SW Engines Blog

Don't Buy a New Car, Buy a Used Engine!

V6 Engines vs. 4-Cylinder Engines

 

In a country where anything bigger has long been presumed superior, such value statements are being tried yet again.  The USA is finding that downsizing engines is not so horrible as was once presumed; in fact, for the most part, Americans are gladly taking the switch from V6 engines to 4-cylinders.  This is, of course, easier when they don’t have to sacrifice engine power to do so.

 

The Growing Trend Towards 4 Cylinder

 

old engine

V6? Old News.
Maybe not quite yet, but they’re taking a popularity dip.

The 4-cylinder engine was once shunned as a clanky, unreliable, underpowered piece of trash to have under your car’s hood.  A V6 engine, on the other hand, delivered power and performance.  Now that’s all changed.

 

While V6 engines are still delivering power, dedicated engineering work on the formerly-neglected 4-cylinder has resulted in engines that deliver all of the power needed, and sometimes power fairly equivalent to a standard V6.  And they do all this while delivering better fuel economy.

 

The drive towards 4-cylinder engines has been driven by two major factors:  an increased desire for fuel economy and government regulations on car emissions.  With these two motivating factors, car companies have made cars lighter and engines more efficient, sturdy, and compact.  While V6 engines are still around, their popularity, and even their availability, is waning as the small 4-cylinder engine begins to take center stage.

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Updated: April 21, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

How to Troubleshoot No Spark to the Engine

How to Troubleshoot No Spark to the Engine

BMW_V8_engine_X5

The starting process for a car consists of a series of closely timed events that begin in the ignition system. Once you insert your key into the ignition and give it a twist, three things happen: the starter motor comes on, the engine begins to turn, and the spark plugs begin to fire, or spark.

In order to generate the energy necessary for a vehicle to run on its own power, proper combustion must occur. So when you turn your car key in the ignition, the starter motor turns the crankshaft that moves the pistons in the cylinders. Once the engine cycle begins, it draws air and fuel into the cylinders. The air and fuel are then compressed, and combustion occurs when the spark plugs fire. This sequence is what creates the power to keep the vehicle running after the initial ignition.

Any delay or disruption of this process will prevent the engine from turning on. Timing is crucial for the sequence to create the desired result, and the spark plugs must fire at the correct moment of compression, or the engine will experience performance trouble, perhaps not even starting at all.

A car that won’t start can be a significant cause of worry for the owner. Engine repairs can be costly, and no car owner wants to have to think about replacing expensive car parts. There are several possible causes for starting failure, one of which is the lack of spark in the engine. If your car won’t start at all, this is a good beginning place for troubleshooting the problem. It is fairly simple to check whether or not your car has a spark, and you can run a few simple and inexpensive diagnostics to check this for yourself.

Remember that safety should be a primary concern when working on a vehicle. Always check the owner’s manual when troubleshooting any problems or working on vehicle maintenance. Make sure you have the proper tools for working on your vehicle along with access to a list of the correct replacement parts.

Check for a Spark in the Plugs

Since you will need to start your engine to check for a spark, make sure the fuel system is disabled; otherwise fuel will flood the cylinder without being ignited. You can do this by removing the fuel pump fuse or relay. Also check that your vehicle’s battery is in good condition and is able to provide power for ignition.

To begin troubleshooting for no spark to the engine of your vehicle, follow these steps:

  1. 1.     Gather your tools. You will need an inline spark tester along with spark-plug pliers or other insulated-handle pliers. You’ll also find it helpful to have an assistant who can turn the vehicle on and off for you while you watch the engine for a spark. You may also want to wear heat-protectant gloves so you don’t accidentally burn yourself on hot engine parts.

 

  1. 2.     Identify the location of the spark plugs. With the vehicle’s engine off, use the insulated pliers to remove a spark plug wire from the spark plug. Do not use your bare hands as you may receive a heavy electrical shock.

 

  1. 3.     Insert the indicator end of the spark plug tester into the spark plug wire, and the other end to the spark plug. Have your assistant start the car while you observe the spark plug tester light. A constantly flashing light indicates the presence of a spark, while no light reveals that there is no spark.

 

Do not use a screwdriver for this test as it may increase your risk of electric shock and has the potential to damage expensive car parts, particularly on newer vehicles.

 

  1. 4.     Repeat this process to check for a spark in each cylinder of your engine. If there is no spark in the plugs, the next step would be to check the coil. This is located in the engine’s rotor.

Check for a Spark in the Coil

To check the coil for a spark, you will need a digital multimeter.

  1. 1.     Begin by removing the distributor cap and check for traces of oil. The presence of oil in the distributor cap can indicate a problem with the distributor itself. If it’s dry, then the distributor is operating correctly.
  2. 2.     Remove the rotor, and locate the engine’s coil. Have your assistant crank the engine and observe to see if the distributer is turning. If it isn’t moving, then the timing chain or belt of your vehicle may be broken.
  3. 3.     Using the multimeter, test both the positive and negative side terminals of the coil for resistance. Set the meter to 200 ohm, and connect the leads to the corresponding terminals–red for positive, black for negative. Check that the primary reading is in the correct range for your type of engine. You can find this information in your vehicle’s service manual.
  4. 4.     Check the secondary coil’s resistance by setting the multimeter to 20K ohm and placing the black, negative lead in the center terminal of the coil. Again, check this reading to make sure it falls in the normal range for your engine type. This information should be included in your vehicle’s service manual. If the reading falls below the normal range, this suggests that the spark is weak or nonexistent. In this case, you will need to replace the coil with a new one. When you replace the coil, be sure to attach and tighten the leads correctly.
  5. 5.     Clean up your work area and prepare to restart your engine. Replace any other parts you have removed in the process, such as the rotor and distributor cap. Wipe up any oil drips and remove tools from the engine area. Remember to enable the fuel system so your engine can run once started.
  6. 6.     Now check to see if your vehicle’s engine will start successfully. Once you’ve completed these steps for diagnosing and repairing the cause of lack of spark in your engine, you should be able to start and drive your vehicle.

Troubleshooting for no spark in your engine is a simple and straightforward process that you can do yourself to save the expense and time of a trip to a mechanic. Follow the above steps and use safe practices, and you can quickly get to the bottom of the problem with your vehicle.

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Updated: April 14, 2015 @ 10:08 am

Paul Walker Continues To Live Through His Work

SWEngines

One of the beautiful things about Paul Walker is that he never sought the spotlight when it came to his philanthropic work.

Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker met an untimely death in a car accident last week. While many people only know him as an actor, Mr. Walker was much more. On the day he died he was involved in raising funds for the people in the Philippines affected by a devastating typhoon. But Paul Walker’s giving began long ago. One woman remembers 10 years ago when an Iraq War veteran wanted to buy his girlfriend a wedding ring before returning to active duty. When he saw the price was $10,000, he was dismayed. Mr. Walker went over and told the clerk to put the cost of the rings on his tab, gave her his information and left quietly.

Paul Walker has been quietly involved in humanitarian works for quite some time. In 2007 he started a philanthropic organization called REACH OUT Worldwide. Through this organization he rendered aid and support to victims of earthquakes in Chile and Haiti in 2010. Even in death Walker is still helping others. People who wanted to send flowers have been instead asked to make a donation to the Philippine disaster relief effort. It’s yet another small but meaningful way Paul Walker continues to have a positive impact on people in need.

One of the beautiful things about Paul Walker is that he never sought the spotlight when it came to his philanthropic work. He simply took action and used some of his resources to help people in need. What made him stand out is that he cared about people and used his resources to help them when possible. Mr. Walker also had an interest in marine biology. In 2006 he joined the Board of Directors of The Billfish Foundation and spent 11 days with the crew off the Mexican coast catching and tagging great white sharks to help scientists better understand the migratory, mating and birthing patterns of the whales.

Paul Walker was a lifelong actor. He began doing commercials as a toddler and gained international fame for his roles in Varsity Blues, Eight Below, Joy Ride, Into the Blue Takers and She’s All That. He is best known for his work in the Fast and Furious franchise racing fast cars with powerful engines like those found at SWEngines. But Paul Walker was more than just an actor. He was also a caring human being who tried to help the less fortunate.

Southwest Engines

Paul Walker was more than just an actor. He was also a caring human being who tried to help the less fortunate.

 

 

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Updated: March 28, 2015 @ 6:49 pm

10 Fastest Cars on the Market

speed-of-light-travel

Most people drive cars to get from one place to another, but for a few, automobiles are more than a mode of transportation—they’re a source freedom, a way to express oneself in speed and sleekness. Unfortunately, this source of freedom usually has a price tag of at least a half a million dollars. But the rest of us can still get enjoyment out of learning about these wild stallions of the automobile world. One may expect the fastest cars in the world to be made by the well-known players—Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche. And while some of them are, you may be surprised to find that many of the best and fastest luxury automobiles are made by specialized, independent supercar makers. So without further ado, here they are: the 10 Fastest Cars on the Market today.

 

First up…

McLaren P1 Bahrain-300_MK edit-crop4000x2143

The McLaren P1 – 217 mph

Next time you turn onto an empty road and accelerate as quickly as you can (I’m sure any of us reading a “10 Fastest Cars on the Market” article have done it), watch your speedometer steadily creep up to 60mph, and know that by this time the McLaren P1 would be a traveling at 152 miles-per-hour[1] … a quarter mile down the road (disregarding traffic regulations, of course). If, at this point, the P1 wanted to come to a complete stop, it would do so in about two seconds. Or it could keep accelerating would pretty soon be travelling at 350 kilometers-per-hour, which equates to about 217mph. The P1 is the successor of the iconic McLaren F1, an acclaimed racing car. The P1, however, is designed with more of an eye for luxury car consumers. But despite its ostentatious build, there’s no gratuity in its design. McLaren describes the body as “shrink-wrapped” around the internal components for minimal weight and optimum aerodynamics. Although the McLaren falls behind in maximum speed compared to the other cars on this list, it makes up for a lot in style.

