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Safer Alternatives To Texting While Driving

car appIn a society that communicates almost instantly, texting is a convenient and affordable way to stay in touch with colleagues, family and friends. Unfortunately, texting is also responsible for as many as half of cellphone-related car accidents in the United States. Despite many states making it illegal to text and drive, drivers still opt to engage in this unsafe behavior on a regular basis. Anyone who needs to stay in touch while behind the wheel might be interested in these safer alternatives to texting.

Voice to Text Applications For Smartphones

The name of this application makes its intent obvious. Using voice identification software, it can take your spoken words and transcribe them into a text message. Similarly, the application can read received texts aloud to determine if they need an immediate response. While there is no question that speaking is safer than fumbling on a phone to send a text message, there are mixed reviews about this application. It is most effective if it is set as the main screen while drivers are behind the wheel so that it doesn’t need to be adjusted on the go – resulting in a distracted driver.

Automatic Responder Applications

This is another app for smartphones that can reduce texting while behind the wheel. When the driver has the application in the “on” mode, it will send an automatic response to the sender of the text or even to the caller. Sample messages for these applications include the following:

Hello! The person you are contacting is currently driving. They will respond when it is safe to do so.

Alternatively, the driver can set a more personalized message such as:

I can’t respond right now. I will call you back when I get out of the car.

Disengage the Phone’s Texting Function

Even when drivers are fully aware that texting behind the wheel is unsafe, they might still be compelled to read messages on their phone when they hear that unmistakable beeping sound. For these drivers, the best course of action might be to install an application on their phone that actually blocks incoming texts for a designated period of time. When the driver arrives at their destination, they can read the texts that were blocked and respond.

Built-in Car Bluetooth or Bluetooth Headsets

Bluetooth technology has been around for years, but it has recently gained popularity as a safe alternative to texting while driving. Many luxury cars already have Bluetooth built into their operating systems, and it works by connecting to a phone wirelessly and reading out texts or answering verbal commands. Even for drivers who aren’t behind the wheel of a luxury car, Bluetooth is still a viable option. Bluetooth headsets do the same thing and cost a fraction of the price of a new car.
There is absolutely no question that texting while driving in unsafe. Drivers who can’t disconnect while behind the wheel might want to look into these alternatives. Of course, the safest option will always be to wait until reaching the destination before checking calls and incoming texts.

Featured images:License: Creative Commons image source

Jon Engle is a freelance blogger and avid car enthusiast living in San Diego, CA. He currently writes for the All Star Glass company providing tips on windshield repair and auto glass replacement. When not blogging, he can be found at local car shows, surfing and spending time with his family.

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The Most Expensive Vintage Cars In The World

vehicle appLamborghini, Porsche and Lexus: these are some of the most amazing vehicle names in the world. However, if you think that these modern supercars are a work of art, you should think again. Classic cars dominate this department and they have the price tag to prove it.

Since they were first created, vintage cars have always been on the more expensive side of the price scale. They are jewels of their time and nowadays collectors are willing to pay massive sums of money for the privilege of owning them. Beautiful designs, interesting lines and a sense of downright class is not easy to match and is exactly what characterises these majestic vehicles.

On the rare occasion when one of these vehicles are put on sale to the market, vintage collectors flock to them and are willing to pay any sum of money just to have one parked in their garage. So on that note, let us look at the five most expensive vintage cars ever to go on sale:

Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 – $4.07 million

The Alfa Romeo 8C name was used on all road, race and sports cars of the 1930’s. The 8C refers to the eight cylinders in the vehicle and was originally referred to a straight eight-cylinder engine. Car designer Vittoria Jano designed the 8C and was responsible for the creation of both the two-seater sports cars and the first genuine single-seat Formula One racing car.

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – $6.2 million

The Ferrari 250 GTO was a car produced by Ferrari between the years of 1962 and 1964. The numerical part of its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimetres of each cylinder of the engine, whilst GTO stands for ‘Gran Turismo Omologata’, Italian for ‘Grand Touring Homologated’. When the vehicle was first brought onto the market, buyers had to be personally approved from Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti. The car has been placed top of the list of Top Sports Cars of All Time and named the greatest Ferrari of its time.

