Superchargers vs. Turbochargers

TurbochargerIf you are like most of us on planet earth, we hear a term and we understand it kind of but are not really 100% sure what it means or how it affects us. Well (cracking knuckles) all us to share some basic yet pertinent facts about Superchargers and Turbochargers what they do and why they are so cool, or are they? Pros and cons up next!

Almost every engine is eligible to have one of these modifications done to it. So basically air is sucked into the engine and it mixes with the fumes and gasoline and along with the pistons , chambers and spark plugs create combustion. When it comes to these modifications to your engine, you are introducing MUCH more air and it is being forced in, creating a more potent reaction, therefore creating more power instantly without having to dramatically modify or change to a larger engine block.

Superchargers then are usually connected by a belt that turns from the crankshaft of the engine and this motorizes the air compressor attached to it. Turbochargers are nothing more than an air compressor with an exhaust gas turbine. So, superchargers require assistance in order to work and turbochargers run off of the waste and therefore it is more efficient.

What are the advantages of a Turbocharger vs a Superchargers? Well, here you go!

 

Turbochargers – PROS

1-Efficiency, they run off of energy that is usually wasted anyhow.

2-Bang for your buck – allows your engine to produce a lot more power for less

3-HP increase.

4-Smaller engines typically have better fuel economy and well this is a good thing regardless.

CONS

4- Turbochargers tend to work within a certain RPM range and can take a while to charge sufficiently.

3- Loss of control, when the turbocharger does indeed kick in, it can be unsettling and can cause the car to fishtail and make you lose stability.

2-Engine oil consumption, so this is something to keep in mind that you will have to replace the oil more often.

1- There is a lag for it to kick in – a range of RPM and or speed.

 

Superchargers – PROS

1-instant gratification – no lag

2-Does not require high RPM to kick in.

3-Horsepower boost!

4-Inexpensive

CONS

2-They rely on the engine to work so they essential are more taxing for the engine on the whole.

1-Makes the engine weaker, it is exposed to a lot more air and can affect the life of your engine.

 

If you were to ask which one I would put in my car, well, I would have to say the Turbo, they are less taxing on your engine and allow you the best of both worlds. However if you cannot make up your mind on which to choose, pick ‘em both a practice called Twin charging. So now you have a good idea as to what these terms mean and how they benefit drivers with smaller engines. What we recommend is continue to do some research, find someone who has installed several and who can do it for you on a budget and get going to having some fun with your engine and your car!

 

Driving Laws in Texas Part II –

cop carAs you can recall from the first part of this article, we have chosen to focus on what the traffic laws in Texas are and what purpose they serve and how to avoid them if at all possible.  Here we continue with our suggestions and advice if you so wish to take it, it might make your life in Houston a little easier.

7.Seat Belt Or Child Restraint Violations (Code 545.412 and 545.413)

This is a relatively new concept, seat belts became popular in the late 50’s and now a days if you do not click your seat belt into the base then your car will chime and chime until you click it in place.  You may think to yourself what an annoying thing to have to constantly deal with and maybe you are right when it comes to the chiming but the concept of seat belts is only one. Your safety.  Seat belts were created to minimize the damage to your body in the event of an accident.  You cannot get 150 stitches in your head if your head never crashed through the windshield.

8.Vehicle Modifications (Code 547)

Some traffic laws are created not by you, but by a committee that gather to analyze the risks and benefits of certain after market modifications and although you may not be in agreement with what they say, you still need to know what these are and how to avoid them.  Window tinting is something that is regulated for example, if your front windshield is too dark then officers and traffic cams cannot see you then there is no way to hold you accountable for something that you do.

9.Speeding (Code 545.351 and 545.352)

Speed limits were created with one goal in mind.  To find the safest speed that most people could probably drive without many incidents. Why do you get a ticket when you are over the speed limit? Because you are putting yourself but more importantly other people who might be in your path in dangers way.  This is why there is such a huge issue with speeding. Did you know the human body is only meant to survive without minimal damage an accident at only 8 MPH for the sake of your internal organs.  Now imagine on a freeway, where the speed limit is 55 MPH yet you are going 110 MPH.  It is much harder to control the car if an issue arises – a blown tire, etc.

