SW Engines Blog

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

Take Care of Your Engine – Prevent Overheating

car fire

The chances of this happening are very slim, but it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.

If you think you have problems with getting heated and blowing up at people, imagine what a 2-ton car would do if it lost its cool.  If your engine overheats, it could quite literally blow its top.

Watch for Warning Signs

Your biggest warning that your engine is going supercharged is your temperature gauge.  Keep an eye on it, particularly if you’re driving in heavy traffic, hot weather, or giving your engine a heavy task.

Normal engine operating temperatures range from 195 to 200 degrees.  If your engine starts going over that consistently, your engine is overheating and in danger of serious malfunctions.

What Happens to an Overheated Engine?

The first problem in an overheating engine is that too high temperatures may cause misfiring in your engine, with fuel combusting in all the wrong places.

If the temperature gets even higher, rubber and plastic may start to soften, crack, or bend.  With parts going out of place or out of form, your engine may start to malfunction.

In really bad engine conditions, when the heat is really on in your engine compartment, the metal parts of your engine could soften, warp, and stress.

Keep Your Engine Cool

If your engine is experiencing rising temperatures, there are a few things you can do.  First and foremost, pull over and stop your car.  Check your coolant levels and, if you need to, top them off.  Open the hood of your car to let the air cool your overheated engine.

Do not – I repeat, do not – open the radiator cap.  That thing is under pressure, and if it doesn’t get you, the steam and radiator fluid it’s keeping contained will burn your face.  Or otherwise really hurt.

Calling for help is a good option.  Get a tow truck or find a garage quickly, so a mechanic can tell you what’s going on before you end up on the side of the road with an exploded engine, fanning steam away from the remains of your car.

If you need to continue driving, take it slowly.  Avoid stop-and-go traffic, and turn off your air conditioning.  If you really want to vent air away from your engine, turn your heater on full-blast.  This will draw off the engine’s heat, although it does have the unfortunate side effect of blasting you in the face.  You can turn them out the window to make it a bit easier on you.

Hopefully you don’t need this information, but in the event that your car does overheat, be prepared to take care of it safely.

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Updated: May 19, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

Your Car Working For You

 

In 2010, a new idea entered the public consciousness.  Lots of people have cars that they don’t need too often, while others don’t get cars because renting one is easier.  What would happen if those two groups got together?  Let someone rent your car, then they’ll have transportation, you’ll get extra money to pay for your car, and everyone walks away happy.  That’s the idea behind the startup RelayRides, a company that connects car owners and car renters, and takes care of the insurance to boot.

 

Share Your Car

 

key

Sharing cars may be a new way to rent and own your own vehicle.

The benefits to RelayRides are fairly obvious.  If you own a car that you don’t use too often, you can make money from it rather than just having it sit in the driveway all the time.  Making sure your car keeps moving keeps it in better repair and keeps your engine in better condition.  For renters, the rental prices are cheaper and the cars are often more widely-spread than a car rental lot would be.  Cars are reserved online, where you can see the make and model of the car you’ll rent and reserve it by hour, day, or by month.   Then the renter just picks it up from the owner, uses it as they need to, then returns it when they’re done.

It’s a simple idea, and if it works out well, could become a popular and even lucrative business.

 

The Trouble with Renting

 

Of course, RelayRides does have its flaws and hitches.  For example, the website makes their money by charging a 40% commission fee.  This makes more sense when you realize that a large chunk of that goes to insuring a wide range of drivers.  In addition, the service is limited.  You need renters and people willing to rent out their car in a fairly close proximity, so the service is, for the most part, limited to cities.

And, in this business as in others, there is a certain amount of caveat emptor, as you are renting someone else’s car.  For the most part, the more expensive cars are nicer, of course, but if you’re looking for something cheap, the car itself may be cheap.  People have had trouble with the customer service, as well, and the cars may not always be where they’re expected to be.

