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Category Archives: Automotive

Automatic Transmission Out of Park

 Shift interlock feature, which requires you to step on the brake pedal to prevent unintentionally shifting out of Park, could be malfunctioning. Alternatively, the shift cable or linkage connected to the shift lever could be gummed up with grease or corroded so that it can’t operate freely.

If the interlock switch is worn and not fully releasing, or the brake lights don’t receive a signal from the brake light switch to illuminate, you won’t be able to shift out of Park.

Grease, dirt and moisture can collect in or on the interlock and brake light switches, and on the shift cable and related parts, hampering their operation. When that happens, you’re most likely to have problems shifting out of Park when the engine and transmission are cold, such as after the car has sat for hours. After the engine gets warm — and other parts get warmer, as well — the goo might become softer and make it easier to shift out of Park.

Most cars have a means of overriding the shift lock so you can drive the car to a mechanic rather than have it towed: A small door the size of a fingernail is often found on the console next to or close to the shifter itself. After prying this cover off, one can insert a screwdriver or key and press down to release the lock. Vehicles with column shifters may hide the release on top of the steering column or on the bottom. Your owner’s manual will help you identify the location on your car.

A transmission that’s low on fluid also can be hard to shift out of Park, though that also would likely cause a noticeable degradation in the transmission’s overall performance, such as sluggish or harsh shifts.

Another possible cause is that when a car is on even a slight incline, it will put more load on the transmission parking pawl (a bar that engages teeth in a transmission gear to prevent the vehicle from rolling). This is more likely to happen if you didn’t engage the parking brake before releasing the brake pedal. The weight of the vehicle rolling onto the parking pawl makes it harder to shift out of Park. To avoid this, engage the parking brake when on an incline before shifting into Park or releasing the brake pedal. That way the parking brake, not the transmission pawl, bears the load.

How to keep it safe when selling a car

When it comes time to sell a car, most owners are preoccupied with getting the most money possible. You’ve invested a great deal in your car, and it’s understandable that you want to get the money you deserve. Unfortunately, cost isn’t the only concern you should have when selling your car. As scammers become more advanced, it’s easy to find yourself in a scary situation if you’re not careful. Keeping yourself safe when selling your car is simple with these essential tips, so do your due diligence and sell your car to the right buyer for the right price.

Don’t Accept Checks
Car scammers often hand over a bad check to gain a free car. Tell buyers that you’ll accept cash only. If that limits your pool of buyers, there are a few ways to ensure you get what you’re owed. Call a trusted bank to verify the funds before handing over the keys or telling a buyer that you’ll deposit the check and then give them the keys when the funds have cleared.  A common sign of a fraudulent check? Offering to pay more than you’re asking for the car. If you have to ask yourself : “Who would buy my car for more than its true value?” chances are they’re attempting to rip you off.

Be Wary About Test Drives
It’s understandable and expected that a potential buyer will ask for a test drive before purchasing your vehicle. However, this gives the nefarious scammer the perfect opportunity to steal your car. Always have a friend with you, and be sure to go along for the test drive. Also be sure to request their driver’s license and have a scanned copy on hand. With their license you can scan their public record for a criminal history check, which will tell you whether or not a test drive is a good idea.

Know Your Car’s Worth
Private buyers will often attempt to haggle with you about the price of your vehicle, telling boldfaced lies that your car’s book value is much lower than you think it is. They may bring a mechanic with them to check out the car; this mechanic may then turn around and tell you the car has numerous issues and isn’t worth as much as you expected. Avoid this by using a car valuator tool like Kelley Blue Book and have it checked out by your own trusted mechanic. Walk into the negotiation knowing the worth of what you’re offering and don’t buckle against their claims to the contrary.

Use a Car Buying Service
Reading this and thinking to yourself “How do I find someone to buy my car without putting myself in danger?” You may decide to avoid the middleman and simply sell your car to a certified online buyer. Online agencies will give you an instant quote and come to pick up your car when you’ve accepted. While you likely won’t get as much money as you would through a private sale, you’ll save yourself the headache and vulnerability that doing it on your own can mean. Plus, you can sell it within a day, while private sales could see you spending months screening potential buyers that don’t follow through.

