SW Engines Blog

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

LEGO CAR: They Call It Mellow Yellow and It Runs On Air!


The 20 year old creator of this Lego car spent 18 months building it


If you’re old enough to remember the hit song “Mellow Yellow” from the 1960′s by an English singer named Donovan, your appreciation of this Lego masterpiece will be even more enjoyable. Two guys from Australia produced this Lego crowd-pleaser, and in the process raked up a Lego bill of $60,000 plus other expenses. That cost is not surprising when you consider they used over 500,000 Lego bricks along with 256 engine pistons and topped it off with a cool “hot rod” design idea.


The car was built in Romania and then transported to a private location in Melbourne. When the boy’s from Australia received the basic car form, it had incurred significant damage during shipping. They figured that snapping all the loose Lego’s pieces back together would work, but it wasn’t that easy. However after a frustrating effort they were able to patch the damaged parts, and were ready to take the car to the streets. The initial setup was to use four radial engines for power and reach speeds of 20 mph to avert any Lego explosions.


Some viewers of the Lego car on the Internet suggested these comments: “There isn’t anything special about this car,” to “How amazing is was that these guys took the time to make this out of Lego’s.” Although it may not be safe for performing on any streets, this “to dream” car can be driven.” If you look closely it’s actually powered by an electric motor that isn’t made of Lego’s,” one pundit acknowledged. The torque is provided by compressed air being pushed through pistons. Tons of tiny pistons arranged in to 4 radial engines making it an air-powered engine with a million tiny pistons. Challenges can be found everywhere, but projects like these are made to inspire and to dream.


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Updated: August 26, 2015 @ 12:51 am

Replacing Your Engine vs. Buying a Car

Toyota Used Engine

Your beloved car has finally driven its last mile. Now all you can think about is how much money it will cost to fix it. Eventually, you might think; is the car even salvageable at this point? Should I put a down payment on a new or used car?  You are hit with the nostalgia of how reliable your car was, memories made with family and friends and the idea of letting your old reliable car go is as bad as the dead engine itself.  However, there is a way to preserve your beloved car while preserving the money in your wallet as well!  SWEngines.com,where you can buy a used low mileage engine and can save money in comparison to taking to the dealership or taking a chance with your local mechanic who could buy the most available “cheapest” engine they can find as a replacement.


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Updated: August 18, 2015 @ 11:52 pm

10 Fastest Cars on the Market


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


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


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


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


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


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


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: August 11, 2015 @ 11:46 pm

Tire-pressure App or Gauge?

Almost every facet of life has its coinciding App on your smartphone. There are even Apps that catalog the catalogs of available Apps. It’s no wonder many people are opting for a digital pathway to freedom and security rather than a hands-on and traditional approach.


There are parts of life however, still requiring personal and physical attention in order to remain effective, thorough and above all, safe. One of these life tasks is the monitoring of your vehicle’s tire pressure.


An inexpensive tire gauge is pretty simple to use

Most newer vehicles have automated monitoring systems connected with the drive train, engines and vital components of it makeup. This includes tire pressure. When pressure falls below, or rises above manufacturer standards an alert system notifies the driver to the problem. Technology has taken this process a step further and made it possible to monitor your tire pressure by consulting an uploaded remote readout from a smartphone App. This is an amazing evolution in technological prowess, but does it provide added security?


Consider the fact that individual vehicle engines and licenses must be registered on a tire pressure App in order to be monitored instantly. Though smartphone relays claim to be instant, uploading tire information is dependent upon service area coverage and digital and satellite communication conditions. Ironically, traveling on roads where smartphone service is sketchy is where tire inflation safety is most important.


In the time it takes to access a tire pressure monitoring App, a driver could be outside of his or her vehicle and applying a manual pressure gauge to each tire for an accurate visual reading. Hands-on monitoring, though not as sophisticated as an App, is fail safe if you are aware of the pressure specs for your vehicle’s tire inflation. Also, a tiny pressure gauge takes up less room in your vehicle’s console than even the most sleek smartphone. Think about it; safety, or savvy?



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Updated: August 4, 2015 @ 11:00 pm

Used Window motors prove to be the way to go

So, you’ve noticed your window going a little slower than normal. What could it be? Well, more than likely its the motor getting weaker and weaker. The signal is getting to it but its just not able to output the necessary power anymore. Your options are to wait till it leaves you stranded in the rain stuck down or just go ahead and replace it .

A little tip – just get a used one, but when you do, find one from a vehicle that’s been off the road the longest, meaning ‘less used’. So for instance you have a 2004 Camaro and its 2015. So find one from a 2004 Camaro but see if you can find one that is ‘old stock’ meaning it was pulled in say 2006.. meaning it was only 2 years old (as far as use goes). If you get one from a 2011 stock that means it was used for 4 years. Used window motors can be bought for a fraction of new and you still get the OEM part.. vs aftermarket lower standards.

