Category: Automotive News

Considering an Alternative Fuel Vehicle In Monument?

There is a clear and vocal demand in Colorado Springs and nationally for a reduction in air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. This is what is driving the Colorado market for alternative fuel vehicles. There are a number of these vehicles on Monument area roads today, and many more being developed. Yet each of these vehicles has its own advantages and disadvantages. Colorado Springs auto owners should learn what these advantages and disadvantages are before running out and purchasing one of these alternative fuel vehicles at your nearest Monument dealership.

Monument motorists should carefully research the car care before buying an alternative vehicle, as it may or may not coincide with the standards for gasoline vehicles. You should look at costs and fuel economy as well: these vehicles may help save our environment here in Colorado Springs, but that might not represent a savings to your wallet. You’ll need to decide what you can afford, and what will work for your lifestyle. Also, your choice of vehicle may be affected by what fuels are available in your Monument area. Switching to an alternative fuel vehicle is not a bad decision, but it should be a carefully considered one.

Flex Fuel Vehicles
Flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or on a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Because of the 85% ethanol content, this fuel is commonly called E85 in Colorado.

Ethanol is made from corn. So flex fuel vehicles lessen our dependency on fossil fuels. But they also raise the price of corn, which is a basic foodstuff in some areas of the world. Whether replacing fossil fuels with corn is a good idea is hotly contested right now.

Flex fuel vehicles do have lower harmful exhaust emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. And in Monument, E85 is usually lower in cost than regular gasoline. When gasoline prices fall in Colorado, however, they can drop below the price of E85. This is to Colorado Springs auto owners’ advantage, since the vehicle can run on either fuel, but it negates the benefits of lowered exhaust emissions and lower consumption of fossil fuels.

One piece of Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine auto advice before we move on: do not put E85 into your SUV unless it has an engine designed for flex fuels. Because of the high ethanol content in E85, engines need special seals and gaskets to function properly on this fuel. Running an ordinary engine with E85 can lead to gas leaks and fires.

Diesel
Diesel engines are nothing new on Colorado highways, and many get great MPG. Diesel fuel can now be made from vegetable oil and other renewable sources. A diesel fuel made from algae will soon be on the market in Monument.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline in Colorado Springs and burns more cleanly. Also, gasoline engines can be adapted to run on compressed natural gas, and many natural gas vehicles are already on Manitou Springs roads. You can even install a special pump in your home gas line to use to fuel your vehicle. If you are interested in converting your gasoline engine to run on CNG in Colorado Springs, ask your Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine service specialist about it.

On the other hand, an engine running on natural gas is not as powerful as one running on gasoline, and it will get lower fuel economy. Also, the tank you need to store natural gas is large—it takes up nearly the entire trunk of your car. Further, refueling stations are still few and far between in some Colorado areas, or even unavailable, in many parts of the country.

Hydrogen
Another alternative fuel that has enjoyed a lot of hype in Monument is the hydrogen cell. The natural appeal is that the only exhaust is water vapor. In other words, hydrogen represents a truly clean-burning fuel. But hydrogen vehicles won’t come into widespread use until refueling stations become widely available here in Colorado Springs and around the country.

Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles were all the rage in Colorado some years ago. But their limitations were quickly realized by Colorado Springs drivers. These vehicles won’t come into their own until we find ways to improve their batteries. Currently, the cars have a short range before their power runs out, and can only be realistically used close to home. However, they are easy to recharge, since they can be plugged in at home, and there are many researchers working on improving the battery technology in these vehicles. They may yet be the vehicles of the future.

Hybrids
Hybrids have been one of the most successful alternative fuel vehicles here in Colorado Springs and throughout the county. A hybrid gets its name because it has both a gas or diesel engine and an electric motor.

There are two types of hybrids. The full-hybrid relies on the electric motor for power, but the gas (or diesel) engine generates power for the battery. Thus, while still consuming fossil fuels, it uses less of them than a standard automobile, and also reduces harmful pollutants. Also, it overcomes the range problem of the strictly electric vehicle.

In a mild hybrid, the electric motor assists the gas or diesel engine in powering the car. Thus, it uses more gasoline or diesel than full hybrids and has higher emissions. But mild hybrids are available in larger body models like full-size pickups and SUV’s.

