The Pros and Cons of Spoilers

Mehta_Spoilers

Adding a rear or chin spoiler is one of the necessary accessories for many drivers. What are the benefits? Some just prefer the look and consider it an extra dosage of muscle in the Pony. Of course, spoilers are “supposed” to add performance to the car, but whether or not any downforce is added is up for debate. Some pros say yes, some say no, so it’s up to what research strikes your fancy – but really, it’s what you think of the look.

One thing to consider is whether or not your specific model is “supposed” to have a spoiler. Some cars, like the 2008 Shelby GT, have ducktail spoilers made by Shelby for Shelby. Other models come straight from the manufacturer with a low wing rear spoiler. There are some enthusiasts who belong to the camp of believing only real Ford Mustang parts belong on these machines. On the other hand, there are others who enjoy thinking outside the box and are up for creating a one of a kind powerhouse with whatever spoiler floats their boat.Mehta_Spoilers2

The Downside

Adding the “wrong” spoiler will not negatively impact the performance of a car. However, choosing to modify a Mustang with a spoiler obviously costs money. Prices of spoilers can range drastically, so it’s important to do a little research to find one that fits a budget. More importantly, adding a spoiler – especially one that is not made specifically for a particular Mustang model – might make a difference when (or if) it comes time to sell. Will the new owner be a fan of your choice?

What Some Fans Say

Regardless of what you believe, the “real” reason spoilers were born was to increase a car’s grip on the road. How much downforce a car has is extremely important in the racing world and most of the time the only thing keeping a Mustang on a track is the weight of the car. One way to help with grip is to increase the weight of the car – but that negatively impacts how a Pony performs in turns. Spoilers are basically upside down airplane wings that are meant to add grip without the added weight. Does it work? That’s up to you to decide.

Options Abound

So, you’ve decided a spoiler is a right option for you. Now comes the tough part – there are seemingly limitless spoilers out there. Cobra styles come with or without lights. Maybe you want to replace that factory low wing rear spoiler with an F-40 high wing spoiler with a red light. An AIT racing spoiler is a popular option for drivers looking to improve on the track. No matter what you decide, remember that spoilers require some serious changes to the car (like holes in the trunk), so choose wisely.

Foreign Pickup Trucks – Successes and Fails

Mercedes X-Class

What makes an ideal pickup truck to buy and what makes a truck that no one will buy?

Kei Truck

To look at the Kei Truck first; it is called a mini-truck, a very small, but practical, pickup truck. It is built very small and is classified as an ATV in some states. Subaru, Honda, and Suzuki, among others, manufacture the Kei Truck. It was developed from a three wheeled truck which could be seen in Japan even before WWII. It weighs less than a metric ton – about 1,500lbs (700Kg) and has a maximum speed of 75 mph. They are produced outside the US and are used in the fishing and construction industries. Unless you’re in one of a handful of states where they’re classified as an ATV, only Kei Trucks older than 25 years may be imported into the US.

The Isuzu V-Cross PCP is designed for both off-roading and traveling on country roads. There are several features you don’t immediately associate with a pickup such as leather seats, a gun-metal exterior, and heated front seats – just the thing for journeying through the colder states. There’s also a touchscreen and a back-up camera to aid your parking.

Unfortunately, a number of pickups didn’t succeed, like the Mercedes X-Class. This was only used between 2018 and 2020. Although Mercedes tends to make waves all over the car market this was a new area for them.  The engine had two different levels of power and had a design based on the Nissan Frontier. Ultimately it had some problems – it was tricky to turn, requiring an excess of 42 feet (13 meters) and was thought too expensive for most customers, not even reaching 17 thousand sales.

Did you know that a Toyota Hilux features in Back To The Future? If so, you are not alone. This bulky pickup has been available since 1968. It has “sports bars” at the front and a strong towing capacity at the back with the additional robust frame and why not take advantage of the cruise control and a collision prevention control. The music tech is also worth mentioning, the Smartphone integration. There are also test drive available from the website. 

The story of the Mahindra is a whole different affair. Its lack of fuel efficiency held it up during production, although it duped hundreds of US audio dealers into investment. The parent company, Global, was selling utility vehicles in 2004. It managed to obtain 350 potential buyers around this period. Unfortunately, it never got to launch.  Despite being planned for a number of years, the fuel emission certificate was only signed in 2011. Dealers paid to get the franchise but it all came to naught.  Several millions were syphoned into branding the product and even creating showrooms. The company later admitted the pressure was too great.