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Updated: July 22, 2015 @ 2:35 pm

On the Road Again

Greetings to our readers! We at Southwest Engines wanted to let you know that, despite our long hiatus, we are back up and moving along on our blog. We’ll be getting you more information on new cars, old engines, car companies and automobile-related legislation that may affect you. Subjects we have and will address include how to save money, hard-to-find parts and where to find them, optimizing your car’s performance, and so forth. We will be bringing you relevant, pertinent information and updates, and we hope you enjoy reading and will come back again.


As a reminder, we are Southwest Engines, America’s #1 engine supplier. We have the most comprehensive used engine inventory in the country. If you’re here looking at our site, you probably are having car difficulty that is rather stressful. After all, walking is usually not a viable option and you need your car back. Rest assured, we understand, and we are here to help you through the hard times to get your car operational again with the least possible stress and worry for you. Buying a used engine from us rather than a new engine will save you hundreds of dollars, possibly even thousands. With our free shipping to the continental United States, you will save even more money. Not to mention our three-year warranty on all our engines. Due to our extensive inventory, we know we’ll be able to get you the engine designed just for your car. Every engine we send has been tested and is in good working condition. Unlike other companies who may focus on “quick and cheap” and not on whether the engine will actually work, our focus is on quality first to make sure our customers are happy and that the engine they receive from us will run well for years to come.


Once again, hello and welcome back, and we look forward to helping you.

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Updated: July 14, 2015 @ 9:54 pm

Used Engines for Sale – SWEngines

Used Engines For SaleSWEngines is the Nation’s Leading Retailer of Used Engines. We have a vast inventory of Used Engines ranging from Domestic makes such as Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Cadillac, to just name a few. We also offer imported makes from Honda, Nissan, Acura, Toyota, just to name a few. Our inventory of most makes between the years 1990 and 2014 is the most up to date inventory where you get current pricing as well as low mileage for your particular make and model.

How to find a Used Engine

Finding a used engine is easy.  Simply fill out our Online Instant Quote Form located prominently on the page to get your pricing, mileage and availability for your quoted engine. Simply fill out the year, make, model of your vehicle and email. If you are unsure about what exactly your “8th Digit” of your VIN is or what engine you have entirely, feel free to talk to one of our ASE Certified Representatives at 866-319-1958. Our ASE Certified Representatives are more than helpful in getting you the right engine the first time!


Used Engine Warranty

When you invest your hard earned money into one of our used engines, we want you to feel safe with your purchase and the trust you are putting in us. SWEngines ensures customer confidence when buying or even considering buying one of our engines is our Industry Leading 3 Year Parts & Labor Warranty. This 3 Year Parts & Labor Warranty is offered on ALL used engines for sale at SWEngines, free.

Shipping Used Engines

One of our Frequently Asked Questions on our social media outlets is, how long does our engine take to ship out? And how much does it cost to ship to where you live?

To answer the first question, depending on volume and weather, our engines can take up to 7-14 business days to be shipped to you. In some cases, people will even get their engines before the 7 business days. And believe it or not, shipping is FREE to the 48 continental states of the USA. There are separate shipping fees to Alaska and Hawaii as well as $75 residential fee to your home or select boroughs within the New York City area.

Now that we have told you all about what SWEngines has to offer, it is time for you to visit our site and fill out an instant quote form!

We hope to get you back on the road driving your vehicle in no time!

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Updated: July 13, 2015 @ 5:28 pm

Five of the Most Beloved Engines in the World


Over the last 60 years, there have been hundreds of engines to debut onto the car market. However, some engines have proved to be more beloved that others. Check out five of the most successful car engines ever built.

used honda engine

Honda V-Tec Engine – quite popular in the street racing arena

Honda V-Tec Engine
When the Honda V-Tec engine first hit the streets, car enthusiasts were in awe of its lightweight design and high-revving power delivery. The best aspect of the Variable Valve Timing technology was its unmatched efficiency. Environmentalists also raved about the low pollution of the V-Tec engine. Even today, V-Tec engines are vastly popular in the street racing scene.


used lamborghini engine

Lamborghini V12 has a high rev cabaility

Lamborghini V12 Engine
Surprisingly, the V12 engine was the first engine ever produced by Lamborghini. Partly due to its 60 degree design, the V12 engine was able to rev at an unbelievable 9,000 revolutions per minute. The production engine was also capable of pumping out 280 brake horsepower, which was more than enough potency to impress drivers during that time period.


used chevy engine

Chevrolet Small Block Engine is known as one of the most versatile engines in history.

Chevrolet Small Block Engine
Chevrolet’s iconic V8 engine, popularly referred to as the “small block”, is toted as one of the most versatile engines in history. Many drivers were shocked that so much torque could be produced from such a compact engine. Although the small-block V-8 engine has changed a tad since its debut in 1955, its basic foundation remains the same.


used Ford engine

Ford Cosworth Engine remain in high demand due to their massive horsepower

Ford Cosworth Engine
Initially, the Ford Cosworth Engine was a collaboration project that was designed to be used in Formula One Racing. These engines remain in high demand to their ability to produce massive amounts of horsepower. Even a used engine that has been developed by Ford Cosworth is highly sought-after by performance enthusiasts. Although most people consider it to be a high-performance engine, the Ford Cosworth engine is also one of the most durable gas motors ever created.


used rover engine

Rover K Series Engine is a popular engine in automotive history.

