The Race to Mass-Market an All-Electric Car

2019-03-13 07:57:50

auto repair Falconer

Automakers have always found different ways to incorporate new technology into their cars or advance technology themselves. One of the hot innovations right now, and one that is poised to revolutionize auto transportation forever, is the electric motor. We’ve seen vehicles that have used hybrid technology that combines gas and electric motors, but now we’re seeing autos that are going fully electric. Plus, the mileage range of these new EVs is getting long enough for car buyers to seriously consider purchasing an all-electric vehicle.

Auto manufacturers are now in a race to design the "Volkswagen Beetle" of electric cars, in other words, a competitively-priced daily driver for the masses. Let's look at the main players.

The Trailblazer

You can't highlight electric cars and not give prominence to the undisputed pioneer. Tesla Motors has been the leader in all-electric since their first highly-anticipated beauty appeared on the market, but their two main models, the Model S and Model X, are far from affordable for most people. But they’ve recently brought the price tag down with their Model 3 electric sedan. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 before tax incentives and has tons of signature Tesla features. The Model 3’s base electric motor has a range of 220 miles and the long range Model 3 has an electric motor capable of 310 miles!

Don't Count General Motors Out

Tesla has an advantage because they only focus on electric vehicles unlike other auto manufacturers. But one car maker that is trying to compete in the mass-market category is Chevrolet. Chevrolet has recently introduced the all-electric Bolt EV. They previously had the Volt which was part electric but the Bolt EV is taking it to the next level. Its hatchback styling and modern interior is tempting for motorists considering an electric car. The Bolt EV has a range of 238 miles and starts at $37,495 before tax incentives. Arguably, the Bolt does not have the "cool factor" of a Tesla, but the market is wide open and both models will probably be top sellers. Chevy also has the existing infrastructure to manufacture on a large scale which will help them keep the price down.

Will Another Leader Emerge?

There are many other vehicle manufacturers that have recently put electric vehicles at the center of their attention although (as of this writing) they don’t have any in production yet. Hyundai disclosed that they’re working on an all-electric vehicle called the Ioniq to compete with the Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt. The Hyundai Ioniq comes in a hybrid model right now, but if you’re a California resident, you can get your hands on an all-electric Hyundai Ioniq. One drawback, however, is that it only has a range of 124 miles which is fairly limited compared to the Model 3 and Bolt.

Along with publicizing a shocking $84 billion investment in electric vehicle development, Volkswagen has announced an all-electric VW Bus. Ford, Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are also planning to introduce all-electric autos in the next few years.

ArticleID 7530

All About Spark Plugs

2019-03-06 08:16:58

spark plug service Falconer

When you fire up your motor day after day, year after year, you might never give a thought to these small marvels of precision engineering. Until, of course, they start to fail and you notice issues. It's pretty impressive, however, that spark plugs can fire flawlessly for thousands of miles in such a harsh and volatile environment.

What It Does

The spark plug emits precisely-timed arcs of electrical energy (voltage) to ignite the atomized air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, literally, "firing up" your engine. After your motor is running, it continues to fire through each combustion cycle. The spark plug also pulls excess heat from the combustion chamber and transfers it to the cooling system.

What is the "Heat Range?"

You may have heard the descriptions "cold" and "hot" spark plugs. Though these terms sound like descriptions of temperature, this is incorrect. These terms refer to the time the plug takes to pull heat from the firing tip to the cylinder head and into the cooling system. The length and thickness of the insulator nose controls how fast the spark plug can transfer the heat.

Spark plug manufacturers assign numbers to indicate the heat range of the spark plug. A plug with a shorter insulator nose (draws heat faster) is described as a "cold plug" and, conversely, those with a longer insulator nose (draws heat slower) is referred to as a "hot plug."

What Type of Spark Plug Do I Need?

The central electrode of a spark plug is constructed with copper, nickel, chromium, platinum, or iridium. The type of metal determines conductivity, lifespan, and cost.

Talk to a service advisor at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair or consult your owner's manual for guidance when choosing replacement plugs. A key decision is whether to replace with the kind recommended by your manufacturer, or step up to a rare-metal variety.

Signs That Spark Plugs May Need to be Replaced

  • Trouble starting engine
  • Pinging or knocking noises
  • Misfiring
  • Rough idling
  • Decrease in fuel economy
  • Difficulty accelerating

What Is Spark Plug Fouling?

When the firing tip (insulator nose) of the plug becomes covered with oil, carbon, or fuel residue, the voltage can fail to bridge the gap and ground out. Under ordinary conditions, spark plugs can burn off residue and keep firing properly for thousands of miles.

