Monday, November 17, 2008

How to choose the right kind of battery for your car

A battery may count as a bit small, but in reality, it is one of the most crucial components of your car as it is the one that gives power to all electronic gadgets, components and the startup of your engine.

No matter how well maintained your car is, once you power it up with a low performance battery, it will eventually be left lifeless on the road. It is therefore important to outfit your car with the best battery around.

Recent developments of the vehicle industry has produced upgrades or modifications allowing batteries to keep up with the advanced features of models from various makers. Competition among the battery manufacturers also provides consumers with lower prices, improved battery life and more advanced features. All batteries now can be installed DIY!

Below are the simple how to’s to help you select the right battery for your car.

Finding a new battery

When looking for a new battery, always take note that prices may vary because of brand, features, quality and capacity.

If you’re looking for a brand that’s reliable, simply do a research online for the most popular or ask other car owners for the brands that they’re using.

The availability of new batteries is not a question nowadays; you can get hold of them at most car shops, service centers and auto supplies from urban areas up to the farthest countryside. Prices may vary but most shops provide discounts for customers who turn in their old batteries.

Provided you have the budget, see to it not to buy cheap batteries! You might think that you’re getting a bargain now but sooner or later, you will suffer as cheap batteries are poor in quality and will surely never last long.

Check your car manual or battery referral guides in automotive shops for factors such as group size, cold-cranking amps and cranking amps to properly guide you in your selection.

Group size- Refers to battery volume with the location of terminals (positive + and negative -) your manual indicates the group size required by your car’s model.

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) - Refers to a battery’s ability in cold weather conditions. It is in situations such as these that the engine oil becomes thicker thereby making ignition difficult. You can tell how much electrical power your battery can provide to your car at zero degrees (F) by looking at its CCA rating.

Cranking Amps (CA) – Is the indicator of a battery’s power-capability.

Now that you know what to look for, it is then time for you to consider buying a battery based on preference leads such as:


You can select from maintenance free or a regular battery. I’d say go for the maintenance free type as you will not go through the hassles of constantly checking and refilling the battery electrolyte fluids.

Country climate and driving conditions

Select the battery that fits your country climate and driving condition. If you are living in a country with high temperatures, it is appropriate for you to select the battery type for a long life. Look for a tough housing that will protect the plates from easily corroding and provides protection against fluid evaporation.

Display date

Select the ones that are displayed fresh on the counter with no more than 6 months from their manufacture date.

Battery handles

For easy installation and pullout, select a battery that has a handle on it. You wouldn’t want to carry a 4-5 kilo box just by holding on to its sides now would you?

Follow these tips to land the perfect power for your ride. Drive safely.

For proper battery care and maintenance,
Read: Maintaining the peak performance of your car's battery

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rev and Bootstraps: Optimizing your car’s looks and performance

Getting bored with driving your car lately? Perhaps it’s time to consider accessory additions or replacements. Here’s a few tips to help you rev up your ride:

The Interior

To give comfort and flair to your ride, you can load up on new aftermarket accessories readily available at your local car shop from various makers with impressive and stylish designs. Common updates for the interior include:

Carpets/ floor mats, Seat covers, Headrests, Moon light, Strobe lighting, Neon lights, Mobile phone and drink holders, Seat belt harness and pads, CD Organizers, Cockpit films, Dash kits, Door guards, Gauge facers, Pedal pads, Shift pads, Steering wheels, Steering wheel covers, Steering wheel accessories and Sunshades.

Let’s discuss some of the most important upgrades mentioned above. Carpets and mats are very important for your car as they help protect the floor against the entry of dust, rust and moisture which can easily eat up your floor without you knowing it. Seat covers on the other hand will help protect your seats while making them look more stylish. You can even have your covers as the highlight of your planned theme for the interior!

Steering wheels or steering wheel covers will provide you better grip and handling on the wheel. Shift knobs look trendy while providing an improved grip. Pedal pads ensure better grip while adding accent to your cockpit. Seat belt harness and pads may not only look pleasing to the eyes but will help ensure that you and your passengers are safely and comfortably held to the seats when needed. Steering wheel accessories allow you to integrate important triggers and buttons into your steering wheel for ease and convenience. A Custom dash kit is one great way to compliment your interior theme and it usually comes in numerous finishes such as wood veneer and carbon fiber.

The Exterior
Now that we’re done with the interior, we will now give your exterior a make over. Consider the following upgrades the next time you visit the auto shop:

Paint, grille, billet door handles, wings, spoilers, headlights, tail lights and rims. For a really enhanced look, you can also go for a whole new body kit installation.

In a summary, select the best type of paint (Acrylic or Urethane) and finish your car in a color that’s trendy or in tune with your taste and personality. Look for an aftermarket grille which is an upgraded version from your car’s brand or something that is custom designed. Spoilers will improve your car’s aerodynamics while giving it a fuller edge and design. A change in your headlight, tail light casing and bulb colors will also make your car attractive, not to mention improve your view. An upgrade in Mags/ Rims will definitely enhance your car’s profile as well as its grip on the road. Select from various finishes such as chrome, stainless-steel and alloy, that suit your taste. Always remember to compliment a rim change with the appropriate tires. Body kit installations are available at specialized car shops, look for one in your area that caters to quality personalized designs or is the town popular so you’re really getting your money’s worth.

Under the hood Engine – Have your engine overhauled to bring it back to pristine condition or consider installing a performance chip to boost it even further. Chips can easily be fitted with fuel injection and an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Installing one often results with a 10-15% power boost in regular engines and a 10% horsepower increase in turbo engines.

Brakes- You need to improve your brakes for better handling and safety. Install performance pads and upgrade performance discs. Performance brake pads enhance your braking power and can withstand much more abuse than their regular counterparts.

Air Filter- Replace your air filter or the filter element in the air filter. For fuel injection engines, enhance the airflow by removing the original box containing the air filter and hoses and then put an induction kit in place. It looks like a cone filter that can be attached directly to the air flow meter, making a more direct and smooth airflow to the engine.

Exhaust – Always see to it that nothing blocks the way of gases on their way out for greater power. You can replace the original exhaust with aftermarket assortments out in car shops. Simply select one that fits your taste.

Suspension- You might want to lower your springs for a leaner look and get a better grip for your car. Springs reduce roll when taking corners and will give your tires better contact with the road. Although you might encounter slight problems when driving over small bumps, these springs will come in handy as they will stiffen and reduce roll when you take on corners. You can also employ shock absorbers and up-rated bushes to upgrade your suspension.

Simply follow these simple tips and you’ll be zooming off to a brand new ride. Just don’t forget to buckle up while you’re at it.

Jovir Amatong