Women and Car’s Early Years

8 06 2017

Dale BertramWomen played a role in the history of the car.  Here are a few facts that are interesting to know!

1903 – Mary Anderson was granted a patent for the windshield wiper in 1903. The first windshield wiper was a swinging arm with a rubber blade that could be operated manually from inside the car. She first tried to sell her idea to a Canadian firm in 1905 but they decided it was “not of such commercial use as would warrant the undertaking of its sale.” Hmmm…big mistake!  Wipers became standard in cars by 1916.

1909 – Alice Huyler Ramsey, at age 22, drove cross country (3,800 miles) from New York to San Francisco. It took 59 days! Keep in mind that most of those miles were on unpaved roads and she didn’t have maps (those things we used before GPS!). Alice had to change 11 tires, repair a broken brake pedal, and clean spark plugs! She became the first woman inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

1913 – Can’t imagine a car without turn signals or brake lights?  Isn’t it annoying to drive behind someone without them? Silent film star, Florence Lawrence certainly felt they were necessary.  She invented an “auto signaling arm” which was activated by pressing a button.  It would raise or lower an arm that had a sign, showing which way the driver was turning. When the driver wanted to stop, a “stop sign” would pop up.

1915 – Wilma K. Russey became the first female New York City taxi driver…on New Year’s Day!  She dressed very elegantly as a taxi driver and was also an expert (and stylish) auto mechanic.

1943 – Helene Rother became the first female automotive designer. She was hired by General Motors to create stylish and glamourous interior designs for cars. Helene was the first woman to address the Society of Automotive Engineers and was awarded the Jackson Medal for excellence of design.

The next time you use your wiper blades, turn signals or brake lights…think of these innovative women!

 

 





Brake Dust

1 06 2017

Dale BertramI’m sure most of us have experienced this…you drive through an automatic car wash and when you get home you notice the clean shine of your entire vehicle…until you look down at the wheels.  What is that grime on the wheels?  That is brake dust… metallic particles, carbon fibers and adhesive residue from your vehicle’s brake pads that attaches to your wheels.

To keep it from building up it should be removed weekly as it essentially bakes on to the surface of alloy wheels.  It is recommended that you wash the wheels when they are cool to avoid streaking, discoloration and pitting. The adhesive residue in the dust causes it to bond firmly with the wheels and since they are most often acidic it starts a corrosion process.  The metal filings in the dust usually oxidize with the metal of the rims causing galvanic corrosion to occur. If you are removing the dust yourself be careful not to inhale the dust or the vapor from cleaning products especially designed to remove the grime.  This can be toxic and if you are asthmatic, harmful.

If your vehicle seems very prone to brake dust, you might consider having brake dust shields installed.  They come in a variety of colors, are inexpensive and easy to install.

You might also consider higher quality brake pads as poor quality ones produce a lot of dust. Having your brakes checked regularly (quarterly) is recommended as many times an adjustment is needed and this helps stop excessive dust.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Brakes made from organic materials (glass and rubber) wear faster so create more dust than brakes made from semi-metallic and metallic material. Ceramic brake pads have less metal and therefore less dust is created.
  • Brakes installed improperly can cause excessive dust.
  • If you have installed larger diameter wheels to your vehicle the size of the brakes and pads need to be larger as well or they will wear out quickly and increase the amount of dust during the process.
  • If the springs are worn it causes continual rubbing and if the pads are always touching the drums you get an increase in dust.
  • Overloading a vehicle with weight, driving hard, short stop and go trips, and leaving your foot on the brake pedal all increase brake dust.

Now we know that brake dust, though not harmful to your vehicle, is a nuisance and if you feel annoyed by it you are not alone as it is a top complaint among consumers.

 

 





Hot, Hot and Hotter!

20 04 2017

Dale BertramHot days are ahead!  We also drive more in summer months and we need to treat our cars as kindly as we can.  The average American spends 72 minutes a day during the week commuting between work and home…that equals 12 days!  On weekends, holidays and vacations we can pile on even more miles.

