Is CarMax The Right Choice For A Used Car?

CarMax photoIs CarMax The Right Choice For A Used Car?

I recently discovered that CarMax has opened shop in my local area and after seeing all the commercials, I wanted to see for myself if what they claim is really true. They have a no haggle policy, they only sell excellent pre-owned vehicles, and they offer a 125 point inspection and flexible financing. The vehicles they offer for sale are not older than 6 years from what I discovered.
Since I was curious and had some free time, I decided to head down one afternoon to check it out. The car lot of pre-owned vehicles was extremely well groomed as were their cars, clean and ready for a new owner like a rescue shelter for adopted animals. I was greeted by a very pleasant salesperson within a reasonable amount of time after my arrival. I really was not in the market for another used car, especially since I own a fleet of classic vehicles that fills up every square feet of my garage space. Buying another car for me is like needing a hole in my head. But I wanted to experience what CarMax had to offer.

I walked the lot and notice the pricing on every vehicle appeared to be within the price range of Kelly Blue Book and Edmonds, which sometimes can be way off from each other. If you think you are going to haggle on pricing, think again. The price on the sticker is the price you will pay. There is no pressure on buying, but as I am sure you a aware, if you are on their lot, they will do everything they can to convince you to purchase today. Afterall, you came to them. They will give you the speech on their 5 day return policy,  if you are not happy with the newly purchased pre-owner vehicle that took you a few hours to seal the deal, you can return it for a full refund. Most people do not have remorse until at least 30 days after purchase. So be sure that the car you are purchasing is the right one for you. This is the next largest purchase you can make next to purchasing a home.

There was every variety of automobile available for sale on their lot and within their network. If they do not have the exact car you are in the market for, you can search their network of other locations and if you find the one you like, it can be shipped to your present CarMax location for a fee, which will be tagged onto the purchase price. This will make the cost of the vehicle that much higher.

Their vehicles are given the 125 point check which is similar to the dealer’s pre-owned vehicles they sell inspected by their certified mechanics. CarMax hires ASE certified Technicians. The magority of the vehicles that CarMax resells are turn backs from Rental Companies. What that means is, the Rental Car Companies purchase a percentage of their vehicles and the remainder is leased. So the owned vehicles are retired for resell after 25,000 or so miles, so that they can get a fair market value for the vehicle. Hertz Rent A Car actually operates car lots of their own is larger locations across the country where they sell some of their best turn backs, since Hertz’s keep strict records of all their rental cars.

I purchased two Hertz vehicles for my Mother at the time I was a Fleet Manager for Hertz and both turned out to be great cars, low mileage and the first one she owned lasted 265,000 miles before she really needed another one in order to keep the cost down on repairs. With that many miles you know the car is going to need a few things repaired sooner than later.

CarMax does offer a variety of financing options that fits your budget and monthly payments as well as purchasing your old vehicle if you have one to trade in. Don’t expect to receive top dollar for the car though. This is a huge part of their companies profit since they resell these trade-ins at auction and by giving you bottom price, they can make a profit. So if you think your car is worth more than they offer, then sell by owner would be your best option.

I recommend doing your homework prior to purchasing any vehicle, whether it is from a pre-owned car lot or a private party. As the saying goes when buying from a private party, “buyers beware”. Make sure to have a mechanic check it out before you buy, you never know what might lurk under that hood. Many of my customers and friends always ask me to give a potential new used car the once over and I can tell you, I go through that car like a fine tooth comb. I look it over as if I was going to purchase the car myself.

I can honestly tell you, I almost never give thumbs up to the first car they bring to me. The car lots are rather annoyed with me once I have completed my 125 point check because I point out all that I find wrong with the vehicle. Salespeople really know nothing about the cars they sell, after all, they are sales people not mechanics so they are focused on the purchase price and doing their job, selling cars. If you think about asking anything technical, you’re better off saving that conversation for your mechanic.

Extended warranties are another area to be cautious with, you need to researched further. Make sure to understand all that is covered. This is an added bonus for the car lot to make some extra cash if you are not careful. There are some excellent extended warranties for sale, be very selective and do your homework.

In the end, take the time to visit many car lots to get an idea of pricing for the specific vehicle you are in the market for. Never pay more than the vehicle is worth. If you finance it, you will be over your head on the price which could have you taking a loss if you ever need to sell it. Never be in a hurry to purchase.

I researched CarMax to see how many cars they have actually sold and during the 12 months ended February 28, 2013, the company retailed 447,728 used cars and sold 324,779 wholesale vehicles at our in-store auctions. So they must be doing something right and for the most part, buyers have been happy with their CarMax experience from the reviews I have read.

