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What to Do About a Runaway Car

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A few years ago, numerous Toyota models had an issue with, what the U.S. Government called "unintended acceleration," which reportedly caused some fatalities, due to what was believed to be a problem caused by floor mats that became wedged under or over the accelerator pedal, causing it to become jammed. However, some people were and and still are skeptical of this dubious claim by the government. The term used to describe this problem probably helped fuel this skepticism. Furthermore, let’s be clear at the outset: the vast majority of the American People have grown weary and distrustful of corporate, mainstream media for several obvious reasons. Here we focus on a specific auto safety issue that has been misrepresented by major news broadcasters for several decades.

Those of us who remember the 1980's will recall when the Audi 5000 was slandered on 60 Minutes in a short Ed Bradley, so-called, “investigative report” aired on November 23rd, 1986. The CBS crew created a Rube Goldberg driverless Audi that was a premeditated act of deception, causing Audi to nearly lose their entire market share in North America permanently, even after they were exonerated three years later when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued their report on Audi’s “sudden unintended acceleration problem.”

That issue actually resulted in today's shift interlock, which prevents putting an automatic transmission into Drive or Reverse without pressing the brake pedal first. The Audis were actually a case of "pedal misapplication," another term made up by government that means somebody was pressing the gas instead of the brake and when the car took off you just pressed the brake harder.

Regardless of the cause, what you want to know is...

How Do I Stop a Runaway Car?

Lift Your Foot

Before you try anything else, first fully lift your right foot to be sure you aren't pressing the wrong pedal. Kick the pedal or lift it up with the toe of your foot if you can.

Lift Accelerator

Brake It

After you have made sure you aren't pressing the accelerator pedal, and you've tried to release it, you still have to stop the car.

Look down to be sure you have the right one, and jam your foot on the brake pedal. That's the wide one in the middle, or on the left. Many newer cars have brake override, which means if it gets conflicting signals from the go pedal and the stop pedal, the car's computer ignores the go pedal.

When you do this, do not press gingerly! Jam on that muthertrucker! 

Neutral-ize It

If the car is a manual, you're in luck, push the clutch pedal (on the left) fully in. This will not only insure the engine can no longer accelerate you, but while you're braking, you won't stall the engine, which often happens at an inconvenient time and can be quite embarrassing.

If the car is an automatic, shift to neutral. This may be easy, as with a traditional automatic, you just press the safety release and carefully push the lever up one notch to "N." On newer cars with electronic shifters, you may have to press a button marked "N." 

2019 Acura RDX Shifter

Others will have something in between, like this electronic lever in a BMW. Hold the unlock button on the side and flick it up once to put it in neutral.

2016 BMW 7 Series Shifter

Either way, once you've gotten the car into neutral or pushed the clutch in, the engine should race, but all modern cars have a rev-limiter and there should be no damage to the engine. Carefully coast off the road to a safe location to stop.

Kill It

If you are unable to disengage the transmission, you must quickly turn off the engine. This is a last resort for two reasons: you will lose all power steering and power brakes with the engine off, and if your car is an older one, you may also accidentally lock the steering wheel.

If you have a traditional ignition key, carefully twist it back one click only, to kill the engine but leave the steering wheel unlocked.

If your car is newer and has push-button start, you must press and keep holding the start button until the engine shuts off.

Push Button Ignition

After the engine shuts down your steering will be much more difficult! Also, do not use your brakes multiple times: the power brake system will hold a vacuum for one or two brake applications, so pull over and make one press of the brakes, firmly bringing the car to a stop. If you use the brakes too many times you will lose power assist and your stopping distance will be very long.

Practice

If you're concerned about a runaway car, practice these things in a safe, completely empty area with lots of extra space and at very slow speeds so that in an emergency you can do them confidently.

Prevent

There are only a few possible causes of unintended acceleration and you can prevent most of them.

On an older car with a physical accelerator cable under the hood, lubricate it and check the throttle linkage for binding or have a mechanic do it.

Have the pedal mechanism properly lubricated and checked for binding.

Be certain you only use floor mats designed for the vehicle and that they are properly placed. Many have holes that special pins in the floor go through to hold them in place. If your mats are loose, be certain they are not under the accelerator or brake pedals.

