jil mcintosh

Running a red light? I’m telling!

One of the most dangerous drivers is the “red-light runner” — one who, whether through inattention or impatience, doesn’t stop at a red light. Researchers are now working to predict which drivers are going to do this and potentially program your car to warn you.Red-light runners can be identified...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 2:36 AM

Many vehicles, but from one solid base

When auto writers talk about cars, they often mention vehicle “platforms.” It actually refers to a number of aspects of auto construction, and includes design and engineering along with the actual metal.“The platform is the underpinnings of the car,” says Paul Hewitt, product manager, global Delta...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 2:04 AM

Oil: Your engine’s most important component

Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. It lubricates moving parts, helps keep the engine cooler, inhibits rust and corrosion, and reduces wear.Without oil, an engine will only run for a few minutes before suffering damage.“There are different grades of oil for different applications,” says...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 2:55 AM

Carmakers’ new concern is auto sustainability

It’s no longer enough for automakers to simply build cars that are stylish or have all the latest options. Sustainability is now a driving force, as auto companies tackle such issues as fuel efficiency, alternative powertrains and how to recycle vehicles and components at the end of their lives.“It...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 1:54 AM

Electric cars need more than plug-and-play

Once just a possibility, electric vehicles are now making their way to market. But just because you can buy a battery-powered car like the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt, don’t expect to simply bring it home and plug it in.“It’s not viable to plug it into an extension cord out the window,” says...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 12:52 AM

Carbon clogging can cost you at the pumps

Engines work when gasoline enters a combustion chamber, where it’s ignited by a spark plug to extract its energy. The gasoline is sprayed in by fuel injectors, and the engine’s efficiency depends heavily on these injectors performing at their peak. This includes how clean the injectors are.“Carbon...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 1:08 AM

Seconds count when building a NASCAR engine

Engines are pretty amazing things. They contain hundreds of parts, many of them moving thousands of times each minute.And few things are more daunting than looking at a table full of those parts and realizing that you have to put them all together.That was my task at a special event sponsored by...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 12:05 AM

A guide to winter tires

As the seasons change, so should your tires.You’ve probably noticed that the nastier-weather varieties are now called winter tires, rather than snow tires. This isn’t just the same product with a new name.Winter tires provide superior traction in all types of winter conditions, from deep snow, to...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 1:52 AM

Charging standards will drive electric cars

It’s possible to buy an electric car these days, but that doesn’t mean they are yet in widespread use. The infrastructure to recharge them is still in its infancy, including some of the standards that will help to ensure uniformity.Some standards have been determined but several still need to be...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 1:41 AM

Even Porsche is into saving fuel

It’s doubtful that fuel prices are the first thing people think about when they buy a sports car, but even automakers primarily concerned with performance need to worry about efficiency. One of the methods Porsche is using is its new coasting function.It’s found on the new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 1:15 AM

Designing the best seat in the house

When it comes to vehicle seats, the best ones are those that you seldom think about. They’re so supportive and comfortable that you don’t realize how long you’ve been sitting in them. They provide good position for visibility, and if they fold, they’re easy to operate.What isn’t easy is making such...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 11:56 PM

Goodyear’s new tires will pump themselves up

Adding air to a tire isn’t a difficult job, but who needs the aggravation, especially if the weather is nasty? Such maintenance may become a thing of the past thanks to a new in-tire system, called Air Maintenance Technology (AMT), being developed by Goodyear.Tires naturally lose small amounts of...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 11:48 PM

Older drivers helping design newer cars

None of us are getting any younger, but we’re still buying cars. Older drivers may have different needs than younger ones, though, which is why many auto companies are taking aging drivers into account when they design their vehicles.“The baby boomers have always been an important segment, not only...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 2:02 AM

Honda LEEDs the way at its new head office

All automakers are working to make their vehicles more environmentally-friendly, but sustainability involves all aspects of the auto industry. That’s why Honda designed its new headquarters in Markham, Ont., to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.“It took us three...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 1:59 AM

Auto-dry system helps wet-weather braking

Your vehicle’s brakes work best when they’re dry, but Mother Nature doesn’t always align her schedule with your commute. Some automakers have introduced technologies to improve wet-weather braking, including Cadillac’s Auto Dry Brakes.“When you have dry brakes, you have your optimum braking...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011, 12:51 AM

Keep the pressure on tires to save fuel

While your car’s contact with the road is through the tread of its tires, your vehicle is actually riding on the cushion of air inside them. The pressure in your tires is of vital importance: for starters, it’s what keeps your tires on their rims.“The bead is the part of the tire that holds the...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 2:00 AM

Recycling your ride: There’s money in old cars

Once considered scrap, end-of-life cars are now considered an asset, dismantled and sold for the value of their parts and metal. It’s a process that involves both reuse and recycling once they go to their final resting place.Some 1.2 million vehicles come off the road in Canada every year,...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 2:23 AM

Never underestimate the power of paint

When it comes to cars, what’s on the outside can be vitally important. According to Ford, up to 40 per cent of us will walk out of a dealership if we can’t buy a car in the colour we want.The automaker is always on the lookout for new shades, checking fashion, technology and even colours from other...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 12:27 AM

Careful planning means fast-moving models

Stocking the right merchandise is always a challenge for anyone in retail.But it can be even tougher for car dealers, who have to contend with expensive inventory, annual model changes, and customer demand that can switch rapidly with such factors as fuel price fluctuations.“Dealers make their...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 12:04 AM

From the road to the roof: Recycling tires

In the past, used tires were primarily a waste product in Ontario, thrown into landfills or shipped to areas that had recycling facilities. Now they’re a hot commodity under a program that collects and sends them to be turned into new products.“Last year we recycled somewhere in the realm of 11...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 1:25 AM