What’s news: New Bronco Sneak Peek

It seems that the revived Ford Bronco is all over the web now. Following the leaked photos from earlier this week, depicting both the Bronco and the smaller Bronco Sport, two new photos provide an even more detailed look at the off-roader. The shots you see in the attached gallery below first appeared on the Bronco6G forum last night and were watermarked by The Raptor Connection

Here’s a link to the best pictures we could find.

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What is a Tune-up?

A tune-up is something that car with a non-electric ignitions need to go through either every year or every 10,000 miles or so. If your car has an electric ignition and maybe a fuel injection system it should be all right for 25,000 to 100,000 miles.

A tune-up makes sure that your car is working at its peak and if you only travel for short distances or you pull a trailer (for example a boat or camper) it may be that your car needs to be tuned more often than the norm.

You can probably tell if the car is not working to its peak, but here are a couple of things to watch out for.

  • A stalling engine, which will be a problem if you need to move away quickly from the lights or similar. This may be due to worn spark plugs; it’s recommended that they should be replaced. Or it could be from a weak battery or maybe a faulty electronic component. Generally a car stalls of extremes of hot or cold, but if you can’t find the problem it’s best to have a mechanic look at it.
  • Engine running rough. This is when shaking and bouncing happens more often than you might reasonably expect. Again it may be linked to the spark plugs but it could also be a vacuum leak (a car is full of a number of hoses for air to travel through and these may have become worn) or dirty parts.
  • Black smoke from the carburetor. Only older vehicles use carburetors and black smoke is a sign something is wrong. A carburettor cleaner should be employed to remove excess amounts of carbon from this part of the car.

An engine working to its best of its ability shouldn’t make excess noise but it’s just possible that it is caused by tyres rubbing against metallic parts or something similar.

When you tune up your car you should begin by checking the oil. Helpfully for the beginner the cap in the engine is marked “oil.” Only do when the car has cooled down. The dipstick should be wiped with either a rag or a paper towel. If the towel looks especially black or it has noticeable “chunks” the oil may need changing.

Put the dipstick back and remove it for a second time. You should be able to notice the notch on the dipstick which tells you how full the oil compartment should be. If it’s noticeably low add oil to the engine, making sure that the oil is of the right quality and the right type for you engine. It’s best to use a funnel in order to avoid spilling the oil. Ask if you don’t know what kind of oil is appropriate.

Next move onto the tires, are they at the right pressure? You should be able to find a pressure gauge at most garages. It is best not over-inflate the tires.

Other fluids such as brake fluid and radiator fluids should also be checked. You should next check the battery, brakes and lights. Looking at these items is especially important if you are traveling a long way, but should be part of your regular routine. People do forget though.

Hybrid Cars – Out of Favor?

Op-Ed by Wimsett and Bunch

Hybrid cars were advertised as the future and many car companies including Toyota, Lexus and Kia seem to be targeting the potential Hybrid buyers. But how green are Hybrids?

The problem seems to come to down CO2. Because of the extra battery weight they actually produce more CO2 than a gas or diesel car of the same engine size. The solution to this must surely be further research; after all, you can’t have a hybrid car or an electric car without some kind of battery. But some countries think otherwise.

The UK plans to stop the production of not only gas and diesel cars but also hybrids by 2035. They also seem to want to get rid of vans, which might be a bit tricky if you are running a delivery business for instance. You can’t just deliver in a normal car. And caravans are important to the tourism industry; it would be damaging to do without them, especially in North America where you need to do a great amount of traveling to get anywhere.

This coming ban is only be a UK thing as, so far, there is no update on what the USA or the EU plans on doing. As for Asia, Africa and South Africa it will be unlikely that these countries will ban any kind of vehicle for the foreseeable future, as they are routinely excluded from strict environmental regulations.

The problem with coming up with a date such as 2035 is that ultimately it is what it is, a date. There is no real incentive to stop car companies creating hybrids or indeed any car that pollutes. In order to make all cars electric at this point there must be a huge amount of investment and education of the public.

