The Car and the Male and Female Thing

 

CompareIf you want to lose a girl, go on about cars. If you really want to lose a girl, take her to a motor show.

This seems to be the general image of the whole guy/gal thing. The whole idea of the testosterone-fuelled alpha male going on about cars for the fan of the hot rod, people like Chip Foose and Chris Jacobs. A car is not just something to get in to drive from A to B, it is a show that you are wealthy to the lady of your choice. It is what makes the great male who he is, or so it would seem.

Pitching these type of shows on sports channels seems to be the way to go, like Caffeine and Octane, found on the NBC Sports Network. Okay, there is something sporty about fast cars but this show is also going for those who like style. Not the usual macho audience, you might think. Though given the car theme calling it ‘Beer and Octane’ would send a bad message.

Why are cars macho though? You can almost hear the barroom arguments around this question. One side drawing a connection between a hot rod and his other favorite anatomy, while the other pushes the stereotype that women can’t park. This discussion could get a bit heated if it carries on too long.

It could be that the macho audience isn’t necessarily the one to advertise to, despite how it might come across on the small screen or on the billboards. With a family audience, it doesn’t always help to show the man in charge. An anecdotal study by the magazine Auto Trader showed that 92% of the viewers felt most of the ads were far too masculine,  the actual word might have been “hyper-masculine,” so maybe the advertisers haven’t picked up on how we really are? They might be better off showing more females behind the wheel, especially in family situations. If there’s a disconnect with your audience, the problem isn’t with your audience.

Speaking of surveys, there are many surveys done which show that women still want men to be in attractive cars, maybe they’re more attracted to the car? Well, one study had women choose between the same man–one in a Bentley and another in a beat-up Ford Fiesta–and most liked him better in the Bentley. The University of Cardiff in the U.K. conducted the study, but it might be a no-brainer, really…

When the study was repeated with men, the results were unclear. The popularity of an attractive woman seemed unaffected by the type of car she sat in. Maybe the guys just wanted to drive the vehicle themselves? It’s possible.

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The Complicated World of Power Steering

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Most of us think we know what power steering is – some kind of additional help needed to steer – but it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. It is all about making the whole process of steering easier. Without power assist, a car needs a great amount of pressure to steer it. Having some assistance means it is less of a strain.

Oddly enough the physical weight of the vehicle impacts how hard it is to force those tires to move sideways instead of rolling forward. Therefore, the reasons behind power steering come from the fact that cars and trucks are getting heavier and heavier, making them in turn difficult to manoeuver. The good news is that we haven’t run into any studies which suggest that drivers have become weaker.

What is the power behind power steering? Quite simply, hydraulics. But it’s too simple to stop there. For one thing, you need the engine on to use hydraulics. Without that the hydraulics actually work against the driver has to muscle the works of that system on top of shoving the tire against the friction of the rubber and road. The answer to that is to create a system that lets the car operate manually when there isn’t the power to the hydraulics. The way to switch between manual and power steering needs to be thought out in the design phase, every car uses a slightly different system.

The physical item which operates the power steering is known as an actuator. It’s basically a cylinder which moves thanks to hydraulics.

The Most Recent Advances:

Most recent improvements chalk up to tweaks to what already worked, BUT one advanced type of power steering has immerged–called “drive by wire” (also known as “steer by wire” or “brake by wire”) Created for off-road vehicles to make them less likely to break down due to jarring. The problem with this type of steering is that might be possible to hack from an outside force. But it can also be controlled by game controllers and laptops given the right type of alterations. Because you don’t need as many physical components as the usual type of power steering you cut down on weight. There are different systems in place for braking, parking and so on in these kinds of vehicles.

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Brief History:

Surprisingly power steering dates back to the very early days of the automobile. In 1876, a carriage builder named Jeantaud created a special type of steering operation where the wheels operated in parallel. These pieces are now known as the Pitman and the Idler arms and are found in all vehicles. Without them no steering – manual or otherwise – could take place.

