Archives – September, 2012

How to Change the Oil in Your Prius

Just because your Prius electric engine requires no real maintenance, the gasoline engine portion needs to be maintained just the same as a gas-only car. Part of that maintenance includes regular oil changes. This is something easily done by most people who don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Here are some steps to follow if that ‘Maintenance Required’ light is showing on your dashboard.

1. Consult your owner’s manual to learn the correct type of oil and filter for your car and how much oil you will need. Purchase your supplies.

2. Be sure the engine is cool so you are not burned by hot oil.

3. Raise the car up by either using a jack and jack stands or a set of automotive ramps. Use wheel chocks at the rear wheels to keep the car from rolling.

4. Get underneath the car and find the access door to the oil pan. Remove the three pins keeping it in place. Make a note of which pin came from which hole, as they are not exchangeable. Now you can move the door out of the way.

5. Place a pan under the oil tank for the oil to drain out into. It may be necessary to hold the pan up to the tank if the access door is still in the way. Unscrew the drain bolt with a crescent wrench and let the oil drain out. Wipe off any oil and then using a new washer put it into place and put the drain plug back with the crescent wrench.

6. Now, change the oil filter. Find the filter for the oil and place the oil pan under it. Remove the filter for the oil and rubber gasket. Oil will come out of the filter so be prepared. Discard the old filter and gasket. Wipe up any oil from the housing and general area.

7. Place a small amount of clean oil on the gasket and slide it to match the groove on the oil filter. Screw the new gasket and filter into place.

8. Rotate the access door back into place and replace the pins.

9. Open the hood and locate the oil filler cap. Remove the cap and using a funnel, pour in the appropriate amount of oil as recommended by your owner’s manual. Replace the cap.

10. Remove the drain pan from under the car and remove the jacks and chocks or remove the chocks and drive the car off the automotive ramps. Drive the car around for a few minutes to circulate the oil.

11. Check the oil level by removing the dipstick. Add more oil if necessary.

12. Consult your owner’s manual for steps to follow to reset the ‘Maintenance Required’ light and reset it.

13. Recycle your used oil and filter by taking it to an appropriate recycling center or take it to a local automotive store that offers the service.


Leave a Comment September 30, 2012

Looking at a Bigger Hybrid

Although the Toyota Prius is arguably the first popular hybrid to come to the market, many people need something more than the compact Prius can provide. It has taken several years, but the SUV community is finally catching up. The first models out were called sluggish and owners complained that the hybrid versions were just not as powerful as their gas-powered counterparts were. The industry has responded by providing SUVs with the kind of power that owners have come to expect.

Now nearly every big automaker has an SUV hybrid on the market. Nearly any model that you can find in a gas version, you can also find in a hybrid version. Chevy has the Tahoe, GMC has the Yukon, Ford has the Escape, Mazda the Tribute, Saturn the VUE, and even Porsche joins the fray with the Cayenne S. Toyota has the Highlander.

Toyota Highlander

The year 2012 is the 7th year for the Toyota Highlander, so they have had plenty of time to perfect it. The Highlander gets a fabulous 28 mpg in town and on the highway. This is more than any other hybrid SUV on the market. It boasts a 280 hp, 3.5 liter, V6 engine with the Hybrid Synergy Drive.

The Highlander rides on a crossover chassis rather than a truck chassis like most SUVs. This allows the 4-wheel drive, mid-size SUV to ride smooth like a car. This hybrid runs in front wheel drive most of the time with the rear wheels able to assist when needed. The rear wheels are powered by a separate electric motor that is not attached to the drivetrain. This placement assists in climbing steep hills and passing. The Highlander also has a tow rating of 3500 pounds.

A Comfortable Interior

This SUV boasts a comfortable interior with all the amenities available. The second row features a 40/20/40 fold down, sliding and reclining fold-flat feature with a center stow away console. The driver can enjoy their choice of eight seat adjustments, while the passenger is treated to four. Heating and air conditioning are available to front and rear passengers with vents for the second and third row seats.

