What to Know About Your Car’s Transmission

Everyone should know a little something about their car’s transmission. It’s one of the most vital systems in an automobile and a failure could end up being very costly to repair. By understanding this system a little better, you can take proper care of your transmission and identify problems much sooner.

Just Like Oil

Most people don’t realize that transmission fluid should be changed, though not quite as frequently as oil is changed. For newer vehicles, the fluid should be changed every 100,000, so, if you don’t keep your vehicles for long, you may not need to worry about this. However, if you typically hang onto your cars for as long as possible, you can typically expect to pay between $160 and $200 for a transmission fluid change.

For older vehicles, you should consider getting a transmission fluid change after 30,000 miles. If you’re unsure, ask your mechanic. Conversely, very new vehicles are intended to never receive a transmission fluid change. The manufacturers install a sealed transmission that cannot be opened, ensuring the transmission fluid lasts the lifetime of the vehicle.

What Does Transmission Fluid Do for Your Vehicle?

In both standard and automatic transmissions, the fluid is intended to keep the various mechanical components lubricated and helps to reduce the heat caused by the friction of moving parts. Even so, the various parts of the transmission will wear down and cause the fluid to become contaminated with tiny particles. When the concentration of these particles gets too dense, they can cause damage to the system.

It should be pointed out that it takes several years for metal shavings to contaminate the transmission fluid to the point that would require a flush and change. If it occurs early in the car’s life or is a frequent occurrence, that may be a sign of a bigger mechanical problem with the system.

Changing the Transmission Fluid

Checking the fluid level is usually a simple matter. There should be a dipstick in the engine compartment, similar to the dipstick for checking the oil. Even when the transmission fluid’s level looks fine, it may still be contaminated and in need of flushing. If you suspect a problem, contact your mechanic and draw attention to your concerns. He can make a better assessment as to the quality and level of the fluid.

If your system does need to be flushed, it will be a much more complex matter. You might be able to do an oil change yourself in your own driveway, but changing out the transmission fluid is another matter. It will require lifting the car up on a hoist and locating the release plug or valve, which is typically difficult to reach. It requires patience and a great deal of flexibility.

For the best care of your transmission system, allow your mechanic or a transmission specialist to care for the system. They’re more experienced and better equipped to test the fluid and flush the system. An expert can help you keep your system running at peak efficiency throughout the life of your vehicle.

How Do Formula 1 Cars Operate?

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Formula 1 cars are some of the fastest machines man has ever created. They are precisely engineered to maximize speed and performance above all else. Despite their popularity, many still do not know just how they work. That is why the following list of four main components that allow a Formula 1 car to operate has been assembled. These components, in no particular order, are as follows:

  • Transmission
  • Chassis
  • Aerodynamics
  • Engine

Transmission

The transmission of Formula 1 cars must be as seamless as possible, as drivers quickly shift up and down as they accelerate and decelerate down straight stretches or around turns. Drivers use paddle shifters to shift gears as opposed to a more traditional stick shift. This allows drivers to quickly and precisely shift gears while accelerating at incredible rates.

Chassis

In order to be as light as possible, the chassis of many Formula 1 cars are made of carbon fiber. This allows the engine to move the vehicle down the race track much faster than a typical steel chassis. In a sport that relies on milliseconds to win a race, every additional weight reduction is of great concerns to each team.

Aerodynamics

The body of a Formula 1 car is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible. In a race where top speeds easily exceed two hundred miles per hour, it is imperative to minimize wind resistance. In order to maximize the efficiency of the vehicle, each part of the car is individually designed to minimize wind resistance as opposed to designing a the car as a whole.

Engine

Unlike most vehicles seen on the road that have only a few hundred horsepower at most, the engine of a formula 1 vehicle has an average of 900 horsepower. This monstrous engine catapults the vehicle down straightaways and around curves faster than any other machine in the world. The engine is the crown jewel of Formula 1 racing and is easily the most tinkered with and adjusted part of the car.