 

All in all, RelayRides is a novel new idea that has the potential to grow and be a great thing for car sharing, but the business does still have a few kinks that need to be worked out.

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Updated: May 12, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

The Big Deal with JDM Cars

SW Engines

Cleanliness is also a large part of JDM car styling

 

Leave it to the Japanese to win the award for “creativity” in automobiles; again! If you’re wondering what a JDM car is, well the answer may be a bit confusing. JDM is an acronym for Japanese Domestic Market. Which means that cars are built in Japan and sold only in Japan for the local market. But hold on, folks! Since the subject you are being taught today is about “car modification” we need to walk down a different path.

You see there are two main types of Japanese vehicle car styling: “Rice” and “JDM.” No we’re not talking about the kind of rice you eat; this rice is the typical Japanese “younger set” style of making your car as visible and loud as possible. Japanese girls love that kind of stuff. You know like adding a different touch to your car like airplane spoilers, engines with holes like the ones SW Engines has for sale in America. Then if you add under car “neon’s” they’ll be able to see you from the planet Jupiter in outer space.

If you’re still a bit confused about all this car rhetoric and the term JDM it’s merely to classify a type of modification that Japanese car enthusiasts enjoy doing in their spare time. Cleanliness is also a large part of JDM car styling and the owners don’t mind telling you that they keep their engine bays cleaner than a hospital floor. Dents, rust, chips and scratches are all “persona non grata” with the JDM car owners. Hyper clean is the mantra for JDM cars, but you can only take advantage of this “fad” if you live in Japan.

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Updated: May 5, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

Crimewave of Clunkers

 

 jeepsm
Your car here for $400!

 Around the end of last August, the legislation in St. Louis, MO, changed a bit.  But that little bit has had a dramatic impact.

The government wanted to allow people to get their old, not working, eyesores off of their property and to a junkyard.  Prior to this legislation, if a car was less than 20 years old, you needed documentation to sell your car for scrap.  Unfortunately, for older cars, this documentation often got lost through the process of living, where it’s hard to keep track of a slip of paper.  Fortunately, this legislation made it easier, stating that cars 10 years and older didn’t need documentation, allowing for an extra decade of lost documentation.  Unfortunately, and here’s where the trouble comes in, you no longer needed to prove that your 10+ year old car was, in fact, yours.

Enter the less savory elements.  If someone with a slight lack of ethics could pick up a decade old car out of a store parking lot, they could ship it off to a junkyard and make a tidy profit off of the car’s scrap value, usually between $200 to 500.  But that leaves the car owner stranded at the store.  As if stealing their car isn’t bad enough, you add insult to injury and let the car owner’s milk spoil.

This little problem is creating a lot of work for the St. Louis police.  In fact, they say that incidents of car theft are increasing while other crimes are generally decreasing.  In general, just make sure you keep your car safe, even if you don’t live in St. Louis.

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Updated: May 2, 2015 @ 7:12 am

Replacing Transmission Oil Seals

tranny3

When your car is leaking transmission fluid, there are several places to check for faulty parts. The leak could be in the transmission pan, torque converter, pan gasket, fluid lines, or oil seals. Placing a traceable, glowing dye in your car’s transmission fluid may be the easiest way to troubleshoot the location of the problem. When you drive the vehicle for a short time, the fluid containing the dye will flow through the system and the location of the leak will begin to glow.

If you determine that the leak is caused by a faulty oil seal, you will need to locate the defective part. It takes patience to access a broken seal, as it often requires disassembling parts of your vehicle to reach it. Your next step will be to decide if you want to replace the transmission oil seal yourself or hire a mechanic to do the work for you. While the job does take some time, it may be worth the effort to save the expense of a professional repair.

Cost to Professionally Replace Transmission Oil Seals

Transmission oil seals are generally manufactured of synthetic rubber, and can receive damage from a number of causes. Sometimes they simply become warped or worn out from regular use. They are consistently exposed to heat, which can crack and fray them over time. Seals commonly break in the input and output shafts.