A Note of Caution about Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
One last note before we leave the subject of alternative fuel vehicles. The battery in an electric or hybrid vehicle is not as tame as the one in a standard vehicle. They carry enough voltage to kill you. These are not do-it-yourself vehicles when it comes to preventive maintenance or car care. Only a trained technician should work under their hoods.

Protecting Your SUV From Theft In Colorado Springs, Colorado

Every car in Colorado Springs, Colorado is at risk for theft. So it’s up to us Colorado Springs motorists to make our cars a less appealing target and more of a challenge – hopefully sending potential thieves to look elsewhere.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends a layered approach to protecting vehicles:

  1. Common sense
  2. Visible and audible devices
  3. Immobilizing devices
  4. Tracking devices

Let’s review each of these. First, common sense: you would be surprised how many vehicles are stolen in Colorado where the keys were left in the ignition with the doors unlocked. Always take your keys and lock the doors. In fact, in some places it’s against the law to leave a vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition.

And don’t leave spare keys in the car or hide them outside – because a thief will find them. Colorado Springs auto owners would be wise to park in well-lit areas that have a lot of foot traffic. If possible, park near the end of a row and near a light. Back your car into a parking space or your driveway to make your car more visible to passersby and harder for a thief to work under the hood without being seen.

Colorado Springs auto owners should know that it’s critical to roll up their windows completely and avoid leaving their car in public lots for a long time. If you park in a lot that has an attendant, only give them the ignition key.

Keep valuables out of sight: purses, wallets, cell phones, clothes and even change are attractive “smash-and-grab” targets. And pay to have your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, etched into your windows – it makes your car less attractive to a thief who wants to send your car to a chop shop.

There are lots of important visible and audible devices available for Colorado Springs auto owners. A steering wheel lock is highly visible and will deter some thieves. Loud alarms can alert you and others that your vehicle is being tampered with. But if your alarm does go off, be careful. Observe what’s going on; get descriptions of suspicious people and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Now, if you catch a thief in the act, call 911 but don’t approach the person. Your safety is more important than the car.

And here’s a great one – immobilizing devices. They actually shut off your car’s electrical or fuel supply. So without a key, or knowing where the hidden switch is located, a thief can’t drive your car away.

Finally, Colorado Springs car owners can also get a tracking device that allows Colorado Springs police to track their car down and recover it quickly.

Remember, where you live, work and drive around Colorado Springs, Colorado has a great impact on your decisions. If you’re in an area with high theft rates, you may want to spend more money on security systems. And check with your Colorado Springs, Colorado auto insurance company to see if they offer discounts for adding any of these items.

Of course, the common sense suggestions from Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine don’t cost anything and go a long way toward keeping your car safe from thieves. Take a look at the attached video auto tip from AutoNetTV.

Come see us at Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine in Colorado Springs for practical advice on keeping your SUV safe.

What To Do In Case Of An Accident in Monument

Screeching tires, crunching metal – it’s an accident! If you’ve ever been in a car accident in Colorado Springs, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It’s hard to think straight and know what to do.

Let’s review what Colorado Springs drivers should do in case of an accident:

When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in Colorado Springs is considered a crime – even if it’s not your fault. And hit and run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your Colorado driver’s license or even jail time.

Your jurisdiction may require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able. Warn other Widefield and Manitou Springs motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood. Call Monument emergency services as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.

Colorado Springs car owners should always file a police report. It’s tempting for Colorado Springs drivers to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you’ll not have an objective report to help defend yourself. Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don’t. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the Colorado Springs police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of the law, the other guy is responsible.

Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as “I was going thirty miles an hour” not “I wasn’t speeding”. Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you. Also get the officer’s name and ID number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.

Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number and expiration
  • Insurance information

Also take down a description of the other Colorado Springs vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most Colorado auto insurance companies don’t record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track a vehicle in Colorado.

Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can’t wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary. Always call your insurance agent or your insurance company. Call or see a physician if you think you may have been injured. For vehicle repairs, call Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine at 719-630-8729

Contact Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine to learn more about what do do in case of an auto accident.
You can find us at:
3655 Galley Rd.
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
Or call us at 719-630-8729

Express Auto Repair in Colorado Springs & Engine and AutoNetTV hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy Colorado Springs travels.