Formula 1 vehicles are truly an engineering marvel. Hopefully, by reviewing the major components mentioned above, it will be easier to understand just what it takes to make Formula 1 cars operate.

How Tesla is Changing the Auto Industry

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With the release of their third model, the Model 3, Tesla has proven that they are a company that is very serious about offering innovation and disruption. Over the years that Tesla has been operating, they have introduced many new innovative features in cars. This innovation has not gone unseen, as many manufacturers and lawmakers have either tried to adjust with Tesla or put them out of business.

As a sort of scoreboard of Tesla’s achievements, below are a few of the accomplishments of Tesla, and the impact that these accomplishments have had on the automotive industry

Autonomy

Tesla’s first vehicles were not fully autonomous, but rather semi-autonomous. The systems that were installed on the Tesla vehicles were able to keep a vehicle within its lane while also regulating the vehicle’s speed. In recent years, since Tesla’s introduction of autonomous technology, many manufacturers have installed safety technology. An example of such technology is lane-keep assist, which keeps a vehicle in its lane based on the road lines surrounding the vehicle.

Electrify

Although Tesla was not the first manufacturer to release an electric vehicle, Tesla had a huge hand in forcing manufacturers to race towards releasing the first electric vehicle. By bringing awareness to the capability of electric vehicles, and having a support for their new endeavors, Tesla showed rival companies that they needed to improve or else they would fall behind. Unlike many other manufacturers, however, Tesla has accomplished creating their own charging stations.

Update

Tesla’s ability to update its vehicles through wireless updates has challenged manufacturers, who either do not have the technology to do so or are in fear of hackers, to improve the way that they service their vehicles. Tesla does not have many dealerships, so customers needing to bring their cars in for servicing would not be an ideal situation. Instead, Tesla developed a method for servicing their cars remotely.

Conclusion

Since the first Tesla model was released, the Model S, the internet went ablaze with videos of the premium P85D beating, more expensive, supercars in races. Tesla has not only developed classy and sleek cars, but vehicles that offer very innovative technology that currently challenges the automotive industry. Not only has Tesla proven themselves to be a highly capable company, but also a company that may be here to stay for the long haul.

Luxury vs. Standard: Which Car is Worth the Price?

When it’s time to shop for a new vehicle, there are many factors to take into consideration. If a person has enough money to spend, one consideration is whether or not to purchase a luxury vehicle, or a vehicle that is a step down from what is considered luxury.

When making this decision, car buyers have to consider why they want a luxury car. Do those reasons justify the additional expense?

Upscale Association

Some people want a luxury car because they believe that certain cars with certain brand names are associated with wealth and success. Lexus, Mercedes, and Jaguar are among the brands that people often associate with high-class professions such as doctors, lawyers, and CEO’s.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a car for this reason. Something to keep in mind is that there are very nice luxury cars such as Lincoln models that may not have the same upscale associations as a Jaguar or Lexus, but are still very nice cars with a lower price tag.

A Nicer Ride

Another thing to keep in mind when deciding between a luxury or standard car is the ride. Some people want a luxury car because they believe that they have a more comfortable ride with more leg room. This isn’t always the case.

Some luxury cars are designed to have a more sporty drive. This means that they concentrate on better handling which may mean that they don’t have as comfortable a ride.

There are many standard cars that have a comfortable ride with a lot of legroom. For example, the Chevrolet Impala and the Hyundai Genesis both have more front legroom than any luxury model. The Hyundai Genesis and the Cadillac CT6 have also received commendation for having a great ride. These cars cost much less than most European or Japanese luxury cars.

Better Material

Those who want a car made of the nicest materials will find that luxury cars are very nice. Most have plush, leather seats with wood inlays in the dash. While some of the nicer standard models might have leather seats, they just don’t seem as nice when you are sitting in them.

The decision between a luxury car and a standard car comes down to what a person really wants in a vehicle. If it’s a brand name, luxury might be the way to go. If it’s a comfortable ride, an upscale standard vehicle is probably just as good.

