Need-To-Know Facts About Convertible Cars


Convertibles are defined by having a retractable roof – they represent the wind-in-your-hair dream car designed for pleasure over practicality.

While previously convertibles were purely two-seater sports cars which were also broadly called roadsters, these days you can even find open-air sedan type models. Most convertibles fall within the luxury-range of vehicles, however there are also several affordable models now on the marketplace.

There are two main types of convertible cars, distinguished by their roof type – soft-tops and hard-tops. A soft-top convertible is also known as a cabriolet, cabrio, or spider, and hard-tops are variously described as coupé cabriolets, coupé convertibles or retractable hard-tops.

The following guide will give you some of the key facts about convertibles to keep in mind so you can decide which model is right for you.


As mentioned above, convertible cars range in size from two-seat roadsters to roomier four-seaters. Even if the vehicle seats more than two however, while there are some models which have normal space for adults in the rear of the car, the majority have only enough room for children or pets.

When it comes to cargo space, convertible cars are limited by the roof top being folded down. With the top pulled up however, some models offer a decent amount of cargo space. The best way forward to gage whether you’ll have enough room for your needs is to make sure you have a look at the boot space with the roof in both an up and down position when shopping around.

Roof Type

Soft-top canvas convertibles used to be the original standard, but both canvas and vinyl covers are prone to damage if not looked after carefully. Currently car manufacturers are releasing an increasing range of hard-top convertibles which feature automatically powered retractable roofs that break into two or three pieces and then elegantly lower into the boot. While these are more durable, crime proof and easy to operate, their complexity can often reflect in the price, they add more weight to the vehicle and they also take up more boot space. Modern soft-tops have been improved with multiple layers that protect the car from the elements and reduce noise just as well as hard-tops.

Engine Capacity

Generally, most mid-sized convertibles use four- and six-cylinder engines, while pricier luxury models mainly use powerful V6 or V8 engines.

Fuel Consumption

Four- and six-cylinder convertibles are able to achieve a good combined mileage in the low-to-mid-20-mpg range, but most eight-cylinder models deliver less than 20 mpg.


Modern convertibles usually feature a fixed or pop-up roll bar to protect the passengers if a rollover accident occurs.

It must be said that most convertibles have small rear windows, which creates large blind spots. If you’re extra vigilant about safety, you’ll ideally want to go for models that offer blind-spot warning systems, parking sensors and rear view cameras.

Premium-brand convertibles will have side airbags that deploy from the seats as a standard, and it’s a good idea to choose this as an extra feature on a less expensive drop top. Look out for airbags that extend upward to protect the head, since convertibles don’t have the protective side curtains that solid-roof vehicles provide.

Top Extra Features

Extra features to consider that will make your driving experience even more luxurious include automatic climate control, heated seats, navigation systems, keyless start-up systems, Bluetooth and an iPod interface. Other additions that can make all the difference are built-in wind deflectors, heated and cooled seats and sun-reflective leather upholstery.

Another factor to think about is that in most convertibles the rear is very compact, so features which make access easier come in very handy. These include front seats that automatically return to their previous position and seatbelts that move out of the way for rear passengers but are still easily accessible for the driver.


Convertible cars are without a doubt one of the top choices you can make when it comes to pure enjoyment while driving. And with larger models increasingly being released, now you can combine a let-your-hair-down sporty feel with the space capacity of more practical vehicles.


Source by Anthony Blascara

Various Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Alloy Wheels


The wheels of cars and other vehicles are manufactured from various materials. Nowadays, you can easily find some beautiful wheels that not only enhance the looks of your car but also deliver better performance. The most common metal which are used in the manufacturing of wheels are magnesium and aluminum alloys. The use of these strong metals results in durable, lightweight and strong wheels which look more stylish than ordinary wheels. The process involves casting the metal alloys.


  • The most impressive characteristic of alloy wheels is that they light in weight and are mainly used in racing or sports cars. Such wheels are either made from forged magnesium alloy or aluminium alloy. Cast alloy is not used as it is heavier. Though these wheels are lighter and stylish, you will have to spend a good amount in order to get one for your car.
  • The light weight of the wheels provides a better grip on the road, thus delivering outstanding performance. This not only delivers a good mileage but also enhances the life of the car.
  • These stylish wheels also provide an appealing look to your car. You can easily get a uniquely designed wheel matching the color and make of your car.


  • The continuous use of alloy wheels can damage them. It is due to this fact that they need to be repaired after certain intervals and this might cost you huge bucks. There are various reasons due to which the wheels get damaged. It might be due to hitting hard stones, running on rough surfaces at a high speed etc.
  • Most of the times, it is seen that individuals get the scratches on the wheels during parking that gives it a discolored and ugly look. You need to get it dented in order to recover its beauty and deformation.

