Direct Injection: Efficiency at a Price
For a while now, direct injection (DI) engines have been all the rave: boasting better efficiency, more power, better economy. Sounds wonderful, right? Who wouldn’t want that? Well, DI engines have a dirty, dirty little secret that you will not discover until you are deep into a relationship with them. DI engines have much higher maintenance requirements and associated costs. If you ignore those requirements, the cost is going to compound itself many times over in the form of major repairs. If you’re thinking you’re going to save a few bucks at the pump, you had better save those few bucks because you’re going to need them..
10 Best Vehicle and Technology Innovations of 2018
If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy powerful and sporty cars (especially of the big engine displacement or forced induction type), and you might even be thinking about upping the soundtrack of your drive with an upgraded exhaust.
We’ve all heard cars buzz by us with all sorts of exhaust systems (or lack thereof), and sometimes it’s just nothing but unenjoyable noise, like two beehives having a fight inside a coffee can, or grandpa’s flatulence after soft serve ice cream. Most common, cheap, ready-made exhaust systems are—to be frank—crap, and most of the cars you hear those on are crap, too (or are owned by those who have no idea or care what they’re slapping on their cars).
Exhaust systems are supposed to be more than some pipe and a round can with a little bit of sound deadening. The majority of car manufacturers put significant effort into R&D, desiring a specific sound (or lack thereof) from their exhausts via the use of various mufflers, resonators, equalizers, and flow dynamics. Different materials make different sounds. This is lost on many aftermarket exhaust companies since they’re trying to sell basic crap in mass quantity to the naïve. On the other hand, there are many companies who value style, design and quality materials, and who create quality products for your vehicle.
Why would you want an aftermarket exhaust anyway? It goes FAR beyond just a good soundtrack. Car companies have to make exhausts fit their vehicles so sometimes good dynamics are not top of the list. They have to fulfill emissions and noise requirements, among other requirements. Some low-quality products are made of crush bent metals, making them extremely restrictive. When exhaust is restricted, the engine has to work harder to expel used exhaust gases. Using a quality exhaust, perhaps with larger piping and fewer restrictions, you are freeing up that previously restrained power. Also, factory exhaust tends to be heavy, and when you get into the more exotic materials (like 304 stainless and titanium), you see fewer weight savings as well.
Again, why would you want an aftermarket exhaust? The answer is simple: more power, better sound, less weight AND better fuel economy. Yes, better fuel economy! It can, however, be a double-edged sword, because the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to make the same power, so you can be lighter on the long pedal, BUT the sound from the upgraded exhaust is usually so enjoyable that you’ll find yourself accelerating more than usual, so those fuel savings can go right out the window!
When picking your exhaust system for your vehicle education is important, so let’s review types of exhaust and materials used in them.
A Few Important Things To Keep In Your Car At All Times
I could start this article with some nightmare scenario designed to scare the living daylights outta you and force you to read on in hopes that the author (that’s me) provides you with the answers needed for survival. But I’m not gonna do that – there’s more than enough scary shit on the web, I don’t need to add to it. Rather, I’ll just start by saying bad stuff happens, and when bad stuff happens, you’re gonna wanna be prepared. That extends to the things you keep in your car. So what are a few important items you’ll wanna make sure you’ve got stashed away before leaving the driveway?
First up, the most obvious – a spare tire (pumped up to full), a jack, and whatever tools you need to change a flat are all vital. Some cars use run flat tires in lieu of a spare, so make sure you know what you’ve got before you see that tire pressure monitor light up on the dash. A tire pressure gauge is useful as well. Next up – road flares and a flashlight. Bad stuff happens at night too, and if it does, you don’t wanna be bumbling around in the dark trying to figure it out. The road flares will help if you’re stuck in a less than optimal spot on the side of the road so other drivers will see you. A first aid kit is obvious, as is a pair of jumper cables, but don’t forget one of those little window smash hammers in case you need to make a quick exit. And if you happen to live somewhere cold, a blanket, hat, and pair of gloves are both highly recommended. A lighter or some matches is also a good thing to have. Also, a basic tool set is invaluable in a variety of situations, complete with the two basics of fixing anything, duct tape and WD-40. A few spare water bottles couldn’t hurt, plus some storable food like crackers or an energy bar. Finally, if you got it, a solar-powered cell phone charger is a good thing to have as well.
What are the important things you keep in your car at all times? Let us know in the comments.