smoothly. Consider your skills and situation critically, even in cases when you are desperate!

Ready to conquer

Use your turn signal to indicate your choice and warn the vehicles behind you. Check your car’s rear view mirror to be completely sure about that. If you are dangerously close to anyone, wait. When the road is free, you can now focus on the initiation of the parking maneuver. Don’t stress if somebody has to wait for you to park, they definitely have been in the same situation you are.

Imagine the letter “S”

Drive back till your vehicle’s rear bumpers is in line with the bumper of the vehicle ahead, leaving a little more than half a meter between them. It will now be easy to visualize the “S” form maneuver you are about to take.

Time to move in reverse

Engage the gear in reverse and, assuming that you have a parking spot on the right side, trim the steering wheel all the way to the right and start moving slowly, without rush movements. Focus on the vehicle in front and the free space where you want to park.

When you are around a 45-degree angle, the back part of the vehicle is in the parking place and the rear wheels almost touches curb, stop! You have just completed the first part of “S” move.

“S” on the other – the last part

Cut the wheels all the way to the left – you are about to finish the “S” maneuver. With wheels cut to the left, keep watching the front of your car so that it does not clash with the vehicle parked in front and the back of your car so that you don’t collide with the vehicle in the back – drive slowly backwards into the place.

Finish line

Stop! Straighten the wheels and center the car’s position. If you don’t succeed with the first attempt, don’t give up. Try again. Show a person who has always parked with the first try or haven’t hit wheels against a sidewalk. Only practice makes perfect πŸ™‚

Success!

Hooray! Now you have parked and can resume breathing πŸ˜€ Here are some tips that will help you nip in tight spaces:

  • You can always adjust mirrors down to see the distance between the tires and the curb, as well as between a car and a variety of low sitting objects
  • Watch out of poles and road signs nearby
  • If you don’t feel secure about your parking skills, take time to exercise in some quiet place where there is no pressure from external environment
  • Before leaving the vehicle, make sure it does not disturb anyone

What is the cheapest way to repair hail dents on your vehicle?

Today I want to give you a quick advise on how to repair hail dents (and actually any other body panel damage type) on your vehicle quickly and painlessly. I will tell you about principles of paintless dent repair I learned at my visit in Phoenix, AZ. For a more depth in information I strictly suggest visiting this paintless dent removal Phoenix business page. Let’s begin by understanding the difference between hail and ice grains.

before paintless dent repairafter paintless dent repair

What falls from the sky – hail or ice grains?

About a week ago on some site, name of which unfortunately I don’t remember, I read a hot discussion about a weather forecast that stated it’s going to rain or snow, perhaps with a mix of ice grains. People were totally confused with the term ice grains – shouldn’t the same phenomenon be called hailstones? Actually, they shouldn’t.

It turned out that ice grains are translucent ice spheres with opaque centers in diameter up to 3mm. Those spheres are extremely hard, so hard you can’t crush them between your fingers. Dropped on a hard surface, they bounce back. Most frequently observed in spring and autumn, rarely in winter.

On contrary, hail is precipitation in form of different shaped ice cubes, centers of which are opaque, but the outer surface – transparent. Typically the hailstones do not exceed 5mm in diameter, but often can be larger, reaching several centimeters. Hail storms occur in warm season, usually accompanied by thunderstorms and rain.

How severe are the damages?

It doesn’t really matter if your car has been damaged by ice or hail grains, it usually costs several hundreds if not thousands to avert the prints on its body. Why I said normally? Because it would be a normal price a good reputation workshop would charge you for their time and materials. But there is a good alternative you should be aware of. It’s called paintless dent repair – name of which already implies that it does not include the use of traditional panel beating and re-painting technique.

What is paintless dent removal?

It’s a method practiced by highly professional and skilled technicians where the hail damage, door dings and other types of dents are pulled out from the cars body with special PDR tools. It is equally effective to treat penny size or basketball ball size dents on various surfaces – cars, trucks, bikes, yachts, helicopters, planes etc. It does not require much resources – neither in terms of time, nor money. To show the difference, a job that would take 2-3 days for a paintshop and would cost around $1300, is equal to around 2-3 hour work by a paintless dent removal technician and around $400 bill for the client. Moreover, if you go for a mobile paintless dent repair service in Phoenix AZ, they will drive to your doorstep without you needing to leave your living room to get out the dents on your car.

Nitrogen in tires – myths and truths

There’s a new trend in automotive – instead of air that is normally used to pump the tires up, somebody has initiated an idea that it must be substituted with nitrogen. Arguments behind this are various, for instance, because it is done for Formula 1 bolides, a part of heavy-duty commercial vehicles and.. a Nissan GTR supercar!

nitrogen tire scheme

In addition to these, there are few other reasons:

  • If the tire gets punctured, nitrogen flows out slower than air
  • Slower tire wear-our due to more evenly distributed pressure inside the tire
  • Pressure in the tire is not affected by temperature
  • Risk of tire blowing is fully mitigated
  • More stable pace of movement
  • Improved grip with the road surface

It seems everything is perfect: so many benefits for a ridiculous amount of money. But now let’s get to the basics of physics and try to understand what exactly we are trying to compare here. Air is a substance mixture that consists of: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% carbon dioxide and various other components. Specialists recommend filling up the wheels with a 95% nitrogen and 5% oxygen mixture. And now let’s examine each myth individually.

