We have all seen the car for sale add “all highway miles” if this were always true the highways would be packed 24-7. True highway miles put less of a strain on a vehicle but I think it is the transmission that benefits the most. No shifting in and out of gear as in town and with lockup it is even less. In prior years it could be said that the even speed causes less engine wear and that is true but with 4 lane highways and greatly increased traffic there is an increase in changes of speed putting additional stress on the engine. However it is true that extended trips do put less strain on a vehicle.
Engines are designed to cruise at around 50 to 75. With the smaller engines this decreases some and remember don’t overdrive. All vehicles have an ideal cruising range some of the smaller engines this may be in the 60 MPH others may be higher.
One item that highway driving helps to decrease wear and tear is the brakes however a few panic stops from 70 MPH can decrease this in a hurry and also warp your brake rotors.
I just don’t see the big hoopla being made over 2 Tesla EV being crashed and caught on fire. True both crashes resulting in a fire is a concern or is it just a fluke. I assume many Tesla’s have been in crashes but it is only the ones on fire that reach the news. Having a fiery video to show is also a plus to the news media. Tesla has taken several precautions to protect the passenger compartment from fire. More than has been taken to protect it from a Fuel fire. We have driven vehicles for years with a container containing an explosive fluid IE gas tank without many safeguards and except for the Pinto and a few Chevrolet pickups with side mount tanks not had a lot of problems. Have any Tesla’s been crash tested? I am curious to hear the insurance industries take on their safety. Take into consideration that they are very fast and responsive for an EV, many drivers are going to drive past their abilities and cause problems. I think Mr. Musk is making the industry nervous with his forward thinking design and unlimited resources and the press is filling its 24 hours of news at his expense. On the other hand they are spendy and out of a lot of drivers reach.
Ford is going to have a tremendous leg up in the mileage race with its new eco-boost engine. They were able to develop this engine because they had money to spend on R&D when the other 2 were trying to survive and pay back the government. They ran this engine in real life conditions, including a stint in a logging camp, and tore it down in front of spectators at the auto show and it showed very little wear. One valve was carboned but this was due to cheap gas I think. The electric car, be it full or not, is going to fill a niche but folks as myself who need to go farther than 120 miles, are going to take a serious look at this option. I live in North Dakota and many here go farther than that round trip to do serious shopping. The 3 cylinder may have a hard time getting started as many are going to be hesitant to buy a 3 cylinder. For years we have been told odd cylinder numbers do not work out and run rough. Remember the Chevy with a 3 cylinder, it was a fiasco.The fact that it is diesel powered may also be a hindrance but I would expect a gas powered model in the near future. Diesel is OK for trucks and pickups but soccer moms shy away from it. Time will tell but I think the eco-boost system is going to be the power train of the future.
Here we go again with another replacement refrigerant. This one is called HFO-1234yf, also known as 2,3,3,3- Tetrafluorpropene. Can’t wait to hear the nicknames techs will come up with for this one. For most of the public there will be little difference except they may notice a slight increase in mileage, when using A/C.It has a global # of 4 compared to 1200 for R-134a or a life span of about 2 weeks compared to 10 plus years for R-134a. It is more efficient and is a drop in replacement for R-134a and is also highly stable when compressed. It is claimed that the hotter it is the more efficient it becomes. It is not going to be cheap, $50 + for the average dealer cost for replacement and as of yet no one has built a plant to manufacture it. Most of the present product is coming from pilot plants and until more major manufactures announce, I doubt if any will be built. Several sources have announced that GM will use it in 2013 but I have not seen anything from GM officially. When the plants are opened the chemical companies will try to recoup their investment in a hurry as they don’t know when the next replacement would become available. Plants could be converted to R-134a but have to be built from scratch for HFO-1234yr. It is also slightly flammable, how can something be slightly flammable?This is going to force all shops that do A/C work to use a identifier before doing any A/C work as they should be doing now. No word if totally new equipment will be needed but I would think it will. R-12 was around for years and R-134a was supposed to be the savior for the atmosphere and now HFO-1234ya is the answer. Who are we to believe, is this a scam for the chemical companies to show a profit and will another better product be forthcoming? Why do all the formulas start with caps and end in small letters, and why are the names so confusing, why not call it rip off #1 and #2 and so on?