Maybe it is because we get more time off in the summer! There is the weekend get-a-ways, vacations, the road trips to see the sights, picnics, getting to the lakes and rivers for boating and fishing, amusement parks, and visits with family and friends at reunions. It is important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the extra wear and tear. We are here to help.  We want you to enjoy your summer without worrying about your car getting you to your destination and back home again.  We’ll make it is ready to go by keeping it well maintained. It is the little things like making sure you keep up with your oil changes, the spark plugs are alive and well, belts and hoses are not cracked or frayed, the charging system is strong, the filters are clean, tires are properly inflated, brakes are able to stop when you need to and the exhaust system is doing its job.

If you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you!  It will also save you money on vehicle repair as well as save you money at the gas pump.

How do you check gas mileage?

When you fill up your vehicle with gasoline, make a note of the odometer reading.  The next time you fill up, divide the miles driven by the amount of fuel used (gallons).  Read your owner’s manual to find out what gas mileage your vehicle should be getting. If your vehicle isn’t giving you the gas mileage it should, call us and we will have it running at peak performance in no time!  Don’t despair; we are here to help you!





Don’t Assume

13 04 2017

Dale BertramMany people assume that because we live in warm/hot weather conditions we don’t have the same issues that those in colder climates do.  That is mostly true, but don’t assume too much.

Some think that cold weather causes more wear and tear on a battery than warm weather.  Actually, the reverse is true.  Hot weather makes for extremely high temperatures under the hood which is detrimental to a battery’s life. According to the Car Care Council, the average life of a battery is 31/2 years-even shorter in warmer climates. That’s because excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate. That’s slow death for a battery.

Some customers question the need for anti-freeze.  Anti-freeze is just another name for coolant.  It is only referred to as anti-freeze because in sub-zero temperatures it does not freeze!  All vehicles need coolant, no matter what name you prefer to call it.  Coolant keeps the engine cool and lubricates the water pump.  Overheating is the biggest reason for breakdowns on the highway.  When the coolant gets dirty it loses the ability to clean the different components.  That is why we recommend fluid exchanges every so often.

Snow and ice and heavy rain isn’t the only culprits when it comes to your vehicle’s wiper blades. Wiper blades are one of the most neglected components on vehicles today. Many blades are cracked, split, torn, brittle, worn or otherwise in obvious need of replacement. Others may look okay, but does a lousy job of wiping when put to the test. Ninety percent of all driving decisions are based on a clear unobstructed view of the road, which means good visibility is absolutely essential.  All wiper blade materials fall victim to environmental factors. Exposure to sunlight and ozone causes the rubber to age, even if the wipers aren’t used much. As a set of blades age, they lose much of their flip-over flexibility and they’re less able to wipe cleanly. They may develop a permanent set, called “parked” rubber, or curvature which prevents full contact with the windshield. This tends to be more of a problem on vehicles that are parked outside in the hot sun all day. The sun bakes and hardens the rubber. Then when the wipers are needed, they streak and chatter because they’ve taken a set and won’t follow the curvature of the windshield. It can be very annoying as well as dangerous. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months to a year so you are always prepared when you need them.

Yes…we love not having to deal with snow and ice but let’s not forget that heat has its drawbacks too.

Happy Motoring!





Accidents Happen

6 04 2017

Dale BertramAfter the Crash

70% of traffic accidents do not involve injuries. It doesn’t seem to matter though, whether you have a fender bender or total your vehicle; accidents cause a lot of stress.  It’s always a good idea to keep a check list in your glove box just in case of an accident so you can more calmly assess the situation and act in a rational manner.  Here are some things Phoenix drivers need to keep in mind.

  • Call 911 if someone is injured or call the police if not.
  • If possible and there isn’t a lot of damage to the vehicles move them a safe distance from traffic.
  • Exchange information
  • When the police arrive they will fill out an official accident report for you.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

  • Do I have rental car coverage?
  • Do I have comprehensive coverage (covers theft, fire, vandalism, glass replacement and deer claims)?
  • How much is my deductible?
  • If I have an accident, what kinds of parts will be used to repair my vehicle (new original manufactured parts or new aftermarket parts or reconditioned parts)?
  • What does full coverage mean (you have collision but not necessarily rental, comprehensive or new original manufactured parts coverage)?