Click to access CarMax link

Good luck and Happy Motoring

Reprogramming Another Key for Your Car

Reprogramming another Key for Your Car

Anti theft protection for your automobile plays an important role in helping keep your vehicle from being stolen or even broken into. Thieves have found a way around this by breaking the door glass then reaching in without even setting off your car’s alarm.

The best medicine is to keep all valuables out of sight to include your garage door opener; they seem to be a target for criminals these days in order to come back to your home at a later date when you are way.

So what should you do if you need a second key for your vehicle if yours has the factory installed alarm system? Some vehicles such as Dodge or Chrysler require two pre programmed keys in order for you do it yourselfers. The cost is around $35.00 per key. Be aware that Chrysler is now charging locksmiths a fee to retrieve your vehicles computer

For other vehicles you would need to take it either to the dealer or a local locksmith to have this function performed. Most models if you are unaware only allow up to 8 keys to be reprogrammed. The main computer has a maximum limit on how many keys will be allowed. So be sure to keep those spare keys safe.

You have two options for spare keys, you can have them make what they call a carbon copy of the original key or they can program the key to be a stand alone. What that means is the vehicles anti theft system will know that there are two different keys programmed and not just one if you have the carbon copy done. The cost is approximately $25.00 more. Your local dealers could charge much more.

Programming your key fob is really not that difficult, you just need to obtain the sequence of events, which can be found at many sites on the internet. If you have a Ford, insert your key into the ignition, cycle it 7 times on/off, listen for the door locks to cycle then depress your new key fob and your done. Now other manufactures are somewhat complex, so research your make and model.

Another Recall To Announce from Chrysler


Chrysler has announced that Dodge Ram 1500 Pickups made from 2004-2005 are being recalled due to the rear axles locking up. The recall comes after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that began in June.

The agency found 15 complaints, including seven drivers who reported that the wheels locked at speeds over 50 mph. At the time, no crashes or injuries were reported. Chrysler says in documents posted Friday by U.S. safety regulators that the rear-axle pinion nut can come loose. That can cause problems that make the trucks spin out of control. rear axle pinion nutThe recall includes nearly 257,000 trucks in the U.S., another 22,000 in Canada, 8,800 in Mexico and 400 outside North America.

Dealers will install a fix at no cost to owners. The recall will begin in February.

The affected trucks were made from Jan. 28, 2004 to Aug. 3, 2005, according to the documents.

Almost every day recalls are becoming a trend that may begin to cause consumers to be concerned. Buying a new vehicle anymore can be more of a chance than a good thing. Do these parts that are being installed on new vehicles go through an initial inspection prior to being approved for sell? Good question. What is the criteria for recalls and have can you report your vehicles problems?

I have not been able to identify whether or not vehicle parts prior to installation on new or owned vehicles if the parts indeed go through a thorough inspection. I am aware of a company in Northern Nevada call Northern Nevada Automotive Test Center where vehicles off all types experience some extreme conditions and terrain to see if not only the vehicle but the parts installed can hold up to their claim.

As for every part installed and the massive recalls over the years, I would probably say that is NO. Inferior metal, low stands of production outside the United States might be one of the reasons we are seeing so many new vehicles ending up back at the Dealership for recalls. So what does a consumer do? Wait until that make and model is a few years old to buy it? Look at the recent Air Bag recall that spanned over 15 years of vehicles and it took this long for Takata to step up and admit their product was faulty.
I guess buying a new car is like a crap shoot that you will need to wait for the dice to fall before knowing if you have a winner. I found this great article from National Highway and Traffic Safety Association.

In 2009, approximately 30,000 lives were lost on our Nation’s highways Although 30,000 reflect a 28% decrease in traffic fatalities since 2006, much can still be done to address this issue on our Nation’s highways Traffic crashes are the primary cause of debilitating injuries in the United States and the number one killer of Americans under the age of 34 In addition to staggering emotional costs, the annual economic loss to society because of these crashes, in terms of worker productivity, medical costs, insurance costs, etc , is estimated at more than $230 billion Clearly, there is a need for dramatic improvement in motor vehicle safety Getting unsafe vehicles off the road is integral to improving safety and saving lives.

The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (originally enacted in 1966 and now recodified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301) gives the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to issue vehicle safety standards and to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet Federal safety standards. Since then, more than 390 million cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and mopeds, as well as 46 million tires, 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment, and 42 million child safety seats have been recalled to correct safety defects.