Possible Causes of Spark Plug Fouling

  • Air-fuel ratio that is too rich
  • Malfunctioning fuel injection
  • Worn piston rings
  • Worn valve seals

What is Gapping?

The "gap" on a spark plug is the space between the conducting electrode and the plug tip. If the gap is too short, the spark may not be strong enough to fire. A gap that is too long can cause misfiring. When replacing plugs, set the gap to your auto's specs with a feeler gauge.

ArticleID 7577

Nifty Gadgets For Traveling With Pets

2019-02-27 08:17:44

auto safety inspection Falconer

Dogs Are People Too! Cat Lover On Board. I Like Big Mutts And I Cannot Lie! My Cats Are Smarter Than Your Honor Student. These are some of the bumper stickers you might find slapped on the autos of pet lovers. But there are probably some really handy pet accessories inside of those cars too. Here are a few that can keep you and your pets safe and comfortable and avoid some of the wear and tear pets can cause your vehicle.

Upholstery Protection

Seat covers are the optimal upholstery-saver for the pet owner's car, truck, or van. Most covers are for back bench seats (if your vehicle has front airbags, no pets should ride in the front seat without the airbags disabled), but some slip nicely over bucket seats. There are even pet covers to fit in the cargo area of SUVs. All of them are easy to remove for cleaning.

Containing Your Pet To The Backseat

Speaking of the backseat, keeping your pet there can be difficult. There are plenty of options for barriers that stretch between the front seats. These are usually made of a mesh or a large-weave web so you will still be able to see your dog or cat and they will be able to see you.

Entering and Exiting the Vehicle

Steps and ramps are an ideal option to help your pet get in and out of your vehicle, especially as pets get older. There are many ramps that attach to the back of vans and SUVs and neatly fold up when not in use. Drivers who have large breeds of dog will find these accessories to be much lighter than lifting their furry friends into the car by themselves.

Most cats don't find car travel as pleasing as dogs do. The majority of cat owners find that a carrier is the best way to keep the cats and the drivers safe in the car.

And if you are headed on a long trip with or without pets, come see us at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for a pre-trip auto inspection. Call us at 716-665-2501 to schedule an appointment.

ArticleID 7573

Pet Auto Safety

2019-02-20 08:05:56

top car repair shop Falconer

Today's post is for Falconer dog lovers who bring their furry friend along with them in their automobile but do not use any type of restraint device. If this is the case for you, you are not alone. (I am sure many of us motorists are culpable.) In a recent survey by AAA and Kurgo (a pet supply company), only 16% of respondents reported using an auto safety restraint for their dog.

Key results from the study:

  • 56% of survey participants had driven with their pet in a vehicle at least once a month over the prior year.
  • 29% reported to being distracted by their pet while behind the wheel.
  • 65% of dog owners admit to engaging in potentially distracting behavior while driving with their dog.

Reported behavior while driving with dogs:

  • Petting dog (52%).
  • Using hands or arms to restrict animal’s movement or restraining dog while braking (23%).
  • Using hands/arms to prevent animal from jumping from the back to the front seat (19%).
  • Reaching into backseat to interact with dog (18%).
  • Allowing dog to sit in lap or holding dog while driving (17%).
  • Giving food to pet (13%).
  • Playing with dog (4%).
  • Taking a picture of dog (3%).

All the results can be viewed here:

An unrestrained dog could get severely injured or killed in an accident, but, clearly the same dog could also be the cause of an accident. Drivers who fail to contain their canine friend or purposefully interact with them while driving put themselves in danger along with the other auto owners on the road.

Safety Systems

Pet restraint devices come in many different configurations. There are auto harnesses, dog safety belts that connect to a conventional harness, and box or basket style car seats with an attached harness. Some of the box style seats are elevated which permits smaller dogs to see out of the windows. When choosing one, make sure it is manufactured for your animal's size and weight. At the very least, a pet can be put in a conventional animal carrier. Though it is not attached to the seat, at least the pet can't jump around.

Safety-conscious motorists (hopefully all of us) also need to make sure their auto is mechanically sound. I-86 Truck & Auto Repair is your partner in safety when it comes to quality auto repair and scheduled maintenance. If you are looking for a reliable service center to keep your automobile safe for both your two-legged and four-legged family members, call us at 716-665-2501.