Repairing Alloy Wheels

  • Before taking your alloy wheels for repair, it is your duty to examine the extent of damage. Sometimes the dull appearance of the wheels is due to the dust and dirt deposited on them. In such a situation, you need not to take it for repair instead you can clean it thoroughly in order to regain its shine and stylish appearance. You can find various cleaning agents in the market which can help you in giving a final touch to your cleaning mission. The tires that have dents and scratches are required to be taken for repair. There are various mechanics and garages that provide effective repair solutions to overcome the issues with the wheel.
  • There might be many car drivers who might wish to chance the wheel instead of getting it repaired. If you are also looking forward to replace the wheel, you should be aware of the fact that a new alloy wheel can cost you huge bucks. So, if the wheel can be repaired you should consider it rather than purchasing a new one. This will not only help you in saving your hard earned money but will also provide you an opportunity to retain the beauty of your car at economical prices.


Source by Abhinav S Sidana

What’s the Difference Between Passive and Active Wheel Speed Sensors?


There are two types of wheel speed sensors currently in use: magnetic inductive, more commonly known as passive sensors and magneto resistive, or active wheel speed sensors. Both of sensors do a similar job, but they function in completely different ways. Both function effectively in their own ways, but the more modern active wheel sensor is generally regarded as the more reliable.

Passive sensors have been around since the early days of the anti-lock brake system (ABS). These sensors function on the generator principle. The speed sensors work with the toothed tone wheels to monitor and provide the anti-lock brake module (ABM) with wheel speed information. The actuator is a toothed tone wheel that rotates with the individual wheel. Each tooth on the tone wheel acts as an actuator for the wheel speed sensor. As the tone wheel rotates, the teeth go in and out of the proximity of the sensor. The result is an alternating current (AC) voltage that is generated in the sensor coil by magnetic lines of force fluctuating as the tone passes by the magnetic sensor.

The output of the wheel speed sensor can vary from vehicle to vehicle due to: winding type, air gap, magnetic strength of sensor, metal properties of the tone wheel and wheel speed. Unfortunately these types of passive systems have been prone to false cycling, which is the term used to describe an ABS cycle even though the road conditions do not dictate the need for this cycle. This condition is very prone to happen at slower speeds. This tends to happen because of wheel damage or rust build-up on the tone wheel. An incorrect sensor air gap will cause this condition, as well as debris on the wheel speed sensor tip.

Active wheel sensors have been in use since 1999. This style of speed sensor helps to increase performance, durability and low speed accuracy. Active sensors do not appear to have the same false cycle problem of passive sensors do. Most vehicles with active sensors still use a toothed tone wheel which acts as the trigger mechanism for the sensor. Some vehicles use a magnetic encoder in place of a traditional tone wheel. The encoders have north/south pole magnets imbedded into the ring. The ring is then pressed on the axle shaft just like a tone wheel. In either case the result is a digital square wave signal.

On this system, the ABM sends battery voltage to the speed sensor to power it up. The sensor, in turn, supplies the ABM a constant 7 milliamp (mA) signal on a signal return circuit. Depending on the tone ring or magnetic encoder position, this 7 mA signal is turned on or off. The output of the sensor sent to the ABM is a Direct Current (DC) voltage signal with changing voltage and current levels. The ABM monitors the changing digital signal from each wheel speed sensor and is interpreted as wheel speed.


Source by Jason H Walker

C4 Corvette, Caring For Your Acrylic Targa Roof


Because of my background in plastics manufacturing I get a lot of calls and requests on how to care for your C4 Corvette Acrylic Targa Top. Basic maintenance of the roof goes a long way in increasing the life and look of the acrylic panel.

For a little background, when Chevrolet re-designed the Corvette for introduction in 1984, they designed a lot of great ideas used in other sports cars in the past. Instead of the T-Top roof panels that had been used in the Corvette C3 from 1968-1983, they opted instead for a Targa roof like the Porsche 911. The standard roof was a fiberglass panel painted the same color as the car. Chevrolet also had an optional moon roof which featured a bronze or blue smoked plastic. Originally Lexan was used in the roof in 1984, but was found to be easily scratched. Lexan is a very break resistant material, but the drawback for it’s break resistance is it’s soft surface which scratches fairly easily. As a side note all race cars use Lexan for their front windshields from the local tracks to the Nascar Nextel Cup Series. In the Nextel Cup and Nationwide Series the race teams use tear off films on top of the Lexan that can be removed during the race which minimizes the scratches to the windshield. Later in the 1984 model year, General Motors switched over to Acrylic with a scratch resistant coating to help prevent scratches in the roof.

Caring for a acrylic roof panel is easy. Wash the panel with mild detergent, standard car wash detergent from Walmart is fine. The key is to spray the roof with a hose well to remove any of the loose dirt BEFORE WIPING THE SOAPY RAG ON IT. After the roof is dry apply wax to the roof. It is important NOT to use a cleaner wax, repeat do NOT use a cleaner wax as it has abrasives to clean dirt and oxidation ground into the paint on a car and it WILL scratch the plexiglass roof. I suggest applying multiple coats of wax, and applying them often as the wax will burn off in the hot sun.

