Sunday, April 27, 2014

Volkswagen at the 2014 New York International Auto Show | 2015 VW Jetta & Golf SportWagen Concept

Michael Horn, President & CEO of Volkswagen Group of North America introduces the refreshed 2015 VW Jetta & the Golf SportWagen concept at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

The current VW model lineup & their predecessors have real character, lasting style & qualities to ensure that Volkswagen continues to have more cars on the road with more than 100,000 miles than any other auto maker.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nine Signs Your Brakes Need Repair

Normal wear and tear on a car's brake system requires regular inspection of the them and other components. Skipping maintenance or putting off minor repairs can lead to serious - and expensive - problems. Driving habits determine how long they last. Driving carefully extends the life of most of them like rotors and calipers. Keep the car's suspension system - shocks and struts - well balanced, too. A poorly balanced vehicle puts unnecessary strain and wear on the brakes, and they wear out faster.

Symptoms of a brake problem:

  1. The brake warning light is activated.

The problem: The car giving an alert that something is amiss in the system.

The solution: Get the car inspected by a trained mechanic as soon as possible. Replace or repair any worn or damaged parts, and follow a regular inspection and maintenance schedule in the future.

  1. They make a squealing or grinding noise when they are applied.

The problem: Any grinding, squealing, screeching or rubbing noises heard during braking indicate it is time to have the system inspected. The pads and shoes may have started to wear down and need to be replaced. In some cases, the gasket between the pad and the piston may be missing, causing vibrations to escalate to squealing sounds.

The solution: Replace worn pads and shoes immediately, before they damage other parts. If the gasket between the pad and piston is missing, have the technician replace it.

  1. The brake pedal is spongy or slow to respond. Brakes feel weak.

They still work, but it takes longer to stop and sudden stops create less braking power. You may have to press down farther on the pedal to get results. If the pedal goes all the way to the floor, the car may have no braking power.

The problem: The pads may be too worn to effectively stop the car, or the fluid is too low to allow for adequate braking pressure. In the worst case scenario, the brake power boost unit may have failed or the master cylinder has failed.

The solution: Replace the pads as soon as possible, and have the fluid checked for contamination. If necessary, replace the fluid. Checking the brake power boost unit requires a special vacuum measurement tool, because brake boosters are vacuum-controlled. If the unit has failed, it must be replaced. Failed master cylinders also must be replaced.

  1. The brakes make a "clunking" sound.

The problem: Something may be loose inside the system, such as the bolts that hold them together or attach them to the suspension. Suspension components may be worn or broken. Ball joints, steering racks, tie rod ends, wheel bearings and more can cause clunking sounds.

The solution: Have the vehicle inspected immediately and repair any loose components or worn parts.

  1. The brake pedal is too firm.

If applying them suddenly feels very difficult and it is hard to depress the pedal, this can be an indication of a significant problem.

The problem: The vacuum brake booster system may have a leak or it may be failing. There may be an obstruction in the line circulating fluid throughout the system.

The solution: Get the car to a mechanic immediately. Having any leaks in the vacuum booster system repaired. If there are no leaks, the booster has probably failed and needs to be replaced. The technician should check for blockages in the lines. In some cases, the line has been damaged or pinched and needs to be repaired.

  1. The brakes seem to be "grabbing" or braking causes the car to pull to one side.

The problem: Grabbing or pulling when braking can indicate that they or suspension system has a problem. In some cases, the discs may be damaged.

The solution: Replace worn or contaminated pads. If the disc is damaged, replace the discs in pairs to ensure the car brakes evenly.

  1. The brake pedal vibrates when brakes are applied.

Most cars have ABS, and the pedal will vibrate during sudden, hard stops as part of the normal anti-lock braking function. Other vibrations felt through the pedal or steering wheel during braking indicates a problem.

The problem: There may be metal-on-metal rubbing in the system. The brake rotors may be warped or being damaged by worn-out pads.

