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Choosing Between 2WD, AWD and 4WD



2013 Jeep Wrangler off road

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the benefits of 2WD vs AWD vs 4WD vehicles, but we bet only a few people actually know what the difference between the three are.

There are indeed notable differences, and in this article, the sales staff at take us though what you need to know about these three drive options. You might be surprised by what you learn…

2WD: Two-wheel drive (2WD) drive systems are fairly self-explanatory. In cars equipped with it, power from the engine is distributed between just two of the car’s wheels. Most modern vehicles are 2WD and, as a result of being driven at the front axle, are generally referred to as Front Wheel Drive (FWD). With such a setup, the engine weight is balanced over the front wheels, allowing for excellent traction and steering on difficult roads.

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) is the other major variation of the 2WD configuration. RWD is commonly found on pickups and truck-based SUVs, as well as high-performance sports cars and supercars. With trucks, in particular, RWD better enables the use of bulky, heavy-duty components and provides better traction when carrying a heavy load.

RWD vehicles are somewhat less competent in slippery conditions, however, because the mass of the vehicle is not located over the wheels. Even so, nearly all the cars in the Fast and Furious and action movies are RWD because it can deal more effectively with higher engine outputs and higher vehicle weights.

All-Wheel Drive: All-wheel drive (AWD) configurations divide the engine’s power between all four of the vehicle’s wheels. They require more moving parts but provide maximum forward traction during acceleration, which is especially helpful in slippery conditions.

Most AWD systems deliver power primarily to one set of wheels — front or rear — when slippage is detected, making them adept at handling rapidly changing conditions or roads with intermittent snow and ice. It is commonly used for most car-based SUVs (AKA crossovers), as well as many minivans and some cars.

Four-wheel drive: Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and AWD are designations that are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Generally, 4WD is optimized for rugged off-road driving situations.

Just think vehicles like Jeeps, Hummers and heavy-duty pickup trucks, which make use of 4WD systems with high and a low gear range, with the latter increasing low-speed climbing power. Modern 4WD systems are either full-time, meaning they stay engaged when driving; automatic, where the vehicle automatically switches between two- and four-wheel-drive mode; and part-time, which require the driver to manually shift between two- and four-wheel drive.

Serious off-road enthusiasts aside, most drivers never require the capabilities that 4WD systems provide over AWD systems. That is why you see them primarily on heavy duty vehicles or off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler.

What to Buy…

Now that you know the difference between the three configurations, which one should you choose? Well, for conditions involving rain and light snow, 2WD will likely work just fine, and for most vehicles, front-wheel drive is the preferred setup. 2WD drive vehicles are generally lighter and, as a result, offer better gas mileage as well.

AWD provides an added margin of road-holding ability, especially in inclement weather. On the other hand, if you’ll be driving in severe snow or true off-road situations, or if you’re an off-road enthusiast, you may want a 4WD vehicle.

Reference: Peoria Luxus


When You Need A Windshield Replacement



Cracked Car Windshield

For most car owners, when a windshield needs replacement, it’s a simple decision – find the lowest price option available and get’er done. Unfortunately, that could be a bad decision because your windshield is a far more critical safety feature than you might realize.

From a safety point of view, your windshield could be the first line of defense if you ever get into a bad accident. Consider that there are three critical ways that your windshield protects you and your occupants.

  1. The windshield is part of your car’s cab enclosure formed by the doors, glass and roof. When engineers design a car, they design the cab to be crush resistant in case of a vehicle rollover. Part of that design criteria is that the windshield be a strong design (the correct thickness and proper materials) and be affixed to the car with the proper adhesives. If these criteria aren’t met, your cab may crush easier if a rollover ever occurs.
  2. Your windshield also prevents occupants from being ejected from a car during a front collision. According to the AAA, thirty percent of all fatalities are due to people being ejected from the car involved. Unfortunately, a high percentage of that occurs when a car hits a stationary object and occupants are ejected forward.
  3. Another safety-related feature involves the windshield-airbag system. The engineers factor in the strength of the windshield when designing airbag deployment mechanisms and action. If the windshield in your car blows out when the airbags are deployed, who knows what can happen. They design the system to work with a windshield that is intact.

The point of the above three safety issues is to drive home the fact that the windshield in your car is an important safety feature and you want to make sure that any replacement windshield you chose is just as good. You don’t want to use a company that promises cheap installations and uses inferior windshields and adhesives. This happens? A recent investigation by the ABC News program 20/20 on windshield safety shows technicians from inferior shops incorrectly installing cheap windshields and doing it with inferior adhesives. The shops involved were not major retailers but advertised “inexpensive windshield repair” on-line or in local advertising.