There are so many brilliant pickups out there it would be surprising if some different fall by the wayside. The working nature of the vehicle is important but so is comfortability and style.

Are Female Truck Drivers the Answer?

Clearly there is a worker shortage in many fields and as truck drivers are a crucial link in the struggling supply chain of goods to customers, there is a huge need for truck drivers in general. As an industry they are trying to hire ten thousand drivers immediately.

Even before the global pandemic logistics companies were being squeezed and they were running out of drivers. One reason is the number of accidents caused by tired drivers, or those suffering heart attack or stroke while behind the wheel. As a result, new health standard made trucking an industry likely to retire you at an earlier age. While the average nurse is over 50 the average truck driver is now 46.

New Truck Drivers

The average age of someone becoming a truck driver is 35, and a number of them are women—more than ever before. It seems many men have left the profession before the pandemic have yet to return. ZipRecruiter says that 83% of drivers are men probably because women don’t consider it a good industry for them, but this may be subject to change.

It isn’t just men leaving that creates extra demand for drivers. Home delivery is up as much as 43% over pre-pandemic days.

One of the main reasons that women might be attracted to the job is that it is fairly well paid. While many careers still require a college degree in order to achieve a well-paid position driving truck falls more into the category of a trade, where a short time of special training and a couple certifications can get you started and additional certifications along the way will open doors to increased opportunity. In other words it can be a faster change than say joining the medical field.

Another reason is that traditionally female dominated industries, like supermarket, retail jobs, and restaurant jobs were hit hardest by the pandemic which put a lot of women into the job search right when trucking needed to hire. The economic instability created a good environment for many people to consider a change of industry.

Yet another reason for women to switch to truck driving is that women already filled a bigger percentage of other CDL (commercial driver’s licence) positions. For those women who already drive minibuses or coaches, a truck isn’t that big a leap.

Short Haul vs Long Haul

Traditionally, male and female workers have shown different priorities in job selection. For example, women doctors are sometimes hesitant to pursue medical specialties, like plastic surgery, instead choosing to stay with family medicine, in order to leave the door open for family planning.

So as women enter trucking driving they are opting for short haul jobs, which keeps them near their families. It’s also a more competitive arena.

Long haul, or OTR for over the road as it’s often called, can make more money and is better suited to Owner Operators. The downside is that your are gone from your family most of the time. In other words because it’s lucrative but difficult and uncomfortable so it attracts drivers willing to buy their own rig instead of working as an employee.

The net effect is that it’s unlikely for women see the most money in their industry. Situations like this are what skew the statistics and make the pay gap between men and women seem larger than it may actually be.

It’s not just family consideration at play in their preference for local routes. While many women are adventurous and tough female truckers rated their safety as 4.4 out of 10 (which may be thought as the equivalent to “fairly unsafe”) in a recent survey. Long haul routes carry a greater potential risk and may be less desirable to anyone who is motivated by security. We’re not saying women are risk averse as a gender, actually statistics indicate it. Women get in fewer accidents which is attributed to a more cautious approach to driving, which is correlated to a lower tolerance for risk in general.

While there is no reason a female truck driver couldn’t do the OTR work they may not find it worth the money.

The Bad News for Any Driver

The bad news is that driving all day is a sedentary lifestyle, sitting in one position all day may lead to blood clots. It can also lead to injuries and fatalities due to accidents of some sort. Not everyone is well suited to driving for ten hours in a 24 hours period, and it’s easy to lose focus. Not that the truck driver is to automatically blame. Driving carries the risk of getting in a wreck so the more you drive the more likely you are to be involved in one, and the more likely you are to be injured in one.

Less drastically, It’s also quite a lonely job with irregular hours. Drivers are more likely to smoke or be obese but there are fitness companies out there which market themselves to truck drivers.

Still the Trend is Changing

In most employment fields, women are growing in numbers and trucking is following suit. Sexual harassment may be a problem since they are still a minority and it’s been a male dominated occupation for a long time. A smart trucking company would implement some training and policies to insulate themselves from potential actions taken by their employees.

A smart female truck driver who became an owner operator or one who took on OTR routes consider taking some self-defence.

Most female truck drivers we’ve talked to tell us it’s not too bad if you have a thick skin and set boundaries. They do not feel they are treated the same as men but acknowledge that it is getting rapidly better.

The practicalities of driving a cab for women is a trending topic of discussed online. It’s no longer difficult to find decorations that might appeal to women to customize the cab. Many designs can be seen on TikTok and Instagram.

As a side note, women are also applying for jobs such as driver managers and have excelled as CDL trainers. Some female truck drivers do earn an income north of six figures.