Removing deep scratches from the roof is a little more tricky, but if you are careful and cautious it should not be a problem. First you must sand the scratch out with 1200 grit sandpaper. Personally I use wet/dry paper and wet sand the scratch with water that has some dish washing detergent mixed in. The water acts as a lubricant to help keep surface scratches from the sandpaper to a minimum. After this step, dry the area and buff it out. If it is a small scratch, you can hand rub it out. Starting with heavy cut buffing compound buff out the area with a soft rag. Then buff it out with a finish cut buffing compound until all the scratches are out and the shine has come out. The last step is to apply a few coats of paste wax to the roof. If the scratch is large, you will need to use a buffing wheel. Before using a buffing wheel be sure you are experienced with it. If not, I suggest calling a car detailer in your area.

For fine surface scratches you do not need to use sandpaper, just hand buff the roof lightly with a scratch remover compound, like Maguire’s. It may take some time so be patience.


Source by Chuck Thibaudeau

The Environmental Benefits of Automobile Recycling


Green living refers to an activity that contributes to minimizing or eliminating toxins from environment and improving personal health and energy. There are many activities that can have a positive impact on the environment, such as eating organically grown food, choosing paper bags instead of plastic bags, recycling beer cans, installing an environmentally friendly floor in your home or driving a fuel efficient car. A recent emerging trend is recycling of automobiles to achieve a greener environment.

When the majority of cars have outlived their usefulness, they are taken to scrap yards where the cars are shredded and the remaining material (primarily comprising of iron and steel) is then recycled back into automobiles, appliances and other products. Automobiles make one of the most recycled products in the world as three out of four tonnes of new steel is made from recycled steel. Other car parts such as brake pads, shoes, oil filters, rubberized seals, polyurethane seat foam, seat covers, floor mats, rims, windshield glass and side windows glass can also be recycled for use in new automobiles.

Automobile recycling confers countless benefits on the environment. It helps preserve natural resources and protects the environment from contamination by recycling usable components and parts. It helps reduce water and air pollution and saves landfill space. As automobile recycling minimizes the need for processing virgin materials, it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions particularly sulfur dioxide which have detrimental effects on the environment and human health.

Automobile recycling uses far less energy than that needed for car manufacturing. This, in turn, reduces the amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other carbon compounds released into the atmosphere and helps conserve valuable reserves of gas, coal and oil. Recycling vehicles and their spare parts can save as much as 80 million barrels of oil and 40000 tonnes of coal a year.

Automobile recycling helps conserve energy as recycling one kilogram of steel saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 85 hours. Recycling automotive glass (windshields and sunroofs) helps reduce water pollution by 45 percent and air pollution by 25 percent. Recycling metal saves up to 70 percent energy and 30 percent water consumption. Recycling one ton of oil filters not only saves 9 cubic yards of landfill space, but it also yields 1700 pounds of steel. Recycling oil filters helps prevent petroleum hydrocarbons from contaminating water, air and soil. It helps reduce water pollution by about 75 percent and air pollution by 80 percent. Recycling of brake pads and shoes produces a combination of synthetic materials and copper.

Auto recyclers should control the recycling operations at the scrap yards to reduce the risk of releasing harmful petroleum compounds and toxic fluids into the environment. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum and chromium should not be allowed to leach into the ground. Similarly, acids from solvents, batteries and degreasers should be properly disposed of as they can interfere with the chemistry of soil and create health hazards for marine life as well as humans.


Source by Jhalak Paul

How to Minimize Air Pollution


Air pollution is one of the immense problems that humanity is suffering from. The air we breathe is no longer fresh instead what we usually inhale are harmful air pollutants. Whether we are inside our home or office or outside the house we are surrounded by air pollutants that come from different sources. At home, some of the sources of air pollutants are the household products we use (like pesticide, paint), molds, pollen and cigarette smoke. The air pollutants are hazardous to our body and sometimes we experience shortness of breath and cough. Radon 22 is one of the major indoor pollutants known to be the second major cause of lung cancer.

Outside our homes, the major air pollutants are carbon dioxide and nitrogen monoxide which comes mostly from transportation vehicles and industrial plants. Burning fossil fuel and deforestation can result to increase in production of carbon monoxide and aside from imposing harmful effects to us humans, carbon monoxide also contributes to global warming which means the temperature of Earth increases and may result to adverse effects to this world we live in.

Air pollution can be minimized if all of us will find and follow ways on how to minimize this problem and make the air we breathe clean and fresh. We can start minimizing air pollution right within our homes. Below are several tips we should start to practice and follow to reduce air pollution and keep our body away from diseases caused by unclean air.

1.) Avoid using car daily

Instead of using your car, you can travel by public transit to avoid more harmful emissions that come from vehicles. If you are working, suggest car pool to your co-workers or ride with a co-worker that lives near you.

2.) Don’t smoke

Smoking can cause air pollution and can be very dangerous to our health. It does not only endanger the person smoking but also the people around him. Smoke from cigarettes release thousands of pollutants in the form of small particles which is called particulate matter. Furthermore, studies show that air pollution produced by cigarettes or tobacco is 10 times greater than the emissions by diesel cars.

