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How to Make Your Car Continue to Run Smoothly

Instead of constantly trying to repair your car and fixing it after the fact, you should strive to make sure that your car continues to run smoothly. In other words, you should engage in more preventive maintenance, as this will not only save you more money in the long-run, it will help to ensure that you don't run into any unexpected problems. The problem is that many people don't actually engage in their own maintenance, whether it's due to a lack of knowledge or being intimidated about having to do it themselves. Sometimes it's both, and it usually leads to people putting their car's health off to the side until something happens that draws their attention.

 

So, to make sure that your car continues to run smoothly, you should do the following:

 

Inspect It Regularly Yourself

Check your vehicle quite regularly. This doesn't mean every day or every week, but you should check it out once a month. If there are any strange sounds, don't try and ignore them with the hopes that they'll go away. Two things that you can do are to check the air pressure, which can be done with a cheap tire air pressure gauge and to check the tread on your tires.

 

 

Check Out the Fluid Levels

Some of the main fluids whose levels you should check are the coolant, transmission fluid, wiper fluid, antifreeze, and power steering fluid. Even if you don't think you can change them, you should at least be able to know how to measure their levels.

 

Each car  is different, but the majority of cars will either allow you to see the tank level visually or have a dipstick that you can take out of the particular compartment that will have a measurement that corresponds with an acceptable level.

 

Opening the hood of your car and checking them out yourselves is not something to be intimidated by, especially with modern car safety standards.

 

Check and Change Your Oil Frequently

How you are able to measure your oil level and the oil's color depends on your car. But, you don't want to have oil that is dirty or to have low levels. Check it once every month or two months, as it'll only take a few minutes. If it needs to be changed, you should make sure this is done immediately, especially since dirty oil affects the health of your engine. Replacing an engine IS costly.

 

 

Make Sure to Change the Cabin Air and Engine Air Filters

 

You should check out your car manual for a recommended time frame of when to replace each one.

 

For your cabin air filter, it's quite easy to replace, as you can do it yourself in a few minutes. Having clean air in the cabin WILL make the driving experience much more pleasant.

 

In regards to your engine filter, you probably won't be able to replace it yourself, but there are some signs that you should have it checked out, namely if you:

 

  • Live in a congested road environment
  • Frequently are stuck in traffic
  • Drive a particularly long commute on a daily basis

 

Have Your Tires Rotated and Balanced

Your tires will last longer if they're often rotated and balanced. Make sure to pay attention to the alignment of your car too, especially if the steering wheel just doesn't seem like it wants to stay straight.

 

 

Remember, at the very least, if you don't have the time to do any of the above, bring it to a local auto repair shop frequently. As mentioned, you will save money in the long-run. You can always look up how to perform some of these online. One thing to note is to not just bring your car for a regular check-up when you're obligated to. Do it more frequently!

The Technology of Google's Driverless Car

Google's driverless cars are currently being tested in parts of California and are being developed vigorously by the company. In fact, the promise of driverless cars is so great that many other auto manufacturers are currently developing their own technology. While we are still years away from them being available to the general public, Google is spearheading the movement and refining and perfecting these cars on a daily basis.

 

 

The technology behind these cars is quite complex, but not entirely unheard of. Much of the technology that is being used is a;ready used for other software and applications, meaning that it isn't technology in which there is a question mark about safety. Here is some of the technology:

 

LIDAR

LIDAR stands for laser illuminating detecting and ranging, and it is technology that has been used in order to build a 3D map. This allows the car to be able to spot any potential dangers on the road through sending a laser beam that is constantly bouncing off hard surfaces. This also helps it to determine the distance between objects, as well as the actual object itself.

 

Google's driverless car utilizes a Velodyne 64-beam laser, which allows it to have a 360 degree mapping process through being placed on the top hood of the car.

 

Radar

The Radar technology that is used has been implemented in order to make up for one of the drawbacks of the LIDAR technology, which is in being able to determine the moving speed of surrounding objects, such as vehicles. The radar units, in which two are placed in the front and two are placed in the back on the bumpers, can help the car to avoid hitting another objects through automatically transmitting signals to the car's computer to either brake or accelerate.

 

The Radar technology works also with the gyroscopes, inertial measurement units, and wheel encoder, all of which are designed to send as accurate of information as possible to the main computer in the car.