Time will tell if they take on training for specialty endorsements like hazardous waste or oversized loads in larger numbers, but it’s it’s likely that the trucking industry as a whole is heading toward a 50/50 workforce.

Various Gear Sticks

How do you drive a stick shift car?

You’ll want to engage the services of an actual driving instructor to learn to drive, but here’s a simple description of the process. We’ll start off with the basics.

The neutral sign in the middle is surrounded by the numbers one to five and the R for reverse (sometimes there is a P instead for Parking). 1-2-3-4-5-R (or P) form an extra wide H shape with the N in the middle. (If their were only gears 1-3 and R you’d have an H.

Shifting into first

With the gear shift should be in neutral you must depress the clutch and the brake.

Turn on the ignition. If you are sure it’s in neutral take the parking brake off if it is on. Then check your mirrors and signal your intention.

After some moments keeping the brake with the right foot and the clutch with your left, move into first gear. Take your foot off the brake now. Slowly release the clutch while pressing down the accelerator pedal roughly equal to the release of the clutch. You’re now in first gear.

Going Up Gears

You probably need to go up a second gear to go faster than 10mph. You will repeat the left and right foot motion to go up a gear, but your car will be rolling forward as you do. Despite this, many people feel like starting from zero forward motion is the hardest part.

You probably change gear without thinking about it but the best way apparently is to cup the gear-shift (or lever), rather than swipe or thump it. It needs to be a conscious decision that you make. Unless the gear shift pedal is pressed down the gear stick shouldn’t move.

Note: shifting up or down is informal terminology. It is more formally called a transmission level.

If you do something like go over a bump or go downhill, you need to change to a lower gear. However, most people just put it in neutral or depress the pedal the whole way downhill. It’s a better idea to shift down on a downhill so you can more quickly re-engage the engine at the right power level, or if your brakes fail you can use the engine to slow your vehicle down.

Odd Shift Levers

Some cars like the Mercedes Benz 180 have a shifter sticking out of the steering wheel. The BMW and the Audi both use a joystick, while the Jaguar and Land Rover use a rotary shifter instead of shifting a stick. A push button gear stick is the rarest – you have to press the button to change them.

The Honda Odyssey has buttons on a central dashboard or console, usually where you have your entertainment system. It’s doubtful that most people would be comfortable using a crystal glass gear shaft used by the Volvo XC60 at least to start with but if you drove this type of car you would have to get used to it.

In the Lexus LC 500 the joystick matches the leather upholstery which again takes some getting used to.

The Hurst has a pistol grip which is a bit like a huge joystick, only cooler. The Chevrolet Camaro uses a horseshoe switch design which has a certain steampunk appeal, it doesn’t however look that practical. It is not clear immediately how you change gear or even how you get out of neutral as the only control seems to be only one switch.

Historic Types of Shifting

Many old trucks have the Reverse where 1st should be or way off to the left or right of the other gears. And many trucks were geared to be able to skip gears when the truck isn’t loaded or hauling a heavy trailer. But you are unlikely to run into such things.

Hardly anyone has driven a car with sliding mesh manual transmission which was the first way to change gear, the first car invented with gear in 1894. It only had three forward gears so parking was a problem. It slid left or right but the gearing unit was basically a rotational shaft which moves or “transmits” the power from one end to the other.  Luckily this has all changed.

Pros & Cons of Manual Cars

The transmission in a manual car is much simpler so it breaks down less and is cheaper to fix when it does. By the time your automatic transmission breaks down it’ll be hard to find a replacement. You’ll have to seek out one from a junk yard which will have some milage and age on it. So if you keep a car for several years, manuals are considered the better option.

On the other hand, if you drive in congested city traffic on a regular basis, operating a clutch gets really old, really fast. So it’s just a strategic choice.

One reason we included the “how tos” in this post is that it’s a good idea to know how to shift even when you have an automatic car. You’ll get a better understanding of how your car operates when you are accelerating, even though its doing it for you.

Interior Repair and Improvement

Do you look at the bodywork and how a car runs, or do you look at the interior?

There are upholsterers who can restore a car to its original version, possibly relying on pictures taken at the time of classic and vintage vehicles.

Material Options

If you have a sedan and wish to re-upholster cloth seats you are looking at around two thousand dollars. If you are looking at leather it is even more expensive.

The cost includes removing the current upholstery, possibly repairing the springs, replacing the foam – the cushion like substance which produces the comfort in a seat – and finally re-upholstery of the outer fabric itself.