 

Pagani Huayra – 220 mph

PaganiHuayra2

The Pagani Huayra doesn’t fall short in the league of Italian luxury cars. Even if the “leafy” side mirrors don’t do it for you, you can’t argue with the sleek, well-toned body design. It can accelerate to 60mph in less than three seconds[2] and its Mercedes-AMG-made engine gets an impressive 730 horsepower.[3] Its stylish and techy interior (with leather seating, naturally) gives the whole car a magical air—a blend of retro and futuristic. Pagani.com exhibits a number of high-def, radiant pictures of the Huayra rolling through the fresh, beautifully rugged Italian countryside. This may not be the absolute fastest car in the world, but it (perhaps more so even than the McLaren P1) sure is a contender for style.

 

 The Noble M600 – 225 mph[4]

M600 top

With three APC settings—Road, Track, and Race—the M600 was clearly designed for speed. At 650 horsepower, the Yamaha V8 4439cc Twin Turbo engine is stunning, both visually and in performance[5]. It’s so stunning, in fact, that Noble built a window into the top of the car so everyone can see it all the time! The body is made of a carbon fiber composite and the wheels are aluminum alloy. As a side note, Noble has spoken of plans to begin production on a “Noble Speedster 600” this summer. It will have the same performance capabilities as the M600, with a few alterations.

 

 The Ultima GTR – 231 mph

UltimaGTR

We’re listing these cars by their maximum speed, and while the Ultima GTR only makes it in sixth place, it does get bonus points for its acceleration time, going from 0-60mph in 2.6 seconds.[6] The GTR has a classic track car look, with a dramatically curved body kit and a set of wings on the back. But while it certain looks fast and expensive, it lacks some of the aesthetic grandeur to be found in other high-speed supercars like the Pagani Huayra. The GTR looks almost caricatural of a fast luxury car. One cruising down the highway may be liable to produce such sentiments from other drivers as, “OK, we get it! You have money and like to drive fast.” So maybe the GTR isn’t the best looking fast car. But hey, you can’t knock 231 miles-per-hour!

 

The Zenvo ST1 – 233 mph

ZenvoST1

This Denmark-made two-door two-seater has a beautiful design, with sharp grooves and inlays blended into the smooth, sculpted body. Its slanted headlights and two claw marks on the hood give the front grill a mean, defiant look. It has a hand-built, center-mounted 6.8 liter V8 engine with 1104 horsepower![7] It also has two other power modes for reducing the engine’s horsepower to the occasion. Though the ST1 has the polished appearance of a production car, Zenvo sells it as a custom car, working with the buyer to personalize the interior design. They state that the “colour of the leather and Alcantara as well as the finish of aluminium and carbon fibre trim are subject to individual choice.” The ST1 evidences refined craftsmanship in both its speed and its superior design.

 

The Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo – 248 mph

Saleen is known for their production of affordable sports cars and partnering with Ford, but with the S7 they’ve broken new ground. Its 750 horsepower engine allows it to accelerate from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds (just 0.2 seconds slower than the Ultima GTR; see above).[8] It was first released back in 2002 and, at the time, was lauded as one of the most advanced supercars on the market. Since then the market as caught up to it, but Saleen has made several improvements to the engine and performance of this vehicle, earning it fifth place on our list. The S7 has that classic, intelligent sports car look, with winged doors and a sloping structure. My only complaint with this car is that it doesn’t step beyond this classic look. Nothing in its design promises novelty and uniqueness. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful car. One could do worse!

 

The SSC Ultimate Aero – 257 mph

SSCUltimateAero

The Aero was dubbed “The World’s Fastest Production Car” by Guinness World Records in 2007,[9] although today it’ll have to settle for fourth. It has a projected top speed of 273mph. However, its actual tested speed only made it to the 257mph mark. Its sloping, low-to-the-ground design with winged doors screams “LUXURY AUTOMOBILE!!!” at you, perhaps a little too loudly. SSC makes the Aero in a range of different colors, from “indigo” to “canary yellow” to custom (everybody loves the word custom). SSC is an American company that builds its cars on American soil. Though we can’t say that the Aero is our favorite supercar, it does stand as an impressive competition for big-name enterprises like Lamborghini and Ferrari.

 

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport (SS) – 258 mph

Inching above the Ultimate Aero by 1 mile-per-hour, the famous Super Sport stands at third place on our list. This car is easy on the eyes, to say the least. Its rounded, bullet-like shape compliments its staggering speed capabilities. Its 16-cylinder engine is truly a work of art, with 1200 horsepower.[10] The SS accelerates from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 2.5 seconds. The car comes with a few different color schemes, all of which cause it to take on a completely different persona and feel: dark blue tinted carbon, white silver, dark blue tinted carbon and white silver, black and orange, and 100% clear-lacquered exposed carbon (upon request). The SS has enjoyed quite a bit of attention (and rightly so!) for both its unique design and its 258mph top speed!

 

The Hennessey Venom GT – 270.4 mph

Hennessey_Venom_GT

For a while now, the Hennessy Venom has held a revered position as one of the fastest (and sometimes claimed as the fastest) production cars ever. Hennessey is a Texas-based company that operates an automotive shop 45 minutes outside of Houston. Their Venom GT test drove up to 270.4 miles-per-hour (they love to tack that extra .4 on there and won’t let you forget it).[11] Its sleek, slender design with sharply oblong headlights is enough to draw the attention of a number of wealthy sports car drivers (including Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler). Although Hennessey has since been one-upped (see next), their capabilities as a supercar manufacturer are both impressive and promising (more on that later). The Venom has some of the classic sports car look but also a bit of glamorous chutzpah. With its slim midsection and prominent hood, the GT has an almost otherworldly look to it.

 

The Koenigsegg One:1 – 280 mph

KoenigseggOne1

With the One:1, Koenigsegg excelled beyond its previous Agera R model, which got up to 260mph and was produced between 2011 and 2014.[12] Koenigsegg describes the One:1 as a “megacar,” and justly so. Named after its revolutionary 1:1 horsepower to kilogram curb weight ratio, this car stands as one of the most advanced feats of automobile manufacturing to date. The engine gets 1341 horsepower, which can be more simply and proudly stated as 1 megawatt of power. With a body made of pre-impregnated carbon fiber/kevlar and lightweight sandwich reinforcements, the exterior does the internal components no injustice. It’s also extremely lightweight, allowing for optimum speed and agility. The trifold orange, black, and silver color scheme causes one’s eyes to dance over of the elegant structure of the body. Like some of the others on this list, the Koenigsegg simply looks like a fast car. But it also has a smooth, relaxed overall design in which one may never feel awkward—whether you’re ripping up the track over 200mph or cruising through town under 25. The One:1 is indeed number 1, holding first place on our list of the 10 Fastest Cars on the Market.

 

Bonus: The Hennessey F5 to come…

Hennessey has announced that the successor to the GT, dubbed the Venom F5, is under way. The F5’s engine is still in development, but Hennessey has dropped the bold claim that “290 mph is within reach.” They add further that it is “highly probable” that the F5 will surpass the GT in terms of acceleration time. They promise to unveil it sometime this year, and will deliver to customers late 2016. The cost of this dream car is yet unspecified, but it will, according to Hennessey, exceed the $1.2 million price tag of the Venom GT. Hennessey has made some fairly large claims about the F5’s capabilities, but whether it actually will rise above the likes of the Koenigsegg One:1 is yet to be seen. Read more on the soon to come Venom F5 here.

 

The Magical 300mph Mark

The market has yet to introduce a production supercar that exceeds 300 miles-per-hour, but with the near arrival of the Hennessey F5, luxury car manufacturers are getting closer all the time. The car that first reaches this mark will undoubtedly receive much press and attention. As manufacturers get closer to this point, the hypercar will increasingly be favored for speed, as opposed to looks or mileage. Although the 300mph race may be a ways off, we’re steadily creeping towards that mark. Makers like Hennessey and Koenigsegg are viable contenders, and if the Hennessey Venom F5 does hit its purported 290mph, you can be sure that another will step up to the plate to challenge it.

 

There’s nothing more indicative of a blossoming economy than a competitive market of plus-million dollar personal transportation vehicles. These have been the 10 Fastest Cars on the Market in 2015. Looking at buying a new car? For anyone looking for a slightly cheaper alternative to a million dollar supercar, check out www.swengines.com to get a free, quick, and easy quote on a used engine for your vehicle. If your old car has broken down, buying a used engine could be a lifesaver.



[1] Cars.McLaren.com. 3/25/15. See more specs here.

[2] This and more here.

[3] Pagani.com. 3/25/15.

[4] Max speed estimation.

[5] NobleCars.com. 3/25/15.

[6] This and more here. 3/26/2015.

[7] ZenvoAutomotive.com. 3/26/2015.

[8] This and more here. 3/26/2015.

[9] SSCNorthAmerica.com. 3/26/2015.

[10] Bugatti.com. 3/26/2015.

[11] VenomGT.com. 3/26/2015.

[12] Koenigsegg.com. 3/27/2015.

All images are from their respective car manufacturer’s websites.

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Updated: March 28, 2015 @ 6:49 pm

The Best Affordable Cars of 2015

money-hand2Cars aren’t cheap. Everyone’s looking for something affordable. At SWEngines, we’re all about affordable options, so we wanted to create a list of the Best, Most Affordable Cars of 2015. It’s difficult to class a vehicle for affordability since “affordable” differs from person to person. We’ve selected cars that we believe will give you the most bang for your buck—cars that promise quality. Because quality is what everything ultimately boils down to. A cheap car that completely and utterly brakes down after a couple years is quite the opposite of affordable. So some of these might cars may exceed your price range, but only because they offer exceeding quality. You’ll find that many of these makes are available in alternate versions with more valuable features the more you’re willing to spend. We’ve broken the list up into the Best Affordable Cars as listed by Popularity, Safety, and convenience for Families. Look through this list and see if anything meets both your needs and your price range. If you don’t find anything, read the section at the bottom (titled “An even more Affordable Option”).

