Housekeeping: TTAC Gets Game-Changing Design Language

When you log in to this grand old site next week, it will look different. For the first time in … well, a long time.

I know, you’ve heard talk of a redesign before. I’ve even seen mockups! But for a variety of reasons, things never moved past the planning stage.

Now, however, our corporate parents are leveraging a partnership and TTAC will be getting fresh new duds.

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Piston Slap: Sucking At Fluid Changes?

Longtime TTAC Commentator ajla writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I do a more through job at the time of purchase, but every year after I do a drain/refill on the radiator and replace some transmission fluid by using my fluid extractor to vacuum up as much ATF as possible through the dipstick tube.

I know that I’m not getting all the fluids exchanged this way, but my question is how much of a positive impact is this regiment actually having on my cars? Am I just wasting my time? I haven’t suffered a mechanical failure since I started doing this, but I don’t know if that proves much.

Keep in mind that the vehicles I tend to own are 20 to 30 years old.

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Change, Credibility, and The Business Cycle

Why does TTAC roll its eyes at every proclamation of change, rebirth and renewal from automakers, particularly of the Detroit-based variety? To put it in a single French phrase, dèjá vu. In an industry as cyclical as the automaking game, the latest downturn always takes place within recent memory of the last downturn. As a result, the promises of reinvention and renewed focus are still ringing in our ears by the time each new PR offensive rolls out. One can only hear so many pleas and promises before they all start running together, creating the permanent, inescapable sense that we’ve been here before and it didn’t work out. No better evidence for this phenomenon exists than this series of videos from the 1988 edition of GM’s perennial campaign of renewal (especially in part two). The music may have changed, but the beat goes on.

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  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.