Get the most out of selling your car without putting yourself in danger. Keep these tips in mind and keep yourself safe to make the most out of the experience.

Electric car

The electric car subsidy fund this year is already depleted. Anyone who buys a qualifying car after June 30 will in effect receive an IOU from the state for credits of up to $5,000 to be paid when the fund is replenished.

Unsure whether incentives will be available, auto dealers don’t advertise rebate savings on low- and zero-emission cars, lest they be accused of bait-and-switch tactics.

The main purpose of the rebate programs is to help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging sales of electric vehicles. Brown wants 1.5 million zero emission cars sold in the state by 2025.

Few customers have been persuaded. Although sales of electric vehicles are growing in California, they account for less than 3% of the total market for light vehicles in the state and 1% across the U.S.

Still, Californians are ahead of the game when it comes to electric car purchases. About 250,000 cars have been sold — which represents about 50% of sales across the U.S.

Ting’s bill would make the subsidy stream far more dependable, if more costly. It would require that $500 million be continuously appropriated to pay for rebates each year. The money would come from “existing funds,” including cap-and-trade revenue.

tate Sen. Steve Bradford with Gov. Jerry Brown.

State Sen. Steve Bradford with Gov. Jerry Brown. (Christian K. Lee / Los Angeles Times)

State Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) wonders, “What existing funding sources are available to hit that $3 billion?”

All he can imagine, he said, is that funds will be shifted from other environmental programs.

At a recent news conference in San Francisco, Ting said a “very significant subsidy program” is needed to jump-start electric car sales.

The new rebate program would benefit all electric car makers, but Tesla most of all. In part that’s because the Palo Alto company will probably hit production numbers next year that trigger a phase-out of a separate $7,500 federal government subsidy program after Tesla credits max out. No other car company is close to its federal subsidy limits, so, for example, buyers of a Chevy Bolt would benefit from a California tax credit on top of the federal incentive.

“There’s a federal tax credit, but this bill is anticipating that potentially falling out,” state Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) said. “The mandates we set out for ourselves often lack the carrots to make the sticks work.”

The Trump administration has remained silent on the matter.

For Tesla, the bill would have the state pick up where the federal government leaves off.

It would set rebates at a level that would help reduce the consumer cost of an electric vehicle to “the cost of the most frequently sold compact car in the state.” The bill doesn’t specify a dollar amount. Today, the state rebates, when available, range from $1,500 to $5,000.

The compact car standard “is incomprehensible,” said Gene Erbin, who represents the Auto Alliance, the nation’s biggest lobby group for major automobile manufacturers. “I have no idea what that language means,” Erbin told senators at a hearing on the bill.

The Honda Civic is now the most frequently sold compact car in California, with a base price of $18,740. The new Tesla Model 3 base price is expected at about $35,000. That implies a state-subsidized rebate of $9,760 per Model 3 if the federal subsidy is included, or $17,260 if the federal subsidy is not available.

Tesla had no comment on the bill, but the company has been lobbying hard in Sacramento. “They’re always in the building,” Bradford said in a phone call from the Capitol.

The Ting bill has already faced a twisted path. When introduced this year, it put the state’s electric utilities in charge of the rebate program, to be funded by utility ratepayer money and supervised by the state Public Utilities Commission. That provoked an outcry from consumer advocates, and the bill was rewritten, putting the California Air Resources Board in charge, as it is today, but “in coordination” with the PUC.

Legislative analysts have questioned other elements of the bill that have yet to be dealt with.

In a critique for the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, analyst David Ernest Garcia wrote that “it is unclear how increased demand will lower prices” in the long run as the bill claims.

Increasing the budget of the existing program “would be a simpler and more cost-effective” solution. But the $3-billion price tag is “problematic,” he said.

Major automakers, who rarely say no to subsidies, have also slammed the bill because it excludes fuel cell vehicles and favors pure-electric subsidies over plug-in hybrids.

“It’s picking winners and losers,” state Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) said.

The bill goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. An amendment to bar utility ratepayer funds will be considered as will committee member Hill’s proposal to strip references to funding because revenue sources are not clearly identified.