Manufacturers voluntarily initiate many of these recalls, while others are either influenced by NHTSA investigations or ordered by NHTSA via the courts. If a safety defect is discovered, the manufacturer must notify NHTSA, as well as vehicle or equipment owners, dealers, and distributors. The manufacturer is then required to remedy the problem at no charge to the owner. NHTSA is responsible for monitoring the manufacturer’s corrective action to ensure successful completion of the recall campaign.

The purpose of this Motor Vehicle Safety Defects and Recalls Booklet is to answer the most commonly asked questions about how and why recall campaigns are initiated, and to inform consumers of their rights and responsibilities when a vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment is recalled. In these pages, you’ll discover how to report a safety-related problem to NHTSA, as well as how participation by citizens like you helps to keep motor vehicles as safe as possible. See the following section for comprehensive answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) NHTSA receives on recalls.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a recall necessary?

• When a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment (including tires) does not comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
• When there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards set minimum performance requirements for those parts of the vehicle that most affect its safe operation (brakes, tires, lighting) or that protect drivers and passengers from death or serious injury in the event of a crash (air bags, safety belts, child restraints, energy absorbing steering columns, motorcycle helmets). These Federal Standards are applicable to all vehicles and vehicle-related equipment manufactured or imported for sale in the United States (including U.S. territories) and certified for use on public roads and highways.

What Is a safety-related defect?

The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301) defines motor vehicle safety as “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.” A defect includes “any defect in performance, construction, a component, or material of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.” Generally, a safety defect is defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that:

• poses an risk to motor vehicle safety, and
• may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture.
Examples of defects considered safety-related
• Steering components that break suddenly causing partial or complete loss of vehicle control.
• Problems with fuel system components, particularly in their susceptibility to crash damage, that result in leakage of fuel and possibly cause vehicle fires.
• Accelerator controls that may break or stick.
• Wheels that crack or break, resulting in loss of vehicle control.
• Engine cooling fan blades that break unexpectedly causing injury to persons working on a vehicle.
• Windshield wiper assemblies that fail to operate properly.
• Seats and/or seat backs that fail unexpectedly during normal use.
• Critical vehicle components that break, fall apart, or separate from the vehicle, causing potential loss of vehicle control or injury to persons inside or outside the vehicle.
• Wiring system problems that result in a fire or loss of lighting.
• Car ramps or jacks that may collapse and cause injury to someone working on a vehicle.
• Air bags that deploy under conditions for which they are not intended to deploy.
• Child safety seats that contain defective safety belts, buckles, or components that create a risk of injury, not only in a vehicle crash but also in non-operational safety of a motor vehicle.

Examples of defects NOT considered safety-related:
• Air conditioners and radios that do not operate properly.
• Ordinary wear of equipment that has to be inspected, maintained and replaced periodically. Such equipment includes shock absorbers, batteries, brake pads and shoes, and exhaust systems.
• Nonstructural or body panel rust.
• Quality of paint or cosmetic blemishes.
• Excessive oil consumption.

How can I report a safety problem to NHTSA?

If you think your vehicle or equipment may have a safety defect, reporting it to NHTSA is an important first step to take to get the situation remedied and make our roads safer. If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate that a safety-related defect may exist that would warrant the opening of an investigation. In order to make it convenient for consumers to report any suspected safety defects to NHTSA, the agency offers three ways to file such complaints.
Vehicle Safety Hotline
NHTSA operates the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Vehicle Safety Hotline telephone service to collect accurate and timely information from consumers on vehicle safety problems. You can call 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to register complaints or receive recall information about a vehicle. The Hotline also has Spanish-speaking representatives and offers a dedicated number, 1-800-424-9153, for use by persons with hearing impairments.

When you call the Hotline to report a vehicle-related safety issue, you will be asked to provide certain critical information that agency technical staff needs to evaluate the problem. The information you provide is filed on a Vehicle Owner’s Questionnaire (VOQ), entered into the agency’s consumer-complaint database, and forwarded to NHTSA technical staff for evaluation.
VOQs filed through the Hotline will be mailed to you for verification of data. In addition, you will receive an explanation of how your report will be used, as well as a request for written authorization allowing NHTSA to provide your personal identifiers (e.g., name, address and telephone number) to the manufacturer of the alleged defective product you own. Note that you are not required to provide such authorization. However, sometimes sharing this information with the manufacturer can help facilitate the recall process.