 

As listed by Popularity

Not everything popular is good. However, popularity can be a fair gauge or reliability and value in a vehicle. So what’s the most popular car of 2015 thus far? The following cars have been recognized for their popularity among buyers as well as their reputation on reviews. If you buy one of these cars, you’re buying with the assurance that many people have owned it with customer satisfaction.

 

It should be no surprise that the 2015 Ford Focus is among our most popular vehicle picks. The Focus has been garnering attention for years. At the comfortable starting price of $17,170[1], this year’s version of the Focus stands as Kelley Blue Book’s most popular hatchback of 2015.[2] Its design is both aerodynamic and easy on the eyes. The engine gets at least 123 horsepower and 123 lb.-ft. of torque, which admittedly isn’t much compared to other comparable vehicles. More upgraded versions of the Focus can get 160 horsepower. The Focus may also have less interior space than other comparable 2015 five-seaters, but the real value of this car is in its reliability and its economic price tag. It’s available 1.0L EcoBoost® is an award-winning engine for increased efficiency. It also has advanced-technology systems like the AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to keep the car operating as smoothly and safely as possible.

 

14KBB lists the Jeep Wrangler as their most popular 2015 SUV and also awards it “2015 Best Resale Value” in its class. It has a starting price of $22,795 with a V6 engine that has 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.[3] It boasts advanced temperature and audio controls and a comfortable overall interior design. The Wrangler is a very capable vehicle in many senses, but with 4WD, a rugged design, and heavily protected interior components, you can be sure that off-road capabilities is a lot of what you’re paying for. If this is not so much of a plus for you, it may be better to look elsewhere.

 

The Ford Explorer is among the top picks for 2015 midsize traditional SUVs by Edmunds.com, gauging by 2014 popularity.[4] As a side note, this car has been listed for its popularity among buyers and reviewers, but it would also stand well in “As listed for Families” (see below). Edmunds states that they’ve found the Explorer to be “one of the best choices for a family-oriented SUV.” The Explorer has a starting price of $30,700[5] and boasts a smooth combination of comfort and versatility. It has an impressive 290 horsepower (among standard V6 engines) and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. Also available is a 2.0L EcoBoost® Engine (best-in-class highway fuel economy) and a Terrain Management System™ allowing you to easily adjust settings specific to you terrain for optimum performance. The Explorer makes an excellent family car and runs ideally on both highway and more rugged terrains.

 

The Chevrolet Trax is another good option and is listed among SUV2015.com’s “2015 Most Popular SUVs.”[6] It has a very comfortable starting price of $20,120 and comfortable, fairly spacious interior design. It has an available 4WD option as well as available 4G LTE Wifi technology built in. With 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque, the Trax has less grit than competitors like the Wrangler and Explorer, but works well for everyday transportation and city driving. It has 34mpg on the highway. Chevy advertises it as “The City-Smart SUV.”

 

As listed by Safety

Especially if you commonly drive with other passengers, safety is an invariably important feature in a vehicle. There’s nothing as valuable as keeping your loved ones safe as you drive. If you want the latest in precautionary technology paired with a reasonable price tag, consider some of these vehicles.

 

An excellent mix of safety and affordability is embodied in the Mazda CX-5. The 2015 CX-5, with a starting price of $21,545, was named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the IIHS when equipped with the optional Smart City Brake Support feature, which brakes automatically between speeds of 2 and 18 mph as it detects unavoidable collisions.[7] It’s 2.0L SKYACTIV® engine gets it 35 highway miles-per-gallon (best-in-class EPA-estimated), 155 horsepower, and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. Its other engine option, the 2.5L, gets 32 highway mpg, 184 horsepower, and 185 lb.-ft. of torque. It may not have the drive power of some other comparable vehicles, but with side-impact door beams, dynamic stability control, and an advanced airbag system that measures passenger-weight and the driver’s seat-position, the Mazda CX-5 certainly excels in the safety department.

 

The hybrid Toyota Prius v was named a 2015 Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS.[8] With seven airbags (including a driver knee airbag), multiple internal safety systems, and anti-whiplash seats, it’s clearly designed for safety. As a hybrid, it gets an estimated 44/40 mpg.[9] It also has an advanced system for viewing your fuel usage and setting how the car’s hybrid technology is used. If you haven’t driven a hybrid before, it may feel a bit daunting to lay down the money for relatively new alternative fuel technology, but at starting price of $26,675, the Prius v is a great hybrid for any driver to start with. But back to the safety features: the v’s available Lane Departure Alert system gives you an audible warning if it detects an inadvertent drift out of the road lane. Its Pre-Collision System detects via radar when a collision is unavoidable, and automatically hits the brakes and retracts the front seatbelts to reduce the damage and lessen the probability of injury as much as it can. One thing to keep in mind, though, about the Prius v is that a lot of its safety features are optional, meaning that to include them you will quickly begin to shoot above the starting price of $26,675.

 

The 2015 Honda Fit is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and has a wonderful suggested starting price of $15,650.[10] It gets an excellent 41mpg on the highway (33 in city), 130 horsepower, and 114 lb.-ft. of torque. Its Anti-Locking Braking System and Electronic Brake Distribution system help drivers maintain control and brake effectively when braking hard. The car’s body is designed to distribute the force of a fontal impact throughout the entire car. Every Fit comes with a standard multi-angle review camera to help you be aware of your vehicle’s surroundings at all times. Honda claims this is part of an initiative to reduce pedestrian injuries. The Fit’s “Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control” dynamically reduces engine power or even brakes individual wheels if you under- or over-steer on a turn. With all of the above features and more, the Honda Fit is definitely a viable option for you if safety is high on your priority list.

 

As listed for Families

We realize that a lot of people are in need of a car that suits the need of a whole family, from infants to adults, so we’ve included a few of the best ranked cars with lots of seating, space, and comfort. These cars are ideal for both long family trips and daily runs. Whether you’re rushing out to soccer practice and then the grocery store or taking a trek down to the beach for a week, these vehicle will provide you and your kin with the most ease and comfort in transportation.

 

Ranked as one of Kelley Blue Books “15 Best Family Cars of 2015,” the Toyota Sienna is perhaps the ultimate family car.[11] It has a somewhat hefty suggested starting price of $28,600[12], but with a roomy interior (8 passenger seating), capacious storage space, an advanced audio and dashboard system, and a 3.5L, 266 horsepower engine, you get what you’re paying for. The Sienna gets 18mpg in the city and 25mpg on the highway. It’s the only minivan in America sold with an available all-wheel-drive. It has many useful (and more or less luxurious) interior features, so if you often take long car trips with kids, this might be the car for you.

 

kia-motorsIf you’re looking for something that’s still sleek but will take less out of your wallet, consider another KBB “15 Best Family Cars of 2015” pick—the Kia Soul. It’s a smaller car (with seating for 5), but its boxlike shape makes it bigger on the inside than it would seem from the outside, and it gets much better mileage than the Sienna at 24/30mpg (highway/city).[13] It drives with 130 horsepower and 118 lb.-ft. of torque, but has upgradeable options to 164hp and 151 lb.-ft. It may have less driving power as well as bells and whistles than the Sienna but, at about half the price, it’s a utilitarian and economic vehicle. For any family of five or less, it comes with all the essential specs like rear child-safety door locks, flexible seatbelt options, and side-impact door beams.

 

The 2015 Subaru Outback is another great family choice with seating for five. With an airy interior, a wide sunroof, and all-wheel-drive, the Outback is great for car trips and camping. It has a starting price of $24,895 and gets 33/25mpg (HWY/CTY) with a balance of 175 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque.[14] If this isn’t even, the 3.6R Limited version of the Outback offers 256hp and 247 lb.-ft. of torque. The Outback makes an excellent vehicle car for outdoorsy family. It has ample off-road capabilities, but still works well for everyday travel. This may be a viable alternative to the Jeep Wrangler (see above under “Popularity”) if you like getting in touch with nature but aren’t an uber-outdoorsy person.

 

An even more Affordable Option

mechanicsThis has been our list of the Best Affordable Cars of 2015. Hopefully you have found something that suits your needs at the right price, but if not, you may want to consider more economic options. This is particularly pertinent to your situation if you’re looking to buy a new car to replace an old, broken down one. Hop over to www.swengines.com and grab a quick, easy (and free) quote for a used engine of your car’s make and model. The engine is the heart of an automobile. If you replace it with a low-mileage used engine, you may find yourself in an entirely new car. SWEngines has a vast, comprehensive inventory so we’re able to offer both the best pricing and the best quality on used engines. Our staff comprises true engine experts who can answer all your questions and help you keep your car running optimally. Not many people realize it, but installing a used engine is a great potential fix for a fraction of the price. So what’s the best, most affordable car of 2015? Maybe it’s already sitting in your garage!



[1] Ford.com. Accessed 3/20/2015.

[2] KBB.com. Accessed 3/20/2015.

[3] Jeep.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[4] Edmunds.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[5] Ford.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[6] SUV2015.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[7] MazdaUSA.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[8] IIHS.org. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[9] Toyota.com. Accessed 3/17/2015.

[10] Automobiles.Honda.com

[11] KBB.com. Accessed 3/18/2015.

[12] Toyota.com. Accessed 3/18/2015.

[13] Kia.com. Accessed 3/18/2015.

