Barbara Terry is a female car expert with a charismatic personality

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Barbara Terry is a female car expert.  All You magazine

Barbara wrote a series of monthly Q and A Automotive columns for Mens Fitness Magazine starting in October 2006.

"BODY SHOP" answers your car queries - Men's Magazine March 2007 issue
by Barbara Terry

Q: Hey BT, other than slowing down, is there any way to drive with more fuel efficiency?

A: Going 55 mph as opposed to 65 mph can improve your gas mileage by up to 15%-but it's also for grannies. Luckily, there are less painful ways to save gas. For starters, make sure you switch out your filthy air filter every 15,000 miles- a simple five-minute procedure any dope can do himself could net you up to 15% better gas mileage.

Properly inflate all your tires and change any that are showing serious wear. Remove golf clubs, bowling balls, and road-kill corpses from your car, since transporting all that extra weight eats up gas. When you speed up and slow down, do so smoothly; punching the accelerator destroys fuel efficiency. (During long, flat drives, cruise control will improve mileage by mileage by about 10%.) And if you're stopping for more than a minute, turn off your car; idling wastes a surprising amount of gas.


"BODY SHOP" answers your car queries - Men's Magazine January 2007 issue
by Barbara Terry

Q: Hey BT, what do I do when my car starts skidding?

A: In general, there are two kinds of skids: oversteer, also known as fishtailing, when your back end flies out; and understeer, when you turn the wheel, but your car doesn't follow. If you fishtail, take your foot off the gas and turn the direction the backend is spinning.

If you understeer, pump the brakes-or, if you have ABS, apply even pressue- to throw the weight of the car onto the front tires, then reduce the angle of your turn. No matter how you're skidding, always keep your eyes where you want to be going…and wave to the kids you just narrowly avoided. Properly inflate all your tires and change any that are showing serious wear. Remove golf clubs, bowling balls, and road-kill corpses from your car, since transporting all that extra weight eats up gas. When you speed up and slow down, do so smoothly; punching the accelerator destroys fuel efficiency. (During long, flat drives, cruise control will improve mileage by mileage by about 10%.) And if you're stopping for more than a minute, turn off your car; idling wastes a surprising amount of gas.


"BODY SHOP" answers your car queries - Men's Magazine November 2006 issue
by Barbara Terry

Q: Hey BT, how do 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive differ?

A: The term 4-wheel drive means that all 4 wheels rotate with equal and proportionate torque on a stable driving surface.

There's full-time 4WD, which is self-explanatory, and part-time 4WD, in which only the front or back wheels are powered until the drivver manually engages the 4WD. In both cases there are two 4WD modes: "4-High" is what you'd use for everyday driving; "4-Low" creates much more torque but less speed, and it's what you'd typically choose for off-roading. All-wheel drive is much like 4WD without the off-road friendly 4-Low setting. Some cars have automatic AWD- also known as real-time AWD or active AWD- which is essentially 2WD until the car senses the drive axle has lost traction. At that point, all wheels turn until the car regains traction, and you cheat death. Again.


"BODY SHOP" answers your car queries - Men's Magazine October 2006 issue
by Barbara Terry

Q: How do I know whether to repair or scrap my jacked-up ride?

A: Unless you just watched the car burst into flames after it tumbled down a cliff, there's no easy answer. So first, figure out the car's approximate value at a site like kellybluebook.com. Then get a repair estimate and an idea of what could go wrong in the near future from an honest mechanic (good luck finding one).

Now do the math: If the repairs are going to cost more than your car is worth, pull the plug. If you've recently paid off your ride, a big repair bill may be better than four more years of monthly payments; if you're consistently dropping cash on repairs, that money may be better spent on a new car. And if your baby belches smoke, knocks loudly, slips gears, or jerks when you start it, you may be headed for a massive motor or tranny failure and a repair bill for thousands of dollars. The only solution? Sell the beater to your idiot nephew.



 

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