I created Piston Slap as a way to bring the diverse knowledge base of your favorite car forum to the autoblogosphere with easy to digest weekly posts. The only problem is when a mistake gets published, the thread never comes back to page one with its correction.
I screwed up, so here I’ll do my best to fix it: I was mistaken about aftermarket DOT/SAE approved lights being just as good or better than original-equipment factory parts. Some of the aftermarket parts are promoted as being “CAPA certified” (Certified Automotive Parts Association), but as we shall see, that doesn’t mean what it sounds like, and it doesn’t help with our reader’s query that started the conversation in the first place. As seen elsewhere, parts not up to spec can have tragic consequences with little recourse for victims.
My supply of reader-submitted Piston Slap queries is running low! So in the coming weeks, please help re-fill the coffers. Just about anything goes! (Purchase queries go to Ask Bark.)
Email [email protected]com lest I spend the rest of my days updating everyone on my passion project, a Fox-body 1983 Continental Valentino restomod.
While you brainstorm your questions, let’s discuss headlight upgrades — because there’s a right and wrong way! (Read More…)
You’re driving through the city, minding your own business, when all of a sudden someone in a car behind you starts flashing their headlights. What do you do?
Urban legends aside, the act of flashing your headlights or high beams at someone can mean a number of different things — which sucks, because usually the person on the receiving end misunderstands your optical horn.
My bad. (photo courtesy: imgflip.com)
It’s me again, steady reader, random poster/questioner, with another D21 question. My good old ’94 Nissan D21 is soldiering on, 213,000 and steady on. Of course I don’t ever thrash it which I’m sure makes a difference.
But to get to the point: the other day I went out to go to work and presto! No low beams. High beams, check. All signals, markers and brake lights, check. Just no low beams.
(photo courtesy: seadoo2006 @ forums.fourtitude.com)
I read this column on lighting, thanks for the information! That leads me to a question…
What is up with Chevy/GM truck and SUV reverse lights!?!?!?! Why do they come on when their drivers use their lock remotes?????
It is crazy going through parking lots these days with all the SUV reverse lights coming on for no good reason. Help me understand please.
(photo courtesy: galleryhip.com)
TTAC Commentator MWebbRambler writes:
Your recent Piston Slap on HID lights reminded me of a problem I had with replacing tail lights on my wife’s 2009 Traverse. One of the OEM bulbs burned out, so I decided to replace both brake/tail lights with LEDs.
The LED lights worked great and were brighter than the OEM bulbs, but there was just one problem–the turn signals would blink rapidly, just like they did with the burned out bulb. After I went back and RTFM I learned the rapid blinking or “hyper-flashing” occurs when a bulb is burned out OR the system is drawing little to no current. Since the LEDs use a lot less power, the system thinks the bulb is burned out. (Read More…)
Obligatory E39 Photo. (photo courtesy: bimmerforums.com)
I’m still only three years into the car business and I still haven’t wrapped my brain around one thing: xenon headlamps. As a used car manager I’ve replaced plenty of xenon bulbs (pricey) and even some ballasts (really pricey).
Are you sold on their usefulness? To me it seems like a giant waste of money.
This was my first vacation in, like, ever. And it was supposed to be a break from cars. No driving, wrenching, writing, photographing! Stop looking at that Ford Versailles, don’t take a photo of that Renault, because car design is no vacation in such a beautiful place…right?
And then “my” Ford Ranger found me in Leblon. Oh, for the love of why did I walk down this street I can’t believe that stupid truck followed me from…
I’m writing you because I’ve searched and asked model-specific forums, and mechanics, to no avail. I have the last of the 1st Gen SLK AMGs. I love this car, and I’ve loved it since the first non-AMG launched in the late 90s. Overall, it’s well maintained – a trend which I continue – and I’ve had it for a few years. I have one major issue. (Read More…)
Confused in South Bend writes:
I am the owner of 2003 M-B C240 base, with the Bi-Xenon headlights. Recently, one of the headlights has developed an issue….in cold weather, it does not work.
Went to my German car specialist, who wasn’t so special on this issue. No problem, he said, replace the bulb. $160 later, still had the problem. OK, negotiated for him to give me a credit on the next fix.
Researched on the web, purchased a used Ballast. Mr. German car specialist looked at the part, scratched his head and said, “I don’t know what this part is.” Mercedes dealer says, spend about $900 for an entirely new headlight assembly.
I know that Mercedes engineers think money grows on trees….but $900 to fix a balky headlight? Come on… (Read More…)
A TTAC lurker writes: