What’s Under Your Car’s Carpet?

It’s now been 2 years since stories of flood cars from Hurricane Katrina saturated the world of ‘buyer-beware’. But it’s not just flood cars that cause problems. Other liquids like spilled milk, snow melt, pressure washed carpeting or a leaking windshield can cause serious problems too. Let us show you just how serious a wet floor can be!

Our expertise is in airbag systems, airbag replacement and airbag service, so we are often called upon to do investigations for insurance companies, attorneys and individuals involving accidental or inadvertent airbag deployment. After inspecting many such vehicles and knowing the serious personal injuries they can cause, the reason for these airbag deployments are shocking. What we have found has a common theme…liquids and electronics do not mix!!

This article will show you exactly what happens; not necessarily immediately, but 6 months, 1 year or even up to 4 or 5 years down the road. Once you know the facts, just being aware of these potentially serious situations and hazards can help you deal with the causes and may just save you from serious personal harm.

Although an estimated 500,000-600,000 cars were damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flood waters, many non-flood vehicles are susceptible to the same type of damages. What damage? Water or moisture collecting under the seats and console damaging highly sensitive electronic components.

The airbag control units for most of the vehicles on the road today are located on the floor, or near the center of the vehicle under the seats and consoles. They are positioned there specifically by the manufacturers in order to replicate, as closely as possible, the effects of an accident on the passengers in the vehicle. But by being positioned at such a low point in the vehicle, they are at risk of contamination from water or many other situations. Some simple, normal, everyday things that happen when you drive a car can have severe consequences. Here are a few.

With winter coming and snow flying in many states, melted snow and ice will now be introduced to the floors of vehicles across the country. Turn on the heater and this snow and ice becomes water, saturating the carpet and ultimately draining to the lowest pint in the vehicle…the floor under the seats.

As vehicles in the ‘sun states’ get older and sit in the sun day after day, the soft rubber seals around the windshield begin to harden and crack. Once the brittle seal cracks or breaks, any rain or water from the car wash that hits the roof and windshield is now channeled into the car, hidden by the interior trim panels and travels down to the lowest points in the car…the floor and beneath the seats.

Or how about the used car dealer wanting to get the most for his cars? With the best intentions, he power cleans the interior of a every vehicle he gets from the auction. These are not flood cars, just used cars with soiled carpets. With a pressure wand in hand, or a power steamer, the carpets are purposely washed and then dried as well as possible. But it’s too late… the water that soaked the carpet during the process has already seeped through, drained under the seats and now collects on the metal floor, saturating the padding on the way and going exactly where we don’t want it wet; around the airbag control unit.

And with so many people eating and drinking in their vehicles, cup holders all over the dash and console, the potential for a spilled soft drink or cup of coffee is greater now than ever. And guess where that spilled liquid goes…Right, through the console to the floor, or between the seats where you can’t dry it up.

Whatever the reason, liquids make their way to the carpet and interior of the vehicles exactly where we don’t want it…mixing with the electronic control module.

Here’s what happens when water and electronics mix. These pictures capture the inevitable results of ignoring the problem of a wet floor. Over time, water can turn the part on the left into the part on the right. Which one is in your car?

The owner of the vehicle this part came from suffered serious injuries as the airbag deployed immediately upon starting her car one morning. She wasn’t belted in place, nor was she prepared for the impact of the airbag. She was just starting her car to go to work when she was hit in the face and jaw by an airbag at 200 mph. (General Motors Safety webpage)

Airbags are designed to protect us from injury, but just like so many other conveniences in our lives, they need care and maintenance to insure their reliability. Most car manufacturers recommend servicing the airbag systems every 10 years. Checking the floors for moisture buildup should be included in that procedure and done more often. As a vehicle owner though, it’s ultimately your responsibility to care for and maintain your car. After all, it’s you who is at risk.

Here are some simple things you can do to identify if your car is at risk. Be aware of any of the following indicators. They may indicate a serious problem brewing:

  • Dampness in the floor and carpeting; moisture on the inside of the instrument panel
  • Rust on interior screws and other metal parts
  • Mildew, debris and mold in places where it shouldn’t normally be found
    • under the seats or carpeting,
    • in the trunk, or
    • in the rear floor wells
  • Water stains or discoloration of seat belts and door panels
  • A moldy odor or an intense smell of Lysol or deodorizer being used to cover up an odor problem

Exotic Cars: Expectations and Realities When Looking for One

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of exotic cars? Is it a popular sports car like a Ferrari or Lamborghini? Or maybe you prefer some of the latest muscle and luxury cars around, like the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro, or the Ashton Martin V12 Vantage S.

