The Truth About Cars » Fluids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 19:04:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Fluids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/product-reviews/fluids/ Five Simple Technologies For The Long Haul http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/five-simple-technologies-for-the-long-haul/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/five-simple-technologies-for-the-long-haul/#comments Sat, 21 Jul 2012 19:10:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=453706 Everybody wants a deal. But precious few people are willing to change their habits to make their deal last longer. The casualties of the rough and reckless are expensive and almost always preventable. For every person who complains about an automatic transmission giving out, there are ten people who still insist on shifting from reverse […]

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Just Imagine What I Can Do To Your Car!

Everybody wants a deal. But precious few people are willing to change their habits to make their deal last longer.

The casualties of the rough and reckless are expensive and almost always preventable. For every person who complains about an automatic transmission giving out, there are ten people who still insist on shifting from reverse to drive while the vehicle is in motion.

Moments like that make me feel like this behavior is just…

Click here to view the embedded video.

not economically viable.

I sometimes tell folks that doing that to a car is like walking backwards and having someone punch you in the square of the back. Enough hits in the back at that same place, and you’re going to need surgery.

Machines, like us limber humans,  shouldn’t have to deal with such stress issues.

Does the mpg’s stink? Sometimes it’s the fault of the manufacturer. But other times, more often than not, it’s because the owner abuses the vehicle with jackrabbit starts, hard braking, and outright neglect.

Steering and suspension components don’t last? Tell the screw behind the wheel to loosen up a bit, and watch the road ahead.

Waste costs money when it comes to cars. So what should we do if our father, cousin or former roommate are the automotive Kevorkians of the modern day?

Plan ahead… and hope that a few low-cost technologies become as common as these modern day Kevorkians.

1) The Shelf

 

You would think that I start this weekend’s column with some whiz bang technology that requires a computer and a circuit. Truth is a lot of folks eventually screw up the interiors because their stuff is all strewn about. They get used to having their transportation serve as a mobile romper room where anything can be chucked anywhere for any reason.

A well placed shelf in the rear of most hatchbacks has the effect of keeping everything in place and nearly doubling the available space you have to haul and store your cargo. This is important from an owner’s standard because the easier it is to keep things tidy, the more inclined we are to do it. An empty soda can in a clean room will usually be thrown away while the same can in a messy place will usually just blend in with the scenery.

A good shelf opens up a lot of space, and helps keep a car tidy.

2) Oil life monitoring systems.

This technology has been around for over 20 years and yet the overwhelming majority of cars still don’t have them.

The benefits of this are obvious… and yet as of 2010, only 40% of manufacturers use them in their cars.

If an automotive Kevorkian wants to ignore this technology, so be it. But putting this in cars would likely save a lot of folks hundreds of dollars and several unneeded oil changes. Multiply that by all the folks in need of it, and we could retire the debt of California… or at least Stockton.

3) MPG monitors: Instant and average

 

What can you do on a long, miserable commute home?

Daydream, listen to the radio, drive, talk on a hands free phone… and that’s about legally it.

Why not keep score?

Of course not all folks will do this. But offering a simple button or switch that makes this possible could alter the driving behaviors of at least a few errant drivers.

Besides, when you’re bored in stop and go traffic, frugality can be the only cheap fun out there.

4) Shift interlocks

I am stubborn on my belief that most CVT’s that will go south in the coming years can endure if their new owners learn how to shift properly.

Reverse, stop, shift. Drive, stop, park. Don’t shift in motion. Stop. STOP. STOP!!!

A shift lock mechanism that keeps the car from shifting while it’s in motion would help undo a learned behavior. That and the four figured premiums of replacing those transmissions.

5) Simple maintenance access

If an automaker wants to enshroud their engine in plastic, that’s fine. But no manufacturer should have the arrogance and gall to prevent access to the tranny fluid, claim that it is a ‘lifetime fluid’, and then whistle the tunes of warranties gone by once that transmission goes kaput.

Lifetime should mean lifetime. End of story. If a manufacturer wants to play the “What is a lifetime?” game, then at least give owners an easy means to replace the fluid.

 

Do you know of anything else that can be cheap or helpful? I have a few other ideas. But in the meantime, feel free to share any technologies or Kevorkians you have come across in your travels. As Judge Judy says, “You can’t stop stupid.” But perhaps a well-deigned shift interlock can slow it down.

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Redline WaterWetter® Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/01/redline-waterwetter%c2%ae-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/01/redline-waterwetter%c2%ae-review/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2008 23:29:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/product-reviews/redline-waterwetter%c2%ae-review/ 0601_hppp_24z2003_pontiac_grand_prixredline_water_wetter.jpgInexpensive products that promise significant improvements to your car’s performance are almost always fool’s gold. This is especially true for engine additives (*cough* STP *cough*). However, there’s one company with a sterling reputation for delivering on its promises: Redline Synthetic. Since 1979, the Benicia, California company has been selling coolants, fuel additives and lubricants to the automotive, motorcycle, marine and industrial markets. As part of their range, Redline offer a product called WaterWetter®. They claim their potion can reduce car coolant temperatures by as much as 30ºF. That’s hot! I mean, not. 