The standard model also includes a 6-inch audio display that has a back-up camera integrated into the display. In addition, there is a 3-inch navigation and information screen that offers time, temperature, and other pertinent information. You’ll also find an AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA, ipod, and Bluetooth capability. Also available is the Smart Key entry system.

A Look All It’s Own

The base model offers 4-wheel drive electronic on-demand, Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive. The outside of the hybrid has some special features to distinguish it from it’s gas counterpart. A different grille, in addition to blue accented headlight and taillights are present. In addition, you will find 17-in, 7-spoke alloy wheels, power mirrors with folding ability and a rear spoiler.

This hybrid is a great addition to the Toyota lineup and a great SUV for those that need something bigger than the compact Prius hybrid.




Leave a Comment September 29, 2012

Why 2012 Has Been the Year of the Hyundai Hybrid Cars

The year 2012 has been the year of the Hyundai hybrid. Hyundai hit the market in a big way, giving great hybrids to meet all car enthusiasts’ needs. When the Hyundai Sonata hybrid came, everyone thought that it was just an ordinary car, with more hype than action. What features make this car stand out from the rest of the crowd? There are so many of them and if you are looking for car that will work like a dream, you have found it here.

The Stylish Design of the Hyundai Sonata

For lack of a better word, sleek fails to pass the impression correctly. It is an understatement because the curves are just so smooth. The moldings are rounded in such a way that they offer no resistance to the movement of the wind. If you are looking for a racer, you have found it here.

The solar control coating on the windows has been made to deflect the UV rays such that they do not penetrate the interior to damage the dashboard. The side mirrors are heated so they discourage frost, that way they last longer. In addition, the cabin is cooler because as the car travels, it wards heat outwards and therefore there is less need for the air conditioner.

When you buy this car, you will find that it comes with a lifetime warranty for the battery. That is as long as you will get anywhere. With LED bulbs you can be sure that the bulbs will last a lifetime. This car also has a sunroof that allows you to enjoy as much natural light as possible. Since light creates a feeling of space, the large windows of this car make it feel very spacious. Design meets sophistication in this car.

The Safety Features of the Hyundai Sonata

This car is also made for safety. It has a rear safety camera that actually won the car the top most rating in 2012 from NHTSA. Then there is the communication, which has been set to the highest technology. For example, with the touch of a button, you can connect and disconnect to wireless communication at will.

If you are looking for a family sedan, then this is the car to go for. If you are looking for a sporty car that can give to the right mileage per gallon on the road, this is the right car for you. Note that this is the first hybrid car from Hyundai and if it can show all this promise, then this brand name is headed places.



Leave a Comment September 22, 2012

Hybrid Car Forums – Where Green Car Owners Meet

The hybrid forum is where all green car owners meet. They share ideas, experience and exchange all manner of information regarding these wonder cars. In fact, even if you do not own a hybrid car and you would love to own one, the best place for you to start looking for information about one is on the online forums. There, you will have unbiased information for the type of car that you would like to buy and better yet, you will find the truth about hybrid cars. People make a mistake by buying a car blindly, just because they heard that a car is good.

Meet Hybrid Car Enthusiasts on the Online Forums

Find the most active forums online where you can meet as many people as possible. The essence of signing up at such forums is that every car maker will claim that their brand is the best. However, the members of the forum will tell of their personal experience with the car. It is just the same as looking at user reviews before buying a certain product, because these give the view of a person who bought and experienced the product in question.

There are so many forums for the hybrid car online and which you choose to join depends on what kind of hybrid car you drive. For example, there is a forum for the Ford fusion hybrid, Mazda hybrid, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota hybrids. There are many forums for the high performance hybrids like the Volkswagen, Porsche and vehicles from the Daimler family. Simply said, it does not matter what you are looking for because you will find it online. If you are a car enthusiast, the forums will satisfy your every need. However, even as you follow what is going down in the forums you will do better to look for official information about a certain car as well.

Benefits of Joining a Hybrid Car Forum

There are many benefits of joining the online forums for the hybrid car. You can know what cars are trending, which cars have high MPG ratings and which SUVs are best. In short, you can know just about everything you need to know. What do you own? A Chevrolet hybrid? Then go look for forums that deal with them. You can also look for hybrid car news to see what is trending in the market, the latest brands and the improvements.