3.) Learn to recycle

Recycling can help a lot in minimizing air pollution because when we recycle and reuse the things we have, lesser things need to be produced by factories and this helps lessen air pollution.

4.) Plant trees

Planting trees even in your backyard can help clean the air we breathe because trees produce oxygen we need.

5.) Save energy

Save energy at home or in the office by turning appliances and light off when not in use can help lessen air pollution. You can also save money by cutting off electricity consumption.

6.) Clean your home as often as possible

Cleaning your home can remove dust and air pollutants and make your home safer and healthier for your family to stay.

7.) Select the products you buy

Buy products that are reusable and eco-friendly. When shopping, you can use a canvas bag instead of a plastic bag.

There are many other things that we can do to minimize air pollution. We should start finding ways to clean our air now before more calamities will happen and might imperil the health of our children and those of the next generation. Let’s act now in saving our world and making it a better place to live.


Source by Francis Turner

Alternative Weapons – Instinctive Self Defense


What form of self-defense could be more instinctive than using whatever ordinary objects around you to defend yourself against an attacker? Objects that were neither designed with self-defense in mind, nor specially carried for such a purpose by you. Objects that will neither raise the suspicion of Law Enforcement, nor take up any extra room since you would have had them either on your person or in your surroundings and environment anyway.

A person who has the right motivation, talent and will to survive can employ almost any object as a weapon.

Anything can become a weapon when your mind is the real weapon. Governments can’t ban it, customs can’t confiscate it and the only time you don’t have it is when you are asleep. This is the KEY lesson you should take away from this article.

In today’s anti-weapons climate many times and in many locations it’s impossible to carry a gun or knife (Courts, airports, etc). Even in your home at the time of a violent invasion you might not be close to your gun, or even knife.

Sometimes all you have left is your tactical creativity and your motivation and ability for thinking outside the box.

Your mind will always be your greatest weapon, not least of all because with your intelligence and ingenuity you can locate the most effective duel use objects to use as weapons during an assault. Your mind is a weapon, and with it you are never unarmed. Wherever you are I guarantee you you are surrounded by a multitude of potential weapons. Learn to spot them effectively.

While the will to use improvised weapons is often instinctive for the experienced fighter, the effectiveness of such improvised weapons can depend on how good an eye you have in not only quickly locating and choosing your improvised “weapon” but also on your ability to use that object in a way that will disable your attacker effectively (or allow you to escape the threat). And it is this ability that will increase only with proper training.

First a few thoughts on Natural Reactions:

Think of fights you might have seen yourself. What are the first natural reactions a person has when being attacked? First the person will put up his arms to block any attack, then they will instinctively grab for any object that can multiply the expediency of their own “god” given weapons (their body and limbs). Often one of the first such objects grabbed is a chair and it is used as a shield. If not a chair it will be another object that can be used as either a weapon or shield. It’s an instinctive and natural reaction displayed by seasoned fighters and people with no experience in self defense alike.

Often the manner in which the attacked will use the object depends on their mindset and/or level of aggression and the situation itself. For example some people when attacked will grab a chair and only use it as a shield. Other more aggressive fighters will instinctively begin hitting their attacker with the same chair and thus using it more as a striking weapon than merely a shield. Using the chair or other object as a striking weapon will disrupt your attacker’s ability from gaining direction, lead and control of the attack. While using the chair or other object as a shield can often be useful initially (especially in a surprise attack) you need to gain dominance and control rapidly through overwhelming force and aggression.

Often not much thought goes into such a split second decision in terms of exactly which object to grab for. There simply isn’t enough time for someone who is being attacked to weigh up the potential effectiveness of one object over another. This will come with experience.

At the end of the day though, almost any object can be used as either a weapon or atleast a shield, some objects that I’m sure you would never have thought of as weapons or even shields. Obviously though, some objects are more effective than others.

The following is a list of a few possible objects you very well might have in your environment that could be employed as improvised weapons or shields:

The flashlight:

A favourite among many a self defense practitioner for years now. Wrap some 550 paracord around it and make a Koppo type weapon or use by itself. Either way it’s a popular alternative weapon (and flashlight!). Can be used to momentarily blind an attacker or as an impact weapon. See specialist knowledge on how to use it most effectively.

Car antenna:

Listen up, in particular women who walk alone in car parks! You can quite quickly break off a metal car antenna and use it to fend off one or more attackers in a whipping action. The strikes can be very painful and effective and will likely at the very least stun and discourage an attacker from continuing. Remember, often these predators are looking for an easy victim. If you prove to the attacker that you’ll be more trouble than your worth, he’s quite likely to discontinue the attack and seek out someone who will give him less trouble.


Not the easiest or most effective option in reality despite often being recommended by defensive instructors. Shouldn’t be your first choice, however if you have nothing else at hand it’s better than nothing. Hold key between middle fingers and use to punch with greater effect. Or can be used to scrape across attacker’s face.

