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Understanding Cars

What Do You Know About The Autobahn?

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Germany Autobahn Night

As a website dedicated to everything automotive, we would be negligent not to have an article about the much-loved Autobahn. What is it, how did it come to be, and what does the future hold for it? These are major questions that warrant an answer.

We sat down with the Service team at a knowledgeable , and this is what we uncovered:

The Autobahn, or Bundesautobahn as Germans call it, is a federal highway system. Most German drivers consider it to be only a road no unlike the U.S. Interstate System; however, here is one major difference — no speed limit in many places!

Considered by many people as cultural symbol of Germany, the Autobahn spans a third of the country’s traffic. Keep reading to learn more about this magnificent piece of .

Some Notable Laws:

  • Emergency lanes are only for emergencies. Even running out of gas is not an excuse as that circumstance is avoidable.
  • Drivers must leave at least two seconds of reaction time between themselves and the car in front. Disobeyed this rule could result in a three-month suspension of your driver’s license.
  • The right lane is for travel, and the left lane for passing. This is strongly enforced, so don’t forget it.

The Autobahnpolizei

Like in the highway systems in the United States and Canada, Germany’s autobahn is regulated and laws are enforced by a federal police force, the Autobahnpolizei are not to be messed with, relying the latest technologies — e.g. radar, video surveillance — and law-enforcement methods to keep the traffic flowing and maintain order.

Origins Of The System

In late 1932, the first German “automobile road” opened between Bonn and Cologne. It could only be used by motorcycles and cars and had no cross streets. Slow vehicles like horse-drawn carts were banned from it. This was the beginning of what would become the Autobahn.

The Nazi Party succeeded in taking over Germany’s political system by the late 1930s, and Adolph Hitler obtained power. Because Hitler’s military campaigns required a highly developed road system to transport war materials, he started an extensive road building campaign across the country that would become the world’s first high-speed, limited-access road network.

The Autobahn Today

Believe it or not but most sections of the Autobahn network do not allow unlimited speed. Only a few parts do, allowing you drive as fast as you want.

As on other highways, the autobahn has a posted minimum speed. In the Autobahn’s case, the minimum speed prohibits the use of bicycles, mopeds, small cars and other slow-moving transportation. Keep your bicycle to the sidewalk and your horse to the farm.

Future Of The Autobahn

There have been talks about imposing an 80 miles per hour speed limit on the Autobahn and even ; however, this limit has less to do with safety and more to do with the issue of car emissions. In 2007, though, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported as saying she would not support any measure to limit speeds on the nation’s highway system. Merkel’s opposition serves to illustrate the German love affair cars and a country that refuses to give up its right to speed.

To the Germans, the image of an Autobahn is less exotic than those who live in other countries. This is because many Germans use an Autobahn every day. Have you driven on it? If so, what did you think about it?

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Understanding Cars

What Are Car Cabin Air Filters, And When Should You Replace Them?

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Car Cabin Air Filter

Have you changed your vehicle’s cabin air filter recently? Do you even know what a cabin air filter is or what it does?

The cabin air filter isn’t a figment of the imagination — it’s something that really exists. Found in most late-model cars and trucks, it is a special fine filter that cleans the air entering the inside of your car or truck.

This ultra-fine paper-based filter prevents dust, pollen and other airborne particles from getting into the vehicle. They work well in dusty areas and if you, or a passenger, have allergies, the filters can provide relief.

Dirty Car Cabin air filter

When Should A Cabin Air Filter Be Changed?

Many manufacturers suggest every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or so. Perhaps more often depending on where you drive. According to a trusted , if you drive in city environments with poor air quality, in dusty desert climates, or anywhere else with less-than-ideal air quality, your cabin air filter will fail fast and you may want to change it more frequently.

Smelly Car, Man Cutting Fish

More Signs Your Cabin Air Filter Should Be Checked Out

Are you experiencing allergic reactions, headaches or breathing problems while driving? When a filter is clogged, it cannot prevent allergens and dust from entering the cabin. What about reduced airflow from the AC vents? When the cabin air filter is clogged up with gunk, then less air can pass through to your cabin.

Then there could may be a musty or dirty smell from your air vents. The smell may build up overtime and not be noticeable at first, as you spend so much time in your car. But eventually it will be impossible to ignore. When it is wintertime, see if you notice any increased window fogging. If you do, then this definitely means that your vehicle is providing inefficient heating or cooling.

So where are the air filters? Many cabin air filters are located above or behind your glove box. Often, they may be accessed by freeing the glove box from its support fasteners, then dropping it out of the way. If this seems difficult, let a mechanic do it. In other vehicles, the cabin air filter could be underneath the dashboard and may be hard to reach. You want a mechanic to definitely do these.

Changing Car Cabin Air Filter

Getting A Replacement

By the way, you might be surprised at the cost of a replacement cabin air filter. As these are relatively large affairs and are made of very fine paper or filter material, they have to filter out tiny particles and are usually twice or more times expensive than engine air filters. It is just that fresh air is super pricey!

