The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry
Hot on the heels of last month’s massive 1.5 million car recall, it seems Honda has a few more problems on their hands. It seems that the power window switch found in the Fit, CR-V, and City models has been created with a defect that can cause it to heat up significantly and potentially catch fire, which is not on the list of things to do for most daily commutes.
Besides that bit of fun, Honda has issued another recall in tandem with the CR-V for its hybrid CR-Z model because when the battery is low on charge, the gas engine has stalled and the transmission is in gear, the electric motor may actually rotate in the opposite direction—meaning you could go forward when the car is in reverse. That would be a tough one to explain to the cops or the insurance company.
The good news is that no serious injury or deaths have been reported as of yet because of these defects, but the bad news is that over 936,000 units worldwide have been affected and are slated to head back to dealerships. Keep reading to see the full press release from Honda.
Posted In: Car News, Miscellaneous, Recalls, Reports
Tags: Recalls, Honda, CR-V, CR-Z, Fit, Honda City, safety, car news
It looks like the VW group is going to have two levels of ultra-compact, urban-maneuvering EVs on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We've already seen a bunch of the Audi Urban Concept, and now Volkswagen's revealed a concept of its own: it's called Nils.
Clearly developed in conjunction with the Audi model, the VW Nils features similar elements like the narrow, freestanding wheels. Unlike the Audi, though, the Volkswagen gets even smaller by eliminating the passenger—the Nils is a personal pod designed for a party of one. It also trades the unique slide-back door-roof for a pair of gullwings.
Built atop an aluminum spaceframe, the Nils weighs a mere 1,000 pounds and is powered by a small motor and 5.3 kWh battery pack. Volkswagen calls it a demonstration of "minimalist mobility." The engine pushes the car a total of up to 40 miles and speeds up to 80 mph, so it could foreseeably do some brief stints on the highway, though that's clearly not what it's aimed at. It takes two hours to recharge the battery.
Posted In: Auto Shows, Concept Cars, Hybrid / Green
Tags: Frankfurt, 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, EV, electric vehicle, concepts, Volkswagen, VW, Nils, pod
Researching and navigating to your destination just got a little easier for GM owners—at least those GM owners whose cars are equipped with OnStar. GM has a brand-new app that makes identifying a destination and programming it into your car more seamless than ever.
A new function of the OnStar RemoteLink app lets OnStar users find addresses via Android and iPhone devices and then send them wirelessly to the navigation system. So instead of having to research the address on your phone and then punch it into the GPS—or wading through the points of interest just hoping the destination you need is listed—you can find the address and zap it with one simplified process. The app lets you store up to five addresses, which can be accessed via voice command.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Car News, Technology
Tags: apps, GM, technology, OnStar, RemoteLink, safety, iPhone, Android, Droid, iOS, navigation, smart phones, hands free
Volvo is a company synonymous with safety, AWD, and perhaps the geometric square. In 2012, Volvo will also be known for an entirely new achievement: the first practical plug-in hybrid. Just as Chevy plans to release the Volt, which features both a short range electric motor and the long term benefits of an internal combustion engine, Volvo is looking toward the future to blend technologies from plug-in hybrids and diesels alike in their latest V60.
To date, all mass-produced hybrid vehicles are powered by unleaded fuel. This is primarily because of the differences associated with starting diesel engines versus starting an electric motor. Diesels require oil pressure and usually some warm-up time. This newest V60 manages to meet that challenge with some kind of mechanical voodoo—allowing oil-pressure to build while the driver releases the brake and presses the start button.
Posted In: Car News, Hybrid / Green, Videos
Tags: Volvo, V60, V 60, AWD, hybrid, diesel, AWD, plug-in, plug, in, electric, EV, green
Let’s start by saying that there’s little one can do to fix an engine with a bad idle these days because of all the electronics that govern idle speed. The way an engine management system works is really quite simple, very much like your home computer.
