I'm with you as your journey continues. Using my experience to
make your drive safer, more enjoyable and a little less expensive.
Did You Know?
Below, you will find priceless tips and information regarding your current automobile, or your next one.
ADD REMOTE START TO YOUR PUSH-BUTTON START HYUNDAI: I have not tried this and I have not spoken to anyone who has, so you might be a little bit of a test subject if you try it out - and if you do, please let me know how you make out. But AutoGuide claims that this is a remote start kit that you can "easily" install yourself (if you are as mechanically able as I am then it won't be easy - there is a reason that I sell cars and don't service them). Apparently it uses your own factory remote. The prerequisite is that you have a proximity key / push-to-start.
WAIT, EVs COST MORE TO SERVICE THAN GAS-POWERED VEHICLES?!: Automotive News reported a study done on maintenance and repair costs of EVs compared to gas-powered vehicles. EVs will cost more to buy AND more to service/repair. I wonder what that will do to the affordability of vehicle ownership?
THE COMPLEXITIES OF MINING FOR BATTERY MATERIALS FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES: I try not to read this article from a poitical perspective. Autoblog here writes an interestng article about some of the difficult complexities of EV vehicles. I have known for some time that expanded mining will be necessary to mine for all the materials needed to create enough EV batteries and other components. And then there is the issue of how the electricity is produced to charge all of those batteries, which often comes from fossil fuels and nuclear, each of which have their own detractors. I, for one, have a concern in the back of my mind that this move away from oil and gasoline powered vehicles in order to protect the environent may just have the opposite effect. This article doesn't answer, or even pose, that question, but it does bring to light many of the various considerations of this move to electric vehicles.
ITEMS TO MAKE YOUR CAR YOUR LUNCH ROOM: My car is usually my lunch room. Fred Beans provides us with a lunch room but I like to go out for lunch, grab something, and eat it in the car while listening to a podcast and checking my automotive Twitter feed to help me stay on top of the latest news in the automotive world. This article is a list of items, most of which I didn't know existed, to help make your car a sufficient lunch room.
VARIABLE VALVE DURATION - NEW TECHNOLOGY FROM HYUNDAI: As I write this on March 5th 2020, only Hyundai and supercar maker Koenigsegg allow for variable valve duration. It is an impressive bit of technology that allows for an improvement of power, emissions, and efficiency. This video from Road and Track helps to explain. I kind-of understood it but then physics was always over my head. It is currently available on the 1.6L turbo on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.
HOW LONG DO HYUNDAIS LAST?: Every so often I'll get this question. Usually from someone who doesn't follow cars, which is fine. JD Power shows that Hyundai's Initial Quality and Dependability are even ahead of Toyota and Honda, and we all know how long they last.
MYHYUNDAI.COM: Did you know that Hyundai has a great online resource for you and your car? It isn't as awesome as mine, of course, but it's pretty good. You can get how-to videos, track service records, set up service reminders, manage your Blue Link account (if applicable), view your owner's manual, check warranty information, etc.
QUICKLY DEFOG YOUR WINDSHIELD: Don't take my word for it, or even the word of Road and Track, but take the word of this NASA engineer about how to most quickly defog the inside of your windshield. The steps?:
1) Fan on high
2) Setting to Defrost
3) Heat to hottest
4) Fresh air setting (not on recirculate)
5) Depending on the weather, open your windows slightly
HOW TO JUMP START A DEAD BATTERY: Speaking of your car's battery, if it goes dead, do you know how to properly jump start it? Having the cables in your car is the first step, but hooking them up correctly is very important to avoid damage or injury. So be sure to follow these steps.
WHAT THE BATTERY WARNING LIGHT MEANS: Did you know that warning lights on your dash are color coordinated? Green lights are just giving information. Amber lights are saying "use caution, something may be a problem and you may not want to drive it that way." Red lights mean pull over and don't drive until the problem is corrected. That's why seat belt light are red - it is dangerous to drive without your seat belt connected. The battery light is red because your car may run out of electricity and stall.
YOU'RE TELLING ME ETHANOL MIGHT BE WORSE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?: Contrary to how this might sound, I am not trying to make a political statement. I am trying to say that I think that we should consider ALL the things that go into our attempts to improve carbon emissions. This Road & Track article is amazing showing that ethanol production may actually be worse for the environment than gasoline production (based on a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison).
