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Infactual Articles » Cars & Autos


Archive for the 'Cars & Autos' Category

Why Donate Your Car to Charity?

Posted in Car Donations on May 4th, 2007

Although most charities receive cash donations, the number of car donors has been steadily increasing through the years. Most car donors opt to donate their old cars instead of selling them since the resale value of their cars are way lower than they expect. Also, it can be hard to find buyers. Donating your car does not only give you a feeling of altruism and self-accomplishment (for being able to help others); it also earns you great tax deductions.

Giving your car to charity may generate more value than selling it at a really low price and is far more practical than just not using it. Through the years, people have been increasingly aware of the benefits that they can get from giving to charitable institutions. Donating used cars may solve the problem of getting rid of old cars.

It is common to have your old car appraised for less than its expected market value. Even if it gets a high resale price, chances are that only a handful might consider the possibility of buying it. Donating your car to charity proves to be a better option since it generates more value, especially since it is tax deductible.

When you donate your car, the charity you have chosen is responsible for the tax vouchers needed. It also saves you the hassles of having the car appraised, looking for buyers, or paying for car repair charges that often come with older cars. Also the cost of maintaining a used car may be far greater than just having it stored in your garage or a lowly parking lot. Cars that have seen the light of day, so to speak, usually entail more repair costs than you intend to spend on them. To save you the trouble of constantly paying these costs, it is better to consider donating the car instead.

There also have been cases when stolen cars retrieved by the owners are donated simply because the cars no longer “feel the same.” Donating to charity makes the donors feel more fulfilled since they feel that they have improved the lives of people who are in need. Being able to help and eventually make a difference in their lives may be reason enough for others to donate their cars.

How to Donate Your Automobile to Charity

Posted in Automobile Donation on May 4th, 2007

If you are ready to get rid of an old car, why not donate it to charity? You may help a person in need and even apply for a tax deduction. Most donated automobiles go to non-profit charity organizations and these benefiting groups usually will take care of all the cumbersome paperwork. Usually the automobile is then auctioned off, the proceeds going to the charity. Not only is donating your used car a smart, financial choice, but you can help out the community too.

Here are some tips for donating your vehicle.

First, find a charity that accepts automobile donations and avoid for-profit charities, as their integrity is more questionable than non-profit charities. Even the most reputable agencies often keep up to 50% of the value of your donation for internal needs – some keep as much as 90 to 100%. If you have a favorite charity or if there is an organization you’ve donated to in the past, find out if they have an automobile donation program. Make sure the charity that you donate to is worthy of your donation.

Also, when donating a car, make sure to minimize the costs this may incur on the charity group. Drive the car to the destination yourself – don’t require it to be towed.

Next, if you are using an intermediary agency to process your donation, research the percentage amount that it will scrape off of the funds that will finally end up with the charity. Try to find a “middleman” that only asks for a small percentage. Many non-profit groups are afraid to criticize agencies that process donations because they understandably don’t want to lose money. State attorney generals frequently investigate these agencies for fraud and deception, but you must do your part to make sure they are legitimate.

Lastly, it is time to transfer the automobile to the charity! Some organizations will ask you to leave the ownership title blank, as they don’t wish to re-title it just yet. This is not a good idea – because in this scenario, you can then be liable for any parking violations or crimes that are committed with the car.

Donating an automobile is beneficial to both you and your community but it is a task that must be taken seriously.

How Drug and Alcohol Testing are Carried Out on Drivers

Posted in Drug and Alcohol Testing on May 4th, 2007

Drug and alcohol tests vary – testing is required for most driver’s license applicants and before a driver’s license renewal. Nevertheless, it depends on the state a driver resides in really.

Some states have passed laws that empower the police to randomly test drivers for the presence of cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol), commonly known as marijuana, and methamphetamines, commonly known as speed ice or crystal meth. Even a driver’s saliva can be tested with an “absorbent collector” – whereby an individual presses their tongue to a “collector” and then chews on it. If a driver tests positive for any of these drugs, their license is immediately cancelled.

“Drug driving” is the term used for those who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. There are different consequences for those guilty of “drug driving” that depend on precisely what substances were in their system at the time.