Rolls-Royce 10hm Two-Seater – $7.25 million

The 10hm Two-Seater was the first ever Rolls-Royce to be built, as a result of an agreement signed on the 23 December 1904 between Charles Rolls and Henry Royce. The vehicle was first exhibited in a Paris Salon trade show in December 1904, along with other models from the Rolls and the Royce showrooms.

The vehicle revolutionised the car market, as the engine was far quieter than any other vehicles and reached an unheard of top speed of 39mp/h (63km/h). Currently there are only four originals of this vehicle left in the world. The vehicles are all owned by a single private collector and held in the UK Science Museum Collection.

Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe – $9.7 million

The Bugatti Type 41, better known as the Royale Kellner Coupe, is a large luxury vehicle with a 4.3 meter wheelbase and an overall length of 6.4 meter. Ettore Bugatti planned to build only twenty-five of these cars, to sell them to royalty and be the most luxurious car ever. However, because of the Great Depression, the vehicle was only able to sell three of the six made. The vehicles prototype had a 15 litre capacity engine, however, during the production phase it was replaced by the 12.9 litre straight six, the largest engines ever made, producing over 300 horsepower.

007 Aston Martin DB5 – $10 million

The 007 Aston Martin DB5 is a luxury grand tourer that was made by Aston Martin and designed by the Italian train builder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera. The car was first released in 1963 and was an evolution of the final series of DB4. The DB5 was made famous for being the first and most recognised cinematic James Bond Car, first appearing in the film Goldfinger in 1964.

Every now and then one of these majestic vintage cars goes on sale. Ensure that you get your motor finance in order. This way you will not miss out next time one of these magnificent vehicles come on sale.

I am Greg Jones, a car lover and blogger. I love reading about vintage cars, their engine size, output and how they were designed. I recently attended a vintage car show and got to talking to one of the car collectors. He told me about the invention of the V6 and how it changed the way we look at cars.

We’ve been discussing some significant trends - discover the most recent in our series: PRO Vehicle App - Diesel or Petrol: Which is Best? #CarFacts, #CarShopping, #CarTechnology

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Diesel or Petrol: Which is Best?

car appThere was a time when the answer to this question was easy and consumers felt that a diesel-powered vehicle was the best choice. But as technology has changed, the line between diesel and petrol has blurred. Once viewed as the better and less-expensive choice, diesel now often takes the backseat to petrol-powered vehicles. When it comes to making the best choice, there are some factors that should drive your decision-making process. Let’s take a look at those factors so you can make an educated decision for yourself as a consumer or business owner.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Petrol or Diesel

  • Long-Term Economy. There was a time when diesel fuel prices were much lower and the cost made higher car prices well-worth it. But, since the 1980s, this has changed, muddling the decision-making process for many consumers. Petrol prices and more economical engines have made it easier on an individual consumer’s bank account to opt for a petrol-based vehicle.
  • Vehicle-Running Costs. The price of fuel is only one consideration when it comes to the overall costs of running a vehicle. To determine which type of fuel is best in the long-run, the consumer also needs to factor in the cost of insurance, car maintenance, purchase price and the vehicle’s depreciation. High-mileage drivers may benefit from choosing a diesel auto, but won’t necessarily reap the economic benefits until they’ve driven 130,000 miles in their car.
  • Preferences of the Driver. Driver’s preference should play an important role in deciding whether or not to purchase a diesel vehicle over a petrol-based vehicle. On the one hand, diesel fuel cars aren’t as loud as they were in the 80′s due to changes in engine technology. They’re also stronger, which is beneficial if you do a lot of towing.
  • Other Factors to Consider. A smooth ride with quick get-up-and-go is something most drivers appreciate. You’re more likely to find these qualities in a petrol car. At the same time, eco-conscious consumers prefer diesel due to the fact that it’s a little less damaging to the environment than regular petrol.