 

Advanced Cameras

Cameras are placed on the exterior of the car and are designed so that there's an overlapping view of the environment that surrounds the car. The reason for the overlapping images is to mimic how the human eye sees things and to help better measure peripheral movement, depth of field, and dimensionality.

 

All of the cameras are accurate up to 30 meters in distance.

 

Sonar

This may seem redundant to include, especially with the LIDAR and Radar technology. But the Sonar technology is designed as a sort of back-up, even though it has a more narrower field of view and only has a range of 6 meters on average.

 

The purpose of it being there is to reinforce the accuracy of the readings from the other technology and to work with them in order to complete such things as swerving to avoid impact, applying the brakes when needed, and to change the tension of seat belts.

 

Advanced Positioning Systems

There is also the need for having advanced positioning systems in place that can utilize GPS, inertial measurement units, a wheel encoder, and a map system designed by Google. Working in conjunction with the cameras and the speed in which the car is moving, the Google driverless car will be able to accurately plot its movements to its final destination.

 

Its accuracy is so detailed that it can determine the location of the car in terms of navigation to a couple of centimeters and make adjustments for unexpected events, such as a closed road.

 

Advanced Software

Of course, all of the aforementioned technology would not mean much if there wasn't any advanced software in place that put everything together.

 

One of the best features of the software is how it adapts to the behavioral aspects of its surroundings. For example, while the software is always designed so that you stop at a traffic light when it has turned red, it also has the ability to process all of the driving data from previous times and make changes accordingly. If there's a car moving slow on the right lane, the software will learn to recognize that there's a higher likelihood that the car behind it will move to the left in order to pass it.

 

Perhaps in 20 years, everyone will be using driverless cars. It should be released on the market within 5 years or less, and knowing that Google is taking every possible step to ensure the safety of it is a good thing. Regulations are already being passed in some states allowing for it. 

How to Estimate the Value of Classic Cars

 

Estimating the value of a classic car can be quite the challenge, especially if you have never done it before. There are a variety of factors that can affect its value, including ever-changing market trends and location. However, there are some steps you can take that will allow to be able to estimate its value as accurately as possible. Check out the following:

 

Gauge Its Popularity Level

Certain classic cars age better than others in terms of holding on to their value and not depreciating as fast. The reason is because some classic cars simply have an allure and appeal that allows their value to remain high. Of course, this allure and appeal is completely subjective in nature, meaning that there isn't really a rhyme or reason for why certain makes and models are valued higher than others.

 

Determine Its Level of Quality

You want to be able to try and determine the car's quality. Check to see how expensive it was when it was first put on the market. Some of the things that classic car collectors look for is to determine the quality of workmanship, if the car is crafted well, if it contains materials that are of a high quality, and if the car has been well-maintained.

 

Examine the Condition of the Car

One of the main elements that can determine the value of a classic car is whether or not it is in working condition. If the classic car has suffered from damage and subsequent repairs, the value will naturally decrease. If it requires some level of restoration, that will also affect it. Quite simply, the better maintained the car has been since its original release date, the better its value will be and the higher price you can command for it on the market.

 

While the closer a classic car is to its original condition, the higher its value will be, a good restoration can do wonders for its value. If the restoration has been flawlessly performed, it is possible for the car's value to be quite close to the maximum amount. On the other hand, if the restoration was performed poorly, that will have an adverse effect on its value.

 

Mileage Is Not Important

Unlike selling a used vehicle, mileage is not as important if you're selling a classic car. Many of the restoration processes that they undergo often lead to the mileage being reset anyway, which is why it's not often considered. Plus, buying a classic car means having an understanding that it has been used before considerably, given its age.

 

Check Out the NADA Appraisal Guide

The NADA appraisal guide, located at www.nadaguides.com, is one of the most used sources for determining the value of a classic car.

 

A classic car is a beautiful thing. Follow the above steps and you should be able to gain a rough idea of its value. If all else fails, you can always have it professionally appraised.

IRS Changes to Overseas Shipping Rules

Identity theft continues to be a big issue in overseas shipping, especially with the multitude of scams that are in existence. One action that the IRS has taken to try and rectify this issue is in changing the identification requirements that are needed in order to ship cars internationally.

 

 

In the past, the ID number that was used was the person's Social Security number. Now, they have recently changed the required ID to be one's Employee Identification Number, which is also known as EIN.

            

Not to worry though. Obtaining an Employee Identification Number is quite easy to do if you follow along with our steps listed below, not to mention is also completely free to obtain.

