Do your hobbies require you to carry around bulky equipment like bikes, kayaks, or camping gear? Are you looking for a cargo accessory you can install on your vehicle? Here are a few tips to help you choose the right one.
• Roof racks allow you to carry luggage and large objects of various shapes and sizes. They’re the ideal choice if you enjoy doing several activities. Some models are easy to install yourself, while others require specific tools and professional knowledge.
Once you’ve chosen a model, you must purchase straps, hooks, and bungees to secure your cargo. Some roof racks come with integrated fastening systems specifically designed for kayaks, snowboards, and skis.
• Roof boxes are great for protecting your belongings from the rain and snow. They come in various sizes and can accommodate large equipment. However, remember that roof boxes must be installed on roof bars.
Consult your car’s user manual to determine the maximum weight capacity. The dimensions of the roof box and the direction it opens are equally important.
• Bike racks come in all shapes and sizes. However, you should choose one that’s easy to install and is compatible with your vehicle. For instance, bike racks that sit on the roof of your car require roof bars. Some vehicles come with roof bars already installed, while others require after-market installation. You can also find bike racks and cargo carriers that attach to your car’s trailer hitch, so you don’t have to worry about vertical clearance.
Visit your local auto parts store to see these accessories up close before making your choice.
Car spoilers: truths and myths
Spoilers are a popular accessory for many car enthusiasts. On top of being stylish, many people believe they can improve a car’s speed and aerodynamics. Here’s what the science says.
How spoilers work
The spoiler’s effect comes from the same physical laws that drive aviation, but it works in the opposite direction. While an airplane wing lifts the aircraft as it accelerates, the spoiler on a car exerts a downward force, pressing the vehicle downward and improving traction. It also decreases the drag arising from air turbulence at the vehicle’s rear.
The spoiler’s aerodynamic effect is indisputable. But its effectiveness is proportional to speed. For example, a Formula 1 racing car benefits most from a spoiler because it’s lightweight and frequently exceeds 185 miles per hour.
Cars intended for consumer use are much heavier and subject to legal speed limits. For these types of vehicles, the downward thrust effect of a spoiler is negligible. However, spoilers reduce drag, which helps reduce fuel consumption. This effect is especially true if the manufacturer installed the spoiler and tested it in a wind tunnel, which is often the case for high-end cars.
4 signs your car needs a little TLC
As your thoughts turn to summer adventures and road trips, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Here are a few signs your car could use a tune-up.
1. You see an engine warning light
If the engine warning lights flash on your dashboard, don’t ignore them. Amber lights will alert you to simple problems, such as a loose spark plug, while red lights indicate more serious issues, such as an oil leak. Engine warning lights may also indicate when your car is due for an oil change.
2. You hear weird noises
Strange sounds coming from your car can signify there’s a problem. Noises may begin quietly and get louder as the problem gets worse. Turn off the radio while you’re driving and listen for sounds like squeaking or grinding. These noises could indicate your car has a loose belt, low power steering fluid, or unbalanced tires.
3. You notice strange smells
If you notice an unusual odor, it may mean there’s a problem with your car. An unpleasant smell can indicate there’s an issue with your exhaust system, elec¬trical components, tires, or brakes. All these problems require immediate attention from a mechanic.
4. You see or smell smoke
Smoke coming from your engine or exhaust pipe could be a sign that your radiator is overheating or that you have a problem with your head gasket. These are urgent issues that could ruin your car’s engine.
If you want to be safe on the road, give your car the care and attention it needs. An automotive professional can help you maintain your vehicle and make repairs before they become major problems.
How green are electric vehicles?
Although purchasing an electric car is generally associated with being environmentally friendly, some consumers doubt it. Here are some facts to set the record straight.
Fuel consumption alone doesn’t define a car’s environmental impact. In fact, the car’s entire life cycle must be considered, from the extraction of materials used in its manufacture to the car’s ultimate disposal.