Weighing the Options

If you read enough information about choosing diesel or petrol, you’re bound to find some pretty strong arguments from both camps. Ultimately, your decision must be based on your personal needs. What works best for one might not be work for you, even though proponents of both sides might be adamant about trying to convince you that what they believe is best. Consider your use, your driving goals and budget when making your decision.

Private buyers and those who’re considering fuel from a business standpoint will have different things to consider. The individual consumer needs to think only of how he or she will be affected by the choice, whereas business owners’ choices will affect the bottom line, as well as employees and customers. Both can use the considerations outlined in this article to come to a conclusion that will serve them best now and in the long-run.

Mary Ylisela – Money Saving Blogger for fafnir and All Things Automotive

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The Best Looking Cars in 2013

Every year, car manufacturers attempt to push the boundaries of style by producing new models or facelifts of existing ones. Style is of course a matter of opinion, and everyone has different tastes. Some people might prefer sleek, refined looking cars, whereas others might prefer something bold and futuristic. Here is a roundup of the best looking cars of 2013, with something for everyone!

Ford Fiesta ST

vehicle appThis 180 brake horsepower hot hatch does 0 – 100 KPH (62 MPH) in just 6.9 seconds, thanks to its 1.6 litre 16v turbocharged EcoBoost engine. A classic example of Ford’s “Kinetic Design”, the sleek curves, wide arches and mean looking alloy wheels, this new Fiesta is definitely up there with the best of them.

Volkswagen Scirocco GTS

car appThe styling on the Scirocco is a bit Marmite for people (some love ‘em, some hate ‘em), but you can guarantee that when you are behind the wheel of the Scirocco GTS, it is sure to turn heads wherever you drive!

With a choice of 4 different engines, 18” alloys as standard, and a stance that just growls at you, this is one of the best looking sports compacts out there.

Vauxhall VXR8 Maloo

fuel mileageA rebadged Holden HSV Maloo, these cars are a kind of crossbreed; described as a “coupe utility” vehicle, they look more like a half pickup truck and half muscle car. Commonplace on the streets of Australia and New Zealand, for a mere £51,000 you could be the proud owner of one of these bad boys. They have a 6.2 litre V8 engine that pushes out 425 brake horsepower, and gets you from a standing start to 60 MPH in just 4.9 seconds. So if you’re a tradesman and you don’t want a boring old van to carry your tools around in, or just fancy something “different”, then this is the vehicle for you!


calculate mpgIf a Vauxhall VXR8 Maloo Ute is not your cup of tea, then how about something more familiar and with two extra doors? The BMW M5 is one of those cars that will never go out of style. Its slick curves, generously proportioned bodywork and “angel eye” headlights tell people that you mean business. For a few grand more than the Ute, you can get yourself a fantastic piece of German engineering which people of all generations will admire. You’d probably be able to get this from a car leasing company such as Tilsun Group. Sporting a 4.4 litre V8 engine with twin turbochargers, it certainly packs a punch with 560 brake horsepower available to you, and gets you up to 62 MPH in only 4.3 seconds. With various engine technology advances, this engine actually performs pretty well in terms of fuel economy, with an average fuel consumption of 28.5 MPG – not bad considering it’s a V8!

Porsche 911 GT3

iphone mileageEveryone knows about the iconic Porsche 911. For a lot of people, it’s a car you can only dream about, but for the lucky few with deep pockets, it’s a journey into refined, powerful and elite motoring. With a 3.8 litre 6-cylinder engine giving you 475 brake horsepower on tap, the Porsche 911 GT3 is among both one of the most powerful and one of the best looking cars of 2013.

Featured images:Image by Ford  Image by Volkswagen   Image by Auto Express  Image by BMW   Image by Porsche

Larry Davitts has written about autos for a number of years and is a lover of the current crop. He has written for a number of magazines in this area.

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5 of the Weirdest Police Cars In The World

car appWhen you think of police cars you generally consider them to be sturdy, strong, practical and slightly daunting vehicles. We’re used to seeing saloons, the odd hatchback and in some countries even Smart cars utilised as police vehicles.