And finally, be acquainted with the placement of your brake and accelerator pedals: many older European vehicles have the pedals aligned differently than American cars.

Disclaimers

Come on. If you're ever in a runaway car and this article gets you killed how are you going to sue us? If you are severely injured, we'll just claim you were thinking of some other article, perhaps something about Trump. But, because the lawyers are growling at me: this is for entertainment purposes only, please do not read this article while driving, be sure to have your vehicle inspected daily by an SAE certified mechanic, don't drive near cliffs, don't try anything you read here or anywhere else, ever. We have lawyers but no money.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2019 Nissan Model Year Changes: Altima

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The Altima has been thoroughly redesigned for 2019. Not only has the overall look of the car changed to a more linear design with an increase in length and width, more importantly, Nissan has included all-wheel-drive, two new engines, and now the new, 2019 Altima fully embraces the Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies previously available in the 2018 Leaf and 2018 Rogue, such as ProPilot Assist, Nissan's semi-autonomous technology. According to Nissan, "Our goal with the all-new Altima is to re-energize the sedan segment – in terms of design, driving feel, and in making advanced technologies available and affordable for everyone. We want to energize drivers, helping make their lives safer, less stressful and more exciting."

The two new engines include a direct fuel-injected 2.5 four cylinder, gaining 9 horsepower and 3 pound-feet of torque (188 HP and 180 lb-ft). The peak torque is produced at a lower RPM, which will make the engine feel particularly spunky while driving around town. Fuel mileage should also improve. Replacing the 3.5 V6 is the variable compression ratio 2.0-liter 4 cylinder turbo engine first offered in the Infiniti QX50. Horsepower is down by 22 to 248 from the old V6, but peak torque is up by 22 (273 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM). Along with the lighter weight of the smaller engine, this version of the Altima should be quicker under most circumstances, and get significantly better fuel mileage than the V6.

 photo1_2019_Nissan_Engine

The Altima joins the small family of mid-size family cars that offer all-wheel-drive. Strangely, the 2.0-liter turbo Altima doesn't offer all-wheel-drive, even though its cousin, the QX50 does. All-wheel-drive is only offered with the 2.5-liter 4 cylinder engine. As before, all engines come with a continuously variable transaxle (CVT), dubbed Xtronic. Nevertheless, buyers wanting all-wheel-drive vehicles has been a factor in driving sales from sedans to compact SUVs in northern U.S. market regions, so Nissan responded accordingly by being the only one to offer it among the top three best-selling midsize sedans.

photo2_2019_Nissan_Altima

Altima SV, SL and Platinum will come standard with Automatic High Beam Headlights, Intelligent Cruise Control (which can bring the car to a complete stop in a traffic jam and then start up again when traffic moves), Steering Assist, and Autonomous Braking Front and Rear. All except the Altima S will come standard with Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. All models will have standard front collision warning, Forward Autonomous Emergency Braking, and a Driver Alert Monitor (warns if the driver becomes inattentive).

photo3_2019_Nissan_Altima

Perhaps the most forward-thinking change to come to the longstanding Altima line, is the inclusion of Nissan's next-generation technologies under the rubric of Intelligent Mobility, which are designed to improve three main areas of the driving experience: Nissan Intelligent Driving (safety), Nissan Intelligent Power (performance), and Nissan Intelligent Integration (entertainment/information). Nissan is taking a pro-active role in keeping up with the 21st Century social and technological revolution by developing "a connected ecosystem of drivers, cars, and communities" that "is key to a cleaner and safer world," which is also demonstrated through their partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC).

photo4_2019_Nissan_Altima

ProPilot Assist, one of Nissan's driver assistance technologies, is a semi-autonomous driving system that combines traffic-adaptive cruise control (acceleration and braking) by using radar-based cruise control, which measures the distance between the car and any vehicle in front, maintaining a safe distance, and a lane-keeping (steering the car within its lane) using radar, cameras, and sensors. The semi-autonomous drive for single-lanes on the highway, when activated, helps to keep the car centered by reading lane markers using cameras, including around curves, while providing steering assistance.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies

ProPILOT Assist in Traffic: helps keep a set distance from the car ahead of you. It can even come to a full stop based on the traffic flow, and can bring you back up to speed when traffic starts moving again.