ECO MODE/AC : If you have a 2011 or newer Hyundai with an automatic transmission, did you know that having "ECO" mode on can affect the operation of your air conditioning? Among the adjustments made to improve fuel efficiency are ones that can decrease the effectiveness of your air conditioning. So if your AC isn't getting cold enough, try turning the "ECO" mode off. For some of these very reasons, some 2018/2019 models have dropped the "ECO" mode offering.
PLUSSES AND MINUSES TO LARGER WHEELS: Ever wonder why manufacturers use larger or smaller wheels. This article gives the plusses and minuses to having larger wheels with lower profile tires.
ALL WEATHER TIRES: In this article Consumer Reports reviews a few all-weather tires. They are better than all-season tires for winter driving but can be used all year so you don't have to switch them twice a year.
TIRE MOBILITY KIT: If you have a Hyundai with a tire mobility kit instead of a spare tire, did you know that using the sealant can damage your tire pressure monitoring sensor? Every new Hyundai comes with 5 years of roadside assistance. So if you get a flat tire, give them a call to tow your Hyundai in to the closest dealer. Only use the mobility kit in an emergency.
WINTER TIRES: I have a lot of tips on winter driving and using snow tires. I just feel I should remind you to only use those tires in the snow months. Winter tires do not performas well when the weather warms up; all-season tires are usually the best compromise for the non-winter months.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 4-WHEEL AND ALL-WHEEL DRIVE: I have seen a few articles about this but generally they go over my physics-incapable head. This is a simple video by Engineering Explained introduced by Road and Track.
LEASE END SELF ASSESSMENT TOOL: Up until the middle of 2015, Hyundai used to contract a third party to do lease end inspections at a customer's home or work before they turned the lease in. That way there would be no question for the customer about whether or not they would owe anything for excess wear and use. The trouble is less than 30% of Hyundai lease customers would utilize this service. Often customers would not call to arrange the service until it was too late to get an appointment before their lease was due to be returned. So now Hyundai has dropped that service in favor of a self-assessment tool that the customer can do themselves. If you are due to turn your Hyundai lease back in, and haven't taken advantage of the self-assessment tool, then be sure to click the link in this paragraph header to see if you have any excess wear and use on your car.
SMART TRUNK: Some new Hyundais have a smart trunk feature that automatically opens the trunk when the proximity key nears the trunk and remains near for a few seconds. There has been some confusion on how to use this feature:
1) Feature must be turned on in user settings
2) Car must be locked.
3) Proximity key must be out of range for 20-90 seconds or more.
If you don't want it to work when you approach the trunk, you can unlock the car from the fob or turn the feature off in user settings.
CAN THE ELECTRIC GRID HANDLE A SHIFT TO ELECTRIC CARS?: I thought this video was interesting. He is smarter than I am and he thinks we'll be just fine switching to electric cars. I still have my reservations but I am open to learning more. A couple of things I noticed (either in the video or in experience) is that:
1) Upgrading the grid is likely to increase what we pay for electricity because the energy companies need to cover that cost in some way. However, presumably we'll find new ways to make things more energy efficient like we did in the past. It is a given that cost of energy production will go up. It is not a given that we will get more efficient.
2) There may be brown outs with the extra stress on the grid if we do not upgrade the grid well enough fast enough to handle the shift to electric cars.
3) As things are now, if efficiency doesn't get better, an average American's household electricity bill will more than double, and that is before we factor in an increase in the cost of electricity. But he thinks that efficiency will increase, we just don't know that it will.
4) Increases to the cost of fossil fuels, as we are experiencing as I write this on 6-27-22, is already causing an increase in the price of electricity (and food, and building supplies, and, well, everything). As I understand it, the push to green energy will also increase the price of electricity as we move away from fossil fuels because fossil fuels are still the most efficient means of producing electricity outside of nuclear power plants, and environmentalists do not want the production of more nuclear power plants, even though they are the greenest energy production that we are aware of today (fears of life-threatening damage is the reason why). So left with only less efficient means of energy production runs not only the risk of increasing the cost of electricity but also the amount of it that we can produce, which could lead to brown outs.
It will be interesting to see how all this goes. It might go great, but there are also reasonable concerns.
