Ford, FCA attacking squeaks the easy way

March 26, 2018 David Zatz 0

Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are the first companies to use an innovative new substance, “Hushlloy™,” to virtually eliminate squeaks caused by plastic parts — a problem keenly felt by Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep owners. As cars age, the manually-applied felts or grease patches normally used to stop plastics […]

Toyota stick shift

Toyota’s quiet transmission changes

March 23, 2018 David Zatz 0

Toyota announced two new transmissions today, quietly, as part of an otherwise fairly dull release on the Toyota Corolla Hatchback née Scion iM. First is the new K120 CVT — a continuously variable transmission, but not purely driven by belts or bands. Now, Toyota has included a special launch gear […]

Feature request: What do you want in your car stereo?

March 8, 2018 David Zatz 0

Car radios have come a long way since their debut — with a single speaker and vacuum tubes that needed to be warmed up. Today, it’s not uncommon to see base economy cars with 200-watt six-speaker stereos — far from the old aftermarket-upgraded 30 watts per channel —  that can […]

This is new: industry demanding higher mileage

March 1, 2018 David Zatz 0

Traditionally, there are two groups facing off over fuel economy (gas mileage) standards. On the side of raising standards are environmentalists, consumer groups seeking to lower lifetime ownership costs, and a few small groups such as generals wanting to reduce our reliance on oil from “threat-producing” countries.  On the other […]

karma revero electric car

Karma’s back, and Faraday’s still hoping

February 27, 2018 David Zatz 0

For many people, the first indication that small automaker Karma has actually started producing its sport-luxury hybrid-electric cars was a recall on the 2018 Revero (for side airbag failure). Today’s Karma has its roots in the Fisker Karma, unveiled way back in 2011. Fisker sold around 2011 Karmas, which were […]

mercedes diesel

Mercedes using law-evasion software?

February 18, 2018 David Zatz 0

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag printed a report claiming that Mercedes planted two software devices that turn on emissions-reduction equipment only when diesel engines being tested. The first, Bit 15, turned off emissions equipment after 16 miles of driving, presumably the longest they expected government or private testers to be using […]

rocker switches

Here’s a switch: replacing buttons

February 6, 2018 David Zatz 0

For decades, automakers have searched for ways to cut every possible penny from their costs, without making it obvious to prospective buyers. They experimented with putting the gauge cluster into the middle of the car, with moving physical controls into touch-screens, and with converting every possible knob into buttons. The […]

Turn signals — amber or red? Yes, it matters

January 4, 2018 Daniel Stern 27

What color should rear turn signals be? In North America they’re usually red, and can also be amber. Almost everywhere else in the world, they have to be amber. Traffic moves and changes quickly. Fractions of a second make the difference between a crash and a miss. That means that […]