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.

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.

How to combat sleepiness when driving

              sleepy tired woman driver

What do you do when you HAVE to drive somewhere and you are sleepy or are not the correct condition to drive? Well, this is a question that is posed quite often, loved ones ask one another…”Do you have to leave so late?” Most of us reading a car blog like this can agree that we enjoy cars, we like to learn about them and we appreciate useful information regarding how to be better at driving them. If you like to drive and especially at night because traffic may be less intense and you can really let the throttle lose and just go – then you may have experienced a very common phenomenon.

Sleepiness while driving. Driving a car requires a combination of coordinated efforts. Lets see: Hands on the wheel control what direction you go in, your right foot in an automatic and left and right in a manual car have to operate simultaneously. So at this point we have the coordinated efforts of two actions, now we need to be aware of our speed as to not put ourselves or others in harms way. Then we have our surroundings, the unknown to try to factor in and these increment exponentially if it is nighttime and visibility is less.

Therefore imaging trying to coordinate all of this, seamlessly all the while your eyelids are heavy, you keep yawning incessantly and you do the tricks that you know in order to stay up. 1) open the windows, putting your windows down can help you wake up especially if it is a little cold out. The cold air that whips your face and arms can have a very sobering effect on your sleep. 2) Rock out, turn the radio up as high as you can. It would be better to get accused of noise pollution verses crashing because you are tired. Once you are rocking out to a good song, why not sing along and really get into it.

It is hard to be sleepy when you are listening to a song that you really enjoy. If your yawns are getting more progressive, then pull over. If you are driving on the highway, find the next rest stop, gas station or restaurant and go to the parking lot to rest. If you are resigned to driving and cannot do anything to avoid it and need to get from point A to point B now…then drink or eat something sugary or an energy drink. These tend to process fairly quickly into the body and when you get that ever familiar sugar high then you should be able to squeeze some more miles out of your journey until you can stop somewhere safe.

These suggestions are helpful if you are alone, but it is even better if there is someone in the car with you, because they may not be tired and can get you to your desired destination. You can discuss anything under the stars or merely go to sleep now that the driving is left to someone else. If you have ever taken a road trip with kids then you will know that there are boundless games that are easy and fun to play while driving down the road. Off the top of my head is “I spy”, you see something and then use a word to describe it, it is red, small and in the car. This gets the passenger thinking and you can get some good miles underway playing this innocent and super engaging game.

Stretching can be a great way to combat sleepiness. Stop, get out and stretch. It is important to remember that being tired behind the wheel is no different than being under the influence, you do not have 100% of your faculties and it is risky and dangerous. What we recommend is that you realize that no matter how much you may want to get to your destination, it makes more sense to get there later or earlier and not risk not only your life but everyone’s around you as well. Food for thought.