Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why An Electric Honda Civic Hyrbrid Is Better Than Using Alternative Fuel

Electric cars have been around for a long time. In the early 1900s, there were more electric cars than gasoline cars. This was because gasoline was very expensive. It was also difficult to start a gasoline engine; there was no key to turn and start the car like there is today. To get the car to start, you had to turn and turn a crank in front of the car before it would start.

Electric cars were popular, at one stage there alot of them being driven on the roads of the United States. This was because gasoline vehicles were very noisy and put out a lot of smoke. The cars either had no mufflers, or the mufflers were not very good.

Electric cars soon faded away. New ways to make gasoline were being discovered. The electric starter was invented, this started a car with a key instead of the crank. A gasoline car could travel further distances than the electric cars. Therefore, gasoline cars soon become the popular method of transportation. Now that there is push towards cleaner cars, electricity and electric cars are again being looked at as ways to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases from being released into the environment by gasoline.

Electric cars do not burn gasoline. They use electricity stored in batteries. In these electric cars, the battery is used to run the motor which then turns the wheels. It may take up to 12 or 24 batteries to power the car.

To charge these batteries, the car is usually plugged in at night. Some cars can plug into a regular electrical wall outlet. Other cars need a larger outlet, similar to one a stove may plug into. The electricity is then stored in the batteries in the car.

There are different types of batteries for different cars. Some batteries can be lead acid, like batteries found in a flashlight. Or they could be ni-cad (nickel-cadmium) like batteries found in a portable video game player -- only they will be much larger. Better batteries that can last longer and hold more energy are constantly being developed. Most electric cars should be able to travel 150 to 200 miles before needing to be recharged.

Car manufacturers and scientists are constantly coming up with new ideas and ways to run our vehicles in a cleaner, more environmentally friendly way. The production of the electric car is an exciting one that growing and is being embraced by more and more people every day.

Some Simple Ways To Save Fuel

Who would have ever thought that gas prices would almost triple in the last 4 years? When my family and I last moved, gasoline was around $1.39 per gallon. Today, we’re excited to find it for less than $3.50. Even though it’s high, it still isn’t at a record high when adjusted for inflation. Still, I’m looking for every avenue possible to save a couple of bucks at the pump.

Here’s a few things you and I can do to ease the pain at the pump:

1. Plan your route to maximize your RIGHT turns. Companies such as UPS and FedEx have discovered that planning their delivery routes to maximize right turns has lowered their fuel expense. Since drivers are able to make a right turn even if the stop light is red, maximizing right turns results in less idle time. When a vehicle is idling, it’s getting zero miles per gallon. We aren’t used to planning our routes as consumers, but altering this behavior can save quite a bit of gas.

Also plan your trips better by combining errands. Making unnecessary trips only wastes gasoline. So don’t drive unless you have to.

2. Use smooth starts and stops. You’re not at the Talladega 500. Unless you have a true medical emergency, jackrabbit driving only saves a few minutes anyway, but it costs you significantly more in fuel. Some experts say you can save up to 33 percent in fuel by altering this one behavior.

3. Keep it under 60, even on the interstate. According to the EPA, you can assume that each 5 mph. you drive over 60 mph. is like paying an additional 20 to 25 cents per gallon of gas. Wow!

4. Check your tire pressure every couple of days. If you drive with underinflated tires, it’s like running laps around a track while wearing 10 pound shoes. Underinflated tires can guzzle 4% to 10% out of a car’s potential gas mileage. Check inside your glove box, inside the door frame, or the owner’s manual for the correct tire pressure and remember that it may be different for front and rear tires. Check the pressure when the tires are cold. When you have to replace your tires, buy the set with the least amount of rolling resistance to further increase your fuel savings.

5. Go ahead and stop on those yellow lights. Research shows that drivers tend to stomp on the accelerator to get through a yellow light more quickly and this uses far more gasoline than idling at the light.

6. Drop some weight.
Every extra 100 pounds drops your MPG’s by a couple of percentage points. Those golf bags, tools, bowling balls, books, and other miscellaneous things you keep in the trunk are costing you big bucks.

7. Change those dirty filters. According to the FTC, changing your air filter alone could increase your miles per gallon by 10 percent.