[14] Subaru.com. Accessed 3/19/2015.

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Updated: March 20, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

Should I buy an Electric Car?

electric-vehicle-charging-space

Electric vehicles are a promising investment for our future lives, economy, and environment. They have the potential to greatly reduce our transportation costs and make our daily commutes and car treks more convenient. But are we there yet? Is it time to think about buying into this new technology, or is it better to let it sit a while and make a purchase five, ten, or twenty years once the technology have developed further. It’s a nearly inherent aspect of technology that it gets cheaper and better with time. The question is, How long does one wait? Sure, electric cars will almost undoubtedly be more advanced in a few years, but can you save enough money to make it worth your purchase in the mean time? This is what we’ve undertaken to find out. We’ve compared the major types of electric vehicles available with your average conventional gas vehicles to see how the costs of initial purchase, continued operation, and maintenance look side by side.

 

The trichotomy of electrically powered cars[1]

Petroleum fuel isn’t going anytime soon. It remains the best fuel option for the majority of car owners across the U.S., even in light of the most recent breakthroughs in electric automobile technology. Gasoline generated energy has benefits which electric energy lacks, and vice versa. Thus electricity and gasoline can become mutually complimentary fuels if they’re blended together in an internal system. For this reason, the “hybrid” vehicle has become a popular type. Hybrids often run on gasoline but are assisted by an electric motor. There are several different system designed to make gas and electricity work together, but we’ll highlight the main ones. Here are the three chief types of vehicles in which electricity serves as a fuel:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • All-electric vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) run on both gas and electric power. They don’t require a recharge via a plug-in. Their batteries are charged through regenerative braking. Basically, the energy you lose while breaking (the extra momentum you would have had if you hadn’t pressed on the brakes) is used to charge the battery instead of being lost. Other charging mechanisms may be implemented, but the main distinction between HEVs and PHEVs (see next) is that HEV can’t be charged by any sort of external power source.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are charged, as the name would suggest, by an external power source. Like HEVs, they also run on gasoline. The battery, in addition to being plugged in, can received extra charge through regenerative braking.

All-electric vehicles (EVs) are not hybrids and run solely on electric power. They’re charged through a plug-in charging station.

 

Now that you’re aware of the distinction between different types of electric vehicles, we’ll divulge some of the general benefits of electric fuel over gasoline and vice versa. While electric energy in transportation has many benefits, there is room for the technology to improve. We’ll first explain some of the chief benefits of driving electrically.

 

Fuel cost stability

Electricity is a domestic energy source, meaning we generate it within our boarders. Gasoline, on the other hand, is mostly imported from other countries. Because our gasoline consumption involves international trade and all the complications that come with it, gas prices tend to fluctuate. Since electricity is generated internally, you can expect there to be less changes in price. So in driving an electric vehicle you’ll be less dependent on factors beyond your control and will be able to manage your future costs more easily.

 

Fuel Economy

One thing electric cars can promise you is cheaper transportation. According to FuelEconomy.gov, electric vehicles convert around 60% of electric energy from the grid to the car, whereas most conventional gasoline vehicles convert close to only 20% of the energy stored in gasoline.[2] This means that much more energy can be generated (as electricity) and brought to your motor at a cheaper price. Whether you’re considering an HEV, a PHEV, or an EV, one thing remains the same: electricity is cheaper than gas. A vehicle running on electricity will cost two to four cents per mile, whereas most conventional vehicles cost ten to fifteen cents.[3] Driving electrically will undoubtedly cut costs out of your everyday driving, which will add up to quite a large amount of saving over time.

Energy.gov states that it costs about half as much to drive an electric vehicle as it does to drive a conventional combustion engine one. Note that this is only to drive it, not to purchase the vehicle itself or maintain it. Energy.gov has an updated electric-to-gas fuel price comparison, calculating for the average “eGallon” of electrically power cars vs. the current average gas prices. You can view this here.

As far as cost of ownership goes, the competition between electric car, hybrids, and conventional cars is not about fuel efficiency; it’s about upfront costs, general practicality, refueling convenience, and vehicle maintenance.

 

Operational smoothness

One thing to consider is functionality on the road. An electric vehicle will run more quietly and maneuver very smoothly. They also tend to have a stronger acceleration. If you crave a smooth, easy, and powerful driving experience, an electric car may be what’s for you. But don’t take our word for it. Get to a dealership and test drive an electric car. See what you think!

 

Low emissions

An all-electric car will not have an emission. They’re considered to be zero-emission vehicles by the EPA. Albeit, the power plants generating the electricity can make emissions, but electric driving remains a comparatively environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Energy.gov states that, “If electricity is generated from nonpolluting, renewable sources, EVs have the potential to produce zero well-to-wheel emissions.” Regarding HEVs and PHEVs, the more electric power is incorporated into operation, the less of an emission there will be. If you care about reducing your environmental footprint, driving an electric car will suit you well.

 

Comparing initial costs

Electric vehicles and hybrids have a greater upfront cost than combustion engine vehicles. For instance, Ford prices their 2015 Focus ST (conventional gas vehicle) starting at $17,170. The 2015 Focus Electric (EV) starts at $29,170. That’s a potential price difference of $12,000. There’s a less drastic difference between conventional and HEV prices. The gasoline powered 2015 Ford Fusion starts at $22,010. The 2015 Fusion Hybrid (HEV) starts at $26,890. PHEVs tend to be more expensive than HEVs, by up to $8,000.[4] The following table shows some of the price differences between major comparable vehicles.

 

Similar Model Vehicles – Starting Price Comparison

Model

Combustion engine

HEV

PHEV

EV

2015 Ford Focus[5]

$17,170

$29,170

2015 Ford Fusion

$22,010

$26,890

2015 Chevy Spark[6]

$12,270

$26,820

2015 Toyota Prius[7]

$19,540

$29,990

2015 Toyota Camry

$22,970

$26,790

 

As you can see, prices take jumps as cars become more “electric.” At first, one may think to calculate the amount he/she could save in fuel costs and see how long it will take to pay off the extra money spent on an electric car type. But a decision made off this alone may very well turn out to be a very bad decision. There are a few more potential costs to consider which should have a fairly heavy impact on your consideration of electric vehicles.

 

More price factors: hefty battery pack cost

An electric motor does not come with all the corrodible moving parts required to convert gasoline into energy, so you’ll less likely need to have engine work done for an electric or hybrid vehicle. However, there are other, more ominous maintenance costs to be wary of. As is the case with any machine that runs heavily on battery power, an electric car’s battery will likely have to be replaced one or more times. We’re not talking a $100 battery from Costco. EV and hybrid battery prices remain elusive and varying, but expect a battery pack to cost $8,000 or more. This puts a lot more potential cost into owning a hybrid or electric car, and increases the importance of getting one that will continue to run for a while.

 

Drawbacks: refueling convenience (or lack thereof)

ElectricVehicleSign

A major drawback for EVs in particular is that recharging the battery can be less than convenient. Even a rapid charge to 80% battery capacity will take 30 minutes. A regular full charge will take 1-4 hours. For conventional car drivers, gas stations are easy to find, but it’s harder to find a station where one can charge an electric vehicle. This isn’t helped by the fact that electric vehicles get only 100-200 miles out of a full charge (conventional vehicles typically get over 300 miles out of a full tank).[8] For this reason electric vehicles are typically considered beneficial for everyday transportation (short trips), but not all too practical for long car trips. One might benefit from owning both an electric and a regular combustion engine vehicle and using each respectively for their most suited tasks. But of course, that’s an expensive investment.

 

Electric vehicles still have a ways to go in development. At this stage, they require a fair amount of extra expense, even if they get much better fuel economy. An HEV or PHEV may be a more viable investment.

 

Plug-in hybrid “EV mode”

If you don’t want to pay the weighty price tag for an EV, or don’t want to have to deal with the inconveniences that come a long with it, but still would like to have the ability to take short trips entirely on electric charge, there is a solution for you. A lot of plug-in hybrid vehicles come with an “EV mode” which allows you run solely on the battery for a while. Of course, the PHEV’s battery will last for a much shorter time than an EV’s, but this is useful feature for saving some money in fuel economy on the side.

 

Electric cars of tomorrow – important developments

Perhaps the strongest inhibitors of electric vehicle advancement on the market today is the cost of manufacturing electric car batteries and the relatively inadequate amount of charge these batteries hold. Industry standard lithium ion batteries ca only last for so long and there doesn’t seem to be any clear path in technological development to make it last longer. Studies on alternatives like lithium sulfur batteries have yielded promising results[9], but it may be at least another five or ten years before this really takes off. One thing is certain though: technology will improve, however slowly.

 

As great as it would be to never have to stop at a gas station, the unfortunate situation is that technology just isn’t there yet for all-electric vehicles. The market is a good indicator of what whether or not EVs will be worth it to you. People aren’t lining up to by all-electric cars and motor companies are manufacturing many of them. There’s a direct reason for all this—namely, that EVs aren’t worth most people’s money. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, have enjoyed a little more success. Deciding whether or not to by a hybrid (as well as deciding which hybrid to buy) will require weighing a few of the different costs discussed above. FuelEconomy.gov has created a helpful tool for doing this. Their plug-in hybrid calculator estimates how much money you’ll save in fuel economy by driving a hybrid instead of a combustion engine vehicle. See this here.

We’ve tried to include all the major things to consider. You may decide that’s it’s best to hold off a while until further advancements have been made to cut expenses and improve functionality of electrically and semi-electrically powered cars. As we stated before, gasoline isn’t about to become obsolete. Nevertheless, electric transportation is a promising technology that will certainly improve our lives down the road.



[1] Information herein and additional facts here: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/52723.pdf. Accessed 3/12/2015.

[2] This and more here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml. Accessed 3/11/2015.