Steel cap boots:

Often overlooked but very legal everywhere and a very painful alternative weapon. Kick attacker in the shins or groin. A real fight stopper with proper aim.


As the saying goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Well, surely that was meant figuratively. In any case, when carrying a sword during your daily business is not a reasonable option (and I can’t imagine it is for most people) a pen makes quite a mighty alternative weapon. Another favorite among seasoned Martialists. Can be used as a stabbing implement or as a makeshift Kubaton. Hold in a pikal grip with your thumb on the clicker or blunt end and stab down or sideways repeatedly with the pointy end outwards. Hit to the liver, other soft appendages and neck for greatest effect. If you know how to use a Kubaton you know how to use a pen as a weapon. Choose a hefty strong metal pen like the now discontinued Rotring 600, a beefy hexagonal pen made of chrome-plated brass. Always legal, always useful for the intelligent and literate person for more than just self-defense, and a good alternative weapon for the concerned self defense practitioner.

The beer bottle, or other glass bottle:

Be careful with this one. Unlike in the movies DO NOT ever first break the bottle on the table thinking you’ll be left with a sharp knife like weapon. You won’t. In reality what you will be left with is a small piece of the bottle’s neck.

That’s it. Nothing sharp protruding at any length and nothing you can use effectively as a weapon.

In fact, for that matter, most of what you see on TV does not work, was never meant to work, and if you try it you’ll probably be in big trouble.

You can still use a glass bottle as a weapon though, just don’t break it on the table first, smash it directly in your attacker’s face! Preferably use a glass bottle full of liquids, as an empty one will be far less effective.

Coffee mug or glass or ceramic cup:

Smash it across your attacker’s face much like the glass bottle.

If you have hot coffee inside at the time, obviously splash it on his face. All the sudden you won’t complain that McDonalds makes their coffee too hot. The hotter the better as an alternative weapon.

If there is alcohol inside your glass, throw it in your attacker’s face. Aim for the eyes for stinging effect.


An old army trick. Use a large one as a makeshift “knuckleduster”. Works well. Punch and hammer fist your attacker’s head and face. Preferably you would have a steel one, but an aluminum type will work well enough if need be.

A chair:

A chair, not only to keep lions at bay they can also keep your attacker at bay or shield you from a knife attack. They also make good larger improvised impact devices, although they are mainly best used as a shield.

Trash can lid:

Another great improvised shield. The trash can itself can be thrown at the BG and might at least give you time to escape or to employ a better weapon.

Dresser drawer:

That’s right, if you’re attacked in your bedroom immediately grab and pull out a drawer from the dresser. Can be used as a shield or even as an impact weapon, much like the laptop or book. Check out your drawers right now and see if they come out completely and easily. If they don’t, try modifying them.

Walking cane/stick:

One of the best alternative weapons. Huge striking power. Easy to use and especially effective with modern Arnis Filipino stick fighting techniques. Always legal, always with you, always right in your hand ready to be used to strike, to disarm or to block an attack. It can however make you seem weaker or partially disabled, and thus can make you a more desirable victim or target to an attacker. Remember, predators target the weakest people, or in other words the people who they think will put up the least amount of fight. Keep this in mind and decide for yourself whether a walking stick is a good option. Certainly, in any case, if you carry a walking stick then do seek out combat stick training.

A padlock:

Devastating weapon, you can only hope to be lucky enough to have one handy. Slip your middle finger inside the steel loop with the rest of the padlock in your fist. Use as makeshift knuckleduster or fist-load. Or swing padlock at your attacker while holding it with one finger and the rest of padlock outwards. Aim for head, as the padlock would be too small to do damage to body.


Usually a hefty solid weapon. Grab it like a frisbee and slam it into your assailant’s head, face, or jam it in his neck or throat. Throw the cigarette butts and ashes in his face as a distraction.


Rolled up it can make an excellent impact weapon. Most effective using quick, strong, short strikes repeatedly to attacker’s face and to other more sensitive areas due to the inherent lack of mass of the magazine.


If you’re a business man in a suit you’ve got an excellent flexible weapon or a possible garrot as part of you wardrobe. If your attacker is in fact the one wearing a tie you can use it to control or disorient him. Grab his tie and pull downwards hard.

Please note: This is one reason I generally advise people not to wear anything that doesn’t break easily around the neck. It is too easy for someone to use it to control you during an attack, just as you can use the same tactic on someone else.


As was recently reported a celebrity used one as a weapon against a pushy paparazzi with great effect. Hold with both hands and slam into your attacker’s face full force or push out and jab it into his face, neck or midsection with the sides/edges of the closed laptop. Can also be used to shield against an attacker’s weapon or strike.


Used much the same way as the laptop. Has thinner and so sharper edges, however on the other hand it also has less mass and might be less painful because of that.

A book:

Not only good for reading and learning. Used much the same way as the laptop and clipboard, although the book would have more heft than a clipboard.


