Archive

Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

Airbags: Saving Lives (Mostly) Since 1991

May 19th, 2015

airbag recall

Have you ever had an airbag deploy in your car?

I’m lucky, because the only airbags I’ve ever seen in use have been in videos of crash tests. Airbags stay hidden most of the time, silently tucked away and forgotten. The only reminders of their existence are the subtle etchings in the surfaces that hide them.

Airbags are meant to save lives, and they have, with many thousands of people owing their continued existence to an explosive cushion of air. Airbags, though, have also taken lives by ejecting with too much force, ejecting with young children in the seat, or, most recently, exploding and sending shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

Continue reading >>>

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

The Great Controversy: Oil-Change Intervals

May 12th, 2015

oil change intervals

I’m writing this from a waiting room inside the service department of an auto dealership. I can’t say I like it here.

All the chairs are placed in a semi-circle and face a wall-mounted television, which is currently tuned to a show starring three angry judges who like to yell at people. The volume is too high. I don’t even have a television at home, so this is a bit of a shock to me.

The gentleman in the chair directly next to me has a giant sack of dealership butter popcorn, which he’s slurping and spilling all over his chest with every dive into the bag.

I don’t like it here.

I’m getting a simple oil change on a 2013 Subaru Legacy, and I really would love to come less often.

I use full synthetic oil and have it changed every 5,000 miles. Should I cut back to every 7,500 miles or more and save myself from the despair of the waiting room?

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Safety, Foreign Cars, General Chat , ,

Can You Get Your Car to 200,000 Miles?

May 8th, 2015
On the road to 200,000!

On the road to 200,000!

I want to drive to the moon.

Not literally, of course. The moon is about 240,000 miles away from Earth, and last I heard, the highway there hasn’t been completed yet. I do want my car to last at least that long, though.

We’ve shared stories over the last few weeks of readers who have managed to coax their cars past 200,000 miles and even a few who have approached a quarter-million and beyond.

I want to be one of those people.

My car is a 2008 Audi Q7 that I purchased with an 80,000-mile head start. I’ll hit 110,000 in the next week or two. Earlier this week I brought the SUV to the local Audi dealer for an oil change and discovered that I need new brakes and new tires, but the rest of the rig is in tip-top shape.

That’s encouraging, because I plan on going at least another 90,000 miles. Here’s how I’ll do it, and what I’ll avoid.

Continue reading >>>

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

Will Chevy Follow Ford and Introduce Aluminum Trucks?

May 6th, 2015

2015-ford-f-150-04

Ford’s gamble with the aluminum 2015 F-150 could have ended two ways:

  • As an embarrassing failure
  • As a trendsetting new way to build trucks

Ram, with its little comment about aluminum’s best use being for beer cans, pretty much secured its future of steel bodies.

Chevrolet stayed pretty quiet on the issue, presumably to take a wait-and-see approach. Watching the new Ford keep its status as the number one truck in America, while scoring a 5-star safety rating, might have had a hand in convincing Chevy to join the aluminum body movement.

Continue reading >>>

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

Should Modifying Your Car Be Illegal?

April 22nd, 2015

working on own car

Driveway tinkerers and shop-bound weekend racers could be a dying breed.

There are two main reasons for this:

  1. People who work on their own cars are stymied by the sheer amount of technology and custom tools needed to do the job.
  2. A new law could make it illegal to work on your own car.

The first reason is a natural consequence of technology. Open the hood of a modern car, and instead of seeing headers and valve covers, we’re greeted with a plastic cover emblematized with the vehicle’s logo and engine size.

Aside from having easy access to refill the windshield-wiper fluid, modern cars are basically untouchable for the average weekend do-it-yourselfer.

That in itself isn’t so bad, but a law that would outlaw us from even trying is very scary. And very real.

Continue reading >>>

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

Can You Spare the Spare?

April 16th, 2015

2015_volvo_s60

My daughter’s birthday nearly ended in the bitter cold, stranded on the side of the road in a questionable area of downtown.

After a nice birthday dinner, my wife and two of our girls clambered into the Legacy to thaw from the unusually frozen April night. With the car started and the heat on, I was ready to pull out of my prime parking space and embark on the journey home.

But I noticed a woman on the sidewalk taking a funny glance at the car as she walked past. Her brief but concerned look caused me to pause enough to wonder what she saw. I got out of the car and found my passenger-side front tire nearly out of air.

“Oh no,” I said to myself, “not here. Not now.”

Continue reading >>>

Car Accessories, Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, General Chat , , , , ,

What’s Right: Right or Left Braking?

April 13th, 2015

Left foot braking

When does braking feel like hitting a brick wall?

When you try to apply the brakes using the wrong foot.

For those of us with decades of experience using our right feet to slow down, our left feet might as well be attached to our hips with wet noodles. There’s just no control when it comes to using them to stop a motor vehicle.

The debate about driving with two feet is almost as controversial as the one about which way the toilet paper is supposed to hang on the roll. Proponents of braking with the left are either race car drivers or older folks who cruise down roads with their left foot resting on the pedal and brake lights constantly aglow.

Some new information, though, might begin to make two-foot driving the norm.

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat , , ,

Digging Out? Get Your Car Ready for Spring!

March 13th, 2015

Car buried in snow, Boston

I love snow. I’m honestly a little jealous that a good majority of the country got buried this winter while I sat and watched my local ski hill warm up and close for the season by February.

If you live anywhere other than the West Coast, odds are good that you, and your car, experienced record snowfall. If you’re one of the many car owners who simply gave up and let your vehicle slumber under the weight of the white stuff, you might have some special maintenance to do once spring does the dig-out work for you.

The first thing to know is that a few weeks buried in snow and cold probably isn’t going to do any major damage to your car. There are a few areas to take special care of, though.

Continue reading >>>

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

Have You Ever Had a Car Stolen?

March 3rd, 2015

1972_corvette_stingray
If you’re one of the unfortunate people to have experienced an auto theft, you’re familiar with how invasive and unsettling it is to know someone has your car.

At first you think you just can’t remember where you parked. You spin in circles, visually scouring the parking lot for any sign of your car. Then you replay the events in your mind of where you parked and try to convince yourself that your memory isn’t playing tricks on you.

Soon the realization sets in that you haven’t merely misplaced your car, it’s been stolen.

Varying degrees of panic ensue, along with calls to the police and family members asking for help. In some cases the car is found and returned unharmed. Sometimes it’s found but completely destroyed. Sometimes it’s never found at all.

Keep reading for an example of a car returned 42 years after it was stolen, and an attempted theft that resulted in some hefty “car-ma” for a would-be thief.

Continue reading >>>

Car Minded, Car Safety, Classic & Vintage Cars, Domestic Cars, Foreign Cars, General Chat , , ,

Would You Buy This Damaged Land Rover?

February 4th, 2015

Hoegh Osaka Land Rover

What a short attention span we have in this world today.

Less than a month ago, we wrote about the Hoegh Osaka. Remember that? If you’re anything like me, you’ll read that name and it’ll sound vaguely familiar, but you won’t remember why. Let me remind you:

The ship was carrying around 1,200 Jaguars and Land Rovers before tilting dangerously and running aground near England.

It was speculated that the load of expensive cars would be scrapped, depending on the damage done.

Well, 20-some days later, the cars are being driven off the boat under their own power. Watch the video then ask yourself: Would you buy one?

Continue reading >>>

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