Posts from ‘Money Matters’
As a Chicagoan, I take a certain amount of pride in my ability to complain about the local traffic situation. To that end, though I loathe to report that my 17-mile trip from Consumer Guide’s Chicago-adjacent office to the sleepy Northwest Suburbs can take me more than an hour on the wrong day, I feel a least at little satisfaction knowing that I am a statistical outlier.
The average American driver doesn’t spend much time thinking about their vehicle’s tires. At best, conscientious owners make sure their tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer-recommended air pressure, check that they’ve got sufficient tread depth with a “penny test,” and replace their tires before they’re completely worn out.
In simplest terms, an automotive hybrid drivetrain is one that employs two or more power sources to propel a given vehicle.
For years, American car owners have had the 3000-mile oil-change interval rule drilled into their psyches. Two powerful forces are at work keeping the 3000-mile edict so prominent in the public’s mind: inertia and marketing.
For most American motorists, convertibles are vehicles that other people own. Maybe that lawyer down the street has a convertible as a third car, or your mom’s crazy unmarried brother drives one. But for most of us, convertible ownership has never been a reality.
It may not be your fault, but it’s embarrassing just the same. Like a random pimple on your forehead, or finding spinach stuck to your teeth after a staff meeting, cloudy headlamps are many car owners’ secret shame.
Forty or so years ago, ensuring vehicle safety and reliability in cold-weather driving usually meant performing a series of annual maintenance rituals.
Common preparations including swapping out the thermostat, flushing the cooling system, switching to lighter-weight motor oil, and having the battery tested. Additionally, slapping on snow tires was not uncommon in locales known for heavy doses of the white stuff.
Before fuel injection, variable-valve timing, computer-enhanced aerodynamics, and continuously variable transmissions, there was only one path to fuel efficiency: small engines in small cars.
With a 15-year-old daughter having just completed driver’s education, I find myself in the unenviable position of shopping for a second car. That car, by the way, will spend most of its time in the service of the aforementioned daughter.
Given the “electrification” of the automobile, it would be easy to assume that the most fuel-efficient vehicles ever built for sale in the U.S. would be of recent vintage and in some way hybridized. As it turns out, that assumption would only be partially correct.