In Goss’ Garage
by Pat Goss
If you have a late model car it probably has some very sophisticated safety features. Things like parking aids, blind spot monitoring, autonomous braking with pedestrian recognition, anti-lock braking, traffic signal recognition, adaptive high beam assist, lane keeping assist and maybe even radar cruise control.
These are all wonderful systems that can help you avoid accidents, but did you know that unless these systems work properly, they can give you false information and cause an accident. Not good but that begs the question, how do you keep them working properly? More to the point, how would they get out of calibration so they would lie to you? There are many ways, and you might be driving a car with a problem right now.
First you must consider how most of these systems work. Usually mounted under the plastic shield that surrounds the attachment of the inside rearview mirror is one or more cameras. These cameras look out at the white lines on the sides of the lanes and send a signal to the car’s computer telling it where you’re positioned within those lines. Or they look straight ahead and report on the things they see within your path. Some will be on one or both outside mirrors and look for vehicles in your blind spot and post a picture on your center video display.
Then come the radar sensors that are mounted in the grill or front bumper and the sonar type sensors mounted in the bumpers and lots more on some cars. All these cameras and sensors must know their position relative to the rest of the car to work properly. So, you get that crack in your windshield and it has to be replaced and guess what, the new windshield does not come with a camera. That means the camera or cameras mounted to the inside of the old windshield must be transferred to the new windshield.
Sounds simple enough but the cameras are mounted in plastic holders that may not be precisely glued to the inside of the new windshield. Because of allowable tolerances in manufacturing every time a windshield is replaced the calibration of the cameras has to be checked. On some cars the system will perform its own calibration but on most you will have to have the calibration done with a special machine. That machine is called an ADAS calibration machine. ADAS stands for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
Okay so ADAS must be calibrated after a new windshield has been installed but that’s not all. In most cases the systems will need calibration when the car has been involved in an accident or fender bender, often after bumper cover replacement and in some cases after outside mirror replacement and the list goes on.
The big thing here is that you need to be aware of the systems your car has and what services they may need and when they need those services. If you cut corners or the shop fixing your car cuts corners you could wind up with an unsafe vehicle.
Consider you have your windshield replaced and the ADAS calibration is not performed which could leave you with a lane keeping system that is out of calibration relative to the lane marking lines at the center and edge of the road. You have become accustomed to the system keeping you between the lines and now instead of doing that it steers you off the road. Or how about failure to calibrate your blind spot monitoring system? You’re on the Interstate moving along with traffic (literal interpretation, moving very fast) and need to make a lane change. Over the time you’ve owned your car you have become accustomed to the system warning you when there is a car in your blind spot but this time it doesn’t because it’s calibration is off. Any idea how bad the accident can be at high speed when you try to change lanes and the back quarter of your vehicle hits the front quarter of another vehicle. It’s an easy way for people to get very hurt or worse.
My point here is that all this new safety equipment is wonderful but there is a learning curve that goes with it and included in that learning curve should be an understanding of what systems you have and what questions to ask if your car needs repair.
If you would like to see an example of the equipment needed to calibrate ADAS systems, feel free to stop by our Lanham MD shop and we’ll be happy to show you our brand-new system.
Copywrite 03/22/2021 Pat Goss all rights reserved.
Okay, I’ve done it again. I’ve pissed off a bunch of you self righteous, think you know it all car people! But then, I seem to have a knack for doing that lately. Like David who called my story about using the proper oil “pathetic”. He says and I quote “good, better and best. Are you kidding? If an engine block is made of iron you use conventional, if the block is aluminum you use synthetic.” That’s so utterly ridiculous that I thought it was a prank, but he was serious / called me pathetic. There actually are three general quality-levels of engine oil and they have nothing to do with what metal the engine is made of. Conventional which is good, synthetic blend which is better than conventional, and full synthetic which gives the best protection — good — better — best. Although he was totally wrong he was nasty and disrespectful. Oh well, then there were the folks who are in love with the oil that begins with “a-m” who showed all kinds of hate because i didn’t use a bottle of their oil. Hey “a-m” oil people do you really think nasty comments and threats will make me recommend your oil in the future? I guarantee it won’t!
Oh, and let’s not forget those nasty, non-thinking people who trashed my tire rotation video…what a mess. Seems i’m an idiot, moron, fool, fake, and a criminal. A criminal? Really? Come on folks, it’s just tire rotation! There is an old myth about tires that says you can’t switch a radial tire from one side of the car to the other side because the tire will turn in the opposite direction, which will cause it to blow out and possibly kill you. One nut-job even said I ought to be put in jail for endangering people’s lives. Anyway, about that myth, it started back in the seventies when Firestone had an issue with internal corrosion of the steel belts in one of their tire models. The belts corroded and ultimately caused tire failure. But, because rotating the tires did cause the already weakened belts to separate more quickly most people assumed rotation was the cause. Although this myth has been proven wrong time and time again it still lives on in the minds of drivers and technicians alike. But, it’s false and always has been false, it was a tire issue not a rotation issue. So, if you want to get the longest life out of your tires rotate them using the modified “x” pattern every six thousand to seventy-five hundred miles. On front wheel drive cars move the right rear to the left front, the left rear to the right front and the two fronts move to the back but on the same side of the car, the rear wheel drive pattern is reversed. No, this is not my idea it’s from the people who make tires. So, use your brain, think about it, if rotation causes huge numbers of tire failures and kills people do you really think tire manufacturers would recommend it? Yeah, didn’t think so. All this insanity begs two questions. Why is common sense no longer common and when did people become so damn mean and hateful? For more car tips, tricks and money saving ideas check out more of www.goss-garage.com.