Also, “drugs” has a different connotation to authorities than they would to let’s say, a pharmacist. When a police officer thinks of drugs, he means depressants like cannabis, methadone and heroin, stimulants like speed, cocaine and ecstasy, and hallucinogens such as LSD. Even so, there are some prescription drugs that affect driving, like tranquilizing drugs (rohypnol and oxazepam), which cause drowsiness and render a person unfit to operate a vehicle.

Surveys show that the number of road accidents is directly related to the amount of drivers under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol on the road. And sadly, a large number of those who are involved in accidents due to “drug driving,” die. Some studies show that because the prevalence of different drugs has increased over the decade, so has the number of car accident casualties.

While it is easy to correlate drug use with motorist deaths, there is not a cause-effect relationship that can be proven as of yet but it is still interesting to note. And clearly, a diver who is free of drugs and alcohol is a safer driver than a driver under the influence. Legislators have the responsibility of carefully designing laws that limit “drug driving” and ultimately, the number of dangerous and fatal car accidents.

A person’s capacity to handle the effects of drugs and alcohol certainly play a role in determining the degree of impairment they will experience while on the road. But this is very difficult to determine, as a person’s tolerance of various substances is based on many different factors, like genes, past exposure, and even their diet that day. Likewise, the specific combination of drugs and alcohol can have unpredictable effects on a person. Essentially, it’s all a precariously inexact science.

Hence, police officers must make general observations in order to determine if a driver is a potential threat on the road. Those abusing depressants tend to have slow reactions and reduced concentration – for example, cannabis users usually have trouble keeping their car in the correct lane and encounter difficulty maneuvering on busy roads and intersections.

Getting Discounts From Your Auto Insurance Company

Posted in Auto Insurance on May 4th, 2007

Let’s face it an auto insurance company is a business that is created to make a profit and if we are not careful we might end up paying super high premium rates when we could have paid much lower premiums if we only did some research.

Here is a list that I hope will help car owners in lowering their premium rates:

• Safety devices against car thieves

Who would ever think that theft devices are valuable not only in guarding your car against thieves, but also in lowering your premium? Theft devices come in various types. Some are automatic while some need to be manually operated. All these theft devices provide extra premium discounts. In some states window sketching may also be a source of additional premium discounts.

• Multiple car discount

Let us say that you have two cars (for the sake of the illustration) that you want to insure with an auto insurance company. Usually you have to pay separate premiums but did you know that you could actually save a great deal on the premium that you will be paying for your second car? How? Consult your insurance agent to help you.

• Choose Yearly Renewable Auto Insurance Policies

Purchasing a yearly auto insurance policy will provide you with greater savings since the premium rate is fixed for one year compared to buying a six-month policy which changes rates every six months. If you purchase a six-month policy the premium you paid on your first semi-annual premium will not be the same as your second annual premium payment. So instead of saving, you tend to pay more for the same amount of benefits.

• Comprehensive storage coverage

The comprehensive storage coverage is ideal if you are thinking of storing your car for a period of time. It is a great savings idea to keep only the comprehensive coverage during the time you store your car since other coverage will not be required. A car in the garage is unlikely to get into a collision thus it will not require liability coverage.

• Mileage

The mileage that your car travels everyday has a significant effect on the premium rate that you are to pay since the mileage will determine the particular class in which your car belongs. Each class has a different premium rate.

• Organization affiliation

There are many auto insurance companies that offer a discount for being affiliated with certain organizations. These organizations may range from credit unions, college sororities and fraternities, or just having a certain credit card may also earn you a considerable discount on your premium. To be sure, call your service center and ask them for a list of the organization affiliations that they accredit, the same goes with the credit cards.

• Defensive driving course

Some auto insurance companies provide considerable discounts simply by attending defensive driving courses. For more details just check with your state insurance commissioner or you insurance company to see if you qualify and also to inquire on their accredited driving centers.

Custom Chopper Kits

Posted in Custom Chopper Kits on April 12th, 2007

Choosing the parts that your custom chopper will be made of can be very confusing, considering the large numbers of custom chopper bike kits available on the market today. Chopper innovators like Biker’s Choice, Phantom Cycle, Paul Yaffe and many more sell chopper-in-a-box kits available for chopper enthusiasts. Thanks to these kits, custom choppers have become quite affordable and are no longer necessarily toys for millionaires or master mechanics.

