Archive

Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

Audi: Road-Trip Chariot of the Giants

April 14th, 2014

2008 Audi Q7

Four giant 18-year-old boys. One coach. About four dozen assorted pieces of luggage. All surrounding yours truly in one car for a 9-hour ride to a state tournament.

At this point I’ll stop and ask: Which vehicle would you choose for such a task?

No, a school bus wasn’t available, nor was a Suburban or other appropriately large vehicle that could comfortably transport a bunch of 6-foot-4 rowdy high schoolers.

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Safety, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , ,

Invisible Hoods Could Help on Blind Curves

April 10th, 2014

Land Rover's transparent hood

There’s a blind curve on my way home that both thrills and frightens me. On adventurous days, I push my right foot down on the accelerator and take the uphill hard-right turn fast and tight while hoping there’s not a stalled car or deer or some other obstacle looming as I let my mind transport me to Laguna Seca.

On other days I approach the curve with caution, even slowing to a near crawl as intuition alone tells me to be wary.

I haven’t encountered a problem on this turn, but I know it’s quite possible that someday I will, because there are a few moments when all I can see are my hood and the sky.

Is this a curve that technology can outsmart, or will I forever be doomed to navigate those few seconds blindly?

Continue reading >>>

Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Foreign Cars, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , , , , ,

Burning Oil in a Brand New Car

April 7th, 2014

oil_level_low_warning

Burning oil in a 1973 Cadillac seems legit.

Drive an old boat like that around for long and you’ll stop at every gas station and put in a quart of oil. Worn engines simply burn and leak oil, often causing heavy smoke and the putrid odor of crusty black tar.

Drivers of those old cars don’t get too angry at the oil consumption because they know it just comes with the territory of having the pleasure of driving a Nixon-era automobile.

A 2013 car should never burn a quart of oil between oil changes.

Right?

Continue reading >>>

Car Clubs, Car Industry News, Car Magazines, Car Minded, Car Parts, Car Safety, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, Gas for your car..., General Chat , , , ,

Objects in Mirror Could Soon Disappear

April 2nd, 2014
Tesla-Model-X-Concept

Hey look, no mirrors

How many cameras do we need in our cars?

Back in 2010 we posted an article that said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would require backup cameras in all new vehicles by September 2014.

Obviously that mandate didn’t come to fruition, and the good ol’ fashioned rear view mirror has continued to function perfectly fine.

During the time of that 2010 article, I remember thinking backup cameras were an unnecessary and expensive piece of technology. In the last four years, though, I’ve come into possession of a 2013 Subaru equipped with a backup camera and I never want to go back.

Now there’s a new mandate from the NHTSA, along with new technology coming from the most innovative automaker on the planet that could eventually eliminate the simplest piece of automotive safety gear: the mirror.

Continue reading >>>

Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , ,

Speed Limit: 80. Who’s Ready?

March 31st, 2014

80_MPH_SPEED

We all do it anyway. With many Interstate speed limits at 70 miles per hour, it’s easy to push that to 75 or even 80 when cruising the vast spaces between cities.

On a recent trip from Washington to Oregon, I had my cruise set at 75 and still got passed by cars that had to be going 85. Upon entering Oregon I experienced the pain of a sudden decrease to 65 and wondered why the law there required me to go so painfully slow.

Modern cars are capable of easily cruising at 80 or more, especially with the advent of 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions that are built for efficiency at high speeds.

With the advancement of technology and the ability to go faster, the Interstate highway system needs to start keeping pace.

In some places, that is happening.

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Politics, Car Safety, General Chat , , , , ,

Can You Trust Your Fuel Gauge?

March 20th, 2014

miles to empty

I’ll just get gas when I go out later tonight.

Sure, the gas light came on and I’m 12 miles from home, but I’ll make it and I have to go out later anyway and will be closer to a gas station tonight.

That’s not an uncommon thought for me, and it’s one of the problems of living in an area that’s at least 15 miles from a gas station. Earlier this week it happened to my lovely girlfriend. It would have been fine, but plans changed, and she didn’t make it out to the gas station that night. She forgot about the low-fuel situation until leaving home in the morning, late, for a meeting at work 40 miles away.

Her Subaru told her she had 50 miles to empty. She called me with her quandary:

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat , , ,

GM Crisis Escalates, More Cars Recalled

March 19th, 2014

Saturn ION

What started as a simple and routine recall has exploded for General Motors into a worst-case scenario of negative public opinion.

This is bad.

Take the Audi PR nightmare of unintended acceleration in 1986, combined with Toyota’s recent battle with allegations of the same problem and then multiply it by a million. This is so much worse because there are documented deaths as a result of the problem, along with proof that GM has known about the fault for over a decade.

This is really bad.

It all started in 2001 with a single faulty ignition switch.

Continue reading >>>

Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Domestic Cars, General Chat

Drugged Driving: America’s New Problem

March 4th, 2014

Driving High

The first time you try it is the last time you can ever say you’ve never done it.

I try to avoid topics here that aren’t specifically car related, but we’ve reached the point where recreational drug use and cars have collided into a seriously important point of discussion. I live in Washington, where marijuana use is now legal, and people wonder how much their bodies can handle before driving becomes impaired.

It’s hard to avoid the distinct musky smell of the drug here—it fills everything from concert halls to hotel halls.

While I choose not to partake, because I don’t want to artificially alter my mind or endanger myself behind the wheel, plenty of Washingtonians are taking advantage of the new legislation.

I’ve heard two arguments in the Driving While High debate:

Continue reading >>>

Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Politics, Car Safety, General Chat , , ,

GM Recall Poses a Serious Safety Issue

February 26th, 2014

2008 Saturn Sky

Sometimes topics in the auto world get pretty serious.

We like to have some fun and make light of certain situations, but there are times when humor is off the table. The fact is, building cars is a dangerous business. A lot can go wrong when putting together the pieces of these metal capsules that hurl us down traffic-filled roads at upwards of 70 miles per hour.

Usually, things go according to plan, and our vehicles safely transport our families and us for many years. When things go wrong, though, lives can be lost. Even worse is when an automaker knows about a problem, but fails to act in time to save lives.

Continue reading >>>

Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, Domestic Cars, General Chat , , ,

Flashing While Driving: Now Legal!

February 7th, 2014

speed trap

There’s big, big news in the world of cars today. It’s not often that a piece of news or legislation or automotive awesomeness comes along that completely lights up my days and nights.

When it happens, though, it needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.

The news I discovered yesterday has not only caused me to rest easier while driving, it will save me (and you) money while adding another level of protection and camaraderie on the streets of these great United States.

What could have such a big influence on the state of driving?

The answer, as briefly as possible, is:

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Politics, Car Safety, General Chat , , , ,