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Does Driving Low on Gas Hurt My Car in the End?

We all have been there, driving around and we hear the dinging sound of our low fuel light. Most of us put our full faith in our vehicles to tell us when we need to do something, even when they are about to run out of gas. How costly is it for us to drive our vehicles when the gas tank it low? Some of you might be surprised to see just how much in the end could be costly, dangerous, and in the end, inconvenient.

The gasoline that you put in your vehicle acts like a coolant for the electric fuel-pump motor and when you run your fuel levels low, this will allow the pump to suck in air, which creates heat & can at times cause the fuel pump to wear prematurely and fail. Also, if there is dirt, water deposits, metal corrosion other small debris in the fuel tank, it could lead to a blockage in the fuel filter, a choked fuel pump, or gunked-up injectors which all add up to costly repairs.

Below are some smart tips when it comes to managing your gas in your vehicle.

Keep your gas tank no less than ¼ full.

Fill up before heading out on a long trip or to work as you could get stuck in traffic and have a longer ride than intended.

Don’t rely on your car to tell you how many miles are left, as those range numbers can be deceiving and run down quickly, depending on how you drive.

Use high-grade system cleaners, and when in doubt, change that fuel filter. These small maintenance upgrades will only help you out in the long run.

Gas in the end is one of the most important things you put in your car, just make sure you always put enough so your vehicle doesn’t suffer. The tips above are just a few of many that will help keep you on the road and money in your pocket if you play it smart and keep your tank full.


Updated: May 2, 2016 @ 5:20 pm

Comparing Gas, Diesel & Electric Engines

So when would you recommend which engine? It depends mostly on what you are going to use the vehicle for.
If you work in the construction industry and carry around lots of heavy equipment in your vehicle, and use it to tow heavy loads, so you really need a powerful vehicle, then you should look at a vehicle that offers a good large diesel engine. You just can not beat diesel for delivering that raw power.
Of course, with diesel there are those two built in problems. The first, of course, is that the fuel itself is not available everywhere like gasoline is. Yes, it is getting easier every year, but one still finds oneself desperate occasionally when driving a diesel. The second problem is also fuel related in that a diesel engine can be quite hard to start when it is really cold outside, or actually impossible to start if the temp gets to minus 20.
If the thing that floats your boat is going from stationary to the speed limit quickly then you are going to want the good old favorite gas powered engine. For anyone who wants a production vehicle, but the sportiest model they offer, then gasoline is the current standard, just like it has always been.
Of course, since it has been the standard for so long there are several other advantages to going gas. Gasoline is relatively inexpensive. I know the price gets crazy some times, but it has been behaving very favorably lately. Also, it is much more readily available than diesel.
If you just need a smaller commuter car, or if you really want to leave the smallest carbon footprint you can, then you are definitely going to want to check on electric cars.
Electric cars are still new technology, so there are a few troubles there, but the tech is quickly proving itself. Whereas just three years ago electric cars were very expensive compared to what you got, you will find this next years models priced much more in line with their gas driven competition.
The electric engines they are putting in now should be very reliable and actually cost less to maintain than a gasoline or diesel engine over the years. The main thing that has improved and will continue to quickly do so is the technology with the batteries.
At first it took an overnight charge to get enough juice in the batteries to travel 90 miles. That meant you had to charge it over night almost every night, and it just wasn’t going to be a good long distance car. Today’s batteries hold much more juice and charge much faster.
If you do go electric there are a couple of things you MUST be aware of.
The first I just spoke of. It takes time to charge the batteries. With a gasoline or diesel powered car you stop at a filling station, pump fuel into your tank for three minutes. Pay, and drive away. With electric you plug the car into a charging station and a long time later the car is ready to go and you can not drive it around while you are waiting for it to charge. Therefore, you must plan your daily activities. Does an overnight charge give you enough juice to drive to work and back, or must you charge it near the office for the trip home? Can one charge get you through all of your errands on Saturday, or are you going to have to split them in half and do some Sunday?
The second thing to be aware of is charging away from home. Yes it would be nice if you could drive the car all day every day then simply plug it in over night. But hey, what happens on that day when you have three or four emergency errands that just have to be run. Or, what, are you going to be without a car every single night for the rest of your life? So sometimes we will have to charge it up when not at home. I just got on the internet and searched my zip-code for places to charge an electric car. The search found seven places in my zip-code and the closest one was 19 blocks from my house. Then I did the same search same zip code looking for gasoline filling stations. It found more than a hundred, and the closest one was two blocks away.
One other thing I will mention is that this is still emerging technology so it is still a bit difficult finding parts or a qualified mechanic to work on the new beast.
The future will solve the problem. Quickly the innovative thinkers of this great country will come up with solutions. I see in the near future a system where the batteries have been standardized, meaning the exact same battery could work in any of the electric cars. They will be about the size of a paperback novel but they will be heavy. They will each weigh about as much as a two liter bottle of Dr Pepper. Most cars will have two of these batteries but bigger cars might have four or even six. They will be easy to get to in a side panel just like today’s gas cap. You will open a little access door and pop it right out. Next you would replace the worn out battery with a freshly charged one. You could then continue driving your car while the original set of batteries is being recharged.
The batteries themselves would cost around a hundred and a half each fully charged, but a new car would come with one full set. The charging unit would be around 25 bucks and plug into your household current. You could start each day by putting in a fresh set of batteries and putting the ones you took out on the charger. Out in the town, if you needed a mid-day charge, you would go to a convenience store toting in your dead battery and the clerk would swap it out for a fresh battery for five bucks or so. Who knows, eventually they might even be available from vending machines. Slide the old one in one end, it gets charged up and slowly slid down a line. At the other end of the line you pick out a fresh one that someone else left to charge several hours ago.
Who knows? Perhaps they will even have a rental of a six-pack of charged batteries for that unexpected road trip!