ProPILOT Assist on the Open Road: also helps keep you centered in your lane through the straightaways, and even through gentle curves.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility – Additional driver Assistance Features

Automatic Emergency Braking: monitors your speed and distance between you and the car ahead and can let you know if you need to slow down. It can even automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a frontal collision or lessen the severity of an impact.

Rear Automatic Braking: monitors the area directly behind your vehicle for stationary items you might not see. If you fail to stop, it can automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a rear collision or lessen the severity of an impact.

Intelligent Cruise Control: watches the flow of traffic to help take the tedium out of your morning commute. It helps maintain an adjustable speed and set distance between you and the car ahead.

Blind Spot Warning: helps you change lanes with confidence. It keeps an eye on the blind spot area and gives you a heads up if it detects a vehicle hiding there.

Intelligent Lane Intervention: helps keep you in your lane. When lane markings are clear, it detects if you’re straying out of your lane and taps the brakes to help gently guide you back.

Intelligent Around View Monitor: gives you an on-screen heads up when it detects moving objects near your vehicle. We’re looking at you, shopping cart.

Though this semi-autonomous system is not completely self-driving, as ProPilot Assist requires the driver's hands to be on the wheel at all times, it can reduce the stress of driving by easing driver workload, and giving drivers and their passengers more confidence through enhanced safety, control, and comfort. For example, a new Traffic Sign Recognition system provides the most recent speed limit information detected by a tiny camera unit located on the windshield in front of the inside rearview mirror, which is then displayed in the Advanced Drive Assist Display.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility, ProPilot Assist, and related technologies are stage one of four stages announced by Nissan in 2017, the foundation for the autonomous vehicles of the future. At this stage, it is a single-lane system, as it disengages and then resets when changing lanes, or when stopped in traffic longer than a few seconds. The ProPILOT Assist system has been a success with more than 120,000 vehicles featuring the technology sold globally. Stage two is expansion of autonomous drive onto multilane highways, originally projected to be available sometime this year, and stage three is autonomous city driving, expected to be available in 2020. Stage four is fully autonomous and driverless vehicles. Nissan and their partners are currently developing driverless vehicles for commercial services and expect them to hit the streets of the Tokyo metropolitan area by 2020.

photo5_2019_Nissan_Altima

Nissan's vision to ensure a seamless mobility system in which millions of autonomous cars can operate safely through city streets, highways, and under any driving condition, is the Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) system. This system combines the artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed by NASA with human support in order to aid autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations and increase the knowledge of in-vehicle AI, or 'teach the robot car' to make a better decisions for future reference. Finally, as part of Nissan Intelligent Integration, according to Nissan, "this technology will enable millions of driverless cars to co-exist with human drivers in an accelerated timeline."

On a personal note, I am happy to see my favorite to-go-to rental car, the Nissan Altima, fully upgraded and kept in the Nisan stable, and hope it will exist as a viable platform for years to come.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2019 Jaguar Model Year Changes

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Bookmark this article if you want to keep abreast of all the changes to Jaguars for the 2019 model year.

F-Pace

2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

The F-Pace adds Jaguar's SVR performance variant. With a supercharged 5.0-liter V8, the F-Pace SVR makes 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque, directed through an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive. 15.5-inch front and 15.6-inch rear brake rotors will stop the beast. Like many performance vehicles, the F-Pace SVR's exhaust is variable, keeping it quiet when you want to prowl the neighborhood quietly, or letting its engine roar loudly on the highway. It will be priced right around $80,000 if you can keep your paws off the options.

F-Type

Jaguar F-Type Convertible

The F-Type P300 (the new badging for the 4-cylinder turbochanged engine) now has the same 18.5 gallon fuel tank as the other models.

The Sport 400 model is discontinued.

The Driver Condition Monitor, which keeps an eye on steering motions to determine if a driving break is called for, is now standard on all models. Autonomous Emergency Braking is now standard on all models with automatic transmission.