Like any tool, police cars have to be fit for purpose, hence the different sizes, styles and shapes of car. They need to be apt for the environment, terrain and roads and also need to take account of passengers in the front and rear.

However, throughout the years a number of police forces have been less than conventional in their choice of police car. In fact, there have been all sorts of crazy, impractical and wacky autos used to patrol the beat in times past – these are some of the most bizarre.

Italy – Lamborghini Gallardo

Italians are renowned for their style, flair and panache and what better car to encapsulate these qualities than a Lamborghini Gallardo? The Italian auto manufacturer gifted two of these beasts to the Polizia di Stato as a gift for its 152nd birthday and the cars were used in both regular and promotional duty afterwards. Sadly, soon afterwards one of the Lambos ended up wrapped around two stationery cars, having had to swerve out of the way of an oncoming car.

Dubai – Ferrari FF and Lamborghini Aventador

It’s not just the Italians that see a need to grant the police extraordinary power. Dubai’s police service also feels the need to have plenty of horses at its officer’s hands. The country recently came to prominence for adding a Ferrari FF to its fleet, which also includes a Lamborghini Aventador. The justification being, the cars will stop playboy racers thinking they can get away with breaking the speed limit and unlike the Italians, the cars weren’t a gift and were bought by the police force.

Texas – Modified Hummer H2

America is the home of supersizing and it seems that the rule does not just apply for food. So, why not drive a Hummer H2 as your everyday patrol vehicle, one sheriff in Texas does. In fact, he’s even had the displacement increased on its 6.9l V8 engine, resulting in it now having 720BHP and a slightly outrageous 910nm of torque at 4300rpm. The sheriff wisely also thought it would be a good idea to alter the suspension and in his wisdom the brakes too.


Converse to popular opinion across the pond, bigger isn’t always better and this is showcased in the city of Brighton and Hove on England’s South Coast. Here, police use a GEM electric car to stay the right side of the thin blue line. The car can manage a less than mind warping 28mph thanks to its electric engine. Interestingly, Brighton is the first and only place in the UK to currently have a Green Party member of the British Parliament.

Russia – Lada

Why, not finish up with a classic we say. The Lada is a time honoured auto as far as we’re concerned and one that is mostly associated with the Cold War period and life behind the Iron Curtain.

However, go to St Petersburg and other parts of Russia and the old Soviet auto is still under  Frontier contract hire from Lada to the police. The reason for which is its keen pricing, the fact it’s easy to fix and also that it’s heavy steel construction means it’s better at dealing with the sub-zero temperatures than many alternatives. Frankly, we’d rather work in Dubai.

The world of police cars is a varied one as you can see and extends to far more than the five door saloons most of us are used to.


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Should You Buy A Used Rental Truck?

vehicle appIn this economy people are looking for ways to save every dollar. People are re-evaluating their choices in public transportation. Buses, bicycles, and even walking are touted as low-cost, energy efficient modes of transportation, there are still folks out there who are looking to purchase trucks. Perhaps you are building a home and need a small truck to transport supplies back and forth. No matter what reason you are interested in buying a truck, you want to make sure that you use every opportunity you can to save every penny possible. Many people are now seeing that buying a new truck may not be the best investment as the truck’s value decreases the moment you drive off the lot. So you may be looking into some nontraditional places to purchase your next truck.

Have you ever thought about purchasing a used rental truck? Contrary to popular belief, used rental trucks can give you the value for your dollar that you need in this economy. People have become fearful of buying used trucks listed on places like Craigslist or even the local paper because they can never be truly sure of what they are purchasing. Unless you are buying a truck from a trusted friend or family member who was the original owner, it can be a gamble. Buying a fleet truck from a rental company may be a viable option you never considered before.

Some options to consider

Before purchasing a fleet truck from a rental company, you must remember to look at each vehicle individually. Every rental company is different and they all adhere to different standards of maintenance. You may have heard a horror story from one person. However you should not let that deter you from finding a great bargain. People have bought lemons from many different sources. As long as you do your homework, you should be able to find a great truck at a great price.

