Revolutionary New Car Engine

1 07 2009

Because automakers will have to increase fuel economy 30% in a few short years, they are looking for advances in engine technology.  How about a revolution instead?  The Star Rotor engine is two to three times the efficiency of current gasoline engines.  Read about it from the company.

Antonov Transmission

21 05 2009

Car and light truck fuel efficiency standards are going up.  By 2016, the average car in the US must have a fuel economy of 35.5 mpg – an increase of about 30%.  How to do it?  One possible solution to the puzzle is the Antonov transmission which can raise a car’s fuel economy by 10%.

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Car Fuel Economy – Hard Acceleration Is Better

14 05 2009

Most car websites tell you that slow acceleration gets you better fuel economy.  They are DEAD WRONG.  Hard acceleration is better.  Why?

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Tata Nano Car

2 09 2008

Would you drive a $2,500 car made in India that gets 50 mpg?  It’s possible, right?  Who would’ve thought in 1970 that you’d be driving a Japanese car today?

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Not Smart Car

2 06 2008

I’ve been intrigued by the Smart car — a car company owned by Mercedes-Benz that specializes in ultra-small cars.  When it comes to cute, these golf car-sized cars have it in spades.  However, there are some growing pains.  Here are two articles from the New York Times: Ready.. and Parking.. for you to read.

Automobile Maintenace Tips

21 07 2006

Here are some tips and links that I’ve picked up over the years.

Are All Gasoline The Same?
Yes, mostly. I spoke with someone who worked at an oil refinery and he confirmed what I’ve heard from other sources: all gasoline is made to the same industry-wide agreed-upon standards and so, is the same. The only real difference is the additive. The additive makes the gas burn better, keep your engine running better, etc. The additive is not added at the refinery but at the last minute, just before the tanker truck leaves the facility.

Chevron Fuel System Cleaner
After driving in CA for many years and monitoring my fuel economy on different vehicles, I’ve made several observations. Arco gas ( usually 10 cents cheaper than the rest ) is just as good as Chevron (what I used to use). More importantly is the additive. I buy a 4-pack of Chevron fuel system cleaner at Costco for $12. I use this at least once a month (or 4 fill-ups in a row at first), to keep my fuel injectors clean.

I’ve used Chevron Fuel System Cleaner on 3 different vehicles and all 3 have the same results: if not used, fuel economy will eventually drop 1-2 mpg. Using it, I am able to get very close to the manufacturer’s rated EPA MPG. I swear by it.

My dad used Chevron Supreme gas for years on 2 vehicles and the fuel economy still dropped — using Chevron Regular and Chevron Fuel System Cleaner was much more effective.

Car Wax.
This famous car detailer told me that the best car wax is called Flash. Carnuba wax is the best for the car’s finish.

Glass Cleaning.
For really really stubborn glass problems, use denatured alcohol — found in your local home improvement store. Warning — extremely caustic — use gloves and use in a ventilated area. Newspapers works well too.

Glass-Mounted Rearview Mirrors.
Have a domestic car/truck with a rearview mirror attached directly to the inside windshield? In case the whole mirror assembly fell down, you need to first reattach your rearview mirror’s metal button onto the glass. How to do this? 1. Use fine sandpaper to prep the metal button. 2. Use denatured alcohol to clean the metal button and the glass. Works like a charm.

Car Key Chain.
It’s bad to hang a heavy key chain on your car’s ignition. Break up your keys into several smaller sets and use a carabiner hold them all.

Love this stuff. If you’re got a flat tire, it may be too dangerous to change it immediately. Use this stuff to get you back on the road to a tire store.

Costco/Sam’s Club.
The Big Box stores charge much less for batteries and tires than other places. BTW, they can do tire balancing, but not alignment.

Silicone Spray.
This stuff is the best to maintain and rejuvinate plastic and rubber surfaces. It also works well on CV boots.

Engine Cleaning.
Instead of using a chemically caustic engine cleaner spray, use orange cleaning solution found in the cleaning aisle at Home Depot. This stuff is tough on grease and easy on your hands. With chemical cleaners, you have to cover electrical parts and keep them dry: no such precaution needed with the orange spray cleaning solution.

Cheaper Auto Parts.
Do you buy auto parts at Checker, Schucks, Kragen, Advance, or Murray’s? Here’s a really big tip to save you big bucks. All these auto stores are owned by the same parent company, inclding the mail-order store If you know exactly which part you want, first go to, find it, and print out the price. The local auto stores listed above will price match it! You’ll easily save 20-30% on more expensive items. I’ve done it a few times and it’s absolutely wonderful! My saturday morning mechanic buddy told me this tip.

George Nitta has some great tips about car maintenance: especially oil, filters, coolant additives, and many other topics.

CarTalk Radio is also quite entertaining.

Driving Tips

21 07 2006

Here are some tips I learned driving the CA Speedway, otherwise known as the 405, 5, 110, 90, 10, etc. etc.

Lane Numbering. Lanes are numbered from the center divider, starting with #1.

Passing Cars. If you’re in the #1 lane and there’s a slow car in front of you, typical CA drivers tailgate, flash headlights, or (worst) honk. The polite way to signal your intentions is to use your left turn signal.

Correct Mirror Alignment. Left and right side mirrors should be aligned so that there is little overlap between the center rearview mirror and the sides. In other words, the side mirrors are strictly for blind spot checking. Pros: faster lane changing in emergencies, and easier night driving (glare of rear cars are reduced). Cons: takes time to adjust.
Flash To Pass. If someone needs to merge in front of your car, flash your headlights to let the driver in.

Changing Lanes. This is a big problem — if you signal to change lanes, people speed up and cut you off. If you don’t signal and just cut in, then you risk an accident. What to do?

Assume you are on a 4 lane freeway. You are car B in lane 4 which is an onramp merge lane. Cars A, C, and D are in lane 3. You wish to cut in-between cars A and C. The gap between A and C is not quite large enough for your car.

KEY: you merge 1 foot into lane 3 and then signal. Car C has to make two choices: back-off and let you in, or speed-up and cut you off. Depending on what car C does, you can merge between A and C or between C and D.

Driving with Windows Down.  If you have a 4-door car/truck, you can use this technique on the freeway to get fresh air without excessive wind buffeting.  Keep the driver’s side windows rolled-up.  Roll-down the passenger side windows equally (depends on speed).  You’ll get this nice circular motion of fresh air coming into the vehicle with less wind noise.  The only bad seat in the vehicle will be the rear passenger’s seat (right-rear).  Wind noise will be rough here.