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3.5 Million Cars Sold with Unknown Recalls

The word on the street is that over 3.5 million used cars were sold online last year alone. “Now that’s a lot of cars”, you may think. But, what did all of these cars have in common other than being used?  According to several online news sources, every single one of these cars had unknown recalls – which means that consumers unknowingly bought faulty, potentially dangerous vehicles. Since there is no such thing as a refund after you buy a new or used vehicles, these consumers are stuck to face the consequences - which, in this case, probably won’t cost them much (if a vehicle is less than 10 years old and has an open recall, the repairs and replacement parts will be covered by the manufacturer).

How could this be?  Don’t people know that they can find out everything there is to know about a used car when they run a CARFAX® report?  The thing is, even if a majority of these people ran a vehicle history report from CARFAX®, there would be no guarantee that they would be able to see any information regarding open recalls.  Even CARFAX® has acknowledged that it’s impossible to know everything there is to know about a used vehicle’s past.   So where does this leave the consumer?  Should we accept this big name brand’s mediocre response and just cross our fingers?

Thankfully, there are other vehicle history data providers that can provide consumers with up-to-date, real time vehicle incident details that can inform a consumer as to whether or not they are about to purchase a lemon.  One such provider is called instaVIN.  This company has been around for over 5 years, and specializes in providing customers with real-time vehicle reports at a fraction of the cost.  For only $2.99, you can find out whether or not a used vehicle was ever involved in a theft, flooding, a fire, or was ever listed as a total loss.  For only $4 more, you can find out a multitude of critical details regarding a used vehicle, including recall info.

CARFAX® charges over $30.00 per report, and they cannot guarantee whether or not you will get the information you need. If instaVIN can’t find the used vehicle data you are looking for, they’ll issue you a refund right away.  They get a majority of their data from the NMVTIS, one of the most reliable vehicle data sources on the market today.  And since this database was designed to help protect consumers from buying faulty vehicles, you can assume that instaVIN also has the buyer’s best interest in mind.

Find out more about instaVIN by visiting their website today.


A brief history of Programmable Logic Controllers

Although programmable logic controllers are all around us, in many technical items we use today, they were first developed to increase efficiency in the automotive industry.  Originally cars were constructed using cumbersome relay system connecting cam drivers, drum sequencers and closed loop controllers.  This was time consuming and required frequent reprogramming.

Project Number 084

In 1968 GM Hydromatic requested that Bedford Associates in Massachusetts develop one of the earliest programmable logic controllers.  Bedford Associates were willing to undertake the project and the first programmable logic controller was called project 084 because it was their 84th project.  This inspired Bedford Associates to start a new company that worked on specifically designing, constructing and selling the product, which was to be known as Modicon.

Modular Digital Controller (Modicon)

The,’Father ‘, of the Programmable logic controller, Dick Morely , worked on the Modicon project which was eventually sold to Gould Electronics in 1977. The brand was later sold to AEG in Germany until it was purchased by French Schneider Electric, who is still the current owner.  The automotive industry still uses programmable logic controllers more than any other industry.

 Ladder Logic

The original programmable logic controllers were produced to replace complicated relay systems that required a lot of technical input by an engineer.  Ladder logic was developed so that the engineer could apply his knowledge of relay systems to a simplified programming language.  This was an attempt to decrease the amount of training required for existing technicians to get up to date with the new technology.

Technology Today

Programmable logic controllers are used all around us today and vary in size and complexity.  The language used to input the information is increasingly more complex because they are undertaking complex procedures. The automotive industry is still the most prolific user of programmable logic controllers in production and in the interior of our cars.  Cars can be tuned to perform perfectly in a variety of conditions by attaching a laptop with PLC software to the car’s ECU, which is the main brain of the car.

Breaking the 200 mile an Hour Speed Record on ICE

In 2007 four times world rally champion Juha Kankkunen broke the world ice speed record on the frozen sea off the East Coast of Finland.  The successful record attempt was achieved in a Bentley Continental GE that had an engineer using a lap top programmed with software that enabled the car’s ECU or main brain to be tweaked occasionally to improve the performance of the car.  There was very little intervention by the engineer because the car had already been programmed efficiently in the first place.


electronic parts catalog

The BMW Group has implemented a software called ETK or electronic parts catalog (EPC). This software is intended for official dealers in order to facilitate a process or parts selection for its end users who are needed to repair their cars.  BMW ETK allows so select right parts by its OEM number or by providing a VIN number (last seven digits are needed). BMW updates ETK on regular basis once a month.

ETK contains photos and diagrams. The main workflow is to choose a model and country of origin in order to  get correct information by service mans. Despite ETK is normally installed on a desktop platform (only Windows OS are supported at the moment), BMW has recently allowed to its customers to use an online version of this catalog. However, customers are obliged to register. The online version is not that bad, but it is not as convenient as offline one.

