Early Days of Automotive Air Conditioning

Some readers may not realize that automtive air conditioning wasn’t always standard.

A/C was installed in only 0.4% of all US cars in ’53 (1 in every 240), and in the GM line, anyway, was a $600 option — on cars whose base price ranged from about $1900 to $2400! GM’s system was similar to the one shown here, and although Desoto’s intake grilles are more attractive, GM’s system of flanking clear plastic tubes which delivered cooled air under the headliner to each seating station was superior. The MoPAR setup shown here ensured that the cold air produced by its trunk-mounted evaporator and fan followed the curve of the headliner inside the car, directly from rear to front, ending up right on the driver’s neck and shoulders, which soon stiffened up as a result. GM’s units were offered on only their highest-end, senior cars — Cadillacs, Buick Roadmasters and Supers, and the uppermost Oldsmobile, as well as on their limousines and other big commercial cars. Fun fact: Having surveyed the competition for ’53, GM’s marketing dept. put so much pressure on Engineering to get an A/C system ready that the engineers forgot to include in their design a disengagement clutch on the compressor. Thus, every Spring you’d have to go to your friendly GM dealer, he’d install the special A/C drive belt that came with each air-conditioned car, and you’d have A/C — like it or not — continuously until the Fall, when you’d have the belt taken off. Like the telescreen in the novel 1984, you could turn the system DOWN, but not OFF. This defect was remedied for ’54, when a clutch was finally included.

Source: Robert Haworth/Youtube

Oil on the Garage Floor?


How to Remove an Oil Spot from Your Garage Floor

Oil stains on your garage floor don’t look good and can easily be tracked into your house by kids and pets. Here are some easy tips for cleaning these tough stains.

The first step is to remove any excess. The easiest way to do this is to put sawdust or clean kitty litter on the spot to absorb the extra oil. Once you’ve put down a thick layer of the sawdust or litter, stand on top of it to help push the material into the oil. Once that has absorbed as much as it can, remove the sawdust or litter and dispose of properly.

You know how Coke can help clean the battery acid off a car battery? Well, this bubbly, caramel-colored, phosphoric-acid goodness also works wonders on oil. Pour some Coke (or Pepsi if you prefer) on the grease spot and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, wipe up the remaining Coke. Next, wash the spot with a mixture of 1/3 cup of liquid dish soap with three cups of warm, tap water. Rinse the spot thoroughly with a hose and your garage floor should be back to good as new.

One final tip, if your vehicle is leaking oil, please give our service department a call at (866) 900-8854 so you can avoid future garage floor oil spots.

Speeding Tickets and the Color of Your Car


Speeding Tickets and the Color of Your Car

Does driving a red vehicle help attract the attention of the police and make you more likely to get a speeding ticket? Do other colors make you less likely to get a ticket? We did some checking and the answer may surprise you…

If you think about it, red is the color used on traffic warning signs because it stands out the most so it would seem logical that a speeding red car might catch the attention more of police. Another theory is that the properties of red paint reflect light in a certain way to make the appearance of the vehicle moving faster than it is. (Thankfully, we didn’t find any evidence of this last theory because I didn’t want to dig out my high school science book to understand what it meant.)

But this is what we did find out…

First, we started with a check of which colors are the most popular for vehicles. According to the Axalta 2014 Global Color Popularity Report., here are what the numbers look like for last year.

1. White/White Pearl – 29 percent
2. Black/Black Effect – 19 percent
3. Silver – 14 percent
4. Gray – 12 percent
5. Red – 9 percent
6. Blue – 6 percent
7. Brown/Beige – 5 percent
8. Others – 6 percent

So if red is the color selected for nine percent of cars, it should only make up about nine percent of the vehicles getting speeding tickets.

And the survey says… no, thank you for playing. Try again.

It turns out that police departments don’t keep data on the color of the vehicles they ticket. If you speak with a police officer on which car is most likely to get a ticket, the officer will tell you – almost without fail – the color-blind radar gun will always recommend the vehicle that is speeding.

I still wanted an answer so I could irrefutably solve the debate that often happens between parents and teenage sons when the final decision on which car to purchase revolves around color.

On to the next source. More speeding tickets often lead to more vehicle accidents which leads to more insurance claims. And if there is one industry that can statistically slice and dice data, it has to be the insurance industry. If a certain color vehicle was attracting more speeding tickets, the insurance folks would know.

According to Carolyn Gorman, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute and Insurance Trade Association, “there is no data to support the assertion that red cars receive more traffic tickets than cars of any other color.”

If you’ll notice the next time you get a quote on new car insurance, the agent will ask you a lot of questions such as:

1. What kind of vehicle
2. How many miles you’ll drive each year
3. How long you’ve been driving
4. Your driving record
5. Your coverage and deductibles

The color of your vehicle isn’t considered so if you prefer the candy-apple red one or the midnight black – go ahead and get the color you like – just don’t use a lead foot to drive it.

Origin: http://bit.ly/1QZrS3S

Service Tips



You’re driving along and all of a sudden there it is! That screeching noise every time you brake.

So it’s time to replace your brakes!

This Service Tip episode was prompted by a family member who has already listened to the squealing of her brakes too long and ended with a much larger repair bill because she did not have the brake pads replaced in time. How did this happen?

In a four wheel disc pattern, each wheel has two brake pads that sit in a caliper, on opposite sides of a rotor. When you press on the brake pedal, the caliper clamps the brake pads against the rotor causing friction and therefore slowing the vehicle. These are wearable parts and do not last forever. Their life span depends greatly on the type of driver you are. Spirited? You’ll replace sooner. Careful and casual? You will get a longer life.

Generally speaking, when your vehicle is in for service at Honda of Oakland, we always do a visual inspection of your brakes. It’s a safety factor and we know you bring your vehicle to us because you trust us with the safety of your vehicle. But what if you haven’t been to Honda of Oakland on a regular basis, maybe you’ve chosen to have the oil changed at an aftermarket facility that may not be as focused on your safety. Maybe you’ve now been hearing this squealing noise for some time and today you pressed on the brake pedal and there was a gut wrenching grinding noise.

Let’s dissect a bit. Generally you normally will get somewhere around 30,000 miles from a set of brake pads. Again, this completely depends on your driving habits. Once the brake pad has worn to a minimum thickness, the squeaker will begin to hit the rotor every time you brake. If you ignore this, then you wear the pad down to the rivets that hold the pad to the backing of the brake pads. It is the metal rivets that then begin to dig into your rotor and cause the bigger damage. If you didn’t damage the rotors too badly, it is possible to ‘turn’ or resurface the rotors and they may be used again, assuming they meet minimum thickness standards once ‘turned’. If not you will need to incur the added expense of replacing the rotors.

Brake Squeaker
Arrow is pointing to the squeaker

So the rule of thumb here is, make sure to always take your vehicle to a responsible technician, one who is as concerned about your safety as you are. Secondly, if you hear noise or a squealing/squeaking noise when you press on the brake. Make an appointment to bring your vehicle in for an inspection.

You can reach our service department at 800 352-1859