8. Change your oil.
Dirty oil increases the resistance on the inside of your engine and more resistance equals poorer gas mileage. Use the lightest grade of oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. A multi-viscosity oil such as 5W30 can save gas compared with regular 30-weight oil because it creates less friction. The engine doesn’t have to work as hard.

9. Cars run more efficiently when they are kept in tune. It often makes sense to get them tuned more often than the manufacturer recommends. But don’t worry, you might can do some of the work yourself. For example, spark plugs can be easily checked and cleaned or replaced, and the simple act of pouring a bottle of fuel-injector cleaner in the gas tank every six months or so can help the engine maintain peak efficiency.

10. Coast whenever possible. Don’t accelerate up to a stop. Use gravity and inertia to help increase your MPG’s.

Are You Looking For A Used Honda Civic? Here Are Some Tips In Searching For Any Used Car

With new cars getting out of hand of the normal joe, consumers are now increasingly turning towards the used car market. However, used cars too are commanding a high price. You do have a vast range of used cars to decide from, as there are a very huge number of used car outlets all over.

However, buyers have to exercise caution while purchasing a used car, since the cars might not have been handled properly by the owner. You need to ensure that you are getting value for your money.

You may go through the tips mentioned here for the buyer of a used or new car.

Visit as many used car outlets as you can to look for the right deal.

Gather information on different cars and the concerned dealers. It is better to approach a reputed dealer from whom you can expect a fair deal.

The used car market is a buyer's market. So you can be prepared to be treated well. You may be offered special deals. You may be offered rebates, discounts and payments in installments, or even free service.

Scouring the used car market is an exercise in patience. You should not hurry your purchase lest you get a bad deal. There is a lot at stake for you, since used cars do not come cheap.

Plan your purchase in advance. The time factor is important in looking for the right car. Give yourself enough time before you close a deal.

If you are buying a brand new car, there is no need to worry about the wear and tear. The wear and tear factor is a major concern in the case of a used car. So, you need to take care on this account when you are scouting for a used car.

You can take advantage of the Lemon law, if you think that you have been sold a used car under a false pretense. The Lemon law (USA) protects you if your car does not work the way it should. The Lemon law may differ somewhat from state to state, but the underlying purpose is to protect consumer rights.

Another good suggestion is to buy a used car from a friend or acquaintance. You would be sure about the car and the way it has been maintained. Buying from dealers or an unknown person is always fraught with risk. Look around for people, who are selling not because their car is giving trouble, but for the reason that they are buying a new car.

Always inquire from friends who you know have purchased a used car. They may help you and guide you to the right outlet, if theirs had been a nice experience. They may also help you with the entire procedure. This will save you a lot of time and effort in locating the right place for used cars.

It is important to gather as much information as you can about different makes and models of cars. It is not necessary that you may find the car of your choice. You may have to settle for another make and model. The internet can help you in this regard. Go through the plethora of information available on different car companies and the models. You will find out the strong as well as weak points of each car. This can help you in making your mind up to the kind of car you should purchase. Some cars are known for problem suspensions or electrical systems. Buying such a car can have you spending extra on repairs.

It is a good idea to gather as much information as possible about your chosen car, there maybe common faults that you where not aware of previously, information is key. The more information you have the better well armed you are and the more successful you will be in buying your chosen car.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Civic's History Part 4


A revamped Civic lineup debuted for 1996. The new body featured larger light clusters fore and aft, a grille (chrome-accented on sedans) and a crisp character line that ran the length of the car. Hatchbacks now had the 103.2-inch wheelbase of the coupes and sedans, and overall length was up around 2 to 4 inches, depending on body style.

Sedans were again offered in DX, LX and EX trim levels. A new coupe, the HX, joined the DX and EX coupes. The HX coupe essentially replaced the VX hatchback, offering high mileage figures from a fairly powerful engine. The revised VTEC-E engine (now at 1.6 liters) in the HX put out 23 more horsepower (for a total of 115 ponies) than the previous version but now "only" scored mileage figures of 39 in the city and 45 on the highway. A gearless continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that promised seamless performance and manual-transmission fuel economy was introduced later in the year as an option for the HX. The hatchback lineup was trimmed down to two models, the CX and DX. A new 1.6-liter 106-horsepower engine that earned Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) certification powered the CX, DX and LX, and a slightly more powerful 127-horsepower VTEC-assisted version was found in the EX models.