Prior to this gear, drivers were forced to apply so much pressure to the wheel that they struggled to judge the right steering pressure to the speed at which they moved. Often the result was vehicle tip at relatively low speed.old-1184126__340

The creation of a steering gear meant less pressure on the steering wheel. The steering gear used by Henry Ford didn’t become the pattern for later designs, probably because the worm gear is ultimately a better design. The worm (steering) gear got it’s name from worm roller it drove.

Power steering by computer also goes back further than you might think; to be precise a Toyota Cressida built in 1985. It was called by the complicated name of Progressive Power Rack and Pinion Steering, making it sound more like a streetcar than an automobile.

In Conclusion:

Perhaps the most surprising thing about power steering is that not all cars have it. It seems that it is still a luxury to some drivers.

 

Diesel Trucks Chevrolet vs. Ford Head to Head

 

Ford VS Chevy

(At the Kicker, we try to be agnostic about car brands. So while we’ll stop short of endorsing one over another in most cases, we do enjoy a good apples-to-apples comparison. PS Don’t forget to set your clocks back this Sunday!)

You know you’re going diesel for your next rig, and chances are you probably already have a pretty strong affinity for either Chevy or Ford. However, in the name of fairness and injecting a little variety into your life, find out just who comes out on top in the Chevy vs. Ford Wars: Diesel Edition. You might be surprised by some of the perks one make offers over another—and it might just be enough to lure you over the fence to the other side.

Even before dipping into the performance side of things, consider that Isuzu makes Chevy diesel trucks and Ford makes Ford trucks. Take that information and interpret it how you will, but some “purists” think this is a sign that Ford is the winner already—but not so fast. There are so many other considerations, like block and head materials as well as battery configuration.

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Pop the Hood

When it comes to cylinder configuration, it’s a clear tie: Both vehicles boast a 90-degree V8 engine. Both make their head material out of aluminum, too, and this race is closer than anyone expected. However, things get shaken up a bit with the block material. Ford opts for compacted graphite iron while Chevy goes for cast iron. According to some, compacted graphite iron is stronger than cast iron, but of course, cast iron is a more classic (and proven) material.

With injection type, both Chevy and Ford use a Bosch Common Rail system (29,000 psi), making the race even more neck and neck. And that valve configuration? Both feature OHV 4 valves per cylinder. What about battery configuration? Chevy has a single 730 CCA battery while Ford ponies up a Dual 12-volt 750 CCA battery.

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Pushing the Limits

The max torque reported for Ford is 677 with a max horsepower of 333. Chevy ups the ante with 671 max torque, but 360 horses. The most heavy duty of Fords, the F350, can haul 22,700 pounds with a fifth wheel and the Chevy Silverado 3500HD can carry an astounding 23,000 pounds with a fifth wheel. However, Ford offers a range of gear options while Chevy only has the 3.73 gear ratio available.

With engine displacement, Ford offers a 6.7-liter power stroke and Chevy is right on their heels with a 6.6-liter power stroke. Complete with a 3.9-inch bore for Chevy and a 4.06-inch bore for Ford, the engine comparison is really too close to call. For some, the stroke makes all the difference, and Ford offers 4.25 inches at a 16.2:1 ratio while Chevy has 3.9 inches and a 16.8:1 ratio.

Which one is the winner? As you can see, each one reigns supreme in different areas, so it really depends on personal preference, what you’ll be using your rig for and just how much hauling will be done. No matter which direction you head, keep in mind that a great way to up performance is to install a performance air filter or cold air intake—both of which will give your diesel engine the extra oxygen it craves.

It’s A Small World – Looking At Microcars, Microtrucks, and Microbikes

Microcars

In the age of the microchip and the microcomputer, it is understandable that other areas of technology are looking for smallness. In the case of cities, this makes sense as a microcar, for instance, is easier to park and maneuver, though creating something like a microbus, for example, would just be silly!