In the hybrid car forums, you will also find information about the spare parts for hybrid cars. You will also find information about features that every auto comes with. For example, did you know that the hybrids are packed with multimedia and interface technology? It is like an airplane cockpit.


Leave a Comment September 21, 2012

2013 Will Be the Year of the Hybrid Car

It feels great when you are shopping for a new car, especially if it is your first car. It is even better when you are about to get a hybrid car. In this economic grind, you need a car that helps you to save an extra buck when buying gas. All the money that you give to oil companies and pay to the government for taxes can be used on something else. While this car isn’t that cheap, you can get it at $20,000, but in due time, you will be happy you bought it. You might not get one of your favorite models, but the ones that are there, they will work almost the same. The idea here is to save an extra buck on fuel and conserving the environment while at it. At this rate, the effects of global warming will start pinching where it hurt the most.

Saving On Fuel

When you switch the 2013 hybrid car to eco-mode, you will be able to travel long distances and save a lot when it comes to gas. When you are not accelerating the car too hard, you can be able to run the car on pure electricity for some time and that means you do not have to use gas. The trick is driving at a low speed so that you can be able to save on gas by using electricity. With the roads becoming more clogged up because everyone is after owning their car, you will need to save on fuel. An advanced variable cam times and provides a smooth transition when switching from electric to gas mode and vice versa. You can switch from either of the two and it all depends with your driving speed.


The year 2013 will be the year of travel. You will need a hybrid car that can handle all the luggage and bike racks when going camping. When you are going for a trip or a tour, you will need to carry a lot of stuff like tents, a few utensils and all the toiletries, maybe a gas cooker to prepare your food. You do not have to worry about the space; the Toyota Prius 2013 will have all the space you need.

What is the hybrid car ride like? To top it up, you will have the best ride ever, smooth and quiet. Hybrids have a good number of electronics that make your ride very memorable. The hybrid cars are environmentally friendly because their emissions are small. They produce half of what the other cars emit and that amount is a third of what the gasoline cars emit. With the coming of 2013, it is estimated that they will emit even lower emissions.


2 Comments September 14, 2012

Hybrid Car Fuel Efficiency and Other Benefits

Hybrid cars are fast becoming the norm of the day all over the world. They come in handy, especially at these hard times of recession because they are very economical on gas consumption. You can ride for miles on end for only a few dollars. They are friendly to the environment. Their CO2 emission is minimal as compared to the other vehicles. They emit just a third of what the gas cars produce. More than ever, we should learn to conserve our environment because it will not be long before the effects of global warming further set in.

With the prices of gas fluctuating almost every day, you need to look for another alternative to save you an extra buck. How else can you save it except with a hybrid car? These cars are the most fuel-efficient and the good thing is that there are new models coming up that consume even less fuel. You cannot miss your most favorite model. The one that tickles your fancy will never miss in the showrooms.

Fuel Consumption

The most efficient cars EPA’s miles per gallon is 39 gallons on the highway, 29 gallons in the city and when both of them are combined, you can end up using 33 mpg. For the true frugality on fuel, a good hybrid car like the Prius boosts the mpg to 45 when you are on the highway. The car has minor weight reductions and there are small changes when it comes to aerodynamic changes. When it comes to fuel consumption, the weight of the vehicle matters a lot. These hybrid cars are made of light weight alloy wheels, their tires are low rolling with minimal resistance, the fuel tank is smaller and there has been other changes from the normal vehicle that make these vehicles reduced on the overall weight. This reduction in weight is what brings about much of the fuel efficiency.

Switching From Fuel Use to Electricity and Vice Versa

The beauty of hybrid cars is that depending on the speed, you can be able to minimize gas consumption. When you are not pressing too hard on the acceleration, you can use battery power, meaning that you will not be using any gas. The cars allow you to switch from gas to electricity and vice versa and the best part is that the transition is seamless.