The Best Car Models for Uber and Lyft Drivers

Making a profit as a rideshare driver takes some financial planning. How many hours do you need to drive per week? What are the best times? What are the best areas? While these questions answer how to boost hourly earnings, they do not address the other huge concern for drivers, vehicle expenses.

Fuel, insurance, car repairs, maintenance, and, of course, the cost of the vehicle and car payments, all take a big bite out of rideshare earnings. Because rideshare drivers are independent contractors, they are responsible for all of these costs. With the typical rideshare driver putting upwards of 1,000 miles per week on their vehicles, these costs can turn a great earnings year into one with a less-than- desirable profit level.

The choice of vehicle makes the most difference when it comes to vehicle-related costs. For obvious reasons, fuel efficiency matters. Rideshare drivers also need to consider reliability and maintenance costs. Time that a rideshare vehicle is in the shop is money lost for the driver, not to mention the repair bill. Longevity is also crucial. The longer a vehicle can go without replacement, the more money in the driver’s pocket.

Based on these important factors, Consumer Reports compiled its list of the best cars for rideshare drivers. All the vehicles are pre-owned, since it makes little sense for rideshare drivers to buy new. Depreciation on new cars is simply too much when you drive big mileage.

Toyota Prius

The Prius is the top pick because of its reliability, longevity, and fuel economy. It’s also stylish and comfortable.

Toyota Camry

A bit more roomy than the Prius and needing a bit more gas, the Camry is nonetheless efficient and long lasting. It can handle 1,000 miles per week. It also gets a great safety rating, an important consideration when you’re on the road so much.

Kia Soul

Rideshare drivers love this little SUV just as much as the chipmunks in Kia’s commercials. Its boxy style provides plenty of passenger room. Gas mileage is great, and so is its reliability.

Honda CRV

Though not the most fuel efficient on the list, the CRV provides the 4-wheel drive you need for bad weather. If you work in a snowy climate, you can make big money driving in snowy conditions, when surge pricing goes off the charts. The CRV gets you there when other rideshare drivers have to stay home.

Plus Size and luxury

Both Uber and Lyft offer double the rate for drivers who can take more than 4 passengers or provide a luxury car. The Honda Odyssey provides a great value for additional passenger capacity, and the Lexus ES provides luxury without breaking the bank.

Juan Manuel Fangio: The Best Formula One Driver of All Time

Over the decades, Formula One and racing fans in general have deemed various professional drivers as the best for one reason or another. However, researchers from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom used a more scientific approach in determining the best of the best. By implementing a statistical analysis system, the group deemed Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio the best Formula One driver to date. juan-manuel-fangio

The “gentleman racer” drove during the 1950s. During his career, Fangio won 24 out of 51 races. He also gained five world championships and had four different teams during that time. On the other hand, German Michael Schumacher won 91 times and had seven world championships under his belt. Yet, he was only ranked eight according to the analysis. Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton both are three-time world champions. However, they too ranked lower than Fangio.

Given these findings, many may be wondering how the assessment came to the unusual conclusion. The complex study took many factors into account besides merely the driver’s ability. Other considerations included the speed driven during races, the reliability of the vehicle, weather conditions and the degree of support the driver received from his team. Comparing drivers from the 1950s to the current day also presented a challenge.

Drivers were evaluated based on their abilities alone and in combination with their team backing. However, drivers did and do not always work with the same team, which made it easier to study the drivers separately. Nevertheless, the research also demonstrated the importance of having a good team. The scientists found that teams often played a dominant role when drivers were successful. The function, capability and reliability of the driver’s car fall on the heads of the pit crew. If the car has a history of problems, drivers have a reduced chance of winning regardless of their skill.

Despite the fact that the study ranked the top 100 drivers, the list was void of female drivers. The reason is that not many women competed in Formula One races over the years. The few that have were not successful and did not have enough qualifying factors to make the list.

Cars Worth Buying New, Not Used

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Many people opt to invest in used cars to save financially and avoid spending great deals of money for something that is just as good old as it is new. However, there are a number of cars on the market today they are not unreasonably expensive, and are well worth buying brand new. Below are just a few of many considered to be truly valuable vehicles before leaving their respective lots.