What are Microcars?

th (2)Microcars are designated as smaller than “city cars” or “subcompacts”, although the term is used rather loosely, a microcar can also be a city car. In the UK a microcar has to have less than 700cc worth of power or be powered by a battery. The lowest amount of cc this type of car can have is 49cc, which is the same amount you’d find in electric bike. The wheels must be between 6-8 inches.

Other differences include: Many microcars don’t even have a reverse gear. Some don’t technically have a door–it is, in fact, the bodywork that lifts up (seems rather cool). Microcars may be treated as motorcycles for insurance purposes. In some countries such as Austria, Belgium or France someone who banned through driving can still drive a microcar, though this is not currently the case in the US. Another advantage of microcars is parking. They are easier to park and easier to find a spot for.

Please note that some types of microcar are banned from highways altogether, for instance, quad bikes (also known as quadricycles).

Microtrucks!

220px-Mazda_Scrum_TruckMicrotrucks are slightly more powerful than microcars (total power up to 1000cc). They are most popular China and Japan, as in the U.S. they’re not considered road legal. One of the most popular is the Japanese Kei truck, which weighs about 700Kg (1543lbs), about half the weight of VW Beetle, according to Conceptcarz.com. Another popular model is the Daihatsu Midget which slightly resembles the more well-known Tuk Tuk truck.

Even in the U.S. these trucks have picked up a following among groundskeepers on large estates, golf courses, and ranches.

Microbikes

A few years ago the many countries including the U.S. went through a min-moto and go-ped craze. The title of microbike seems to fit better with these vehicles as a category. As with microtrucks they aren’t suitable for the highway, which is just as well as it impossible to stay on them for any length of time. In terms of power, they range between 39 and 50cc. There are a number of opportunities to drive them on dirt tracks throughout the country or fail to drive them as the case may be.

One early minibike was the tote-goat (mini), by Bonham Corp. which packed a strong engine capable of towing fairly good sized trailers from point to point. Starting in 1959 and ending in 1970 these little beasts often topped out far below 10 mph. In the 80’s it wasn’t rare to see a pre-teen dashing about the family farm, fetching an empty hay wagon from one field to another.

A side note here: There is a number of uses of cc in this article. It can either stand for cubic centimeters or cylinder capacity, which generally speaking amounts to the same thing. It’s quite complicated to measure how much cylinder capacity an engine has, it all comes down to multiplying by pi and so on, but put simply, the bigger the engine the bigger the capacity. In other words, you need to know more about the engine that this micro-article can tell you to work it out!

 

Age and the Car

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Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett & A. Bunch

It does seem a shame that the moment you can afford a car, that car is out of bounds. Either the car is too big, or too sporty, or too showy, or some other reason society comes up with to disapprove of your choice. It’s the way of the world.

 

automobile-1853936_1920When you first get your license…

Previous generations just wanted a car. It represented freedom to explore the world and also not needing to borrow the family van to take your date out for pizza. Or worse, having a parent chauffer you to and from your date. If you bought your first car yourself, chances are was pretty scary and nearing the end of its life. If you’re one of the lucky few whose parents bought you a car then we recommend keeping your mouth shut. Especially if it’s something sporty, (you should know your peers hate you).

However you got your ride, just drive your chick/dude magnet up to school and remember that all that adoration won’t put gas in your tank. Better ask your date to pay for the pizza.

These days, teens seem to prefer mass transit or rideshare. They see cars as an extra expense, (and well it is, but come on) and since teens are not allowed to have jobs the only teens who get cars are those whose parents bought it for them.