You can also report a vehicle safety issue to NHTSA online at our vehicle safety Web site: Select “File a Complaint” within the Defects and Recalls section of the home page. The information you submit via the Web site is recorded in VOQ format, entered into our consumer complaint database, and provided to our technical staff for evaluation.
When you fill out a VOQ online, you will be given the option of checking a box to authorize or not authorize the release of your personal identifiers to the manufacturer of the alleged defective product you own. Again, while you are not required to provide such authorization, doing so can sometimes help facilitate the recall process.

U.S. Mail
To report a safety complaint to NHTSA by mail, send your letter to:
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590–finance.html Reference feature photo.

Electrical Car Troubles Can Cost You

dodge batteryRecently I received a call from my mother-in-law and it seems her next door neighbor has been having some serious electrical car troubles. He owns a 2001 Dodge Durango and it has had several trips not only to the local dealer, but other mechanic shops in hopes of finding the mysterious problem. While driving, turning, or just starting out, there never appears to be a pattern to when this vehicle might just shut off. All the mechanics who have encountered this vehicle, could never really recreate the issue. But after the car owner is asked to pick the vehicle up, it seems to happen not long after taking possession of this driving ghost.

All the shops have insured the owner that they have checked everything, from the computer to the wiring. But still nothing is detected. Yet while driving it himself, that ghost appears, the engine just shuts off without warning and again he is stranded. Often times the vehicle will start right back up and other times, he must wait for 10 to 15 minutes. The engine will crank, but not start. One shop felt that it might be the computer, so that was replaced, $1,500.00 dollars later. The owner, thinking the problem has been solved, drives off only to have the car stall a block from his house. Yes when the shops perform a test drive, it drives perfect, no stalling. Can you imagine his frustration? I can, it is like going to the doctor with an aliment and then when you arrive for your appointment, it seems to have disappeared making you feel like an idiot.

Having been a mechanic for over 40 years, I have come across such situations and after all, why would someone want to spend money trying to fix something if it really wasn’t present. So what do you do?

Electrical problems are many times hard to solve. They can be like a needle in a hay stack. In this case, the car owner followed the lead of which ever shop the car might have been at. To make matters worse, they also found other problems such as; the transmission needed replacing, new transfer case, complete new rear end, and front hubs, well the list goes on. After it is all said and done, this poor guy ended up spending up words in the amount of $9,000.00. But the engine shut problem still existed.

His one last ditch effort was to have the computer replaced again, under warranty in hopes of it curing the issue. The owner once again, hopped into his Durango and off he went. It seemed to perform perfectly, until one day, it happened again. That was it, he was through with this vehicle and that is how I entered the picture. My husband and I were offered this vehicle for $500.00. I am not a Dodge fan, but for $500.00 who could say no. Just think of all the money poured into this vehicle and it was in relatively good condition. Nice paint, loaded model, mileage not too bad, good tires and leather interior.
We loaded up on our car trailer and took it home. I am always up for a good challenge so I obtained a temporary permit to drive the car and began my test runs. I put some 250 miles on it and it never missed a lick. I had suspected the battery from the beginning, but the preliminary tests showed good, I was still not convinced. I really wanted it to fail so I could jump out with my meter and test the voltage at the battery.

One morning I started up the Durango put it in drive, went about 5 feet and it stalled. All the dash lights went out, and then came back on, I restarted the car and it started right up. So I drove into town and it never missed a beat. Humm. Then three days later my husband and I went into town for a party that evening, it drove in and back just fine. I like to back my vehicles into the garage, so as I placed the transmission into reverse, the car died. I tried to restart it and it seemed as if it wanted to, but it just wouldn’t. I jumped out, popped open the hood and checked the battery voltage, it was 10.2. Ok now we are getting somewhere. After driving all that way home, the battery should be at least 13 or so volts, which tells me either the alternator is not putting out or the battery is failing.

Since it would not restart, we had to push it into the garage. The next morning I rechecked the battery voltage and it had climbed above 12.4 volts. This is acceptable for now. I still have my doubts. The car started right up, I pulled it out on to the driveway and it died. This time, no power at all, everything was dead. This battery was at the end of its life. The battery had one dead cell, causing low voltage to other sensors in the engine, which in turn would make the car stall. So this fix cost $98.00 dollars for a new battery, problem solved. The moral to this story is, always check the basics first and never assume the worse. Good basic mechanics is where a mechanic should start with and not go replacing things unless you are certain.

Be sure to read my article on How a Battery Works to understand the inner workings of one. It could save you some hard earned cash.

Early steam-powered motorcycles

Early steam-powered motorcycles.