I-Pace

2019 Jaguar I-Pace 2018 NY Auto Show

This all-new electric sport utility is one of the few to be built on a dedicated platform. Designed from the beginning not to accomodate a conventional internal combustion engine, the I-Pace contains its batteries throughout the floorpan, ala Tesla. As in the Model X, this design lowers the center of gravity, helping the I-Pace to grip the road like a true jungle cat, silently stalking its highway pray with just the faintest hiss of the tires along the pavement.

394 peak horsepower is split evenly front to rear. Unlike conventional all-wheel-drive, there are no transfer cases or drive shafts, just two motors, front and rear, each delivering 197 horsepower. 

XE

Jaguar XE SV Project 8

XE SV Project 8 has the most powerful Jaguar 5-liter V8 so far: 592 horsepower. To make the power go further, the XE SV Project 8 is 75% aluminum and has a carbon fiber hood, fenders and bumpers. Jaguar promises a Zero to 60 MPH tim of just 3.3 seconds.

Carbon ceramic brakes save weight and will take repeated high speed stops without fading. At 15.8 inches front and 15.6 inches rear, they'll have plenty of stopping power. Overall 80% of the car's engineering is unique compared to the regualr Jaguar XE.

Only 300 of these extremely special sedans will be built, only half of which are coming to the United States. They were due as 2018 models and may still be branded as such.

Landmark Edition

2019 Jaguar XE Landmark Edition

A special edition comes with a sport front bumper, unique wheels, and gloss black exterior trim. It will be offered in red, white or black. Inside it offers the leather seats from the R-Sport and "Landmark" sill plates. It includes adaptive Xenon headlight, Pro satellite navigation and front and rear parking sensors. Any 4-cylinder engine in gas or diesel will be available.

XJ

XJ50 fiftieth anniversary special edition model with supercharged V6 or V8 engine has unique bumpers, gloss black diamond turned 20-inch wheels, gloss black grille and unique badges. Inside the XJ50 has quilted leather seats, an XJ50 logo on the center armrest, XJ50 lighted door sill plates, aluminum gearshift paddles, and bright metal accelerator and brake pedals.

The XJ50 will only be offered as a long-wheelbase version.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Will We All Soon Be Forced to Buy Expensive 95 Octane Gas?

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The oil companies, car companies and the government are conspiring to raise fuel prices on all of us and simultaneously make all our present cars obsolete, some will stop running altogether.

That scenario could come true if new biofuel legislation in Congress is altered under the plans of automakers. Under the guise of higher fuel mileage, automakers, led by General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, and Ford, are lobbying Congress to enact legislation that would make 95 ROM octane (labeled 91 Premium presently) the base fuel, and higher octanes would become available.

"So what!? My Pontiac GTO loved Sunoco 110 race fuel back in 1969! Higher octane gas is a good thing!"

1967 GTO

One thing is for sure, a 1969 Pontiac GTO will not like it! This isn't going to be leaded, super-refined gasoline like Sunoco made back in the day. (Thank God. Lead additives are responsible for serious health problems.) But this new super gas will make your 1969 or even your 1999 car sick.

The oil companies won't make this new gas entirely by refining it further; they will add ethyl alcohol. Present gasoline can have as much as 10% according to law without being marked as Ethanol. Even this amount of alcohol damages the fuel systems and engines of cars not designed for it, especially older cars.

High ethanol fuels corrode fuel tanks, lines pumps and can even damage the valves and pistons. Not to mention, the heat content of alcohol is much less than gasoline, so if your car wasn't designed to run on it you will get worse fuel mileage, not better.

Why They Say They Want 95 Octane

Fuel Pump 3 grades plus diesel

Automakers are faced with raising their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to 54.5 MPG by 2025. In the past few years automakers have added diesels, more gears to transmissions (up to as many as 10), hybrids, direct fuel injection, turbochargers, aluminum bodies and more, but it wasn't enough.

Another three to four percent efficiency can be had by raising the compression ratios in gasoline engines. But to do it, you need higher octane gasoline. Proponents argue that by making it illegal to sell gasoline of less than 95 Octane (RON) it will free the automakers to engineer all their engines to burn that fuel efficiently and get better mileage. They also argue that if 95 Octane (RON) fuel is the standard it will cost less than if it is an upgrade. Us folks old enough to remember don't recall unleaded ever becoming as cheap as leaded gas had been.