 

auto-2179220_1920At the quarter life-life crisis…

This may be in the middle of your twenties. It’s when you realize every day you wake up you’re closer to 30 than 20. There’re three schools of thought here:

1) If you can pull it off, this is the time to get the car of the dreams. It doesn’t have to be practical when you’re established in your early career and splitting rent with friends. Well, work with your budget that’s the only solution. If you can’t get something like the Ford Mustang, go with a car slightly more reasonable option. Having said that the Mustang is better on the old finances than a Beamer…

2) This is the time when you can really impact your financial future. Buy something reliable, fuel economical, eight to ten years old with a reputation for living a long time. Pay it off in four years and make that car last for a decade.

asia-2179107_19203) Go for something strange in car, truck, or motorcycle. If you dance to the beat of your own drum, well go ahead and buy that surplus meter-reader mobile that get 60 miles to the gallon and has just enough cargo space for a bag of groceries. Maybe buy that scary van from the guy down by the river so you have a place to crash if you lose your apartment. If all else fails you can buy something practical in five years when you hit your next life milestone.

When you get married…

There must be an unwritten law that you must buy an SUV. You need something with a third row of seating and you just can’t make yourself go “full minivan.” You’re not really fooling anyone. It’s just today’s equivalent of the station wagon. Unless…you go for it and get something that actually can go off-road if needed…maybe a jeep grand Cherokee, Toyota FJ, or an H2. Another option might be a crossover. Something like the Grandland X SUV which combines both agility with brilliant design. And it’s useful even if you aren’t on the school run. What you have to watch for here is gas mileage. Some of these guzzlers drink a gallon every ten miles.

In all seriousness, think about a car that can get your kids to soccer now and that you don’t mind loaning them in a few short years. Unless you’re one of those mean parents who insist on driving your teens to pizza. (Assuming they still eat pizza when our kids are teenagers.)

 

ford-63930_1920The mid-life crisis…

This is when the temptation sets in to buy something sporty and impractical, but it’s really not worth it. I get it, your kids have left home and you want a car to relax in. If you can avoid it don’t buy either the luxury car of your dreams and the street racer. You’ll save money and avoid looking ridiculous. Kids have an annoying habit of moving home. You may not be as financially free as you think you are, and you sure don’t want to loan them either kind of car.

That Ferrari won’t hide your belly fat anyway, and the BMW won’t make your hair grow back. On the other hand, if you’re going in for a regular prostate exam, you probably deserve a comfortable ride…maybe a Mercedes is just what the Doctor ordered. You certainly deserve it.

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When its time to retire…

Well, we would never tell you to wait until you retire to live your dreams. BUT in our highly unprofessional opinion, it’s finally time to be impractical. Go ahead and buy the car of your dreams. You know the one teenage you couldn’t afford because your parents wouldn’t buy it for you. Sure it’s now called a classic car but just ignore all that. The point is, it’s yours and you don’t care what anybody thinks. Enjoy it. At least until one of your kids decides you need to be chauffeured.

 

Classic Car Restoration Issues

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When looking for auto body services that are niche—such as classic car restoration—you don’t want to trust your baby to just anyone. You (and your ride) deserve a specialist. Every auto body shop has preferred projects, and it’s often reflected in the passion of the owner. Don’t trust a classic car to the skills of a shop that specializes in new cars, has never performed a complex restoration, or that doesn’t have the connections to get the right vintage parts.

Easily one of the toughest parts of restoring a classic car is simply finding the goods. Your car doesn’t even need to be particularly rare in order to make this a challenge. For example, restoring an 80s Ford Bronco can be a nightmare when it comes to finding something as seemingly simple as a seatbelt replacement. Scouring sites like BroncoGraveyard is enough to drive an owner mad, a quality shop has insider information to get that part like new for a surprisingly low cost.

Restoration is a big and dirty job. Are you sure you have the right professionals in your corner?

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Securing the Value of a Classic Car

Revamping a classic car isn’t like trying out a new recipe. It’s not so easy to “start over” if you (or your body shop) messes up. This is a one-shot deal. It’s your job to secure the value and protection of a classic car by choosing a body shop that specializes in vintage cars and—preferably—has worked on a very similar model before. Ask for before and after photos, the experience of each technician who will be working on the car, check out their repair gallery, and honest assessments of results you can expect. At a renowned shop, the owners are happy to provide this information because they’re proud of the work.

