Category: Truck

Pros and Cons of Automatic Vehicles

Over the past few decades there has been a big shift to the automatic transmission (no pun intended). More and more people are automatically opting to go buy or lease an automatic car without even considering the manual transmission option. This is also why they are now seeing more of these semi manual transmissions. These transmissions have all of the features of an automatic car, but also allow drivers to switch to a manual shift (without a clutch).

On the surface, it seems odd that people are opting for the more expensive option. On average, it will cost consumers approximately $2,000 more to buy an automatic car when compared to a manual car that is the same make and model with all the same features.

If you are in the market for a new car, there are a number of pros and cons to think about. Once you read this list, your decision may not be as automatic as you think.

The pros of automatic vehicles

There are many positive attributes when it comes to the decision to by a car with an automatic transmission. They include:

  • They are easier to drive on a daily basis. There is no shifting and no need to learn how to operate a clutch.
  • Automatic cars are easier when it comes to learning how to drive. Getting familiar with a car is difficult enough and adding shifting and a clutch only makes things more difficult and more intimidating.
  • They are the dominant type of vehicle on the market, so they are easier to find, buy, and sell. Manual transmission vehicles are now more of a niche market and are not what the average driver is looking for.
  • There will be a larger market to sell your vehicle down the road. No one wants to get stuck with a car that they can’t sell, especially if they are in a situation where they need the money.
  • They are better suited for winter weather and driving in poor weather conditions.

The cons of automatic vehicles

There are also many negative attributes when it comes to the decision to by a car with an automatic transmission. They include:

  • They cost more money. So, if price is an issue, you can easily save a couple thousand dollars right off the top if you opt for a manual vehicle.
  • The driving experience is not the same. Having the ability to press the clutch and feel the car kick into gear when you shift is truly what driving is all about.
  • Since you are not required to shift gears, it is easier to become distracted when you are behind the wheel.
  • They are less efficient when it comes to gas consumption. This will cost you more money overtime and for the duration that you own the car.
  • Drivers have less control over the vehicle. Manual vehicles allow you to take more control over the engine.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons of automatic vehicles. But, since …

Defective Parts and Vehicles

Vehicle safety is important to everyone who drives. The safety of your vehicle does not only concern you or your family, but every other driver on the road as well. Keeping your vehicle well maintained, and obeying traffic laws are definite ways to help avoid auto accidents, but car accidents still occur at an alarming rate in this country.

Even if you take the best care of your car to ensure its safety, defective automobile parts can be unexpected and unavoidable, leading to catastrophic auto accidents.

Defective Tires

Tires that are poorly designed or manufactured can lead to a loss of tread, tire blowouts, or even tire explosions. According to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, pieces of blow out tires are the most common road debris. The tires on a vehicle can mean the difference between a safe ride and an accident. Blowouts, or a severe loss of tire pressure, can make it almost impossible to control a vehicle, and almost always result in disastrous accidents.

Defective Brakes

The brake systems in today’s vehicles are very complicated. There are a number of ways in which brakes can be defective including:

  • Hydraulic lines not connected correctly
  • Rotor failures
  • Brake pad failures
  • Brakes overheating
  • Defective brake/shift interlock

The brake/shift interlock is the mechanism that does not allow you to shift out of park into another gear without placing your foot on the brake first. The malfunction of this mechanism can lead to involuntary acceleration.

Defective Airbags

Airbags are a wonderful safety feature that have prevented the severe injury of many drivers and passengers involved in auto accidents. They too, however, can be defective and dangerous as well. Airbags can be defective in many ways, including:

  • Deploy when they should not
  • Deploy with too much force, resulting in injury
  • Deploy with not enough force
  • Do not deploy when they should

Auto Industry: 7 Emerging Trends

The automotive industry is operating in an acute transition mode, thanks to the economic, technological, political,.etc influences. And while car manufacturers administer their own tweaks to their products, OEM’s and auto part manufacturers would have to deal with their own set of challenges to adapt.

Several, emerging trends in the automotive engineering are evident as highlighted at PR Web.

1. Turbocharging will be popular again:

As a consequence of skyrocketing fuel prices smaller engines that generate more power would need to be built. Turbocharging already prevails in Europe, it would be in the US too by as early as 2010.

2. Internal combustion engine will evolve.

While the internal combustion engine stays, it will take on newer avatars owing to alternative fuel technologies used to drive the engines. For instance, plug-in vehicles, battery- powered cars and fuel cells powered automobiles. At the same time requiring, that the engines are ever more efficient.

3. Emergence of Biofuels

Biofeuls are likely to become popular in many parts of the world. For OEMs this means that they must rely on fail-safe materials due to a lack of standards for biodiesel. In Brazil use of biofuels has already achieved independence from petroleum fuel sources.

4. Consolidation of automotive fluids within assembly plants

Systems and processes for assembly plants meant to achieve less complex inventory management of fluids would be needed. And that this trend has already led to consolidation efforts that rely on multiple-use fluids.

5. Continuing vehicle electrification

Today as a result of advancements in electronics, most advanced electronic items can be added within the confines of 14-volt electrical systems. Consequently, most automobiles can be steered or braked electronically without voltage architecture beyond 14 volts. More systems will come under the electrical system’s reach.

6. The need to manufacture environment friendly refrigerants

A 2011 EU standard aims to eliminate the use of R-134a, the A/C system refrigerant currently used worldwide. The OEMs as a result need to devise ways to become compliant.

