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My Car Lifestyle - Car Care

A place where you learn how to care your car.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When To Change Tyre

When To Change Your Tyre

A Michelin Man figure on the shoulder of Michelin tyres shows the location of the tread wear indicators situated in each of the main grooves of the tread.

These indicators are small raised areas at the bottom of the grooves of the tread pattern.

If the surface of the rubber is at the level of these raised areas, the tyre is most likely very close to the safe limit of 1.6 mm, or could even be below it! Use of worn-out tyres increase the probability of tyre failure, and in wet conditions can cause the tyre to lose traction suddenly. In most countries, it is illegal to drive with less than 1.6mm of remaining tread depth.
Taking care of your tyres with the Michelin Safety and Safety tips will not only guarantee your safety but also save your tyre life.

Safety And Safety Tips - Michelin 

MICHELIN Recommends

Make sure you not only select the right tyres, but also regularly maintain them to ensure they perform at their best.   


The part of your tyre that is actually in contact with the road is only about the size of a man’s hand. Your safety, comfort and fuel economy depends on that very small surface. It’s important because your tyres:
  • Are the only link between your vehicle and the road
  • Carry the entire weight of your car, a load of up to 50 times their own weight
  • Respond to driving inputs such as steering, acceleration and braking from the car to the road surface
  • Absorb every obstacle on the road


MICHELIN Recommends

Change your tyres before your tread depth is worn to 1.6mm. To make life easier, MICHELIN tyres are equipped with tread wear indicators situated in the base of the main tread grooves at the height of approximately 1.6mm.
Make sure to regularly check the tread depth of your tyres and replace them when they are worn. This will guarantee maximum traction and grip, helping you avoid any unpleasant surprises. Your safety depends on a good level of tread depth because:
  • The tread grooves disperse water from underneath your tyre, helping maintain control
  • The more tread depth you have remaining on your tyres, the more water you can 
    disperse and therefore reduce the risk of aquaplaning
  • Correct air pressure as well as regular vehicle maintenance will ensure your tyres
    perform at their best for the longest possible time
  • The tread grips to the road, affecting the distance you require for braking

MICHELIN Recommends

Check the pressure of your tyres, including your spare, monthly and before any long journey, preferably when your tyres are cold. If they are hot, it is advisable to add 4-5 psi (0.3 bar) to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.


Correct tyre pressure reduces the risk of losing control of your vehicle. It also protects your tyres from premature wear and irreversible damage to the internal construction. Tyre pressure can drop due to small perforations, the natural escape of air through the tyre's components or even from a decrease in ambient temperatures. So it is important to check it once a month, because:
  • Low pressure increases the risk of damage to your tyres
  • Excess pressure of 20% can reduce the life of your tyre by up to 10,000 kms
  • Correct tyre pressure will even save fuel

The recommended tyre pressure can be found:
  • In the User's Manual of your vehicle
  • On the labels on the side door beside the driver's seat
  • In the storage drawer near the driver's seat
  • On the inside of the fuel flap
But NOT on the tyre. The inflation pressure shown on the tyre sidewall is only the maximum tyre inflation pressure.

MICHELIN Recommends

Have your wheels balanced when a tyre is replaced, a balance weight is moved or removed or you purchase new tyres.
Michelin MN-12279 Digital Programmable Tire Gauge
Balancing helps prevent premature wear of your tyres and eliminates vibration. It also protects the suspension, steering system and bearings of your vehicle. A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. This will cause:
  • Uneven and rapid tread wear
  • Vibration
  • More stress on front-end parts
  • Front-end parts to wear prematurely

MICHELIN Recommends

If your tyre has come into contact with a solid object such as a curb or pothole or you have noticed uneven wear on your tyres please go to a Michelin store to have it thoroughly inspected.

 It is difficult to tell if your wheels and axles are correctly aligned while driving. But if your vehicle’s suspension geometry is incorrect, its road handling may be disrupted and your safety compromised. It’s important to ensure correct alignment to:
  • Get the best road handling
  • Protect your tyres from irregular and / or rapid wear
  • Save fuel

MICHELIN Recommends

For optimum efficiency, regularly check the pressure and condition of your tyres, especially during tyre rotation as many vehicles specify different pressure on the front and rear axle.

Rear wheels are not connected to your steering wheel, which makes it extremely difficult to judge their grip while driving. So for your safety, always fit new, or the least worn, tyres to the rear wheel positions to ensure:
  • Better control in emergency braking or tight corners
  • Less risk of losing control of your vehicle, especially on wet surfaces
  • Better road holding, particularly in difficult situations, whether your car is front or rear wheel drive

MICHELIN Recommends

Replace your valve every time you change your tyre. It’s an inexpensive way to protect your tyres, vehicle and yourself.