Jeep Renegade

A new Renegade is just under $3,000 more than a used model; not too much in the eyes of car enthusiasts. This SUV is a great vehicle with the incredible ability to drive smoothly both on and off major roads, making it perfect for families, adventurers, and more.

Chevy Colorado

For working individuals that need a reliable pickup truck to assist in their day-to-day activities, the Chevy Colorado is one of the most efficient. A new model costs only $4,000 more than a used. This midsize truck is incredibly fuel-efficient, has off-road suspension, and a great amount of storage space throughout.

Honda Pilot

Many car buyers tend to shy away from minivans unless they are looking to transport a family of 5 or more, but the 2018 Honda Pilot is a fresh take on the once-avoided vehicle. It is a large crossover model with plenty of room inside, and is just under $5,000 more new compared to a used vehicle.

Nissan Frontier

Another impressive pickup truck to make the list, the Frontier is just $3,000 more when buying it brand new as opposed to used. While the 2018 model has been met with a bit of criticism, a newer one is expected to hit the market soon, making older Frontiers valuable in the eyes of auto dealers.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Another Jeep on our list, the Wrangler is known by many as one of the most reliable off-roading vehicles in the world, and is used in hundreds of different ways. The Wrangler Unlimited is an even bigger step up. The 2018 model is also the lowest percentage of value lost in its first year. It’s incredibly durable, and is just over $3,000 more new than used.

Subaru WRX

Subaru’s are well known for their safety, comfort, and performance. The WRX is no exception. A new model is just over $4,000 more than its used version, and it has always been in high demand. It’s a perfect mix of a safe, comfortable sedan with a sports car capable of handling tight turns in any condition.

Breaking the Mold: Automobiles Ahead of Their Time

Cars today seem to consistently defy odds and break barriers. From electric, to self-driving, to the most gas efficient, automobiles of all kinds have seen enormous leaps and bounds throughout their history. That being said, there have been a number of models released that were considered well ahead of their respective times. Below are just a few of the most innovative cars in the history of the auto industry.

Honda Prelude

This is considered the very first mass-produced car with four-wheel steering. Introduced in 1987, the Honda Prelude’s design would become the inspiration for today’s NSX; a model made famous by both Honda and Acura. It was once thought that only luxury vehicles offered four-wheel steering with Porsche leading the charge, but this Honda model broke the mold, offering it in a public, more affordable vehicle nearly 25 years before their competitors.

Aston Martin Lagonda

This may have been considered ahead of its time due to the public finding it too innovative. The Aston Martin Lagonda, released in 1976, was much different compared to its traditional auto cousins, with a sharper nose and broader headlights. The functions within the car were pretty advanced as well, boasting a digital instrument panel, which even in the 1970s was seen as a bit tacky. The fact that it even had a screen in the vehicle though would inspire designers years later.

Stout Scarab

A predecessor to today’s minivans, the Scarab was a 2-door retro vehicle that looked unlike any other car in production, and was first introduced in 1932. It comfortably sat all of its passengers with a bench and adjustable seating system, excluding the driver’s seat. This almost made it feel like a smaller version of a public bus. It held a Ford V8 engine which was mounted in the rear of the vehicle, allowing for even more space within the cabin.

Oldsmobile Jetfire

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While Oldsmobile may no longer be a brand in production, the cars they created in their time left quite a mark in the automotive industry, one of the most notable models being the Jetfire. Released in 1962, this was the first mass-produced turbocharged car, with a 3.5-liter V8 engine that boasted 215 horsepower. The Jetfire, alongside the Chevrolet Corvair Monza, were the first two “turbocharged” vehicles in America.