[4] FuelEconomy.gov. (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/phevtech.shtml).

[5] Source: Ford.com. Accessed 2/13/2015.

[6] Source: Chevrolet.com. Accessed 3/13/2015.

[7] Source: Toyota.com. Accessed 3/13/2015.

[8] Info from http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml. Accessed 3/12/2015.

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Updated: March 13, 2015 @ 4:22 pm

Best Car Accessories

KeyLet’s be honest. We all love finding new flashy gizmos to put in our cars. Whether they make our lives easier, or just look awesome, car accessories add a little fun to 21st century locomotion. So to keep you up to date, we’ve compiled a list of the coolest, techiest, and/or the most useful in-car and out-car gizmos out there! This list was made to inform you on both the coolest and the handiest accessories for your car and includes an average pricing for each item. All images in this post are from Amazon.com. Click on any one to be directed to the product.

 

THE ESSENTIALS

Adapter

USB adapter – $3

Some newer cars have direct USB inputs, but the majority of cars have only the standard cigarette lighter charging output. This adapter will keep your phone fully charged on the go, which is handy especially if you use for phone for battery-chewing functions like GPS navigation.

 

 

Stereo 3.5mm audio cable – $5

Monoprice

Most cars have an auxiliary input (aux-in) for a 3.5mm cord. You can use this for playing music/podcasts off your phone. Make sure you buy a stereo cord (indicated by two small bands around the tip of the cable head) as opposed to a mono cord (one band around cable head) for optimum listening experience.

 

 

FM radio transmitter – $10

Keedox

If your car lacks an auxiliary input (as many do), here’s the next best thing for affordable music enjoyment. Plug your mp3 player or phone into this device and tune your car’s radio to specific station to listen to your music over a radio transmission. This may not promise you the best possible sound quality, but it’s an easy makeshift fix if your car doesn’t have an aux-in.

 

 

Phone mount – $10-$30

iPhone mount

If you use your phone in the car for things like navigation or playing music, this is an extremely handy accessory. It keeps your phone readily accessible and allows you to glance at it while keep your hands free to drive. It’s commonly made to attach to the inside of your windshield or one of the adjustable air vents. Look for one with a universal build to hold any phone you might have.

 

Windshield shade/reflector – $12

Windshield reflector

On hot summer days, getting back inside a car that’s been sitting in a parking lot can feel like getting into an oven. A classic windshield reflector will redirect the sun’s rays away from your car, keeping it nice and cool inside. You can also get shades for other vehicle windows.

 

Floor mats – $35

It’s easy to underestimate just how spiffy a few new floor mats can make your car look. They can give your car that clean, new look or switch up the interior color scheme. You’ll have to search for mats that fit your specific car, but most tend be reasonably priced. Spending a little on some nice mats could go a long way for your car’s aesthetic appeal.

 

OTHER HANDY THINGS

Backseat organizers and storage bags – $15

Especially if you have passengers who tend to make messes (kids), a few storage baskets could make your life a lot easier and your car a lot cleaner. Look for some that you can hang from the back of a seat or attach to one of the sun visors. They’ll be handy for either filling with snacks and toys or having somewhere to temporarily stick that empty Happy Meal box.

 

Portable vacuum – $40

Portable vacuum

If you like to keep your car clean and don’t have one of these, you probably know what a hassle it can be to clean out the nooks and crannies of your vehicle. Whether you always keep it in the trunk or just bring it out every once and a while to clean your car out, a lightweight, portable vacuum will make your life a lot easier. Some of these are battery powered, while other plug into your cigarette lighter output. The battery powered ones are recommendable because you won’t be restricted by a cord.

 

Car fridge – $35-$200

Car fridge

You might be thinking this sounds a little too crazy, but we know there’s also the part of you think, “how cool would that be?!” There’s a wide range of car fridges out there. You can go fancy, but you don’t have to. You can even score one for $35! And nothing will improve the quality of your road trips like being able to store a few of your favorite perishable snacks and a couple ice-cold sodas.

 

 

Heated travel mug – $15

Whether you’re on a long car trip or a daily commute, it’s always helpful to keep yourself running on hot coffee or tea. We’ve all been through the traumatizing experience of buying a large coffee only to find that we couldn’t drink it all before it went lukewarm. Don’t settle for a lukewarm beverage! Get a car mug that heats itself off of your dashboard cigarette lighter and keep yourself running just like your car’s engine running!

 

Car desk

Steering wheel desk – $17

While we encourage you to focus on the road while driving (and not emailing or Facebook), this accessory is great for eating on the go. The tray hooks onto your steering wheel and comes complete with a cup-holding inlay. Even if this is too cumbersome to use on the road, it’s ideal for eating a quick meal or sending a few emails while parked. This little tray is perfect for anyone who’s travels by car a lot.

 

DashGrip – $6

DashGrip

If you’ve got a lot of things clustering your passenger side seat or rolling around on top of your dashboard, this might neaten things up a bit. It clings to surfaces and keeps your stuff from flying when you make a sharp turn. It doesn’t use an adhesive, so it won’t leave a sticky residue on your dashboard.

 

ON-THE-GO AUTO CARE

Fix-a-Flat tire inflator/sealant– $8

Fix-a-Flat

Here’s an easy, cheap, and safe way to handle a flat tire while you’re out and about. This pressurized (and nonflammable!) can of sealant not only rapidly inflates your flat tire; it also seals small rips or punctures from the inside. This could be a real life-saver for anyone out on the road. It makes a perfect and affordable temporary fix for tires you don’t have the time to get replaced at the moment and at some point may save you from being stranded on the side of the road.

 

Jump-starter – $50-$100

Portable power source

We all hate having to trouble other people to help us jumpstart a dead car battery. Or you may be out in a remote area where there isn’t help readily available. This accessory will get you up and running without hassle. Some come with a built in air compressor and function as a portable power source for charging anything via USB, 12v, or standard power outputs. This is a useful backup to have (and it looks pretty cool too).

 

Auto-emergency kit – $20-$80

Auto-emergency kit

There’s a range of auto first aid kits out there, from a bag with a poncho and a pack of jumper cable to full artilleries including 12 volt compressors, tires repair systems, emergency warning triangles, digital tire pressure gauges, and a myriad of other tools. An emergency kit will keep you and your loved ones insured against the disaster when out on the road.

 

FLASHY THINGS!

It’s good to have a little fun once in a while. These accessories are more or less completely unnecessary, but they sure look cool!

 

Lights!!!

In-car floor lights – $10

You’re cruising downtown at night while the shopping strip is all lit up like a carnival. What could make you feel cooler? How about a little interior atmosphere! Some inexpensive LED lights powered by your car’s power output will put a nice little glow underneath your feet, which is relatively pointless, but hey! How can you go wrong with LEDs!

 

 

More lights!!!

In-car rhythm lamp – $15

This sheet of LEDs sticks to one of your windows. It has a built in graphic equalizer which reacts to music dynamically. You can use it to make your tunes look a lot cooler.

 

 

 

TECHY STUFF

Car camera – $15-$220

Car cam

Some cars these days come with a camera preinstalled in the back that displays on a screen in the dashboard. There are also several cameras available that you can install yourself. There are some very nice ones available, like this, but if you don’t want to fork out the cash for something like that, there are some extremely inexpensive ones available (try fifteen bucks!) which, though less dependable and quite liable to break, are fun to play around with. You can even buy special rearview mirrors that have a miniature camera screen built into them.

These cameras may be installed in the back, which can be handy for tough parking situations. They may also be mounted in the front of your vehicle for recording accidents. This could save you a lot if you happen to get into an accident of which the details are debated by both parties. Having a dash-cam will provide you with some incontestable evidence.

 

Laser parking assist – $20

Chamberlain laser assist

No, this is not a weapon of any fashion. Sorry. But if you like to keep your garage clean and in neat order, this is for you. Once you install this on your garage ceiling, it directs a small, constant beam onto the ground so that you can drive into it and park in the exact same spot every time. This also makes a great present for neat-freak garage-dwellers.

New stereo unit/interface – +$100

Pioneer in-dash

There’s a wide range of stereo units and dashboard interfaces out there. While this won’t typically be inexpensive, it’s a surefire way to make your car’s sound system better and cooler. Many are now made with Bluetooth capabilities, so you can play music off your phone wirelessly. Some have built-in navigational services to make driving with directions easier. There’s about a billion different features out there, so check around!

 

Smartphone activated garage door opener/closer – $125

Have you ever found yourself five minutes down the road with a sickening feeling that you may left your garage door open? A smart garage door controller will allow you to open or close your garage door from anywhere right off your phone. You can even receive alerts when your door is opened or closed. This may not be an essential car accessory, but it sure is handy!

 

Anti-theft tracker device – $45

Car tracker

Live in an area where lots of auto-theft goes on? This’ll give car thefts a run for their money! It uses GPS and SMS technology to enable you to know where your vehicle is remotely 24/7. It will automatically notify you when your car has left any limits you’ve set for it. This is the ultimate anti-theft device and comes with many handy features.

 

An alternative anti-theft device: steering wheel lock – $20

If you’re worried about car theft but don’t want to pay all the expenses that come with a tracking system, here’s a non-techy alternative.

Steering wheel lock

This device clamps onto your steering wheel to make steering impossible and the vehicle inoperable (don’t lose the key, or the jokes on you!). It’s large, bright, and noticeable, so thieves will immediately pass your vehicle by. With devices like this, it’s more about the look than the actual functionality. If a thief sees a massive lock on your steering wheel, he’s not going to pick your car. Following this logic, you could always get a fake security system for six bucks…

Phony car alarms

 

 

 

That’s it!

