29th April 2010

Will Stop Leak, Fix My Subaru Head Gasket Leak?

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One of the questions I get a lot is ‚Äúcan I add some stop leak‚ÄĚ

I have never found anything in a bottle that will resolve what happens to a Subaru Head gasket.  I took some pictures from a Subaru Outback in the shop today that had some stop leak put in, only to over heat the next day.   The cooling system is just full of this stuff and it really did no good as seen in the pictures below.

I really have never found anything that will permanently resolve a head gasket leak on a Subaru.   While I truly understand the displeasure there can be at the though t of a repair like head gaskets, I do also want to  warn that adding stop leak can add to the cost of the repair.


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29th April 2010

BMW Most Valuable Auto Brand, Edging Past Toyota

Just the Facts:

  • BMW has overtaken Toyota as the world’s most valuable auto brand.
  • The BrandZ Top 100 report found that Toyota suffered from the recession and performance problems.
  • The report predicts Toyota is in a strong position to recover.

NEW YORK ‚ÄĒ BMW is now the world’s most valuable auto brand, edging past embattled Toyota, according to an annual ranking of the world’s top auto brands by market research company Millward Brown.

The BrandZ Top 100 report, which was released on Wednesday, found that Toyota suffered from “the pressure of the recession [that] was compounded by performance problems.”

“Among the most valuable and trusted brands in the world, Toyota suffered at least temporary damage to its reputation when it responded slowly to reports of stuck accelerator pedals that ultimately prompted a massive recall,” the report says. It added that “this year’s ranking only reflects the damage done to the brand as the recalls began at the end of 2009; the brand is likely to have suffered further in recent months.”

But the report predicts that the Japanese auto giant is in “a strong position to recover.”

BMW was ranked 25th among the global brands in the report, with Toyota ranked at 26th. Google is the world’s strongest brand for the fourth straight year, the report said. The German automakers, including Volkswagen and Audi, were “viewed as trustworthy brands with style, global distribution, German engineering, and lower prices than prestige makes such as BMW and Mercedes,” the report said.

Ford boosted its brand ranking in the study and was praised for the Ford Focus, which the study describes as ¬Ņthe first Ford car designed as a global brand.”

Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia were not among the Top 10 in the car category, but the study said they are “considered especially well positioned.”

“The Korean brands offered sharp styling at a competitive price, providing the kind of value proposition that appealed to recession-weary shoppers,” the study said.

Chinese automaker Geely was singled out for its acquisition of Volvo. “China will for the first time produce a quality global car brand,” the study said.

Inside Line says: The German automakers, especially BMW, come out shining in the annual brand ranking study. ‚ÄĒ Anita Lienert, Correspondent

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29th April 2010

2012 Opel Ampera (Chevrolet Volt)

GM has unveiled the first photos of its pre-production 2012 Opel Ampera. Its a European version of the American Chevrolet Volt, which will be assembled at the plant in Warren, Michigan.

As General Motors said, the pre-production cars will not be sold at dealerships, but will be used for testing and validating the production intent design as well as developing the final vehicle software and control.

‚ÄúWe‚Äôre right on target for producing the Ampera for European markets later next year,‚ÄĚ said Andrew Farah, Vehicle Chief Engineer for the Ampera. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs still work to be done, but being able to drive an Opel Ampera off our pre-production line is a great accomplishment for the teams here and in Europe.‚ÄĚ

The Opel Ampera is the sister car to the Chevrolet Volt sharing the same extended-range electric drivetrain, interior and basic sheet metal, but with some minor unique styling cues. When you purchase a car like this you will be so happy you have insurance sorted with a well-known company, if for example if you were in the UK it could be with www.aviva.co.uk/car/ or a similar company. Having your new car covered means that in the unlikely event of anything happening to it, you’ll have to no trouble at all.

Like the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera can deliver up to 60 kilometers of pure electric driving before a small displacement petrol engine /generator kicks in to recharge the battery and extend the range to more than 500 kilometers. 2012 Opel Ampera is scheduled to go on sale in Europe by the end of 2011.

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29th April 2010

Ford Fusion Hybrid Earns Cost Back Fastest

With only 5.6 years to earn back the premium a driver pays for its hybrid drivetrain, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is the hybrid vehicle that pays off the quickest, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The price discrepancy between the hybrid and non-hybrid models is a relatively slim $3,200, so at current gas prices, drivers are likely to break even in just under six years.

The Chronicle looked at several hybrids and found it will take awhile to earn your money back compared with non-hybrid versions. The Mercury Milan Hybrid takes 13 years to break even, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will take 15 years, and the Honda Civic Hybrid 17 years.

We have a minor dispute with the break-even numbers for the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, which the Chronicle put at 16.5 years and 20 years, respectively. Because they were matched against non-hybrid models ‚ÄĒ in this case, the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris ‚ÄĒ the numbers look much worse because those are entry-level cars. Anyone who‚Äôs been inside both a Prius and a Yaris knows the cost difference reflects far more than just the hybrid engine.