Valves and their components are ordinarily made of rubber, so they are subject to deterioration over time. Replace them when you buy new tyres. At high speeds, a cracked, deteriorated rubber valve stem can bend from centrifugal force and allow air loss. The valve cap is also important. It is the primary air seal and helps to keep out dust and dirt particles. You should check that your valves and valve caps are in good condition to:

MICHELIN Recommends

For a reliable diagnosis and guarantee of safety, call on the services of a professional.

When a tyre needs to be repaired, it is essential to have an authorized tyre retailer or technician remove the tyre from the wheel and inspect it from the inside. It is absolutely necessary because internal damage is not visible while the tyre is mounted to the wheel. A professional will: 
  • Verify the internal condition of the tyre, detecting any damage not visible on the surface
  • Ensure the correct methods and materials are used to repair the tyre
  • Ensure the tyre is refitted correctly, optimizing handling and comfort

Monday, November 26, 2012

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Contact Us

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Founder of webpage: My Car Lifestyle

Name: Kelvin Ang

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Voltage Stabilizers Can Increase Power And Torque - Fact Or Fiction

Voltage Stabilizers Can Increase Power And Torque - Fact Or Fiction

Testing By Scott Tsuneishi

Dear Import Tuner,
Voltage Stabilizers Raizen Unit
I'm writing to suggest a product for you to test in Fact or Fiction: voltage stabilizers. It seems like every JDM company makes one, but they never really explain how they work, just that installing them will make your car better in every way. But everyone online talks shit on them. Do they work? How do they work? Are they worth their price? 

-Jeremy Panza, 


If ever there was a mysterious area of vehicle functionality, it's a car's electrical system. Engine dynamics, suspension setup, brake sizing-even tuning-are easy to understand because we can feel, observe, and visualize what's going on. More displacement equals the combustion of more air and fuel for more power. Less body roll and a lower center of gravity bring better handling. Larger brakes mean more surface area to distribute heat and less brake fade. Pre-ignition alongside elevated exhaust gas temperatures? Add more fuel. Simple.
But such is not the case in the world of electronics, where everything happens at the speed of light, by subatomic particles that announce their presence only when shorting things out, or catching stuff on fire. Following suit are shady products promising to do great things for a car's electrical system. After all, if you can't tell how well something is working, you can't say for sure whether Company X's product doesn't actually make it better. But that's why we're here.

The Claim:

Voltage stabilizers can increase power and torque.

Voltage Stabilizers Installed On Car
This month, we put four of the market's most popular voltage stabilizers to the test. Not to be confused with grounding systems that supplement a car's OE battery and chassis grounds, voltage stabilizers-sometimes called "condensers"-attach directly to a car's battery at the positive and negative terminals, and purport to regulate the flow of electricity running from a car's battery to its electrical components, smoothing idle, improving output from headlights and audio equipment, increasing battery life, and improving combustion efficiency for increased power/torque and decreased emissions.
Voltage Stabilizers Baseline Dyno
The first thing to remember is that a car's battery acts like a big voltage stabilizer already. Electricity generated from the alternator is sent to the battery and electrical devices as needed. During periods of low electrical draw (headlights, audio, A/C off, for example), excess electricity generated by the alternator charges the battery rather than passing through the system. But when the demand of a car's electrical system outweighs what the alternator can generate (during low idle, and/or high electrical draw, for example), electricity is discharged from the battery in the amounts needed to pick up the slack. The problem is that a traditional lead-acid battery can't switch from charge to discharge rapidly enough to quell small-scale voltage fluctuations or electrical "noise" that can adversely affect a car's electrical components. The more advanced (expensive) batteries and electrical systems of newer cars can do a near-perfect job of stabilizing rouge current, but in any event-say the makers of voltage stabilizer kits-there's a lot to be gained by adding an aftermarket system of capacitors to the mix.
Our testing commenced with us strapping Elliott "Mr. Super Lap" Moran's new (for him) KA24DE-powered '95 240SX to the rollers of City of Industry, CA-based SP Engineering's Dynojet dyno, and performing several Third-gear full-throttle pulls, first as a baseline with no voltage system installed, then again with each of the four contenders in place.
  • Voltage Stabilizers Raizen Unit
  • Voltage Stabilizers Raizen Dyno
First up was the Raizin Pivot, whose Japanese-based manufacturer boasts the confidence to construct the product with transparent casing. Its design is simple: four capacitors to charge and discharge rogue electrical current faster than a car battery, some small-gauge positive and negative wiring, two replaceable fuses, and an LED to signify correct installation.
  • Voltage Stabilizers Buddy Club Unit
  • Voltage Stabilizers Buddy Club Dyno
Next up was Buddy Club's Racing Spec Condenser. From what we could see through the window in its casing, it's constructed much like the Raizin, but with larger capacitors and the addition of supplemental grounding straps.
  • Voltage Stabilizers Sun Auto Unit
  • Voltage Stabilizers Sun Auto Dyno
Our third and final Japanese contender was Sun Auto's venerable Hyper Voltage System, one of the first such kits on the market. It featured stainless covered copper wiring larger than any of the other systems, and a fully sealed module-great for keeping contaminants out, but not so great for serviceability or seeing how it works. Still, it returned the best peak numbers of the bunch.
  • Voltage Stabilizers Mystery
  • Voltage Stabilizers Mystery
Our "mystery stabilizer" (so named because it was donated for testing with no labeling of any sort), was the last to go under the microscope. Its aluminum heat-sink body is common to several brands, as is its Home Depot-esque black and red wiring. We won't speculate which brand we think it to be.
Voltage Stabilizers Plausible