10.Driving Without Insurance (Code 601)

The concept of insurance is an interesting one. You pay money each and every month in the off chance that something might happen to you in the future.  So you pay into it, well, when it comes to automotive insurance, you get insured to cover any reparation bills or medical bills that might arise.  Some car insurances also do multi car insurance which is a great and economical way to go to live within the letter or the law.

11.Mechanical Violations (547)

If there are limits placed on the amount of water that can pass through a shower head to limit how much water is used, minimize the wastefulness, then imagine what the limitations on engines there might be. There are NOS (Nitrous Oxide) tanks that a lot of drag racers use, also deactivating chips in some car engines can increase their HP by a substantial amount. Food for thought.

12.Leaving The Scene Of An Accident (Code 550)

As a human being one of the most difficult things to do is leave someone in harm’s way or someone that has been hurt. Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if it is your fault, then it is considered a hit and run and is punishable by law.  Because not only did you inflict damage on someone else, but once you did you left them there, depending on the severity, it could be considered negligent homicide, but then again, it depends on a case by case basis.

We hope that these articles have been informative and have given you something to consider when driving along the streets of our beautiful Houston.

 

Driving Laws in Texas

traffic-copsEach and everyone of us knows, regardless of what city or state we may be living in there will be rules and regulations, laws that were meant to be enforced.  Here in Houston, it is no different so we would like to take a moment to discuss what traffic violations you can get cited for.  Some of them may be obvious while others may not be.

Here are the top 12 Traffic Laws in our great state of Texas, in no specific order.

1.Illegal U-Turn (Code 545)

The reason this is dangerous is that there are designated roads that are deemed safe enough to have a left arrow and a u-turn ability.  The issue is when the road is not designed this way, oncoming traffic may not expect you to be there and may cause an accident. Therefore it is important to take the extra block, turn, turn, turn again until you get to where you want to go safely. Here in Houston, we always emphasize highway safety.

2.Reckless Driving (code 545.401)

Did you know that reckless driving consists of being distracted, correct?Not focusing 100% on the task at hand.  It no longer only refers to speeding and drag racing or driving under the influence.  The definition of reckless driving has changed in the last 20 years and especially now with the advances in technology people are more addicted than ever. Driving while texting, or even those few seconds between you looking down, scrolling to find a number and pressing send…can be the difference between life and death for you and those in your surrounding. Drive with prudence as though what you are driving could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

3.Running A Red Light (Code 544)

The danger of this is that well, since we learn how to drive and even way way before we are taught that green means go. When we are going through an intersection and the light is green we believe that we indeed have the right of way. This is most often the case, but when a red light is ran, the impact is terrible and very tragic accidents can occur. When the light turns yellow you are supposed to stop, contrary to popular belief, yellow does not mean speedup.

4.Drinking & Driving Violations (Code 49.04)

Alcohol or substance abuse impair your ability to function like you normally would.  This depending on what was ingested can have several different side effect consisting of but not limited to: Dizziness, blacking out, aggressiveness, paranoia, hyperactivity, slow movements, uncoordinated movements, affects your reaction time, your reflexes are slower. This is a violation you never want to be charged with, for you are not only putting your life but everyone Else’s in jeopardy when anyone drives like this. A good way to avoid this is to stay stationary or at home on big holidays.  Drive to and fro when the least amount of people who could be impaired are off the streets.

5.Driving with A Suspended License (Code 521)

License get suspended for a variety of reasons, not paying child support, traffic infractions to name a few. However, once your license is suspended if you drive without one and get pulled over you can get into some big big trouble. If your license was suspended, wait it out, take the bus, take a cab, hire a friend to drive you places, be creative.  Do not get behind the wheel because it will only make matters much much worse.

6.Driving without Registration (Code 502)

What is a the point of the registration? Well, it lets authorities know that the car is lawfully yours.  Which is why when you are pulled over, you are asked for the license and registration.  If your name’s not on the registration you better be able to explain that you are the niece of the car owner or that somehow you have legal access to the car.  If no registration is found at all, the car will most likely be taken to impound until an investigation can take place.

We hope you have found the first six traffic violations helpful. The following six will be in the second part of this article.

Driver-less Cars – How They Will Make Aging Easier

vehicle system capability, internet of things road transport. Modern vector illustration concept, isolated on white background.

