Archives for March 2013

Honda App Avoids Traffic Jams, Saves Fuel

Cell Phone Windshield Car MountDoes that sound like a piece of science fiction to you, a smartphone app that can both help you avoid a traffic jam and save you on your fuel costs? Well, it did to me, too, but Honda just recently announced its development and testing on a highway in Jakarta at the recent Nvidia GPU technology conference. So, how does it work?

It’s not a miracle machine that controls your vehicle or anything silly like that – though your phone will be able to sync with your 2013 Honda thanks to the included Bluetooth and Honda’s innovative i-MID system – rather, it is able to monitor your vehicle’s acceleration, deceleration, and compare to GPS stats for the area to help accomplish both of these achievements.

The first, avoiding one of the biggest frustrations of city drivers, the dreaded traffic jam, is done by carefully watching how vehicles are accelerating and decelerating and accommodating that. Basically, it tries to train drivers not to get into the stop-and-go traffic mode that often causes the frustrations that come with traffic jams.

You might be wondering how they knew to do this, as it would require data on other cars. The stretch of highway that was being tested had a series of vehicles connecting to a universal cloud drive to relate info to each other, but don’t worry, the fuel-saving technology will work with or without the cloud connectivity.

The fact is that many drivers have heavier feet than they believe, and that means you’re accelerating faster and braking more quickly than is ideal. Honda’s app will tell you when you should be slowly accelerating or decelerating, saving you as much as 20% in fuel costs.

Installing these types of applications on a vehicle might have a bunch of red tape to go through, but since you’re looking at a smartphone app, one that is just advising you on better driving tips, you could see this money-saving innovation in the app store soon.

For now, though, try to keep your feet lighter on the pedals; it’ll save you in the long run.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

Community Honda ServiceLook under your vehicle, starting with the tailpipe. As you’re working towards the front, you should see a metallic cylinder box on the pipe. This is catalytic converter, also known as “the cat.” It’s the cat’s job to catch the harmful byproducts of gasoline combustion. While pure gasoline would reduce down to simply CO2 and water, gasoline is chock full of impurities. These impurities get released into the air as nitrous and sulfurous oxides, the ingredients to smog.

Precious metals insides the chambers of the car attract and catch these harmful compounds as they’re trying to escape, trapping them. The cat does not catch carbon dioxide, though. Originally developed by a french chemist to combat smog production in Los Angeles, the catalytic converter has been helping to cut back on vehicle air pollution since the 1950s.

I really hope that most people are not here because you wanted to know what was stolen off the underside of your vehicle. Catalytic converters are valuable if fenced for their precious metals. Conversely, they’re expense to replace. Theft isn’t the only threat to your cat, though. Having sustained emission problems can ruin your cat, as well as cause major vehicle problems, including vehicle fires.

Besides the obvious safety precautions for not getting your catalytic converter stolen, there are several ways you can detect a potential problem in your emissions system.

  • Know the signs of the engine misfires. When your engine misfires, unspent vaporized gasoline travels through the emissions system and through the catalytic converter. There, the cat is working double time to absorb all of the bad compounds in the gasoline. Over time, this will coat the inside of the converter, rendering it useless. This will also cause even more heat build-up that normal. This can be the source of a fire.
  • Don’t ignore the check engine light. The light is there for a reason. It’s warning you of problem that could turn into a very expensive maintenance issue. The light is connected to sensors in the emissions system. If your exhaust isn’t in the parameters of normal exhaust, then the warning comes on. Following this up with a vehicle diagnostic can help you to avoid more expensive repairs, as well as a failure to a future emissions test.

If you’re having emission problems, feel free to make an appointment with Community Honda. We’re here to help you stay safe on the road.

What Kind of Oil Should I Put in my Car?

Oil ChangeAh, the classic car maintenance question. While changing the oil is definitely one of the most important vehicle services, there is a lot of confusion surrounding it. We’ll cut to the chase. You can find out what type of oil you should put in your car in your vehicle’s manual, as well as a huge drove of other important information.

 

If you’d like to understand a little more about what your oil does for your car, read on.

 

Why the Oil You Use Matters

If your car were a furry, four legged beast, its motor oil would be its lifeblood. Without it, it wouldn’t run too smoothly, and breakdown and disaster will soon follow.

 

Your engine has a lot of moving parts that create friction. Friction means heat, especially when you’re running constantly anywhere from 3,000 rpm to 5,000 rpm. Just rub your hands quickly together and notice the heat that builds up. Now imagine doing that fast enough to power a car. That’s enough heat to start a fire or warp steel.

 

That’s where motor oil comes in. Motor oil acts as a lubricant between your engine’s moving parts. More lubrication means less friction, which in turn means less heat. Less heat means less wear and tear on your engine while operating.

 

Not only does your motor oil act as a lubricant but also as a cleanser. Your engine picks up a lot of crud from the road while you drive. Winter roads are especially harsh, kicking up all sorts of grim and salt. Oil manufacturers add special detergents to their oil to help pick up these particles and keep them away from moving parts. If your oil didn’t do this, debris would slowly grind down vital engine components.

 

Here are some common oil related questions:

  • Why can’t I use any motor oil? Different oils have different weights and densities and are designed to go into different sized engines. A smaller engine will suffer if you put a denser oil in it. Go with what your vehicle manual recommends.
  • The oil is black. Should I change it? Black oil means that the cleaning agents are doing their job. For knowing when to exactly change your oil, go by the interval listed in your vehicle’s manual.

What does the “W” in the motor oil names mean? The “W” just means “winter,” indicating that the oil was designed to function in lower temperatures.

 

Schedule Service

What’s the Difference: Alloy Wheels and Steel Wheels

Alloy Wheel

If you’ve been paying any attention to what Honda’s been up to lately, you’re probably well aware that the automaker has been loading their vehicles up with some of the best features available, the kind that many automakers expect their drivers to pay extra for.