Many features are not available. Fortunately, fans and enthusiasts of the brand have created community version of the catalog. In my opinion, one of the best examples is It has unique graphic interface and designed to search parts as fast as possible. Moreover, it has a special feature to filter parts by car options, which is not even present in desktop ETK. Most popular case is searching a specific part by VIN number. VIN number contains all needed info: model, year, type, options. can help car owners to decode VIN numbers and show a lot of information about a car.

The information on VIN can be exported to a pdf file or saved as html page. Without any doubts, this online service is quite useful for those both professionals and fans who desire to repair or extend vehicle configuration. 


7 infamous Celeb DUI

7 infamous Celeb DUI

celeb DUI

Any one would think that with all their money, celebs would opt for limos rather than driving their vehicles under the influence, yet they continue to guzzle down those drinks and intake all manner of other substances before driving off in to the sunset (or the back of a truck, as the case may  be).

7. Paris Hilton

In 2006 Paris Hilton was charged with not one but two offences when she was found to be driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08, after she was found to be driving all over the road in LA. For this instance she was sentenced to 3 years of probation, mandatory attendance at an alcohol education program, and was fined $1,500, which she probably found floating around at the bottom of her bag.

6. Reese Witherspoon

Reese has always been the golden girl of Hollywood, so when she and her husband were arrested for DUI (her husband on DUI, and her on obstruction charges) the world over went in to shock; and when the video emerged of her rantings to police officers, it looked like her reputation was well and truly blown. The video showed Witherspoon astounded that the officers didn’t know who she was, stumbling around and even claiming to be pregnant.

5. Justin Bieber

Ahhh the Bieber, who wants to see this wonderful young man fail? Well, pretty much everyone it seems, and when he got arrested recently for DUI it was as if all the Christmases had come at once for the world’s media. Toxicology reports consequently showed that he tested positive for marijuana and prescription medication.

4. George Michael

Well where do we start? We could write a 10,000 word essay on the number of times George Michael has had run ins with the law for traffic offences, however most infamous of these was where he crashed into the back of a lorry (and then a few years down the road he again crashed into a building). This is one of our favourite DUI tales at Alpha-Batteries.

Once in court, Michael pled guilty to driving under the influence and possession of marijuana, for which he was sentenced to eight weeks in jail and a fine of £3,000. Of this he served 4 weeks inside, and 4 on probation.

3. Lindsey Lohan

Lindsey Lohan has been known as one of the most frequently arrested celebs ever, and it all began with a DUI, where, in 2006, she was found driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and in possession of cocaine.

2. Carmine Giovinazzo

How fitting that a star of a crime show would get arrested; CSI: NY star, Carmine Giovinazzo was found to be twice the legal limit when she was arrested, however what really makes this DUI infamous is her attitude for being arrested. Far from a Reese Witherspoon strop, Giovinazzo was reported to have been one of the most polite DUI suspects ever.

1. Mel Gibson

When Mel Gibson was arrested in 2006 for DUI, the drink driving would be the least of his problems by the end of the arrest. Now famous the world over, Gibson went on an anti Semitic rant, following which many predicted his career to be over, but fast forward 7 years and it seems all but forgotten in the land of Hollywood.


The Importance of servicing, using an Independent Specialist rather than a generic garage

Nowadays, cars are becoming more and more sophisticated, making our lives easier but at the same time complicated as well. The producers implement a lot of safety and optional comfort features that are very useful and may even save our lives. One of the leaders in car manufacturing and quality is of course BMW.

The problems start when you need someone to service your car when a problem arises and that`s something that happens to everybody. There are 2 choices at hand: you can go to a generic garage that handles all types of cars or go to a Independent BMW Specialist. The choice is clear, even though a generic garage may have a lot of clientele that doesn`t mean it can fix your problem better that an Independent BMW Specialist, in fact it`s quite the opposite.

Many of the generic garages have no clue on how the BMW software and electronics work and do not have specialized equipment to diagnose the car, mainly because they deal with a lot of different brands of cars and do not invest in specific equipment that cost a lot of money. An independent BMW Specialist has in most cases BMW dealer software and equipment and the price for the servicing will be much lower than going to the BMW dealer which is very expensive and use the same tools. One of the best Independent BMW Specialist i`ve come across is BMW Servicing Cardiff. They have the expertise, software and tools that enable them to fix your beloved BMW better than any generic garage could.

Bavarian Motor Werks makes great cars in terms of quality and durability but are not unbreakable and proper diagnosis of the problem or problems is crucial for proper servicing.
Another important thing about servicing your BMW is always make sure to choose quality parts. There are a lot of companies that produce spare parts but not all have the same quality, that`s why a generic spare part will not last as long as the original BMW one.

Servicing is also important when buying a used car because an Independent BMW Specialist can tell you the shape that the car is in and if you may have problems in the future, if the car has been in a crash, if the airbags have been deployed, the real kilometers and many other things that a generic garage will not be able to tell you. The choice is your!

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