Of course, all these numbers get tossed out the window with any fluctuations in gas prices. As someone who‚Äôs been covering gas prices for the past three years can attest ‚Äúat current prices‚ÄĚ is a phrase that is nearly meaningless.

7 Hybrid Cars: Will They Save You Money on Gas? (San Francisco Chronicle)

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28th April 2010

The F1 Season is underway ‚Äď so why not support team Britain in their cars

THERE’S nothing like a little patriotism to help our athletes perform at their very best.

But a five-day limit has been placed on Formula 1 car tests at Duxfield airfield in Cambridgeshire, to mark the start of the new racing season this month.

The restriction follows complaints from local people about engine noise.

South Cambridgeshire District Council found no noise laws were being broken, but decided to take restrictive action anyway ‚Äď no doubt mindful that keeping your paymasters (tax payers) happy is good for business.

F1 could take a leaf from the book of the politicians bearing in mind some of the financial and regulatory difficulties the sport faced in the run up to this new season.

Both BMW and Toyota pulled out this year, leaving just four engines  РMercedes, Renault, Ferrari, and Cosworth Рto power the 12 competing teams.

The regulations for 2010 have been open to much debate, but it’s the people behind the wheel that are still drawing all the public attention.

Reigning champion Jenson Button has joined Mclaren. Meanwhile Brawn GP, the reigning constructor’s champions, have been bought by Mercedes Benz, renamed Mercedes GP and have employed seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher after his three year sabbatical from the competition.

The 2010 Formula One may be the 61st season, but its owners have much to learn about diplomacy.

The 2010 British Grand Prix will take place at Silverstone on July 11, 2010. Fans should have no problem remembering the date – the same day as the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.

If you’re tantalised by the fast cars in F1 and are looking for a new performance car at the right price, why not browse BuyaCars range of new Ferraris.

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28th April 2010

Election 2010: Your Motoring Future for New Cars

While us motorists can sometimes feel we’re not much loved by the powers-that-be thanks to ever rising petrol prices, gridlocked roads and the proliferation of speed cameras, there’s always an exception to that rule ‚Äď it’s election time so you can expect all three main parties to begin desperately trying to woo you and your vote. So what do each have in store for us, our cars and our roads if they should find themselves in Number 10 on May 7th?

Gassing On About Green

There’s one theme that dominates the views of Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems ‚Äď they all seem to love green. They want to wheedle us off petroleum and get us into more and more electric or hybrid cars. The current Labour government has already created a ¬£400 million fund to help with research into greener motoring and is offering grants of up to ¬£5,000 to punters to buy an electric new car from the beginning of 2011.

The Tories are promising a national network of recharging stations to help folk make the change to electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are adamant that the recently-introduced ‘showroom’ tax is the way forward for greener motoring; by hiking up those one-off payments for new motors that spew the most CO2 while rewarding drivers who buy cars that are far less damaging to the environment.

Cracking Congestion

Labour has scrapped plans for a major road building programme and instead would spend ¬£6.2 billion on widening the M25 in congestion hotspots. Chancellor Alistair Darling has already announced in the Budget that hard shoulder-running is set to be extended to other motorways. The Tories have said that to fight congestion, the need for ‘targeted’ new road building is being considered.

The Lib Dems have turned their thumbs down on any major road-building unless the benefits are ‘clear’. They are much more keen on road pricing with drivers being charged to use motorways and dual carriageways; to offset the cost to the average motorist, the Lib Dems say they will introduce cuts to fuel duty and abolish Vehicle Excise Duty. Labour has long discussed the idea of road pricing but has said if they are still in government, it won’t be introduced until after the next parliament…

Candid Cameras

Out of Labour and the Conservatives, the Tories are the only party to have said that they’re not happy with current policy on fixed speed cameras. They have stated that all funding from the government for speed cameras would be stopped under the Tories and instead such funds would be used to create better ways of tempering our speeds ‚Äď such as investing in more vehicle-activated signs that blink-and-shame you to slow down. Bear in mind though that they have not denounced London mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to introduce average speed cameras on the A13.

Meanwhile, Labour is considering cameras that will measure your average speed on 20mph-limited networks of roads and streets. Also, an advisory group to the Labour recently recommended introducing average speed cameras on all motorways in a bid to cut down on CO2 emissions…

More Fuel You

In the recent Budget, Labour introduced a staggering of its three pence rise in fuel duty to help motorists deal with the financial hit. Meanwhile Shadow Chancellor George Osborne is touting his Fair Fuel Stabiliser which will see fuel duty decrease when oil prices go up, and increase when oil prices go down. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems’s policy to reduce fuel duty is tied in with their road pricing plans.

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