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Malfunction Indicator Lamps Malfunction Indicator Lamps
My, how times have changed. Back in the days when leaded fuel was sold at “service stations,” as they were quaintly called, motorists had to be concerned with only a few warning lights that each monitored the condition of an important vehicle system. Colorfully dubbed “idiot lights”...
Malfunction Indicator Lamps »
How Suspension Works How Suspension Works
Ask two drivers—a regular driver and a racer—to explain the purpose of suspension, and you may get two different answers. The regular Joe says it’s easy: suspension keeps your teeth from rattling out over bumps. It’s a comfort thing. The racer looks perplexed with that answer, and pipes...
How Suspension Works »
How Steering Works How Steering Works
Back when we were kids, we were happy to steer our home-built go-karts with a piece of rope. Add a few decades of personal driving experience, a few thousand pounds of metal and a lot more speed, and suddenly the issue of vehicle steering becomes far more critical. Making a modern automobile answer...
How Steering Works »
How Run-Flat Tires Work How Run-Flat Tires Work
Decades ago, the steel belt tire revolutionized the auto industry by making tires and cars safer than ever thanks to their increased resistance to puncture. Despite this giant leap forward, thousands of accidents still continue to occur on our roadways every year as the result of tire failure. Responding...
How Run-Flat Tires Work »
How Manual Transmissions Work How Manual Transmissions Work
Transmissions can be a bit baffling. That’s understandable, since your vehicle’s transmission must convert the engine’s power (which is delivered over a fairly narrow range of rpm) into something usable at the drive wheels over a huge speed range. Strong pulling power must be available...
How Manual Transmissions Work »
How Gasoline Engines Work How Gasoline Engines Work
Gasoline is incredibly powerful stuff. Just a single soda can of it packs enough energy to blast a typical car close to three miles. Not in one huge explosion, of course (that would definitely spill your latte), but in a series of about 13,000 small explosions contained in your engine. Still plenty...
How Gasoline Engines Work »
How Brakes Work How Brakes Work
Your vehicle’s brake system is one of those things you only think about when it fouls up (or you do). Like when the service guy says, “You need your rotors ground and it’s gonna cost $200,” or you’re surprised by a yellow light at an intersection. Suddenly your brakes are...
How Brakes Work »
How Automatic Transmissions Work How Automatic Transmissions Work
Transmissions have a tough job. They must help keep the engine in its powerband (usable rpm range) and transmit that power to the drive wheels over a huge speed range. Pulling power must be available when towing a trailer from a dead stop, yet the engine rpm must be at a comfortably low speed for efficient...
How Automatic Transmissions Work »
How Air Conditioning Works How Air Conditioning Works
There was a time not all that long ago when automotive air conditioning was considered something of a luxury. Today’s drivers don’t share that view. Now standard on just about every make and model of car, truck and SUV, air conditioning is as familiar as, well, the steering wheel…
How Air Conditioning Works »
Bumper Safety Bumper Safety
In the olden days, bumpers protected a vehicle from body damage in low speed collisions. Don’t get us wrong, they still do; but, as bumper designs have evolved, so have their level of protection. To make the bumper even more vulnerable, the federal government’s impact-test requirements were...
Bumper Safety »

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