Questions to Ask Your Body Shop

  • Can I get a written estimate and an explanation of planned repairs?
  • Will I receive a written guarantee from your shop?
  • When is my deductible due?
  • Will my vehicle be available for the insurance adjuster’s inspection?
  • What is the estimated completion date of my repairs?
  • Will I owe more than the insurance estimate?

Hopefully you won’t be in an accident any time soon but just in case, these are points to ponder and remember. To find out more about keeping your vehicle healthy, visit us at http://www.fairwayautorepair.com!

 

 





Cars Through The Ages: 1931-1960

9 03 2017

Dale BertramHere is our next segment of our history and fascination with vehicles! Enjoy!


1931 – 1940

1931 – Mercedes-Benz presents the first modern independent front suspension system.
1932 – Ford redesigns the Model A with a V8 engine and sells over 300,000 the first year.
1933 – Ford drops to third place behind General Motors and Chrysler.
1934 – Citroen Traction Avant is the first successfully mass-produced front-wheel drive car.
1935 – A thermal interrupter switch is used to create flashing turn signals.
1936 – 54% of US families now own cars.
1937 – Buick and Oldsmobile present the Automatic Safety Transmission.
1938 – The Volkswagen goes into production in Nazi Germany (The German People’s Car).
1939 – The first air-conditioning system is added to cars.
1940 – Jeep is designed with more than 360,000 made for the Allied armed forces. It was the workhorse of WWII.

1941 – 1950

1941 – 1945 – 700,000 GP (General Purpose Vehicles) were built for WWII through 1945 by Ford and Wyllys-Overland.  GP = Jeep!
1943 – US passenger car production falls to 139 vehicles because war production requirements took over.
1945 – The war ends.  Henry Ford resigns and his grandson, Henry Ford II becomes the president of The Ford Motor Company.
1946 – Michelin patents the Radial-ply tyre.
1947 – Henry Ford dies at the age of 84.
1948 – The American motor industry produces its 100,000,000th car.
1949 – Michelin “X” radial-ply tyres go on sale.
1950 – Ford Motor goes from 3rd place to 2nd place, reducing Chrysler to the 3rd position.

1951 – 1960

1951 – Chrysler offer power steering.
1952 – Automatic transmission vehicles in the USA exceed 2 million.
1953 – General Motors introduces the Corvette & Porshe the 550 Spyder race-cars.
1954 – Tubeless tyres are now available for all new American cars.
1955 – American car sales hit a record 7,915,000.
1956 – Ford introduces seat-belts but it isn’t met with enthusiasm by the public.
1957 – 80% of new cars in USA have a V-8 engine & Chrysler offers in-car record player.
1958 – Toyotas and Datsuns are imported to the USA.
1959 – Studebaker hopes its new compact car, The Lark, will compete with European imports.
1960 – 80% of US families own at least one car.

 

 





Self-Driving Car Updates

2 03 2017

Dale BertramHere is some news on self-driving vehicles:

  • The need to regulate what constitutes a self-driving car is moving forward as states are working to establish regulations for the testing, use and sale of these vehicles. Michigan became the first state to sign legislation. Not surprising, Ford, General Motors, Google, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Uber and Lyft helped.  This legislation allows for a car without a steering wheel or a brake pedal,  and a person does not have to be in the front seat.  Automakers are glad for a start but they prefer, of course, federal legislation rather than a state-by-state approach.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA asked manufacturers to submit a 15-point safety assessment to share what they were doing to ensure the physical safety of consumers as well as their privacy.
  • NHTSA will interpret the “self-driving system” Google has created as “the driver” rather than human occupants of the vehicle. Naturally there are a lot of legal questions when it comes to self-driving vehicles because if anything goes wrong…who is responsible?  It is difficult to “sue” a car or decide whose insurance must pay.
  • Google’s concern when it comes to safety of self-driving vehicles is the human element. They informed NHTSA that if humans try to interfere with steering, acceleration, or braking it could be a hazard to safety.  They prefer the human element be omitted completely from the equation.

We will continue to wait as the legislation is written and rewritten and meanwhile more and more advances into self-driving cars will come into play.  Will this take months or years?

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Fairway Auto Repair