If you elect to have your dealership or a service center replace your cabin air filter, ask to see the old one before they toss it. You might be surprised to see the things that it has caught. After seeing the bugs, leaves, dirt and all kinds of stuff that may be attached to the surface, you will certainly be a believer that cabin air filters do their jobs!

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Convertibles

Brief History Of Convertibles: Then And Now

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2016 Porsche 911 convertible

Do you know what an open car and hardtop in one is? A convertible, which is sometimes referred to as a “cabriolet”!

It’s so great to be able to put the top down on a car on a summer day and feel the breeze rushing past you as you drive. What about the sense of freedom such cars provide?

Want to learn more about convertibles? Read on if that’s the case!

Ford Quadricycle

The Convertible’s Early Days

1896: All cars were convertibles

The first manufactured cars did not have side glass, windshields, doors or even roofs. They were based on the carriage designs of the day and tons of them had buggy-like designs.

1905: Hardtops Make Their Way In
Henry Leland introduced the first totally enclosed vehicle with the 1905 Osceola Couple Concept. With drivers now spending more time on the roads than in previous years and requiring protection from the weather, his invention came at a great time.

1908: Phaetons
Convertibles evolved even more from what was commonly known as “phaeton,” an open vehicle lacking glass side windows. These phaetons were basically open, lightweight carriages or automobiles that traveled fast on the road. Many car buyers bought their Ford Model T as phaetons because they were cheaper than the enclosed versions.

1939: The Power-Operated Convertible
When Plymouth introduced a power-operated convertible, instead of having to manually raise and lower the top, such as was mandatory on early convertible cars, it made the process automatic! The 1939 Plymouth convertible only needed the driver to press a switch. The vehicle was also quite affordable; many people on budgets had no issue with its cost.

bmw-i8-spyder-concept-convertible

Present Day Convertibles

It’s took over one hundred years for convertibles to get to where they are at today. Even though the segment is only a fraction of the broader car market, there’s no doubt that convertibles will continue to be around for decades more to come because of the distinct airy driving experience they provide. There might even be some new innovations.

According to , one thing that has recently occurred is the invention of large sliding-glass-panel roofs that run from the rear of the windshield’s header to the backlight’s top and from side rail to side rail. We suspect that retractable hardtops will become popular soon enough!

Convertibles , anytime soon.

Convertible Advantages

Convertibles are so wonderful because, in addition to providing an airy ride, they provide more outward visibility than their hardtop counterparts. With convertibles, you will not have to worry about air ventilation being an issue. Depending where you are, you could be getting fresh air in the cabin at all time.

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Auto Tech

The Different Kinds of Cars Keys, Which Do You Have?

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car key on documents

They say you should never stop learning until you kick the bucket, and we have something that should entertain and enrich your mind. Smart keys, laser-cut keys, switchblade keys and transponder keys have been around for a while to the point where they are no longer a luxury, but just how much do you know about them?

In this article, we share some super fascinating things about them.

Smart Keys

Smart keys aren’t keys in the typical “mechanical” sense. Instead, they’re fobs that are either inserted in the dash or, in more advanced units, they stay in your purse or pocket. The driver turns the vehicle on and off with the press of a button mounted on the dashboard (i.e. push-button start).

A smart key’s main security method is its ability to use rolling security codes. The car’s computer makes out the code given off by the smart key and verifies it before firing the engine up. Mercedes-Benz was one of the first automakers to use this technology, but just about every vehicle brand offers a smart key bundled in their high-tech packages. Toyota, for example, makes it available on many models.

Laser-Cut Keys

You may tell a laser-cut key apart from a basic key because its shank is slightly thicker and has less grooves. Laser-cut keys are typically referred to as sidewinder keys as a result of the shank’s distinctive cut. The machines required to cut such keys are a lot more expensive than your usual key-cutting machine and are less likely to be found at all locksmiths or hardware stores.

Laser-cut keys usually come with transponder chips and require programming by the dealer or a locksmith, preferably one who’s a member of the (ALOA). All-in-one laser-cut keys are becoming increasingly popular, but as we said, these keys are pricier and typically need to be replaced at the dealer. Prices may range from $150-$250 including labor.

Switchblade Keys

Switchblade key shanks fold into the fob when they are not in use, and then come out with the press of a button. They can have a basic cut or a laser cut. One advantage of the switchblade key is that its parts can be purchased individually. If for some reason your key is damaged and no longer works, you may buy the shank separately for about $60-$80. But the more likely scenario for most people is that the entire key is lost, in which case you’ll need both the shank and the fob into which it folds, increasing the cost to $200 and $300 after factoring in the programming of both components.

Transponder Keys

Around half-way through the 1990s, the world’s major car manufacturers began placing a transponder chip in plastic heads of keys. The chip gives off a signal to a receiver in the vehicle’s ignition. If that receiver detects that the wrong key is in the ignition, the car won’t start. We checked the price of a basic transponder key on a late-model Ford truck and the dealer quoted $160 for the key and an extra $75 for the fob.

Thank you very much to the team at , IL, for their help on this article, and come back to Seokijiservice for future .

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