Try to choose a company with a good maintenance program. A good rental company will take meticulous care of their cars and trucks. In addition, they will keep very detailed notes of service records for every person that rented the vehicle as well as routine maintenance like oil changes. The company should have access to a service like CARFAX so you can get a full vehicle history report. This information should back up everything the rental company has on the truck you are considering for purchase.

As with any car or truck purchase, you should take the time to find an independent repair shop and have it inspected. It is even better if you have a mechanic that you know and trust. Taking a few extra moments to do this work will save you the heartache of investing in a vehicle that will only work in the short term. Or even worse yet, you don’t want to invest in a vehicle that needs more repair than you may be prepared to spend.

Hopefully, these tips will prepare you to purchase the truck of your dreams. You need not be afraid of buying from a rental company as long as you do your part and investigate as much as you can about the car’s history and have that information backed up by a qualified mechanic. If you follow these rules, your investment should last you as long as you want to keep the truck.

Featured images:License: Creative Commons image source

Sean Carter is an writer who has contributed to various websites all over the blogosphere. His main interests include technolgy, driving and home design

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How the Type of Fuel You Use Affects Your Car’s Performance

car appThe type of fuel that you purchase for your vehicle can sometimes make a difference in the way that it operates. Therefore, it’s important to understand what your options are at the pump and to make an educated decision for the life of your car.

If you want to know how fuel affects the way your car runs, continue reading. While you may want to purchase the cheapest fuel possible to save the most money whenever you need to fill up your tank, you’ll quickly realise that, in the long run, this can sometimes do more harm than good to your car, and it may even cost you more money on repairs in the future.

The Definition of Octane

Many people aren’t even sure what octane really means when it comes to the types of fuel that are offered at the pump. Put simply, the higher the octane number, the more likely it is that it will prevent the engine from knocking. Knocking happens when the fuel and air contained within the cylinder explodes rather than burns in a controlled fashion. This is where the knocking sound comes from. If you find that your vehicle knocks when it’s given a lower octane fuel, it’s time to upgrade and spend the extra cash to ensure your engine won’t be damaged.

When Octane Makes a Difference

For many average vehicles on the road, you can simply purchase lower octane fuel that’s more economical. Your vehicle will run quite well, as giving a higher octane fuel isn’t really necessary for the typical car on the road.

In general, you can simply check your owner’s manual and look for any specific instructions on the type of fuel you should be purchasing for that particular make and model. If it flat-out states that it needs to always run on higher octane fuel, then this is what you must do in order to ensure that the vehicle will run as promised for years to come.

Also, high octane fuel is required for specific types of vehicles, such as sports cars and luxury cars that have high compression engines. If you regularly drive around in brands that include Jaguar and Porsche, for example, you’ll need to fill up your tank on high octane fuel.

Different Brands of Fuel

The brand of fuel that you choose is often more important than octane when it comes to choosing the best fuel for your car. This is because certain brands use additives in their fuels to make them run through the vehicle more efficiently. Additives are added in order to keep your car’s engine clean and also to reduce emissions.

Again, for most vehicles on the road, you can go with a cheaper form of fuel instead of spending more money on an expensive brand just because it has added its own special blend of additives. However, if you notice that your car does, indeed, run better when you purchase more expensive fuel over a bargain no-name brand, you probably want to do yourself a favour and just spend the extra money on a higher quality fuel that will extend the life of your car.

Richard Stanyon is an expect across all aspects of car hire. When checking out the latest in quailty and reliable car leasing, Richard visits www.goldautocontracts.com.

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Four Interesting Tips To Help Improve Your Cars Fuel Economy

gas mileageRunning a car at the present time seems to be an expensive thing for many motorists. Insurance and general running costs rise year on year, plus when added to escalating fuel costs it seems the car owner is getting hit from every angle. As a result many car owners are seeking ways that they can get a little more fuel economy from their existing rides.

If you are interested in reducing your vehicles running costs then this blog post is definitely for you. Here we will look at four ways that you can start to improve your vehicles fuel economy and save some of your hard earned cash for other things.

