Category

Cars

I can see clearly now…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t find it anywhere, so I’ll bring it to the surface again.  I use a great product which I believe the masses have yet to discover :–

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Rain-X is a vehicle window treatment which helps to repel water in the same way as car body wax, by making the water, snow or ice bead off the surface rather than sticking to it. When the car is stationary, the rain forms into beads that either fall off due to gravity, or get blown off by the force of the wind as you drive along. This means an end to the streaky splodge mess that you often get with a car that hasn’t been treated with this product, giving far better visibility even in the heaviest of storms and vehicle spray.   My Dad showed me the product about 6 years ago, and I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.  Its so good that once, I was driving down an unlit section of motorway in the dark, and I didn’t realise it had been raining until I came upon original_circle_thumb_16459798 a lit section and could see other car’s wipers going furiously to clear the water.

Two disadvantages with the product:-

1) It takes time to apply it to get the best effect.  First, you have to clean the windows of any existing grease, grime and other gunk (for example the wax from car washes), but a glass cleaning compound should sort this out.  Then, you have to make sure that the glass is really dry – I usually use a squeegee/paper towel combo to sort that, before applying the product (again with a paper towel) before buffing it clear.  If I’ve not topped it up recently, I’ll repeat this twice to get the best finish, but normally a single coat is enough, especially if done regularly.  Finally, a good buff will bring it back to clear.

2) It wears out fairly regularly.  It used to be much better, but now only lasts about a month before needing a top up.  I suspect they’ve made the formula a bit weaker in order that you use more and hence buy more (that’s the cynic in me talking) but at £10 for a year, its hardly a massive investment.

It also depends on the angle of your windscreen as to what speed the water blows away – on mine 30mph is enough, but I’ve heard some people saying that 40mph is required, and on an old car I had with a flat windscreen, it was about 20mph.

I’m surprised that fleet’s don’t give this out to all their drivers, as it certainly helps improve safety, and I’ve never heard race teams using it – ideal for F1 drivers visors in the wet. Rain-X claim a 1 second reaction time advantage in poor weather conditions, and I can see that this may have mileage (pun intended).

As a final note, I’ve heard of other products which claim to be better/longer lasting/cheaper and all the rest, but I’ve not had any experience of these.  I’ve also heard of special wiper blades which leave a thin trail of silicone across the glass each time you use the wipers, giving the same effect.  If you’ve got any experience of these product, feel free to get in touch – id like to see if a competitor has exceeded the yellow standard

Observances on Driving Technique.

I’ve noticed that round here, people seem to follow a very different highway code, that might perhaps confuse and scare the outsider, so here are some tips for those passing through the English Midlands this Bank Holiday Weekend.

1) When traversing a roundabout taking a right hand exit, be sure to position yourself in the left hand lane when entering the roundabout.

2) When driving be sure to drive up the middle so that you traverse the white dividing line.  This avoids the many potholes and will extend the life of your suspension. This also allows any unexpected bus to undertake you.

3) Indicator usage is frowned upon.  Their usage merely ruins the aesthetics of the vehicle. A crisp packet on the rear parcel shelf is an effective signal of your intentions.

4) When driving at night, be sure to use only your foglights.  If your vehicle does not permit you to use foglights without some other forward lighting, be sure to only use sidelights.

5) If you do not have foglights, kick out one headlamp (preferably on the drivers side) to give the impression to other motorists that you are a motorcycle who is staying within the lane. This will help keep the other driver alert when he approaches and realises that you are both on a collision course.

6) When turning right into a T-Junction, be sure to cross into the lane of any waiting traffic. This encourages other drivers to stay back from the white line and prevent them nosing out into traffic.

7) Queuing is for wimps. Be sure to cut in at the last second!

8) Posted speed limits are minimum targets.  If you fail to exceed this speed in the shortest possible time, you will be signaled by the neighbourhood traffic watch to get out of the way. 

9) Ensure that you do not give way to vehicles on your right when entering a roundabout.  Even if they’re on the roundabout.

10) Petrol Stations are starting to invest in ‘Pay at Pump’ technology.  This device allows outsiders to pay for fuel using pins and chips. You have no purpose being there – queue for your fuel using the other two pumps such that you may pay the attendant using paper money.  If this blocks the road, then so be it!  Also ensure that you use the pump on the opposite side to your vehicles fuel tank such that you spray unused fuel all over the floor.

Length does matter…

Annoyingly, I own the smallest large car going!  I have a Ford Mondeo Estate with masses of storage space in the boot, but frustratingly, I have a list of things that won’t fit in it, because I’ve tried it.

1) A divan bed,
2) A sofa,
3) A ladder.

In the same style as ‘will it blend’,  I feel a new Internet phenomena – Will it go in?  Attempting to insert large objects into the boot(trunk) of my car.