Updated: March 20, 2016 @ 9:12 pm

Engine Trouble: What’s The Cause

There is nothing more than a car owner dreads more than seeing the check engine light brighten up their dashboard. The dashboard lights are connected to sensors that monitor everything your car does and if something is not working properly, the computer will use these lights to tell you what it not performing normally. The “Check Engine” light is probably the most important light that you will want to pay attention to the most as it could mean so many different things.

The easiest way to find out the exact reason for the check engine light to come on is to hook up a diagnostic scan tool into the cars communication port inside the vehicle. Once plugged in your car will tell the tool what prompted the light to be turned on in the first place. Most auto part shops will have a code machine on hand and can easily give you a readout to help you figure out the specific issue that made your check engine light turn on in the first place.

There are many signs that point to engine trouble besides the check engine light coming on and lighting up your dash. Some of the top signs of engine issues or troubles would be where the engine jumps or jerks. This is not normal and could be due from many different things, from fouled spark plugs, a possible clogged fuel lines/filter, the main computer reading the driving situation wrong, or even other possible issues.

Another issue would be when your engine makes noises that are not normal. When you hear a grinding, tapping, or popping sound, that is a clear indicator something is not right with your engine.

Smells coming from the engine could be an indicator that there is a leak somewhere and your fluids are leaking and burning off and emitting the foul odor; or possibly a rubber hose or belt is rubbing up against something that it shouldn’t be.

Smoke is a huge indicator that something is or has gone wrong with your engine. Smoke can come from the front or back of the car, But the tailpipe will be a good indicator what the possible problem is.
Blue smoke from the tailpipe means that oil is escaping and is being burned along with fuel. When it is white smoke from the tailpipe mean water condensation or possibly antifreeze has mixed with the fuel supply. If you end up having smoke coming from under the hood, then that means your engine is or has overheated.

All of the above are clear indicators that something is or has been going wrong with your engine. It is a good idea to get it checked out by a certified mechanic and see if the problem is a small fix or a big one. Always remember, if you end up needing to replace the engine for any reason, we are here to help!


Updated: February 28, 2016 @ 1:51 am

How To Frustrate Car Thieves

They want your car. You worked to buy your dream vehicle and now car thieves will stop at nothing to get it. Over 1.1 million automobiles are stolen in the United States each year. That’s an average of 1 car stolen about every 26.4 seconds, leaving the owners looking for used engines for sale.


The only way you can guarantee you won’t have a car stolen is not to own one.  That’s not always the best option.  However, you can do some things to deter a car thief from targeting your car.  Here are 8 simple things you can do to make if more difficult for your car to be stolen.


