FALL BOATING SEASON TIPS FOR AN AWESOME AUTUMN RIDE

In the Northeast, there’s little better than the peak of fall, with the leaves changing and the cool crisp air. This time of year is a great time to get in some end of the season boating and see the autumn colors from a different perspective. While the fall boating season can lend itself to some spectacular views, there are a few special considerations to make before heading out in cooler weather. Today’s Forecast In the fall, weather can change at a moment’s notice. Checking the weather right before you head out is a great way to ensure you won’t get caught in nasty weather. Smartphone apps can give you up to the minute weather even while you’re out on the water, but it doesn’t hurt to quic

ELLIOTT FINISHES SEVENTH IN ROUND OF 8 OPENER AT MARTINSVILLE

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team kicked off the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Round of 8 with a seventh-place finish at Martinsville Speedway. Elliott and the SunEnergy1 team took the green flag for Sunday’s 500-lap race just inside the top 20. When the first caution flag waved on Lap 44, Elliott had moved up to 16th while reporting that his No. 9 Chevy was “not bad,” but “free at times.” By Lap 60, he had climbed all the way up to 11th. He cracked the top ten for the first time at Lap 80 and moved up to ninth not long after that. Elliott suffered minor right-front fender damage after brushing the wall at Lap 95 and ultimately ended the opening stage in 11th. Dur

WHY A 48-VOLT ELECTRICAL SYSTEM IS NECESSARY

Get used to this term: 48-volt electrical system. If there’s been any consistency at all in the automotive world, it’s been power. It was simple: Vehicles were outfitted with all 12 volts — unless you had a 1966 or older VW; those were 6 volts. But while that number has stood for a half-century or more, vehicles have been changing rapidly and adding features that consume power. It’s time for a switch, and even the timeless Jeep Wrangler is packing a 48-volt electrical system in its latest generation. It’s More Than Just the Toys Why the jump to 48 volts? For one, your seat warmers and coolers, 700-watt audio system, ambient lighting, and the stop/start function that shuts your engine off at

WHAT COULD A DIRTY AIR FILTER DO TO YOUR ENGINE?

Have you ever wondered what a dirty air filter could do to your engine? Just like you, your engine appreciates breathing clean air, whether it’s a tiny lawnmower motor, a fun dirt-bike engine or that turbocharged monster in your sporty coupe. Let’s take a look at how this lesser-known component plays a huge role in engine health. Breathe In, Breathe Out With every intake stroke, the cylinder inhales air, so to speak. Compression or spark combines fuel with oxygen, causing a tiny, controlled explosion. On the exhaust stroke, the cylinder exhales nitrogen, water vapor and carbon dioxide — just like you, only hotter. Your engine has an air filter to keep dust, particles and insects from getting

ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL: A SHORT HISTORY

Electronic stability control (ESC), also called electronic stability program (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC), is required safety technology on all vehicles sold in the United States, but it wasn’t always this way. In fact, while its origins date as far back as the 1920s and the technology itself was invented in 1989, it was only included in luxury and premium vehicles. The safety benefits of electronic stability control, however, have been deemed so important that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made it mandatory. A Crash to Prevent Crashes It’s common knowledge that machines don’t always respond the way the driver wants. During panic braking, for exam

THE AUTO AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM: KNOW THE PARTS

You might think of your auto air conditioning system like the engine cooling system. Just as the engine cooling system moves heat from the engine to the air, the air conditioning system moves heat from the cabin to the outside. This makes for more comfortable driving and defogs your windshield faster, but how does it all work? Auto Air Conditioning Components Like the engine cooling system, the auto air conditioning system uses a pump to circulate coolant. Air conditioning refrigerant’s special property allows it to phase-change from liquid to gaseous forms. Phase changes come with another special property: the absorption and release of heat. Here’s a basic summary of how each part produces

WHAT MOTORCYCLE ENGINE OIL IS RIGHT FOR MY BIKE?