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Surprisingly, one sign of a good repair shop is when they say a certain result won’t be perfect. Sometimes no amount of money is going to get you flawless results. However, you should expect very, very good results that are often perfect to the untrained eye. If a shop says they can’t do something, they should be able to refer you to someone else nearby that can.

Showing Off the Goods

Once your baby is primped, pampered and primed, it’s time to take it on the road. For many classic car owners, one of the biggest thrills is participating in car shows—and there are plenty of them, get-togethers and cruise nights in spades. Coming up in September is Soda Row Cruise Night in Jordan, the Les Schwab Car Show in Oden, and the Golden Living Car Show in Taylorsville to name just a few.

oldtimer-2663114_1920.pngThere’s a space and community for every make, model, and era. Nothing compares to a leisurely desert cruise or meeting up with others who share your love for all things classic. For your oldie but goodie, depend on a local classic repair shop who will keep you, and your machine, looking good.

 

5 Signs of a Fantastic Auto Shop

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It takes a lot more than comprehensive repair services to snag the title of best collision repair shop in town. Look for a body shop that has built a reputation based on both excellent results and world-class customer service. Unfortunately, a few bad apples mixed with old stereotypes has customers on their guard when considering mechanic shops. Stigmas about suggesting “repairs” that aren’t needed still linger around the industry, but do your research and you’ll know the shop you choose is trustworthy.

If and when the time comes that you need collision repair or classic car restoration, how can you be sure you’re getting the best? Here are a few signs you’re on the right track. Remember—it’s not just the best price or the most five-star reviews that lead you to the right shop. There’s a lot more to it than that.

  1. Jaw-Dropping Galleries

car-engine-3623831_1920If you really want to see what’s in store for you and your car, check out the shop’s galleries. Look for an impressive online portfolio showcasing the talents and skills of highly qualified technicians. From paintless dent removal to complete overhauls—taking junkers to collector status—there’s no job too big or small. The proof is in the pictures.

  1. They Work With Youglass-1749697_1920

A quality body shop has two priorities: Give the customer exactly what they want and keep them safe. Sometimes repairs are wanted purely for aesthetics. Sometimes they’re necessary to keep drivers safe behind the wheel. True professionals treat both of these priorities equally, which is what you deserve.

  1. Endless Testimonials, Referrals, and Reviews

It’s possible to “buy” positive reviews on third-party sites, so be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true. A genuinely high ranking shop has referrals and testimonials you can fact check if necessary. Our shop has countless happy customers who will gladly share their recommendations and are quick to show off their gleaming ride.

  1. Non-Pushy Staff Members

You shouldn’t feel like you fell into a snake pit when you take your car in for a free estimate. There shouldn’t be any pushy salespeople bullying you to choose them or “upselling” when all you wanted was a quote for a single dent removal. At a good shop, every customer and potential customer is treated like family. The team is there when you need it, never pushing add-ons and always revering transparency.

  1. They’ve Been Around the Block

car-2980039_1920It’s not enough to just go local and avoid the big chains. If you really want a flawless job, choose a company that’s been around for a while. Taking pride in their work, every project is treated with the utmost care.

Trusting your car to just anyone is a big mistake. It’s your baby, your first impression on dates and your go-to vehicle to get from Point A to Point B.

 

4 Benefits of Detailing Your Car

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Think auto detailing is a “splurge” or something you should only do when you’re getting ready to sell?

That’s like thinking you can do just as good of a job professionally cleaning your house, landscaping your yard, or doing your hair. Yes, practice can mean you do a better job each time—but is it worth it? Professional auto detailers have more experience, better tools, and much more practice than you could ever muster on your own.