You’re already holding it, and it has a secure handle. Swing it into your attacker’s face/head or use as a shield. Push him away with the briefcase and escape. Open briefcase and take out other alternative weapons that have been mentioned here such as magazine, pen, etc.


You’ll usually have a lamp nearby in your home. Grab it, and smash it across your attacker’s face. Use the cord as a flexible weapon.

Fire extinguisher:

Has been used before with great effect. Devastating power. Aim for head/face. Makes an excellent shield too. Also spray contents directly onto attacker. It will at the least disorient him, it will often even hide your exit due to the cloud of white dust.

Put one in you car. You should have one in your car anyway for fire safety, but it might even save your life if you need to use it as a weapon.

Duct tape:

Not a weapon as such but makes good handcuffs to hold your attacker until the police arrive. Large zip ties are a good alternative to duct tape.

Light switch:

Darkness is a brilliant weapon under the right circumstances. If you are attacked by night, the light switch can be the best “weapon” for defense, without really being a weapon as such. Simply turn the lights off. Darkness is a tactical advantage for you, after all you know the layout of your own house while your attacker does not. You also know where you have other weapons and escape routes. Darkness could also simply give you the time needed to escape. Also, darkness will increase the blinding effectiveness of your flashlight if you are carrying one.


Are you wearing a coat or scarf? A coat or jacket can be used to shield yourself against an attacker’s knife or other weapon. Wrap it around your weak arm, and hit and defend yourself with your strong arm and legs.

The long sleeves can also be used as a flexible weapon for choking or entangling limbs.

If on your bicycle:

Your helmet, tire pump, and flexible bike locks are potential impact devices.

Even the bike itself can act as an effective shield against an attacker. It will act as a good obstruction between you and him giving you time to escape. If need be it can even be thrown at the attacker.

Belt buckle:

A heavy brass or steel one. Can make a great impact weapon. Can even be swung at the attacker since it’s attached to your belt.


Even without a heavy buckle your belt can be one of the best flexible weapons available.


Any spray will do brilliantly. Think about it, what spray do you have around? Hair spray? Deodorant? Air freshener? Silicone spray? I personally have all and more of these sprays right here as I type this, aside from the hair spray. All these sprays will blind your attacker almost as well as pepper spray. If you’re a smoker you probably have a lighter handy. Add a lighter in front of the spray and you’ve got an excellent flame thrower. I’m sure we all tried this when we were kids.

At the very least the spray can be used as an impact weapon if nothing else.


Especially a metal comb.

Can be raked across an attacker’s face repeatedly with good success.


Always another favorite. The larger ones make a good impact weapon and improvised stick fighting weapon. Also a great shield a la Roman style when opened. Some of the full sized ones have a pointy bit protruding, perhaps 2 to 3 inches long, so while you shield yourself you can also push the opened umbrella forward into the attacker’s face and body.

The smaller umbrellas are good too, however of course they are less durable and have less power due to lack of size.


A great common household device. Can cause a lot of damage from use as a striking weapon, and again most irons have an electrical cord that makes a good flexible weapon as well.

A broom or mop:

Another long impact device. Can be used as a long staff for stick fighting techniques. Can also be used to hold the attacker at a distance.

Your car:

While it’s not always justified to use deadly force in this way since it can be argued that if you’re inside your car you are safe, if a gang of hoodlums or an angry middle eastern mob is surrounding your car, you’ve got 3000 pounds worth of effective weaponry on hand. At times deadly force can be justified depending on the situation including any disparity of force between you and the attacker(s) and the resulting danger you face at the time. Your main goal should be to escape in this case, but if necessary run a hoodlum over to affect your escape.

A phone:

Excellent impact device, very handy. A cord phone also makes a good flexible weapon if you’re skilled in using one effectively.

Phones have been used many times as impact devices.


Throw coins from your pocket into the face of your attacker. Another good diversionary tactic.

A packed roll of coins can also make a good fist-load and has been used many times as such.

Sports equipment:

Tennis racket, golf club, pool stick, the obvious and often used baseball bat, dumbbells, etc. All are excellent impact devices. Keep a few golf clubs and balls in your car even if you don’t play. Or a baseball bat and glove and maybe some balls too in order to not raise the suspicion of LEO.


Preferably a heavy steel dive watch. Take the watch off your wrist and wrap it around the fist you punch with (strong arm). The first punch should break the glass and subsequent punches could cut your attacker up. Even if the glass doesn’t break and cut him it’s still a good improvised impact device if need be.


A la Fred Perrin style. Only works with a solid one piece bracelet, not the flexible link type. Take your metal bracelet off and hold in your fist. Use as an impact device to punch with.

Your voice:

Your voice can be a great improvised weapon wherever you are.

Verbally you can often stop, control or at very least influence the direction of an attack. Far too an extensive a subject to get into here. Learn about verbal commands and communication skills for defensive purposes/redirection of attacker’s violent behavior toward you. Sometimes known as verbal judo. Any good martial art or self defense system needs to address this subject.