Excluded from the redesign, the del Sol was now in its fourth year and got a host of tweaks to keep it current. The base model (S) got the new 1.6-liter 106-horse engine fitted to the new Civic, Si models got the beefier suspension of the VTEC, and all versions got a freshened front fascia.

In 1997, all Civics came with 14-inch wheels, DX models got full wheel covers, the LX sedan received air conditioning and, strangely, EX coupes with manual transmissions no longer had the option of antilock brakes. As this would be the last year for the del Sol, Honda made no changes.

Not much happened in 1998, save for new wheel covers, an exterior handle for hatchbacks and the addition of map lights.

A slightly revised front fascia and taillights, along with redesigned climate controls updated the Civic for 1999. A "Value Package" for the DX sedan debuted that included features that most buyers wanted, such as air conditioning, a CD player, power door locks, automatic transmission and keyless entry, at a substantial savings when compared to the separate option prices.

Midway through the year to the joy of pocket-rocket enthusiasts everywhere, the Civic Si returned, now in the coupe body style and sporting a potent 160 horsepower from its 1.6-liter VTEC engine. A firmer suspension, front strut tower brace, 15-inch alloy wheels wearing 195/55R15 rubber and four-wheel disc brakes completed the hardware upgrades for the Si. A front spoiler, side sills and subtle bodyside graphics set the Si apart from the other Civic coupes, and the standard equipment was generous and similar to that of the EX.

Other than the shuffling of paint choices, the Civic stood pat for the year 2000.

Current Generation

The biggest news is the availability of a Hybrid Civic sedan, which has a more powerful gas/electric powerplant system than in Honda's groundbreaking Insight. This environmentally friendly vehicle offers the room and comfort of a Civic sedan with mileage estimates of 46 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. Although Toyota brought out its four-door Prius hybrid a few years prior to this Civic's debut, Honda loyalists now have a practical hybrid they can call their own.

There are now three body styles to choose from: coupe, sedan and hatchback. Conservative styling for the sedan and a slightly more aggressive approach for the coupe help to differentiate these two body styles, while the hatchback presents a snub-nosed, city-car look. The hatch is only available as the sporty 160-horsepower Si, while the others are available in familiar DX, HX, LX and EX trim levels.

A more spacious cabin features Honda's trademark large, simple controls but greater use of hard plastic trim seems to indicate that the company may be resting on its laurels a bit.

The newest Civics ride on a stiffer platform that decreases chassis flex and thus provides better handling and increased crash protection. But to the chagrin of hard-core enthusiasts, Honda replaced the front double-wishbone suspension setup with a more space-efficient McPherson-strut setup, which isn't as easy to "slam" as the double-wishbone design. Steering now boasts a quicker ratio along with variable power assist, which makes parking easier while allowing more road feel and response during spirited driving.

Under the hood, the engine's size has been increased slightly (from 1.6 to 1.7 liters) to provide more torque, and transmissions were tweaked for improved shifter feel and greater efficiency.

The Civic's History Part 3


A sleeker and more powerful Civic lineup debuted in 1988. All Civics (except the CRX) rode on a longer 98.4-inch wheelbase. The CRX's wheelbase was increased to 90.6 inches.

A lower hoodline, increased glass area and lower wind drag were functional advantages of the sleeker body styles. A family of new engines complemented the stylish Civics. Power for the DX hatchback/sedan, new LX sedan and the wagon came from a 1.5-liter 16-valve engine that produced 92 horsepower. The base hatchback had a less powerful 70-horsepower version of that engine. The fuel-economy champ CRX HF had an eight-valve 62-horse version of the 1.5 that could go up to 56 miles on a gallon of gas. The standard CRX had the 92-horse engine. A high-performance 1.6-liter 16-valve engine that kicked out 105 horsepower was installed in the CRX Si and Civic 4WD wagon. All Civic engines were now fuel injected. Previously, only the "Si" models had the injection.