As a consumer, you have the edge, though. You have the internet to assist you when deciding what company to use when looking for a windshield replacement. First thing that should be stated is that if you go to your local major-brand car dealer, you are usually going to get a first-class job. Truth be told, the dealer likely does not replace the windshield themselves but they work with a top-notch local firm that they have a relationship with and do good work. For the other sites that advertise inexpensive windshield replacement, they might perform just as good work but check them out on the Automotive Glass Safety Forums site. You will be able to find certified installers that keep the safety and integrity of your car intact with a properly installed replacement windshield.

Reference: Lee Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

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Coming to an Automobile Dealership Near You: 3D Printing



Blade 3D Printed Supercar

3D printing is the next big thing in the automotive news, allowing physical items to be constructed by depositing thousands of layers of a semi-liquid material on top of each other until a completed object appears. Believe it or not, but the sci-fi-looking supercar pictured above was mostly printed, not assembled.

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printers can use materials ranging from plastic to resin to solid metallic alloys. It was initially tinkered with by intrepid hobbyists but is now being employed by large manufactures to create parts for cars, aircraft and even people (e.g. bones and metal braces). So significant and ground-breaking is the technology that it’s poised to change the face of manufacturing.

There are several types of 3D printers currently available, and while they may look different and use different materials, all employ the same basic approach for making a 3D object, building them up one layer at a time. The surprisingly simple process starts with a base layer and then adds layers up from there to build an object in 3 dimensions just like standard printers “build” something in 2 dimensions.

First, the object being “printed” starts with a 3D image of the item using a computer-assisted design (CAD) software program. The 3D object is then sliced into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers, which are placed one on top of the other until the completed object emerges. The all the printer has to do is lay down all ultra-thin horizontal layers one by one with a material that fuses together. With some printers this can be a time consuming process but 3D printers are getting faster and faster all the time.

Inexpensive 3D printers deposit a material that is a polymer, sort of like an automated glue gun. The polymer comes in spools and in a wide variety of types and colors. Metal parts are made by “selective laser sintering” which involves heating and solidifying a granular metal material via a laser. Although entry-level hobbyist machines (polymer type) can be found in the $200 range, most printers are quite a bit more and commercial printers run in the $100,000 and up range.

Some business observers are pinning high hopes on 3D printing, believing that the technology could enable thousands of small manufacturing businesses to sprout again in the US. Basically it would be the return of small time machine and fabrication shops but involve a great deal less capital equipment. The automotive service industry is watching the advance of 3D printing carefully. Parts for some automotive applications are being made now but 3D printing in the car repair business may be a few years off.

Reference: Kindle Auto Plaza

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Different Prices You Should Consider When Buying New car



Car price on windshield

So, you saw and drooled over an awesome car in a recent action movie (Furious 7 or Spectre, maybe?), and now you’re considering a new car… After doing all the research and knowing exactly what you want, you move forward to the not-so-easy task of agreeing on a price and making a deal.

Fortunately, as a consumer, there are a lot of resources at your disposal that can help you arrive at a price that is fair for both you and the seller. Here’s an explanation of the four basic types of automobile and truck pricing you should be familiar with.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

The MSRP or the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is the “suggested” price set by the car manufacturer and is generally considered as the base price used in negotiations. The MSRP is required by law to be shown on every car sold, even though it’s not what is often paid.

Customers have been known to pay above the MRSP when demand for their desired vehicle is higher than supply, and vice versa when there is too much supply. For instance, when the Chrysler PT Cruiser was first available, they demanded prices well above MSRP. Ditto for the Dodge Viper

Dealer’s Invoice Price

As indicated by its name, the dealer invoice is the dealer’s raw cost for the vehicle itself and does not include their overhead, sales, advertising, financing and other operational costs.

While knowing the dealer invoice price can be a helpful bargaining tool in negotiations, it does not reveal the full story. Often times, there are manufacturer’s incentives and “holdbacks” that could actually reduce the raw manufacturer’s price below invoice.

Average Dealer Markup

The average dealer mark-up is what the dealer is asking for the car up and above their invoice price and is usually less than 10 percent on most vehicles. That margin is actually quite low when compared to other industries.

According to the professionals at Four Seasons Ford, dealers actually don’t make a lot of money on new cars. Rather, they make most of their money on parts and service and by selling used cars. Be cognizant of that when negotiating, because dealers need to make a living too.

Fair Purchase Price

Updated weekly, the Fair Purchase Price (FPP) is the industry’s newest and most reliable vehicle pricing tool. It is based on specific make and model vehicles and shows you a new car’s typical range of selling prices, average selling price, and any applicable market conditions.

It is important to know that the FPP is not influenced by dealers or manufacturers and is generated from actual transaction data. You can almost view it as a stock price that fluctuates over time to reflect real market transactions. The Fair Purchase Price has become a very popular tool for those researching prices.

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