Custom chopper kits provide the future chopper owner with all the instructions and just about every component necessary to create a perfect chopper of ones dreams. Jesse James, famous for his Discovery series “Monster Garage”, offers a Big Book catalogue loaded with individual parts and accessories needed to create a fully custom bike with truly unusual frame configurations and groundbreaking metal sheet parts as seen on his TV show. However, the most exquisite details, such as an unusual tortoiseshell finish of the gas tank, can be obtained in your custom chopper only if you have your chopper built from scratch by Jesse himself.

Before you start building your custom chopper you need to ask yourself what kind of chopper are you interested in building. Then you have to set up a budget for parts, labor and inevitable cost overruns. The price of the parts has scared many chopper enthusiasts from building a custom chopper of their own, but if you have exact specifications and the time and skills to invest into the project, then parts can be fairly inexpensive. If you choose the parts for your kit at the lower end spectrum, you will still end up with bike that will look like a Jesse James creation but will still have enough money left to throw a party when your new chopper leaves the garage.

When you select the parts for your custom chopper kit, try to use the most genuine parts available on the market within your price range. Sometimes even if you have a beautiful design in-mind, you can end up with poor-looking chopper, due to a lack of attention to detail by different suppliers

Complete custom chopper kits typically consists of an engine, chassis kit, exhaust pipes, tires, steel tanks and other metal parts, taillights, various controls, a seat, headlamp and many more. The extras supplied with a chopper kit would vary depending on the brand of chopper chosen. To finish your project, you will need paint and sometimes battery acid. Most chopper kits do not provide mirrors, speedometers or other accessories. These you can buy separately according to your taste.

To avoid unpredictable result, experienced chopper builder recommend waiting until you can afford buying all the accessories from one manufacturer. Waiting may not be easy when it comes to building your dream come true. But when you finally complete your custom chopper, you will be really glad you waited.

Choosing the Best Auto Insurance Company

Posted in Cars & Autos on September 29th, 2006

Choosing the right auto insurance company is very important since they will be the one to help you settle any auto related mishaps in the future. Auto insurance companies follow a basic set of benefits which they provide their policyholders. They only differ in the premiums. There are auto insurance companies that offer exorbitant insurance premiums and there are also those that offer affordable premiums. But just how can you know that the auto insurance company you have chosen is a reliable company?

A reliable auto insurance company is one that has a good reputation of paying or settling claims in the fastest time possible and pays the correct amount of claims. To check on your chosen auto insurance company you may visit your state’s department of insurance web site. You may not be aware of this but every state has its own department of insurance. Nowadays, most of these departments have their own web sites which display consumer complaint ratios of all insurance companies that sell in their state. These ratios will tell you just how many complaints each of the listed car insurance received per one thousand claims filed.

The complaint ratio will provide you with a gauge on which car insurance to choose. Likewise, out of the list of your chosen car insurance you may be able to also get the company that offers the lowest premium quotes. But make sure that your chosen car insurance company has one of the least ratios of complaint. The car insurance that ranks on both lists should merit your strongest consideration.

The next step is to find out which body shops are recommended by your chosen car insurance. Take note of the locations of their accredited body shops. See if there is an accredited shop that is in your area. If they have one in your area so much the better but you still have to check on the auto body shop to see if it has all the necessary auto repair equipment and machines that can effectively answer any auto repair that you may be requiring in the future.

After checking on the auto body shop and you need to ask them about the insurance company that accredits them. They will either give you a positive feedback or a negative one. Lucky for you if it’s a positive remark since this will mean that you have finally found the auto insurance that you want. However it is not yet the end of your search since there are still other factors you have to look into.

Additional information on the auto insurance company that you are considering may be found on the J.D. Power and Associates website. This organization is known to collect data from individual policyholders nationwide and asks these same policyholders to rate their auto insurance company according to coverage options, price, claims handling, satisfaction with representatives, including the overall experience that they have with their respective auto insurance companies.

Another factor for you to look into before you finally settle and pay your very first premium is the financial strength rating of the auto insurance company that you are considering. You may take a look at the A.M. Best and the Standard & Poor’s ratings. These two companies are known for publishing financial strength ratings of all insurance companies. The financial strength of an auto insurance company will determine its capacity to pay or to settle claims. Auto insurance companies that reflect a very low financial strength ratio would mean they do not have the capabilities of settling claims and therefore should not be chosen.