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By Allen L Phillips, with information from an article in Consumer Reports October, 2019 issue. Cars built in the last 10 years have been collecting data about us.  (See my blog entitled “Is Your Car Watching You?” posted here April 30, 2019.)  Consumer Reports says vehicles collect and store all kinds of personal data – everything from the songs on your playlist to the locations you frequent to how firmly you apply the brakes.  And if you’re not careful, that data can travel to your car’s next owner. Consumer Reports provides a check list of things to do before turning in a leased car, trading in a car or selling it outright. For more detailed instructions, consult your car’s owner’s manual. UN-PAIR ALL BLUETOOTH DEVICES – By deleting the connection to your smart phone, you protect info routinely shared for contacting friends, listening to music and using GPS directions. RESET THE GARAGE DOOR OP ... read more


by Allen L Phillips A AAA survey suggests that 20% of U.S. drivers may want an electric vehicle.  Not a hybrid but an electric.  You have to plug it in.  It has a limited range that gets worse in cold weather.  I’m sure you can sense my skepticism. The survey specifically found that 40 million Americans are ”likely to consider an electric car for their next purchase, with millennials leading the way”.  At the same time AAA acknowledges what they call the “gap between interest and action” which they attribute to a lack of knowledge about the technology. What we are talking about is Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEV).  This category includes plug-in hybrids, most of which are designed to operate in electric mode for up to about 25 miles, after which they operate as a regular hybrid with the engine starting as needed to charge the batteries.  Thus, on a short commute they act like an electric car. At the end of 2018 there w ... read more


Posted by Allen L Phillips This is an interesting survey showing the cost of first year car ownership by state.  Because it is first year ownership, the sales tax on the new car purchase is included and assumes the car is purchased in that state.  As a result, high sales tax states come out on the short end in the survey. The survey also breaks out cost of insurance, gasoline and maintenance and summarizes their effects on the total. California, as one would expect, is the highest.  From there on down the cost scale there are some interesting surprises as some states generally considered to be low cost of living (usually because of low income taxes)  do not show up well in this survey. And the different costs to insure a vehicle almost defy understanding. Click the link below and enjoy. https://www.gobankingrates ... read more


  By Allen L Phillips When Henry Ford built the first Model T Ford in 1908 he installed an internal combustion engine.  Most cars and trucks today still use similar internal combustion engines, although considerably advanced from the one Henry used.   Today’s engine is said to be 25% efficient.  That means that only 25% of a gallon of gas is converted to the energy that operates your car.  The other 75% is converted to heat and that heat must be managed.  Your engine cooling system manages that heat. How it works:  A key component of any cooling system is the radiator which is an assembly of many small metal tubes to which are attached thin metal fins.  Filled with coolant and located at the front of the car, the radiator is exposed to the wind as the car moves.  The engine is placed right behind the radiator and between them is a cooling fan, driven by the engine, which helps pull air through the radiator.  ... read more


Del Mar Automotive will be closed beginning Friday, May 24th through Monday, May 27th, in observance of Memorial Day. For many people Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, with Labor Day signifying the end.  But we should all take a moment and consider the real reason for Memorial Day, to remember and celebrate the sacrifices that members of our military have made on our behalf over the years.  Because of our military strength we have not fought a war on the U. S. mainland since the civil war except for a small skirmish that became known as the Aleutian Islands Campaign of WWII.  A small force of Imperial Japanese troops landed on the islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands chain which are part of what is now the State of Alaska – at that time it was the Alaska Territory


North bound Jimmy Durante Boulevard is closed due to a landslide just south of our shop and it now appears that the work to stabilize the hillside may continue well into the summer.  The closure complicates traveling north out of Del Mar.  Alternative routes are either Camino Del Mar (Coast Hwy) with its many boulevard stops or accessing I-5 North at Del Mar Heights Road. Some say the road will be open by May 31st when the Del Mar Fair opens but, if so, repair work will have to slow down which means actual repairs and road closures could last until Thanksgiving or longer.  In any case, our customers are having difficulty getting in and out of our shop, especially in the afternoons when traffic gets heavy.  This will only get worse when the Fair opens.  The Fair will run from May 31st through Thursday, July 4th.  Then horse racing begins Wednesday, July 17th.  Both the fair and horse races will be closed Mondays & Tuesdays. In an attempt to bett ... read more


HISTORY OF COMPUTERS IN CARS Volkswagen first used a mini-computer in a car to control the fuel injection system in 1968.  Since then more computers have been added, then the ability for the computers to “talk” to one another, so that now we are essentially driving a computer system on wheels. DATA COLLECTION With the recent addition of wireless communications ability manufacturers are now collecting data from your late model car.  What data, you say?  Some estimates suggest that a car can generate up to 4,000 gigabytes of data per day, everything from the speeds you drive and where you go to the contact list downloaded from your cell phone.  The consulting firm McKinsey has estimated that by 2030 this data trove could be worth as much as $750 billion to car makers. WHO OWNS THE DATA? Consumer groups, aftermarket repair shops and privacy advocates say the data belongs to the car’s owners and the information should be subject to data privacy la ... read more


Recall notices have been going out to car owners for several years regarding the defective Takata air bags in their cars.  The repairs are done at no charge by auto dealers to replace the defective parts with good ones.  But government records indicate that fully one-third of repairs still have not been done. That means that more than 16 million people are driving around in cars that still have faulty air bags.  These are the silent killers referred to in the title.  And it gets worse. The Takata air bags work by using a volatile chemical to create a small explosion which inflates the air bag in a collision.  The defective air bags explode with too much force, potentially firing shrapnel at drivers and passengers.  As a result 23 people have been killed,15 in the U.S. To make matters worse, the air bags grow more dangerous as they age because the chemical deteriorates in high humidity ... read more


By Allen L Phillips The automatic transmission came into general use in the late 1940’s and in the late 1950’s racing enthusiasts began modifying the 4 speed GM Hydramatic transmission for drag racing.  There have been substantial advances from the early 2 speed transmissions like the Chevrolet Powerglide to the highly efficient six and nine speed transmissions found in newer cars today.  Another recent development is the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which, as the name implies, does not shift but provides continuous torque to the wheels.  These transmissions remind me somewhat of the Chevrolet Turboglide transmission which showed up briefly in the 1950’s and, while very smooth because it didn’t shift, was horribly inefficient and had a failure rate that led to their quick disappearance.  Most of today’s CVT transmissions have overcome those problems, are very reliable and, as used in the Toyota Prius that I drive, contribu ... read more


BY ALLEN L PHILLIPS The lead acid battery has been a common component of cars since the introduction of starter motors early in the last century.  Early batteries were 6 volts with most manufacturers switching to 12 volt batteries in the 1950’s as electrical systems became more demanding (think radios). Since that time there has been occasional speculation about changing to 18 or 24 volt systems as manufacturers contemplated the potential electrical demands of future cars.  But today, cars are still being built with 12 volt systems using the tried and true lead acid batteries. Lead acid batteries contain a series of lead plates suspended in acid, hence the name “lead acid battery”.  An obvious and common problem with these batteries is leakage, usually around the battery posts, which can corrode the battery terminals leading to a reduction in available electrical power to start the car. Additionally, the power demands of newer cars with GPS, backup ... read more

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