The Verdict:

Each stabi-lizer brought slight increases to power and torque throughout the rev-range, and with the exception of the Raizin that lost a fraction of a horse up top, each system bumped up peak power and torque. But the amount by which power and torque increased-0.5 whp and 1.5 lb-ft of torque, on average-is low enough to be considered standard variance in back-to-back testing a 15-year-old car with an impressive history of check-engine lights. Still, based on the all-around performance of the Sun Auto unit and the low-end performance of the Buddy Club piece, and the fact that Elliott swears the Sun Auto unit actually makes his scratched, yellow headlights brighter, we have to concede that these things might be of some benefit after all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Put On a Body Kit

How to Put On a Body Kit

Body kits have soared in popularity in the past decade, and now it's hard to see a tuner car on the street without one. Installing a body kit correctly takes a little bit of work, but the results can completely change the look of your vehicle. In this case, the project vehicle is a 2010 Toyota Vios (Yaris Sedan) and the body kit in question is a GT Street from Thailand, but these tips are fairly universal for most vehicles.


    • 1
      Wash and dry the car using the car wash shampoo. Make sure the vehicle is clean, particularly the lower area where the body kit will be attached.
    • 2
      Apply rubbing alcohol to a paper towel and thoroughly clean the lower part of the front bumper. This is the area where the body kit will be attached. Repeat this process to the inside of the front lip of the body kit.
    • 3
      Hold the front lip onto the front bumper with the help of an assistant. Make sure everything looks like it will fit correctly and there are no clearance issues.
    • 4
      Apply a strip of the 3M automotive tape to the inside of the body kit. Don't peel off both sides of the tape yet, just make sure that the tape is securely on the body kit.
    • 5
      Peel back the second protective layer on the tape and with the help of an assistant, put the front lip onto the front bumper, being sure to keep it properly aligned, Once the kit is on, press it firmly into place with your hands so that the tape has a good chance to stick onto the bumper.

    • 6
      Repeat steps 2 through 5 on the rear bumper. The process is identical to the front bumper, just on the rear end of the car.
    • 7
      Clean the rockers of the vehicle that run along the side of the car using the paper towel and the rubbing alcohol. Repeat the process on the backside of the rockers of the body kit.
    • 8
      Check the fit of the rockers. They should fit snugly on the rockers.
    • 9
      Apply the double-sided tape to the backside of the body kit side pieces. Make sure it is firmly on the kit.
    • 10
      Peel back the double-sided tape and with the help of an assistant, apply the body kit to the side rockers. Make sure it is firmly pressed into place.
    • 11
      Drill two self-tapping screws into the corners of the rockers using a self-tapping screw and the drill with right angle attachment. You want to secure the body kit to the car through the fenderwell area.

Source of instructions: How to Put On a Body Kit |

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mazda3 2.0 Sport

Mazda 3 2.0 Sport

Mazda 3
Ah, it’s nice to see yet another C-segment competitor here in Malaysia. The new Mazda 3 was launched about a month ago by new Mazda distributors Bermaz, part of the Berjaya group. Although it has an all-new exterior and interior, the new Mazda 3 continues to ride on an adaptation of the old car’s platform. What kind of competitor is this new sporty-looking sedan and should you buy it? We find out after the jump.