© Copyright 03/16/17 Pat Goss all rights reserved,
Just when I think i’ve seen it all, something more amazingly stupid comes along. Oh…Hell no…not politics, car stuff. Like the driver who hit a metal grate and gouged a pork-chop size slab of rubber out of a tire. The four inch by nearly half inch thick chunk was hanging by a small thread of rubber, and the tire’s inner steel belts were plainly visible behind the cut. Anyone could see the tire was totally unsafe to drive on.
It’s what we call a will-pop because, drive on it and it will pop. But, the not so smart driver apparently didn’t want to put on his spare, so a quick internet search found a solution. Yep glue, one of those super strong glues that look so good in commercials. But, they rarely work in real life. Why not glue it? In the commercial, two drops of the sticky stuff will lift an elephant. So, a whole tube…or ten should easily hold the tire together…or not! The tire quickly came apart. Fortunately, it blew out before the car reached any significant speed so no one was hurt.
Then there’s the car that came into the shop with a broken timing belt, and damaged engine. There was nylon material wound around the crankshaft pulley in such a way that it broke the car’s timing belt. Seems the owner had read that you can temporarily replace a broken fan belt with twisted and tied pantyhose. REALLY? How dumb can one person be? There are thousands of these lunatic ideas out there, so please folks…show you have more smarts than an inspired earthworm.
Not going racing, but want a more enjoyable car for commuting? Then concentrate on things that make you feel good, but use restraint. Huge horsepower for commuting makes zero sense, but a great sounding exhaust and intake system with nice tires and wheels would make most drivers feel better about their commute. But, make sure you buy a quality — legal exhaust system as you still have to pass emissions, plus you don’t ugly sound of mufflers that fall apart from vibration.
Speaking of sound, some cheap exhaust systems can be really annoying due to droning inside the car. Cold air intakes must not allow water to enter the engine and, on tire and wheel combinations, seriously consider tire profile. You see the bigger your wheel, the smaller the sidewall of the tires, and for a daily driver that can be a problem. If you drive in areas with rough roads or potholes, tires with very small sidewalls can lead to repeated tire and wheel failures. When a tire hits the edge of a bump or pothole, the tire has to compress to absorb all the force of the impact. This causes excessive energy to be transferred into the wheel, cracking or bending it. Those same forces can also pinch the tire, causing bubbles to form on the side of the tire. Some restraint when modifying a car prevents problems in the future.
Lately, our weather has been kinda goofy. Warm and raining during the day, then freezing over night. That cycle can create annoying car problems that might cause you to damage your car. Here are some simple Do’s and Don’ts to help avoid costly damage.
Don’t ignore the rubber weather strip around your doors and windows. In rain then freeze cycles, water can get between the rubber and the body of the car…and then freeze! Then, when you are trying to open the door, it is frozen shut. So, you yank on the door to get it open, because you need to get to work. In the process, you damage the rubber or in many cases break the plastic (and now brittle) door handle. You can avoid both issues by using silicone lubricant on the rubber to keep it soft, and to keep ice from sticking to it.
Another disastrous thing many of you do is to use hot water to try to thaw frozen doors and windows. Not smart, because inside a modern car door are electronics that can be damaged by the thermal shock of hot water on cold parts. Another don’t do it is, heat a key to try to thaw a frozen lock. Even though the key may look like an ordinary key but it probably isn’t. This is because most keys today have electronic transponders embedded in them, and heating can kill the electronics. It’s best to prevent frozen locks by using graphite lock lubricant to keep moisture out. No moisture…No Freeze… No Issue! A bit of preparation can save a lot of cold morning grief!
I get lots of synthetic oil questions like, can I put synthetic in an older car? Yes, Absolutely. Most cars can be changed over to synthetic at any time. A.J says, I read on the internet that synthetic oil will keep my new car from breaking in properly. FALSE. If that were true, there would be thousands of new cars that were factory filled with synthetic oil that never broke in properly. Sue asks, can I use synthetic oil in a high mileage car? Sure can! Pete says, I’ve heard that synthetic oil causes cars to leak? That’s bull, use common sense. If synthetic oil caused leaks it wouldn’t be put in new cars and wouldn’t be sold. But sadly, common sense is rapidly becoming extinct. There are three basic oil types, Conventional, Synthetic blend, and full synthetic…or good, better, and best.
