Defining Hybrid Vehicles

Hyundai Hybrid EngineOkay so we have heard the term hybrid a lot lately, it seems that every celebrity is now driving one or being driven to the red carpet in a hybrid, but what exactly is a hybrid?

By definition, a hybrid is the combining of two or more things into one. As in the case of hybrid vehicles, they combine different sources of power to run the car. In most cases a hybrid combines and internal combustion engine powered by gasoline with an electric motor powered by a battery pack. It is the best of both worlds, power and energy efficiency. There are though, different ways in which these 2 power sources work with each other.  For the average car driver, there are 3 different types of hybrids, mild hybrids, full hybrids and plug in hybrids.

Mild Hybrid:  the electric motor works along with the gas powered engine but cannot power the vehicle by itself

Full Hybrid:  the electric motor or the gas powered engine will move the vehicle. The electric motor generally will power the car when accelerating or in slow moving situations
Plug In Hybrid: an electric motor is the only source of power to move the vehicle; the gas powered engine is used to recharge the batteries for long distance driving.

Al three work a little differently towards the same goal of increased gas mileage, but in somewhat different configurations.

Posted by hyundai on Apr 28 2011 in Green Driving

Electronic Safety Devices are they worth the cost?

Electronic Safety DevicesThere are some very intelligent Electronic Safety Devices available in most luxury automobiles these days.  The trend in auto safety has evolved from preventing injury to passengers in an accident with air bags and side impact bars to preventing an accident altogether. High end cars offer such safety options as Lane Departure Warning systems and Blind Spot Warnings which will warn a driver of the possibility of a collision or actually preventing a driver from taking an action that the safety system has determined will cause a collision with another vehicle.

This all sounds very space agey but a lot of it makes sense. Although humans are the “most advanced computers” we also can be easily distracted or may not be aware of impending danger, as in the case of a vehicle in your blind spot.  Why not let an electronic safety system help you prevent an accident? The answer to that question right now is Cost. Many of these wonderful features carry the not so wonderful price tag of around $2,000 each. So is the cost worth it? Most experts in the automotive field have the same opinion on that matter. They feel that many of these extra and expensive safety features will become industry standards in the not too distant future.

Just like anything else that first comes to market, the prototypes and test models are usually the most expensive right off the line. Once there is acceptance by consumers of a new technology or in this case, a new safety device, auto makers can move full steam ahead with mass production and costs will fall in line to an affordable level.  It hasn’t taken very long for Satellite Radio to gain market penetration and on board services like GPS navigation systems with real time traffic reports and On Star to be the norm rather than the exception. These futuristic safety features can easily pay for themselves if they can reduce the number of accidents that are happening on the roads today. This should in turn reflect in savings on insurance rates.

Posted by hyundai on Apr 22 2011 in Automotive Safety

Take your car in for service before you leave for that road trip this summer

Auto Maintenance before your road tripSpring is here, and many people are planning family vacations and later on some good old fashion summer road trips. Before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is in good shape and prepared for the heat. Hot weather is tough on cars. High temperatures cause fluids and lubricants to break down more quickly and speed up the normal wear and tear on your car. Some simple preventative measures can save you time and money and ensure that your trip isn’t cut short because of unexpected repairs. You will have peace of mind leaving for your vacation knowing you have given your auto a pre-road inspection.

Consider having this done by a professional service technician rather than trying to do it yourself. You would hate to have missed something that would cut your trip short with a costly  break down somewhere out of town. Have your air conditioning system checked and the belts and hoses inspected. A service technician can inspect the entire system to ensure it is working properly and won’t stop working in the middle of a vacation. Check the battery and the connection cables for signs of corrosion and cracks. Warmer temperatures can reduce a car battery’s life, so determine if it needs to be replaced or if it is in good shape by having it tested.

Inspect  your tires, including the spare, for proper air pressure. You can improve gas mileage by having your tires inflated correctly. Look at the tires for excessive wear. Uneven tread wear is a sign to have a tire rotation or replacement. You should also take a look at your car’s air filters. A dirty air filter can lower gas mileage and reduce engine performance. Have your air filters changed according to the specs of the owner’s manual and at intervals suggested by the manufacturer.

Have an oil change done and replace the filter. Most service technicians will also check the other fluids, including the coolant, transmission, power steering, brake and windshield wiper fluids, during this procedure. Another important item to inspect is your brakes themselves. A licensed brake adjuster should inspect your brake pads and linings for wear. A service professional should also inspect the radiator and other parts of the engine cooling system, including the pressure cap, belts and hoses.

Lastly if your car’s check engine light is lit, have a professional diagnose the problem before you leave town. This light alerts the driver to some sort of malfunction, so having it checked out and remedied before a long trip would be wise. If you follow these relatively inexpensive preventative measures for vehicle maintenance, you can keep your summer vacation on track and your car running smoothly. You can concentrate on enjoying your family vacation instead of having to worry if your car will make it all the way there and back for your vacation.

Posted by hyundai on Apr 8 2011 in Maintenance Tips