 

In addition to high-tech amenities such as Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, SMS text messaging functionality, and Honda’s unique i-MID system, many 2013 Honda models also come with alloy wheels as standard.

 

You might be wondering what exactly that means or why it’s a big deal, so read on to find out just what the difference is between alloy wheels and standard steel wheels other manufacturers use.

 

To start with, steel is actually an alloy, but it is one that we have become so familiar with that we treat it as a default metal these days, so that’s where the names come from. The alloys being used in Honda vehicles are engineered for lightweight performance and durability, while steel wheels are built for their density. Aluminum alloys can be cast and worked into a range of different shapes with ease, giving drivers unprecedented options for style.

 

Steel wheels are the old standby, and while some drivers like to stick to the old ways, the fact is that scientific updates have been sending steel wheels to the bottom rung for other automakers, and Honda opted to just do away with them like so many other low-end standards as they attempt to revitalize their base level LX trims.

 

To get a look at new alloy wheels firsthand, including seeing just how a new Honda handles with lightweight, precision designed wheels, you can visit us at Community Honda. You’ll find these updated wheels on all of our 2013 models, so whether you’re looking for a sedan like the Civic or Accord or something a bit larger – perhaps our famous CR-V – you’ll get alloy wheels right alongside the new tech features.

 

Contact our sales team to set up a test drive of a 2013 Honda today. We can’t wait to serve you!

Learn the Benefits of Properly Inflated Tires

new tiresLow tire pressure is a common problem with an easy remedy. Driving with soft tires increases the amount of emissions your car gives off, wastes gas and therefore lowering your fuel efficiency, and are safer to drive on. Check your tire pressure at least monthly, but preferably more often than that, to ensure you’re getting the most out of your tires.

Save Money, Lower Emissions

Under inflation of tires is common, and according to fueleconomy.gov, you lose 0.4 percent of gas mileage for every one drop of PSI missing. So if your car is supposed to have tires inflated to 35 PSI and they’re actually at 25 PSI, you’re losing a lot of money. When your car’s tires are lower in pressure than they’re supposed to be, your car is having to work harder to move you from point A to point B, wasting gas and increasing emissions in the process.

Safety

Many cars have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System in place for safety, but checking your air pressure is a good habit to get into regardless. When tires are not properly inflated, traction abilities are impaired for hazardous driving conditions, and your tire is also more likely to fail (or blow out) while on the expressway. This can cause an accident at high speeds, so keeping your tire pressure at the proper inflation is important for safety!

How to Check Your Tire Air Pressure

The first step to checking the air pressure in your tires is to find out what PSI your tires should be at. PSI stands for pounds per square inch, and is a method of measuring how much air pressure is held within your tire. It’s literally the force exerted by all the little air molecules bouncing around inside your tire.

If you open your car’s manual to the contents, you should find a section about air tire pressure. The PSI listed is what you should inflate your tires to. If your tires are different than what originally came on the car, make sure you look on the tire itself for the PSI. It’ll be in little letters that are on the outside, with other measurements. If this is different than what the manufacturer’s tires are, then write it down in your manual for easy reference.

The next step is getting a quality tire pressure gauge. Any auto parts store will have a huge selection of tire pressure gauges, and it’s important to get an accurate one. Some people prefer manual ones, and some people prefer digital ones. Manual or digital doesn’t matter as much as accuracy, so do your research and get one that you can count on.

Then find an air hose! Most gas stations have air hoses for public use, and sometimes tire repair places will have air available for use as well. When you press the air hose to your valve stem, make sure you’re pressing firm and at a 90-degree angle to avoid damaging the valve stem.

What if My Tires Won’t Stay Inflated?

If your tires won’t stay inflated then you probably have a leak. These things happen over the course of driving your vehicle. Take your car into a reputable dealership like ours to have your tires checked for leaks. We offer many different services at Community Honda, and frequently offer specials on tires and tire repair, so come down during our convenient hours and get your tires checked.

Breaking Down the Benefits of Synthetic and Conventional Motor Oil

Oil ChangeWhen the time comes once again to get your vehicle’s oil changed, the question of whether to use synthetic or conventional motor oil is inevitable. There are several advantages and disadvantages to either choice based on a variety of factors like price and environmental impact. Here we will break down the positives and negatives of each option so it is easier for you to make that decision.

Synthetic Motor Oil vs. Conventional Motor Oil

In terms of form and function, synthetic comes out on top. It generally lasts longer and can stand up to high temperatures. However, it is going to cost close to twice the price of conventional oil.

When it comes to which option is more environmentally friendly, it becomes a little unclear which one is your best bet. Although conventional oil is derived from petroleum, synthetics are still made from chemicals that are also not great for the environment. Advancements in technology have allowed synthetic oils to be made cleaner, though. There is still an advantage to using synthetic because it can last up to three times longer, allowing you to dump less of it per year.

Synthetics also have been proven to generate less resistance, which make them more efficient. Because a vehicle that uses synthetic oil offers more horsepower, the car will be able to use slightly less fuel to do the same amount of work.

Additional Options

There is another alternative called the synthetic blend. With a synthetic blend, you get a small amount of the benefits of a synthetic but with a lower price like conventional motor oil. Synthetic oil still lasts longer than the synthetic blend, though, so the lower price may not necessarily be worth it.

More sustainable options are also in the works, such as oil derived from vegetable oil, but that also creates it own set of problems like wasting crops needed for food.

If you are having a difficult time decided which type of oil to use, contact Community Honda or check with your vehicle’s manufacturer to see what they suggest. While each type, including those that are still being developed, has benefits, you have to also weigh the consequences as well.