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General information about the various mods available to 4x4 vehicles covering pros and cons to assist in the decision of "Is this the right mod?"

Margie Schwartz

Cheap Trick - Spark Plug Adapter Tool

My spark plug socket failed to allow me to retrieve my old spark plug, which I wound up recovering with a magnetic retrieval tool. This was fine, but what about reinstalling my new plugs way “down thar”? Few of us have the fancy T-tool also used for spark plugs, so I came up with this cheap trick.

Using one of your old spark plug wires, cut the cord off near the head of the hex-shaped end of the probe. After gapping and lubing the spark plug threads with anti-seize compound, insert the plug in the end of the probe, and start threading the plug by hand back into the head. After tightening as much as you can by hand, use your spark plug socket to finish tightening the new plug and install your wire.

When pulling plugs, first loosen the spark plug with the socket, then use the old probe to grasp the top of the plug and remove it. The space where the spark plugs are mounted are tight enough to fish around until you feel the probe seat on the plug. Installing new plugs this way also allows you to feel the plug being threaded, and likely will minimize the chance of cross-threading a plug in the future.

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John Stewart

Pep Boys Provides Helpful Do-It-Yourself Guides For Tight Budgets

Make Your Car Last Longer With FREE, Useful DIY Tips from The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack

Philadelphia (PRWEB) November 13, 2008 -- As budgets tighten and the need to keep your car running right for longer grows, The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE: PBY) offer free, helpful Do-It-Yourself (DIY) guides to help you maintain your car inexpensively at home. The free guides, located at www.pepboys.com, under the "Car Care Corner" section, focus on common topics such as servicing your ignition, maintaining your front brakes and performing maintenance on your heating system. Pep Boys even provides tire rotation guides based on the type of vehicle you own.

And, as always, Pep Boys professional, ASE-certified technicians are also available to help you perform routine car care if you would rather have someone do it for you. With over 6000 fully-staffed service bays nationwide, Pep Boys is ready to keep your car running smoothly during the upcoming cold weather.

Performing regular maintenance on your car with the help of Pep Boys' DIY guides helps you prevent breakdowns, protect the safety of your passengers and save money. Pep Boys encourages you to visit a local store to purchase parts for maintaining your car yourself, or to talk to a technician about any questions you might have. To find a store near you, visit www.pepboys.com.

About Pep Boys:
Pep Boys has over 560 retail stores and approximately 6,000 service bays in 35 states and Puerto Rico. Along with its full-service vehicle maintenance and repair capabilities, the Company also serves the commercial auto parts delivery market and is one of the leading sellers of replacement tires in the United States. Customers can find the nearest location by calling 1-800-PEP-BOYS or by visiting http://www.pepboys.com.

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John Stewart

Auto Care Myths Busted

Goodwrench Busts Auto Care Myths One Myth at a Time - Effort begins by educating consumers that 3,000-mile oil changes are a thing of the past

GRAND BLANC, Mich . – Goodwrench is sending a few automotive maintenance myths to the scrap heap in an effort to help consumers save money, time and wear and tear on the environment. The effort continues with the biggest myth in the business, the often-recommended 3,000-mile / three-month oil change.

GM is debunking this myth with its patented engine Oil Life System (OLS). Because GM’s OLS tells vehicle owners exactly when to change their oil based on individual driving habits, a motorist who drives an average of 15,000 miles per year, this could mean between two to three fewer oil changes annually.

“The GM Oil Life System monitors combustion events, engine temperature and other parameters to gauge the oil's life,” said Matthew Snider, GM’s lead engineer for the GM Oil Life System . “Over the years, millions of test miles have been accumulated to calibrate the system for a variety of vehicles. Keeping pace with technology, the system continues to be upgraded periodically to account for advances in lubrication and engine design.”

Besides saving time and money, cutting out unnecessary oil changes also helps protect the environment. According to Margo Reid Brown, director of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), just one gallon of oil that makes its way into our waterways can pollute a million gallons of water.

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John Stewart

Winter Tires, Summer Tires and Rolling Resitance

Continental's winter tires do not lag behind summer tires at all in terms of rolling resistance
Germany, October 2008 - Contrary to common misconceptions, winter tires have just as little rolling resistance as summer tires. This is due to the material used, their particularly low weight and their tread design. These structural measures reduce the deformation of the tire during motoring, thereby lowering rolling resistance. Therefore, it is a false economy for drivers to put off changing their tires – with the coldest part of the year now quickly drawing in, the braking capacity of winter tires is markedly better than that of summer tires. The fact that fuel consumption is higher in winter than in the summer is attributable solely to the fact that it takes the engine longer to warm up in low temperatures.

