Wednesday, March 28, 2012 06:52
“Put some ice on it and take a double dose of Advil.” That’s my physical-therapist wife’s standard answer to people who request free cures for their pains. Car guys, at least those with fair-sized egos, need a handful of similar diagnoses for car problems.
Before answering any car-advice question, make sure you’re not stumbling into a trap. Ask what repairs have already been made and the results. Many want to compare your answer against a professional’s. If the repairs worked, I say: “That’s just what I was thinking.” If the repairs weren’t fruitful, I recommend taking the car to another shop.
Ask those who haven’t taken the car to a shop how long the problem has existed. Unless they say it started yesterday, know they are unlikely to heed any recommendation. They WANT you to say, “It’s nothing. Just keep driving and I’m sure the grinding and pounds will go away.” Feel safe in telling these people anything.
If you want to offer potentially useful recommendations, here are a few: More...
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 06:55
There’s about a week to go and every major racing series will be up for 2012. It’s a good thing for real car guys like us who love the sound of racing engines and the sweet smell of exhausted race gas. Here’s what’s been going on:
Knaus Busted Again Jimmie Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus and his engineers ran afoul of NASCAR yet again for “unapproved” “C” posts on the No. 48. Hendrick appealed the $100G fines, 25 owner and driver levy and the six race suspensions for Knaus and car chief Ron Malec. The penalties were upheld in the first appeal and Hendrick took it to the final step in the process, a hearing before John Middlebrook, a retired General Motors executive. Middlebrook and team owner Rick Hendrick have “history” through Hendrick’s network of car dealerships. It remains to be seen of the old school “bowtie” will play a part in the final appeal.
This just in On Tuesday, March 20, Middlebrook rescinded points penalties and suspensions, but let the $100,000 fines stand. Bowties are back in style these days.
Sebring “Who Won It” The last lap of the GT race at the iconic Florida “happening” and motor race was a mystery to everyone. While the Audi R18s ran away with the LMP1 class win, the drama played out in GT. Joey Hand drove his BMW to a second consecutive win, but it was not without a street fight with Olivier Beretta’s Ferrari. A red Ferrari off’ed Hand on the last lap at Turn 5. Most, even the race commentators, thought it was over and Beretta had won. However, Sebring’s darkness and campfire smoke obscured the truth, and confusion reigned. Hand flashed across the finish line in the lead with Beretta nowhere in sight. Jan Magnusson’s Corvette almost magically came in second. In the post-race interview, Hand said Beretta’s “bump and run” failed because he punctured a tire. “But that’s the way he (Beretta) runs. He had a flat right front and I was prepared to put him in the tires…” Hand didn’t have to and easily passed the mortally wounded Ferrari without trading any more paint. Click through for video. More...
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 17:13
Ah, Nuts. As we rode up a mountain road, my friend repeatedly swerved to miss squirrels darting across the road. I told him: “If you crash while trying to dodge a squirrel, I’m going to go back, kill it and fry it up for your last meal.” This Chicago-area driver should have taken my advice.
Something's Fishy on I5. The “Most Dedicated Trooper Award” should go to the Washington State Patrol’s Jamie Arnold. Instead of leaving potential hazardous and certainly disgusted fish heads in the road, Trooper Arnold grabbed a broom and cleaned up the mess. Now, THAT’S how we want our tax dollars spent!
Friends Til the End. Using a designated driver can be a great idea, but this pair failed on several levels. They didn’t abstain from alcohol, they failed to get medical care for their friend, and they didn’t stop driving when they discovered he was dead.
Wilmaaaaaaa. Maybe he was trying out for the role of Fred Flintstone. A Michigan man knew his brakes were inoperable (and his license suspended), but he drove anyway. While trying—and failing—to stop his vehicle by dragging his feet on the pavement, the man’s pickup hit a total of four cars. The driver passed sobriety check, so he can only fall back on the “I’m stupid” excuse. And you drive among people just like this every day.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 00:06
The Swiss are known for neutrality, but that didn’t stop the Geneva Motor Show from becoming the scene of a brawl among carmakers to see whose new models would get the most attention. We here at Real Car Guys picked our top three, but we’re not betting against any of them to score a knockout.
BMW’s new M6 Coupe and Cabriolet use the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that puts out 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. With its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, 0-62 mph takes just 4.2 seconds for the Coupe, with the Cab lagging a tenth of a second behind. BMW’s Active M differential, a limited-slip differential that’s coupled with Dynamic Damper Controls, adjusts the suspension on the fly for optimum handling. Braking comes courtesy of 16.1-inch carbon-ceramic rotors with six-piston calipers in front, and 15.6-inch rotors and single-piston calipers in back.
Ford’s popular Fiesta gets the ST treatment with a 1.6-liter, 177-horsepower EcoBoost engine that propels the car to a top speed of 125 mph. The suspension, which was developed by Ford's Team RS and tuned at the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, comes with three electronic stability control settings. With the Fiesta ST confirmed for introduction in Europe in 2013, can a U.S. version be far behind? More...
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 00:09
A weird guy showed up at Daytona over the weekend and started building a boat in Lake Lloyd. When finished it would be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. That's 450 feet by 75 by 45. He said his name was Junior, Noah Jr. He said NASCAR could load the Daytona 500 starting field in tandem pairs, much like his dad did in Genesis 6:15. They will remain aboard until the rain stops and the floodwaters recede.
Seriously, the rain finally stopped and the field took the green at 7:00PM, making this the first Daytona 500 to run in prime time.
Kenseth Win, Big Day for Valvoline NextGen and Roush Fenway Racing
There was something for everyone in this iteration of “The Great American Race.” No one could predict how bizarre it would be. More on that in a bit. The Valvoline NextGen Roush Fenway Fords were bad-fast all week. In the end, it was Cambridge Wisconsin’s Matt Kenseth who added another Harley Earle trophy to his collection of race hardware. Two other Roush Fenway drivers running NextGen finished in the top 10—Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards.
The bizarreness began right from the start. There was a massive crash on Lap 2 that took out Jimmie Johnson and the “Honey Badger” Danica Patrick. The only bright spot for the media darling was grabbing the pole in the Nationwide race. Other than that, she was an innocent victim of somebody else’s dumb maneuver.
The always-strong Hendrick cars, save one, did not fare well. Jeff Gordon kaboomed an engine and Kasey Kahne got smooshed in one of the big car wrecks. Dale Jr. was the last man standing at the end of the race, pushing Kenseth just hard enough to hook him up with Greg Biffle in the other Roush rocket. More...