OT: Talking Cars Tuesday - your questions!

Submitted by JeepinBen on May 31st, 2016 at 10:18 AM

Based on our advice thread from last week we've got lots of knowledgeable car folks on the board here. Do you have car-related questions? These could be things from "What's a car" to "We're having another kid and thinking of a bigger vehicle, anyone on the board drive X/Y/ or Z?" or things like "What kind of mileage do drivers of X get in the real world?" or "Do i need to use premium?"

I can't promise you'll get good answers, I can't promise the answers will be funny, but maybe we'll get a few of both?



May 31st, 2016 at 10:23 AM ^

Do guys honestly think that driving a classic car that barely works and has no AC is going to convince a girl to sleep with them?

I totally get that your passion is to rebuild classic cars. That's fine. But to go out of your way to make sure you take that car for your date instead of the perfectly good 2 year old sedan just to impress some girl? Really think you might need to reassess your pick up skills.


May 31st, 2016 at 10:33 AM ^

Revving engines aren't a turn on? I mean, dick behavior is just that.

However, maybe if a guy is picking you up in a classic he's saying "I work with my hands, I have this hobby, and if this works out I'm going to spend a lot of time and money on this hobby. Hope that's OK!".

Is it that different from taking you to his favorite punk band? or some other hobby?



May 31st, 2016 at 11:56 AM ^

"Do guys honestly think that driving a classic car that barely works and has no AC is going to convince a girl to sleep with them?" -- YES.

"But to go out of your way to make sure you take that car for your date instead of the perfectly good 2 year old sedan just to impress some girl?" -- Most people understand that it costs $$$ to keep up with a classic car.  Most guys flash money at girls they are interested in even if it means overcharging their credit cards.  Why?  Because it works.

If it didn't, all those fabulously wealthy yet horrendously ugly jerks with little to no personality would not be constantly seen with the most beautiful women on the planet. 

No, having $$$ doesn't work with many women (my wife included, she is the least materialistic person I have ever met).  But it works with a majority of them which is why people do it all the time.

Naked Bootlegger

May 31st, 2016 at 10:27 AM ^

Why do I vaguely remember my grandfather having to physically get out of the vehicle and do something with the hubs in order to engage (or disengage) 4WD?   What the hell was he doing? 


May 31st, 2016 at 11:32 AM ^

I grew up with an '84 Ford Bronco and had to lock the hubs whenever 4WD was necessary.  If you saw the issue coming that was fine, if you got yourself into trouble and belatedly realized you needed 4WD, say on a steep hill out in the Nevada backcountry in a snowstowm, it was a huge pain in the ass to have to lock hubs.


May 31st, 2016 at 10:37 AM ^

Locking hubs. Basically in most 4WD vehicles the engine is always driving the rear wheels, and you can "engage" the front wheels. Where that disengagement happens is key. In some vehicles it's the hubs (mostly older). In some it's an electronic dial on the dash.

 My Jeeps had physical t-case levers that looked like another stick shift.

(Note - 4WD used to mean "either 2 or locked 4 wheel drive", AWD meant "always in 4WD, with a center differential". Marketing has ruined the meaning of these. Most new 4WD vehicles (like an Escape, or Cherokee) are really just front-wheel drive vehicles that engage a clutch to drive the rear wheels if slip is detected.)



May 31st, 2016 at 11:28 AM ^

So the old school locks on the early Bronco my dad had were the get out and twist kind. Those were lockers, and when you unlocked them you had to back up 10 feet to fully disengage.

The transfer case 2WD, to 4WH to 4WL was a different lever inside the Bronco on the tunnel. (The shifter was a three on the tree.)

Most new 4WD vehicles do not come with lockers and are just push button between modes or have a lever like on my Jeep JK. Some (like my Rubicon) have electronic bush button lockers - others are retrofitted with either old school manuals (Warn) or air activated (ARB or Detroit Locker).

The advantage of lockers are all four wheels are turning all the time. Your turning radius is much reduced, but if one wheel starts slipping, the others keep going which is really useful in mud, sand or snow. Without lockers, unless you have good traction control, the slipping wheel just spins.

a different Jason

May 31st, 2016 at 10:29 AM ^

Why is it that every/most vehicles are not factory equipped with a HitchHaul type device? To carry oversized items infrequently. People are forced to buy bigger than their needs 90% of the time dictate.


May 31st, 2016 at 10:53 AM ^

The depends on how you define needs. I don't necessarily need a SUV for routine hauling, but I sure feel more comfortable being in one than a sedan. Most sedans make me feel cramped. The exception being an Audi A8L I road around in for a few weeks. But I don't have 120k to waste on a car.

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May 31st, 2016 at 11:09 AM ^

I know - and I'm all of 5'5" tall!  I really don't get how taller people (ie: most people) sit comfortably in a sedan.  I have a 2014 Fusion, and I'm comfortable in it.  But the entire passenger compartment feels tight, and my wife agrees (she's all of 5' tall).  I love the car, but I don't get how bigger people feel comfy in them.  And they must - Ford sells a boatload of Fusions!


May 31st, 2016 at 11:30 AM ^

I take issue with your premise, I pretty frequently fill up the back of my truck or the available space in the mini-van.  Plus when you have kids, etc. having a larger vehicle is handy.  If you can afford it, why not?  

There's also the fact that driving with a trailer is a huge pain in the ass, I've done it a bunch and I hate it every time, so if I have the choice between hauling a trailer and not hauling a trailer I am going to choose option B.