Mazda 3

Mazda’s new front grille which features a rather large smiley is the first thing you’ll notice if you have the front of the car in view. The design is quite dynamic and has a little organic touch to it, looking more like a hybrid metal and organic alien lifeform rather than what we’re used to seeing, especially in the design cues of the typical C-segment sedan. And it’ s a very happy-looking one indeed.
The sporty stance is helped by the fact that it looks quite compact. The current pick of the crop best all-rounder Civic dwarfs the Mazda 3 in comparison, and this theme continues in the interior – it feels narrower than average and rear legroom is also quite limited. It’s going to be quite a tight squeeze in there if you have a tall person in the driver’s seat, and if that's the case functionally it’s going to be a 3+1 seater.
Mazda 3
Surprisingly the new Mazda 3 is one of the few modern cars who still provide some really nice soft padding on the dashboard, although its only in a majority of the surface and not everything, so that’s a nice touch. The seating position is slightly higher than a regular sedan’s so it depends on your personal preference whether you like this or not. Nevertheless when the situation comes, it helps with manoeuvring the car around tight spaces because you get to see the edges of the car more clearly.
Mazda 3
The entertainment system and steering wheel are chock full of various dials, buttons and other controls because the car is spaced quite generously, with a CD changer with USB and MP3 text support, and a trip computer with lots of useful tools such as service reminders, a dedicated odometer for maintenance tasks such as tyre rotation, rain sensor wipers, light sensor headlamps and etc. In other markets the multi-info display is available in full colour with integrated GPS navigation but in Malaysia it gets a regular monochrome display with a white backlight, which looks rather out of place in a sea of red on black displays.

Mazda 3
The 2.0 model has a two-tone dark grey and beige interior and a matching two-tone black and beige colour for the decent supportive leather seats (it seems that the leather is a RM2,800 option), which are done locally instead of coming together with the imported car. A quick chat with the Bermaz folks upon returning the test unit revealed that customers can customise the leather seat colour if they really want it, but it could cause delays in delivery time.
Some controls especially on the center dash area are just about above average in feel but the steering wheel controls and signal stalks feel very good and tactile, especially the switch-like controls on both sides. The steering wheel audio controls are quite complete with even a quick mute button to quickly silence your audio system for incoming calls.
There is a paddle shift function and the implementation is not the usual left to downshift and right to upshift, but instead both sides of the steering wheel provide the same upshift and downshift functions via pulling and pushing respectively. Manual shifting can also be done via the gear lever and I like that Mazda has implemented the “proper” way of pulling to upshift and pushing to downshift.
Mazda 3
Unlike the Focus which has the same powertrain, the Mazda 3′s transmission has 5 gears instead of 4 allowing for a bit more flexibility in choosing just the right gear to be in when you attack a corner, as there more ratios within a specific range. You won’t be forced to go in with an overly screaming engine, or too slow with the engine not in the powerband.
The Mazda 3 has bi-xenon headlamps, which means you get xenon headlamps for both the high beam and the main beam. Alot of car manufacturers only equip xenons for the main beam, leaving the high beam functionality to a regular halogen bulb. The default setting is pointed rather high so you may want to adjust this in order not to annoy other road users, but at the default, the cast of the beam is far, wide and bright. The 2.0 litre model also uses LED for the rear lighting instead of normal bulbs for the 1.6 litre.
Mazda 3
The 2.0 litre model produces 145 horsepower at 6,500rpm and 182Nm of torque at 4,500rpm. The test unit we drove probably had something wrong with the engine. The same engine is found in the Focus 2.0 and the previous Mazda 3 and it definitely did not feel the same. For the test unit, while the engine pulled strongly towards the redline, it was quite hesitant, a little rough, and there were little pockets of random torque dip on the way there. The engine had less than 5,000km on it so it could be something wrong with the run-in process? Any early adopters of the Mazda 3 here? How does your engine feel like?
In terms of ride comfort, it tackled road irregularities decently enough though the ride is slightly on the firm side.. Most bumps and rough roads can be felt but its nothing jarring, with the car soaking up some but not most of the vibration. It’s a trade-off for the sporty handling, though the steering and the way the 3 behaves as it slices through the bends isn’t quite as engaging as the Focus. Firm and planted but somehow not as fun, could be something to do with the high-ish seating position.
Mazda 3
There’s lots of grip and not much bodyroll though so it’s still enough to impress all but the most sensitive butt-o-meters who are fussy about how much the steering picks up everything it goes over. Although its platform-mate the Focus provides a more engaging drive together with the same engine, but the Mazda 3 holds its own quite well in that aspect. It can be used as a tool to enjoy the occasional B-road on the way back to the kampung, or just up and down for fun without any particular destination in mind.
Safety features include 6 airbags (all of them are for the front passengers), and anti-lock brakes. Sadly, no traction control! The remote control is able to control the car’s windows so that’s an added convenience, allowing you to pre-air the car after its been parked all day long on a hot day before you embark on your way home.
Mazda 3
So what kind of car is the new Mazda 3? It’s more of a niche product for someone who wants something that looks different and drives sportily enough. The car has little nice and friendly touches to it to remind you that you’re in something different, such as the center dash illumination that pulsates every time you change the volume, or the welcome and good bye messages that display on the multi-info display. Heck, you can even customise the volume of your turn signal indicators clicks! All these little things are nice touches and let you know you’re driving something out of the ordinary, especially at this segment. For those who want to move their family in comfort and want the most metal (equals to space) for their money, you’ll be disappointed with the smallish interior. It’s more of between the B and C segments.
At over RM131k (it’s apparently around RM133k now) it seems like alot of money to pay (probably because its fully imported, and even then word is that the introductory price is going to go up by abit!) but the 3 gives back to the buyer in terms of equipment level, though the cheaper but very well equipped 308 manages to do the same at a cheaper price. But that’s only for those who don’t mind a hatchback.
So what you’re paying for here is some exclusivity and a relatively high equipment level. Like I said, a niche product and a rather charming one at that, because based on my own personal needs I can’t bring myself to pay this price for a small interior.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Automatic Transmission Care