Whatever rare car you’re dreaming of, you should know from the outset that it takes more than a bulging briefcase of cash (or a check with dozens of zeros) to get your own exotic car of choice. Look back to the first time you’ve bought a car. Snagging the car of your dreams requires more than just walking into that dealership: you’ve got to negotiate your loan rate (if any), discuss the terms, request to upgrade or modify some things here and there, and so on. Let’s discuss the process of buying an exotic car.

An Opportunity of a Lifetime

There are many exotic cars to choose from, especially if money is no object, but it’s certainly going to be easier said than done to decide on ‘the one’. One of the first things you should do is to set your budget: say, like $200,000. Setting a ceiling automatically lessens the stress of choosing from possibly dozens of options to a more manageable list.

Next, since you’re looking for an exotic car, you need to define for yourself the “exoticness” of a car. Do research online, list down your preferences, and learn the nomenclature associated with luxury cars or sports cars, including what sort of engine they’ve got and so forth. That way, you can be upfront with the dealership’s salesperson by saying the details of the car you want. Remember to tell him/her your preferred price range as well, and don’t be afraid to round it up so you’d have a wider range of models on the top of the heap.

Keep in mind that dealers rarely allow potential car buyers to test drive a car right of the bat. To help you decide on which exotic cars to consider, search online and read unbiased reviews or test drive videos of your shortlisted cars.

Do note that rare cars that are reviewed online might not be available in your market, so make sure to list down several options and rank them based on your personal criteria.

Dos and Don’ts

Do show proof with regards to your financial capabilities. Ask the sales staff to inform you about different maintenance plans, gearing options, brands, and models that are currently available or will soon be. The more you’re able to engage with the salespeople, the likelier it is for you to get a decent plan at the lowest price.

If you want a car that crosses state lines, don’t be afraid to do some cross-country traveling to get it.

When permitted, take the lucky car/s for a brief spin in order to get a good feel of the vehicle, from its purring engine to how fast it can really go.

If you want online tools that can assist you in locating any exotic car that you deem fancy enough to be part of your car collection or garage, visit websites like Cars.com, eBayMotors.com, and AutoTrader.com.

Finally, make sure to check an exotic car’s mileage, condition, options, transmission, and other parts that you deem important before making a final decision.

Are the Most Popular Fuel Economy Cars in the United States Outselling Its Truck Rivals in 2008?

Although the price for gasoline has come down over the past months, the one question that keeps protracted in car buyers mind is the direction of gasoline prices for the coming months and years ahead. Although no one can predict the future prices at the pump, but with the current recession in the works, many doubts that it will be anywhere but up.

Running a check at U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices indicated that from July 2008 until November 2008 the country is currently enjoying the lowest average gasoline prices of $1.93/gallon (regular grade) in November 2008. The second lowest gas price was back in January 2007 at $2.15/gallon. It then rose to $3.22/gallon in May 2007, down to $2.75/gallon in September 2007, up again in March 2008 at $3.30/gallon before reaching its peak of $4.12/gallon in July 2008.

However can we assume that sale of fuel efficient new and used cars are tied to the price of gasoline. You will be surprised by the findings below!

Let’s take a look at the most popular cars and trucks sold in January to April 2008:

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS FROM JANUARY 2008 TO APRIL 2008

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Chevrolet Silverado
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Honda Civic
  6. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Chevrolet Impala
  9. Dodge Ram
  10. Ford Focus

From January to April 2008 above, the list contain all the familiar faces but if you look at the list of Top 10 Most Popular Cars and Trucks in May 2008 below, you’ll find a wind of change was forthcoming.