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0601_hppp_24z2003_pontiac_grand_prixredline_water_wetter.jpgInexpensive products that promise significant improvements to your car’s performance are almost always fool’s gold. This is especially true for engine additives (*cough* STP *cough*). However, there’s one company with a sterling reputation for delivering on its promises: Redline Synthetic. Since 1979, the Benicia, California company has been selling coolants, fuel additives and lubricants to the automotive, motorcycle, marine and industrial markets. As part of their range, Redline offer a product called WaterWetter®. They claim their potion can reduce car coolant temperatures by as much as 30ºF. That’s hot! I mean, not. 

I reckoned it’d be a doddle to test the bottle. I’d simply run my car sans Redline’s additive and check the coolant temperature. Then, following the instructions on the bottle with my usual precision, I’d give my mount the magic potion, drive the same test loop and measure the temp again.

For the mechanically challenged, installation of WaterWetter® could not be easier. Assuming you can open your hood, open your hood (when it is cold, otherwise prepare for a scalding). Locate the radiator fluid intake point (RTFM if necessary). If you have too much fluid in the overflow tank (above the line labeled max), simply siphon off 12 ounces before installing, as overfilling is a really bad idea. Open the radiator cap (or on most modern cars, the overflow tank) and pour in the full bottle of WaterWetter®, funnel optional.

Before I reveal the results of my test, let’s look at Redline's claims for WaterWetter®'s effects on your cooling system:

• Doubles the wetting ability of water
• Improves heat transfer
• Reduces cylinder head temperatures
• May allow more spark advance for increased torque
• Reduces rust, corrosion and electrolysis of all metals
• Provides long term corrosion protection
• Cleans and lubricates water pump seals
• Prevents foaming
• Reduces cavitation corrosion
• Complexes with hard water to reduce scale

According to Redline, WaterWetter®’s greatest benefits accrue to those cars running straight water in their cooling system– which doesn't include anyone living in snow country. Translation: WaterWetter® offers all the normal protection benefits of regular coolant to people who don't use regular coolant. Oh, at a lower temperature. Well, theoretically… 

Strangely, Redline’s own test results don’t square with their ad copy. Their technical literature only shows an eight degree Fahrenheit drop in a car with a 50/50 mix of water and coolant, and an eighteen degree Fahrenheit drop for a car running 100 percent water. 

I used a VagCom system (reads sensor data directly from the ECU) for my tests. The pre-WaterWetter® installation delivered temperatures between 96 and 98 degrees centigrade (or 205 to 208 degrees Fahrenheit for the Americans). The post-installation temperature stayed steady at 96 degrees centigrade. Clearly, not the results advertised.

Other websites have tested WaterWetter® and also concluded that the overall decrease in coolant temperature is marginal. So WaterWetter®’s benefits either lie elsewhere (or nowhere). That assessment requires a certain level of trust with Redline products. In my experience, based on their oil products, they deserve this trust.

In reviewing the technical literature on Redline’s website, WaterWetter® claims to reduce hot spots in a car’s cylinder head. In theory at least, this reduces the possibility of localized overheating, improving engine longevity. Supposedly, WaterWetter® also protects aluminum products in the cooling system from excessive heat and cavitation caused by vapor bubbles forming inside the cylinder head and water pump.

In addition, for cars running straight water, WaterWetter® provides some additional protection. This includes traditional coolant roles of reducing corrosion and lubrication of water pump seals. For cars caned on the track or driven in the summer only, a water-only engine and cooling system solution will lead to problems. However, for cars with a tradition 50/50 mix of water and trad coolant, these benefits are already present without WaterWetter®.

WaterWetter® is available at auto parts stores and online for less than $10 a bottle. One bottle is good for an entire cooling system, and lasts as long as you properly keep fluid in your system (assuming you follow the recommended practice of flushing your cooling system every two years or 30,000 miles).

Since WaterWetter® has no readily measurable benefit, should you consider putting this in your car? That depends on your personality and your relationship with your car. 

If you’re like me, you like buying stuff for your car in the HOPES of improving power, performance, mileage or longevity (I put Chevron Techron in my tank every 1000 miles). It’s true: I’m a sucker for products that have the POTENTIAL to improve the car, even without any possibility of measuring the results. This is doubly true if the cost isn’t prohibitive and there isn’t any risk of a downside.

In other words, fool’s gold is as good as gold to a fool.     

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