WHEN SHOULD YOU GIVE UP ON THE OLD CAR? Reading through this article from Consumer Reports seems to make a great argument for leasing. They make 5 points explaining when it is a good idea to move on from your old car, and leasing solves all of them. They aren't making an argument for leasing, just stating five factors that might make it time to give up on the old car. Among them are high maintenance costs, newly available safety features, and new technological conveniences.
COLOR FACTS/MYTHS: Will my insurance company charge me more for a red car? Is one color more visible than another on the road and will help avoid a possible collision? Are darker colors really hotter in the summer? Are darker color cars really harder to keep clean? Here is an interesting article on car color myths and facts.
AUTO CLIMATE CONTROL: Did you know that some Hyundai's with automatic climate control will make adjustments to your air conditioning settings on its own in an attempt to keep your windshield from fogging up? So if your ac system is making changes on its own, chances are your car isn't haunted...but you never know.
READING TIRE SIDEWALL: I took 3 years of German in high school (I graduated in 1988) but I haven't used it since. I have worked in the car business every day for 26 years. But I still feel like I might know German a little better than the language on the sidewall of a tire. There is some helpful, and some important, information there. Here is a translation guide to help us both out.
QUICK REFERENCE APP: Did you know that Hyundai has an Android/iPhone smart phone app for your 2011 or newer Hyundai called "MyHyundai" (search that term)? It contains helpful information like your Quick Reference Guide, How-to's, and more.
BLUE LINK: If your car has Blue Link, and you have an active subscription, you can press the "b" button and say "service link" and set a service appointment with a Hyundai dealer of your choosing with a Blue Link adviser.
HOW TO DRIVE A STICK SHIFT CAR: Edmunds.com has a helpful article that covers some of the beginning basics on how to drive a stick shift car. If you haven't driven a stick shift and are considering giving one a try, give this video a look.
This video may be even more helpful. It is intoducded by Road and Track. It doesn't get into how a manual transmission works so if you don't care to know the "why" and just want to get driving, this video does a really good job.
CAR ACCESSORIES FOR KIDS: Speaking of kids, have you considered how to accessorize your car for the little one? This article has some great ideas on getting the car kid ready. Car and Driver adds to consider a portable white noise maker to help your own little noise maker fall asleep.
BIKE RACKS: Thinking about a bike rack for your car? Not sure what kind to get for your use and type of car? Sorry, I don't know a thing about it. But, fortunately, Consumer Reports does. Click the link in this paragraph header and get some helpful advice and information for your consideration.
WHAT IS ELECTRONIC BRAKEFORCE DISTRIBUTION?: All Hyundais today have a safety feature called electronic brakeforce distribution. While the article incorrectly states that the feature makes sure brakeforce is distributed evenly to all 4 wheels, it does correctly explain how it works. The point of the system is to NOT distribute brakeforce evenly to allow for better braking and traction.
IDLE STOP/START SYSTEMS DO SAVE FUEL: The results are in and idle stop/start systems like the one now used in the 2019 Santa Fe do save fuel. One concern I have heard repeatedly from potential buyers is whether this is bad for the engine or starter. Europe has used idle stop/start systems for several years now and I have heard of no negative effects on engine duration. Also, as explained in this video, engineers build a more robust starter for these applications. So feel free to leave that stop/start system active.
GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION: Hyundai uses gasoline direct injection throughout its line-up of cars and SUVs. This technology helps to provide better fuel efficiency, improved power and performance, and lower emissions. This video, provided by AutoWeek, while essentially a commercial for Bosch, is very helpful in explaining the what and the why of gasoline direct injection.
PROS, CONS, AND MAINTENANCE OF GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION: In this video introduced by Road & Track, SavageGeese explains the pros and cons of Gasoline Direct Injection, how it compares to Port Fuel Injection, and some preventative maintenance that can be done for Gasoline Direct Injection engines. This video helps to show why our service department recommends an occasional service to help keep intake valves clean.
HOW A CLUTCH ENABLES GEAR SHIFTS: Why do you need to press the clutch to shift gears and how does a clutch work? This video explains it.
HOW MANUAL AND AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS FUNCTION: It's like Martian Latin to me. I don't understand it at all. But Road and Track says this video helps to clarify the difference between how a manual transmission works, and how an automatic transmission works, in a way that makes "relatively complex concepts simple to understand". And I don't get it. But maybe you will.
DON'T START FROM A STOP IN SECOND GEAR WITH A MANUAL TRANSMISSION: This video, introduced by Road and Track, explains that a clutch will wear more starting from a stop in second rather than first gear. It is also recommended to start from a stop in first gear with a dual-clutch transmission as well for the same reason.