It is a current reality and has been for some while that there is such a thing as driver-less cars, Google has them out on the road.  What you may or may not know is that researchers and car manufacturers are working hand in hand to make this a reality on a more massive scale.

At the moment there are very few options for buying an autonomous vehicle.  What happens and why these cars work at all in the first place is because they sense their surroundings. Using GPS, Radar, Computer TV and Lidar in combination, the car’s computer is able to assimilate and accurately process the information. These systems are very complex but are then able to force the car to react accordingly at very fast speeds.

What is important to focus on is that this in of itself is a huge feat.  For a vehicle to be autonomous it must perform well with unknowns, must be adaptive and must solve problems without interference. This is a project that has not only gotten some media coverage but has got government agencies taking this feat seriously.

The National Highway Safety Administration has classified Autonomous in a formal classification system.

Level 4: The vehicle controls everything, the driver is not expected to control the vehicle at any time. From start to stop the cars computer controls everything

Level 3:This is when the car is controlled by the driver, but if need it can control certain essential functions, such as provide enough time to transition safely

Level 2: This would be considered if the vehicle has cruise control or lane assist

Level 1:This refers to ESC, Electronic Stability Control and automatic braking

Level 0: Driver controlled 100%

Advantages of autonomous cars are quite enumerable and in no specific order.

  • Reduces space for parking, since these cars can be much smaller.
  • Fewer traffic accidents, these cars can plan for almost everything.
  • Less fewer accidents due to human error.
  • Possible higher speed limit if cars are autonomous
  • Alleviates parking congestion
  • Smoother rides
  • Less space being taken up, if the steering wheel and driver console are removed because  they are no longer necessary.

Driver-less cars are the wave of the future.  Stop and think of how many elders cannot go anywhere and a lot of them are stuck within the confines of their own homes.  They need to rely on people to pick them up, or they need to live close to functional public transportation such as a train, bus or ferry.  What if you didn’t need to rely on anyone just where you were going, some address is what you needed to have more autonomous.  Just imagine what that would do for our aging population here in Houston, now think about what impact that would have at a national level.  We have to start somewhere and scientists are doing just that.

It is important that we continue to support this type of advances so that way we can help our fellow citizens. Help those who have been left behind, help those who for whatever reason can no longer drive, either due to aging or disabilities.  All of us deserve the right to travel, to feel the wind in our hair as we drive down the interstate.

When To Replace Your Engine

Woman thinking what to do with the failed engine

Woman thinking what to do with the failed engine

Know a thing or two about car engines? You do? Excellent! You don’t? Not to worry, we have the information you need to make the most informed decision possible.  When do you know that it is time to change your car’s main component? Yes, that elusive engine?!

Well, here is a good rule of thumb, most engines manufactured within the last 15 years all have engines that will run far past the 150,000 mile mark.  If you are there or close to that then depending on how the car was driven your engine might need to be replaced. If it is having a lot of inconveniences that take you over to the mechanics shop, then the time may be at hand that you need to figure out what the next step is.

Here are your options:

If the exterior of your car resembles your engine (which you probably need to change) – then you may want to scrap it all together and get something new.

Head down to your local used car dealership and pick out a new rig, trade in your old car and drive off of the lot with something that is not only reliable, but something that will make you thrilled that you purchased a new rig. Now a days going to a car lot is as convenient and hassle free as going to the movies. You can walk in and in about an hour drive off with a new car.

If the exterior and interior of your car look pretty good and the only thing wrong is your engine then here are some more issues to look for: worn cylinders and rings, broken and failing valves and worn bearings. This is where most issues arise when it comes to engine problems, so this is your first line of defense.

You can buy a new engine, but keep in mind they can be costly sometimes upwards of $9,000 – Rebuilt engines can run you anywhere from $500 – $3,000 USD, as a rule a reworked engine can be 10% – 20% the cost of the vehicle. Do not forget to add to this the hourly rate your trusted mechanic will charge you for about 3 hours of work. If you are a DIY (Do It Yourselfer) then you might want to let the experts handle this one. Placing a new engine in your car is not only very complicated but about 1,000 things can go wrong.