How to know if the car radiator fails

First, make sure it’s coolant that’s leaking, not another fluid. (Coolant is often referred to as antifreeze, but technically coolant is a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.) You can easily check the coolant level in your see-through overflow tank. If it’s empty or low, the next step should be to check the coolant level in the radiator, but that should be done only when the engine is cool.

Once you know you’re losing coolant, the radiator is a good place to start. Some radiator leaks will be easy to spot — such as a puddle underneath the radiator — but others not so much. It’s best to check the radiator from every angle, not just from above, and pay particular attention to seams and the bottom. Corrosion inside the radiator or holes from road debris also can cause leaks.

Antifreeze comes in different colors — green, yellow and pinkish-red, for example — feels like slimy water and usually has a sweet smell. If you can’t see coolant dripping or seeping, look for rust, tracks or stains on the radiator. Those are telltale signs of where it has leaked.

If the radiator appears to be OK, the cooling system offers several possibilities for leaks, including the hoses from the radiator to the engine, the radiator cap, water pump, engine block, thermostat, overflow tank, heat exchanger (a small radiator that circulates hot coolant into the dashboard for cabin heating) and others. A blown gasket between the cylinder head and engine block is another possibility, allowing coolant inside the combustion chambers — a problem that must be addressed immediately by a mechanic.

If you can’t find a leak, have it checked by a professional. Coolant has a way of escaping only under pressure when the car is running — possibly in the form of steam, which may not leave a trace.


Check and fill the tires

Tips for checking and filling your tires

Tire manufacturers suggest checking tires when they’re cold for the most accurate reading. Outside temperatures can cause tire pressure to vary by as much as 1 psi per 10 degrees; higher temperatures mean higher psi readings. “Tires are black; what does black do? Attract heat,” Rastetter said, noting the importance of finding a shady place to check and fill all four tires.

Temperature plays a huge part in tire psi, Rastetter said, adding that the most crucial time of year to check pressure is in fall and winter when days are shorter and average temperatures plummet.

Check your tires in the morning before going anywhere, because as soon as you get behind the wheel for an extended amount of time, psi will rise. Rastetter said that if you’ve been on the road a long time and notice higher psi in your tires, don’t let the air out, as the increase in pressure has built up due to the warm, constantly-in-motion ti

1. Pull your car onto a level surface in the shade.
2. Remove dust caps from the tires’ valve stems.
3. Using your tire gauge, firmly press the tip of the gauge straight on to the tire’s valve stem for a brief moment.
4. The tire gauge should provide a psi reading; if the number seems unrealistically low or high — for example, 85 psi or 1 psi – you will need to repeat the previous step, ensuring that the tire gauge’s tip is properly making contact with the valve stem.
5. If the tire gauge’s recorded reading is higher than the manufacturer-recommended rating, press the gauge tip on the valve stem until you hear air leak out. Check the tire pressure again.
6. If the reading is lower than recommended, fill the tire with air by firmly pressing the air-hose tip onto the valve stem. You will hear air quietly enter the tire. If you hear air leaking or spraying out, you need to double-check that the connection between the air hose and the tire’s valve stem is secure.
7. When you think you’ve added or let out enough air, check the pressure a few times with the gauge.
8. Replace the valve dust caps. Rastetter emphasized the importance of keeping dust caps on during winter driving because if water gets into the valve stem and freezes inside the tire, it could cause a flat.

While you’re at it, check your spare tire’s pressure. You don’t want to have a flat tire and then find out your replacement is flat, too.


The automotive industry

The automotive industry has recovered from the 2008 recession, and is regaining its former strength. There are many factors to show that it is still gaining momentum, for example, General Motors has recently stated they have had their highest global sales ever this year. One industry forecast predicts global automobile production will exceed 61 million, a 7 percent growth from the previous year. Interestingly, GM sold more cars will be sold in China than the US.