The reduction in rolling resistance has long since been one of the main objectives in the development of modern winter tires. The tire engineers at Continental have focused their attention on the products in the ContiEcoContact range. After all, the Hanover-based company has sold 160 million of them as original equipment and replacements over the past 15 years. They have managed to reduce rolling resistance successively from one model to the next, so that it is now some 20 per cent lower than in the tires prior to the launch of the Eco range. Development has now moved on to the third generation model, and the previous virtually irreconcilable development conflicts between "low rolling resistance" and "grip on a wet road surface" have been resolved to a much higher degree.
"As a result of our continued development work, there is no longer any difference between summer and winter tires in terms of rolling resistance," points out Dr. Burkhard Wies, Vice-President, Tire Line Development Worldwide at Continental. "In some of our models, the rolling resistance coefficient of around 1.0 cr in winter tires is even slightly lower than in their summer counterparts." Therefore, Dr. Wies has a simple explanation for the higher fuel consumption that many cars experience in winter; by necessity, it takes the engine longer to warm up in winter than in the summer. As a result, higher fuel consumption in unavoidable. His advice is that if you want to do something good for the environment, you should definitely have winter tires fitted and, if at all possible, walk occasionally, despite the poor weather.
Modern winter tires have fine tread structures in order to interlink well with the road surface on snow which has become compacted by cars or on icy surfaces. A huge number of grip edges form. This is thanks to the large number of fine, angled incisions, so-called lamellae, on their tread blocks. At the same time, the spacing between the profile blocks still has to be big enough to disperse water quickly when driving in the rain, but not so coarse as to compromise on flexibility. Treads designed in this way experience barely any more deformation in contact with the ground than modern summer tires.

The Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of tires, brake systems, powertrain and chassis systems and components, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 150,000 at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.

A quarter of all tires in Europe are manufactured by Continental, the market leader. When they are first manufactured, more than 30 per cent of all new European cars come out of factories fitted with Continental tires. The tire divisions are an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup 2010™ in South Africa. For further details, please go to www.ContiSoccerWorld.de.

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John Stewart

Preparing for a safe winter driving season

It May Be Warm Now, But Winter is on the Way

CHARLOTTE, NC – (September 24, 2008) – It may still be just the beginning of Autumn, but it’s also prime time to start thinking ahead to Winter.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind when prepping your car for winter is tires, because once the temperature drops below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road. Colder weather brings on a whole new set of driving challenges – slush, ice and hard packed snow. And even with all of the performance capabilities built into today’s vehicles, they will only perform as steadily and responsively as their tires allow.  And in extreme winter weather, that can mean the difference between focused braking power and out-of-control handling.
“It’s a fact: as temperatures drop below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road.  And that can lead to dangerous driving conditions,” said Joerg Burfien, director of R&D, Continental Tire North America, Inc.  “Since all-season and winter tires are about as similar as sandals and snowshoes, we’ve launched a program to encourage our customers to stay safer in winter by switching to Continental Winter Tires.
“Summer tires just aren’t built to hold the road in the same way that winter tires do,” Burfien continued.  “During winter, drivers experience a dramatic drop in grip, meaning longer stopping distances, less driving control and by far, less safety.”
Winter tires are uniquely designed to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions, because they are specially engineered to deliver a substantial increase of traction over all-season radials – by as much as a 25 to 50 percent. That’s enough gripping traction and braking power to avoid a severe weather-related accident.

ContiWinterContact™ winter tires are engineered with pliable tread compounds and tread designs that remain soft and flexible in even the coldest temperatures, increasing the contact area and providing better grip on wet or icy roads.  Tread design features include more supple compounds, deeper tread grooves and smaller shoulder grooves.
The Continental winter tire lineup includes:
The ContiWinterContact TS810 -- engineered to handle unpredictable snow and wet driving conditions.
The ContiWinterContact TS810 S – built for winter driving performance.
The ContiWinterContact TS790 -- a state-of-the-art winter tire featuring exceptional handling and braking at low temperatures.

Once your car is properly outfitted with the right tires for the season, there are a number of other steps drivers can take to make sure their car is ready for when the cold weather comes.  Now is the time to give your car a thorough checkup.  You can do most of these jobs yourself, but some work really must be done by a professional.
Radiator: Add a dose of antifreeze to the coolant
Shocks: Should be checked.  Defective shock absorbers increase braking distance and shorten the lifetime of tires
Wiper fluid: Add a dose of frost protector
Battery: Check the acid level for optimum performance
Spark plugs: check for wear and replace if necessary
Lights:  Check and align properly for maximum efficiency
Be sure to include the following equipment in your trunk: a set of jumper cables, a snow brush/ice scraper and a de-icing spray
Winter tires: Set the pressure 2.9 psi higher than what is recommended for summer tires
Once you’ve given your car a thorough checkup, the best protection against breakdowns and accidents in winter is driving with foresight.  This includes taking extra care on bridges or at traffic lights, as well as keeping a greater following distance from the car in front.
“Really, the best advice we can offer drivers is to use common sense,” Burfien said.
For more information, visit www.CTNAMedia.com.
With targeted annual sales of more than $40 billion for 2008, the Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for the powertrain and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 150,000 people at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.
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