1) Never leave your car unlocked and running in a public place. It’s even dangerous to leave your car running in your driveway. (more…)


Updated: January 13, 2016 @ 12:06 pm

An Update to the Self-Driving Car of the Future

Self-driving cars are no longer an idea from futuristic type movies or books. Major car companies like Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes have already released, or will soon be releasing a way for cars to drive itself. Sooner than later, we will start to see more and more cars that have the ability to drive themselves which can change how we drive completely.  There are different degree’s of the self-driving cars. We are able to break the ability down to user-operated and driverless vehicles. The user-operated self-driving car will be available in the next few years while the complete driverless car will not hit the market for a long time.

A report by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and commissioned by Google Reports that Self-driving cars get into fewer crashes than cars with human drivers. The researchers found that the national crash rate estimate is 4.2 per million miles for cars with human drivers, while the crash rate for self-driving cars in autonomous mode is 3.2 per million miles. The study notes that national crash data is complicated by the varying incident reporting requirements in each state, as well as the fact that not all car crashes are reported. This is great news for the insurance carriers to get behind the self-driving cars. Fewer accidents mean less injuries and payouts to individuals due to human error accidents. The problem is many individuals fear that the regulations that need to be put in place by the government won’t probably allow self-driving cars on the road by the time the cars and the technology are ready to hit the market to the masses.

The major auto makers are all clamoring to be the top dog in this new self-driving car market. We would assume that things in the next few years will change completely from present day. We can’t wait to see what the future is going to be like with all of the self-driving cars on the road, possibly making everyone safer because of advanced technology that could take out the human element of the accidents. Only time will tell if this advancement will be a positive or negative in the ongoing love of hitting the open road.


Updated: January 11, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

The Benefits of Used Engines


Why buy a whole car when it’s your engine that needs help?  Why buy a new engine for the car you’re fixing when you can buy a used engine?  Well, what’s the point?


There are 3 basic reasons.


1. Economy


Used engines are invariably cheaper than anything else comparable on the market.  Unless you have a ridiculous discount, buying an engine used will be cheaper than buying a brand-new engine.  It’s like buying a new car as opposed to the same car used.

If you were thinking of trashing your old car and buying another, a used engine is even cheaper.  Even with installation fees, it’s less than a new car.  In addition, your insurance may be lower for a car with a used engine instead of a new one.


2. Efficiency


If you look for a used engine instead of a new one, you can get a part that fits your car exactly.  There won’t be any worry about compensating or any adjustments that could damage an engine; you can find the engine that was built for your car.

Especially with older cars or unique or specialty cars, you’ll be able to find an engine for your car more easily by looking for used engines.  This is particularly true if the car company that made your car went out of business.


3.  Ecology


Think about it – cars and engines are made up of a lot of metal, rubber, plastics, and other things that really don’t do well in a landfill.  Buying a used engine keeps your car and the engine out of landfills for a good deal longer.

In addition, buying a used engine reduces the demand for new engines and new cars, reducing the draw on resources, and keeping the environment just a bit safer.


Granted, when looking for a used engine, you need to look for a qualified and trustworthy dealer.  Look for someone who tests the engines before shipping and who has a good reputation.  After all, buying a used engine is only helpful if the engine actually works.



Updated: January 11, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

Cash for Clunkers is BAD for consumers wanting to replace an engine

June 17, 2009 – House & Senate reach tenative agreement on $106 Billion wartime spending bill which includes $1 billion for Cash for Clunkers bill.  This is the third major hurdle that the program has cleared and a vote will be taken on the wartime spending bill any day.  The program looks like it is heading forward with a green light.  Vote expected tomorrow.

If the Senate approves the CFC program, the measure will go to President Barack Obama for his signature.  The President has already said that he would sign the bill.  Then the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have 30 days to put regulations in place for the program.


Updated: December 30, 2015 @ 10:11 am

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.


Updated: December 23, 2015 @ 10:06 am

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.



Updated: December 16, 2015 @ 9:31 am

Don’t Be Scared Of Cheap Gas

Cheap Gas Pic 4.14.14

Rising gas prices across the nation has been putting all car owners in a stagnant mood and it’s not even summer yet. We all try to find the cheapest gas on our way home from work, gym, or grocery store just so we can save a couple of pennies here and there. Surely, putting in cheaper unleaded gas in your car makes you feel better than the guy putting in premium into his BMW feels. (more…)


Updated: December 9, 2015 @ 9:25 am
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