ArticleID 7559

Frequently Asked Question About Brakes

2019-02-13 08:09:35 auto insurance repairs Falconer

Whether you are purchasing or maintaining a vehicle, the quality of your brakes should be at the top of your list of concerns.

How do brakes work?

When you apply the brakes, you are driving a plunger in the master cylinder. This impels brake fluid through a system of hoses. Brake fluid (hydraulic fluid) can't be compressed, so it has enough power to engage a braking unit secured to the wheel.

With a disk brake, the brake fluid comes from the master cylinder to a caliper. The caliper pushes a piston which squeezes two rotors (or disks). The rotors are secured to the wheel.

Drum brakes use a wheel cylinder, brake shoes, and drum to stop the wheel. Brake fluid is forced into the wheel cylinder. The wheel cylinder thrusts the brake shoes away from the drum. This causes the friction linings to press against the drum. The drum is secured to the wheel, therefore, the wheel stops rotating.

Your brake system is pretty fantastic! It can bring a 4,000 pound automobile from 55 mph to a stop in just a few seconds.

There is a long list of components that play a vital role in the braking system. These include:

Fluid condition
Wheel bearings
Grease seals

When you get charged for maintenance on your brakes and wonder where all the charges are coming from, examine all of the parts in the braking system.

How often should you have your brakes looked at?

Unless your car is noticeably shaking when you come to a stop, you should get your brakes maintained once a year.

What are warning signs that your brakes need attention?

Listen for any noise your automobile makes when you come to a stop, especially grinding and screeching noises.

If you feel vibrations from your brake pedal that go up into your steering wheel, it’s time for a brake analysis.

If you feel like you have to apply more pressure than usual when you apply the brakes, it may be time for some new brake pads.

Whatever you do, have them checked right away if your brake warning light glows on your dashboard.

If you have noticed any of these warning signs, or it has just been a while since you had brake maintenance on your auto, call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair to schedule a brake service.

ArticleID 7721

Best Car Accessories For People With Kids

2019-02-06 07:46:03

auto repair Falconer

Play groups, soccer practice, preschool, doctor appointments, trips to grandma's house, music lessons. Shouldn't every parent earn their chauffeur's license with all of this kid shuttling? Thankfully, there are many terrific products that can make the time you spend in the car more enjoyable for the whole family.

Sun Shades

Keeping your child safely secured in a car seat or booster seat is a no-brainer, but have you ever thought of how little movement they have once they are strapped in? And if the sun is just right in the sky, your kiddie might not be able to change their position enough to avoid bright light in their eyes and heat on their skin. How uncomfortable! But side window sunshades can keep your child cool and relaxed. They block out the sun's rays without compromising visibility for the driver.

Travel Trays

Drivers should never turn around to help out in the backseat while the car is moving, so it's vital that kids can keep their toys or snacks secure. Travel trays rest on a child's lap and are specially designed with a raised rim that can corral crayons and contain Cheerios. Their semi-rigid construction allows for lots of different activities without the potential danger of hard surfaces.

Baby Car Seat Mirror

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that little ones stay in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2 or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. Baby rear-facing car seat mirrors attach to the rear seat headrest and allow you to see your child's face while you drive.

Head Rest Hooks And Organizers

Keeping the family car tidy and organized seems like a losing battle, but there are some inventive gadgets to help out. Headrest hangers turn the back of seats into a perfect place to hang a backpack or a gym bag. There are also organizers on the market that sling to the headrest. They have pockets for toys, snacks, iPads, markers, baby wipes, you name it!

Trash Cans

Speaking of keeping clean, a plastic grocery bag flopping around on the floor rarely does the trick. Instead, look for a rigid or semi-rigid container that closes after you put the garbage inside. Some are even designed to connect to the back of the console or behind a seat.

Backup Cameras

With little ones playing in and around the house, nobody wants to back up their automobile without being 100% sure it is clear. If your car doesn't have a backup camera, look into having an after-market one installed. They are surprisingly cost-effective and the peace of mind they offer is invaluable.

Having a trusted service center also gives you peace of mind. If you are looking for a reliable auto shop in Falconer, give I-86 Truck & Auto Repair a call at 716-665-2501.

ArticleID 7584

Do Red Light Cameras Reduce Accidents?

2019-01-30 08:48:35

auto insurance repairs Falconer

Red light runners cause over 700 fatalities every year. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 

Violators make the intersection dangerous for everyone. This includes people on foot, motorcycles, bicycles, and in other cars. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), over half the victims killed in crashes caused by red-light runners were not in the violator's vehicle.