IS DUAL CLUTCH OR MANUAL TRANSMISSION BETTER?: Well, the answer actually depends on what you value more. In the case of the 2021 Veloster N, the dual clutch automated manual is quicker than the shift-it-yourself manual transmission. But the manual transmission is more engaging to drive and costs less. In this video, Engineering Explained breaks down the differences:
HOW DRUM BRAKES WORK: While most of Hyundai's cars use disc brakes at all 4 corners, some cars like the lower trim level Accent and the Elantra SE use drum brakes in the rear. I've heard drum brakes explained poorly by some, especially the explanation that uses a quarter and having someone try to grab it by its edge. Click the paragraph header for a better explanation. Yes, the systems used today are more advanced, but this old black and white film does a good job explaining the basics.
HOW SUPERCHARGERS AND TURBOS WORK: Hyundai uses turbos and not superchargers. I currently drive a 2015 Sonata with a turbo and my previous vehicle was a 2012 Sonata with a turbo. Years ago I drove a supercharged Pontiac. So I enjoyed this explanation of how both systems work. If you drive or are considering a car with a supercharger or a turbo, you might like to check this out to learn more about those systems.
HOW A REAR DIFFERENTIAL WORKS: I never went to college but I expected to when I was in high school. I took a number of "advanced placement" courses to prepare me. I breezed through nearly every one of them: AP English/History, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP math like Algebra 3 / Calculus, and the like. But my one year of physics was a train wreck. I completely met my match. My friends, some of whom I was helping in the other areas, I begged for help in physics. They tried. I didn't get it. I basically had to settle on trying to understand just enough to get through the tests. Practical application and use probably wasn't in my future. I say this to explain that I barely understood anything in this video when he was trying to explain how a rear differential works... but it is apparently easy enough for many people to understand. What can I say? If you have a rear wheel drive car and are curious how both rear wheels can turn through a corner even though they turn at different speeds, then give this video a look.
DID YOU KNOW THAT A GASOLINE ENGINE REALLY RUNS ON AIR, NOT GASOLINE?: That's right! We call them gasoline engines because that is the fuel that ignites the air that your car's engine really runs on. Diesel engines simply use diesel fuel to ignite the air that the car's engine really runs on. Your car's engine is really an air pump. Read the article to learn more.
HOW A VARIABLE AIR INTAKE MANIFOLD WORKS: Hyundai and Genesis use a variable air intake on at least a few of their models. This video requires some understanding of how an engine works so maybe watch some of the other "How it works" links I have above. The important thing to remember here is that an engine really runs on air, not fuel. Fuel is just there to ignite the air.
WHY IS MY CAR'S AMBIENT TEMPERATURE SENSOR OFTEN INACCURATE?: This article explains that the position of the sensor, usually low and inside the front grille, can be affected by heat-absorbing roadways.
CAR LOAN AND BANKRUPTCY: Did you know that taking out a car loan after bankruptcy, and paying it well, can help to rebuild your credit score? Here is more on post-bankruptcy car loans.
SUNROOF OR MOONROOF: In reality in today's automotive market there isn't much of a difference. The two terms are used to mean the same thing. But US News explains that if you want to get technical about it (and no one really does) there is a bit of a difference.
FUTURE TECHNOLOGY: I don't know if many people think of Hyundai as a leader in technologies, but they've had their moments. Hyundai was slightly behind the curve in hybrid electric technologies but that was because they decided years ago that their R&D was going into Fuel Cell technology (you'll see an article on that on this page as well). But Hyundai now has a hybrid, plug-in hybrid (coming within months), and a fuel cell Tucson available in California. Now they're getting into the test phase of an engine that runs on gasoline but works a lot like a diesel. While I barely understood a word of the technical stuff, I understood the 10-15% better efficiency with the less expensive fuel of gasoline.
FUEL CELL: Automotive News and AutoWeek had the chance to drive the Hyundai Tucson fuel cell vehicle that is currently on sale in California. They came away impressed that it felt like a normal car in the way it operated, and as such proclaimed Hyundai the leader in fuel cell technology. Here is the article (once again, don't ask me about the technical stuff. it is kind-of black magic to me).
Hyundai's new fuel cell vehicle, still only in CA is the technologically impressive Nexo.