Haptex, a type of synthetic leather (colloquially known as leatherette) has been used in some cars and is said to be both durable and comfortable. BMW uses a different form of leatherette called Sensatec. Pleather is another brand name used.

Leather seats, although they may form part of the original interior and create a brilliant look, aren’t that good for sitting on. Leather can leave you with the feeling of sliding down, depending on the seat design. But it’s your car and you can choose the right textile for you.

Budget Friendly Options

A cheaper way to improve the car is buy colourful seat covers or even a blanket. You can obtain tiny toys to decorate your dashboard too. Should the steering wheel be the same colour as the gearstick? You can get matching covers for both. It’s certainly one idea.

You may like to tint the windows to improve the feeling of sitting in the car.

Do you require specialist coasters or car phone accessories?

Possibly you want to decorate your keychain?

Maybe you want to decorate your car for a specific season or holiday?

Are racing pedals better than ordinary pedals? Perhaps, but will anyone notice them? Still if you’re going for extras and you like the appeal of them, why not?

There are so many design ideas out there, some people might think too many ideas; just go for what works for you.

One thing most people don’t consider when restoring a vehicle is to obtain the original floor mats, but everything is possible to obtain online. Even if you don’t require the original style it is worth changing them every so often to keep the interior fresh.

From the floor to the ceiling…

The interior roofing fabric is known as the headliner. It’s positioned there by means of a polyurethane glue and it consists of both foam and fabric, even though most people only see the fabric.

After a number of years, the headliner can fall apart, or the glue can lose its adhesiveness. If you leave the car outside for long periods the moisture can cause the headliner to go blotchy or it can start to droop.

Some headline repairs can be made with several pieces of double-sided tape. Others may require glue or pinning the fabric back into position.

The cost of changing the headliner is dependent on the size of the vehicle and which fabric the headliner was originally made from. The other problem here is that car insurance doesn’t include these types of running repairs.

Why You Shouldn’t Pick Your Nose While Driving

There are a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t pick your nose while driving.

First, and most obvious, if you need to slam on the breaks your finger will tickle your brain in all the wrong ways.

The second reason you shouldn’t pick you nose while driving is that literally every millennial (and gen-whatever-comes-next) out there has a cell phone and a YouTube channel and would love to make you famous for your gold mining expedition in your prodigious proboscis on your way to that job you hate which is why you are mining for gold in the first place. Not a good look for your 15 minutes of fame.

The third, and possibly most compelling reason why you shouldn’t pick your nose while driving is that when you are making your eloquent speech to the judge as to why you shouldn’t have to pay for your photo-radar or red-light-camera ticket, you don’t want to have to keep asking them to pay attention to your speech, not the 10ft by 12ft photo of your spelunking in your nasal cavity while sailing past the camera.

So, in conclusion, the reasons why you shouldn’t pick your nose while driving are many, and varied, but all harken back to the old adage: if you don’t want it on Instagram, don’t do it in public.

Just for Fun!

Alternative Wedding Cars

The Rolls Royce may be described as overrated when it comes to the wedding car. So, what are the alternatives out there?

Bentley

Like the Rolls, a Bentley is all about luxury, especially when it is chauffeur–driven and there’s access to chilled champagne, though maybe most couples could do without items like massaging seats?

The Bentley is all about power and rapid acceleration with a pristine leather interior. Variations include the continental GT with its impressive sound system included.

The Bentley Bentayga has a large trunk, especially important if you are heading straight for the airport to catch a flight to the honeymoon destination.

Mercs

Think twice before you skip the chauffeur so you can drive yourself. Weddings are emotionally and physically draining.

Can you really say you’re able to give the road the attention it deserves?
Could you have a friend fill in if budget is a concern?
How bad would an accident on your wedding day be?

But if your mind is made up, consider a Mercedes-Benz. These cars are smooth and elegant with items such as radar cruise control will help you avoid fatigue related accidents.

His Dream Car!

McLaren

Let’s be honest. Weddings are super expensive, and the goal is to give the bride her dream day. The groom is expected to sign off on all the decisions and he’d better pretend to be excited because a lack of enthusiasm for planning is interpreted as a lack of enthusiasm for the marriage. Truth be told the lack of enthusiasm starts about the time the groom figures out that he’s going to be over-ruled on every decision, which he probably interprets as a bad sign of things will operate after the wedding.

One thing a thoughtful bride could do is rent her groom’s dream car to drive away in after the ceremony. There’s a lot of choices and this might require some careful questioning on her part. Or perhaps she could ask the best man.