The amount of energy and resources required to manufacture the vehicle and to power it is an essential ecological consideration. Moreover, the vehicle’s weight, mileage, and recyclability must also be considered.
Striking a balance
Studies show that manufacturing electric vehicles creates more pollution than manufacturing gasoline-powered cars. However, once the car reaches a specific mileage, this disadvantage gets canceled out. This is especially true in countries, states, and provinces that produce and use renewable energy from such sources as solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams.
The most ecological choice
Although not a cure-all as some would describe them, electric cars are a more climate-friendly option than conventional vehicles. That said, you can help reduce your environmental impact by making lifestyle choices like carpooling and using public transit whenever possible.
Autonomous car classifications
Autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly popular around the world. Legislators are seeking to modernize laws to regulate this new reality. Some have adopted a classification system developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Here is a summary of the six-tier system.
• Level 0 cars have limited driving support functions like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and lane departure warning. Drivers must constantly supervise these support features and perform all driving tasks like steering, braking, and accelerating.
• Level 1 and 2 cars are equipped with advanced steering and/or braking and accelerating supports like lane centering and adaptive cruise control. The first tier may have one of these functions, while the second tier can include both functions simultaneously.
• Level 3 vehicles are at the level of autonomy that legislators are more concerned with regulating. Drivers must be prepared to assume control if the system can’t execute the task. However, the car does most of the driving.
• Level 4 and 5 cars are fully autonomous. They can perform all driving tasks without human intervention, so the steering wheel and pedals are unnecessary. The autonomy in Level 4 cars is limited to certain conditions. Level 5 vehicles offer complete and unconditional driving automation, regardless of the location and road conditions.
Fully autonomous cars are still being tested in many parts of the world. They aren’t yet available on the consumer market.
6 advantages of driving an electric vehicle
Electric vehicles (EVs) are praised for being eco-friendly. However, they have more going for them than simply being good for the environment. Here are six good reasons to invest in an electric car.
1. Innovative technology
EVs are equipped with the latest safety features and entertainment technologies. They also incorporate eco-friendly materials.
2. Superior performance
Electric cars offer instant torque, which makes it easy to accelerate and safely pass other motorists. Moreover, EVs have a lower center of gravity than conventional vehicles, making them more stable and less likely to roll over.
3. Convenient perks
If you drive an EV, you’ll gain priority access to reserved lanes and parking lots. This can save you a considerable amount of time and make it easier to find parking.
4. Easy charging
Electric cars don’t run on gas. Therefore, you don’t need to stop at a gas station to refuel. You can simply recharge your vehicle at home or at a charging station on the road.
5. Low maintenance
Electric motors undergo less wear and tear than gasoline engines. Additionally, electric engines have fewer moving parts than conventional ones and don’t require as much maintenance.
6. Superior reliability
Electric engines don’t stall. This is partly due to not having a clutch. Therefore, if you live in a cold climate, you don’t have to worry about your vehicle not starting in cold temperatures.
To schedule a test drive, contact an EV dealer near you.
5 windshield wiper tips
Your windshield wipers allow you to see when driving in rainy or dirty conditions. Here are a few tips for maintaining your wiper blades.
1. Don’t use your wipers on a dry windshield. This can cause the rubber to prematurely wear.
2. Regularly clean your wiper blades with a cloth soaked in windshield washer fluid to keep them in good condition.
3. Don’t allow dirt to accumulate on your windshield. This can damage your wiper blades. Make sure you wash your windshield often, especially after driving on muddy roads.
4. Replace your windshield wipers every six months to ensure optimal visibility when driving.
5. Keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear on your wiper blades to avoid unpleasant surprises on the road. If your wipers squeak, chatter, skip, smear or streak, change them immediately. Additionally, if you feel cracks or tears along the rubber part of the blade, it’s time for a new set of wipers.
Do you need new wiper blades? Visit your local auto parts retailer to find the model you need.