A double-wishbone suspension system was used at all four wheels. Inspired by Formula One race cars, this design promoted agile handling and a comfortable ride by precisely controlling wheel travel and keeping the tire's contact patch square to the road surface.

One model departed (the Civic Si hatchback), as a new one, the Civic LX sedan, was introduced. The LX loaded up a Civic sedan with features such as power windows, locks and mirrors; a tachometer; and intermittent wipers. U.S. production for the Civic began this year in Ohio, making it easier for Honda to satisfy America's appetite for its gem of a small car.

The Civic Si hatchback returned for 1989, now with a power moonroof and once again with the same potent engine (increased to 108 horsepower for this year) installed in the CRX Si and the 4WD wagon.

Revised bumpers and taillights identified the 1990 Civic. Hatchbacks received larger reverse (white) lights, and sedans adopted a horizontal taillight theme. An EX sedan joined the Civic family and took its place at the top of the sedan lineup. The EX had the Si's engine, 14-inch wheels and all the features of the LX (which now included cruise control). Four-wheel disc brakes appeared on the CRX as did a slightly revised dash-board (with softer corners and larger instruments) for all Civic models.

The 1991 Civics were virtually unchanged, and this was the last year for the spunky CRX.


Along with acquiring a more aerodynamic wedge-shaped body, the Civic was expanded in dimensions and trim levels for 1992. Wheelbases now measured in at 101.3 inches for the two-door hatchback and 103.2 inches for the four-door sedan. The wagon was dropped.

Trim levels for the hatchback included the CX, DX, VX and Si. The CX was fitted with a 1.5-liter 70-horsepower engine; the DX with a 1.5-liter 102-horsepower engine; the VX with a 92-horsepower 1.5-liter with variable valve timing tuned for economy (VTEC-E); and the Si with a 125-horsepower VTEC engine. The VX, which also came with lightweight alloy wheels, managed fuel economy figures of 48 in the city and 55 on the highway — nearly the same as the old CRX HF in spite of 30 more horsepower and five-passenger capability. Sedans came in the same trim levels as before: DX, LX and EX (which added a power moonroof to its list of standard luxuries). The DX and LX had the 1.5-liter 102-horsepower engine, and the EX sported the 125-horse 1.6 from the Si. A five-speed manual was standard across the board, and a four-speed automatic was optional on the DX hatchback and all sedan models.

The level of safety increased with the new Civic via a standard driver-side airbag for all models and standard antilock (ABS) brakes on the EX sedan.

A two-door notchback coupe, which shared its 103.2-inch wheelbase with the sedan, debuted for 1993 and was offered in DX and EX trim levels. The DX was outfitted the same as the DX hatchback, and the EX coupe had the same features as the EX sedan, including the 125-horse engine and power moonroof. An option package for the EX coupe added a passenger airbag and high-power stereo with cassette player. The EX sedan had a few more items added to its already generous standard features list, including air conditioning and the high-power sound system with cassette player.

Also this year, the del Sol debuted as a belated replacement for the CRX. Built on a wheelbase 8 inches shorter than a Civic hatchback's, the del Sol featured a removable targa-style top, a snug two-seat cockpit and one of two engines, either the 1.5-liter unit with 102 horsepower or the 1.6 sporting 125 ponies, depending on whether one chose the base S or more sporting Si version.

1994 brought safety advances and an LX version of the Civic sedan. A passenger-side airbag became standard on all Civics, and antilock brakes were now optional on the EX coupe, Si hatchback and LX sedan. The new LX sedan filled the gap between the basic DX sedan and loaded-to-the-gills EX. Power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; a tachometer; a stereo with cassette player; and 14-inch (versus the DX's 13-inch) tires were all standard on the LX.

On the del Sol front, a new model debuted called the VTEC. Named after its 1.6-liter DOHC engine that boasted a sizzling 160 horsepower, this del Sol came with bigger brakes, a firmer suspension and high-performance (195/60VR14) rubber. Apart from the addition of a passenger airbag, the rest of the del Sol line continued as before.