The solution: Replace any worn our contaminated pads. If the discs have been damaged, replace them immediately. Check the suspension system and replace any worn or damaged parts. Have the mechanic check the car's alignment, and get an alignment if necessary.

  1. The brakes "drag" or do not immediately release when the driver takes their foot off the brake pedal.

The problem: The system may have a bad wheel cylinder, causing them to remain under pressure. The parking brake may not have fully released, leaving it engaged slightly at all times.

The solution: If the technician finds a problem with the wheel cylinder, it must be replaced. If the problem is with the parking brake, the cable control may need lubrication or replaced.

  1. There is a strong burning smell near the tires.

The problem: Brake pads may be seriously worn, or they may have been over-used. If the driver habitually "rides the brakes" or brakes very hard, brakes can overheat. This often occurs when coming down a steep hill or mountain drive. If the smell occurs during regular driving, a more serious problem exists. A caliper piston may be locked, or there may be a problem with the parking brake or brake pads.

The solution: Drive smart, and do not ride the brakes or drive with the parking brake engaged. If driving down steep hills frequently, downshift rather than constantly use the brakes to slow the vehicle. If the burning smell of overheated brakes occurs during normal use, get the brake system inspected. Replace or repair caliper pistons, brake pads or parking brake components as needed.

If you are looking for honest advice, prioritized repairs, options on repairs, maximized fuel economy, and a good feeling with who you are doing business with go to
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Monday, April 21, 2014

History of the BMW 5 Series

The BMW 5 Series is the mid size luxury sedan from BMW. The car has been in existence since 1972, and is currently in its sixth generation.

The first generation BMW 5 Series was known was the BMW E12, and was produced from 1972-1981. This was the first generation of BMW 5 series sedans ever produced, and were not nearly as popular as the vehicle is today. The car was produced with a much smaller engine, especially in Europe and countries outside the US. In foreign countries, the car featured typically a 1.8 or 2.0 liter engine, and in the United States, the car featured a 2.8 or 3.0 liter engine, which is a 6 cylinder, but still fairly small engine, compared to today's standards, especially for luxury vehicles.

The next generation of the BMW 5 series would be known as the E28. This generation of the 5 series would be produced from 1982-1988. This new generation featured a slightly different exterior look, including revised headlights, bumpers, and taillights. The car also featured a more square like figure, rather than rounded edges, commonly seen on vehicles today. The size of the car increased, as well as the size of the vehicles engine. This generation 5 series featured engines ranging from 2.7 liters, to 3.5 liters, depending on the model purchased, and the owner's country. This engine size is closer to what you see engine sizes in BMW and all manufacturers cars today.

In 1988, the BMW 5 series went through yet another redesign, and would stay this way until 1996. This is actually one of my favorite designs of the 5 series, despite its outdated look compared to the newest 5 series sold and seen on the road today. This generation of the 5 series would be known as the E34. This was considered one of the most elegant cars of the time, and received many awards for its luxury status, safety features, and reliability.

The E39 5 series sedan would be released in 1995, and this look would remain until 2003. This look also has the square like front, similar to some of the older 5 series sedans, and was fairly popular in sales in the US. This design is still commonly seen on the road today, despite being outdated. This car received spectacular ratings by a variety of different car magazines, raters, and critics. This version is one of BMW's most popular models.

The E60 and E61 is the current BMW 5 series model, and this has been in existence since 2003. This design is also very stylish, and is also a very popular model sold by BMW. This generation has a bunch of new features; mostly technology based ones, that allow for luxury and convenience for the owner of the vehicle.

Overall, the BMW 5 series is a beautiful car, and has no signs of going away anytime soon, with future models already being in the works. If you're interested in learning more about the 5 series, simply head to BMW's website,

John Stone recommends the following YouTube channel for more about BMW, here
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Friday, April 18, 2014

BMW i8 In Detail. Electric Driving.