Correct Inflation Levels

One of the simplest ways to improve economy without spending a penny comes in the form of ensuring that your tyres are correctly inflated. Sadly a great many drivers ignore this fact and seem happy to drive around on underinflated tyres.

The physics here dictates that when a tyre is underinflated they are ‘less round’ and as a result of this they require additional energy levels to get moving and to maintain speeds. This is then translated directly into a reduction of fuel economy. Additionally an underinflated tyre poses a safety risk, increasing the distances that a vehicle requires to come to a complete stop.

Driving Styles

Another great way of increasing the overall fuel economy of a vehicle is to try to examine your own driving style. If you are someone that tends to accelerate and brake hard then it is likely that this will translate into receiving fewer miles per gallon.

Adopting a slightly more fuel efficient approach to driving might well help to dramatically improve your vehicles fuel use. This will mean changing up through the gears quicker to apply less strain on the engine.

When it comes to the subject of slowing down, drivers that use their gears in conjunction with their brakes are found to use less fuel. Not only can this produce less wear and tear on your brake pads and discs but it will also serve to help fuel economy too.

Engine Tuning

Whilst driving styles and tyre pressures can certainly help to obtain additional economy, they don’t really compare to engine tuning.

This process when performed correctly can dramatically lower fuel usage by up to 20%. The advent of micro-computers has made it very easy for specialists to change a number of key settings in the engine control unit (ECU). These changes come under the umbrella of ECU remapping.

When a car is first produced the manufacturer sets the ECU and these settings aren’t necessarily at the optimum points for fuel economy, or indeed vehicle performance for that matter. This is not the manufacturer being awkward or wanting you to experience less economy. It is because they have to take into account differing fuel qualities and have to also allow for the possibility of infrequent servicing regimes.

Regular Servicing

It is therefore important to stick to manufacturer schedules for routine maintenance. Dirty or clogged air filters can be one simple reason as to why there is a noticeable drop off in fuel economy. Often these can be cleaned out with an air-line; however from time to time they will also need replacing. Most manufacturers’ schedules will advise that this element is checked on a regular basis.

Additionally carrying out routine maintenance will also involve checking and replacing the engine oil. This is a key factor in improving fuel economy returns. Before replacing any oil it is vital to check that you have the correct viscosity available.

Calvin Ford is a writer who is always on the lookout for ways to help you improve your cars fuel economy. He recommends looking at how you drive, your tyre inflation and pressure levels and also at what an engine tuning specialist can do to help reduce fuel consumption.

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How To Choose A Professional Car Camera

car appCar Cameras, an emerging product of car accessories industry since 2009, sometimes they are called Dash Camera, Car DVR, Carcam, Vehicle Video Recorder and Vehicle Black Box, etc. It is the device which airplane blackbox technology used on vehicles. Most car cameras record both the video and audio to a Micro SD card which is similar to what we used for a digital camera. Usually car cameras are mounted on the windshield or behind the rear view mirror if the car camera is small enough.

Just because of the importance and benefits of a car camera, many governments insist on installing a professional car camera for all vehicles like taxis  private cars, school buses, and official vehicles, etc. In some countries, the popularizing rate reaches up to 80%, Russia for example. The US and EU governments have also requested all vehicles to be equipped with a car dash camera since 2010.

Surveying the global markets, car cameras are primarily from China and Korea, and the Chinese brand occupied 75% of the global markets. S.WILL is a well-known manufacturer of car camera. There are thousands of car camera suppliers on the market right now, the quality and service varies greatly. How to choose a quality car camera is often difficult for those who are not familiar with this industry. Here is what you should look for:

Video Quality

For a video camera, no doubt we care the video quality mostly, car camera is no exception. Currently the HD720P and HD1080P are the mainstreams on the market; however, there is also a cheaper one of VGA resolution. However, if you pay less to get a non-HD car camera, you’ll likely to be disappointed on the video quality; some sellers are not honest about this.