There were no changes for the 1995 Civics except on the del Sol models, which got a few improvements. Upgrades included standard antilock brakes for the VTEC, power locks for the Si and VTEC, and a remote trunk release for all trim lines.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Civic's History Part 2


A new, sleeker body and increases in wheelbase and base-model engine size marked the 1980 Civic. The wheelbase now measured 88.6 inches for the hatchback (the two-door "sedan" was dropped) and 91.3 inches for the wagon. All Civic engines now used the CVCC design; the base 1,335cc ("1300") engine made 55 horsepower, while the 1,488 ("1500") produced 67 horsepower. Three transmissions were offered: a four-speed manual (on base models), a five-speed manual and a two-speed automatic.

The Civic 1300 and 1500 came in base and DX versions, and the latter featured a five-speed manual, rear window defroster, intermittent wipers and a cigar lighter. The 1500 GL added radial tires, a rear window wiper/washer, tachometer, clock and bodyside moldings. The Civic wagon came in a single version that was tantamount to the DX trim level.

A four-door sedan debuted for 1981, as did a three-speed automatic transmission that replaced the primitive two-speed unit.

Rectangular headlamps and black bumpers appeared on the 1982 Civic. A new gas-sipping model, the five-speed "FE" (Fuel Economy) was introduced and was rated at 41 mpg in the city and 55 mpg on the highway.

The sporty new Civic "S" replaced the 1500 GL in 1983 and was fitted with a firmer suspension (with rear stabilizer bar) and 165/70R13 Michelin tires. A red accent encircled the S and set it apart from the other Civics.


The Civic grew up in 1984, not only in size, but also in terms of design sophistication. A new wheelbase of 96.5 inches represented an increase of 5 inches, making Civic four-doors and wagons identical to the Accord in this dimension. A new 1.5 liter-engine (formerly referred to as 1,500cc) with 12 valves (three valves per cylinder) and 76 horsepower was found underhood, except on the base hatchback, which had a new 1.3-liter 60-horse unit. Transmission choices were the same as previously: four- and five-speed manuals and a three-speed automatic. A revamped suspension, though no longer with an independent rear setup, offered a space-efficient design along with fine ride and handling characteristics.

The lineup consisted of three hatchbacks (base, DX and S), a sedan, a tall wagon and a new two-seater called the CRX. As before, the base car was fairly spartan. The DX came with the five-speed manual, bodyside moldings, a split/folding rear seat, rear window defroster/wiper/washer and tilting steering wheel. The S had sport seats, reclining rear seats and the same hardware upgrades, such as a rear stabilizer bar, as before. The sedan and wagon were again equipped similarly to the DX hatchback.

The new CRX was basically the Civic chassis under a sporty body. Two models were offered: the base CRX and the CRX 1.5. The chief difference between the two was that the base CRX had a 1.3-liter engine (which allowed the car to score amazing fuel economy ratings of 51 in the city and on the 67 highway) and the CRX 1.5 had the 1.5-liter engine. All CRXs had a two-tone paint scheme, comprised of White, Blue or Red with a Silver lower bodyside and bumper treatment.

A neatly chiseled exterior devoid of gimmickry, an intelligent interior design with supportive seats, large gauges and high-quality fit and finish made the 1984 Civic line attractive and an immediate success. Dealers would routinely have slim pickings on their lots, and, as a result, they didn't have to discount the cars too much, if at all.

Introduced in 1985, the hot-rod CRX Si came ready to run with a fuel-injected version of the 1.5-liter engine that pumped out 91 horsepower. Able to hit 60 mph in less than 9 seconds, the Si also boasted handling enhancements, such as 14-inch alloy wheels with 185/60R14 high-performance tires. A power sunroof was standard on the Si, as were a monotone paint scheme and sport seats.

A CRX HF (High Fuel economy) model replaced the CRX with the 1.3-liter engine. The HF had an eight-valve version of the 1.5-liter engine that produced just 58 horsepower but offered more torque and thus better acceleration around town. Mileage figures for the HF stood at 52 in the city and 57 on the highway.

The other Civics continued unchanged for this year, with the exception of the wagon, which, later in the model year, became available with four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. As the Civic's reputation for quality, clever engineering and steadfast reliability continued to grow, so did the little Honda's popularity, as sales figures that topped 200,000 annually attested.

