Author Archive | Eric Peters

‘No Scheduled Maintenance Needed!’

One way that car companies attract business is by advertising that their vehicles are low-maintenance and – sometimes – no maintenance. This sounds too good to be true and – as is usually the case with such things – it is. Because entropy. Things always wear out. Nothing lasts forever, certainly not mechanical things. You can increase service intervals and reduce maintenance, but no maintenance […]

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Obama’s Auto Time Bomb

In just seven years’ time – unless Trump does something before his four years are up – the average fuel efficiency of the average car will have to almost double. From 35.5 MPG (now) to 54.5 MPG by 2025. So reads the fuel economy fatwa issued by Trump’s predecessor. No matter how much it costs, no matter […]

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Where’s Ralph Nader?

Ralph Nader made his name “exposing” the design defects (as he styled them) of the Chevy Corvair. Leaving aside the fact that what he styled a “defect” was really more a difference – the Corvair was rear-engined and nose-light and so handled differently than the overwhelmingly front-engined and ass-light American cars that drivers of the time were […]

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The Auto Industry Goes Left

Most people don’t know that the term, politically correct, has its origins in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Back then, it meant more than just excommunication from the Party. It often meant excommunication from this veil of tears – a la Trotsky, via an icepick to the head. Well, it may come to that here as well. It […]

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Trannies

Well, no – it’s not what you thought. This column isn’t about Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner. It is about your car’s transmission. About pros – and cons. And about how to make it last as long as the rest of the car – whether you go automatic or manual. Which is more important than it […]

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Oil Changes

Changing a car’s oil is pretty simple – so it’s surprising it gets done wrong so often. Sometimes, by “professionals”  . . . who actually aren’t. See that part above about “simple.” Many places that do oil changes (such as tire shops and quick-lube joints)do not pay trained mechanics to do them. Because trained mechanics have […]

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Thank Goodness for Trump

Trump is like a set of studded tires. They suck most of the time, but then comes a blizzard – and you are grateful. Just so now. If he were not jefe and instead we had her instead, it is probable that – before this day is out, an emergency executive order would emanate from Washington, outlawing the possession […]

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Not So Merry Men

Robin Hood may have been a fictional character, but the thing that drove him and his “Merry Men” to become outlaws was real enough: Oppressive laws. Specifically, oppressive taxes. At every turn, the Sheriff of Nottingham and his not-so-merry men would demand their pound of flesh. The only way Robin and his men could survive was to forget […]

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California Mulling

I expected it to happen, but not this quickly. California officials are, apparently, “mulling” a ban on cars with internal combustion engines, according to an article in the industry trade publication, Automotive News. If they more than mull and pass a ban, CA would be the first American state to do so – following the example set by several European […]

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Tire Nazis

If you’ve gone to get new tires recently, you may have already dealt with the latest outcropping of technocratic busybodyism: The scanning of your car’s electronic ear tag, its Vehicle Identification Number or VIN. The VIN is a bar code – literally – just like the one on the packages of stuff you buy at […]

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Cars Are Infested With Little Brothers

Every new car is infested with Little Brothers – in the form of code and programming that “corrects” outright or thwarts whatever it is you wanted to do. It goes way beyond the Seat Belt Nanny. Have you tried backing up a new car with the driver’s door cracked open? Several won’t allow it – refusing to […]

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The One Electric Car That Makes Some Sense

It’s interesting about the Chevy Volt. Uniquely, it carries around its own recharger – so it’s not tied to a corded umbilical like other electric cars. So it isn’t gimped by a much-abbreviated radius of action, like all other electric cars – the best of which can travel maybe 150 or so miles before their batteries conk […]

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em

Since they can’t sell electric cars – not enough of them, anyhow – and not without subsidies so huge they amount to outright bribes – the solution appears to be to outlaw all cars except electric cars. This is no joke. There are IC engine No Go Zones in Germany and France. The Brits have just decreed a ban on the […]

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If Government Is Enthusiastic About Something

Whenever the government is rabidly enthusiastic about something you can be reasonably sure you shouldn’t be. Electric cars are being pushed for all kinds of reasons, none of them beneficial to us. If that weren’t the case, then it wouldn’t be necessary to push (mandate, subsidize) electric cars. They would be embraced as naturally – as freely – as a […]

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Worse Than Speed Limits

Even better – from a certain point-of-view – than a radar trap based on an under-posted speed limit is a radar trap with a changing speed limit. One that can be dumbed-down at random and with no prior notice, at the whim of the same government workers who enforce the limits and profit from that enforcement. It’s […]

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The Four-Wheeled Patriot Act

Whenever Congress does something unanimously (or nearly so) you can rest assured it’s in their interests, not ours. The USA Patriot Act comes to mind. Another is the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act – aka the SELF DRIVE Act – which was rubber stamped through Congress the other day. This is […]

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The Kids Don’t Wrench

Working on cars has become part of America’s cultural past, like so many other things which used to define American culture. Which was, above all, a car culture. What you drove was very important and – especially for young guys – it was almost as important to know how it worked and to at least plausibly be able to work on it. Males […]

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The New Motor City

GM’s Buick division is doing extremely well . . . in China. The Chinese own Volvo. And may soon own Jeep – one of the few still-viable pieces of what used to be Chrysler. For now, it’s FiatChrysler. Emphasis on for now. Fiat invested in what was just Chrysler, hoping to use the once-Big-Three company as a kind […]

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Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!

As the waters recede from Houston, thousands of flooded cars will be aired out – and shipped out – to unsuspecting used car lots all over the country. Their titles as “washed” as their interiors (and the rest of them, too). As OJ used to say – and will probably say soon again – look out! […]

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Safety?

If they were at least consistent, you might be persuaded that Our Controllers were truly concerned about our safety. As opposed to using “safety” as the pretext for controlling us. Not infrequently, to the detriment of our safety. There are many examples to prove the point but the latest is the push for congressional approval of an exemption for […]

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