You can buy a slightly used engine or a rebuilt engine, you may save a dollar or two when you opt for this option but ensure that the other components such as the timing belts and hoses are intact and do not need to be replaced as well.
If you decide to go with the rebuilt engine as your option then you will get the best bang for your buck. Also, if you are concerned with the carbon footprint you leave behind then a rebuilt engine is a recycled engine for all intensive purposes. This allows for the reuse of the base materials, therefore lessening the impact you have on our beautiful planet. Lets keep Houston beautiful and green and if you need to replace your engine what we recommend is change your vehicle or purchase a rebuilt engine.

Car 101 – RPM What It Means

Car Dash RPM (Rotation Per Minute), Oil Temperature, Fuel and Speedometer Closeup Photo. Modern Vehicle Dash. Transportation Photo Collection

Ever wonder what RPM stands for or even what it means?  It has come to our attention that most people have some resonance of an idea of what it might mean, but really have never looked into to any further.  Unless you are a gearhead or a petrolhead depending on where you live, then you might not know what this stands for or who the Stig is for that matter.

RPM stands for Revolutions Per Minute.  In layman’s terms it is how many times your engine cycles.  The range of RPM on a dash is primarily the same you have a gauge that ranges from 0-8 and in the upper ranges there might be a red line. This is what is commonly known as redlining it, or taking it to the limit, in this case your car’s potential. Full throttle if you will. At this measurement you want to beware, this is the maximum pressure your car components are designed to take so you want to stay out of this area if at all possible or you will be unpleasantly surprised when you take it in to get serviced and it costs you hundreds of dollars.

When you get into your car first thing in the morning and you start it up, before putting it in gear and driving off you are supposed to wait until the RPM go below 1, 000, this lets you know that the engine is warm and that it is now at idle, your engine is not being asked to perform while it is not yet ready.  The engine is where it needs to be and this usually takes around two minutes.  Most of us just jump in our cars and head down the I-10 or the I-45 in Houston.

Back to RPM and what it really stands for, it is a unit of measurement, this is important because it tells you how your engine is running.  If your engine is running slowly when you press on the gas or the RPM remains low – then the combustion that happens in your engine to propel it forward doesn’t happen with enough intensity. Now, if your RPMs are too high then that is also problematic, the pistons move up and down in the cylinders of the engine block to create pressure and ignite the fuel trapped within and you lose power too. You do not get the full potential of the explosion because it does not have time to complete the cycle, it only goes in mini burst.  Either way, it is a problem.

When you press on the gas and your car does not move and the RPMS go really high this could be an indication that your car is in the wrong gear. Do you remember what it was like to learn to drive a stick shift or a manual car? Seeing the RPM go all the way to the red while you were hopelessly trying to start in second gear.  This is a clear example of that.

RPM can also refer to the optimum amount when it comes to torque.  The torque is the actual maximum force and thrust and this is reached usually between 4,000 – 6,000 RPM. We hope this clarified a few things for you, that is our goal to provide excellent service with excellent information and support.

Judging A Car By Its Logo

car interior

car interior

Here are some fun car facts that you may or may not be aware of.  Have you ever noticed that different car companies seem use the same parts – yes, that is correct.  Allow me to elaborate, Lexus and Toyota are the same company correct? Yes.  This is why the body style of Lexus’ and Toyota’s seem similar. Let’s take the Toyota Land Cruiser for Example – A new one will run you around $80,000 but it’s VERY similar counterpart the Lexus LX series is $83,000 for the base model. So what does this tell us?  Well, you can save a pretty penny by opting for the Toyota – it is basically the same car, made by the same company with a different badge. If the car is basically the same thing, then what an interesting study on human behavior would it be to see why people choose either one or the other.

We have examples like the Scion TC which retails for $22,000 while the Subaru BRC that retails for $25,700 at base price.  So what do we have here? Two examples of what we are saying, it’s practically the same car, but with two different badges and different price tags.

Does it matter to you what brand of car you own, or are you more interested in the performance and the best bang for your buck?  All things to consider when you go out to purchase your next vehicle.  As you well know, in Houston there are tons of options when it comes to what car you can purchase, so take a moment to think about what you are looking for and what you hope to achieve with your new purchase?  If you opt for the “lesser” car, then you have a cool $3,000 to play with, go on an amazing adventure.