This has been our list of the coolest, techiest, and handiest automobile accessories we could find. With a little time and research, you can greatly improve your own driving experience and save yourself a lot of hassle. Accessories are nice, but if you’re ever in need of an essential car part like and engine, we encourage you to check out www.swengines.com and get a super-easy, super-fast quote on the engine you need. We have a vast inventory so in all likelihood your engine is available at a low price. As always, drive on!

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Updated: March 7, 2015 @ 2:13 am

Most Useful Car Tips for Fuel Economy

fuel-gauge

In this day and age, we are helplessly dependent on our automobiles. You may not even be conscious of how much you rely on your car. If tomorrow you couldn’t drive, what would your day look like? Would you be able to work? Would you be able to get anywhere outside of your house? Would you have food that week? Automobiles define life in the twenty-first century, allowing for rapid locomotion and thereby making the world a smaller place. They are commodities which only modern mankind has had the luxury of enjoying. So given the importance of cars to our lifestyles, it’ll behoove you to take a little time to make sure your car is running in most efficient way possible. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most effective, useful ways to save on fuel.

There are a wide range of factors that influence the miles-per-gallon your car gets. Quick acceleration, speeding, and rough terrain may be the most commonly recognized fuel-guzzling culprits. If you want good fuel economy, the number one rule is to drive responsibly. Of course, this is also a good idea regardless of fuel economy. For this article, we wanted to provide you with some slightly lesser known but still handy tips—a few things you can do to get a little more miles for your dollar.

gasoline-price-signWe’ve selected these tips with an eye towards relatability to the average driver. There are tons of possibilities when it comes to fuel efficiency, but don’t worry—we’re not going to tell you to run your car on sunflower seed oil. These tips are simple and logical, and aim to give you better understanding of how fuel consumption and preservation in your vehicle works. We’ve also tried to include tips that you won’t find blatantly self-evident. If you’ve Googled something like “car tips for fuel efficiency,” you’ve probably come across articles telling you to “conserve your trips” and “carpool to share fuel costs.” No bull—we’re here to give you some useful tips that (hopefully) will be news to you. We’ve included the essentials, but we’ve also kept in mind that you may be familiar with the basics. These are, for the most part, all very simple things you can do that may go a long way. If you keep reading, you may expect to save yourself a little time, money, and effort in the long run. So for the first tips…

 

Lose the top carrier

Just as towing excessive weight strongly cuts down your mpg, a little extra weight on the roof will put a drag on your fuel efficiency over time. If you have a top carrier and don’t find yourself using it that often, do yourself a favor and remove it for everyday driving. When it comes to fuel economy, you can do yourself a lot of good by considering a very simple equation: more weight = less mpg. Every little extra bit of weight directly impacts your fuel consumption. This leads us to the next tip, which is…

 

Clean out your car

A car full of crumpled water bottles and McDonald’s napkins not only looks bedraggled. It may be reducing your fuel efficiency. This might sound ridiculous, but if you’re like most people, you have a lot of extra stuff in your car that’s either needs to be thrown away or doesn’t need to be in there. All of this junk adds extra weight to your vehicle and, over time, costs you extra. Depending on what you tend to keep lying around in your car, this may not be much, but what how can you lose by making the inside of your car look nice to save money?

 

Go easy on the idling

A lot of people will let their car sit and warm up in cold weather thinking this will somehow help the engine get better fuel efficiency when they start driving. That would be nice if it were true. But this is neither beneficial to your engine nor to the environment, according to MotherEarthNews.com, which states that letting your car idle is “the slowest way to bring it up to operating temperature.”[1] In other words, all your car’s really doing when you let it idle is sitting there burning gas. And it may be doing your vehicle even more damage, as EPA.Gov (Environment Protection Agency) states that, in addition to producing unnecessary pollution, idling for more than 30 seconds wears down your car’s internal components.[2]

 


Buy fuel in the early morning

pumping-gasoline-1403981631dYw

This may sound crazier than all the rest. The idea is that colder air equals denser petrol. When petrol warms up, it expands, which means that it fills your fuel tank with the same amount of liquid, but with less convertible fuel. CarBibles.com uses this logic to claim, “If it’s 15°C in the morning and 35°C in the afternoon, you’ll get about 2.5% more petrol in the morning for the same price.”[3] But does this actually work? Depends on the time of year and weather conditions. Test it for yourself! Use this (how-to guide at WikiHow http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Your-Car%27s-Fuel-Efficiency-%28MPG%29) to measure your fuel efficiency first with fuel bought in the hottest part of the day, and then with fuel bought in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe you’ll find a significant enough difference.

 

Keep those tires pumped

Underinflated tires are a major drag on fuel economy. If you’ve ever ridden a bicycle with half-inflated tires, you know how much more work it is to power than a bike with properly pumped tires. It’s no different for your car’s engine than it is for your legs. Cars.com claims that underinflated tires can reduce your efficiency by full miles per gallon.[4] This is tricky, since it can be hard to tell whether or not your tires are fully inflated. Albeit, getting your tires checked may not be as simple and easy as the other tips listed, but keeping your tires full will undoubtedly have a profound impact on your fuel economy, so it’s worth considering.

 

Air filters

A heavily clogged filter can affect what miles-per-gallon you get. If you’ve never changed your air filter before, or if it’s been a while, this might be a very beneficial thing to do. Talk of replacing car parts will put most people on edge. It sounds like an expensive hassle, but don’t worry—this couldn’t be easier! AutoRepair.About.com estimates that this will take you 10 minutes and will cost you less than $20! Check out their 5-step how-to guide on changing air filters out here: http://autorepair.about.com/od/regularmaintenance/ht/airfilter.htm. A little change like this could take you close to no time at all and may go a long way in fuel efficiency and general auto performance!

 

Shift to third gear on downgrades

When it comes to fuel economy, a little change in driving habits can go a long way (and usually these changes are either safer or more convenient anyway). Many people fall into the habit of always driving on their main drive setting, but those other transmission settings are there for a reason. Switching to third gear as you move down a steep incline will keep your car at a constant speed, so you won’t have to ride the whole way down with your foot on the break, which puts heavy wear on your engine and wastes energy (and therefore, wastes fuel). It will keep your engine running at just the right setting without accelerating more than you need to. Many people simply forget that there car has this capability. Use it! It’s easier, safer, and friendlier to you engine!

 

Cruise control

For driving on steady ground (not downhill) it’s handy to employ cruise control (also called “autocruise”), which also keeps your vehicle moving at a constant speed. This prevents you from accidentally accelerating too much and having to push on the brake a little (again, wasting energy and fuel). As a side note, make sure to use cruise control on flat surfaces and third gear on downgrade, not vice versa, as that’s what they’re each specifically designed for. If you can safely employ cruise control on the highway, you’ll save yourself some fuel and money.

 

Air conditioning and electronics

Some people are (understandably) under the impression that things like air conditioning and the stereo unit are run solely by the car’s battery. However, all of these things contribute to fuel consumption. Of course, we’re not advising you to drive without music and broil yourself on a hot summer’s day. But you should be aware, if you aren’t already, that such things have an effect on fuel economy. You might benefit from getting a little fresh air in the summer and rolling your windows down instead of pumping the A/C. However, there’s one other thing you should keep in mind, which is…

 

Wind drag

Driving 65mph with the windows rolled down has a similar effect to opening an umbrella when the wind is roaring. It’ll pull you back and make your engine work a lot harder to maintain 65mph. So while keeping the windows down at low speeds may save you a little fuel, you’ll be better off using the A/C at higher speeds.

 

Simple driving habits

You can save a lot by just keeping in mind how your driving habits affect fuel consumption. Every time you push on the brake at a red light, that’s a little bit of energy/fuel wasted (obviously, we still encourage you to observe traffic laws!). If you can make a habit of releasing the acceleration a short distance before stops, you’ll save yourself a little bit of fuel every time. And when you start moving again, don’t try to accelerate to the speed limit immediately. This will burn extra fuel getting your momentum up again. It’s better to gradually push down on the acceleration so that you steadily pick up speed again.

 

Bonus! Miscellaneous tip for auto-convenience

 

De-ice locks with hand sanitizer

For all you facing the harsh February weather, we wanted to add one other tip for your convenience. This is a pretty classic trick. Keeping some hand sanitizer on you is useful anyway for its conventional use (killing germs while you’re out in public), but if you find that your car locks have frozen, you can simply dab some of it on your locks or your key to fix the problem. Hand sanitizer has a high alcohol content, which makes it an efficient deicer. Try this out some time!

 Final thoughts on fuel economypumping-gas

Despite the tendency of gas prices to rise, the future of fuel economy looks bright. Innovations in diesel and alternative fuels are being made, and though alternative fuels are admittedly still in a primitive state of development, there’s only room for improvement. In the meantime, using these simple techniques will do you a lot of good. Of course, responsible driving and observing the speed limit are always going to be the best ways to keep your fuel consumption down. EPA estimates that the average car gets the most fuel efficiency when driving at 50mph. They state, “You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.16 per gallon for gas.”[5] If you check your vehicle’s owner’s manual you may be able to find the most fuel efficient mph-speed for your specific model, or it may be available online. Finding this out will help you get a feel for how you should drive your car for maximum fuel efficiency. Hopefully by now you have a pretty good feel for how to conserve fuel in general.



[2] 2014, more here: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/about/faq.htm#question1

[3] 2014, Chris Longhurst, more here http://www.carbibles.com/gasmileage2.html

[4] This and even more tips here! http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=fuel&subject=fuelTips&story=mpgSave

[5] Accessed 2/27/2015: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.jsp

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Updated: February 27, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

What’s the Best Diesel Truck Engine on the market?

DieselTrucks

So you want to drive a diesel truck? Nice choice. The diesel sensation, a trend now spreading from Europe to the U.S., is an innovative way to conserve fuel and decrease strains on the environment we live in. But since diesel engine technology still requires a fair amount of maintenance and expense compared to gas engines, you’ll want to look for the most reliable and cost effective diesel engine there is. So here’s a comparison of the Best Diesel Engines currently on the market, accounting for reliability, power, and fuel economy.