As a side benefit, this will make fuel standards in the United States and Europe similar, where 95 Octane (RON) is already the standard. Which is why premium is required in so many European imports.

What Will Happen

The biofuel industry is being implicitly promised that their share of the fuel industry will rise as the percentage of alcohol in gas increases to make larger amounts of 95 Octane (RON) fuel. Cheaper, 87 octane ((R+M/2) method) fuel will dissappear. Poorer people will face putting expensive fuel in their cars that does their fuel mileage and engines no good, even damages them. When they try to sell or trade those cars, they'll get nothing for them, making it hard for them to buy the newer cars that can make efficient use of the new gas.

Why Are They Really Doing It

Premium Fuel Required

This will make older cars worthless, forcing more people to buy newer cars (at a premium, both becuase automakers will claim they cost more to build and becuase people will have to buy them to receive better fuel mileage to offset the higher fuel cost). 

Oil companies and gasoline refiners will be able charge more for their product claiming higher production costs, but their margins will improve. Because cheaper 87 octane gas will be illegal, they won't have to provide more grades, streamlining their refining process and reducing their costs.

Agri-business will have a legally-mandated captive audience off of which they can make billions.

With the new efficiency and the higher base-line price for fuel, Congress would have an easier time increasing the federal gasoline tax. Think not? President Trump has already floated a 25¢ per gallon increase, more than doubling the present tax.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A new Palace for Bentley and Bugatti West of St. Louis

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California has four Bentley dealerships, but Missouri has Saint Louis Motorcars. With franchises for Bentley, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Lotus and Bugatti, its a one-stop ultra-luxury and ultra-performance shop minutes from the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

Almost exactly in the center of the United States, Saint Louis Motorcars provides sales and Service for Bentley and is one of only 12 locations in the U.S. to purchase and service a Bugatti. The remodeled facility now features a Bugatti gallery, in which there sits a 2019 Chiron, the newest model.

Bugatti Chiron at Saint Louis Motorcars

The new showroom was unveiled on March 9, 2018 by partners and Dealer Principals Graham Hill and Jim Mills, assisted by Don Heditsian and Jeff Kuhlman of Bentley Motors, and charming hostess Krysta Struthers.

Host Krysta Struthers

Marketing Manager Krysta Struthers with Ice Sculpture Commemorating new Bentley Showroom

On loan from Bentley, the new Bentley Continental GT was unveiled during the opening. Prospective owners can now place orders with Saint Louis Motorcars for deliveries starting in June.

Bentley Continental GT Unveiling at STL Motorcars

Overall, the night was a huge success with over 300 well-wishers and Bentley fans in attendance.

Bentley Background

Bentley Motors Limited was founded by Walter Owen Bentley in 1919 in Cricklewood, North London, United Kingdom. Bentley won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1930, and again in 2003.

Originally, Bentley and Rolls-Royce were competitors, but the two joined forces in 1931. In 1998, Volkswagen Group acquired Bentley. Rolls-Royce Plc (Aerospace) sold the Rolls-Royce name and logo to BMW Group. However, the two are competitors once again.

Why Bentley?

People may ask: "Why drive a Bentley?" A $30,000 Camry will take you from point A to B just as reliably as a $300,000 Bentley. If it's performance, there are certainly less expensive cars that can complete the quarter mile within 13 seconds, or achieve a top speed of 190+ MPH.

There are two reasons to drive a Bentley: One reason is to make oneself feel successful. The level of comfort, craftsmanship, performance, and exclusivity that a $300,000 car represents is a constant reminder of success. The second reason is to demonstrate personal success to others. In business and other areas of life, anyone can claim success, but a Bentley is tangible proof of success to one's peers and anyone else.

Nevertheless, why is it that someone would spend significantly more than the median price of a four bedroom house on simple transportation? Ultimately, it's none of our business. A man is the sole proprietor of his own resources, and has the right to choose how he invests them.

Bentley Mulsanne at STL MotorcarsMULLINER LIMITED EDITION: MULSANNE DESIGN SERIES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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