May 31st, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

Automakers are constantly scrounging for ways to remove a couple bucks per part.  Engineers are given large pats on the back for figuring out how to take $10 off the price of, say, a transmission.  Planning a new model is a never-ending decision-making process of choosing between options that cost two bucks per unit less or more than another.  This seems like penny pinching but it adds up big-time considering the thousands of parts that go into a car and the number of chances to shave the price of a complex thing like a trans. 

So even if a couple hundred dollars could be brought down to as little as $50 through economies of scale, the decision not to do that is hardly even a decision.  Not when such a small percentage of people would want it.  "Let's do this that costs $200 more per car" would get you thrown out of the room unless you can show a pretty massive positive effect on sales.


May 31st, 2016 at 10:34 AM ^

I get that car makers are using lighter materials to improve MPG (and probably cheapen the cost of production), but the car bodies of today are crap IMO. Plastic polymer bumpers, fake chrome, poor quality paint, plastic emblems...it's all crap. It used to be that car bodies would last forever and engines were more unreliable. Now it's the opposite: engines are made better and car bodies are poor.


May 31st, 2016 at 11:58 AM ^

THis is just ignorant. Plastic bumpers are there to A. to make it more dent reistant than steel bumpers and B because you dont want to fascia to be the crash structure. Modern cars are also infinitely safer and the crash structures are ugly so you put on a plastic bumper to allow it to crash properly. 

In terms of paint; this is just false. The paint on modern cars is MUCH more durable and chip resistant than it was on older cars.

Also bodies are certainly not worse than they were before. the materials are "thinner" because they're more intelligently designed so you don't have dead weight in a part of the body that sees no load. Also cars are MUCH heavier today than they were in the past because the crash structures are much more sophisticated.

Also before you were lucky to have your car see 100k miles, now the usable lifetime of a car is engineered to 150k with a modern car easily being able to last 3 times that long if you take care of it.

Your information is outdated and based on emotion rather than fact. 


May 31st, 2016 at 12:30 PM ^

ding ding ding!

also your hood is an aerodynamic surface, not a load bearing one, so it just needs to maintain it's shape at Vmax, not withstand someone standing on it. 

PLUS with new pedpro laws, your hood needs to dent in the event of a pedestrian impact to cushion them a little.


May 31st, 2016 at 1:35 PM ^

There is virtually no car that is safe in an automobile crash despite what they tell you about all the new and improved safety features. Paint is awful - all you have to do is look through the internet about the reports that show peeling/flaking after 4-5 years or sooner even with clear coat. The engines are better, which I mentioned. Cars are not heavier today. The fact that someone can kiss your bumper and you basically have to fix it is a problem.


May 31st, 2016 at 1:50 PM ^

Look at survivability metrics over the past 30 years. Modern cars are much, MUCH safer. They also weigh more relative to their physical size because they have more metal in them to make them safer.

compare the weight of a 1985 F150 to a modern F150.

Also your point about having to fix a bumper if somoene taps it when in the past you didn't doesn't really hold water. If an impact is  forceful enough to cause a flexible bumper on a modern car to crack, then it would cause a metal bumper to deform. If the metal bumper is strong enough to maintain it's shape at an impact of that force then all that energy is transfered through the car to the driver and would really fuck up your day.

Also, the reason cars look really messed up in crashes today when in the past they'd remain solid is because today we mandate crumple zones. Crumple zones absorb the energy of an impact so once the driver receives less of it by the time it reaches them, allowing them to survive a crash with fewer injuries. 

I worked in active safety systems for a few years, what are your credentials to make your claims?


May 31st, 2016 at 2:15 PM ^

Is much cheaper than replacing a bumper fascia. A fascia replacement costs an easy 1k and much less for a dented metal one. The polymer plastics they use really are not as resistant to damage as metal bumpers. My main point was about the cheapness of the body materials (thinner metal, plastics, etc) as it relates to aesthetics and maintenance of appearance. If someone wants to keep a car for a long time today, they are going to be in and out of the body shop regularly if they want to keep up the appearance of it. I can only speak about the information given to me by people I know who own several dealerships and see the frustrations from the customer point of view. Safety is not why I purchase a vehicle. I personally don't care if an already low number of fatalities went to a slightly lower number. Being abnormally tall, I'm.going to be hurt in an automobile accident either way.


May 31st, 2016 at 10:52 AM ^

Wife and I are looking to buy a car (moving out of NYC back to MI). Ideally we'd like a 4WD hybrid that's either a big sedan or small SUV, but can't seem to find any that aren't more expensive than we'd like to spend. We're thinkiong that a Subaru, either Outback or Forester, might end up being the way to go.

Thoughts or other recommendations for cars with good mileage that hold up in MI winters?


May 31st, 2016 at 11:01 AM ^

Hybrid or 4WD? Also, why Hybrid? If it's just for mileage make sure you do the math (along with the type of driving you do, etc. A hybrid may cost $4,000 extra, which is a lot of gallons of gas...). Think about it if you'll do mostly city driving. Otherwise the math might not work out.

I've mentioned before that I like Car and Driver's suggestions for buying guides. They like the Mazda CX-5 as a small SUV (good mileage, dynamic). If you go to C&D and search "Ford Escape" you'll get this: http://www.caranddriver.com/ford/escape a nice breakdown, rank in segment, and explanation of why.