Myth no 1: more even tire pressure

Nitrogen thermal expansion coefficient is much smaller than the one of air, so the tire heat-up or cooling is almost not affected by the pressure. So the argument behind this is simple: nitrogen, unlike air, is an ideal gas that does not expand at all.

But this assertion is clearly in contradiction to Charles’s Law – without going into the details (formulas and calculations), nitrogen and air expansion coefficient difference is only 0.0001 or 0.00025 atmospheres. Typical standard tire pressure is ~2 atmospheres, so you see that the difference is insignificant.

Myth no 2: tires filled with nitrogen leak slower

Nitrogen molecules are larger than air molecules, so nitrogen slower escapes the tire rubber in case of puncture.

Indeed, nitrogen molecular size is 0.364 nm, while oxygen – 0.346 nm. But again, this difference is insignificant, because if a tire loses pressure, it’s typically trough a valve or tire and rim joints. Similarly, if the tire surface is cracked from age, it will not hold its shape no matter which of both substances fills it. Maybe the trick lies in the fact that nitrogen molecules block the tire’s pores and prevents from pressure releasing out? Even if it was so, remember that air-sellers offer mixtures that contain only 17% more nitrogen than a free air does.

oxygen vs nitrogen

Myth no 3: lowers the risk of blowing

Nitrogen is an inert gas that does not burn. So, at high speeds, tire does not heat up and there is no oxygen that could ignite the fire. Let’s start with Mendeleev’s table: nitrogen is in the fifth group, but inert gases – in the eighth. However, this is not the most important. Sound we can hear, when a tire blows up, actually is caused by rupture, not explosion. To explode a tire, it must be heated up to around 1000 degrees after Celsius.

Myth no 4: fuel economy

Nitrogen filled tire, even for a 4×4 ride, is lighter than a tire filled with air. Respectively, this is supposed to reduce the load on the suspension and significantly reduce the fuel consumption. In first moment, it seems like a reasonable and logical argument. Now let’s examine the numbers.

A cubic meter of air containing 78% nitrogen, weights 1.28 kg of which 1.25kg is the weight of nitrogen. Let’s take a 165 / 70R13 size tire. Its volume is about 20 liters, overpressure – 2 kg per square centimeter, so the combined volume is 60 liters of gas. This means that the weight of nitrogen in the particular tire would be 0.0750kg, but the weight of air in the same tire – 0.0774kg. We get an astonishing saving of 2.4 grams per tire. Considering the total mass of a vehicle, this is completely negligible saving!

Myth no 5: better adhesion to road surface

Compared with air, which is usually subject to rather high temperature and pressure variations, nitrogen indeed is more stable. It’s impossible to find any argument to back up the statement above as the adhesion with road depends completely on tread rubber characteristics, tire structure, pressure distribution and, last but not least, the quality of road.

Nitrogen in auto workshops is more a fashion trend than a real breakthrough. But, as we know, fashion is not friends with science!

Is it safer with AWD in winter or not?

I’ve been frequently asked this question, so decided to write a quick post on it, hopefully after publishing it nobody will ever ask me this question πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

At the time of year, when every driver is surprised by an unexpected snowfall, most of them are struck by an idea: Oh, it would be so nice to have an SUV or at least a four wheel drive vehicle, the drive would be much smoother and joyful! When staring off, wheels wouldn’t quill, small snowbank would be no obstacle and, after all, could get closer to any destination, even if it’s high up in the mountains. What a great feeling would that be!

As of today, almost every premium car brand offers sport utility vehicles also known as SUVs or simply AWD-equipped cars. So, all you have to do is to figure out, what car you both need and want.

The biggest advantage of an SUV is the four-wheel drive that the driver does not have to worry about accidentally stucking in a pile of snow (at least, if it has proper tires on it), that tends to happen not only in rural areas, but urban as well. You should also not underestimate the fact that your vehicles bumper is in another car’s trunk lids height. Other drivers seem to respect this as well, more frequently giving way exactly to sport utility vehicles. In addition, when driving through snowy streets that have not been cleaned for a while, you won’t have to worry about scratching sounds underneath your vehicle or breaking off the front bumper because it’s too low.

audi allroad

However, regardless of how confident an SUV driver feels, it has only a slight advantage in form of clearance over any other four-wheel drive car which trunk lid is decorated with letters Quattro, 4-matic, X-Drive AWD, Allroad, ALLTRACK or XC. Four-wheel drive or 4×4 brings sense of stability, security and confidence, backed up by four wheels propelling the car forwards even in the most drastic weather conditions.

Hi, guys!

My wife encouraged me to start a blog.. so here I am πŸ™‚ will try to make this a cozy place by sharing my emotions, racing stories, and a bit of everything else.

Racing, competing, it’s in my blood. It’s part of me, it’s part of my life; I have been doing it all my life and it stands out above everything else.Β A. Senna