—- One note on employing flexible weapons:

As you can see a number of the potential weapons I mentioned in this small list are flexible, for example the electrical cord and clothing. Please keep in mind that as with most flexible weapons, specialist knowledge in hand to hand combat is needed for most effective use. Flexible weapons simply aren’t as straight forward as let’s say a chair or even a book which will instinctively be used as a shield often even by people with little or no experience in self defense.

This is merely a small sampling of possibilities. It would be impossible to list for you all the possible alternative use “weapons”/objects you might come across that might be of great defensive use during an attack. The list would be too large, and no one can know what will be available to you in your specific environment at that time. Obviously some environments are richer in potential alternative weaponry than others. It’s you’re job to train yourself to identify these potential weapons out of any objects around you.

From now on look at the objects around you with a different eye. Look at objects in your surroundings through sort of a “weapons” filter. Specifically ask yourself, which ones can make an effective weapon? How would you use it? Will that object really cause hurt to your attacker and disable him, or is it really just a waste of time? Sometimes an object would make such a poor weapon that it’s better to fight unarmed. Learn to accurately evaluate potential weapons in your environment.

No one can really instruct you or show you every object that has the potential to be used as a weapon. Above all it is a mindset that you will have to develop. Preparation and training is the best way to help guarantee a better chance for success in a self defense incident. But once you develop this situational awareness and survival mentality you’ll be much better prepared to defend yourself in any situation than ever before, for you will have an instinctive understanding and application of self defense as a way of life.

Think outside the box, think like a fighter, like someone committed to self preservation and the defense of loved ones from societal predators.

Potential weapons are all around you.

It is now simply a matter of identifying them.


Source by Emanuel Roth

How To Price Your Auto Detailing Services For Profit


Pricing your auto detailing services for profit can be a daunting task. Underpricing the detail work you offer to customers is the quickest way to go out of business. Every service you offer, from an exterior wash to engine cleaning has a fair market value (a price at which both buyers and sellers are willing to do business), attached to it. If your goal is to be near or the top of that scale as often as possible your professional skills should mirror the prices you charge.

Incorporating a professional looking price sheet that shows the customer your set prices makes it easier to get the price your skills call for. Many consumers think that it’s bargaining time if you just quote the price verbally without referring to a price sheet or at least something you looked up on the computer.

When pricing a detailing job first take into consideration the condition of the vehicle you’re asked to comfortable detail. Interior cleaning is one area that takes time, patience and thoroughness. An interior on one vehicle with a large soda stain on the front passenger seat might require two to three hours of time while another might only need an hour. Obviously, an SUV is going to require more of you and your pricing should reflect such. Let’s assume your price for an average size car is $150; most SUV owners understand that although bigger might be better, bigger also means costlier. And not just a bigger body, but bigger tires, rims and more cargo space. Most car trunks will usually just need a good vacuuming, but because in an SUV what would be considered the trunk might be used as play space for the kids or seating space, more cleaning is required, so raising your price $25 to $50 to account for additional cleaning will not only sound fair but very reasonable.

How do you price for profit? Understanding the value of your time (labor) is the first step. Factoring in the cost of supplies and equipment use is next. Last, but not least is your skills. Let’s begin with supplies and equipment.

Figuring the cost of supplies and equipment you’ll use is relatively simple. Soap, water, tire dressing, even towels (cleaning) have an expense attached to them. On average it will cost $5 to $7 in supplies to detail the average size vehicle. Jobs that require purchasing additional supplies can be priced accordingly. What most detailers forget to factor when pricing a detail is equipment cost. Not only does it cost to run the vacuum, but each time you plug in that hi-speed buffer consider the cost of electricity to operate it, then include the future expense of eventually replacing or upgrading. Sure, these expenses are small but keep in mind that updating your equipment and consistent inventory upkeep is what keeps your business growing.

How much is your time worth? That depends upon two things, the skills you’ve acquired and more importantly, your self-image. Whatever the going rate for a complete auto detail in your city, it should afford a professional detailer an annual salary in the $30,000 to $50,000 range assuming you operate year round. That means your time should translate into a minimum of $15 per hour. In many southern cities where winter temperature averages hover in the 40 to 50 degree range, it’s not hard to maintain a comfortably consistent income.

If you’re not comfortable using buffers or have not yet learned to clay a car, you are limiting your financial possibilities. Get trained. This is where your skills come into play. I once quoted a potential customer a complete detail price higher than what he was used to paying. When I mentioned waxing and buffing during my exploratory conversation with him he quickly said he did not want any type of buffer used on his car because of a previous bad experience. Once I explained to him the differences in buffers, the relative risks involved, and how the detailer’s experience comes into play when choosing and using orbital or high-speed buffers, he felt at ease enough to allow me to buff his car with a 16 pound orbital. Because I came across as knowledgeable, experienced and confident he felt comfortable paying a higher price.