Lucius Copeland 1894

Steam powered motorcycleIn the 1860s Pierre Michaux, a blacksmith in Paris, founded ‘Michaux et Cie’ (“Michaux and company”), the first company to construct bicycles with pedals called a velocipede at the time, or “Michauline”. The first steam powered motorcycle, the Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede, can be traced to 1867, when Pierre’s son Ernest Michaux fitted a small steam engine to one of the ‘velocipedes’.

The design went to the USA when Pierre Lallement, a Michaux employee who also claimed to have developed the prototype in 1863, filed for the first bicycle patent with the US patent office in 1866.[4] In 1868 an American, Sylvester H. Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts developed a twin-cylinder steam velocipede, with a coal-fired boiler between the wheels. Roper’s contribution to motorcycle development ended suddenly when he died demonstrating one of his machines in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 1, 1896.

Also in 1868, a French engineer Louis-Guillaume Perreaux patented a similar steam powered single cylinder machine, the Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede, with an alcohol burner and twin belt drives, which was possibly invented independently of Roper’s. Although the patent is dated 1868, nothing indicates the invention had been operable before 1871.

In 1881, Lucius Copeland of Phoenix, Arizona designed a much smaller steam boiler which could drive the large rear wheel of an American Star high-wheeler at 12 mph. In 1887 Copeland formed the Northrop Manufacturing Co. to produce the first successful ‘Moto-Cycle’ (actually a three-wheeler).

Experimentation and invention

Butler’s Patent Velocycle

The first commercial design for a self-propelled bicycle was a three-wheel design called the Butler Petrol Cycle, conceived of and built by Edward Butler in England in 1884.[5] He exhibited his plans for the vehicle at the Stanley Cycle Show in London in 1884, two years earlier than Karl Benz invented his first automobile who is generally recognized as the inventor of the modern automobile. Butler’s vehicle was also the first design to be shown at the 1885 International Inventions Exhibition in London.

The vehicle was built by the Merryweather Fire Engine company in Greenwich, in 1888. the Butler Petrol Cycle (first recorded use of the term). It was a three-wheeled vehicle, with the rear wheel directly driven by a 5/8hp (466W) 600 cc (40 in3; 2¼×5-inch {57×127-mm}) flat twin four stroke engine (with magneto ignition replaced by coil and battery),[6] equipped with rotary valves and a float-fed carburettor (five years before Maybach), and Ackermann steering,[7] all of which were state of the art at the time. Starting was by compressed air.  The engine was liquid-cooled, with a radiator over the rear driving wheel. Speed was controlled by means of a throttle valve lever. No braking system was fitted; the vehicle was stopped by raising and lowering the rear driving wheel using a foot-operated lever; the weight of the machine was then borne by two small castor wheels. The driver was seated between the front wheels. It wasn’t, however, a commercial success, as Butler failed to find sufficient financial backing.

Replica of the 1885 Daimler-Maybah Reitwagen

Another early internal combustion, petroleum fueled motorcycle was the Petroleum Reitwagen. It was designed and built by the German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Bad Cannstatt, Germany in 1885. This vehicle was unlike either the safety bicycles or the boneshaker bicycles of the era in that it had zero degrees of steering axis angle and no fork offset, and thus did not use the principles of bicycle and motorcycle dynamics developed nearly 70 years earlier. Instead, it relied on two outrigger wheels to remain upright while turning. The inventors called their invention the Reitwagen (“riding car”). It was designed as an expedient testbed for their new engine, rather than a true prototype vehicle.

First commercial products

Motorcycle first commercialIn the decade from the late 1880s, dozens of designs and machines emerged, particularly in Germany and England, and soon spread to America. During this early period of motorcycle history, there were many manufacturers since bicycle makers were adapting their designs for the new internal combustion engine.

Diagram of 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller.

In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a motorcycle(German: Motorrad). However, only a few hundred examples of this motorcycle were ever built. The first instance of the term “motor cycle” also appears in English the same year in materials promoting machines developed by. Pennington, although Pennington’s motorcycles never progress past the prototype stage.

Excelsior Motor Company, originally a bicycle manufacturing company based in Coventry, England, began production of their first motorcycle model in 1896, available for purchase by the public. The first production motorcycle in the US was the Orient-Aster, built by Charles Metz in 1898 at his factory in Waltham, Massachusetts.

In the early period of motorcycle history, many producers of bicycles adapted their designs to accommodate the new internal combustion engine. As the engines became more powerful and designs outgrew the bicycle origins, the number of motorcycle producers increased. Many of the nineteenth century inventors who worked on early motorcycles often moved on to other inventions. Daimler and Roper, for example, both went on to develop automobiles.

