Yearly Archives: 2015

Electric Car Misconceptions That Don’t Hold

Many new technologies get off to a modest start when compared to the current status quo. For example, the first horseless carriages performed rather modestly compared to horses. Over time, a new technology can improve to the point where it becomes a viable competitor with and sometimes preferable to the more established technology. However, the public’s perception often fails to keep pace with this improvement. When this happens as in the case with electric cars, the old perceptions become nothing more than car misconceptions. Here are three of them: Electric Cars Can’t Compete with Gas Cars on Acceleration and Speed Electric motors give you an almost instant torque the moment you apply electrical power to them. The bigger the motor, the larger that instant torque becomes. Most electric cars on the market have decent sized motors (many have one for each wheel). Because gas-powered motors are slower at building up torque, electric cars can ou ... read more

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Road Rage, Long Trips, and Cell Phones

What do road rage, long road trips, and cell phone conversations have in common? Besides the fact that many people have done all of them, sometimes all at once, the answer is that a surprising number of people have misconceptions about each one of them. While these car misconceptions seem plausible on the surface, the law, statistics, and cognitive science say otherwise. Here are the misconceptions: Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Are the Same Thing Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, the law sees them as two different things. One will get you fines and higher car insurance premiums, while the other can land you in jail. Aggressive driving is a series of traffic offenses that endanger the driver as well as others on the road. The person engaged in aggressive driving does it for reasons other than threatening another motorist. He may tail gate out of habit or as a way to indicate that he’d like you to speed up or move over ... read more

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Is Front Wheel Drive Enough for Winter Driving?

The temperatures are quickly dropping and many parts of the country will experience a white Christmas. Here in Delaware we can experience some icy road conditions in the winter, but how many people do you know that take the time to switch to winter tires for the season? When it comes to winter driving, there are many car misconceptions that can impact your safety. Many drivers think that as long as they have a front wheel drive vehicle they’ll weather the winter driving conditions just fine. Drivers with all-wheel drive may have even more confidence when it comes to their ability to manage the snow and ice. Certainly these features help, and anti-lock breaks are really helpful as well, but the safest way to navigate winter driving utilizes these features as well as winter tires. Winter tires feature specialized tread that grips the road better, and a recent test conducted by Automobile Magazine showe ... read more

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Is All-Wheel Drive Safer than Front-Wheel Drive in the Winter?

Is all-wheel drive safer than front-wheel drive in the winter? The short answer to this question is no for most consumers and yes for those who understand the strengths and limitations of all-wheel drive. The idea that all-wheel drive is automatically safer than two-wheel drive is among the most popular of car misconceptions out there. This is understandable given that car commercials showing all-wheel drive vehicles flying effortlessly through the mud or snow has become an advertising cliché. What All-Wheel Drive Means All-wheel drive does exactly what the name says, which is that the transmission delivers torque from the engine to all four wheels. When engine power is delivered to four wheels instead of two, does this mean that the car brakes better in slippery conditions than two-wheel drive? No. Engine torque delivered to the wheels makes a c ... read more

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Hot Cars and Child Safety

One of the worst tragedies that can happen to a parent is the loss of their child. Yet this happens every year when children die from heat exhaustion in parked cars. Many of these incidents weren’t the result of neglectful parenting but of an oversight or miscalculation caused by some very common car misconceptions surrounding overheated cars. I Never Leave My Kids in the Car, so It Won’t Happen to Me This can happen to anyone, no matter how caring the person is. This may occur in a number of ways. At some point in the lives of many people, they accidentally lock themselves out of their homes in spite of careful efforts to never let this happen. While one’s child can’t be compared to a set of keys, the very same reasons that cause people to lock themselves out of their homes can also cause them to forget their child in the backseat when leaving their car. It only takes sufficient stress or an unusual event that rattles them. People who ... read more

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3 Types of Tire Maintenance for Fall and Winter

The hot summer days are nearly behind us and fall is fast approaching. The changing of the seasons, especially with winter only a few months away, is always a good time to consider your tires‘ condition and schedule any needed maintenance. Tire pressure. Hot temperatures can over-inflate tires, and cold temperatures can under-inflate them, putting you at risk for a blowout. If your car’s tire pressure monitoring system gives a warning that your tires are under-inflated, it may be due to cooler temperatures causing your tires to lose air. Check your car’s owner’s manual or the driver’s side door well for the recommended PSI (it won’t be on the tire itself, as is a common misconception) and make sure your tire pressure is at recommended levels. Always check your tire pressure when your car is “cold,” as the heat and friction ... read more

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Top 5 Christmas Travel Facts

While most of the population believes that they know holiday travel (lines of antlered mini-vans travelling significantly slower than Santa’s reindeer), they do not truly know the statistics behind the chaos. Here are some Christmas travel facts sure to turn any traffic-induced rant into an informational lecture. 1. 91% of travelers choose personal transportation More than any other time of the year, during the holiday season, travelers choose to travel by their own personal car. At 91%, the second most popular form of transportation is air travel, which accounts for only 5% of holiday travel. 2. People travel further for Christmas Christmas travel ranks up more miles, on average, than travel during any other time of the year. While the average travel distance for any other day of the year tends to be 261 miles, Christmas tends to bring travelers 15 miles further from home at roughly 275 miles per traveler ... read more

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3 Bad Driving Habits That will Cost You Money

3 Bad Driving Habits That will Cost You Money

We all know that speeding is a surefire way to wind up costing yourself money via traffic tickets, lawyer fees, and increased insurance rates. What many people are not aware of, however, is that there are a few other driving habits that will cost you money. Some of these habits may seem harmless initially, but are detrimental to your wallet over time. Here are some of the most common bad driving habits that will ultimately prove costly: Aggressive Driving Habits Some driving habits like the rush of adrenaline that aggressive driving provides is a lot of fun, but the short-lived feeling of excitement is not worth the cost to your car and your wallet. Constant stopping and starting strains your engine, increases the need for break repair, and wastes expensive gas. Instead, drivers should brake gradually and accelerate smoothly. Engine Revving We’ve all pu ... read more

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Top 5 New Car Design Flaws and Gripes

Top 5 New Car Design Flaws and Gripes

Does complaining about new car design flaws mean that you’re getting old? Or are there valid objective reasons for not liking everything that product market research throws your way? In the case of cars, many technological changes truly are improvements. The motor starter was quite innovative years ago. Not having to stand outside in the rain while turning an engine hand crank must have been greatly appreciated. But not every car “innovation” makes driving more safe, convenient, or fun. Here are five new car issues that many experienced car owners take exception to: Who Cares About the Road, Look at the Computer. Touch screens are great on our smartphones and other mobile devices. Anyone who’s experienced sticking keys on old laptops will appreciate touch screen keyboards. However, many people take issue with them being used on car dashboards. The problem is you get no tactile f ... read more

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4 Tire Buying Tips Everyone Should Know

Buying tires is one of those necessary evils car owners simply have to deal with. Sooner or later your current set will get worn down, and you’ll need to replace them. Before you just grab a set and put them on your car, though, here are some simple tire buying tips to help you avoid problems while getting good value for your money. Tire Buying Tips Tip #1: Check Your Owner’s Manual While we trust the men and women who work in our auto parts stores, they’re only human and they do make mistakes. Rather than relying on someone else to tell you what sort of tires you need, you should check your owner’s manual along with the placard inside your driver’s side door. The recommended tire will be listed right there, telling you exactly what you need to get before you even walk in the door. Tip #2: Replace One, Replace Them All While it’s an expensive proposition, it’s a much better idea to get a complete set of tires than to just replace a few. The ... read more

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