Power is always an attractive feature in trucks. As a side note, if you’d like to see the most powerful diesel—as in, the engine of engines, the most powerful diesel engine in the world—go here. But for the purpose of this article, we’re talking about diesel engines you’d be able to fit in your car.

 

A word on fuel economy

One of the major strengths of diesel is fuel economy, and if you’ve bought or are looking at buying a diesel car/truck, this is no doubt an important point to you. Like any truck driver, you’re looking for an engine that will guzzle as little fuel as possible while still providing all the brawn you need. Since a wide range of factors beyond the engine itself contribute to fuel economy, it’s difficult to pin down exactly how efficiently an engine uses fuel. Engine manufacturers recognize that fuel economy is important to buyers, and many of them construct innovative designs to improve this. We will make a point to specify where such innovations have been made.

 

Horsepower, Torque, and RPM

A few variables will come up here that you should at least have a rudimentary understanding of (of course, if you already understand these technicalities, just skip on ahead to the engines!). These are some of the specs you’ll see listed for any given engine, and they should be taken into consideration. They’re the main ones you want to look out for. In case you aren’t familiar with horsepower, torque, and RPM, we’ll give you a simple overview.

Horsepower is a unit of measurement. We won’t throw mathematics at you. Horsepower relates to how much energy an engine produces and is one of the several factors that determine how fast a car will go.

Torque relates to how much an engine can carry. If you’re not specifically looking for an engine that can hall heavy loads, this should be less of a deciding factor for you than horsepower. To understand a little more of the technicalities of torque, go here.

RPM (revolutions per minute) is the number of rotations the engine’s axis makes in a minute. Do I want a high RPM or a low RPM? Some engines are made to run with a high RPM and some aren’t. There’s one thing to keep in mind, though. The higher the RPM, the more work the engine is doing, the more strain is being put on it. This may affect both the lifespan and the fuel economy of the engine. The tradeoff is that a higher RPM usually generates more horsepower/torque.

When viewing engine specs, you’ll see both the horsepower and the torque listed with an RPM number beside them. For instance, one engine might have 350 horsepower at 2,000 RPM and another engine might have 350 horsepower at 1,000 RPM. This does not mean that additional calculation needs to be done to understand the horsepower. Both engines have 350 horsepower. The only difference is that one of them is rotating at twice the rate of the other. In a situation such as this, we’d recommend you go for the lower RPM engine.

 

Now that we’ve taken horsepower, torque, and RPM into consideration, here are some our picks for the most hardy and powerful engines on the market…

 

Pickup Truck Engines

In this article we’ll focus on both pickup truck engines and the larger commercial truck engines. Of course, commercial truck engines will have significantly more power than pickup truck engines. So in deciding what “the best” diesel engine is, there has to be a dichotomy made between regular truck engines and large/commercial truck engines, because in all likelihood you’re only looking for one or the other. We’ll start with regular pickup truck engines.

 

6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel (Aisin AS69RC trans.)

Cummins manufactures a number of engines, from pickup truck to largest of industrial engines. The 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel is the latest and most power installation of Cummins’ B-series engines. can be found in some of the Ram 2500 and 3500 series variations. The Cummins 6.7L is a very popular engine, and according to CumminsEngines.com, 80% of Ram pickup owner make the optional choice to get it. The engine was first introduced in 2007 and since then has had several improvements. The 2011 version of the 6.7L Turbo Diesel, according to CumminsDieselSpecs.com, produced a 10% increase in fuel economy, as reported by Ram Trucks (so go for a post-2011 version of this engine!!).

Cummins goes to lengths to boast of their engine’s durability, even creating an online “Cummins Turbo Diesel High Mileage Club” for those who’ve driven over 100,000 miles with their Turbo engine.

 

6.7L Cummins Turbo

Horsepower

385 at 2,800 RPM

Torque (lb.-ft.)

865 at 1,700 RPM

Configuration

Inline 6-cylinder

 

The Cummins Turbo has a relatively hardy torque, although other engines may rise above it in terms of horsepower. See more of the 6.7L’s specs here.

 

The Duramax® 6.6L Turbo-Diesel LML (aka Duramax 6600)

According to DuramaxDieselSpecs.com, the 6.6L Turbo-Diesel LML was GM’s response to Ford’s Power Stroke engine (see next engine). This is the engine you’ll find in the 2015 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD as well as the GMC Sierra 3500 HD. It includes a diesel exhaust break, which helps with maintaining a desired speed on steep slopes. The 6.6L Turbo-Diesel uses diesel exhaust fuel injection to reduce emission levels significantly. Developed to be used vigorously and to last at least 200,000 miles, it’s considered the cleanliest and most powerful Duramax engine.

 

Duramax Turbo-Diesel[1]

Horsepower

397 at 3,000 RPM

Torque (lb.-ft.)

765 at 1,600 RPM

Configuration

V-8

 

Go for a post-2010 model of this engine, as the 2011 model produced an 11% increase in fuel mileage. This and specs on other 2011 design/operation improvements found here.

 

The 6.7L Power Stroke™ V8 Turbo Diesel

Built with a lightweight compacted graphite iron engine block and aluminum cylinder heads to reduce weight, the 6.7L Power Stroke is powerful and fuel efficient engine. Piston-cooling jets improve engine longevity and it has “instant start” glow plugs for cold weather ignition starts. It has up to five injection events per cylinder per cycle in order to reduce noise and emissions. It also has integrated exhaust gas recirculation, “Selective Catalytic Reduction,” and a “Diesel Particulate Filter” which serve to control and reduce emissions. This and other specs here.

1The Power Stroke is primarily used in Ford’s line of SUPER DUTY trucks. The SUPER DUTY line has provided a number of reliable heavy duty trucks over the years, including the F-450 and F-550, which are two of SWEngine’s more popular truck engines. The 2015 SUPER DUTY is availed with either a gas engine or a 6.7L Power Stroke™ Turbo Diesel engine. Here’s the specifications:

 

Power Stroke™

Horsepower

440 at 2,800 RPM

Torque (lb.-ft.)

860 at 1,600 RPM

Configuration

V-8

 

This according to Ford.com. Check out the full specs page here.

 

Commercial Engines

If you’re looking for the right diesel engine to put into a commercial vehicle, consider some of the engines listed below. These engines are used in some of largest industrial trucking vehicles.

 

The Paccar MX13

The first engine to use compacted graphite iron in both the cylinder block and head, the Paccar MX13 designed for a becoming mixture of smoothness and durability. It has filters, a thermostat, and an oil cooler attached directly to the engine and dependable electrical system with fully encapsulated wires. This engine can be found in some Peterbilt trucks. According to Peterbilt.com, the MX13 has a B10 design life of one million miles. Its built in PACCAR Electronic Control Module precisely manages the engine’s fuel consumption for optimum fuel economy. The engine’s common rail system maintains injection pressures of 2,500 bar, helping to minimize fuel consumption, emission, and noise levels. A rear-mounted gear train and a floating oil pan also make the engine run quieter. The MX13 also boasts a construction of light-weight parts for a better weight-to-brawn ratio.

 

Paccar MX13[2]

Horsepower

380-500 at ~1,500 RPM

Torque (lb.-ft.)

1,450-1,850 at 1,000 RPM

Configuration

Inline 6-cylinder

 

 

The Cummins ISX15

Talk about an engine! With an advertised horsepower of between 400 and 600, the Cummins ISX15 truly is a powerful and beautiful machine. It can boast this substantial horsepower without sacrificing fuel economy. It’s great for large/commercial trucks and is found in a lot of International Trucks and Freightliners. The ISX15 has a variable geometry turbocharger, which “enhances response and control with electric actuation for infinite adjustment, providing exact boost at any rpm” (this and more specs here).

It has a B50 life of over one million miles. Its “XPI Fuel System” precisely controls fuel consumption at high pressures which, along with its electronic engine controls, enables multiple injection events per cycle. Cummins strove to construct simple, smooth, and effective operation into this engine.

Cummins ISX15

Horsepower

400-600 at 1800 RPM

Torque (lb.-ft.)

1450-1850 at 1,100-1,200 RPM

Configuration

Inline 6-cylinder

 

The Detroit DD16®

Designed with a sharp eye for engine performance, the Detroit DD16 is used for large/commercial trucks like those made by Freightliner, and it aptly fits the description “heavy duty.” Detroit advertises it as their largest and toughest engine. It employs BlueTec® SCR emissions technology and the Amplified Common Rail System (ACRS™) to monitor and help lower emissions, noise, vibrations and fuel consumption. The integrated three-level Jacobs® brake adds braking versatility (for quieter braking, shorter stops, and downhill control) and minimal engine wear.

The DD16 really shines through with its torque. If you want an engine that can pull monumental loads, this may be the one for you. It has plenty of pulling power and can work smoothly and efficiently instead of grunting and coughing under a heavy load like lower-torque engines. The DD16 is more than a workhorse; it’s a behemoth!

 

Detroit DD16[3]

Horsepower

475-600 at 1,800 RPM

Torque (lb.-ft.)

1,850-2050 at 1,100 RPM

Configuration

Inline 6-cylinder

 

As you can see, this beast has a significant amount of both horsepower and torque. Detroit also manufactures a few lower-caliber engines such as the DD15 and the DD13. To compare the differences between these various Detroit engines, and to see more specs on the DD16, go here.