In fact, there are many benefits to regular auto detailing that the average driver overlooks. Yes, it’s important to get your car washed on a regular basis (especially during rain seasons!) and spending a few quarters on the vacuuming machine can pick up major crumbs and debris. However, that DIY approach is more like maintenance in between regular details. Here are a few benefits to detailing you’re probably overlooking and why you (and your ride) deserve better:cleaning-1837328__340

  1. Get Rid of Scratches

From falling pine cones to setting that shopping bag on the hood for “just a minute” your car looks nothing like it did brand new—but it can. Only a professional exterior detailing can remove tiny scratches, minimize paint fading, and address any swirls that might have appeared. Plus, it helps ensure that your car stays in prime condition for longer. Only trained professionals know exactly what materials and solutions to use for your paint job and can dish up those kinds of results.

  1. Stay Cleaner Longer

cleaning-1837333_1920An object in motion tends to stay in motion—and a car that’s clean tends to stay clean. The reality is that the cleaner your car is, the longer it will stay that way. Thanks to protective treatments that resist dirt as well as the desire to keep that gorgeous shine going as long as possible, this is a healthy habit to get into.

  1. Boost Your Mood, Self-Esteem, Confidence and Success

There’s no denying that a detailed car catches admiring glances. Many owners are shocked at just how good their car can look after a proper detailing (and not just a run through the car wash). However, aesthetics can do more than have you admiring your car in a store window while parked at a stop light. Just like how you’re more confident when you’re looking your best, you can get the same boost form a great looking car.

  1. Retain the Car’s Value

Whether you’re looking to sell right now or not, a car that’s maintained has a higher value. You might get a sudden offer in a parking lot you can’t refuse when your car is detailed. You might fall in love with a new car on a whim and want maximum trade-in value. Detailing is curb appeal for your car, and it’s something you should prioritize if you want the most bang for your buck.

 

Bear in mind that not all detailers are created equally. Do your research and choose a shop that specializes in customized detailing packages with glowing reviews. After all, if their reviews aren’t sparkling, what does that say about their detailing?

 

Keeping Your Car Ticking Over

 

auto-3582662_1920By Paul Wimsett (our U.K. contributor, so it’s best to read it with an accent)

If you have invested a great amount of your savings into a car it makes sense that you want to make sure it is constantly working, especially if you use it on your commute. Some states require a yearly emissions check. Car inspections are performed at garages marked with the “Official Inspection Station” sign.

Speaking of ticking, there are many noises that can indicate something is wrong with the car (clinking, ticking etc.) and it is a good idea to check them if they continue for a long time. It may just be a lack of oil but it is always worth looking into any problems. It is important to consider that the older a car is the more likely you are to have problems.

One of the best things you can do with most cars is run them, don’t leave them sulking in the garage. Having said that, driving a car for too many miles artificially ages the car reducing it’s value.

Ways to increase performance and reliability include:

One way of making your car work better is to make it lighter. Have an AUX unit instead of a stereo. The unit itself is lighter and so will be your wallet.

It might be a good idea to improve the exhaust. If the exhaust isn’t able to flow from your car as quickly as it’s produced fuel economy suffers.

Fix everything as soon as it goes wrong. The less you drive it broken the less chance of additional wear and tear.

Spark plugs and air filters tend to need replacing and this is two jobs most people don’t get around to doing.

Most people don’t think of using the best oil in their car but the best performance is all about using the best raw materials, many people don’t realize that you can change how well your car operates simply by changing to a better brand of oil.

If your car was made a while ago, you may benefit from polyurethane bushings. This is a relatively recent improved technology, which upgrades your suspension and stops you from having a jolty ride. Not only will you be more comfortable but there’s a little less wear on your car’s parts as well.

audi-rs6-2934125_1920There is a strange idea that cars left alone in the sun actually become harder and in order to test this a piece of aluminum alloy was left in the sun for 6-8 hours reaching temperatures of about 150°. The results seemed to show a marked difference, so if you want to prevent premature aging, you need to make sure it’s in the sun. Of course, most people prefer entering a car which is sitting in the shade.

It makes sense to ensure that your car is the best; it’s safer, more reliable, and better for resale. It is all about making sure your car is efficient, fast and strong. You can come across as an obsessive, but so what? If your car is important to you and you want to prevent breakdown you have to look at these things.