When car companies either in the same umbrella company or not shares accessories or parts to another car manufacturer that is known as platform sharing. This is not a new discovery on our part, this is something that has gone on for quite some time. The reason for this is because the cost of making a car is so high that hiring a team to create each and every part would be not only labor intensive but cost intensive as well.  Therefore certain car manufacturers sell some of their parts to other manufacturers.  This explains why some cars although different make and model can have the same feel. The interior give you a sense of deja vu – well the reason is simple, they might both have the same parts.

This goes from everything from air vents to engines, chassis and frames.  Go figure. The Audi R8 has a Lamborghini V10 engine. There are exceptions to this rule however, most luxury car manufacturers such as Spyker and Bugatti would rather operate at a loss for a few years then see their super specialized and uber fancy accessories be unleashed unto a competitor. Sharing the product is what allows mass produced car manufacturers to stay in business.

Now that you know this, the next time you decide to purchase a car, you might want to look at the competitors because between one car brand and another stand quite a few dollars.

Is It Possible To Use A Cell Phone Safely While Driving?

Man driving in his car using cell mobile phone, dangerous situation

Man driving in his car using cell mobile phone, dangerous situation

No matter where you go, it seems that people are stuck to their phone. Now, let’s do a mental exercise for just a small moment. Imagine that you have no phone. Imagine that the only access to a phone that you have at your disposal is the local pay phone ( which hardly exist anymore) or your land line at home. Ok, so envision this. Most of us cannot, which is the simple and sad truth. Most of us feel naked when we forget our phones at home or when our batteries slowly draining. There is an uneasy feeling at the pit of your stomach, your phone is about to die. Your lifeline. How else will you have access to the world? Get the information you so desperately and instantly crave? Well, this article is written for you Houstonian.

The issue with this undeniable cell phone obsessed society is that we get to used to have unfettered access to information that we continue this trend sometimes at work and sometimes when we drive. The statistics speak for themselves, it is something like 90% of adults in North America have access to a cell phone. This however can become a problem when people decide to use their phones while driving. If you are a passenger then I believe there is no real danger, but as a driver you cannot be focusing on the task at hand if you are distracted. Most people if asked would agree that they are excellent multi-taskers and if you fall within this category maybe you think that you have never had an accident while on your phone and that it is something that is second nature. The danger however, lies within those few seconds that you are distracted doing something other than driving and watching your surroundings. How many surgeons are texting during an operation, how many race car drivers text while doing a few laps? The answer to both is none. Driving is a privilege and you must drive with caution because other peoples lives are in your hand. The people within your car, including yourself and those innocent bystanders that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This unknown factor is determined by a set of laws that help everyone be on the same page, insures that everyone is being as safe as possible. Many states view cell phone usage behind the wheel as a form of impaired driving because honestly it is. You are distracted – it’s as easy as that. There are states that have pioneered this movement. The Garden State (New Jersey), Connecticut (Which is sometimes referred to as the Tri-State Area) and California (the most densely populated state) have all opted to prohibit the use of cell phones while driving . Only in the case of an emergency – there are a little less than 20 states that have prohibited the use of cell phones to new and inexperienced drivers and this also applies to bus drivers. Here in Texas we believe that safety is the best policy. The statistics don’t lie, a 20% of all car accidents reported involve distracted drivers. We do not have a statewide ban on cell use while driving, there are rules that need to be followed to be considered within the law.

Now, if you believe that these laws should not apply to you, even though they do, there are some suggestions as to how to use your cell phone safely. The key is to limit distractions and you will notice if you have purchased a car in the last five years that this has been taken into consideration when the cars are being designed and manufactured. The term is Bluetooth. Your car may have blue tooth capabilities which allow you to take and make calls from your cars dashboard. This consists of a microphone that you can talk into. If you car is a little older then your cell phone probably has an auxiliary port in which you could place a hands free earpiece that consists of a small microphone and earpiece. This is known as hands free or you can use a wireless solution which can be accessed by touching a button on the earpiece itself.