Many cities have adopted red light cameras in attempts to reduce red light accidents. If a driver runs a red, it triggers the device to record a picture and video using radar. Then the violator receives a citation in the mail.

Red light camera systems were developed in the Netherlands in the 1960's. They weren't used in the US until New York City adopted them in 1993.

Do Red Light Cameras Make Intersections Safer?

It depends on who you ask. Of course, the private companies that make millions off the systems validate their safety. Some studies have revealed a decrease in accidents at intersections with cameras and even a "spillover" effect of safer no-camera intersections nearby. Yet opponents argue that they are simply a revenue generator with no real benefits. Drivers hate them so much that some political candidates have promised to end red light camera enforcement as a major pillar of their campaign.

Red Light Cameras and Short Yellow Lights?

It was revealed that a red light enforcement company had shortened yellow light duration in Chicago. This turned out to be a dangerous combination. Since drivers were afraid of getting tickets, they began stopping more abruptly when the light turned yellow. Some city officials believe this caused an uptick in rear-end crashes. One driver who protested a citation discovered that the city required yellow lights to be at least three seconds. Judges threw thousands of tickets out where the video showed that the yellow light was less than three seconds.

Getting Rid of Cameras

Miami recently stopped using red light cameras it had been using since 2010. City commissioners—who voted unanimously to discontinue the program—said they wanted to reduce the financial burden on motorists.

Victim advocates disagreed with the decision as did Miami's police union. The union pointed out that they use the photos and videos in crime investigations.

Miami will miss out on a lot of revenue. It was set to rake in $10.5 million dollars from red light violations this year. The company who owns and operates the cameras would have received about 40% of that total.

Do you believe that red light camera enforcement makes communities safer? The auto service team at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below.

ArticleID 7606

Military Vehicles on the Road Today

2019-01-23 08:45:50

auto service Falconer

Jeep has become a household name for four-wheelers who use them to scale mountains and maneuver over rough terrain. The Mercedes Benz G wagon is another all-terrain vehicle that has become an exceptionally popular luxury SUV. And the Hummer is known for its ominous presence on the road. All three of these cars have a few things in common, but today we’re going to get a little insight on the vital roles each of these smartly-designed vehicles played in war.

The Car That Won World War II

Let us start with Jeep. Back in the heart of World War II, Jeep SUVs were being produced by both Willys-Overland and Ford Motor Company. They were each producing a similar model of the Jeep and both models were made solely for military purposes. This means that not a single Jeep at the time was built for civilian drivers. War officers and commanders relied on the Jeep continually. Jeeps sent to battle were outfitted with huge, mounted rifles, Jeeps with flat bed rears were used to convey goods and wounded soldiers, and Jeeps with extra armor carried important personnel to and from dangerous battle zones. The Jeep was an invaluable asset for troops.

From Military Transport to Suburban Status Symbol

As mentioned above, today the Mercedes G Wagon is considered one of the relatively few luxurious SUVs on the road. Mercedes Benz has taken the big, boxy design and turned it into a modern, well-appointed SUV. But before the G Wagon became so showy, it also was playing a role in combat. What does the G stand for? Geländewagen. Gelandewagen in German translates to "cross-country vehicle." Mercedes engineered the solid G Wagon in the 1970s when the Shah of Iran ordered 20,000 vehicles that could maneuver over any terrain in any climate found anywhere in the world. The G Wagon is currently being used by 63 armies worldwide.

The Gulf War Desert Driver

Lastly is the Hummer which made its debut in 1983. The Pentagon offered $1 billion to AM General Corporation to create 55,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles also known as Humvees and Hummers. They were utilized in the war in Panama and also the Persian Gulf War. It was intended for transporting troops and cargo in areas away from active combat, but as the nature of warfare changed, it started being used in urban combat. The all-terrain vehicle is no longer used by the US military (production ended in 2010), but there are still many civilian Hummers still on the road.

Though you probably don't need to transport wounded soldiers in your auto, at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair we recognize that you use it for other vital tasks. We are dedicated to making sure your vehicle is always there to carry you through the everyday battles of life. To make an appointment at our Falconer service center, call us at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair.

ArticleID 7512

3 Tips For Traffic Court

2019-01-16 08:28:19 car repair Falconer

So you did your best to get out of a violation, but your charm and pleading didn't work. Don’t lose hope, tickets can be dismissed in court. There are several things you can do to improve your odds.