With this BMW TV series you can get a closer look at the BMW i8. This time you can get more information about electric driving.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Cleaning Car-Care Tips Video

Spring time is here; time to bring that classic out of the garage, or at least refresh your daily driver after the winter months. We invited car-care expert Mike Pennington out to our top-secret cleaning facility for a springtime cleanup of two cars. We learned why hand washing is always better than a machine, how to get rid of those pesky bug splats, and everything you need to do before a final wax.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dues - The all-new Audi A3 is here.

There are no shortcuts to greatness. The Audi A3 celebrates fearless individuals who have refused to compromise, whether they are athletes, entertainers, or Audi engineers.

The A3 defies all other cars in its class, with available signature Audi features including LED lighting, quattro® all-wheel drive, 4G LTE connectivity, and MMI® touch with handwriting-recognition technology. Because why settle for the middle ground when you can boldly power over it?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jaguar - Alive on Ice

Watch Jaguar's supercharged range tested to the limit in this bespoke driving experience on the ice fields & frozen lakes of Finland. Cars including F-TYPE V8 S & XKR-S pirouette and powerslide as they confront near-Arctic conditions with the XF & XJ All Wheel Drive models showcasing their claw like grip in extreme weather.

Every Jaguar is created to feel alive. Whatever the conditions.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Car Maintenance

If you think winter weather is hard on you and your family, just imagine the toll it takes on your car each and every day. After months of travelling through snow, sand and salt, you may not even be able to remember what color your car is, let alone what it feels like to have it look all shiny and clean.

When the weather warms up it's time to give your car a fresh, clean look, and while you're at it, make sure the winter months didn't do any internal damage that may cost you a lot of money to fix later on.

Packing your car with an emergency winter weather kit is a great idea, but once the snow is gone the kit should go too. Don't clutter your car with an extra snow shovel, ice scraper, sandbags and whatever else you certainly won't need now that the weather is more hospitable. This will not only free up space, but will also get you better gas mileage if you're not toting around unnecessary items.

As long as you're de-cluttering your vehicle, now is a good time to wipe down the interior and get rid of the layer of dust that has settled on everything. And really, let's find out what color this car is with a really good exterior wash and wax as well. Make sure whether you wash the car yourself, or get it done professionally, pay attention to the undercarriage of your car where rust-causing salt and sand were slopped all over during the winter months.

Get that warm-weather check over. Fill your wiper fluid, coolants, and check your car's other fluids to prevent overheating and other nasty problems.

You also should check to make sure winter didn't wipe out your windshield wiper blades. Make sure the rubber part is still stuck to the plastic or metal, therefore ensuring your wipers will work to maximum effect.

Winter is also very hard on your tire tread. With a wet, rainy spring coming up shortly after winter leaves, a good tire tread is very important. Tires with 2/23rd of an inch of tread or less are dangerously balding. To test how much tread a tires has, take an upside down penny and place it in the center of the tread in the thickest part of the tire. If you can see the hair on the top of Lincoln's head then your tread is too worn. If the penny sinks down as far as Lincoln's forehead your tires are still good. Of course you could also use a tread depth gauge that is somewhat more scientific. Air pressure is also an important thing to check as long as you're checking your tires. Maintaining the proper air pressure will help improve your gas mileage and keep your car handling safely.

Avoiding the pot holes that cold weather creates isn't always easy, yet each time you dip into a pothole, the inner workings of your car are jostled and tested. Therefore, a good internal inspection of certain parts is a good idea. Belts and hoses are particularly vulnerable to temperature changes, and brakes and suspension are affected by uneven terrain, so these are good parts to take a closer look at for cracks and other damage.

One thing you don't think about after the weather warms is your car's battery. Even though the bitter cold won't be affecting the battery any longer, corrosion and filth that built up over the winter still may have taken a toll. After the hard work your batter put in over the winter it doesn't hurt to clean and test it now.

A few simple tests and cleanings can keep your car running smoothly through the seasonal transition.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

From a Single Fibre to a BMW i3. The Journey of Carbon.

It all starts with one carbon fibre that's just about one seventh the width of a human hair. The result is an extremely lightweight and robust passenger cell of the BMW i3 and BMW i8. Watch the clip to see how BMW is doing this.