Flush-mounted headlights made it easy to tell the 1986 Civics from the older models. Other changes included a four-speed automatic and an Si version of the Civic hatchback, the latter geared toward those who wanted the performance of the CRX Si but needed a four-seat vehicle. Other perks for the Civic Si hatchback included a removable glass sunroof, a full-width taillight panel and color-keyed front airdam and roof spoiler. The CRXs received the same updates as the other Civics, including the flush headlights.

For 1987, the four-wheel-drive (4WD) system for the Civic wagon was revised. "Real Time" 4WD automatically channeled power to the wheels that had optimum grip and did away with the driver having to decide (and then move a lever) if four-wheel drive was needed.

The Civic's History Part 1


Prior to 1973, Honda was a company known more for its motorcycles than for its cars, which were tiny two-cylinder 600cc runabouts. This changed when the Civic debuted for 1973. The Civic offered amazing space efficiency in a fun little car that achieved more than 40 mpg on the highway. Room for four passengers was quite a feat for a car that possessed such diminutive dimensions as an 86.6-inch wheelbase and 139.8-inch overall length. A small transversely mounted engine and front-wheel-drive layout (an arrangement that was something of a novelty to the American car market) and 12-inch wheels maximized interior room. Indeed, early ads for the Civic boasted that it had more passenger room than many larger cars. Two similar body styles were available, a hatchback and a "sedan." These Civics were identical, even the rear of the cars looked the same, except that one had a hatchback and the other had a small vertical panel that opened to allow access to the "trunk." The early Civic had a few style quirks, such as turn signal lights that looked as if they were added on after the car was already built and a bulging center divider in the grille. Standard equipment included power front disc brakes, vinyl seating, reclining bucket seats and a woodgrain-accented dashboard. The hatchback added a fold-down rear seat, an AM radio and cloth upholstery. Options were minimal, consisting of air conditioning, an automatic transmission, radial tires and a rear wiper for the hatchback.

A 1,169cc (or about 70-cubic-inch) inline four-cylinder engine motivated the first-year Civic and put out 50 horsepower. This was an impressive output when considered in terms of power per unit of displacement: The Civic had 0.71 horsepower per cubic inch. And with a weight of only around 1,500 pounds, a whole lot of power wasn't needed to propel the Civic. Transmissions offered included a four-speed manual or a two-speed "Hondamatic" automatic gearbox. An all-independent suspension made the Civic an agile econobox that could run circles around American-built competitors like the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega.

The Civic's base price was around $2,200 and Honda's early slogan, "It will get you where you're going," emphasized the practical and economical mission of the Civic and made no pretenses otherwise.

For 1974, the Civic's engine size grew slightly, to 1,237 cc and power went up to 52 horsepower. In order to meet the new 5-mph bumper impact standard, the Civic's bumpers grew, as did its overall length, which was now 146.9 inches.

The CVCC (or Controlled Vortex Combustion Chamber) engine debuted in 1975. Offered alongside the standard Civic engine, the 53-horsepower CVCC engine displaced 1,488 cc and had a head design that promoted cleaner, more efficient combustion. The CVCC design eliminated a need for a catalytic converter or unleaded fuel to meet emissions standards. (Nearly every other U.S. market car for this year underwent the change to exhaust catalysts and the requirement to use only unleaded fuel.) Due to California's stricter emissions standards, only the Civic CVCC was available in that state. A five-speed manual gearbox became available this year, as did a Civic station wagon (only with the CVCC engine), which had a wheelbase of 89.9 inches and an overall length of 160 inches. Civic sales topped 100,000 units for this year.

1978 brought slight cosmetic changes, such as a black grille, rear-facing hood vents (that replaced the sideways versions) and new turn signals. The easiest way to tell a '78 from an earlier example is to look at the front signals: Prior to 1978, they looked like foglights mounted in the Civic's grille, whereas in 1978 they were smaller and mounted under the bumper. The CVCC engine was now rated at 60 horsepower.

Apart from a minor increase in horsepower that brought the base engine to 55 horsepower and the CVCC to 63 ponies, little changed for the 1979 Civic.