At the turn of the century the first major mass-production firms were set up.

A 1913 FN (Fabrique National), Belgium, 4cylinders and shaft drive
In 1901 English quadricycle and bicycle maker Royal Enfield introduced its first motorcycle, with a 239 cc engine mounted in the front and driving the rear wheel through a belt. In 1898, English bicycle maker Triumph decided to extend its focus to include motorcycles, and by 1902, the company had produced its first motorcycle—a bicycle fitted with a Belgian-built engine. A year later, it was the largest motorcycle manufacturer with an annual production of over 500 units. Other British firms were Norton and Birmingham Small Arms Company who began motorbike production in 1902 and 1910, respectively.

In 1901, the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company, which had been founded by two former bicycle racers, designed the so-called “diamond framed” Indian Single, whose engine was built by the Aurora Firm in Illinois per Indian’s specifications. The Single was made available in the deep blue. Indian’s production was up to over 500 bikes by 1902, and would rise to 32,000, its best ever, in 1913. producing over 20,000 bikes per year. The American company Harley-Davidson started producing motorcycles in 1903.

During this period, experimentation and innovation were driven by the popular new sport of motorcycle racing, with its powerful incentive to produce tough, fast, reliable machines. These enhancements quickly found their way to the public’s machines.

Chief August Vollmer of the Berkeley, California Police Department is credited with organizing the first official police motorcycle patrol in the United States in 1911. By 1914, motorcycles were no longer just bicycles with engines; they had their own technologies, although many still maintained bicycle elements, like the seats and suspension.


Reference: motorbike utopia

How a Car Battery Works

How a Car Battery Works
Have you ever wondered how a car battery actually works? If your cars battery is not working properly, it can cause you not only headaches, but it can also empty your wallet.
Let us first talk about how a battery works. A Battery not only releases electricity, it also absorbs it. A battery is made up of cells and depending on the voltage, depends on how many cells a battery will house. A 6 volt battery has 3 cells and a 12 volt battery requires 6 cells. In a 12 volt battery each cell is made up of 2 sets of electrodes made up of 8 overlapping metallic plates, equaling a total of 16 per cell. The plates form a compact grid. The bigger the grid, the more power it can generate.Battery inners
There are two terminals, I am sure you are familiar with the Positive + and the Negative – terminals on batteries. The Positive grid is covered in lead oxide which carries electrons. The plates soak in a chemical bath of 64% water and 36% sulfuric acid and are very volatile. If you are not careful just a drop of it will eat through your clothing and burn your skin. It is very important to wear protective equipment anytime you are dealing with car batteries.
The key to a car battery is all the chemical reaction that occurs inside the battery cells. The reaction is repeated as the battery drains during use. The mix of water and sulfuric acid acts as electrolytes. Electrolyte is a substance that conducts electricity.

As the battery drains, the acid bath reacts to the chemicals on the plates. The lead covering one cell grid and the lead oxide covering the other cell grid. Dipping them in electrolyte bath releases particles called electrons. When they start racing through the grids, they create electricity.
As the electrons race from the positive grid in the first cell and out the negative grid, they produce 2 volts of electricity. So as the electrons race from cell to cell, by the time it reaches the positive cell, it produces 12 volts.
Your car battery is now fully loaded enough to start your car’s engine. Once your car has started, the car’s fuel system takes over and keeps the car’s motor running.
Then the car’s alternator takes over the electrical chores. The Battery continues to recharge by reversing the chemical reaction. Electrons produced by the car’s alternator now enter the battery through the negative grid of the cells and comes out the positive side. Then the chemical on the grids go back to normal. The battery is then recharged and ready to put out another 12 volts of electricity.
Now if you forget and leave your lights on, the chemical reaction moves in only one direction, which will drain your battery, not allowing the battery to recharge and you now have a dead battery.
If you live in cold temperature climates, during the winter months, it is very important to keep your battery fully charged. Due to the nature of their design, when a battery is not fully-charged, the sulfuric acid and distilled water inside the battery are not properly mixed and the distilled water can freeze. If you suspect this when your vehicle does not start on a cold morning, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO JUMP START OR CHARGE A BATTERY THAT MAY BE FROZEN.
The first thing you should do is to visually inspect the battery case. If you see cracks in the case, the may be damaged beyond repair and should be taken to a battery retailer for inspection. If this is the case, the battery will need replacing.