The Toyota Prius is great, but it is not the only hybrid car. There are other Japanese and American brands too. When you go to a showroom, you should be able to get the one that tickles your fancy. You will be spoilt for choice. The prices are good, the spare parts readily available and more so, arranging financing is even easier.




Leave a Comment September 14, 2012

Knowing How the Hybrid Car Engine Works

Knowing the torque, the horsepower and so many other details of a hybrid car does sound like some rocket science. However, in this post we will not delve in to the jargons. However, after reading this you will understand why there is no compromise of powered and speed in a car just because it is energy efficient or eco-friendly.

The hybrid car may not be as zippy as the gasoline fuel guzzlers, but one thing that you should know is that if the size of the hybrid engine is smaller, then it will give lesser horsepower and vice versa. There are many advantages of using a hybrid car and therefore loss of one or more horsepower is negligible.

Acceleration Power

There is more to the performance than meets the eye. As you read this article, you will see just why there is a difference in the opinions about how slow or fast a car is on the road and as you will see later, a driver may think that his car is slow just because its acceleration was lower than that of the regular car. For example, if a hybrid will take ten seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour while a regular gas car takes 5 seconds, then that is considered slow and indeed, it is. However, knowing that the car will hit even more than 90 miles per hour on the highway, then the gas-electric engine combo works perfectly.

The hybrid car makers are responding by making better cars with bigger engines that will accelerate faster and have more zoom on the highways. Today there are big V8 engines in the hybrids with both the electric and the gasoline engines connected directly to the drive train. The best news here is that you will be getting all of this power from an engine that will save on fuel since it is an alternation of the gasoline and electric power engine.

No Charging the Hybrid Car

The question in the minds of many people is just how far the car can go before it requires to be charged. With the many hybrid cars coming into the market today, the gas-electric engine charges the cells in the batteries as you drive and therefore electric car charge stations may have no use at all in the future. The good news is that you get value for your money and you will be saving on the environment a lot.

The hybrid cars are smaller and therefore they are easier to maintain and manage. They consume less fuel and even if you have to pay a higher cost when buying the car, you will eventually save on fuel and the spare parts. Some hybrid car makers offer you replacement parts free of charge for a short duration of time after you buy their car.


Leave a Comment September 8, 2012

How Will the Hybrid Car Cut Your Costs?

The buzz is out about the hybrid car and how it will help you cut costs. However, many people do not know how this will happen. Therefore, this article seeks to explain just a few ways in which you will cut on the gas and maintenance costs and the best thing is that this car is a money saver. It does not matter that you will pay a higher price for it when buying, but since you plan to have it for the long term, then you will save a lot of money on maintenance and replacement parts too. It is easy to understand so read on

How to Save Money on Maintenance Costs

This is not hard, as you will see here. For example, a simple case study of the brake pads and the fact is that they stay for a long time. Why? Because when you are stopping the car, the electric motor will actually stop the wheels and therefore you will not have to use the brakes as hard as you would in the regular gas car. If you would like to see less of the mechanic, you will have to buy this car.

The gas parts are also less costly because you do not have to replace them often since you will not be using the gasoline parts all the time, then you will save on the parts. When it comes to replacement, you can have it done at the local garage. Just because it is a hybrid car does not mean that you have to pay more for servicing.

Types of Hybrids

There are only two types of hybrid cars. One is the parallel hybrid where the gasoline engine works together with the electric engine to power the motor that drives the car. The second type of hybrids are the series hybrids where the gasoline engine powers the electric motor or charges the batteries, which then provide electric power for the car to move forward.

When buying a hybrid car it is important that one know a few important details about the car. For example, the Honda Insight hybrid car has a bigger gasoline engine and a small electric motor. The Prius is somewhat balanced. What does this mean for you? There is not much difference, but one thing that you must know is that different hybrid cars have different torque, different acceleration rates, say from zero to 60 miles per hour, and so forth.

The hybrid car will cost more than its gasoline counterparts in the market will, but as seen here, you will save on parts and servicing. You will also be playing a crucial role in saving the ozone layer from carbon emissions.





Leave a Comment September 8, 2012

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