 

How to Get Your Employee Identification Number (EIN)

 

As already mentioned, getting yours is quite easy, as long as you follow the following steps:

 

  • Visit www.irs.gov.
  • Click on "ONLINE SERVICES" on the lower left hand corner. Then, click on "Online Employer Identification Number.
  • On the new page, click on "APPLY ONLINE NOW."
  • Next, click on "Begin Application" (the page should say "Important Information Before You Begin").
  • At the top of the next page, click on "Sole Proprietor." Then, scroll down on the page and click on "CONTINUE."
  • Click on "Sole Proprietor" again and then "CONTINUE," as this page is designed to confirm your choice.
  • On the next screen that appears, "Why is the Sole Proprietor requesting an EIN?" click on "STARTED A NEW BUSINESS." Don't worry - it doesn't mean you have to be a business owner. Click on "CONTINUE."
  • Next, click on "I am the sole proprietor" on the new screen.
  • Make sure to list your address in the United States, rather than the address abroad. This is if you want your Employee Identification Number mailed to you. Then click "CONTINUE."
  • This new screen will ask you to list your country of residence, as well as your current state and the date. Fill it out and then click on "CONTINUE" followed by listing the most up-to-date address that you have in the United States
  • You will now have to answer some questions. Just select "NO" for every single one of them and click on "CONTINUE."
  • On the next screen, state that you want an Employee Identification Number because of export reasons. Click "OTHER" at the bottom of the screen and make sure to type in "FULFILLING FEDERAL REQUIREMENT IN ORDER TO EXPORT." Finally, click on "CONTINUE."
  • The last screen that you will encounter is called "How Would You Like to Receive Your EIN Confirmation Letter?" You should chose "RECEIVE LETTER ONLINE." The reason why this is the best option to chose is that it will be instant and you don't have to wait for it to arrive in the mail, meaning that you don't have to be delayed in shipping your vehicle abroad.
  • Finally, click on "CONTINUE" where you will now receive your EIN. Make sure to print out the page or screen capture it for your own records.

 

In order to reach the IRS directly, you contact them at 1-800-829-4933.

 

Good luck!

Transporting Cars from Auction to Port

Bidding on vehicles in auctions today has never been easier, especially thanks to the multitude of smartphone apps that are available. You can now seamlessly bid on more than one vehicle at the same time, which can make it easier to get a good deal. However, transporting the vehicle after you win it can be a challenge if you're not sure of what to do. Check out the following guide and you should be fine.

 

Pay For Everything in Full

While you might be able to arrange for different financing options, you will most likely have to pay for the vehicle in advance. Doing so brings with it the benefits of being able to pick up the vehicle right away, in which there won't be delays and the various costs associated with it due to a lack of payment.

 

Go Over the Paperwork Closely

You should go over all of the paperwork closely, as you want to make sure that there aren't any mistakes, typos, or other various errors that will complicate matters. This includes the pickup and shipping address, as well as the operating hours.

 

 

Pick the Right Auto Transport Company

You should always a pick an auto transport company that has a stellar reputation, and, more specifically, one that is able to provide insurance coverage that can cover any damages that might occur. Visit the Better Business Bureau's website at www.bbb.org to see if a company is legitimate or not.

 

Plan It Out and Have the Right Documents

You should always notify the auctioneer that the auto transport carrier will be arriving to pick up the vehicle. Specify the date and the time, as otherwise, the auctioneer may not grant them access. In addition, informing them will allow the carrier to acquire a gate pass, which is what is often needed to be able to enter the lot.

 

Don't Pay More Than You Have To

The vast majority of auctioneers will only allow your vehicle to remain on their auction lot free of charge for a set amount of days, usually around 5 days to a week. Afterwards, they will charge you for each day that it remains there. In order to avoid these charges, have the auto transport carrier pick up your vehicle before the free days are up.

 

Have the Necessary Information Ready

In order to transport your vehicle without any issue, the auto transport company will need some information on the vehicle itself, including:

 

  • The Lot Number of the vehicle
  • The Buyer Number from which it was bought
  • The VIN Number of the vehicle
  • Whether or not the vehicle is operational

 

Follow the guidelines listed above and you will be able to move your vehicle from the auction lot to the port of departure right away.  A-1 Auto Transport will be able to ensure that your vehicle is transported in both an affordable and secure way. Contact us today and let us help you immediately!

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