With the Bluetooth system you can hear who you are speaking to throughout the car through the speaker system. A lot of these have voice recognition capabilities which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes can be incredibly frustrating. Now, what is recommended is that you use your phone as little as possible when driving. Cell phones were made for a purpose to make a call when out of your house. Well, most of us do not spend countless hours in a car, most of us use our cars to get us from point A to point B. Whatever you need to say can most likely wait until you make it to your destination. This is the safest way to ensure that your focus is where it should be, on your surrounding, your speed limit, the traffic lights, traffic cops, other drivers, pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, heavy vehicles such as semis, etc. etc. etc.

What almost everyone can agree on is that texting and driving is not only very difficult, but very unnecessary. In order to text you need to move your focus away from the street and not crashing into someone and refocus your eyes on a teeny tiny screen and try to get the spelling correct. Even abbreviations LOL, OMW, TY, you name it take focus away from the task at hand and nationally causes around 430,000 injuries or deaths due to distracted driving.

Noisy Car? This Is Why!

noisy cars

Most of us are oblivious of the idiosyncrasy we face on a daily basis with our vehicles, a squeak here a rattle there. We just chuck it up to “I told the mechanic about this when I took the car in and it didn’t make the noise, not even once!” We have all been there, but here is a quick solution guide to deciphering what these mystical noises can be and where they originate.

Sometimes that little buzzing or rattling might be annoying, but it does not suggest that this might not be the preamble to a bigger issue down the road. Repairing cars can be inexpensive if you catch the problem in the early stages, once the engine has fallen apart, it gets very costly. Would it surprise you to know that a large percentage of car crashes are by faulty machinery, everything from transmissions going out to breaks failing and tires being a top contender.

Lots of cars on the road today have hydraulic steering such as the Jaguar X- type from 2004. When this needs more fluid it begins to squeak and whine when the steering wheel is turned. It is almost like the car is whinnying and complaining that it has indeed taken this long.

I order to keep your car running smoothly, in order to get the most resale value on your vehicle, you should become familiar with preventative maintenance. Preventative/routine maintenance like oil changes and brake adjustments and tire rotation and balancing. It is not every Dick and Harry that can understand the complexity of a car engine, but suffice it to say that there are many parts. Parts that need special oils, filters, belts and have to work with a sort of process to propel moment forward.

If you regularly take your car to get the oil changed, if your tires are wearing in a balanced way, then you can even extend the life of your tires a little longer.

What to look for and listen for:

A whislte of a hissing sound, will probably occur after the car is started, maybe even some smoke.
The next time this happens, ditch your date and your plans and take your car to the mechanic, this is not a good sign and could end up being very costly in the future.

If you are in Houston and your car is growling, you might be revered as a tough guy. Unfortunately, you might hear this because of some lose thread on your tires, which can be very scary if you are not expecting it. When it is safe pull over and call AAA, get someone to help you with your tire change if necessary.

When the breaks are on their way out they are squeaky and annoying. Grinding under the hood means that something is not right and that some lubrication is needed. I would take it to your local auto supply place, in Houston, they are everywhere.

Save Gas With These Tips

Car Engine

If you are like most of us here in Houston, we are constantly keeping an eye on the price of gas. When it goes up we start to worry and we start to drive less, we are more aware of our route only trying to use the gas necessary to get you from point A to point B.

What we have learned and what we will be sharing with you are techniques to put into play that will allow you to drive your car like the gas prices do not matter. These are some great gas saving life hacks.

We can all agree that even thought there is a lot of oil in Texas, most of us cannot affect its ascent of descent in price. Having said that what option does the average person have to enjoy this liberty as much as the next guy?

You might be surprised to know how inefficient your car becomes when it is not regularly maintained. How about that if your tires are under inflated or over inflated it can affect the drag, suspension and the efficiency of the engine. Thus making the car perform worse and worse and that great engine that you were so proud of is now just working to get by.

If your car is maintained perfectly it can increase your gas mileage by a minimum of 4%, change the filters to everything! And save every more MPG’s, If your timing belt looks like it is on the fritz, then change it. Since you probably live near or around Houston you know that a major component to any vehicle in this heat is A/C. Ensure that your AC is working properly and not straining and draining energy from the car.

Something so trivial, but if your gas cap is not tight fitting because of the mere nature of gasoline that it fumes up and is very volatile it can begin to dissipate and evaporate right out of your loose fitting gas tank.

Drive the speed limit, it is just good form. When you do not need to weigh your rig down, then do not.