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February 2010


Buying a Used Hybrid Vehicle

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CarbuyingFIX Don’t have the green to go green with a new hybrid car? Buy it used! As the first generation of hybrid vehicles has made its rounds, you may have some questions when buying a used one. Here are a few things to remember when shopping for a used Hybrid.


Get it Inspected!
First, run a vehicle report, like CaFax on any used car you are planning on purchasing. Reports like these can give you insight into how many different owners the hybrid car has had, and alert you to any past accidents or damage.

If you're not buying from a dealer it’s a good idea to have the hybrid inspected by a dealer or an auto shop. Tell the dealer you are considering buying the car and would like a pre-purchase inspection. It will cost a little money for an inspection, but it's money well spent.


Low mileage on a used car is generally better than high mileage. Less mileage tends to mean less wear on the hybrid’s components. Just because a hybrid has high mileage on it, doesn’t mean you should be scared away. So far used hybrids have been as reliable as their non-hybrid counterparts.

Batteries and Used Hybrid Cars
One of the biggest concerns relating to buying a used hybrid car is the battery. Each manufacturer has different warranties for their hybrid components, varying from 8 year/80,000 miles for Honda, to 8 year/100,000 miles for Toyota.

Replacing a hybrid battery after the warranty has expired could cost $2,000 - $3,000. Prices for hybrid batteries will likely come down as more hybrid cars are on the road, and as battery technology improves.

Click here for more used car buying tips at Road & Travel Magazine


Jump Into Spring with Healthy Homemade Cleaners!

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Cleaning with homemade materials isn’t just good for your wallet; it’s good for your health and the environment as well. Average household cleaners are filled with toxic chemicals that create harmful fumes, cause indoor pollution and even cause chemical burns. With just a little work and knowhow, you can create healthy safe cleaners that work just as well as the nasty chemical ones!

1. Tiles

-Baking Soda and Water:Dust surfaces with baking soda, then scrub with a moist sponge or cloth. If you have tougher grime, sprinkle on some kosher salt, and work up some elbow grease.
-Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Got stains, mildew or grease streaks? Spray or douse with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit a few minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.
-Disinfectant: Instead of bleach, make your own disinfectant by mixing 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil. It's easy!

2. Windows and Mirrors  

-White Vinegar, Water and Newspaper: Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.
If you're out of vinegar or don't like its smell, you can substitute undiluted lemon juice or club soda.

3. Carpets
-Club Soda: You've probably heard the old adage that club soda works well on carpet stains. But you have to attack the mess right away. Lift off any solids, then liberally pour on club soda. Blot with an old rag. The soda's carbonation brings the spill to the surface, and the salts in the soda thwart staining.
-Spot Cleaner: Make your own by mixing: 1/4 cup liquid soap or detergent in a blender, with 1/3 cup water. Mix until foamy. Spray on, then rinse with vinegar.
-To Deodorize: Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the carpet or rug, using about 1 cup per medium-sized room. Vacuum after 30 minutes.

4. Plumbing Problems

Baking Soda and Boiling Water: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the problem drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. If that isn't doing it for you, chase the baking soda with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover tightly, allowing the vigorous fizzing of the chemical reaction to break up the gunk. Then flush that with one gallon of boiling water.

5. Hardwood Floors

Vinegar: Whip up a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces of warm water. Put in a recycled spray bottle, then spray on a cotton rag or towel until lightly damp. Then mop your floors, scrubbing away any grime.


Click here for more green product articles at Road and Travel Magazine

Source: The Daily Green



New Car Review: 2010 Chevrolet Equinox

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By Bob Plunkett

Just west of Detroit on rolling terrain dented by glacial lakes, we're scooting along two-lane Michigan 36 from Stockbridge to Pinckney in the driver's bucket of the new 2010 Chevrolet Equinox

Stretching more than 15 feet long and six feet wide, the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox wagon rides on a stretched platform with two doors on each flank of the elongated cabin and a hatchback lid at the tail.

Chevy Chrome-coated block letters mounted on the lip of the tailgate identify Chevy's new crossover utility vechicle as the E-Q-U-I-N-O-X, a word referring to that moment in spring and fall when day and night are equal and the world is in perfect balance.

This theme of equilibrium applies to Equinox the Chevy CUV because it strikes a balance as a car-based vehicle which resembles a sleek sport utility wagon but functions like a family-friendly minivan and drives like an easy-riding sedan.

It blends the best traits of a traditional SUV -- such as the tall stance and spacious cabin with flexible seating and generous cargo capacity -- with favored traits of a tightly constructed sedan, as it's easy to enter the low-rise cabin, easy to maneuver the vehicle around town in traffic and easy to park it on a crowded lot.

The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, completely redesigned with a choice of two new fuel-thrifty engines, also adds FWD or AWD options.

We steered both FWD and AWD versions of the 2010 Equinox on twisty two-lane roads skirting Michigan lakes and find sure-footed traction along with a comfortable ride quality.

Chevrolet establishes MSRP figures as low as $22,450 for Equinox LS FWD and $24,200 for Equinox LS AWD.


Click here for more information about Chevrolet vehicles.


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New Car Review: 2010 Lincoln MKS with EcoBoost

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By Bob Plunkett


When you plant your foot hard on the go-pedal of the new 2010 Lincoln MKS this sleek machine races down long straights and seems like it's about to fly off the runway.


Lincoln And the new optional twin-turbo V6 -- promising the fuel economy of a V6 but pumping the power and torque of a big V8 -- is labeled the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.


That's quite a kick for a plush luxury sedan stuffed with high-tech controls and fancy cabin appointments. MKS measures up as a four-door sedan with a generous passenger compartment that's large enough to carry five adult riders in luxurious comfort. The 2010 Lincoln MKS looks elegant and classy in a bold design for the body.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the V6 come in at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for MKS FWD and 16/23 mpg city/highway for MKS AWD.

The spec sheet for MKS 10 lists lots of active and passive safety equipment. Passive devices include smart dual-stage frontal air bags for front riders, plus seat-mounted side air bags up front and curtain-style side air bags front and rear.

The price points for the 2010 MKS begin at $40,870.


Click here for more information about Lincoln vehicles

Click here for more new car reviews at Road & Travel Magazine.