Some men might want a Mustang, which has a great sense of luxury. If the budget allows, many men yearn to be behind the wheel of a McLaren or a Ferrari or even something like a Maserati. These types of vehicles tend to be at the top end of the wedding car rental market though.

If a bride is willing to put in some research it is possible to find a number of vintage cars out there in their original colors such as the cream Chevrolet Stylemaster or a scarlet Florida fire truck. Other examples include a Ford Charabanc from the 1930s with wood veneer.

Ford Charabanc

Some more information about the Charabanc: it was an early form of coach and the word comes from the French Char a bancs – literally carriage with benches. It generally wasn’t used beyond the 1920s except for special occasions.

If you are looking for the more dated version of vintage possibly you require a replica of an Oldsmobile from 1905 which unfortunately cannot travel faster than 20mph. One of the first mass produced cars, they had the original name of Olds automobiles.

Really Alternative Wedding Cars

Items such as yellow school buses and pickup trucks have been utilized in the act of getting to and from church.

Morris Minor

There’s also the bohemian VW camper van or even something like a Morris Minor or a taxi. A tractor may be too weird for most people though.

When looking for a taxi you can do worse than looking for a Checker cab and maybe the best Checker to go for is Marathon. Based on the Checker Superba’s shape it’s noteworthy for its improved interior and came in a four-door sedan or five door station wagon. A limousine version was also built, the Marathon Town Custom. Unfortunately, the last one was made in 1982 and Checker eventually folded as a company in 2010.

The Most Important Factors

Oldsmobile

If your plate is full in making the wedding come off without a hitch, having a rental car delivered straight to location is a great way to take something off your plate. Be sure to check the car can be delivered to your location. Some rental car companies that claim to deliver actually mean to say, only if it’s a hotel or airport. There are also cars which are delivered to custom locations (like a park or church).

If planning to use a car you or a friend owns, be sure it’s reliable and that you have roadside assistance as all cars are liable to break down at the worst possible time. Peace of mind is everything.

The good news is that nearly any car is hireable and even if you can’t find a certain car online given the right amount of money there is someone who can locate it for you and allow you to hire it for a limited period. Now all you have to do is agree as a couple what to use!

Cars Which Allow Three Child Seats?

First things first, if you need to ask questions like this, life could be hard. So, take some time out and relax while you read this article because there’s a number of details to get through.

There have been many tests to see how to fit child seats in different cars.

Fitting child seats is a pain, but what happens if you have three car seats which need to be fitted? Here your choices may be limited, as there just isn’t enough room to accommodate them in the average subcompact or compact and even larger cars. You have to be looking an SUV or similar.

There are no such problems with the Audi Q7. It’s an SUV which gives a clue as to why it’s so accommodating. It’s also a five door with air suspension and has mild-hybrid tech. There are severa versions or trims available. It also has Audi Matrix LED headlights with indicators both on the front and rear.

Next there’s the SEAT Alhambra. Considering the capacity (seven) it would be surprising if it doesn’t fit three car seats but fitting them in a row is harder–you can only use the second row. Other features include blind spot detection and a choice of soft or metallic shades. The trim options are Style, Xcellence and FR-Line.

The feature of being superbly spacious goes without saying but the Volkswagen Touran also has a high-quality interior. It has long lasting LED headlights and a cruise control which can calculate what the car in front is doing. Other technology features are lane assist and even trailer assist. You have the choice of “configuring” or choosing individual features online.

There’s a certain something about the Land Rover Discovery. Although you don’t immediately associate Land Rover with the family commute there’s absolutely no reason not to. It had a choice of interiors so you needn’t have three seats at all, you may only require two seats in the back. It has a number of other features such as the tailgate, surround sound system and fast start up.

The S-Max is defined by Ford, its manufacturer, as a minivan, which are supposed to be designed for the family, although some fall way short. The contoured seats are adjustable with a massage feature. For your peace of mind there’s an emergency brake assist. It has Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale. Unfortunately, the last one was made in 2020.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS (the third-generation type) is another SUV. Its design is towards the minimal. There have been GLS vehicles manufactured since 2006; the GLS is short for a German word geländewagen which indicates it is an off-road vehicle at least in style, which explains its four-wheel drive. The third-generation car is a 3.0 liter turbo.

The Tesla Model S in an electric car with all-wheel drive; the charge point being located behind one of the taillights. It is defined simply as a large car in the US. An interesting feature with this car is the front trunk (or frunk in the US) for storage.

It would be fascinating to see these cars lined up. Despite having enough space for the child seats there’s a great variation between them.