How to Replace Your Lame Stock Brakes with Better Power Stop Brakes

Replace Your Lame Stock Brakes with Better Power Stop Brakes

I was getting that shimmy and shudder, with a dash of squeak.  Any time I hit the brakes, they would emit a pulsing throb, and letting off the pedal would introduce a squeak in similar rhythm.  It was time for some brake work, but instead of simple maintenance, I went for an upgrade.  With Power Stop Brakes.

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All the Tools I Want for Christmas

All the Tools I Want for Christmas

Look, I’m not saying you can’t send me Lego kits, G.I. Joe playsets, and Nerf guns, but the things I wanted when I was 8 aren’t the only things I want anymore.  And since I know none of you cheapskates are going to buy me a ’32 Ford or a BMW M1, here are some of the tools I’d like for Christmas, categorized by winter maintenance needs.

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Are Yellow Fog Lights Really Better?

Are Yellow Fog Lights Really Better?

In our bottomless search for automotive embetterment, we’ve discovered an interesting debate.  Well, interesting to us.  Not to boring people who don’t like cars.  It boils down to this: Are yellow fog lights better in poor weather?  Here in America, we’re about to experience a whole season or two of poor weather (if this stupid summer ever decides to die), so we thought we’d take a closer look at this optical sorcery.

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How to Pick The Right Color Optima Battery

Optima Batteries are the first major overhaul of automotive power cells since they were invented way back in the dark ages.  They’re more stable at extreme temperatures, have a much longer lifespan, and are extremely vibration resistant, thanks to their unique AGM composition, which also gives them the appearance of six-pack holders.  Which would be a pretty cool promotional idea for Optima.  Anyway, we’re getting off track.  Optimas come in three colors of top and two colors of case, and it can all be a little confusing if you’re new to the brand.  So here’s a quick and easy run down of each type of Optima battery, and which color would suit your vehicle best.
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Fix Your Car’s AC Already

Fix Your Cars AC Already

Summer brings a host of enthralling activities.  Vacations.  Theme parks.  Beach volleyball in Kansas.  And my personal favorite, complaining about how often the sun tries to kill me.  Maybe it’s because I’m a certified ginger, and we’re scientifically known to be more sensitive to heat and cold.  Maybe it’s because I’m bitter about losing the three months of total freedom I loved so dearly as a child.  Or maybe I’m just tired of walking around with 48 active mosquito bites, a patch of poison ivy, three forms of sunburn, and a constant layer of sweat.  Like I’m sitting in a cup of coffee.  But I just made summer a little more survivable when I fixed the air conditioning in my 19-year-old car.  And I did it on the cheap. Continue reading “Fix Your Car’s AC Already”

Making Good Choices: A Bogus Mods PSA

Bogus Mods: The Electric Supercharger

We live in an age of wonders.  Technology surrounds our lives, enriching us, educating us, and most importantly, making our slow cars faster.  With a simple modification or two, we get instant performance.  But not every mod works, and some parts that say they’ll improve your performance actually harm it.  We care about you, and we only want the best for you.  So it’s time to have a talk about bogus mods.  Here are a few worthless “upgrades.”  Just say no.

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Honda CRX: From Beater to Project

1987 Honda CRX Si

I stood in the tiny gravel lot behind my apartment building, staring in appalled disgust at my 2002 WRX wagon, my dream car.  My dreams were dead.  The wagon had betrayed me, locking its engine, and I was so broke from the previous repairs that I couldn’t afford to fix anything else.  I would have to sell it.  The next few days were raw, desperate, and depressed.  I needed a car.  Through red-rimmed eyes I scanned Craigslist, looking to replace my car not with another WRX, that was out of the question, but with another copy of the best car I’ve ever owned: A 1990 Honda Accord Coupe with a manual.  Those had been the good days, when the most work a car had needed was an oil change or new brake pads.  But I found nothing.  All Accords were either carbureted, out of my price range, or worse: automatic.  I was downgrading, not retiring, and the last thing you need when you’re depressed about losing a car is to drive an automatic.  As the days passed, I broadened my search.  Anything.  Nothing.  Then I found a car.  A temporary car.  A beater, to get me through a financial rough patch.  And now I want to keep the little punk forever.  What happened?  How did I get here?

Sometimes love takes time. Continue reading “Honda CRX: From Beater to Project”

AutoModding your 2015 Mustang: Power Programmers

2015 Mustang

Here’s how this works.  Your 2015 Mustang, as you probably know, is fuel injected, which means there’s an electronic system, a computer function of your ECU, that detects how much fuel you need and injects it into your engine.  Ford put these programs, called fuel maps together in order to give you the most power they could while remaining efficient, keeping your throttle comfortable, and balancing many other factors that make a car meet environmental regulations and help it remain accessible to the average American carbuyer.

But you only really care about the first of those factors: Power.  Performance.  So you want to adjust that computer to give you the most performance you can get within the reliable parameters of your engine.  That’s what a power programmer will do for you.  They’re safe for your engine, extremely easy to install, and provide measurable results.  You have two brands to choose from when plugging into your 2015 Mustang: DiabloSport and SCT.  Each has two different tuners, so we’ll break each down to help you make the right decision, and we’ll start with the big guns. Continue reading “AutoModding your 2015 Mustang: Power Programmers”

AutoMods 2005 Nissan 350Z: Better Handling and Brakes

This week in AutoMods, we’re modding our first ever user-submitted car.  Because we chose it, the guy who suggested it won $100!  You could win a hundred bucks, too.  Just drop your suggestions in the comment section.  Details below.

2005 Nissan 350Z - Before Mods

To be honest, sports cars aren’t even about power.  The most important characteristic of a sports car is cornering.  Power comes second.  The more power you can pack in while maintaining that cornering ability, the better, but once you lose control, you lose a significant aspect of the sports car identity.  As a GT car, the Z has more power than smaller sports cars like the Mazda MX-5 or the Pontiac Solstice, and on Tuesday we added even more with a few simple mods.  Now it’s time to make sure this thing can still take a corner.  Soon we’ll have your Nissan 350Z handling like it’s on rails. Continue reading “AutoMods 2005 Nissan 350Z: Better Handling and Brakes”

AutoModding More Power for your 2005 Nissan 350Z

2005 Nissan 350Z - Before Mods

This is our very first reader-submitted AutoMods vehicle.  We gave a guy named Kevin a HUNDRED BUCKS for suggesting it.  Drop your own suggestion in the comments below and you could be next!

Ever since the Nissan 240Z rolled out of Hiratsuka back in 1969, the Z has been synonymous with Nissan sports car performance.  The old Z had four-wheel independent suspension, rare in that day, twin side-draft carburetors and a curb weight of just 2,301 lbs.  The 2.4 liter straight six cranked out 151 hp, which was far less than the Mustangs and Camaros of the day, but plenty enough to get the featherweight up to 60 in 8 seconds.

The 240Z became an instant classic and the Z hung on through the decades, flanked at different times by different numbers and letters, but always retaining the principles of a fun, surefooted, tossable sports car.

The Nissan 350Z coupe debuted in June of 2002 and ran until 2008, when it was succeeded by the 2009 370Z.  By the time it completed its run, the 350Z’s VQ35HR V6 made 306 horsepower.  But in 2005, the 3.5 V6 that gave the 350 its name, this one the VQ35DE, was only firing out 287 horsepower and 274 lb-ft of torque.  The car had also become significantly heavier than the old 240, at 3,339 lbs, but in this millennium, what car isn’t too heavy? Continue reading “AutoModding More Power for your 2005 Nissan 350Z”