Tips And Trends

By Mark Maynard

April 4, 2008 7 min read

SPRING CAR CARE AND MOTORCYCLES 2008

Tips and trends

By Mark Maynard

Copley News Service

WHERE WOULD DO-IT-YOURSELFERS BE WITHOUT WD-40?

Along with refrigeration, canned beer and duct tape, WD-40 has to be one of the top, history-changing inventions of civilization.

The San Diego company that created this rust-preventing, water-displacing, clean-all, cure-all elixir has just updated its "official" list to include 2,000 uses for WD-40. The majority of these suggestions come from consumers who leave comments on the Web site, wd40.com/uses. There's even a fan club and newsletter.

Among the new automotive applications for WD-40 is the treatment of windshield wipers so the blades don't crack and dry out. Then use it on wiper hinges to keep them moving freely. It can be used to remove wax from flat, black car paint, and it prevents corrosion of spark plug cables, stops squeaks on steering wheels and is handy for removing insects from grilles.

Some of the more interesting "official" uses on the list:

- Lubricates power-injecting device strung from the ceiling in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

- Keeps missile silo doors swinging freely.

- Removes stickers from surfboards.

- Cleans gum from turtle shells.

- Keeps saddles rust-free.

- Removes floodwater marks on paneling.

- Keeps top-line guides from freezing on fishing rods when ice fishing. (CNS)

NEW FRANKLIN MINT MODELS

The Franklin Mint has created die-cast collectibles to celebrate three anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of Franklin Mint Precision Models, the 100th anniversary of General Motors and 105 years of Harley-Davidson.

Among the new GM models will be a made-to-order, sterling silver Corvette layered in 24-karat gold.

Other 1:24 scale cars include the Anniversary Edition 1936 Hudson Eight Convertible ($195), hand-painted in silver and black and hand-assembled. Details include a retractable, cloth convertible top, a spare tire with removable shroud and rumble seats upholstered in leather. Each Anniversary Edition model will be a limited edition of 2,500.

Also available will be a 1958 Harley Davidson Duo-Glide with sidecar,a Ford Model T in 1:16 scale and a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster.

For more information and to order, visit www.franklinmint.com/catreq.aspx. (CNS)

DOCUMENTING COLLISIONS

What's the first thing that should be done immediately after a fender bender?

Reach for the glove box and the DocuDent kit of post-accident procedures and records.

The DocuDent Accident Documentation Kit ($15) has been revamped and updated with new features, including an LED flashlight with built-in tape measure and a package of adhesive bandages.

The kit is an ideal resource for young drivers. Files allow drivers to record exactly what happened during a vehicle accident, which will be useful details for police, the DMV and insurance companies.

The kit also includes a reloadable camera with flash, accident documentation instructions, accident information form, a pen and a whistle.

Every teen driver should be issued a DocuDent kit.

For more information and to order, visit www.docudentusa.com or (888) 221-1340. (CNS)

GET A GRIP

With all the different electronic devices that motorists pack along every day, finding a way to safely mount them becomes an issue. Many states prohibit devices mounted to the windshield, and other add-on mountings can be too shaky to be safe in a collision.

The View Base appears to be a good choice for safety and simplicity. The anti-skid base mounts to the dashboard without adhesives or drilling and works with the standard windshield-mounting bracket that came with the electronic device, such as a navigation system or satellite radio. If a device does not have a mounting bracket, the GripAll bracket can be ordered for $10. The company says that in its testing for rapid stop, rapid acceleration, swerving, etc., the View Base didn't budge.

For more information or to order, visit www.marketgypsy.com, or call (866) 674-9779. Allow $5 to $8 for shipping. (CNS)

EASY ON, EASY OFF

Meguiar's Hot Rims Chrome Polish works on wheels, but it's also good for chrome bumpers, trim and engine parts. The polish removes brake dust and tarnish and leaves a "vibrant crystal-clear finish in minutes with minimal effort," the 100-year-old wax manufacturer says.

An 8-ounce bottle is $5 plus $3.95 for shipping at Meguiars.com. For thorough wheel work, also available is Meguiar's Hot Rims Chrome Wheel Cleaner and Hot Rims Aluminum Wheel Cleaner ($6 each), Meguiar's Quik Wheel Detailer ($6) and Meguiar's Gold Class All Wheel Cleaner ($6.49). (CNS)

WHAT A SQUARE

Nissan Motor Co. revealed the battery-powered Denki Cube Concept at the New York auto show in March. The concept also is a preview of the gasoline-powered Cube that Nissan will begin selling in North America in 2009.

The lithium-ion, battery-powered Denki (Japanese for "electric") Cube is a vehicle to herald Nissan's global environmental plan.

The concept Cube is based on the current-generation Cube sold in Japan, but with a new EV powertrain and unique exterior and interior treatments. The grille includes an AC charging port.

Nissan's Green Program 2010 focuses on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, reducing vehicle exhaust emissions and accelerating recycling efforts.

Highlights include:

- Launching a "three-liter car" by 2010. This gasoline-powered car will run 100 kilometers (62 miles) on three liters of fuel, or about three-quarters of a gallon.

- Expand availability of flexible-fuel vehicles within the next three years.

- Launch an electric vehicle early in the next decade.

- Develop an original hybrid vehicle, with an on-sale date in 2010.

- Accelerate development of plug-in hybrid technology.

- By 2010, reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from global manufacturing plants by 7 percent (per unit) compared to 2005. (CNS)

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