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Yearly Archives: 2019

SILENT KILLER STILL LURKS IN MANY OF OUR CARS

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

AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS STILL NEED MAINTENANCE

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

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