Most motors need oil to stay running, but not all oils are created equal. Furthermore, car engines have different lubrication requirements than those in motorcycles. With all the different engines and all the types of oil to choose from, how do you know which motorcycle engine oil is best for your machine? Two Wheelin’ and Dealin’ The first thing to know is that bikes have special needs in the lubrication department. Most are air-cooled and experience much greater temperature variations than cars, often needing to dissipate a lot of heat. Their engines tend to have wider clearances, and many have a wet clutch and/or share fluid with the transmission. This means you need an oil that can withs

CHASE ELLIOTT BRINGS HOME CHECKERED FLAG AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 team led the final 44 laps in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway en route to their third victory of the season – all coming within the past 11 races. Elliott and the Mountain Dew team began the 267-lap event in the 13th position. Early in the race, Elliott began gradually working his way through the field. Quick work by the No. 9 team during a green-flag pit stop on Lap 39 allowed Elliott to challenge for a spot in the top ten. As Stage 1 continued, Elliott found himself in tenth before the green-checkered flag at the end of the stage. During Stage 2, Elliott once again battled inside the top ten and advanced to eighth before another cycle of green-flag

HOW DOES A CAR’S ELSD WORK?

The acronym eLSD stands for electronic limited slip differential. Essentially, this system gives your vehicle increased traction. It can be incredibly useful when you’re traveling on wet or icy roads, and it can improve handling for high-performance vehicles. Below, we’ll take a look at how this system works, and we’ll examine the benefits it provides in various driving situations. Control Issues If a car’s wheels were forced to spin at the same speed while making a turn, this would put an incredible amount of pressure on the axle. A car’s differential prevents this kind of stress from occurring, because it’s a gear assembly that allows each of the vehicle’s driven wheels to rotate at a diff

ZINC OIL ADDITIVE: WHY YOUR CLASSIC CAR NEEDS IT

Chances are your classic car needs zinc oil additive to stay running strong. While the formulations of modern oils have changed, along with the innovations that keep the automotive industry moving forward, your older car’s specific lubrication requirements were frozen in time the day it was built. This means that not all current oils are appropriate for antique autos — or even for those built a few decades ago. Let’s take a quick look at how zinc in your oil can impact your engine. Flat Tappet Before the 1980s, most engines were outfitted with a camshaft design that used “flat tappets,” which generated more friction than later, roller-cam designs. If left unprotected, this friction can gener

ELECTRIC OR HYBRID CAR MAINTENANCE: WORTH MAKING THE SWITCH?

The biggest reason people buy a hybrid or electric car is to save money on gas. And sure, with a hybrid, the electric motor reduces the work and thus the fuel consumption of the gasoline engine — the electric motor doesn’t use any gasoline at all. But what about electric or hybrid car maintenance? Will these models cost you more than a gasoline-powered car in upkeep and repairs? The Down-Low on Hybrids Good news here: Not only do most hybrids not require any special car maintenance, but the hybrid system may also reduce normal wear and tear on some conventional parts of the car. When the electric motor takes over, the gas engine shuts down. In fact, the latter will end up having far fewer mi

REPLACING WIPER BLADES: WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME?

Whether or not you use them frequently, you should be replacing wiper blades with some regularity. Over time the blade wears down, making it less effective at clearing your windshield. It’s important to remember that effective windshield wipers are a vital safety component: so take the maintenance of them as seriously as you would your tires or brakes. How Long Is Too Long? Some people will go years between a new set of blades, but that’s far too long. Wiper blades can wear out in as few as three months. And none will last longer than 12, even if you shell out big bucks for a fancy pair. Get in the habit of looking at your blades every few months. If you are seeing any clues suggesting they

TAILGATING THE RIGHT WAY: MAXIMIZE YOUR FUN WITH THESE TIPS

Tailgating can be the best part of being at the game. Sure it’s fun to watch your favorite players, but it’s even better to hang out with your buddies and relax with great music and food just before everything kicks off. Having the right setup for your vehicle can mean the difference between a fun time and an epic time. Check out these tips on how to maximize your experience with a little preparation: Use That Trailer Hitch Does your car or truck have a trailer hitch? If so, then you can access an entire world of tailgating accessories designed to take advantage of this sturdy mounting point. Anything from a BBQ grill, to a cooler to a full set of benches and picnic table can be hooked to yo

WHAT TYPE OF TRAILER WIRING CONNECTOR IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

A trailer wiring connector is what links your car’s electrical system to the trailer, allowing other drivers to see your lights even with the trailer blocking the rear of your car. This is not only a safety measure; it’s also the law. Requirements vary from state to state, so double-check the laws in your area to make sure you’re in compliance. Here’s a rundown on the most common types of trailer wiring connectors and how they work. Types of Plugs and Sockets In your house, you plug appliances into wall sockets. With your car, you plug your trailer into a vehicle socket. The shapes of the plugs and sockets vary, with the most common types being flat, round and RV blade. Flat: Flat connectors

NEW SENSORS AND BODY REPAIRS: WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?