Even if you want to have the (current) inconvenience of owning an electric car you are still facing a waiting list to receive one. No car holds its value and because an electric version of a specific brand is more expensive than the gas/diesel alternative a number of families will not be able to afford it. Because electric cars are relatively new to the market it is difficult to get one second hand. EBay comes up with a mere seven results for an electric car, but 2,060 results for a gas car. So it’s no wonder those looking for a used car tend not to be buying electric.

It is not just the car industry, the fashion industry and the plane industry create great pressures on the environment and one may not move without the other. The ultimate tool in the government toolbox is taxing behaviour they believe harmful—which it is very unpopular right now.

The date of 2035 is ambitious, but it is doable? We can only wait and see. Will capitalism bend a knee to environmentalism? Perhaps, yes, but it’ll probably be after the people creating environmental solutions stop creating expensive solutions that are as bad as not taking any action at all.

Cars made out of Carbon Fiber

Most cars on the road are mainly steel and other metals, but when it comes to racing, it’s a different matter. A car is almost unbelievably heavy; a sedan weighs about 3,000 pounds. In animal terms this falls short of an elephant (where you’re talking 10,000 pounds or more) but it roughly equivalent to an average sized giraffe—which are not known for their maneuverability.

Where you find Carbon Fiber in a car:

In racing, it’s all about reducing the weight of a car. Materials such as carbon fiber can increase performance while also reducing weight—which by itself increases performance. Most people think of the body of a racer when you say carbon fiber, but the truth is you use it more in the suspension of the vehicle.

For example, in something like an Aston Martin Valkyrie the carbon fiber body might shave off a couple of pounds, but still weighs 2,200 pounds (which is the equivalent of a heavy bison). The engine powerplant is the big selling point here—854 watts. Okay, 854 watts is roughly the power of a commercial coffee grinder, so let’s talk horsepower. How does 1,145 hp sound? Better right?

Another reason for using carbon fiber is that a car remains strong and robust despite the decrease of weight. The engineers speak of high “strength-to-weight ratios.”

Many twin turbos are made of carbon fiber as this is currently the best way to get maximum thrust from them. (A twin turbo is just a car with more than one turbocharger in its engine.) Examples of cars with twin turbos include the Koengigsegg Agera and the perhaps more well-known McLaren Senna. But without the carbon fiber these cars wouldn’t able to handle high speeds.

Body/Shell

Okay we can’t ignore the body, or shell, for ever. The composite materials used to make cars may be described as a polymer. As well as being more suitable for racing, these cars are more fuel efficient. But if shedding weight alone won races, you’d see a lot of dune buggies on the track and you don’t.

Another place carbon fiber helps is aerodynamic coefficient or Cx. Also known as a drag coefficient it’s about with how an object react the air around it. Put simply, engineers want cars that do not have too much drag otherwise it will be resistant to moving a high speed. When your drag goes up with the speed, you’re fighting a losing battle.

A final biproduct of carbon fiber composite is that there’s no chance that they will rust or corrode. Of course, a race car driver probably destroys his body shell long before it would get a chance to rust.

The total change of the dynamic of the car is one reason that race drivers need special training, after all it doesn’t move like a metal car and the levels of acceleration in these vehicles take most people by surprise.

Car Accidents – What You Might Learn From Google

A car accident is a serious business and indeed may be big business. Marketers and advertisers want to know what people are searching for regarding car accidents and whether they are targeting the right people. When it comes to searches, Google is King, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to know what is happening in Yahoo searches, or Facebook, in LinkedIn or other websites.

But let’s just stick to Google.

“Car crash” gets 1,700,000,000 results while “car accident” gets 827,000,000 results. As accident is the more accepted term it might lead one to wonder whether people are looking for car crashes in some kind of voyeuristic way or if they want to try and prevent them.

“Injured in a car accident” gets 157,000,000 results while “injured at home” gets 471,000,000 results and “injured at work” gets 367,000,000. So “injured at home” is three times more likely to be searched for than “injured in a car accident” and “injured at work” is about 2.5 times more likely be searched for than “injured in a car accident”.

“Car accident other person at fault” gets 55,770,000 results. Even worse, “Car accident other person no insurance gets 268,000,000 results.

These searches are gold dust for the advertisers who can market the product in Google Ads at the top and bottom of the list of results or they might choose to push themselves onto the first page.