Automatic Transmission Care

All your automatic needs to stay healthy is a little preventive maintenance
By Peter D. du Pre

According to former Indy car mechanic Dave Bowman, regular fluid and filter changes are the key to keeping your automatic transmission trouble free.

Now employed as a car-care expert for Allied Aftermarket Division (suppliers of Fram, Bendix and Autolite parts), Bowman says that, ideally, the fluid and filter in the transmission should be changed every two years or 24,000 miles, particularly if the vehicle is over five years old. He points out, however, that many newer cars and trucks need scheduled service less often and some new vehicles have transmissions that need no service for the life of the car. He advises that all car owners check their owner’s manual to see what the service interval on their vehicle’s transmission is.

Bowman and other industry experts also warn that by-the-book service may not be adequate if your vehicle is driven hard, tows a trailer, goes off-road, or carries a camper. Under these conditions, changing the fluid and filter every 12 months or 12,000 miles is important because dirt and moisture buildup in the fluid can cause internal damage. Heat buildup can also be a problem. The harder the transmission works, the hotter the fluid gets.

According to Ron Sessions, author of the Turbo Hydra-Matic 350 Handbook (HP Books), the ideal operating temperature for transmission fluid is between 175 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Anything other than light-duty use will raise fluid temperature beyond this,” says Sessions. “Next to regular fluid and filter changes, installation of an automatic transmission fluid cooler can go a long way towards increasing transmission life, particularly if you tow a trailer.”
Sessions also said that regular fluids checks are very important.

“Checking transmission fluid is a bit different from checking engine oil even though both are checked by a dipstick,” said Sessions. “Engine oil is checked with the engine off, but transmission fluid is checked with the brake set, gear selector in Park, and engine running.”
For an accurate check, the fluid should be at operating temperature and the vehicle should be parked on a level surface. Sessions suggests driving for about 15 minutes to bring the fluid up to temperature before the check. Pull the dipstick out and wipe it clean, then reinsert it. The level should read between the ADD and Full marks. If it isn’t up to level, add fluid via the dipstick tube. To do the job yourself you’ll need a specially designed funnel (available at auto parts stores).
Different vehicles use different types of transmission fluid. The owner’s manual will tell you which type of fluid to use. Pour it slowly into the funnel, checking often to make sure you don’t add too much. Check the fluid at least once a month, topping off if necessary. If you are adding fluid on a regular basis, you’ve got a leak and should get the unit serviced.

Checks and changes of fluid are an important part of transmission care, but so are driving habits. According to Bowman, one common practice that really hurts the transmission is shifting from drive to reverse while the vehicle is still moving. Always make sure your foot is on the brake and the vehicle is stopped before shifting into reverse.

Manual down-shifting into low range can also be damaging. Many vehicles aren't designed for low range driving except under certain conditions. Check your owner’s manual.
Another habit that shortens transmission life is to park without using the parking brake. This is an especially bad practice when the car is parked on a slope since it puts all the vehicle’s weight on a tiny metal catch inside the transmission.