Rover K Series Engine
Although this engine experienced a head gasket issue in its early development, it would go on to become one of the most popular engines in automotive history. Unlike some of the other performance-oriented engines, the Rover K Series has a very flat torque throughout its rev range.
All of these engines are still very popular, so you should be able to easily find a low mileage block to fit your needs. Even years from now, they will maintain a legendary status.


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Updated: July 1, 2015 @ 7:50 am

Most Useful Car Tips for Fuel Economy


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


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: June 23, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

Tips for Removing a Wiring Harness

engine wiring harness

When electrical issues become a problem in your car’s engine, it may be necessary for you to remove the wiring harness. In order to make sure that you do not hurt yourself or your engine in the process, it is important for you to follow each step in the directions carefully and completely. Before beginning any work, it is always wise to look at the specific process for your vehicle. Read all instructions thoroughly before doing anything and make sure you have all necessary parts and tools on hand. You may also want to have a camera ready so that you can take pictures anytime during the process. This simple precaution can be a great help in remembering how to put things back where they belong.


If you get in the middle of this job and get stuck, do not hesitate to stop and ask for help from a mechanic. At the same time, however, don’t be intimidated by the prospect of giving it a shot yourself first. As you remove the wiring harness, you will get to know your engine and gain the experience and knowledge you need to work with your vehicle in the future.


Before You Start the Job


Prior to jumping into this electrical job, you will want to be sure that you can identify and locate the parts under your engine’s hood. You will need to know where to find the fuse block, AC ductwork, and the firewall hole. You will also be working around the transmission, chassis harness, and the engine connection itself, so get to know your engine and look at an engine diagram to plan the job out before you get started.


Next, gather the tools you will need to remove the wiring harness. Make sure that you have several sizes of socket wrenches as well as a flat head screwdriver. You should also have a strong, thin piece of rope that you will use in the process of removing the wiring harness. For difficult wires, you may need a small, precise tool like a dental pick, small needle-nose pliers, or a pair of forceps to prevent breakage.


Tips for Removing a Wiring Harness


Once you have a big picture of the engine construction and you understand the general process you’ll be attempting, you are ready to go under the hood. Follow these steps:


  • Disconnect the fuse block. The fuse block is made of plastic and is located on the upper right side of the engine. Remove the bolt that is in its center, and then remove all connections from the fuse block including the engine itself, transmission, and the chassis harness. You can check your engine diagram to make sure you have identified all the right connections and that you know how to reconnect them later. Some quick research concerning your particular vehicle should steer you to the right location of these items so that you can be sure before you disconnect them.
  • Remove bolts. You should have several bolts that you will need to remove, and they should be located along the windshield area as well as along the side. Using a socket wrench of the correct size for your own vehicle, remove these. It is possible that there will be no bolts in your vehicle. If this is the case, then you can use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the dashboard in order to gain access to the A/C ductwork.
  • Remove the A/C ductwork. Find the tubing and separate at the seams. Once again, double check the engine diagram if necessary, so that you can easily find and remove the right tubing.
  • Remove bolts on the steering column. Look under the dashboard area and find the bolts on the steering column. Remove or loosen them.
  • Locate the wiring. If there are any other bolts holding the dashboard in place, remove them so you can get a clear view. The goal is to get behind the dashboard to see wiring.
  • Connect a thin piece of rope to the fuse block. This step might be a bit tedious, but it will make removing the wiring harness easier later on. From the dashboard side, thread a thin, sturdy piece of rope or string through the firewall hole. Pull it through from the engine side into the fuse block. Tie the rope to the fuse block so that you can use it to pull the wiring harness through late.
  • Take a picture of the wiring. At this point, you would be wise to get out your camera, smartphone, or tablet and take some pictures of how everything looks and where each part connects before you take out the wiring. You might also consider labeling the wires in some way so that you remember where to replace them when it is time.
  • Disconnect the wiring. Disconnect the wires from the the wiring harness. Look for the spot where the wiring harness joins the fuse block and disconnect there as well. In order to remove the wiring harness, you may also have to take off rubber sheaths or bolts. Use the rope you connected earlier to pull the wiring harness through.


The process of caring for your vehicle can be a complex one. The more that you know about how the engine is built, what potential problems are specific to your vehicle’s make and model, and how the various parts work together, the easier it will be to keep your engine in good working order. As with anything, however, it is important that you are prepared to do the work. Don’t be afraid to tackle new projects, but be sure that you are knowledgeable enough to jump in without ruining your engine or hurting yourself in the process.


If you follow these tips for removing a wiring harness, you will find that it is a fairly straightforward job that will allow you to make a variety of adjustments to your vehicle. As with any job, take the time to research your particular vehicle in order to note any differences or specifics that will affect the way you proceed.



Updated: June 2, 2015 @ 9:33 am
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