On a car, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) uses sensors to receive information, such as engine speed, temperature, throttle position, airflow, exhaust gas content, and so forth. From the information gathered, the CPU then instructs other electronics, called actuators, such as fuel injectors, the ignition module, EGR valve, idle speed motor, and others to perform accordingly. So, in my home computer, when I press the letter "p" on the keyboard (the sensor), the CPU thinks about it a bit and then tells the monitor to display (actuator) the letter “p”.
In the same way, if I step on the gas pedal (a really big "sensor"), the computer gathers all the information from the various other sensors, and then tells the fuel injectors to squirt more gas into the engine and thus the engine accelerates.
The term "mid-level" supercar may be a complete oxymoron, but it's the best term we can think of to describe cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Gallardo. These cars have pedigrees that're too refined to be called mere "sports cars—and "mid-level sports car"? Perish the thought. However, these cars sit in the middle of the market both within their own brand and in the greater market. So "mid-level" supercar just fits.
Rumors are back that Porsche will be aiming at some of those competitors in launching a supercar between the 911 line and the upcoming 918 Spyder.
Posted In: Exotics, Reports, Rumors
Tags: Porsche, 929, rumors, supercar, mid-level supercar, Ferrari, 458 Italia, Lamborghini, Gallardo
Today, we’ll take a look at another car-owning basic. It seems pretty simple to do, yet it can be very dangerous. It’s easy to get overconfident here, because it doesn’t seem to take a lot of mechanical ability.
There are two ways you can get a flat. The first is when you’re driving along. Suddenly, you’ll hear a progressively louder thump-thump sound and, quite likely, the car will begin to shake. Most people instinctively slow down and pull over to the side of the road. More dangerous is when you have a blow-out; that’s when the tire loses air pressure all at once. Depending on how fast you’re going, it’s very possible to lose control.
Air bags aren’t generally considered to be within the realm of the typical do-it-yourselfer (and rightly so), but of course, if you’ve got the right tools and manuals, anything is possible.
A typical air bag system consists of several sensors located at various places within a car’s structure along with the air bag itself. All cars today have two front air bags, but their application has now proliferated with many makers offering or including side air bags (mounted in the sides of the seat or door panels), side air bag “curtains” mounted on the side of the interior roof panel, and there are even rear seat bags available as well.
A typical system has sensors located at the front fenders and other locations which measure shock, deceleration, and so forth. When activated, they send a signal to the air bag which then initiates a fairly violent explosion to inflate the bag. Early air bags detonated within 1/25th of a second or 250 mph. In order for air bags to detonate, several or all sensors have to be activated.
In case the battery cables break during an accident, air bag systems have backup power sources which supply the necessary power to detonate the air bags. So if you’re thinking of removing the relevant fuse from the system to deactivate the air bags in your car—don’t. To deactivate the air bags a deactivation procedure, listed in shop manuals, has to be followed.
Japanese brands sure are reluctant to increase prices this year. Honda held pricing on its Accord; Toyota is selling the Camry for less than its 2011 equivalent; and now Nissan is placing a price hold on the Maxima. Both the 2012 Maxima 3.5 S and 3.5 SV are offered at the same price as their 2011 equivalents. And they get a few upgrades to boot.
The 2012 Maxima 3.5 S will start at $31, 750 and the Maxima 3.5 SV will start at $34, 450. Those prices are before a $760 destination charge. Both models are powered by a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine and Xtronic CVT transmission with available paddle shifters.
Don’t you just hate it when someone rushes into your lane from a side street and then slows to a crawl?
Don’t you just hate it when you’re stuck behind some loud, jacked-up, beat-up pick-up truck spewing noxious fumes?
Don’t you just hate it when you see a trooper’s lights come on behind you?
Don’t you just love it when, as you move over to stop, he quickly passes you to get that guy in the jacked-up, beat-up pick-up truck?
This subject has been getting more and more attention these days—it is internal engine cleaning, better known as flushing. This is being promoted by the quick oil-change people, among others, with the advice that if you clean out the engine of accumulated sludge, deposits, and other yucky stuff, it will run better and hopefully longer. Is this effective or not?
As usual, when it comes to things automotive, the answer is both yes and no.
Tags: how to, maintenance, engine flush, technical, oil, synthetic, performance