I’ve found that the biggest obstacle to getting paid what a professional detailer thinks he should get paid largely depends on self-esteem. What makes one detailer think they can charge $225 when another detailer in the same market four blocks away is providing essentially the same service but charging $150? Self-esteem! What are the skills and experience you’ve acquired worth? $15 an hour, $25 an hour, or maybe you believe you’re worth even more!

It’s all up to you. Pricing your services is an art. With each quote consider the condition of the vehicle, your costs, your skills, your knowledge, your experience. But most of all, consider your time. You’re worth what you believe.


Source by Scott Seldon

Top 10 Common Car Problems


It is hard to make this kind of list since the things that go wrong on the car are endless. This is not written with pessimism, but as many drivers have experienced even on new cars a thing or two can go wrong.Not to mention the older ones, an old car is a like an aging man, the older he get’s the more grumpy he becomes.

Here’s a list with the top 10 car problems from our point of view. Not only are they problems of mechanical nature, they are usually problems that drive you nuts:

1. Flat tire most common car problem but the most easy to fix. Often happens at the least convenient time. Having the right equipment and knowledge to help yourself is crucial.

2. Dead battery: how many of us made that face of despair when we put the key into the ignition and… Nothing or a short click. Especially during winter months. An easy problem to fix, but best preventing it on time by changing the old battery.

3. Ignition problems: the car will crank but won’t start. The problem can be solved on your own in a couple of minutes or it can take days and a tone of money. The list of probable causes is pretty long.

4. Various leaks: oil leaks, coolant leaks, break fluid leaks etc. In most cases (if the leak is not severe) they don’t cause big problems while driving. The moment you see them, get it fixed, it only get’s worse over time.

5. Electric and electronics problems: these kind of problems manifest themselves as if the car is possessed by an evil ghost. Various glitches, signal lamps warning about nothing, endless diagnostics and car mechanics going out of their mind are just some of the symptoms.

6. Sensor problems: a car problem that has the most fancy name.These are the eyes of the ecu unit. Since exposed to dirt, moisture, cold, heat etc. Cause the most of the electronics problems.

7. Bad serpentine belt: it makes that squeaky noise that gives you a bad chill down the spine. Nothing serious, if the car is properly maintained you won’t hear of it. Otherwise, it can make a lot of problems.

8. Car bulb failure (headlights, taillights): when your vision from the car during night driving decreases it’s either time to check your eyesight or the signalization. The headlight bulbs are easy to spot when they burn out, the tail lights can go on not working for months (unless you have the proper dash warning). Make a check of the signalization from time to time.

9. Cracked windscreen: you get in a second, but you usually look at it for months. When the crack happens, fix it right away or else your putting yourself and the your passengers at risk.

10. Body scratches and minor dents: looks like a little acne on an otherwise beautiful face. You look at it and say: ” wow what a beautiful face, but look at the acne….”. Can be solved with a few tricks and perhaps minor body repair.

Learn this list and you will know what car problems you can have on the road or at home.


Source by Sibin S. S.

Short History of BMW


BMW has come a long way since its inception as an aircraft engine manufacturer to one of the most popular family, luxury and sports car manufacturers today.

The company began in 1913 as the Rapp-Motorenwerke firm, making aircraft engines, before merging with the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke factory, located nearby on the outskirts of Munich, in 1922. The letters BMW stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke.

In its early days, BMW mainly manufactured aircraft engines and occasionally motorcycle engines. In fact, the BMW badge was designed to resemble an aircraft propeller, and it wasn’t until 1929 that the firm became automobile manufacturers after purchasing the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach factory which produced Austin Sevens.

Developing the style of car manufactured over time, in 1936 BMW started to produce the 328 sports car which went on to enjoy incredible success. In 1999, the BMW 328 was nominated as car of the century.

For the three years leading up to World War II, BMW manufactured aircraft engines, motorcycles and cars. During the war, the company focused on aircraft engines and ceased making cars altogether. In 1948, motorcycle manufacturing started again but it was not until 1952 that BMW began building cars once more. The launch of the BMW 501 luxury car was not a big hit, however, and the company did not make a profit as a result and so the company brought the design and manufacturing rights to the Isetta – a micro-car, cheap to manufacture – and began selling these.

BMW’s luck changed during the next decade and the 1960s brought considerable success for the firm. The BMW 1500, a four-cylinder sports car, was introduced in 1961 followed shortly afterward by the BMW 2002, a two-door car that stayed in production until 1976 and was the predecessor of the BMW 3 Series.

The ’70s saw BMW continue to build their reputation for creating original and sought-after cars, as this decade saw the launch of the 3, 5 and 7 Series. Between 1970 and 1993, BMW increased its output fourfold and turnover by an incredible 1700%.

Between 1994 and 2000, BMW had ownership of the British Rover Group but the venture was not successful and the company soon got rid of Rover. However, BMW retained the rights to Mini and has enjoyed – and continues to enjoy – considerable achievement with this business.

Today, BMW is seen as an innovative manufacturer and has a reputation for excellence, both for its design and quality of cars.


Source by Chris D Taylor