Large investments have been made by automakers, this been noticed in many areas. These investments include opening new plants and refurbishing older facilities. The auto industry has long been on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology. However, industry investments don’t just include investment in high technology such as robotics, but also, literally the nuts and bolts of the auto industry. A general increase in manufacturing around the automotive sector has been noticed as well. This includes such staples as steel production, plastics and the key metal forming component. Secondary markets, such as the tier II metal forming industry have picked up over the last several years. Metal stamping, roll forming and carbide die production have increased. In the area of tool and die the auto industry has long since taken advantage of metal forming technologies such as tungsten carbide dies. Tungsten carbide is three times as hard as steel and is used to form many parts such as axles, tubing and a wide variety of other components

Basically, manufactures continue to invest in their supply chains as well as design and technology. The tier II metal forming industry suppliers relationships were severely strained after the 2008 recession. When the recession hit the industry put greater demands on their suppliers for cheaper parts. Even worse, several key automotive companies were unable to payoff large debts they incurred to the vast array of suppliers forcing many suppliers to close their doors. However, these supply chains have been strengthened in recent years, to the benefit of the industry. It would be great if we could say that the tier II and tier III suppliers have been guaranteed a profitable place in manufacturing but unfortunately it is all still on a case by case bases. Supply and demand still rules the day after all.  Overall demand for all of these products is still questionable but the industry remains hopeful. After all, there is a lot riding on it, everything from rubber to steel and the processes to make these raw materials into a commodity, things like tool and die, robotics and of course the labor force, all depend on it.

Will the auto maker’s realize the short sided mistake of trying to eke out every penny from their supply chain or will they construct mutually beneficial relationships. It is better to depend on a pool of competitive suppliers than it is to starve suppliers or attempt to bring it all “in house”. For example, GM or Toyota isn’t going to advance tool and die as quickly as the whole tool and die industry, they need to rely on the tool and die suppliers to advance their own craft and focus on designing and manufacturing better cars and trucks. Perhaps only Ford Motors only realized this, and it allowed them to weather-the-storm. How about controlling their long term obligations to their work force while rewarding talent and hard work by their employees?  Platform-based manufacturing is a growing concept that is gaining popularity in Detroit as well as their competitors in Europe and Asia. The industry is trying to create a common vehicle designs that can be modified to replace the multitude of vehicle models all over the world. This gives automakers the opportunity to standardize manufacturing procedures and parts, increase the size of their facilities, and be able to respond more quickly changes in demand from the consumers in the global market. In the end, the whole process of rolling out models from plants across many countries and supply chains gets simplified, assuming your systems can support these transitions.

There is good news for up and coming manufactures, they will not need to reinvent the wheel. The earlier companies had to make up their own manufacturing processes.  Now they can just copy the flexible manufacturing style of major auto companies. New manufactures can avoid the large expense and lengthy process of development cycles that early adopters have had to proceed through. Modern “next generation” manufacturing execution systems offer new levels of flexibility and agility in production, so the smaller car makers can emulate this type of production strategy without the multi-billion dollar investment it took to come up with these techniques in the first place.

Automatic transmission systems.

Modern Transmission Control Units are designed to meet high precision digital intelligence in order to find out engine’s ideal operating point, the control unit posses high-tech computer enabling complex operation of various kinds of automatic transmission systems.  The processing speed of a modern transmission unit is incredibly faster than the computers used in the lunar mission.

Conventional Automatic: A conventional automatic transmission uses various programs stored in the control unit to shift the gears. Most of cars are equipped with a switch strategically placed on the steering helping the drivers to shift gears avoiding errors and adds precision transmission power. Most common conventional transmission is designed with 6 gears though some ultra-efficient versions are designed with 9 gears.

Automated Manual Transmission: An Automated Manual Transmission, abbreviated as AMT, is a combination of manual and automatic transmission. It offers the best of comfort and convenience of an automatic with an individual control of manual transmission. The clutch opens during the idling condition and utilizes the energy generated when it’s closed. This transmission drastically reduces carbon emissions and saves fuel in the process.

Dual Clutch Automated Transmission: This type of transmission comprises two separate transmissions. One is used for even gear shift and other one for odd gear shift. Both clutches shift back and forth between the transmissions within a fraction of second, allowing precision gear shift. The complex coordination in a dual clutch transmission is possible due to sophisticated transmission control system by a powerful processing.