 

Picking the best diesel engine for your truck

diesel-mdThese have been some of the key players in pickup truck and commercial truck engines. The engines listed have been tested and improved over time and define the upper field in industry standards. Choosing a particular diesel engine, like any car buying decision, should be done with specific consideration of your needs. If you need more grit and hauling power, look for something with more torque. If you want speed and engine power, look search for the best horsepower. If fuel-to-mileage is a big thing for you, look for reputable engines that promise great fuel economy through design/constructions. Naturally, some balance of all of the above is to be desired.

 

Making the purchase

Picking an engine is a hassle in of itself, but finding a good place to buy it is an entirely new challenge. Look around both locally and online, and as usual, we highly recommend you buy used. If you have an idea of what engine you want, hop over to www.swengines.com/heavy-duty-trucks.php and fill out a super-fast, easy quote. We have a truly vast inventory, so it’s likely that the engine’s in stock at a great price. :)

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Updated: February 20, 2015 @ 6:11 pm

Should I buy a Used Engine or a New Car?

classic-car-1421503532lhjwhite

So you need a new ride, or at least a better one. Maybe your old Chevy or Honda finally kicked the bucket or maybe it’s starting to cough, wheeze, and make other unsettling sounds. An unreliable vehicle can be both dangerous and a hassle. But is it really time to send your car to the scrap yard and fork out the dough for a brand new automobile? Automobile issues can often be narrowed down to a select few components, which means that the rest of the car you’re thinking of junking is still in a fine working condition. This might be the case with your car, and you might just save yourself several thousand dollars if you read on…

 

Diagnosis

Of course, the first step you should take is determining what exactly is wrong with your car. If you’ve already done this, skip down to, “So my engine’s blown.”

So what’s going on? Are there irregular humming or buzzing sounds? Issues starting up the ignition? Automobiles are have very large, complicated systems inside them, so there’s an indefinite amount of things that could go wrong.

Lying puddles, oddly protruding pieces, and large cracks are clear tellers of engine problems. If you’ve hardly ever popped a hood open before, you may want to get a feel for what your engine should look like. It may be helpful to find an example of your car’s engine in a healthy state for reference. Try searching for pictures of your make/model’s engine.

certified-mechanicIf you’re unable to identify the problem, don’t worry. Whether or not you can tell what’s gone wrong, your next step is to visit a mechanic. The best option for most people—and maybe even for those of us who have a little experience in getting under the hood—is to have a professional technician inspect the engine and tell them (a) everything that’s wrong and (b) everything that needs to be replaced. For the purposes of this article we’ll assume that you’ve verified that your car’s problem is indeed an engine one. The choice then comes down to this: replace the engine or buy a new vehicle.

 

So my engine’s blown. Now what?

Several factors play into deciding whether replacing your engine is more to your advantage than just buying a new car. There are a few costs to balance, but the first step is to compare the price tags of the products themselves. The chart below compares the price of buying a new car last year (as estimated by Edmunds.com) to the price you can expect to pay for a used engine of the same make/model. This should give you a good feel for what the average initial price difference is going to be.

 

2014 Make/Model

New car

Used engine[1]

Honda Accord

$19,993

$3,495

Ford Focus

$16,838

$1,940

Mazda 3

$19,231

$2,995

Toyota Tocoma

$27,209

$2,995

Toyota Avalon

$34,928

$3,995

 

As you can see, a used engine is going to cost you a fraction what a new car will cost you. In most of the makes listed above, a used engine is close to one tenth the price. This is pretty good cost difference. If your make/model/year is not one those listed above, hop over to www.swengines.com. Punch your car’s details into the “Find Your Used Engine” box on the left and get a quick quote to see what your specific engine runs for used.

 

Installation price

The next cost to factor in is how much it’ll cost you to get the thing working inside your vehicle. This is trickier to determine. Every car is different. The cost of such job will be relative to your car’s engine and its problems. Also, different garages charge different rates for varying levels of quality, and it’s not a simple job either. Both putting in your newly bought engine and ripping out your old engine are complicated tasks. You might consider putting it in yourself, but only if you have previous experience in car mechanics.

A safe bet is to add an estimated $2000 for engine installation. As long as you don’t have any major additional problems in your car, and you don’t go to a supper uppity repair shop, you may end up hitting below this, but you never know. At least you’ll be prepared. And if it ends up costing you less, all the more money for you!

 

Buying an engine online

The internet has opened up a world of new buying options. But are used engines the sort of things that should be bought over the web? Since you’re going to put this product into a two-ton machine that you’ll sit in moving 65mph, you want be sure that it’s safe and reliable. You also don’t want to spend plus three grand only to have it conk out on you a couple of years down the road.

Of course, how could we write a blog post on buying used engines without bragging (just a little bit)? Seriously though, Swengines.com can boast the largest, most comprehensive database of used engines in the country, and because of that we’re able to offer both the best pricing and the best quality in used engines.

Wherever you end up looking to buy an engine, you want to be sure of the expertise of those you’re buying from. Our staff has over 30+ years of hard earned experience. Don’t believe us? Call to talk an expert about at 866-319-1058.

 

How long will the engine last?

Hopefully you now have a pretty good feel for the cost difference between a replacing your engine and buying a new car. Chances are that even if your installation price shoots through the roof, you’ll still walk out with much more money in your pocket than if you’d bought a new vehicle. Buying a used engine is just an all-around economical way to keep yourself on the road. But how long will it keep you on the road? Part of the value in buying a new car is the assurance that it’ll keep running for years to come. But an engine’s an engine. Just like the cost, the reliability of an engine is relative to the specific engine you’re dealing with. Its longevity depends on how well it’s been treated and maintained. Some say that an engine from a car owner in a rural area is better than that of a car owner in a city, because the city-dweller would have been stopping and going in traffic more often, putting more stress on the engine. But the chances of you being able determine the origins of a used engine you’re buying from a reseller are fairly slim. If you buy from a reliable source, you can expect your used engine to continue to operate for several years.  There is one thing in particular you want to look out for, though…

 

Mileage

If the service you’re looking to buy a used engine from doesn’t show you the engine’s mileage, that’s a major red flag. Of course, the lower the mileage a used engine has, the longer you can expect it to last. So how many miles are we talking here? How many is too many? Here are some general rules:

  • You want to shoot for under 100k miles.
  • 120k miles is the upper limit.
  • If you can get below 80k then you’re in a good region.

Having said that, we really, really recommend that you try to get down to at least 80k. Paying a little more for a used engine that will last much longer is usually worth it.

 

toyota-engine

Calculating mileage for your specific engine

We stated before that longevity is relative to the specific engine build and how the specific engine was treated. That can make calculating costs difficult and buying an engine feel especially risky, but here’s a case in which that relativity can help you. How many miles did your current engine last? How many years have you been driving it? For instance, if you’ve had your car for 10 years and there’s 150k miles on it at the time of its demise that probably means you drive about 15,000 miles a year. You may expect the used engine you’re buying to die around the same number of miles, since it’s the same engine (this isn’t factoring in differences in driving habits; if you start treating your engine better, it’ll start treating you better and you can expect it to last longer). So in this case, if you buy a used engine with 100k miles on it, you can expect it to last another 50k miles, or almost 4 years. Of course, if you buy a used engine closer to 50k in mileage, your prospects will be much better: 100k miles left and almost 7 years.

Don’t just take the hypothetical example into you consideration. Mark down your dead engine’s mileage and make these simple calculations to determine how long the engine you’re looking at buying will last.

 

Should I purchase a warranty?

A lot of used engine sellers offer a warranty on your used engine for an additional charge. You may be wondering whether this is this worth getting or if it’s just a way for companies to get another couple hundred out of you. Unfortunately, since it’s an expensive piece of used equipment that you’re buying, getting a warranty is usually a good idea.

Now some companies offer different types of warranties. SWEngines recognizes the importance of ensuring quality and includes a 180-day standard warranty free of additional charge in every purchase. There’s also what’s called a Parts and Labor Warranty. These may be provided at an extra cost for durations of two or three years (three years, in SWEngine’s case). This just means that for whatever the duration of the warranty, all parts covered and any costs of having them removed, repaired, or reinstalled are also covered. This will be available for a higher price than the standard warranty. So it is worth paying more for a more comprehensive warranty? This is up to your discretion. If you feel confident with the company you’re buying from and trust that a working engine will be shipped to you, then you’ll probably be alright with a standard warranty. Otherwise, add the price of a Parts and Labor Warranty into your costs. It’ll probably still be more cost effective than buying a new car.

 

An additional cost?

There’s one more thing to consider: the core charge. Don’t worry though—this isn’t as scary as it sounds! The core charge is essentially the value of your old, dead engine. In some case, if you send this in you can get an amount deducted from the price of the used engine you’re buying (not much, but enough to put a little more stuffing back in your wallet). That way the company can rebuild an engine by recycling the “core” parts of your old one. The trick is that some companies use this as an additional charge to you if you don’t send your old engine in. Of course, this is all a matter of perspective, but it’s unfair to you if you weren’t anticipating this charge. Before purchasing a used engine, you should check and see what the core charge policies of the company you’re buying from are. SWEngines has no core charges in most cases. Core charges may apply to some engine types, but SWEngines makes an effort to keep customers aware of this in cases to which core charges may apply.

 

The verdict

Look at the price tag on the new car you’re thinking of buying. Now add up all of the costs of replacing your engine as discussed above. You just need to decide if the price difference is great enough to make it worth your time. Many people make the mistake of giving up on their car once the engine runs out, but the engine is just one component of a large machine. Often it’s a much better choice to swap out your old engine and keep your vehicle running healthy for many more years. Even after installation and additional charges are factored into the price of a used engine, it remains a cost-effective way to stay on the road for anyone who’s wise enough to put a little thought into it.



[1] All prices and estimates on new cars and used engines were obtained 2/11/2015 from Edmunds.com and SWEngines.com and are subject to change.

 

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Updated: February 14, 2015 @ 11:57 am
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