It seems a lot of people might just be nosy. There are 667,000,000 results for “car accident near me.” The results include traffic reports, newspaper headlines, possibly gruesome YouTube footage and well as advice for making a claim.

“Car accident family” has 447,000,000 results whereas “Car accident person” has 368,000,000. We’re sentimental about a family and no doubt people worry more about being in a car accident with their family than being alone.

Something people seem to do when in a crash is Google car parts, this can be seen when Googling “Car accident Ford” for instance. Dealerships also give advice on what to do after an accident, according to the results.

Work problems associated with car crashes include crashing the company car, suing for lost job after a car accident, wondering if you could lose your job thanks to an injury sustained by a car accident and will the job cause mental anguish resulting in problems at work.

Home problems associated with car crashes include having to change the layout of the house due to injuries, having to alter your household routine in order to do exercises and whether you should go home after a car accident.

When it comes to accidents, Google reveals that some serious problems relate to the chest area, blunt force trauma may cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. A person with a heart concern may just go into cardiac arrest and there’s a risk of internal bleeding. It’s evidently a difficult time and the internet might be trying to help, but it’s important to seek medical advice as well as just using Google.

Keep safe out there.

Cities Built For Cars?

We take it for granted that cities are built for cars, especially in the US and the reasoning behind this originated not long after the automobile. It seems strange that an old English law held sway right up to 1924 that a person on foot or driving was equal in the eyes of the law. However, when you think about it most US laws were patterned after the old world until there was a reason to change them. The goal behind the English law had to do with policeman on a horse trying to own the road.

The entire topic is made up of the stuff that creates arguments. On the one side, you have to obey traffic laws if you’re going to use roads made for cars or you lose your licence to drive on them. It’s common sense that cars need a way to navigate around each other. However, pedestrians have been avoiding each other for centuries without incident or formal laws governing who can walk where. Who is it that thinks its okay to tell an American where they can put there feet?

Well, if you’re feet are in the road meant for vehicles then you’d best abide by the laws of the road. For that matter, it’s a new era with new ways of getting around so it’s common sense that the laws be upgraded to a keep everyone safe.

The History of the New Laws:

It seems that the LA traffic commission were one of the first authorities to question this ruling – after all in a busy city why should everyone slow down to accommodate the slowest moving individuals? It’s one thing to stop at a red light, another not to be able to move at all wile someone toddles across a thoroughfare.

But why did the car become the preferred mode of transport? It would seem strange to us if we still had horse and carriages but why did it become so preferred so quickly? There are two schools of thought, one that those in cities just preferred using cars than travelling on foot or using other vehicles; the other that it was all down to marketing and advertising (ultimately the car industry itself) which made the car such a popular form of travel.

Whether we are free to continue in our own fashion or whether we have to surrender to the mores of technology is not something we have to think about generally. But with possible changes in climate we might just be heading that way.

The idea of an automotive city had its origins in the 1920s but didn’t really take over until about the 1950s, many no doubt felt cars were just a fad that wouldn’t last. But since new cities such as Melbourne, Detroit and LA were built on a grid system which made them easier to travel through in a car it did seem that there was a bundle of money around ensuring that the car would be the ideal way to travel.

It may come down to logistics really, getting things to a certain point before you realised you needed them. In that, the car was supreme – at least at the beginning. Horse drawn vehicles never stood a chance in that basis. The use of trains might be better logistically but even then you don’t have that much choice as a tourist or businessman where you have to go and what time you get there. The car is so much better.

So the car got the privilege of being the master of the road. And pedestrians and to some extent, trains had to follow the path they took (not literally, but trains took on “transport corridors” which travel in the same direction of the road, almost as if the train is a substitute car). It’s one of the little ways that cars rule that we don’t even notice.

In Europe and places that didn’t grow up with the age of cars many roads exist that are too small for cars. These generally become pedestrian walkways or alleyways. Cities have to be retrofitted to accommodate cars, so pedestrians and mass transit hold more sway. But in America were the city grew alongside the auto industry the city accommodated the car.

Nowadays it is harder to design a city for cars, there are just too many of them. And why not look at other transport systems, just to make other ways to travel around?

