Headlights play a major role in our lives behind the wheel. We’ll take a quick look at the major types of lights in the current market.
Halogen bulbs have long been the standard. They are easy to find and cheap to replace. These bulbs have a typical lifespan of 400-1,000 hours, with about 800 hours being the average. Halogen bulbs are sensitive to loss of gas and filament breakage.
High Intensity Discharge or xenon bulbs made their appearance in the early 1990’s. They are filled with gas like halogen but operate similar to a neon sign with electrodes at either end. They are about twice as bright as halogen bulbs, putting out 3,000 lumens vs 1,400 lumens. Typical lifespan of HID bulbs are between 2,000 and 8,000 hours. The downside to xenon is their price and tendency to produce a lot of glare for drivers coming in the opposite direction.
LED bulbs are new in the automobile world. Despite being around about as long as xenon bulbs have been, they didn’t start making ground until into the 2000’s. LED’s are more efficient than halogen and xenon, and produces cleaner light without glare. They have a nearly unlimited lifespan in an automobile. Aside from the cost to convert, LED’s are susceptible to heating issues in the wiring connections and require a lot of cooling in the lamp itself.
Xenon and LED are both becoming more popular over halogen bulbs. Whether xenon or LED is better is dependent upon ones specific needs for night driving. The difference between the light produced and the beam length of xenon and LED are competitive, both being an improvement over halogen.
It happens to all of us: A shopping cart, kids playing, the neighbors dog…Scratches happen. While nail polish can get you by in a pinch or at the very least protect the metal below from moisture, it’s a temporary fix. When it comes time to order touch-up, one thing you’ll need is the vehicles’ paint code. Below are a few spots some manufacturers like to hide them.
Mercedes-Benz makes life simple by putting the paint code on the VIN plate located in the driver’s door jamb. They are not explicitly marked as such, but in most cases there will be a three or four digit code near the date.
BMW likes to put their paint codes on the VIN plate as well, however they are not always there. If not in the door jamb, BMW will place a sticker in the engine bay. They are usually on the strut towers, around the perimeter of the engine bay, or on the underside of the hood.
Audi does a printout that includes a lot of information specific to your individual vehicle. The sticker almost looks like a receipt. It is usually placed in the well with the spare tire.
Following in Audi’s footsteps, Porsche has a similar highly detailed sticker that is found in the front storage compartment or near the spare. Additionally, a sticker is placed in the owners manual.
In the event there is no information or you purchased a vehicle that has been repainted from its original color, there are other ways to get touch up paint. While most body shops like working from paint codes, some will match the color.
With the workweek drawing to an end, here are some interesting news stories to help get to the weekend:
Florida man steals Jeep from driveway, gets caught by coming back to look for his phone. According to Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the accused returned to the scene from where he stole it and asked if anybody found his cellphone. Details seen here.
Rhino poacher completes the circle of life as he was killed by elephants and eaten by lions. Kruger National Park in South Africa is a game reserve of about 7,500 square miles. The preserve is home to Africa’s big five which include elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, and cape buffalo.
Mississippi driver Livestreamed Mustang speeding event, arrested on felony firearms charges. In a previous video, he is stopped by Deputies after driving recklessly and can be seen and heard on the video denying the actions he had just recorded. YouTube is not the only means of social media used to incriminate himself, according to police. Investigators were provided screen shots showing possessing numerous weapons. Sheriff’s Office’s post
The South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach will host Barrett Jackson’s 17th annual Palm Beach Auction from Thursday, April 11th through Saturday, April 13th. Beginning with over 600 cars at no reserve, additional entertainment includes hot laps with professional drivers, sponsor exhibits and marketplace, automobilia auction, and more. It has been noted that the auction has seen an uptick in Japanese import sport coupes the from the 1990’s such as the Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7, and Mitsubishi 3000GT. There will be several examples on the auction block. Discovery and MotorTrend TV crews will be looking to fill about 18 hours worth of live coverage from the event.
Getting more for less is always a better option. The long and the short of forced induction is why many manufacturers are choosing to boosted motor over a normally aspirated one. Whether driven by pulleys or by exhaust gases, the goal is to put more air and fuel into a motor and get better performance than another motor of a similar size.
The history of turbocharging lies with the large diesel motors of ocean liners and rail transport, as well as aviation applications of the early 1900’s. Both of these types of motors tend to run for an extended period of time at a constant RMP. Using exhaust gases to power a compressor to feed cooler air into the motor at a higher pressure is how boost is made. Initially, these low pressure turbines were used to increase fuel economy.
Fast forward through several decades of research and development, and today’s marketplace is seeing more and more forced induction motors in everyday vehicles. Keywords like “TwinPower” and “supercharged” make the marketplace more confusing than ever.
A twin scroll turbo uses the same idea of a basic turbocharger, but has a two part inflow. Splitting the input side reduces pressure differences and improves the overall operation of the system. A twin power turbo is mated to a balanced exhaust manifold to aid in keeping exhaust pulses at equilibrium and not siphoning power out of the adjoining cylinder. Many newer BMW engines use this setup.
High performance motors such as those found in the V8 bi-turbo powered BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz AMG’s are set up in a “Hot V” configuration. Traditionally, V motors have the intake in the center of the V and exhaust out and down. This is reversed in a “Hot V”, so the supercharger or turbochergers can be placed there. Additionally, this design is more compact and can allow these motors to fit into smaller engine bays or into a cross platform chassis where a larger motor couldn’t fit.
The Audi 3.0L V6 “supercharged” motors feature an Eaton 1320 supercharger. These superchargers work in the same manner as their turbocharged counterparts, but are driven from the motor itself. Supercharging offers a more instantaneous response since it does not suffer from lag.
In today’s world: car motors are being produce lighter by using alloys over heavier cast iron; stronger by better material use like forged internals and titanium valvetrains; more powerful via forced induction. All of this helps us go further on less.
The Porsche Museum is celebrating 50 years of the iconic 917. Making its debut, the 917 was on display at the Geneva Auto Show on March 12th, 1969. This is the car that was homogenized in short order and lead to Porsche to its first two 24 Hours of Le Mans victories of 1970 and 1971. Chassis -001 has been fully restored from various liveries over the years to the Geneva Car Show white and green. Running from May 14th to September 15th, showcasing several 917 race cars.
While not a full redesign, BMW is making some upgrades to the 2017 i3. The first comes in the form of larger 94 Ah cells instead of the 60 Ah in older models. The new cells are physically the same size but generate a larger capacity by an increase in density. The 2017 model produces 33 kWh, up from 22 kWh. In the end, range specs are 114 miles on all electric and 180 miles with range extender.
Additional changes include the Protonic Blue form the i8, larger 2.4 gallon Range Extender tank, as well as the moonroof that wasn’t available in the US market. The moonroof features individual shades separated by center console, but is a single piece that tilts and opens.