Conventional oil provides adequate protection, blends offer better protection and full synthetic provides the best protection. How many miles you want out of your engine determines which oil to use. If you only want warranty protection, use conventional. But, for longer engine life use a synthetic blend and for longest engine life, use full synthetic. Using full synthetic oil and changing at vehicle manufacturer intervals can double…triple…or even quadruple engine life. Also, if your car requires full synthetic…never user a lesser type, and never leave any oil in your engine longer than your owners manual allows.
Drive Gently! – Pat Goss
Don’t let this sudden warm weather fool you! It won’t last forever and if you’ve put off prepping your car do it now, because this time of year it can get very cold very quickly. That could mean frozen parts on your car and hundreds to thousands of dollars in damage. If your radiator has been topped off with plain water or antifreeze, a serious cold snap could cause the engine and cooling system to freeze. This would be killing the engine, radiator or other expensive parts.
It is also important to never add pure water or pure antifreeze to your car. Water freezes at thirty-two degrees and plain antifreeze freezes at eleven degrees both above zero. Another system you may not think could freeze is breaks. But, it can happen and lead to a very scary situation. Break fluid attracts and absorbs water, and it is possible for it to get so water logged it freezes, causing very limited braking. Brake fluid should be flushed out and renewed every two years. Also, if you haven’t been using dry gas in your gas tank there could be enough water in it to freeze your fuel lines and stop the car from running. Use isopropyl dry gas once every month year round to prevent water damaged fuel system parts.
Uh…oh, Cold weather is here again, and lots of you will be damaging your engines! One of the worst, yet most enduring, car myths ever is that you need to let your car’s engine idle for ten or more minutes before you drive the car. The theory is, this warms the engine and makes it last longer. NOT TRUE…never was true. Warming up an engine is not good for it and in fact, it is bad for the engine.
The myth started nearly a century ago, when engines didn’t run well until they were hot. So, to prevent stalling in traffic, you had to warm your engine up to a point where it would run without stalling or hesitating. It wasn’t good for engines then and it still isn’t now. When you let an engine idle, you are only warming up the coolant in the radiator which will feel good on your keister, but wont do a bit of good for your car. When the car is idling, it is not heating the engine’s oil, transmission, power steering, tires, and all the other things that heat up as you drive. So, by letting the engine heat up, you drive off with a warm radiator and a toasty heater. But, with everything else nearly stone cold which taxes and wears cold parts. The proper method is to warm the car about sixty seconds, and then drive gently until everything reaches normal temperature. This will generally take only five to seven miles. The exception is when you need to warm the car to melt ice or snow to make it safe to drive. Cold keisters make cars last longer!
Do you use your parking brake and yes, it is a parking brake. No, it is not an emergency brake because using it in an emergency would likely leave you skidding wildly out of control. You should use your parking brake every time you park. Primarily for safety, as you never know for sure if your transmission is fully into the park position. If it isn’t fully engaged, your car could literally roll over you!
Another reason to use your parking brake is if your car gets bumped by another vehicle when it’s parked.If the parking brake isn’t set, the force of that bump will be absorbed by a small pin or plate inside the transmission called a pawl…which the jolt may actually damage. Once damaged, the car could slip out of park at any time and cause damage or injury. With the parking brake set, the force of any impact is absorbed by the tires, which are much stronger than the parking pawl.
Although, safety is the key reason for using the parking brake, don’t forget the financial impact of not using it. Most parking brakes use cables mounted inside a tightly fitted housing. Without use, the cable seize in the housings and then if you do use the parking brake it cant fully release. So, now you’re driving with your parking brake partially applied which burns up expensive brake parts. The fix? New cables and new brakes…OWTCH! Please learn to use your parking brake, and as always…
-Please Drive Gently!
Car sale leads to family fight! The dealer wanted to give you next to nothing on trade, so you said NO-WAY. “My car has been amazingly reliable and has lots of good miles left”. Besides, several friends and relatives have said they would love to buy it…so why not? Why not indeed.
What a wonderful way to start a family feud or alienate a friend without even trying. Never sell a car to a friend or relative, because invariably it leads to problems. Remember, no matter how reliable the car has been for you, every day any car goes without a problem is one day closer to when it will have a problem. So, if the car is…lets say ten years old and has never had a problem. It is likely to be very close to needing a major repair. Sell or give the car to a friend or family member, and predictably something will happen. But, will it be considered normal by your friend? NOPE!
Usually they think you knew there was a problem all along and ripped them off. So, by trying to do a favor you accidentally create an enemy..a family fight or ticked off a neighbor. Even giving the car to a young family member can lead to problems when the car breaks down and every car will break down. When it comes to getting rid of an older car, it is always best to deal with a complete stranger than friends or family.
-As always, drive gently
© 2016 Pat Goss All rights reserved