The pedestrian controversy has reignited, in LA of all places, where octogenarian received a gash to his noggin battling police who were trying to site him for “jay-walking.” The very term Jaywalking has come under fire as it’s become more well known that the term used to be an insult to country bumpkins. The auto industry felt the best way to curb this random walk where you want tradition was to associate it with people who weren’t urban and sophisticated. It seems to have worked. But lets take a step back and ask ourselves how offensive it is these days to call someone a “Jay?” To shun the term is pretty ridiculous.

The auto industry employed boy scouts to hand out pamphlets to people caught Jaywalking, which is probably where we got the imagery of boy scouts helping old ladies across the street.

At the end of the day there is one factor that should weigh heavy in the argument over who gets the right of way—the laws not of man, but of physics. In Portland, OR. Citizens are given right of way over cars, as are bicycles. As a result, a pedestrian could stumble out from behind a random white panel van, mere feet in front of a car that’s traveling 20 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. The results are that the pedestrian who believes him/herself to be anointed by God and the City of Portland as impervious to several tons of steel learns too late that being “right” doesn’t replace common sense, and the driver of the vehicle get arrested for manslaughter. Is this good governance? You decide.

The Dreaded Female Driver?

Yep, we’re going there. The Kicker neither courts nor turns aside from controversy. So it’s time to look into lady drivers from an honest standpoint and let the chips fall where they may. The first question isn’t, “do women drivers have a reputation,” it’s do they deserve it.

The History of It:

Clearly there is no biological reason for there to be a difference in driving ability between male and female. It takes two legs at least one arm and basic hand eye coordination. Yet we heard such comments in the past as…

  • They can’t park.
  • They don’t look where they’re going.
  • They don’t use their turn signal.

All very constructive and not at all chauvinistic…right? This may not even be a problem in the future. But then again, we’re not living in the future.

Look in the distant past and they added comments like “where are they going to change?” “What happens if they fancy one of the mechanics?” Now days these are as likely said about a male driver.

But who really is the Better Driver?

The people most likely to know the answer to this question is insurance companies—they’re constantly running studies on this sort of thing. However, most states seem to have laws forbidding a different insurance rate for men then women.

Okay the truth is it depends on how you figure it. A male student might be just as dangerous behind the wheel as a female student. But men are more likely to pass their test on the first try. In fact, overall when it comes to driving tests, women have been known to fail more often. Sadly for men, this is the only category they dominate.

But men are more likely to be charged with motor offences, if you look at such things as speeding, drunk driving and avoiding proper taxes. And men are more likely to make an insurance claim and more likely to be at fault.

So, legally forcing an end this inequality and prejudice, what happens is that females pay more; such is the price of equality. (This is according to Confused.com’s research.)

Professional Women Drivers:

As noted above, there isn’t a big biological reason why women would need a different league then men in motor sports—and we do find women driving alongside men in professional racing. However, there are not very many of them, in fact Danica Patrick is the only woman with an IndyCar series win (2008 Indy Japan 300).

It begs the question, is the physical demand of professional racing too much for most women. For that answer to that question we go to one of the most physically demanding form of auto racing, Rally Car. What is it like to be a female rally driver? Kathy Legge gets is part of four girl racing team, and this is the question she gets asked the most. She says that she has no idea what it’s like to be a guy driver so it’s hard to compare. Her mantra is “we’re no different, we can do the job.”

But is women racers just a gimmick? Well it’s a new thing, so from that viewpoint, yes it is a gimmick. But there is no reason to expect it won’t become the norm.

Other Female Driving Professionals:

A business that needs female drivers in order to survive is a female only cab service, such as Sakha Cabs.

Many women feel more comfortable in cars driven by women, especially when traveling, and Sakha Cabs is catering to this niche. The firm runs from the Indira Gandhi airport in New Delhi to and from local hotels and tourist destinations. The goal is to market it exclusively to women passengers which not only makes them feel more comfortable, it helps them recruit women cab drivers, who will end up working late nights in a dangerous industry. The would-be drivers are trained in self-defense and speaking English, and of course, driving a cab. There is also a panic button in the cab.

The cars are popular and can average 40 rides in a day.