Continuously Variable Transmission: Abbreviated as CVT, used without any shifting points that completely eliminates shifting response delays. As result, allowing the driver to accelerate accurately without any interruptions as the driving force is available all the times. The vehicle does not even shift back and forth between fixed shifting points, a feature most essential during steep inclines. CVT is widespread in Asia and North American markets.

e-Clutch: An e-Clutch provides the comfort of any automated to a manual transmission in a cost effective way.  Drivers can shift into gear one by just stepping into gas pedal, the e-Clutch automates the clutch but not the transmission. The clutch pedal produces an electrical signal and sends it to the actuator, which decouples the clutch. This affordable transmission acts as an alternative to a fully automated transmission essentially useful for the drivers of compact cars who find themselves in a stop and go traffic within the urban spheres.

Coasting: The e-Clutch manual transmission can also benefit fuel efficient coasting functions, which is only possible with automatic transmissions. Coasting expands on the well-known start-stop function and enables additional fuel savings of up to ten percent. When this function is used, the engine not only switches off at traffic lights, but also while the vehicle is moving

Miniature sensors that regulate automobile

Miniature sensors that regulate automobile performance are designed in a very particular way to operate properly while housed directly on moving automobile tires. They need to have the sensitivity to pick up measurements while in motion and the durability to withstand the elements.

Tire pressure is the unsung hero of automobile performance. When inflated to the proper pressure, tires are the exact shape that the designers intended. As air pressure decreases, the tires need more energy to move. Drivers can easily forget to maintain their tire pressure in the day-to-day routine of moving from one place to another. Punctures can take place and go completely unnoticed. That is why having an onboard sensor that alerts the driver when it’s time to add more air makes all the difference. Creating these sensors requires careful consideration of all the fine details, and simulation provides the tools for finding just the right design.

Tire Pressure Sensors Shape Driving Experience

Schrader Electronics manufactures 45 million sensors annually and provides sensors to leading automotive companies including GM, Ford, and Mercedes. For a sensor to survive road conditions throughout the life of a vehicle, reliability and durability are key. Consideration is given to shock, vibration, pressure, humidity, temperature, and various dynamic forces when designing for the necessary functions, geometry, and materials. Christabel Evans, an engineer with the Schrader Electronics mechanical design team, has been using finite element analysis (FEA) and multiphysics simulation to build successful, efficient tire sensors for all kinds of vehicles.

Designing Better Sensors with FEA

Schrader Electronics has been creating sensors for almost 20 years, but Christabel Evans and her colleagues wanted a more efficient approach for product design and testing. They simulated their designs using FEA and iterated the process—this allowed them to minimize experimental cost and to evaluate design performance during development. Schrader Electronics found that the existing FEA software options were expensive if they wanted to deploy it to their entire team. They turned to using the Structural Mechanics Module and the CAD Import Module of COMSOL Multiphysics®. They started with a series of tests, comparing standardized samples with simulations to validate the software and build confidence in the results.

Improving Sensitivity and Durability with Better Simulation

the researchers began incorporating more natural parameters into their simulations, from dynamic loads such as centrifugal force, to environmental stresses such as temperature change, to static factors such as pressure and crush load. The Hi-Speed Snap-In TPMS consists of a transmitter made up of a circuit housed in an enclosure and attached to a valve stem with a cap. The valve stem connects to the tire rim and allows air to pass through. On the Hi-Speed TPMS, the valve geometry includes a rib that helps retain the assembly in the rim hole.

The researchers at Schrader were able to learn COMSOL Multiphysics software much faster than similar simulation packages, and deployment through the organization was easier because of flexible licensing options. According to Evans, “COMSOL is user-friendly and it is fast to learn—the engineers picked it up right away.”

At the moment, Schrader plans to spend most of their focus on design and growth, with some emphasis on failure analysis, but they hope to improve their development-focused approach with the aid of simulation tools. They are working hard to improve driver comfort, environmental impact, and road safety with each new design.

Automotive Industry

The global automotive industry has been growing constantly. Technologies such as connected transport, smart driver experience, improved battery management systems and better fuel efficiency are reforming the automotive industry.Innovation never stops!

Automotive manufacturers are required to work in uncertain conditions with increasing complexity as a result of wide range of products available to the customer, changing technologies, increasing pressure to innovate, environmental concerns and globalization.