As if the oil market is not confused enough with pure synthetic, synthetic and a synthetic blend, now a new oil is being introduced. To add to the confusion it will also have different designations. The API will be SN and the ILS will be GF-5. GM will also use the same oil with more testing. It will meet the Mercedes Benz sludge test and Opel’s aeration test. This testing will meet European standards. To be certified SN it must only pass a series of chemistry and engine tests. Dexos 1 as GM will call there oil leads me to believe this is just the first of a series. There is a Dexos 2 for diesels. They have been working on this oil since 2006. GF-5 will be available in both conventional and synthetic but Dexos 1 will only be available in synthetic. Oil companies have oils on the market that meet or exceed the Dexos 1, GF-5 specifications. Shells Pennzoil Platinum and Quaker State Ultimate Durability are the first ones on the market. Mobil 1 also meets Dexos standards as do several others but they are not listed by GM.GM will not specify an oil change interval as Dexos is designed to work with the oil life monitor to increase the mileage between oil changes. Ford claims a 10K between oil changes as they claim they have made major improvements in the materials and technologies it uses in its engines. Dexos 1 will be in every GM and Ford vehicle in 2011and not using it will void the warranty. GM claims it will be backward compatible and will be an excellent choice for older vehicles. My first questions will my 2005 Pontiac oil monitor work correctly and if not is there a way to make it. Presently I run it through 2 change intervals and then change the Mobil 1. Let the discussion begin, I have never seen a new oil introduced without a million opinions. Remember the first Mobil 1. As I have said before ask any tech about his choice of women’s hair color and you will get many different opinions, Dexos 1 will have as many or more responses.
I wonder how many will try to convert their present vehicle to an electric vehicle. I have to think back to the kit car era some years ago. Many of these were never finished and many companies made a lot of money finishing kit cars. Converting a vehicle to electric is a lot more complicated than building a kit car and also is dangerous when you start dealing with the voltages involved. Stripping the vehicle of the engine drive train, exhaust and fuel systems is not that bad but when it comes to mounting a battery and engines it becomes a whole different ball game. Aligning the engine and drive train with the frame is a task all by itself. Most motor heads that are capable of converting a vehicle would not part with the Fuel engine. Many of these kits are brand specific but they will still require a lot of skill and perseverance.I just don’t see this as a viable alternative but then with the price of an EV it may be the only choice for some as I just don’t see a used car market as an option. I can in vision some aftermarket battery manufacture sneaking in the back door with a cheap battery that will remind us of the Pinto.
Several Emails recently that discussed the Crew Chiefs heritage and IQ. Several from ethanol users and one from an ethanol spokesperson or so they claimed. I just don’t understand why users of ethanol are so convinced that it is good for the environment. There have been several studies that determined that it takes more resources to make a gallon of ethanol that is saved. It does not remove water from fuel it will separate water and fuel and deposit the water in the bottom of your fuel tank and that is where it will stay till pumped into your engine and then you have problems. There are several chemicals on the market, depending on the year of your vehicle, which will remove water by dispersing it into your fuel and burning it along with the gas but in small quantities so as not to cause a problem. Do not use the yellow colored heet in any fuel injected vehicle. Methanol alcohol will remove water and when mixed with a dispersant will rid your tank of water. A little prevention is the best cure and that is to stick to a quality fuel from a reputable dealer. Frozen gas lines are a thing of the past I just don’t see how a fuel system can freeze with 40# of fuel pressure. I have seen a throttle body injector freeze but this is normally caused by outside moisture not from moisture in the fuel itself. Ethanol forming formic acid can cause major damage to an engine worse with synthetic oil. The problems with this are just now showing up and I think there is going to be more in the future. Bottom line with no advantage except for maybe a very slight increase in power I see no advantage to using ethanol.Supporters of the Volt also were informative about my ideas. I was wrong on several statements. The volt will charge on a household 120 outlet, it will take about 11 hours and half that with a 220 outlet. No mention of the required amperage. The Volt is also not a plug in Hybrid but an EV with a range extender. GM has spun this range extender until I don’t think they know what it should be called. Personally I think they are bypassing the batteries when the engine is running and partially driving the electric motors directly. The batteries are limited to only using about half their available voltage and not being overcharged this will help meet the eight year 100K warranty. On star will also be free for 5 years so GM can monitor the health of the battery.