Citroen DS21

Resembling something James Bond might drive through the English countryside, the DS21 was the first publicly produced car to come with front-disc brakes. In addition to that, this innovative vehicle came with hydropneumatic suspension, enabling the car to withstand bumps and divots in the road without compromising the smoothness of the ride. Today, Citroen, Rolls-Royce, and Maserati all use this technology as a means of improving these luxurious automobiles.

citroen-ds21

The Best Cities For Electric Cars

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In the year 2017, electric vehicle ownership has become a very real possibility. What was once viewed by many as only a pipe dream of the environmentally conscious is now quickly becoming one of the more popular methods of alternative transportation. With growing environmental concerns as well as the all of the economic issues associated with using traditional fossil fuels, it is easy to see why.

As one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, there isn’t much excuse for the United States to not get involved. The good news is that electric vehicle ownership in the USA is higher than it has ever been, with a 32% compound annual growth rate over the last four years.

With all of that being said, some cities are still undeniably better than others when it comes to ease of use for electric vehicle owners. For the most part large urban centers, having an abundance of wealth and a lot of people who make short commutes, are still the best place to own one of these cars. Listed below are three of the best cities in the US for electric car owners according to https://www.fleetcarma.com/10-best-us-cities-electric-vehicle-2017/.

San Jose

San Jose is officially considered the best city in the United States to own an electric car in the year 2017. This was determined by a number of variables, including charging infrastructure and financial incentive for prospective car owners.

All in all, there are just under 1000 functioning charging stations within the city, which is very high considering the number of people within the city that own one of these vehicles. Obviously, the city’s proximity to Silicon Valley is the number one reason for the extreme friendliness to EV owners.

New York City

As one of the first cities in America to readily embrace electric vehicles, New York City still stands out as one of the best places for EV owners to live and commute. Although now only considered the tenth best American city for electric vehicles, New York still has more resources available to EV owners than most other places.

Seattle

Situated firmly within the middle of the top ten best American cities for EV owners, Seattle comes in at number six. Owners in Seattle get to enjoy the cheapest energy in the nation, all while being able to appreciate life in one the West Coast’s finest cities.

4 Key Advancements in Automotive Safety

The development of safety features within cars came quickly after they were first released to the public, with some of the earliest being brakes, seatbelts, and airbags. Now that those are standard features in every single car made today, developers are constantly searching for new ways to improve the safety of newer models, and keep drivers as safe as possible. Today, there have been a number of significant improvements in automotive safety, and below are some of the most innovative.

Automatic Headlights

Far too often do we see drivers on the road forgetting to turn on their headlights in darker conditions, which poses as a serious danger for everyone else around them. Professionals in the automotive industry successfully took out the middleman by inventing automatic headlights, which turn on as soon as the car is started.

While this has been around for some time now, adaptive headlights are a more recent technology that have improved nighttime safety even further. Depending on the road’s conditions, the weather, and general surroundings, adaptive headlights will either dim or brighten to aid the driver’s sight.

Collision Warning

Now that texting and driving has become a prevalent issue among drivers today, accidents are becoming much more common. The chances of an accident occurring once a driver’s eyes are taken off the road increase by a staggering 400%. Even if a cell phone is not involved, drivers can easily become distracted and begin swerving or fail to stop entirely. Thanks to the addition of collision warning systems in more cars today, this bad habit is being somewhat alleviated.

If a driver were to drift into another lane without noticing, approach a stopped object at a high speed, or be at the receiving end of another distracted driver, the car will alert them and give them the opportunity to adjust or prepare. Similarly, lane-keeping assistance systems were developed to prevent drifting. In this case, the car will automatically steer itself back into the correct lane should the driver begin to accidentally cruise into another.

Automatic Parking Assistance

This feature has been a true savior for those who dread parallel parking, or simply struggle with the act at all. Assisted parking programs literally park the car for you through computer processors tied to a sonar system on the front, back and sides, and a rearview camera. No steering from the driver is required.

Drowsiness Detection

 
A truly impressive technological advancement in car safety, drowsiness detection allows the car to sense any sign of unorthodox activity from the driver, including drifting, sudden accelerations and decelerations, and face monitoring through a dashcam. The car will loudly alert the driver to pull over and take a break; an amazing addition to cars today given the fact that there are roughly 100,000 car accidents per year due to drowsiness and fatigue.