Driving me round the bend…

Tis the time of the year when I commence the watching of sport with the return of Formula 1 to our screens, and best of all it’s back on the BBC!  I’m looking forward to the beeb’s ‘new’ viewing experience, because as well as the obvious no adverts, there’s going to be lots of red button action, including the option of having an in-car feed and alternative commentary.  Plus the return of Martin Brundle and Ted Kravitz won’t make the transition too strange.  One disappointment this year is that there will be no HD coverage, but this is apparently more to do with FoM than the BBC.

I’m waiting to see the rule changes with trepidation – it worked quite well last year and was an exciting season, so I’m hoping that things won’t go too far awry with the new rules. 

Kers (Kitentic Energy Recovery System) – should be an interesting system to see – being able to have a ‘turbo-boost’ each lap, but with the added weight should make for interesting viewing.

Wings – the front wing now lower and as wide as the car have been fitted with adjustable ‘flaps’ to allow upto two adjustments per lap by the driver,  and the taller much narrower rear wing which will reduce the amount of wake might make cars more competitive.  It will be interesting to see how the diffuser argument pan’s out.

Slick Tyres – Finally, slicks reappear for dry races which should create more grip and give a more entertaining spectacle,  provided the teams can manage their tyres effectively.  The only disadvantage is that it will be more difficult to visually see the wear on the slicks compared to the grooved tyres of the last 11 seasons.

Management – FoM have really tried to reduce the cost of competing this year (Quantitative Easing anyone?) so have introduced a number of cost saving measures.  No ‘off track’ testing, 6 week factory shutdowns and the sharing of fuel and tyre data between teams will all help to save money and help the smaller guys compete with the big bucks teams of old.

My big fear is that they’re going too far with these cuts and turning it effectively into a 1 car formula, just with different stickers on each motor.  And part of the magic of F1 is the crazy technology that the brains behind the scenes come up with to eek out those few tenths of a second to get their guy a bit further up the grid.  Whilst the new season should open it upto the smaller guys (you only have to look at the speed from the Brawn GP team),  I really don’t want to see it ruined for the fans.  I don’t want it to become A1GP, because that already exists – F1 needs to remain the pinnacle of world motorsport and I hope this season will demonstrate that that mix of technology and team/driver skill still exists.

I’ll try and post some regular updates of how my Fantasy F1 team that we’re running here at George Road is doing – I suspect it may also be an also-ran, but I’ve hedged my bets a lot better this year.

And for future reference, the current F1 Calendar is as follows:-

Round Grand Prix Date Time (Local) Time (UTC) Laps
1 Australia 29 March 17:00 06:00 58
2 Malaysia 5 April 17:00 09:00 56
3 China 19 April 15:00 07:00 56
4 Bahrain 26 April 15:00 12:00 57
5 Spain 10 May 14:00 12:00 66
6 Monaco 24 May 14:00 12:00 78
7 Turkey 7 June 15:00 12:00 58
8 Britain 21 June 13:00 12:00 60
9 Germany 12 July 14:00 12:00 60
10 Hungary 26 July 14:00 12:00 70
11 European* 23 August 14:00 12:00 57
12 Belgium 30 August 14:00 12:00 44
13 Italy 13 September 14:00 12:00 53
14 Singapore 27 September 20:00 12:00 61
15 Japan 4 October 14:00 05:00 53
16 Brazil 18 October 14:00 16:00 71
17 Dubai 1 November 15:00 11:00 55

Good Luck Everyone!

A series of Unfortunate Events…

This is more of a thread of appreciation than anything else, but needs a bit of background filling.

Last Night going home I suffered a blowout on the motorway.  What happened was the flange or collar on the shock absorber that holds the spring in place appears to have broken, slipped or failed in some other way, causing the spring to drop a few coils down towards the wheel.  This in turn rubbed on the sidewall of the tyre causing it to wear down and eventually pop. 

Anyway,  thinking it was just a burst tyre, I phoned the AA to ask for their assistance (as I understand it, you’re not allowed to change the tyre on a motorway) and was advised that they’d be out within the hour.  30 minutes yerman in his yellow van turned up, and had the wheel changed within 10 min’s, despite his butt being just inches from the 40-ton trucks going past. 

Well, having got the car back to my office on the space saver (luckily it was thin enough to not rub),  our local company service centre was able to organise a tow truck to come and pick it up, and its now gone off upto Aldridge to get fixed, AND they were able to organise a temporary replacement vehicle.

So really this is just a small note of appreciation to both the AA and Interserve Site Services for their expert assistance in getting things sorted out for me!  Top Job Guys!

Love Is….

Over the Xmas Break, I fell head over heels for a new Woman.
She’s curvy, powerful, shapely, likes to go topless and is adorned in nice bits of bling.

Unfortunately, I’m unlikely to ever enjoy her, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’d really want to, because, like many things put up on a plinth – you’ll only ever be disappointed that she doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Plus, I’d look like an idiot travelling around with her.

She is the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder (LP560 2009 edition).

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Pure Class….