Frame Leakage

Currently all the car camera manufacturers primarily adopts MPEG-4 and H.264 compression method, of course H.264 compression is very advanced, the car camera might perform differently if different resolutions are adopted. While choosing your own car camera, be certain to get full real-time without frame leakage.

Viewing Angle

Choose a wide viewing angle one, some manufacturers greatly exaggerated their viewing angle. Currently the widest viewing angle we see in the market is 140 degrees.

Loop Recording

Loop recording function is also very important as we know that generally all car cameras store the video/audio footage in MicroSD card or SDHC cards which has very limited storage space. Generally, a 32G SD card can record about 8 hours in HD720P format, even shorter if in HD1080P, for this reason, supporting loop recording is particularly important.

Infrared LEDs

Some car cameras come with infrared LEDs which was supposed to fill flash when in low light surrounding, however, LEDs are not powerful enough to improve the night recording. Many vendors treat it as a good selling point – just disregard it.

Besides the above mentioned, we should also take attention to some other features such as Continuously G Force Sensor, GPS navigation, Power Protection, Auto ON/OFF etc.

Moro is the professional writer blogging and product reviews of car cameras and related car accessories.

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What You Should Know About Hybrids

car appGreen is in, and hybrids are some of the most effective ways to reduce your impact on the environment. However, many people develop misconceptions about how hybrids work and what impact they have on the environment. Here are a few facts about hybrids and what you need to know about them before making a decision whether to purchase one or not.

Hybrid Use Two Engines

The defining feature of hybrids is the fact that they use two separate engines. For example, the Subaru XV Crosstrek 2014 model uses a 148-hp gasoline engine the supplemented by a smaller electric engine. While the electric engines used on many hybrids are fairly small, they are capable of running the engine at idle speed and when driving through low-speed traffic. In addition, electric engines can help provide a bit more acceleration when on the road. Over time, electric engines have become more powerful, which allows cars to use smaller gasoline engines. Smaller gasoline engines use less fuel, so hybrid vehicles are able to operate more efficiently.

Regenerative Braking Charges Batteries

When a hybrid vehicle brakes, the transmission shifts into a lower gear. The transmission then uses this power to drive a generator, which charges the batteries. In this way, hybrids are able to turn braking power into electricity instead of wasting it as heat. In other words, hybrids are able to recoup energy that would otherwise have been lost to heat. Hybrids are also able to charge batteries using their gasoline engines, which can help save fuel in certain situations. Regenerative braking, however, can only provide a relatively small amount of electricity. Because of this, electric engines are more limited on hybrids when compared to plug-in electric vehicles.

Hybrids Require Smart Driving

How you drive affects your mileage regardless of what you are driving. However, this effect is more pronounced in hybrid vehicles. Too often, drivers mash the gas pedal and the brakes and wonder why their mileage is not nearly as high as stated. In general, moderate acceleration saves energy, so drivers who are able to avoid developing a lead foot will be able to save fuel. In addition, regenerative braking can only work when there is sufficient time to allow the generator to catch up. Because of this, those who brake late will be unable to recoup as much energy as those who brake early. Try to anticipate stops, and allow your car to slow down as early as possible.

Do Hybrid Save Money?

Hybrids will allow drivers to save at the fuel pump, but the savings are mitigated by the fact that hybrids eventually need new batteries. Some vehicles come with warranties in case batteries fail prematurely, but all batteries will fade over time. Those who drive at reasonable speed and who avoid aggressive driving will be able to save money in the long term. Those who do not, however, may have difficulty seeing long-term savings.

Are Hybrids Bad For The Environment?

Batteries used in hybrids contain a number of rare earth minerals, which must be mined and processed. These activities cause environmental harm, and many have claimed that hybrids actually hurt the environment as a result. However, the material used in hybrid engines are recycled, and these minerals can be reused indefinitely. As long as drivers properly recycle their batteries as required by law, the long-term environmental impact of hybrids will be positive.

Hybrids allow drivers to save money and to reduce their impact on the environment. However, using hybrids effectively requires a bit of research. Fortunately, a few small tweaks can allow drivers to take advantage of all that hybrids have to offer.