Many car owners may not be aware of the connection between new sensors and body repairs. Amenities that use semi-autonomous driving technology have quickly become essential equipment for a wide swath of car buyers. This technology is used in driver-assist features such as blind spot monitoring, forward-collision mitigation systems and adaptive cruise control. Semi-autonomous driving technology typically relies on sensors to function effectively. Below, we take a look at the role played by these sensors and the ways in which they impact body repairs. Watchful Eyes For semi-autonomous driving technology to do its job, the system needs to achieve a certain level of situational awareness for the

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR TIMING BELT BREAKS?

What happens when your timing belt breaks? I can answer that one firsthand. I was taking one of those flyover connector ramps that goes from one freeway to another when all of a sudden, there’s a lot of noise and no power. Twenty seconds later, I’m at a dead stop, still on that ramp, blocking traffic and wondering what just happened. Here’s what I learned. What IS a Timing Belt, Anyway? It’s a continuous loop of rubber with ridges cut into it. It goes around the teeth of the camshaft, which controls the valves, and the crankshaft, which connects to the pistons, and keeps them in sync with each other. In other words, it regulates the timing of the opening and closing of valves with the up-and

HOT ROD DRAG WEEK 2018 – RACE, DRIVE, REPEAT!

One of the most unique events in drag racing is HOT ROD Drag Week. Race car builders from around the world are put to the test that is half drag race, half road rally. The challenge: to build the fastest street legal car that can still drive hundreds of miles between race tracks for five days straight. Simply surviving drag week is an accomplishment itself, but to be crowned the fastest street car is the ultimate prize. Most people know someone with a clapped our drag car that is built just to hit the strip and then get back on the trailer. Not these cars. Each participant must have a current license plate and registration along with insurance. To keep things legal on the road each vehicle m

THE NEED FOR SPEED: HOW ENGINE UPGRADES INCREASE YOUR CAR’S POWER

Many of today’s cars and trucks already come with impressive horsepower, but why stop there? A variety of engine upgrades can quickly and easily increase horsepower and improve overall performance. Here are a few of the ways you can give your car a bit more muscle. Spark Plugs Let’s start with good old spark plugs. These sit inside the cylinder heads and ignite the fuel. This combustion is what makes your engine run, so as simple as spark plugs are, you’re going nowhere without them. Over time, spark plugs get dirty, corrode and eventually wear out. They might still do their job, but not as efficiently as when they were new. Make sure you change your spark plugs regularly so you get the best

CLOTH VS. LEATHER SEATS: WHAT’S THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU?

Do you prefer leather seats or cloth seats? They’re the two main choices in many passenger vehicles, although imitation leather continues to gain ground. We’ll leave the imitation out of the equation for now, as there are so many different varieties offered by manufacturers. If you’re planning to buy a new or used car, the material wrapping the seats can impact your purchase decision. Let’s take a closer look at each option. The Great Debate: Cloth Seats vs. Leather Seats Cloth covers the seats in most mainstream models, but it’s also sometimes found in base models of luxury cars, especially older ones. Leather, once only a luxury car material, is now offered in some basic models, such as th

DROWSY DRIVER DETECTION SYSTEM: A NEW SAFETY FEATURE

Your eyes are feeling heavy as the road ahead slips into nothingness. Within moments, you’re crossing the divide between wakefulness and sleep, and that’s a terrible place to be when controlling a moving car. But just before any deadly consequences occur, your car alerts you to the danger, allowing you to safely exit the road to seek some rest. Thanks to your car’s drowsy driver detection system, you aren’t numbered among the grim traffic statistics. Drowsy Driver Detection System If you’re feeling drowsy while driving, you may already be falling asleep. This phenomenon is known as microsleep, which refers to brief moments of unconsciousness, lasting from a millisecond up to 15 seconds. What

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