The price to have a mechanic replace the transmission oil seals on your vehicle can range anywhere from $200 to $600 or more, depending on which seal must be replaced and how much time and effort is required to get to it. The expense of replacing transmission oil seals yourself is surprisingly low, especially if you already own or can borrow the necessary tools. Transmission seals cost around $5 each, so you could easily do the job on your own for less than $20 and a few hours of time.

How to Replace Transmission Oil Seals

As with any car repair, it’s a good idea to begin by checking the owner’s manual for safety guidelines and vehicle maintenance recommendations.

  1. 1.     Gather the necessary tools and parts to complete the repair. You can find the correct type of seal for your vehicle by checking the owner’s manual, looking online, or talking with someone in the customer service department at your local automotive store. In addition to the correct replacement seal, you will need the following:

 

  • safety equipment such as steel-toed shoes, latex gloves, safety glasses, and a portable light source
  • floor jack
  • jack stands
  • wheel blocks (metal wheel chocks, bricks, wooden wedges, etc.)
  • container to catch transmission fluids
  • shop towel
  • set of wrenches
  • hammer
  • seal remover or flathead screwdriver
  • transmission fluid

 

  1. 2.     Experts recommend that you wear protective glasses any time you do vehicle maintenance. Other safety gear, such as gloves or steel-toed shoes, may also be necessary, depending on the type of repair you are working on. It may be helpful to have an alternative light source for working in and under your vehicle.

 

  1. 3.     Prepare and jack up the vehicle. Always park your vehicle on level ground before you jack it up to prevent it from rolling while you are working on it. Put the vehicle in park and engage the parking brake, then place wheel blocks at the end of the car that is not being raised. Position the jack in the appropriate place for your vehicle. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or by contacting the service department at your automotive dealer. Use the jack to lift the vehicle and put the jack stands in place, then lower the vehicle onto the stands. Wiggle the vehicle a little to make sure it rests securely on the stands.

 

  1. 4.     Remove the vehicle’s parts to access the faulty seal. Once you’ve located the leak, follow the diagrams in your owner’s manual to determine which parts must be removed and how to take them out in order to access the seal. Remove the bolts and driveshaft universal c-clamps at the pinion. Place a container below the tail shaft to catch any leaking transmission fluid, then remove the driveshaft from the transmission.

 

  1. 5.     Replace the damaged seal. Use a seal remover or flathead screwdriver to carefully remove the broken oil seal. Be very careful not to scratch the transmission or you will have to replace the tail shaft to prevent further leakage. Put the new seal in place, gently tapping the edges in with a hammer, if necessary, to get it all the way in. Applying a lubricant to the seal before installing it may help it to go in more easily.

 

  1. 6.     Replace the automotive parts in the correct order. Push the driveshaft back into place, then reposition and tighten the c-clamps. Replace and tighten the bolts.

 

  1. 7.     Refill the transmission fluid. If the fluid you drained off earlier appears clean, you can reuse it to refill the transmission. If it is dark, then you will need to dispose of it and refill the transmission with new fluid. Make sure you have enough fluid on hand plus a little extra to refill it accurately. Turn on your engine and shift through all the gears to make sure the fluid is evenly distributed.

 

  1. 8.     Clean up your work area by removing tools and extra parts from your work area. Wipe up any spills and remove the drain pan. Replace the jack, remove the stands, and lower the vehicle until it rests on the ground. Remove the jack and wheel blocks.

 

Once you’ve completed all the steps for replacing transmission oil seals, you may want to take a short test drive to make sure all the leaks have been repaired. When you return, you should see no sign of transmission fluid.

Replacing transmission oil seals takes time and patience, but it can save the cost of hiring a mechanic to do the work for you. Always use caution and the correct tools and parts to prevent injury to yourself or your vehicle.

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Updated: April 28, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

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
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