1. Request An Informal Meeting

This may sound crazy, but calling the officer and asking to meet to talk about the fine may work. You help pay the officer's salary, so don’t be afraid to ask to speak with him or her at a convenient time. Be sure to call during work hours at the police department phone number. (That's probably the only number you have, but if you have a cell number from a business card, you don't want to call late.)

If the officer grants your request, be prepared to justify why you should be let off the hook.

Depending on the violation, there are reasons you could be excused from breaking a traffic law. Maybe you crossed the double yellow line to avoid hitting an animal. Or you pulled over on the freeway because your automobile started making loud knocking noises.

Never say you didn't know what the speed limit was. This never works and it is your responsibility to know the speed limit and other traffic laws. 

Help the officer relate to you as a person. Be as respectful as possible. If this is your first offense, ask if you can go to traffic school to avoid having the violation put on your driving record. Let them know you are aware you made a mistake and that you are determined to make it up.

2. Delay The Court Appearance

Delaying the court case can be a successful strategy. This is done by calling the court clerk. Chat a bit by asking questions about the process. Once you have some familiarity with the clerk, ask for a continuance (delay). If the clerk agrees, you will have a few more weeks. You can always ask for another delay as you near that date. In a few weeks, ask again.

Don't be a nuisance for anyone at the court. Be polite and courteous. If you can delay your trial, it will be harder for the officer to remember you or the nature of your violation. This will help your chances. In fact, there is a possibility that the officer will not appear in court. In most cases, if this happens the judge dismisses the violation. This is not a guarantee because state laws vary. But the delay tactic is definitely worth a shot.

You will have two court appearances. The first appearance is for entering your plea. Show up on time dressed suitably. There is no need to wear a suit or a formal dress, but look presentable. It couldn’t hurt to come to another trial beforehand to gauge the level of formality. 

Never enter a plea of guilty. When the judge asks for your plea, candidly say, “I plead not guilty, your honor.” You will then be given a court date.

Once you have the court date, you can again use your charisma with the court clerk to try and delay the trial. Say you need time to prepare your defense.

3. Question The Citation

Study the details of the law you are accused of breaking. The state will have to prove that you violated at least one of the elements of the law. If they cannot prove that, the judge must let you off. 

For instance, if you were cited with distracted driving while using an electronic device, the state will have to prove that you really were using the device AND that you were distracted. Challenge them if you don’t think they have the proof.

Motorists can question the legitimacy of the stop. If you were pulled over for illegally crossing the center line, ask if a video exists.

If you have the time and can’t afford to have your car insurance go up, it is worth trying to fight your ticket in court.

Thanks for visiting the I-86 Truck & Auto Repair blog. We want to provide you with the highest quality automotive service in Falconer. You can reach us at 716-665-2501.

Disclaimer: I-86 Truck & Auto Repair does not condone deliberate illegal behavior behind the wheel. But if you believe you were cited unfairly, we wish you good luck in getting your ticket dismissed!

ArticleID 7746

Hydrophobic Windshield Coating Improves Visibility

2019-01-09 09:02:57 car repair Falconer

If you've ever been caught in a downpour while behind the wheel you know how perilous it can be. Your visibility is compromised while road conditions become dangerously slippery.

There are some preventative treatments you can take to help keep your windshield clear during torrential rain or wet snow. The first is to have reliable wiper blades and the second is to apply a hydrophobic glass coating.

Just as the name describes, hydrophobic glass repels water. Windshields treated with this sealant cause water to bead up more quickly so it doesn't block your view of the pavement and the traffic around you.

Hydrophobic glass coating not only helps when visibility is obstructed, it can increase the life of windshield wiper blades. It does this by minimizing the workload and smoothing out any imperfections in the glass. This curtails the friction your blades encounter.

Some auto owners use hydrophobic coating mainly because of its self-cleaning properties.

Another windshield coating that some car owners use is a hydrophilic coating. This coating pushes the water off in sheets and can chemically break down dirty water when it is exposed to the sun. This results in less grime left on your windshield. Hydrophilic coatings, however, will not improve your view of the road during a thunderstorm. That is why many auto owners choose hydrophobic coatings.

There is a range of prices for hydrophobic coating. DIY brands run anywhere between $50-$200. The effectiveness of the more affordable brands is the same as higher priced brands, but the coatings do not last as long and will wear off earlier.

Having a professional apply the coating will ensure that it is done properly, will be more effective, and last longer. Call I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for details about windshield coating services. Professional treatments are usually worth the extra cost. Do your vehicle (and yourself) a favor and apply some hydrophobic coating to your windshield.

ArticleID 7720
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