While the prices of gas fluctuate during a period of uncertainty, American drivers are not only using less gas but they are not taking any chances by also changing their vehicle as well. Just take a look at America’s favorite Ford F-Series trucks that have been the top selling brand for the past 2 decades. By May 2008, it has dropped by 5 ranking while the fuel efficient Honda Civic took over the top spot. More importantly you will notice that cars are overtaking trucks as the best selling vehicles during the period in comparison. There is no surprise here as car buyers reacts according to the cost of gas.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS IN MAY 2008

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Ford F-Series
  6. Chevrolet Silverado
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Ford Focus
  9. Chevrolet Cobalt
  10. Chevrolet Impala

Now, let’s tracks the most popular cars and trucks sold in July 2008 when gasoline prices were at its peak during the period in our review.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS IN JULY 2008

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Toyota Camry
  3. Honda Accord
  4. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  5. Chevrolet Silverado
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Dodge Ram
  9. Honda CR-V
  10. Chevrolet Malibu

Surprisingly, Ford F-Series reclaimed the Top position again! During this period, Ford was facing high F-Series inventory resulting from unexpected drop in their sales from previous months, have geared up additional discount and promotion to ramp up sales. The result for July 2008 clearly showed that Ford has achieved its target amid lower sales. It also indicate that Americans are unfazed by the high gas prices and are not averse to high gas consumption when it comes to choosing their preferred vehicle especially when offered deals that are too good to pass up. The U.S. consumer love affairs with the popular trucks remain strong despite what the statistics says. On top of that, the car segment that have been anticipating higher demand due to high gas price but did not offer much incentive are not seeing any significant changes to their ranking. The result may have dampens demand for such cars instead. As gasoline prices continue to decline from July 2008’s peak, it was not surprising to see that demand for Trucks, continue to rise in tandem albeit lower sales due to the current ongoing credit crunch.

In my own thoughts, the discounts and promotions offered by car dealers for trucks could be large enough an incentive for buyers to offset against the imminent rise of gas. However, with gas prices continuing heading south, and buyers getting the best deals at the dealer, it seems truck buyers have won the bet this time round.

Used Parts for Hyundai Cars in USA

Hyundai is another one of the Asian car-brands that is making its presence felt on the world stage alongside Toyota, Honda and Subaru. Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, the Korean parent company for Hyundai Motor Company now is the fourth largest automaker in the world in terms of number of units sold. Hardly surprising when you consider that Hyundai sells its models in 194 countries across the globe. Whats really surprising is that Hyundai Kia Automotive Group is the largest automaker in the world in terms of profit. Definitely, over the last few years, Hyundai’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of extraordinary.

In USA, Hyundai is now recognized as a major player in the automotive market. With a number of successful car models to its credit, Hyundai symbolizes quality, efficiency, economy, comfort and style in the US car market today. Hyundai has always been a step ahead in terms of use of technology in vehicles and that has been a major reason for their dominance in the recent years. Hyundai usually combines effective designs with top-end features to make their models successful. With Hyundai vehicles, there is always a feeling that the customer gets much more than what paid for, and in most cases, it is the right feeling. The steady increase in sales over the last decade speak immensely about how Hyundai has managed to change the perception of American buyers towards foreign automakers.

Hyundai hosts well-developed, state-of-the-art manufacturing and assembling plants in most parts of the world and in USA their main R&D and design center is located in Irvine, California. In addition to this, the Hyundai America Technical Center located in Michigan was built in 2005 for a staggering 117 million dollars. A further testament to how well Hyundai has been doing in America. The official company headquarters, however, still lies in Seoul, South Korea.

Hyundai vehicles are usually priced economically and in America, they have a great service network. These vehicles also come with service warranties and over years of usage, they are not too hard on the owner’s pocket. There is however, one aspect of Hyundai service that still needs some improvement and thats the availability and price of auto parts. In most cases, it has been observed that ordering a part from the company is time-consuming, tedious and expensive. In such a case, a vehicle in need of a critical part stays grounded in the garage for weeks.

As an alternative to the delays in availability of parts, most buyers opt for used Hyundai parts. These are 100% genuine OEM parts available with ease over the Internet and at almost one-third the price of the new ones. Internet today is flooded with websites selling used auto parts but it is the responsibility of the buyer to analyze the company and the product before buying. What one needs to look out for is, the reputation of the website, the parts on offer and the offers on parts. A combination of everything is the right choice and its a fact that most people are satisfied with their purchase if done through reputed auto parts sellers.

Purchasing used Hyundai parts is indeed an option worth exploring before going back to the company and waiting in queue. What sets the used auto parts industry apart is the ease with which used parts are available and the heavy discounts on offer, plus some added benefits too. Many auto parts sellers provide parts with warranty, money-back guarantee, free shipping and customer support. The buyer gets all this plus the actual part for a fraction of the price he would have paid for a new part. In addition to this, it is worth mentioning that used parts work fine with your vehicle since they are original company made.

So if you are looking for used Hyundai parts, Internet is your best friend.