Simulation-based engineeringhelps develop the products in a risk-free environment. This is a faster and more cost effective way to test the products when the expectations are high and failure can be disastrous.Simulation is the key to shorteningtime tomarket as it will accelerate the workflow from design to prototype.

COMSOL Multiphysics enables automotive engineersto accurately investigate design concept to production and fully benefit from the virtual prototyping capabilities that it offers. With COMSOL Multiphysics engineers can couple electromagnetics with heat transfer, structural mechanics, fluid flow, and other physical phenomena, allowing them to accuratelysolve real world problems.

A thermoelectric cooler application is one of 50 app examples available with COMSOL Multiphysics. The user may test different geometries, thermocouple configurations, and material selection in order to determine the ideal cooler option for a specific configuration or an optimized design for best performance.

Researchers working within the automotive industry have used COMSOL Multiphysicsto study corrosion in automotive parts found in car paneling, for example. Simulation helpsresearchers investigate electrochemical reactions on the surface of the rivet, analyze decay in sheet metal, and understand the effects of geometry in the corrosion process.

It’s important to support the experts who often have to serve the entire organization while covering a diverse range of simulation needs,by bringing simulation to a larger group of people. The latest version of COMSOL Multiphysics and its Application Builder provides simulation experts with the tools needed to turn their detailed physics and mathematical models into easy-to-use simulation apps for use by everyone in their organization and beyond.

In order to get the products out in the market faster, experts should be able to deploy their simulations easily that is accessible to a larger group of people. This is already a reality thanks to the addition of the Application Builder to COMSOL Multiphysics for creating simulation apps and the introduction of COMSOL Server to distribute them via a COMSOL Client or browser.

Asbury Automotive

Asbury Automotive Group is leaving the stand-alone used-car store business.

The auto retailer was unable to earn a return on its investment in Q auto and is closing its last two used-only stores. It will now focus its investments on “alternative routes to market” that will deliver higher profits, Asbury COO David Hult said during the company’s second-quarter conference call.

But, Hult said, Asbury is still committed to aggressively growing used-vehicle sales at its franchised dealerships.

An Asbury spokeswoman confirmed the company began closing its last two Q auto stores, both in Florida, on Monday. Those stores were Q auto Brandon and Q auto Tampa. The properties will likely be sold and the inventory will be distributed to other Asbury locations, she said. Asbury will try to move employees elsewhere within the company, the spokeswoman said.

Asbury’s move comes as its peers expand into used-only dealerships. Penske Automotive Group has bought two used-only platforms, CarSense in the U.S. and CarShop in the U.K., AutoNation Inc. plans to open several AutoNation USA used-only stores this year, including one already open in Houston, and Sonic Automotive Inc. operates six EchoPark stores in Colorado. It plans to build about two dozen more in Texas and the Carolinas this year. It bought AutoMatch USA, which has four used-only stores in Georgia and Florida, that it plans to convert to EchoPark stores by the end of 2017.

Asbury closed its largest Q auto store, in Jacksonville, Fla., last year because it was losing money. At that time, CEO Craig Monaghan told Automotive News that 2016 was the year the Q auto used-vehicle venture must prove itself.

In its second-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Monaghan said the financial impact of shuttering the stores was “immaterial” to Asbury’s results, and it will have a minimum impact on future results. He characterized the venture as an experiment.

“We made an investment in an initiative to see if we could attract additional income and it was unsuccessful,” said Monaghan.

But, he said, Q auto did offer some lessons.

“It’s all about where you source your inventory,” Monaghan said. “If you’re going to an auction to buy a car, you’re the last one with your hand up. That’s not a situation we wanted to be in,” Monaghan said.

Asbury can move its trade-in vehicles to its stores more efficiently than shuffling them to off-site locations, he said.

Asbury launched Q auto in mid-2014 to go after used-car sales in a targeted way. Its first store opened in June 2014 in Brandon.

Q auto stores used product specialists to handle sales from beginning to end to make for quick, no-hassle experiences. Customers scanned a code on the car with an electric device to get the car’s features and price. Prices were monitored and changed based on market conditions.