7. Emergence of Round-the-Globe Engineering

Major OEMs are setting up development centers around the globe. While Asian OEMs prefer satellite centers that take principal direction from a larger parent center, the North American model seems to allow these centers a given specific platform (and powertrain) development responsibility. And this necessitates local sourcing as well as local engineering and materials decision-making.…

Car Brand Quality – The 7 Best Car Brands in 1990

This article provides two methods for selecting the 7 best car brands sold in North America from late 1984 to 1989. The statistics used in the computations for selecting the seven best vehicle brands are those found within the April 1990 issue of Consumer Reports, likely the most respected and followed source of automobile quality information in North America. The two sections used for ranking brand quality are Consumer Reports’ list of trouble-prone cars and its reliability charts. Reliability is defined by the magazine as the infrequency of serious problems, which it measures annually by a subscriber survey.

The first ranking of the Top 7 car brands is based on each brand’s infrequency of trouble-prone models. This ranking provides a measure of how well each brand’s models successfully avoided the bottom end of the model-quality spectrum.

The second ranking of the Top 7 car brands is based on the average of the overall reliability ratings of each brand’s models. The second ranking provides a measure of well a brand’s models performed over the entire model-quality spectrum.

Brand Quality by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

In each of its April issues, Consumer Reports has listed the most trouble-prone models by model year since 1976. To form a brand quality measure from the 1990 list of Used Cars To Avoid, the first step is to count each brand’s entries on the list. Each model year of each model is treated as a separate entry.

Next, as the number of automobile models sold under a brand name varies greatly from brand to brand, it is necessary to take account of the fact that a brand with more models has a greater opportunity to have more model years of low quality. To compensate for a possibly inflated, or deflated, frequency of trouble-prone model years within a brand, as well as variability in model data sufficiency, the number of a brand’s entries in CR’s Used-Cars-To-Avoid list is divided by the total number of overall reliability ratings for the brand found in the reliability charts of the same issue of Consumer Reports. The overall reliability ratings are found in the Trouble-Index row of the 1990 reliability charts.

By the method of computation, this quality measure begins with 0 and may run to a value some greater than 1. The value of 0 is the highest quality rating attainable by a brand and is achieved only when a brand has no entry on the Used-Cars-To-Avoid list.

The Top 7 car brands by the foregoing computations, together with their quality ratings, are ranked below in descending order, with best first. Only those brands with at least 5 overall CR reliability ratings are included in the list below.

The 7 Best Car Brands by Infrequency of Trouble-Prone Models

Honda’s Acura, with a Worst-Car rating of 0
Honda’s Honda, with a rating of 0
BMW’s BMW, with a rating of 0.05
Toyota’s Toyota, with a rating of 0.09
Ford’s Lincoln, with a rating of 0.11
Volkswagen’s Audi, with a rating of …

Automotive Technology: Active and Passive Safety Systems

A driver is desperately trying to make a business appointment and fiddles with the phone to call ahead that she is running late. Another flips through a portfolio of CDs trying to find just the right music selection. Both overestimate their abilities and swerve momentarily into the next lane.

In today’s busy world, people often find themselves multi-tasking; and unfortunately, drivers are taking this trend to the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), not only do the majority of Americans view driving as a routine task (i.e., not worthy of special attention), 50% of all crashes involve driver “inattention.”

Safercar.gov agrees. It says 90% of vehicles in “fatal, single-vehicle rollovers involved routine driving maneuvers” and 85% of “rollover-related fatalities are single-vehicle crashes.” Based on these statistics, driver behavior seems to play a crucial role in fatal rollover crashes.

At the same time that drivers are being implored to practice safe and attentive driving, automotive engineers are also eager to create new technologies to help increase roadway safety. Isn’t there some fancy device that could warn a driver when he drifts into the next lane? React when another vehicle is in his blind spot? Apply the brakes before a crash?

Pre-crash mitigation systems attempt to combat some of the common causes of automobile accidents through warnings and automatic adjustments. Such systems are the focus of research initiatives into roadway safety and include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and side alert systems.

In a forward collision warning system, the vehicle’s system literally senses the distance between it and the vehicle or object ahead of it in the lane. Predicting the possibility of an accident by sensing the distance between slower moving and stopped vehicles ahead, it warns the driver when appropriate. If a crash occurs, the system initializes precautionary measures – such as pretensioning motorized safety belts and applying brakes. Indeed, active braking in the seconds before a collision can play a major role in crash energy reduction.

According to NHTSA, some 200,000 accidents every year are due to lane changes. To help reduce the number of these accidents, lane departure warning systems have been designed. They caution drivers when their vehicles leave their intended lanes. Using a monocular camera mounted behind the windshield, the lane departure warning system’s software programs estimate lane width and road curvature, determine the vehicle’s heading and lateral position and initialize a tactile, visual or audible alert to its driver when he or she crosses a line.

It’s not difficult to guess, then, what side alert systems do. Using infrared sensing and other technologies, such systems help drivers become aware of vehicles in side blind spots. In some models, these sensors are integrated into mirrors, taillights and side fascia. The side blind spot region is scanned for temperature changes to detect a vehicle, a visual indication can be given in mirrors, and, when necessary, an audible alert can be issued. The technology is so advanced, sensors ignore stationary roadside …